Saturday, November 02, 2019

A summary of the faith

Catalonian Chapel, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

"God so loved the world..."

A thumbnail of the full Christian faith, the Catholic faith: God, Christ, Trinity, hypostatic union (Christ, true God and true man), Mother of God, communion of saints, intermediate state for some of the dead, infallible church, bishops, Mass, sacraments that do what they signify, baptismal regeneration, auricular confession, and the right, not a requirement, to use images in worship (all can, some should, none must).

The flashpoint of all orthodoxy vs. all sin is where God and his creation in the flesh meet: the fallen angels vs. humanity, who Jesus is, the Eucharist, and sex. Iconoclasm falls under this. (It's related to who Jesus is. You don't have to use images but can't condemn them.)

With only the Vincentian canon or the first seven church councils you pretty much get Catholicism. How about that?

Liberals admit that early on you end up with it, but say it was a human process, not an infallible church.

Every ancient church, even the heretics, thought only they were the true Catholics.

Today, according to Catholicism, you have what I call the great Catholic family of valid orders, of real bishops and real Masses, our corrected branch theory. Valid orders: basic credal orthodoxy (the Nestorians pass!), unbroken apostolic succession, and unbroken true teaching about the Eucharist (sorry, Anglicans; Reformed doesn't pass - we take your framers at their word).

That leaves you with these contenders: Rome, the biggest communion, Catholic splinters such as the Old Catholics and their American offshoot, the Polish National Catholics, and all the separated Eastern churches (not "the Eastern Church": there's more than one and they long didn't recognize each other): the Orthodox (the second biggest communion), the Monophysites/Miaphysites, and the Assyrians/Nestorians.

Let's clarify the thumbnail by adding some negatives: no adulterous second marriages (without annulments) and no contraception. Related to sex, part of the flashpoint of all rebellion against God.

Who's been faithful to this?

Who's not limited to one rite or set of cultures?

Who has fulfilled Jesus' Great Commission to teach all nations?

"On this rock I will build my church." Not the man (he can be a private heretic or unbeliever); the Pope's office as part of the episcopate and part of the church's infallibility, explaining our teachings.

Thursday, October 31, 2019

Why have a Pope?

So if Catholic teachings are what matter and not so much the papacy, so much so that it doesn't matter if the see is vacant or there's an antipope, why bother having a Pope? It's about the office, not the man. Why's his office an indispensable part of the church's machinery?

Only our teachings make sense. There is nowhere else to go.

Exhibit A: the Old Catholics. A rump sect in Europe that chases secular trends. Please. THAT'S the true Roman Catholic Church? Exhibit B: the Orthodox. So Western Catholicism's a fraud but adulterous second marriages and contraception are A-OK? And WHICH Orthodox, Constantinople or Moscow, at each other's throats as Soloviev predicted, out of communion over the Ukraine? Exhibit C: the Anglicans. As in the Reformed Catholicism the Oxford Movement still believed in. "The Pope has overstepped his bounds and is unbiblical!" said the bishop as she was about to officiate at a gay wedding.

If it's not doctrine, it's on the table. If it's not doctrine, we might be wrong. So the almost/alterna-Catholicisms are worth reading and talking to. But no.

Rather, maybe the question should be, why on earth would our holy mother the church want to leave the ancient and venerable see of Rome behind?

The church probably won't know until decades afterwards if Francis was really Pope.

P.S. Think the Ford Foundation and that lesbian priest of the Anglican Church of Canada are really interested in supporting Catholic evangelism in the Amazon valley? Neither do I.

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

My impressions of the Amazon Synod

Taking a deep breath and saying prayers, my impressions of the Amazon Synod. Yes, the wrong people, heretical Germans, are behind it, using Amazon natives as a cover/excuse. But it's like Pope Francis' other flirtations with apostasy, okaying adulterous second marriages (giving the couple Communion) and condemning the death penalty: they come close to the line but don't cross it. Private letters aren't magisterial and he didn't say the death penalty is a sin. His opinions probably aren't Catholic. They don't matter. Our doctrine does. Strictly speaking, the only thing wrong with the synod, as far as I know, is the proposal to have lady deacons. In Ordinatio Sacerdotalis, we've said that women's ordination is impossible. Let's look at the other proposals, again as far as I know. Ordaining the married as priests: we're already doing that with the Eastern rites and ex-Anglicans. Ordaining half-educated men just to say Mass: we've done that before. Amazonian Rite: the church has already written a new service, the Novus Ordo. Lady lectors and acolytes: not the sacrament of orders. Inculturation is fine. It's only a problem if a service really is goddess worship, for example. Prove it is. Don't forget Cardinal Müller's negative reaction to the statues of Pachamama in church, apparently for veneration. Also noteworthy: Regina Magazine has said on Facebook it doesn't recognize Francis as Pope; they claim impropriety at the conclave invalidated it. They don't have the authority to say that but I'm glad they're not making excuses for him. Somebody in authority would have to prove it.

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Convert buyer's remorse

From an unofficial Anglican ordinariate page: "Are there any former Anglicans who have joined the Roman Church by way of the Ordinariate wondering if they have been hoodwinked? Instead of carnivals in Anglican cathedrals in England, you have worship of pagan images in the Basilica in Rome."

I'm not in the ordinariate but was a born Anglican. I strongly felt that way when converting in the 1980s. Leaving people who at least knew how to to do liturgical worship for a bunch of weird self-haters who'd lost their nerve with the modern world, claiming that church teachings had changed, joining the enemy, and out-low-churching the low-church Anglicans. It took a long time including long spells back outside the church for me to figure out. The liberals who ran almost everything Catholic 35 years ago were wrong. Our teachings didn't change. They can't. They can't be swept away by a General Synod or General Convention vote! So the Amazon Synod, Pachamama and all that, etc. don't faze me. The church can write new services and recently has done, the Novus Ordo, but we don't have to believe the changes are ordered by the Holy Spirit or have to like them. Thanks to the Eastern rites (I am now Byzantine), Summorum Pontificum (I am much formed by the traditional Latin Mass), and the Anglican Use, now the ordinariates, we don't even have to use them!

Monday, October 28, 2019

The temptation to private judgement over bad things in the church

Wise words from an unfriendly blogger: "motivated by faith but derailed by substituting your own private judgement for the messy, sometimes frustrating hierarchy of the church." Stealth Protestantism! The demons are fallen angels, much smarter than us. The best intentions can be the biggest temptation, to what C.S. Lewis called the most beautiful and deadly vice, spiritual pride. It may have been Fr. Leonard Feeney's problem. He was on fire for the Lord and the church, unlike the lukewarm compromising Cardinal Cushing, but he overstepped by presenting an allowable opinion (which I don't share: all non-Catholics are going to hell) as doctrine. Actually he was kicked out for disobedience, not directly because of his views. He ignored a summons from Rome to explain his views and his past disobedience. Now? "I don't like Francis; he's not Pope." He might abandon the papacy by teaching heresy ex cathedra but we don't make that call. We honor the Pope's office, which is well limited, not the man or his opinions, which are meaningless. Papal infallibility can only defend church infallibility: our doctrine. He can't change it. "Goddess worship at the Amazon Synod!" You can't blame our teachings, even if the Pope falls down on the job. "The molestation scandal!" You can't blame our teachings for that and we're not Donatists: the unworthiness of the minister does not hinder the grace of the sacraments. "The Novus Ordo is invalid." The church is infallible and indefectible; for the first time, in the 1960s, it wrote new services whole cloth. Banning the old services was stupid; we don't have to pretend it wasn't or that the Holy Spirit is behind every change in rules. Rules can and do change; doctrine doesn't. The old services aren't banned anymore. "I'll become Orthodox!" You're angry that Francis is fine with adulterous second marriages, so you'll join a church that has long had them. What?! They've sold out on contraception and believe that Western Catholicism has been a fraud for a millennium. Going to throw away your missal and rosary? They have their tiny Western Rite but don't really want it; it's heavily byzantinized and, unlike my imperfect Byzantine Catholic church, not a centuries-old community. Aside from the creed, the rest of the first seven councils of our doctrine, and the traditional rite, theologically they're nothing. They're not even in communion with each other: Constantinople vs. Moscow in the Ukraine. There is no such thing as the Orthodox Church.

Keep going to Mass, read the old catechisms, and say your prayers.

Saturday, October 26, 2019

Thomists, bad liberals, and good liberals: Bishop Barron on Vatican II and its aftermath

I don't know much about Bishop Barron. 1 Peter 5 has a post criticizing this piece. It's far from the worst thing I've heard on the subject. Honors for that might go to a thin imprimatur'd paperback piece of shit written about 10 years after Vatican II and printed by the Redemptorists that my otherwise sound college freshman religious-studies teacher, an Augustinian, made us read, The Catholic Church Story: Changing and Changeless. Edward Day was biased, un-academic, cheering for the first Protestants, calling St. Pius X vs. the Modernists "overkill," and writing syrupy nonsense about the council with all the changes being from the Holy Spirit. Christian community he was ashamed of was "sentimental loyalties such as fish on Friday and ashes during Lent." "The council taught that the Mass is a family dinner" and "took away the altars and replaced them with tables." A typical self-hating Catholic of the time. Spare me the patronizing mention of the Eastern churches; by then I'd been to the Ukrainian Catholic Church and knew better. A tract that didn't belong in the university nor the parishes. Anyway, God has the last laugh: the few remaining parishioners are 35-year-olds with several kids, NOT ashamed of our Christian community, wearing lace mantillas and following the traditional Latin Mass in their hand missals. The protestantized nonsense will last for one more generation after Pope Francis and literally die off: the biological option.

The traditional church has factions with different theological speculations (me: if it's not doctrine, it's on the table) and spiritualities (me: respect my customs and I'll respect yours) that don't get along. Franciscans vs. Jesuits, for example. Or look at Catholic countries: Irish vs. Italians! Barron's explanation of three factions is pretty good but he should be clearer that he's not condemning Garrigou-Lagrange's Thomism as un-Catholic even though he doesn't like it, belonging to the Communio school of "liberals" who are still Catholic, such as Joseph Ratzinger/Benedict XVI; I knew that about Benedict, that he's actually not that conservative. No problem. At its best the Communio school's patristic like Newman's Anglican approach. And Barron should be clearer that the Concilium chaps (note: all such are old now), Hans Küng and his associates, have really spun off into Protestantism and beyond, into agnosticism. Roman Spongs. They really should be excommunicated or leave on their own, because they're not Catholic and have harmed people's faith.

Monday, September 30, 2019

Possible shakeup in Catholic Philly

Archbishop Chaput turned 75, so according to new canon law he will offer his resignation. The Pope won't necessarily accept it. Who knows what will happen with Pope Cuckoo Bananas in charge? ("Simpsons" reference.) Chaput has a reputation for being sound on doctrine and social issues, the model of a conservative Novus Ordo bishop. There are several traditional Latin Masses and he invited the Fraternity of St. Peter (might the archdiocese be trying to funnel all traditionalists to that parish?). Interestingly the archbishop doesn't become a cardinal anymore, because frankly the shrinking Archdiocese of Philadelphia isn't that important anymore. Anyway, if a Cupich gets in, our doctrine can't change, and Pope Francis has left Pope Benedict's English missal alone (a friend's theory: he doesn't care about liturgy, being a liberal Jesuit, and he doesn't speak English), but watch out. If it's "back to the '70s," the old liberals' last hurrah, hunker down. The earliest, lowest Sunday Mass, many good Catholics' mainstay since Vatican II. There is the shrinking Greek Catholic option, which either can be a refuge or become home, but it's dying. Doomsday scenario, as in real heresy pumped into what's left of the parishes? See you at the SSPX. ("They look pious and have nicer services," which are true, aren't good enough reasons to break with the official church locally.)

Sunday, September 29, 2019

Christ indivisible: sorry, Anglicans

This came in my e-mail from David Virtue, the New Zealand-born journalist and Protestant Anglican stalwart, a scourge to liberal Episcopalians:
Cranmer distinguishes Christ's spiritual presence from his sacramental presence. Avoiding the Lutheran doctrine of consubstantiation, he argues that the spiritual presence occurs only through Christ's divine nature, he being in heaven in regards to his human nature. Cranmer follows a symbolic reading of the phrase "This is my body", and develops a view "remarkably close to that developed by Zwingli and Oecolampadius." - Alister E. McGrath, Reformation Thought: An Introduction (Oxford: Blackwell, 1999), 257.
This is heresy. It's why Catholic Christianity and Reformed Christianity aren't the same (Anglicanism pretty much claims they are) so it's why, even with Anglo-Catholicism, I couldn't be an Anglican anymore.

Remember what Catholics believe about the two natures of Christ. "Blessed be Jesus Christ, true God and true man," united - and inseparable - in his person, the hypostatic union. This separation of his natures reminds me of what I think I know about Nestorianism. And Nestorians aren't really bad: they're part of the great Catholic family whose orders and Eucharist the church recognizes, because they don't teach heresy about the Eucharist.

The whole Christ, true God and true man, is present, sacramentally, not carnally, in every molecule of the Eucharist as long as the appearances of bread or wine remain. It's also why the laity don't need to receive in both kinds.

If it's only a symbol of his human nature, then as Flannery O'Connor said, to hell with it. No wonder mainliners lapse.

Thursday, August 29, 2019

Banning the old Mass

This one's making the rounds on the interweb. I too hate that churchmen broke their promise of the old and new services coexisting, the situation we now have, which is fine. Catholics were bait-and-switched. To be fair, some of this stuff is Ecclesiology 101: you don't get to bring in a priest uninvited by the diocese or set up services outside the parishes just because you like the old missal better. The bishops' attitude was reprehensible; such was yucky American Catholicism in the '70s and '80s. The textbook right answer was to remember that our teachings can't change and that the church can write new services, so hunker down and obey, using the missal you're told to but sticking to the teachings. (Go to the earliest, lowest Mass: no funny business.) But I appreciate that the situation in some parishes and dioceses was dire, even anti-Catholic, and I appreciate the churchmen, most famously Archbishop Lefebvre, who fought for the externals, making it possible for a future generation to learn them. It turned out to be "the Mass that would not die."

Before Benedict XVI lifted the ban on the traditional missal, as the apostle and liturgiarch of his diocese, could the bishop forbid a previously approved missal?

Sunday, August 25, 2019

Spin vs. reality about Vatican II

Vatican II is disliked because it asks the Catholic laity to do MORE, not less. We are challenged to actively participate in the Mass rather than offer our own private devotions during the Mass. We are asked to study the Scriptures instead of merely parroting catechism answers. We are asked to pray the Liturgy of the Hours instead of merely reciting the Rosary. It is this challenge to the laity that laity bristle at, while pretending the old way of private devotions is better.

American Catholics were corrupted by living in a Protestant country and had an inferiority complex. Catholic ghetto is Christian community that Protestants and liberals don't like. American Catholics understandably wanted to fit in, so Vatican II let them pretend the church was just another Protestant denomination of vague do-gooders, with no embarrassing customs that stuck out like the Latin Mass or fish on Fridays. To just be one of the fellows. Nothing to do with what Jesus taught. This party line that Catholic understanding, practice, and community before the council were shallow is just internalizing Protestant prejudice.

Vatican II didn't define doctrine, and I accept the church's authority to change rules and write new services; just please don't ban the old ones. There were lively movements before the council that encouraged people to read the Bible, taught people about the traditional Mass and encouraged them to CHANT it, and encouraged lay recitation of the Divine Office. (Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary, anyone?) The council's effects killed the latter two. The old Low Mass junked up with sappy hymns won out. At least the old missal was better. It's full of scripture quotations beyond the readings. Today's Catholics DON'T know the Bible better. They don't even go to Mass anymore.

The changes were mistakes that didn't create deeper Catholics but made the church crater.

Take the council back. I don't want it and pretty much live like it doesn't exist. If you think that makes me a bad Catholic, I'm cool with that.

Saturday, August 10, 2019

Uninformed Catholic opinion right and left

What makes me laugh is that some people with no theological background or no knowledge of the Catholic Church have so much to say & judge her... & sadly these very same people call themselves "Catholic" & consider themselves more Catholic than the Pope...
It comes in well-meaning conservative and liberal versions, from the person obsessing about Fatima (you tell him not to worry because even approved private revelation isn't doctrine but he doesn't listen to you) or the Confiteor, Last Gospel, etc. (nice but not essential; this person can't or won't read liturgical history) to the obnoxious liberals who ran the church in America for decades after Vatican II and in some places still do, claiming that the changes were God's will for all and thus being just as intolerant as they accused traditionalists of being. Then the traditionalists understandably reacted to that and became intolerant, and so on. Or the person who wants to throw out our doctrine for mainline Protestantism or secular humanism but don't tell him otherwise because he knows what's what; "I went to Catholic school for 12 years"!

I believe the doctrine. Locally I'm blessed with a choice of traditional services. I give money and don't tell people what to do, because that's not my responsibility as a lay person. And everything that's not doctrine is on the table.

Monday, August 05, 2019

Why all the mass shootings

A wise friend:
In the aftermath of this latest flurry of mass shootings, we'll hear lots of pontificating about guns and racism. But we'll hear little to nothing about the real problem, which is the increasing alienation of young men in our society. This has been evident since Columbine. A perfect storm of broken families, social and economic powerlessness, lack of masculine influence, social media, and the decline of religious faith has disposed today's young men to extreme ideological fantasies. None of this can be fixed overnight, but until we recognize and confront these issues directly, expect things to get much worse.

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

How I get along in church

I joined a part of the true church so there are no serious arguments. I give money. I don't tell people what to do.

Monday, July 29, 2019

Biblical marriage vs. Hollywood romance

I post this not to join in ganging up on Josh Harris, who must be going through hell (his wife of over 20 years loses her faith, he loses his wife, he loses his faith, and he's probably trying not to lose his kids), but because this is a well-written critique of his earlier work ("overly stringent, slightly heretical sexual prosperity gospel") that made him famous.

Bad religion, "churchianity" as the evangelicals in the Christian manosphere say, as a wise monastic acquaintance described to me: God's like a vendor you make a contract with. People who conjure demons are the same way. You obey all the rules, you do the ceremony right, and God or the demon owes you one, such as riches or blissful married sex. You don't have those? Your fault: you weren't faithful enough!

The money quote:
The idea of "the one" or a person's perfect "soulmate" is not biblical or Christian - it actually originally comes from Plato's dialogue "The Symposium." This is not to say that some couples are not more compatible than others, but the key goal of romantic relationships should not be to find "the one," but to find someone you can love and be faithful to all of your days - and make yourself into the kind of person who can be faithful.
Not to be confused with pickup artists' putting down "one-itis" in favor of using women, even though it sounds similar.

My life and at least one other's would have been much better if I'd known this Christian truth. Like many others, the entertainment industry sold me a bill of goods.

Also, from another conversation about this subject: our wicked society's destruction of family and community, of a support system, puts an unrealistic emotional burden, unrealistic expectations, on a husband or wife to be someone's be-all and end-all, such as an intellectual "partner in crime." More harm, breaking up couples.
I often say the reason my marriage has endured so well is we did not marry for love. We are in love, but that is not why we married.
One of the best systems is semi-arranged marriages in cultures set up to do them, such as the revived self-sufficient Catholic towns run by "mafias" of big families that I imagine. They work because while the boy and girl have a say, veto power, it's about uniting and continuing two families. And it works because there is no marketing-fueled generation gap. Rupal's and Sanjay's families know Rupal and Sanjay very well, and everybody shares a religion and culture, so if the families think Rupal and Sanjay would be a good match, they often are. No soul-destroying years of "hooking up" nor platonic nonsense.
My wife and I married more tired with being alone and directionless in life. Mind you I was but 22 so that tells you something about my generation vs. today's. Anyway, after 21 years of marriage I love her more than I can express. It's a love that we both grew into gradually.
Dump the secular world's junk about a soul mate and you realize it's a perfectly good reason if the other person is a good person. And as you found out, it works.

Romantic painting: Tom Lovell (1909–1997), "Back Comes the Bride."

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

How to save Eastern churches in the West: culturally turn Protestant?

One of my sayings: Eastern Christianities fail in Western countries in three generations. A correspondent suggests Protestantizing culturally to better serve America, a Protestant country. Wrong answer but a try.
Big communities, Greek and Russian, fall off in three generations. I know why. Because Liturgy is just boring. It's not relevant with anything the young adult is going through or interested In. Meaning at school and the workplace. Relationships with other American people. The Eastern Orthodox Church is even more strange and alien than Catholic style in USA. So if the Catholic Church is not fully accepted, wanted, or understood, why would something even more outdated be? Also the Eastern Orthodox youth. If Middle Eastern looking. Will not want to go rubbing it in people's face. For fear of persecution. Ostracized from society.
So non-WASPs from the ancient churches should become Protestants at least culturally in America? No. Roman Rite Catholics, that is, most Catholics, tried that with Vatican II and their white ethnic base in America is cratering. All it did was destroy the Christian community they had. One of my sayings: Catholic ghetto is Christian community that liberals don't like.

Many Orthodox and Byzantine Catholic churches have services in English and great youth programs such as summer camps. But they're still bombing with the second and third generations.

The services in pure form are extremely long but old-country Orthodox know how to handle it. They don't stay for the whole thing. Far from it.
The Eastern Orthodox "spirit" is just not American. It's not compatible.
America is very problematic for the ancient churches. It's been Protestant since its beginning. Why it nearly ran Irish Catholics out of the country in the early 1800s. But we could live in peace and even thrive here. America's English-based culture was originally Catholic in the old country, before it was Protestant, and our shared Western culture - laws and norms at least indirectly based on the church - made it work. You seem to be telling all the ancient churches to throw in the towel in America and become Protestant. The Episcopalians have been trying to do that to us for many years, pretending to be one of us. No. And they're cratering too. Evangelicalism seems the liveliest Christianity in America, with old-school Catholicism the second, catching on among the young who choose to stay.

I'm under Rome and I'll take the Eastern Orthodox spirit over Americanism, hands down.

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Might the Ukrainian Catholic Church's Russophobia be shooting it in the foot?

Russia understandably is a sore subject in the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church (UGCC). I'm functionally a Russian Catholic worshipping there, because it's close culturally and it's here, but know to largely keep quiet about it. I know Russian, not fluently, and Slavonic, the old liturgical language shared with Russia, and don't really know Ukrainian as such. I know a few unique words and recognize it when I see and hear it. This parish is descendants of pre-1914 immigration so it's not extremely nationalistic. The liturgical languages now are English and some Ukrainian. The UGCC as of the 1596 union with Rome was the whole metropolia of Kiev, all of the Ukraine and Byelorussia but with lots of resistance. Russian expansion and persecution westward (most of the Ukraine went under Russia in the 1600s) reduced the UGCC by the 1800s to Galicia, under Poland (who weren't nice to them), which was sometimes under Austria-Hungary (who were nice). Then Stalin stole it in World War II, outlawing the UGCC, driving it underground for 40 years. Galicia's related to Russia, brother East Slavs, but was never Russian. It's the home base of the Ukrainian language. That said, most of the Ukraine speaks, you guessed it, Russian. People who don't identify as Russian speak Russian. It's like German-speaking Austria vs. Germany. Kiev, the capital, speaks Russian but the government pretends it doesn't. Russian has no official recognition in the Ukraine. The trouble behind the UGCC's decline in America might be that the UGCC doesn't want to admit that the Ukraine speaks Russian. So recent Ukrainian immigrants, in the Russian communities, aren't served. Post-Soviet immigration hasn't helped the UGCC. Offer Russian-speaking priests with Russian sermons and maybe the UGCC here would come back to life. Another issue, though, is would this put us head-to-head against the Orthodox Church in America (the old Russian metropolia in America, actually 60% descendants of Rusyn and Ukrainian ex-Catholics we harassed about clerical marriage), the Moscow Patriarchal parishes, and ROCOR (by the way, all these Russian groups, split in Communist times, are in communion), which has priests from Russia ministering in these areas? That would go against our long game: don't solicit individual conversions; work to reconcile all the Orthodox to us together and leave the rite alone. Well, the Ukrainians who go there probably don't identify as Ukrainian so the question might be moot. Still, tread carefully.

Monday, July 22, 2019

Modern dating quagmire: "friends" nonsense

How cruel. Reality TV is one jump from gladiatorial games.

The "friend zone" (dead end for saps) or, different, "LJBF" (let's just be friends, which everybody knows really means get lost).
A woman: We'd be better as friends.
Me if I still wasted time dating and heard this drivel: Maybe you didn't notice but it's 1960 here. You know your way out.
A real friend, that is, a fellow:
A million chicks like her will end up perpetually single with six cats crying about there being no good men.
There's a reason she's single.
She deserves to be lonely, crazy, and miserable once her looks and ovaries dry up.

Her name isn't Jessie; it's legion.

Women were never as sweet and noble as the Romantic pedestalizers on down have thought. They're much more likely now to waste years "riding the carousel" in soft polygamy/harems, sharing a few alpha bad boys, than be courted by nice guys. "Nice guy" is an insult in the sex world, as in "you're a nice guy, but" usually preceding the friends crap, because men like this sap seem needy and cowardly about telling the girl what they really want, such as eventually marriage. Too many well-meaning Christians mistake the friends crap for purity and respect so they send these poor saps to a dead end of hurt like in this horrible clip.
Best way to leave the "friends zone" is stop being her friend and just walk away. What Don Draper would do.
Yes. Every time you do that you still have your manhood, and IF she's worth having, she might approach you later. Then again, I had someone approach me apologetic years later who still was no good.

Walk like a man, talk like a man
Walk like a man, my son.
No woman's worth crawlin' on the earth
So walk like a man, my son.
The point of celibacy including the right kind of MGTOW (which is discarded husbands, not the angry dateless), by way of the Four Seasons: your worth as a person doesn't depend on what the other sex thinks of you. And when you're no longer needy that way, maybe, if God wants, you'll meet the right girl.
"Friend zone": let me string you along thinking one day you might have a chance, let me use you to talk about my problems, run errands for me, take me out when I am bored etc.
That's exactly what it is when he's not gay or it's not a jaded player and whore sharing tales of debauchery.

Mike Pence is right.

There are beautiful married acquaintances I informally call friends. Mike Pence rule. There are friends and associates' wives and girlfriends with whom I am cordial. They are not friends. Mike Pence rule.

Allan Bloom, who had no Christian pretensions, quoted by Fabius Maximus:
…Female modesty extends sexual differentiation from the sexual act to the whole of life. It makes men and women always men and women. The consciousness of directedness toward one another, and its attractions and inhibitions, inform every common deed. As long as modesty operates, men and women together are never just lawyers or pilots together.
What this poor sap should have said. Calmly, slowly, not butthurt:
No. We're not. Get your own ride home.
And if they won the prize on the game show, sell it and split the money, or go to court. And never speak to her again.

A manosphere fundamental: modern girls still expect chivalry; "princess privilege." As Dalrock says, they think "weak men are screwing up feminism" and "man up so we can be strong, independent women." Easy. Stop being chivalrous. Disrespect me on national TV and you don't deserve it if you ever did.

Forget casual dating. Don't date. Court.

P.S. These people are actors so this was probably faked but the point stands.

Saturday, July 20, 2019

Dystopia now: why Western society needs rebooting

Conservatives of course don't like radical changes but when you've made a wrong turn, backtrack, just like finding your lost keys.

Why "reboot society"?

"We have zero idea how to connect and stay with anyone anymore." Because our f*cked-up modern Western society doesn't want you to. Look at the middle-class American script. You grow up in a suburban non-town, where you're expected to leave your family, all your high-school friends, and your sweethearts behind ("only losers stay home and marry young") to go to college (where you probably don't belong), then leave that pseudo-community behind four years later, THEN have a bunch of corporate or job-chasing moves. Be a lonely, horny, rootless little consumer, a cog. That's what our kiddie jails, schools, are designed to turn you into. "Bowling alone." Throw in contraception and no-fault divorce to make sure your marriage breaks up and you've got dystopia.

No wonder people abuse opioids.

Assimilation is the death of Eastern Christianities in America

"When the grandkids aren't Greek anymore." Small steps forward amidst a massive decline. For every "Go East, young man" convert story of the seekers who should be coming to Eastern churches in America (the Orthodox had their convert boomlet), there are legions more like Rova Farms in New Jersey, just sold to the township, closed about 10 years ago (I was last there about 20 — stately little '50s restaurant and a bar that had become a biker hangout). Here's a story of that Russian community's fascinating history but also its fall... in 1977. Thought of it as I was considering going to ROCOR's big festival at the church still there (pictured) for the Sunday celebrating St. Vladimir's Day, the prince who converted the Ukraine, which spread to Russia; me: "Russia was consecrated when St. Vladimir was baptized." (No, I won't go to Liturgy twice; I just won't go to Communion, which is my usual way anyway.) I just picked up this expression, "civilization lasts three generations," which reminded me of my saying, "Eastern churches in Western countries fail in three generations" due to assimilation. You can try to wall off and speak only Russian. You can have English services and a great Sunday school and youth camp. The kids and grandkids still leave. I don't have an answer.

And regarding "Eastern," for the newbs, there is more than one kind of Eastern Christianity. The biggest and best known are the Orthodox. They and their lesser-known Byzantine Catholic cousins are in various ethnic jurisdictions. Then you have the other rites, such as Coptic and Armenian, which also have representatives in the church. Rival one true churches to both Catholicism and the Orthodox based on alleged Christological heresies. Culturally very similar to Orthodoxy (traditional liturgy, married priests). Estranged Catholics or non-Christians with bishops and a liturgy? The church recognizes their orders as we do the Orthodox. The Maronites are all Catholic, and alas, Novus Ordo-fied, as are the Nestorians' bigger cousins, the Chaldean Catholics.

Valid orders define what I call the great Catholic family: trinitarian theology so basic the Nestorians and Miaphysites, non-Byzantine Easterns, pass ("Do you believe that Jesus is God? Good!"); unbroken claim to apostolic succession; and uninterrupted true teaching about the Eucharist (sorry, Anglicans: we take your framers at their word, so no Mass, no orders). Catholicism is the church but the others are still sacramentally a part of us. No one-on-one proselytism of born members, but bringing these churches in together and leaving their rites alone are imperative.

Byzantine Catholicism in America is endangered, not even getting the temporary boost of more planeloads of immigrants that the Greek Orthodox, the biggest Orthodox group in America, do. (Either they eventually return home, which is fine, or the assimilation cycle starts over.) A suggestion overheard: it might help if the Ukrainian Catholic Church in America admitted that most immigrants from the Ukraine speak Russian more than Ukrainian.

That Byzantine Catholicism is very much not perfect is a sign we have a lot of work to do. And an opportunity: go to the Orthodox for Vespers or Vigil! Not to preach; to (learn how to) pray.

Friday, July 19, 2019

A sound Melkite bishop in America has died

From the Melkite Eparchy of Newton, Mass.:
The Most Reverend Nicholas J. Samra, Eparchial Bishop of Newton, regrets to inform you of the blessed repose of The Most Reverend John Adel Elya, B.S.O., Bishop Emeritus of Newton (Melkite), early this morning, July 19, 2019, at Holy Savior Monastery, Motherhouse of the Basilian Salvatorian Fathers in Joun (Sidon) Lebanon, where he had been residing for the last 10 months. Bishop Elya fell asleep in the Lord while he watched the celebration of the Divine Liturgy in the Monastery chapel from his bed.

The Funeral and Burial will take place at the Monastery on Tuesday, July 23, 2019, with His Beatitude Joseph (Absi), Melkite Patriarch of Antioch and All the East, presiding, along with Bishop Nicholas Samra, Eparchial Bishop of Newton USA, as well as other Melkite Bishops of Lebanon.

Bishop Elya was born in Maghdouche, Lebanon, and entered the Melkite Basilian Salvatorian Order where he professed his solemn vows in 1949. He arrived in the USA in 1954 and served as professor of Moral Theology as well as Rector at St. Basil Seminary, Methuen, MA. In addition, Bishop Elya served as parish priest in several churches in the Eparchy of Newton.

He was ordained bishop on June 29, 1982 and served as Auxiliary Bishop of Newton until January 25, 1994 when he became the Eparchial Bishop of Newton. Following his retirement on June 22, 2004, he resided at St. Basil Monastery of the Basilian Salvatorian Order in Methuen until 10 months ago when he was taken for nursing care to the Motherhouse of Saint Savior Monastery in Lebanon.

O Christ God, with the Saints grant rest to the soul of Your servant, the high priest, Bishop John, in a place where there is no pain, no grief no sighing, but everlasting life!
Bishop John didn't dissent from the teachings of the church in the name of ecumenism.

Eternal memory.

Modernist Pope worship

Got to credit Pope Juan Perón with breaking well-meaning orthodox Novus Ordo Catholics from Pope worship, "adoring" his person as though he and his office (the part the church says is infallible in some situations) were the same. Give up that artsy old Tridentine Mass and just wave your arms for the Pope. The cultus of John Paul the Overrated, who as you can see I have no devotion to. We're actually better off now because Pope Juan Perón hasn't undone Benedict the Great's reforms. I don't watch EWTN; I remember when it was saccharine Novus Ordoism, devotionalism, charismaticism, and JP2 worship. Then Mother Angelica put her old habit back on and sounded off, part of (Anglo-Catholic humor) the Catholic Revival in the Roman Communion. Now EWTN is basic catechetics I don't need; I respect the good they do. That and news, which like everybody else now I get from the Web. Anyway, pushed against the wall, yes, they're sound. They've woken up and smelled the sulfur so they're criticizing Pope Juan Perón. Now the National Catholic Reporter (cranky old people) hates them as much as they hate Trump. And anything NCR hates has got to be good. Them, after decades of attacking our teachings (just shut up and become Methodists): how dare you criticize the Pope? Ha ha ha. Again, a parody Catholicism in which the Pope's person is more important than our teachings.

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Love, the manosphere, and "Mad Men"

I like to think, as the last line of "Brigadoon" says, with love, anything is possible, even miracles.

"Mad Men" fan talk. I don't read those Facebook pages anymore because they're all liberals, and mostly female liberals, and I've gotten all the style pointers I need. I don't even watch. I don't need to. Note: the show was a resource but my point was never to imitate the show. But it's amusing, and unsurprising to the profilers and psychologists in the manosphere, that liberal women lust after the illiberal Don Draper. He's an anti-hero with style pointers from ties to "I don't think about you at all" cool comebacks. But he's a psycho. Sidebar: women's God-given survival and reproductive instincts are off course because of sin so they lust after psychos. Literal killers on death row get propositions and proposals. Alpha bad boys, not beta providers some settle for later (sloppy seconds; alpha f*cks, beta bucks). Be that as it may, Draper's not my hero. "Pete Campbell, a man I look up to" is one of the best twists and most moving endings I've seen. Pete was not nice nor particularly handsome. It was OVER: he broke up his family. Divorced and of course Trudy wanted nothing to do with him. But when he "hit the jackpot" with a job, he came back and offered it all to her. And she said yes. Unrealistic? Maybe. But possible. Back to the last line of "Brigadoon." Most of the bitter head cases in the manosphere, out-and-out misogynists screwed over by divorce, which women now start most of the time, say that's for saps but I don't care.

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Fr. Richard Paul Rohrer has died

Sad news from the diak at my Ukrainian Catholic parish: Fr. Richard "Rick" Rohrer, former longtime pastor of the Ruthenian parish in Cary, NC - SS. Cyril & Methodius - died July 14 while in the Ukraine.

The diak was once one of his parishioners as was another friend. Been to services at SS. C & M at least twice. Once was, many years before I was officially back in the church, serving in the altar at the second friend's wedding. Very moving.

I understand he was Rome-trained so liturgically entirely Orthodox, and 100% behind the teachings of the church. SS. C & M was and likely still is simply a magnet for sound Catholics in the Raleigh area.

There was a strange pattern in my life then, in the early 2000s. I'd reach out to Byzantine Catholic converts, such as at SS. C & M, on my way back into the church, but they'd confuse things by leaving the church for the Orthodox. One of them came back.

Anyway, Fr. Rick was one of the good guys.

Eternal memory.

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Jurisdiction-shopping and stupid sacramentology

  • 3 Greek priests leave Constantinople for ROCOR. “My decision to move to ROCOR was as a result of a number of factors. I have, for some time, been concerned about the growing modernist and ecumenist trends in Constantinople. However, the actions in Ukraine convinced me that I had to leave,” Fr. Spyridon commented to OrthoChristian.
So this is the putative one true church, rival denominations stealing jurisdiction-shopping clergy from each other and crowing about it. ROCOR is now part of the Moscow Patriarchate, which is out of communion with the patriarch of Constantinople for the latter wrongly starting a turf war in the Ukraine, trying to steal that country's churches. I understand the two canonical patriarchates don't even recognize each other's baptisms anymore, at least in the parishes, which is stupid sacramentology. Well, it makes sense to them if each patriarch claims the other is no longer in the true church. I understand that Catholic sacramentology is Augustinian, not Cyprianic (church fathers can be wrong; the church decides): being in the church matters but is not required for validity. Why we recognize Orthodox sacraments!

The self-styled true Orthodox super-believers, the sort who gravitate to ROCOR and are obnoxious about it: the Gregorian calendar and talking to us Catholics are evil, but remarriage after divorce and contraception are okay. (By the way, many Catholics use the Julian calendar - in the Ukraine, for example. It's discipline, not doctrine.) Oh, and if you expect your religion to make sense, you have an evil "rationalist" Western mindset, phronema in the lingo (cult thinking).

Most Orthodox in America are Greeks under Constantinople.

Story the late Archimandrite Serge (Keleher) told me in person:
Orthodox: "It is not enough to have the Orthodox faith; you must be under the Orthodox hierarchy!"
Fr. Serge: "Which one?"
Orthodox: "Shut up! You know too much!"
There is an Orthodox tradition I am a part of by adoption. There is no Orthodox Church. They're all independent.

Monday, July 15, 2019

"I left Eastern Orthodoxy for the church led by Pope Francis, and I don’t regret it"

1. In a sense I didn't leave Eastern Orthodoxy. Been Byzantine again since '16. There is an Orthodox tradition - with me it happens to be Russian Orthodox - that I'm still part of and love. I don't believe in an Orthodox Church. They're all independent, there's no teaching authority, they're wrong about remarriage after divorce and on contraception, their anti-Westernism is bigotry pretending to be theology, and they're not even in communion with each other! (Constantinople vs. Moscow in the Ukraine; Moscow's right.) Born Orthodox get the benefit of the doubt. There are post-schism Orthodox in my all-Orthodox icon corner, and I go to the Orthodox several times a year for Vigil as Communion prep. I receive Communion a few times a year, the old-country Orthodox way, but in the Catholic Church of course. Also, the traditional Latin Mass has the second oldest Eucharistic prayer still in use. It doesn't get more Orthodox than that. (By the way, promoting this Mass is not about Latin.)

2. I came back under Benedict the Great. I don't like Francis but he doesn't faze me. Because he's irrelevant. Our teachings can't change. The Pope can't change them. Papal infallibility is about the Pope's office as part of church infallibility, not his person. We are actually better off under Francis than we were under John Paul the Overrated, the wonderful fellow who brought you altar girls. Francis hasn't undone Benedict's liturgical reforms, better English and making the traditional Latin Mass available to all, because he doesn't speak English and he doesn't care about liturgy.

Tuesday, July 02, 2019

The sunset of Anglo-Catholicism: goodbye, Burrswood

More of the sunset of Anglo-Catholicism: Burrswood in Tunbridge Wells has gone bankrupt and closed after 71 years. (But it hadn't been Anglo-Catholic in many years.) The late Dorothy Kerin's healing ministry. An Anglo-Catholic from the movement's heyday, miraculously healed and a stigmatist, she'd pray over the sick in church, the laying on of hands. Probably a saint.

I had heard of her but didn't realise she had been a stigmatist. Now what does that say about the authenticity of Anglicanism, hmm?
I thought of that - the wannabe Lourdes that wasn't - but wasn't going to be nasty. Why should I be? A born Anglican acting in good faith, not an ex-Catholic, so she gets the benefit of the doubt. Apparently she was very holy. She and her kind loved the church. They thought they were in it! Anglo-Catholicism was my red carpet going into the church and I am thankful.

Hooray for holistic health care.

Maybe Oral Roberts' long-gone City of Faith hospital was a glitzy, overambitious, more Protestant version of the same thing.

Monday, July 01, 2019

Successful Eastern Catholic churches

Successful Byzantine Catholic churches, centuries-old communities (not perfect, but successful): cases where whole patriarchates or metropolias came in. (But we're not supposed to try to split the Orthodox communion anymore, and that is good. Bring them all in together and leave the rite alone.) The metropolia of Kiev and the Byzantine patriarchate of Antioch. The Ukrainian Catholic Church at the union was the metropolia of Kiev: all of the Ukraine and Byelorussia as well (but plenty of people said no to union); Russian expansion and persecution reduced it to old Polish Galicia in the far west, still their base. The USSR grabbed it during World War II. The patriarch of Antioch who became Catholic is the basis of the Melkite Church.

The Russian and Greek Byzantine Catholic churches were originally attempts to convert the Orthodox individually that failed. (We don't do that anymore either, and that is good. We accept these conversions of course but don't solicit them.)

Looking beyond the Byzantine Rite, most Nestorians in what's now Iraq became Catholic; the Chaldean Catholic Church is bigger than the Nestorians.

And yes, it's THE Ukraine for the same reason I don't say "Paree." And the Patriarch of Constantinople is wronging the Patriarch of Moscow over there.

Misfire: on Uniatism

Now there's an attention-grabbing headline.

Deep breath.

Francis is barely still Pope, off the hook on technicalities. Private letters aren't magisterial and he didn't say the death penalty is intrinsically disordered.

I'm a conservative Catholic without apology. Francis and others are basically right about "Uniatism" but that's where I worship and I don't tell anyone to leave the church.

Our primary goal is not to convert Orthodox individually. It rarely works and only makes the Orthodox more bitter.

We are not trying to break up their families, parishes, dioceses, or national churches.

I go to the Orthodox for Vigil several times a year as Communion prep.

"The Eastern lung can be Orthodox"? That seems to go too far but we don't have to believe the Greek Catholic churches are perfect. They're very much not. And born Orthodox get the benefit of the doubt. They're neither personally guilty of schism nor formal heretics. Sacramentally they are still a part of us. So in a sense yes.

We want to reconcile all those churches to us together and leave the rite alone.

Because like all ancient Christian communions we claim to be the true church, we accept individual conversions but quietly, as the late revert Fr. Serge (Keleher) emphasized to me in person 20 years ago. We do not solicit them.

Cardinal Newman

What an intellect and of course an inspiration for Anglo-Catholic alumni, although pre-conversion he like his colleagues wasn't wannabe Roman liturgically. The soul of English moderation while sound as a pound on our doctrine. Misunderstood, maybe a sign he was on the right track. Too conservative for the Anglicans (he could have predicted how they ended up); too liberal for the ultramontanists and their caricature of Catholicism so some Catholics didn't trust him. I've been to Littlemore, to the room where he made his confession so he was received into the church.

My late rector, a Londoner born in the 1920s, always reminded me of him even though alas no conversion (even though he was traditional Roman to the nines ceremonially).

To know history is to cease to be Protestant. We became Catholic when we realized we weren't.

Ora pro nobis.

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Manosphere catch-up: "war brides," Bible-college girls, what's wrong with the Art of Manliness, and more

  • War brides. This aspect of women is puzzling when you're inexperienced. They seem to be the more feeling sex, expressive of that, "love you forever," etc. but as a survival mechanism they can switch loyalties just like that, to the AMOG (alpha male of the group) essentially. Why they can go cold so suddenly after a breakup. (Women start 70% of American divorces. Thanks, contraception, feminism, and no-fault divorce.) More knowledge from Dalrock and others: again as a survival skill, women are solipsistic, an SAT word meaning they look out for No. 1, which makes reproductive sense. Female hypergamy, looking to trade up, an essential manosphere concept.
  • Video: Sh*tuff Christian girls say. In other words, more manosphere lingo/acronyms, AWALT, "all women (really) ARE like that." The man who shared this with me went to Baptist Bible college and tells me that now they ask God to give them their very own badboys.
  • The Art of Manliness is poisoning the concept of masculinity with Disney lifestyle advice. First, it's wrong to have a woman try to teach how to be a man, and second, the site's owners are probably Mormons. A guest post on a now-inactive blog of elder statesman Roosh V, who like the other good old manosphere bloggers doesn't push fornication anymore and is fighting the culture war for Christian patriarchy; he has returned to his Armenian Apostolic faith.
  • Beyond alpha and beta: deltas, gammas, and omegas. The husband behind Vox Popoli has another blog, now inactive, Alpha Game, which interestingly is more nuanced than Heartiste's alpha/beta dichotomy. Sure, imitate alphas to get some benefit such as a loyal wife, but alphas aren't "all that." They don't read the manosphere because they don't need it. They're naturals; "just be yourself" works for them. They can't teach it. Anyway, like Heartiste at his best, he says betas aren't bad. They and "deltas" are average guys who just need a little help getting the love and sex they want, which is good for society (it continues families and societies). Don't be a gamma, basically a guy who blames everybody else for his problems and lives in his head too much. He classes male feminists/white knights (including some well-meaning Christians?) as such. Omegas are the saddos, the hopeless cases, likely really abused growing up so they seem not to have a chance, but learning game helps some of them.
  • Dalrock on feminism: "Feminism is the assertion that men are evil and naturally want to harm women, followed by pleas to men to solve all of women’s problems," "weak men are screwing up feminism," or "man up so we can be strong, independent women." Snort!
  • LJBF vs. friendzone. Stay out of both! 90% of the time it's LJBF (let's just be friends): you've been slapped, handed your hat, and shown the door. So of course you leave and never return. The other 10% is the friendzone, which breaks down thus: homosexuals and their "hags" ("Will & Grace"), tired old players and whores trading war stories, and beta orbiters, "nice guy" boyfriend wannabes using a courting strategy that doesn't work anymore if it ever did; "I'll win her over!" By the way, "nice guys" are seen as needy, which is often true, and sneaky so that's an insult in the sex world. Clueless folks in the churches mistake it for purity and set men up to fail this way.

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Trying to save the Ukrainian Catholic Church in America

Ukrainian Catholics in North America continue to struggle to develop ways to maintain their Ukrainian religious and ethnic identity amid a larger majority culture that beckons with the siren song of assimilation.

The answer may lie in young people, according to Metropolitan Archbishop Borys Gudziak, the newly enthroned archbishop of the Ukrainian Catholic Archeparchy of Philadelphia, during a June 6 conference on the future of the Ukrainian Catholic Church in North America that he convoked at The Catholic University of America in Washington.
Having been using the Greek Catholic option for sound Catholics three years now in the Ukrainian Catholic Church, this is of interest to me.

A Novus Ordo religious-studies professor:
If Jesus were preaching and teaching today, we might think of him as that millennial hipster with some crazy ideas.
Two of my sayings: "Eastern churches in Western countries fail in three generations" due to assimilation and "everything that's not doctrine is on the table."

There are next to no kids where I go to Sunday Liturgy.

Byzantine Catholic churches often have their wires crossed. On one hand, while the Latin Church was being ripped apart after/because of Vatican II (I don't mean Catholic teachings; those don't change), they were undisturbed, allowed to remain traditional, so 34 years ago a married priest from the Ukraine celebrated my first traditional Mass (not counting Episcopal services) of any kind; it was Byzantine Rite. On the other, they're trying to survive the problem in my first saying, so they're tempted to Westernize by adopting Novus Ordo-ey gimmicks to "relate to the kids" (with predictably poor results both catechetically and regarding retention?). Like in liberal Canada, which has lots of ethnic Ukrainians. Altar girls and Eucharistic ministers!

The answer is what Orthodox jurisdictions in America do: offer a local vernacular version of the old services and good youth programs such as summer camps and of course good religious education.

You can do everything right and still lose just about everybody to assimilation, as is happening to the Orthodox too, but you'll know you did right.
Father Peter Galadza, a Ukrainian Catholic priest and theologian, said the Ukrainian liturgical rites hold an appeal to some non-Ukrainians who have joined the Ukrainian church.
Almost acknowledging people like me who don't like the Novus Ordo, who have saved a few Byzantine Catholic parishes and often become enthusiastic about the authenticity of the rite (even more so than many born members), which is what the church wants. Official church people don't like to admit these refugees exist, and when they do mention it, they're disparaging: "could not accept liturgical change," blah blah. That might be changing as the liberals die out. Of course it's the Byzantine Rite, the Ukrainian recension of it, not a Ukrainian rite.

You've got to be careful with nationalism and ethnicity. The latter has its place in church as long as it doesn't take over. Community. Overdoing or stamping out ethnic culture would kill the parish. Ukrainian Catholicism is very nationalistic culturally but the parish I go to is more like its Ruthenian cousins in that the people are descended from immigrants from before World War I when their villages were under Austria-Hungary. So it's not extremely nationalistic. And I've never been told to get out for not being Ukrainian.

P.S. Why did I become Catholic? Like other Anglicans, when I realized I wasn't. More to the point, when recently asked, because the teachings make sense and I need to belong to something and someone.

Friday, June 14, 2019

Opus Dei doesn't work

I don't intend to trash Opus Dei. In years (blog posts) past I'd been less than kind; mea culpa. Today I think they're fascinating; an example of a true lay apostolate that doesn't try to clericalize the laity or live in a fantasy world. That said, to give due credit, blogger John Bruce (tl;dr: he hates ex-Anglican priests in the ordinariates; I don't) made me realize that despite its cool concept, recruiting and catholicizing the elite while keeping a low profile, "the Work" doesn't. From this post:
My own view of Opus Dei continues to be a version of "by their fruits": the movement became active and increasingly influential in the Vatican, as well as in the US, from the late 1940s onward. That period can hardly have been more disastrous for the practice of Christian morality, whatever the influence Opus Dei has been able to exert in the Church or the world. This discussion [from an anti-Opus Dei site] refers to Opus Dei's influence in Spain, where the movement started, and where it has continued to wield political and economic influence:
Things did not go well [in the 1950s] for the network of interests and enterprises woven around the "Work", as they internally called the institution. Mostly led by people without experience, the group ventures into the realms of finance, publishing, and international trade, ended in internal and external conflicts, spectacular failures...
It's like a horse race or the NFL draft. You don't know how things will turn out. That whiz kid from Oxford or Stanford might underperform.

That St. Josemaría Escrivá's good idea didn't work doesn't mean he was bad.

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

The Christian manosphere

I'm late for the party but here are the two most important lessons I've learnt in four months so far reading the evangelical manosphere, particularly Dalrock:
  • Courtly love isn't Christian; it's medieval porn glorifying adultery.
  • Too many people think marriage is a "capstone" rather than a "cornerstone." So too many women put off marriage. Russian proverb: if you want to be a general's wife, marry a lieutenant. One with potential whom you obey and give all your love and support. The bad stuff, the dating and hookup cesspools, has made inroads in evangelicalism (a bit of evo lingo: "churchianity" for bad Christianity): again, treating marriage as a capstone. It follows the same script as middle-class America: go to college, get a career, "find yourself," go through "a season of singleness," then marry Mr. Perfect (the badboy hunky handyman off a romance-novel cover who's a secret billionaire), or more likely, settle for someone you don't love, when you're rich and successful. Or likely not marry and end up alone. It's a tacit endorsement of promiscuity, the c*ck carousel.
Also learnt: look at the parable of the wise vs. foolish virgins and the bridegroom arriving for the wedding feast. Biblical marriage is the opposite of modern America's queen-for-a-day festivals. It's about the GROOM showing off his alphaness. And: male headship, yes; complementarity, no.

Related: No surprise: I'm using the Web but it's 1960 here. I don't date. I court. No hookups, no “friends” (when it's not just a blowoff, which 99% of the time it is, it's hopeless beta orbiting; see above on weak men). "Sorry my friendship is a crappy consolation prize!” It isn’t a “crappy consolation prize.” It simply isn’t a prize at all. And Mike Pence is right.

For this sort of thing, the Web does work at least as an introduction service. Earlier this year I was on average meeting someone once a month.

Rudeness, flakiness, is very common: ghosting or fading away online. The manosphere secular and Christian says you've got to have "hand" (authority). You've got to "put on your gorilla suit" with flaky female behavior. Hard because courting is supposed to be about getting close to someone, and Don Draper's a psychopath (think about this: killers on death row get propositions and proposals), but what would HE do? First sign of flaking/fading out, cut bait and walk away. Nuke the friends speech before it even leaves the launch pad. Block online.

The secular world was sort of okay with the manosphere when it promoted casual sex. "That scuzzy pickup artist" will teach you more conservative home truths about the sexes than the pozzed mainstream churches, mainline Protestantism and Novus Ordo Catholicism, will; they've bought into feminism since before it was feminism: pedestalization. The best of the manosphere isn't about picking up girls anymore; they're fighting the culture wars to defend what's left of Christian society. Because of that, Roissy/Heartiste's been deplatformed. I understand that Roosh, a born Armenian Christian who has unpublished his books promoting fornication, has converted to Orthodoxy.

Everything in secular society is working against churches being real communities, so no, the 30-40-year-old married couples at your traditional Latin Mass won't help you find a wife. Suburban marrieds really only want anything to do with other suburban marrieds. Church has become an odd hobby you do among strangers Sunday mornings, "a private matter" not influencing public life.

Thursday, June 06, 2019

Fasting and long services

Orthodox Lent and other fasts make sense when you come from a culture that knows how to do them without killing yourself. Sister Vassa (Larin), a ROCOR ryassophore nun living in the world (like a Western Catholic oblate) and of Internet fame, gives helpful cooking advice during fasts. I can't do that. Many can't. So there's economy, no problem; they're just rules, not doctrine or morals. Many born Orthodox don't "do everything" and never did. Convert try-hards do (me: people trying to put on another identity; self-hating Westerners). That can be a whole other discussion: the authentic Orthodox experience of just popping in to partake a little of services and fasts that go on and on, not pretending to be perfect yourself, versus the Western expectation of staying for the whole service and "doing all the stuff" to tick off a list; very self-satisfying, as if God were that easy.

Church papists

Reading: Church Papists by Alexandra Walsham, another gift from William Tighe at Muhlenberg. Part of the sad late-1500s story of ordinary English people trying to remain Catholic under a Queen who'd turned against the church. Walsham notes early on that this segues into Christopher Haigh's description of "parish Anglicanism" circa 1600, people resigned to the new church but treating it reverently as they did the old. Crypto-Catholics and conservative Anglicans were still largely the same in the late 1500s. Many English people surreptitiously remained Catholic through the 1580s, 30 years after the re-imposition of Anglicanism. People still said their rosaries at home; priests secretly celebrated Mass; both outwardly conformed to the Church of England, and the parish churches in the provinces and countryside often remained very Catholic. So you had "church papists" still believing in the Catholic Church but obeying the law. Anyway, the church didn't approve, banning attendance at Anglican services. Interesting: the older English habit of referring to the C of E as simply "the church" is a carryover from us. "The church" vs. "the chapel" of various Protestant dissenters. There is something to the mother country: a consecrated Catholic land defiled.

Why I live on the church's Orthodoxward frontier

An interesting comment thread on Dalrock, the original post repeating his opposition to what we call courtly love, a lesson I've learnt in my recent discovery of the evangelical manosphere; he calls it chivalry. Courtly love is adultery; chivalry is being strong enough to steal and rape but choosing not to.

Anyway, Orthodox converts leave comments. Fascinating. They agree the Catholic Church IS Western civilization, so to Westerners Catholicism "feels right," but then they basically say they're turning their backs on that civilization because Orthodoxy is completely different at heart, never really a part of the West, even though it resembles Catholicism. I first read a challenge like that in Timothy/Kallistos (Ware) in his ever-edited The Orthodox Church. Impressive... until you read more of the stuff and realize it doesn't have answers that make sense, unlike Catholicism. Divorce and remarriage. The intermediate state after death. Contraception. I asked Peter Gillquist to his face about contraception and he changed the subject. I'm hip to a rite being more than a style of worship. Byzantine Catholics are supposed to be something more than Latin Catholics with a different Mass. A rite is a school of spirituality and theological method and opinion. And I've found that among some of our people who in no way distance themselves from the church: for example, "Why define the Marian beliefs?" Not denying the definitions. Like a good classical Anglican I wouldn't have minded if they'd remained undefined. I believe in the Mother of God but am not a co-redemptrix, Fatima-consecration kind of guy. I'm hip to everything from a loose communion run largely by custom to long services that you participate in only as much as you can handle to economy about rules. So I think I get and agree with "the Orthodox thing" essentially. But if you tell the Orthodox they don't make sense, from their opposing incidental Western cultural things as though they were doctrine (watch the Western Rite Orthodox byzantinize) to divorce and remarriage to now contraception, you're told your Western phronema (mindset) is getting in the way; expecting religion to make sense is "Western rationalism." I'll say it: that sounds like something a cult would say. Them: if you're not in their empire, you're not in the church anymore. I'm not trying to leave the church or assume a more exotic identity so no sale. Disprove Catholicism and I would no longer be Christian. Maybe Buddhist, or Germanic neo-pagan trying to follow nature.

I'm all for mystery but St. Thomas Aquinas was the greatest theologian so far. In Catholicism these aren't mutually exclusive.

Predictable. Our people (not church teaching) are stupid siding with Constantinople's incursion in the Ukraine, our people trying to divide the Orthodox rather than reconciling them to us together, and being tools for the Western liberals getting back at Russia for reverting to autocracy (up with autocracy) and Orthodoxy, and we get this anti-Catholic rant from the Russians. Smooth move. That's known in soccer as an own goal. Only the Catholic Church has canonical authority per se but the Russians are right about the Orthodox in the Ukraine.

You have made reconciling the Orthodox to us (in which case we'd keep our word and leave the rite alone) that much harder.

One of my sayings: The glory of Byzantium is that the Roman Empire became entirely Catholic. Its tragedy is it mistook the empire for the church, so when the Pope was no longer in the empire, they thought he was no longer in the church.

People from Russia I've known don't obsess about us. They're just proud of being Russian! But the "anti" spirit, the spirit of schism, is a problem.
Reunification efforts for the Orthodox would result in small "Russian use" parishes, they wouldn't practically be more successful than the Anglican Ordinariate.
I know reconciling Russia alone, let alone all the Orthodox together, is extremely unlikely. But if we aim for anything less than the latter, we would only cause more harm. We already have Russian Byzantine Catholic parishes, an attempt to convert the Orthodox that failed. Now it's people like me, non-Russians who love Russian Orthodoxy but have the sense not to leave the church. The Russians resent it and really resent the Ukrainian Catholic Church, which I attend. Of course we can't and I wouldn't try to sell out the Ukrainian Catholics, but I remain pro-Russian and committed to bringing back all the Orthodox together, and leaving the rite alone.
You should become a Greek Catholic priest and write a blog propagating union if you are sincere. What can a man in Pennsylvania do to bring about the return of Russia to the fold?
Thank you but I know it will take the Holy Spirit speaking to each Orthodox church's ruling synod; a miracle. They're all independent and as we see in the Ukraine, Constantinople invading Moscow's turf, they don't necessarily get along. They MIGHT listen to one Catholic layman in Pennsylvania or even a Greek Catholic priest with a blog (but Russian churchmen hate the "Uniates" so probably not) but again, extremely unlikely. As I wrote when I left orthodox christianity dot net a few years ago, after trying to talk Catholics out of leaving the church and being suspended for it, I realize that fighting online with Orthodox doesn't promote the cause I believe in so I stopped.

What can a man in Pennsylvania do? Sounds like pious rhetoric but: pray. Not just pray, but in their own rite, with their icons and prayer books, and even in their language. For the Holy Spirit to work that miracle to get them all to come back together, and in reparation for our mistakes, such as causing two schisms in America over clerical marriage.

Господи, помилуй.

Pictured: St. Andrew's Russian Orthodox (Pro-) Cathedral, Philadelphia, where I go to Vigil a few times a year, to prepare for the few times a year I receive absolution and Communion in the Catholic Church.