We deny to claim "any Superiority to ourself
to defyne, decyde, or determyn any Article or Poynt
of the Christian Fayth and Relligion,
or to chang any Ancient Ceremony of the Church
from the Forme before received and observed
by the Catholick and Apostolick Church."

Norman Simplicity

Norman Simplicity
Click image for original | © Vitrearum (Allan Barton)

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

More dysfunctional "families"

Time to take your post-apocalyptic medicine.

Shock Corridor

This is off-topic but relates directly to why the world is going to hell. In large part, this is simply due to the fact that the very worst people are in charge. I'm quite sure that, outside of America, thoughtful individuals must think that many in the electorate here have lost their minds. But "supporting" Nigel Farage or Marine Le Pen surely does not entail total agreement with their policies, or even their views. It is a symptom, rather, of the resolute rejection of "lying liars and their lies": i.e., of professional politicians and media spin-doctors (there are no leaders and no journalists left in this world, apparently).

Read "I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take this anymore."

In one part of my little world, this is the latest news of the weird.

It's trivial, yes. But also deeply symptomatic. First, it shows that universities -- which used to be much closer to the church than a bordello -- are today status whores (like everyone else). (As a footnote, from my now archaic upbringing, bragging, self-promotion, flashy cars, and, yes, even racism were all condemned by my elders as being irremediably 'lower class'.) Second, it betrays the fact that the bureaucrats who run them are profoundly uneducated, illiterate, and lazy. It is, to my mind, a classic example of hypercorrection. (Pay especial attention to this part of the description: "A speaker or writer who produces a hypercorrection generally believes that the form is correct through misunderstanding of these [grammatical] rules, often combined with a desire to appear formal or educated.")

The desire for status and attention means that the following factoid is somehow believed to be important: "Forbes has ranked the University of South Dakota among the top 650 colleges in the United States." Surely anything beyond the "top ten" is otiose. "We are #411!" -- really? (Where my girlfriend works is #634 and where I work? #646! Now them's braggin' rights!)

The plain fact of the matter is that Forbes never said anything like what is found inside the supposed quote. The quote is entirely illusory, the result of spewing forth buzz words and, then, coming to believe your own bullshit.

"We are excited about the endorsement as the best in the Dakotas, but we are equally excited about where USD stands in our athletic conferences," said Scott Pohlson, USD vice president of Marketing, Enrollment & University Relations. "Being the best in the Missouri Valley Conference and second in the Summit League Conference aligns well with our strategic plan at USD, which is to be the best small public flagship university in the nation built upon a liberal arts foundation. It is an exciting time to be at USD, and Forbes’ endorsement reinforces why our Coyote Family continues to grow in stature."

This farrago, this word salad, is as meaningless as anything else that might be announced on broadcast television. Smoke and mirrors. Sodden appearance trumps intransigent reality.

Hey, folks! I'm a vice-president and, um, stuff.


What is the way out of this labyrinthine madhouse? I wish I knew. I suppose one can start here:

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Unzeitgemässe Betrachtungen

Just some "thoughts out of season." First, ...

Too many girls.

Now, some hypotheses.

1. The original gospel pericope for Palm Sunday was something like John 11:47-54; 12:1-18:

11 47 Then the chief priests and the Pharisees called a meeting of the Sanhedrin. “What are we accomplishing?” they asked. “Here is this man performing many signs [signa]. 48 If we let him go on like this, everyone will believe in him, and then the Romans will come and take away both our temple and our nation.” 49 Then one of them, named Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, spoke up, “You know nothing at all! 50 You do not realize that it is better for you that one man die for the people than that the whole nation perish.” 51 He did not say this on his own, but as high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus would die for the Jewish nation, 52 and not only for that nation but also for the scattered children of God, to bring them together and make them one. 53 So from that day on they plotted to take his life. 54 Therefore Jesus no longer moved about publicly among the people of Judea. Instead he withdrew to a region near the wilderness, to a village called Ephraim, where he stayed with his disciples.

12 1 Six days before the Passover, Jesus came to Bethany, where Lazarus lived, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. 2 Here a dinner was given in Jesus’ honor. Martha served, while Lazarus was among those reclining at the table with him. 3 Then Mary took about a pint of pure nard, an expensive perfume; she poured it on Jesus’ feet and wiped his feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. 4 But one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, who was later to betray him, objected, 5 “Why wasn’t this perfume sold and the money given to the poor? It was worth a year’s wages.” 6 He did not say this because he cared about the poor but because he was a thief; as keeper of the money bag, he used to help himself to what was put into it. 7 “Leave her alone,” Jesus replied. “It was intended that she should save this perfume for the day of my burial. 8 You will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have me.”

9 Meanwhile a large crowd of Jews found out that Jesus was there and came, not only because of him but also to see Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead. 10 So the chief priests made plans to kill Lazarus as well, 11 for on account of him many of the Jews were going over to Jesus and believing in him. 12 The next day the great crowd that had come for the festival heard that Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem. 13 They took palm branches and went out to meet him, shouting,

“Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”
“Blessed is the king of Israel!”
14 Jesus found a young donkey and sat on it, as it is written:
15 “Do not be afraid, Daughter Zion;
see, your king is coming,
seated on a donkey’s colt.”
16 At first his disciples did not understand all this. Only after Jesus was glorified did they realize that these things had been written about him and that these things had been done to him. 17 Now the crowd that was with him when he called Lazarus from the tomb and raised him from the dead continued to spread the word. 18 Many people, because they had heard that he had performed this sign [signum], went out to meet him.

2. Then, someone decided to replace Turba multa with Cum approprinquasset (Matthew 21: 1-9), despite the fact that "palms" are to be found nowhere therein.

3. Ultimately, the reading of the Passion came to take center stage. As a result, the former mass was simply truncated and attached to it, at the beginning, as the blessing of the palms.

4. But the impress of the Vulgate John 11 and 12 remain everywhere apparent in the chants and the prayers, viz.

RESPONSORY ¤ John 11. 47-50, 53: Collegerunt pontifices et pharisaei concilium, et dixerunt: Quid facimus, quia hic homo multa signa fecit? Si dimittimus eum sic, omnes credent in eum: * Et venient Romani, et tollent nostrum locum et gentem. V.: Unus autem ex illis, Caiphas nomine, cum esset pontifex anni illius, prophetavit dicens: Expedit vobis, ut unus moriatur homo pro populo, et non tota gens pereat. Ab illo ergo die cogitaverunt interficere eum, dicentes: * Et venient . . .

Ant. ¤ John 12. 11 et alia: Cum audisset populus, quia Iesus venit Ierosolymam, acceperunt ramos palmarum: et exierunt ei obviam, et clamabant pueri, dicentes: Hic est, qui venturus est in salutem populi. Hic est salus nostra, et redempio Israel. Quantus est iste, cui Throni et Dominationes occurrunt! Noli timere, filia Sion: ecce Rex tuus venit tibi, sedens super pullum asinae: sicut scriptum est: Salve Rex, Fabricator mundi, qui venisti redimere nos.

Ant. ¤ John 12. 1 et alia: Ante sex dies solemnis Paschae, quando venit Dominus in civitatem Ierusalem, occurrerunt ei pueri: et in manibus portabunt ramos palmarum, et clamabant voce magna, dicentes: Hosanna in excelsis: benedictus, qui venisti in multitudine misericordiae tuae: Hosanna in excelsis.

Ant. ¤ John 12. 12 et alia: Turba multa, quae convenerat ad diem festum, clamabat Domino: Benedictus qui venit in Nomine Domini: Hosanna in excelsis.

RESPONSORY ¤ John 12. 13 et alia: Ingrediente Domino in sanctam civitatem, Hebraeorum pueri resurrectionem vitae pronuntiantes, * Cum ramis palmarum: Hosanna, clamabunt, in excelsis. V.: Cum audisset populus, quod Iesus veniret Ierosolymam, exierunt obviam et. * Cum ramis . . .

5. Only the last two elements just listed survive in the synthetic replacement of 1955. Liturgical revision obscures, rather than clarifies, origins.


  • Luxeuil:
    32. In dominica Palmarum
    Joa., XII, 1-24: Maria unguit pedes Jesu. Turba multa ... acceperunt ramos.
  • Bobbio:
    20. Missa in symboli traditione
    Joa., XII, 1-8, 12-16: Maria unguit pedes Jesu.
  • Trèves:
    26. In simbuli traditione missa prima
    Joa., XII, 1-50 = L.32, B.20
  • Ambrosian:
    80. Dom. in Ramis oliv., ad Sem Laurentium
    Joa., XII, 12-13: Turba multa ... acceperunt ramos olivarum.
    81. Item missa postquam veniunt ad ecclesiam
    Joa, XI, 55-XII, 11: Maria unguit pedes Jesu.
  • Yet in Würzburg, Murbach, and the Roman system:
    St. Matthew's Passion

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Back to the Future

She said: What is history?
And he said: History is an angel
being blown
into the future.
He said: History is a pile of debris.
And the angel wants to go back and fix things
To repair the things that have been broken.
But there is a storm blowing from Paradise.
And the storm keeps blowing the angel
backwards into the future.
And this storm, this storm
is called

As should be painfully obvious, much of this blog is devoted to the completely pointless but nonetheless painful task of reparation or, less politely, of Ungeschehenmachen.

But now, it is the moment for a little -- possibly quite meaningless -- Advent mash-up.

From The New Liturgical Movement:

When examined as a group, the Gospels for the Masses of Advent may seem to be ordered in a rather peculiar way. They are in fact arranged chronologically backwards. On the First Sunday of Advent, the Church reads from St Luke Christ’s account of the signs that will precede His return in glory at the end of the world. (21, 25-33) This sets a theological note that will be repeated throughout the season; the first coming of Christ to redeem the world is often contrasted to the second coming, when He shall return to judge it. On the Second Sunday, John the Baptist, imprisoned by King Herod, sends his disciples to ask Christ if He is indeed the Redeemer whose coming the world has long awaited. His answer is that the signs of the first coming are already happening, as foretold in the prophets. (Matthew 11, 2-10). The Gospel of the Third Sunday recounts an episode from the early days of John’s ministry, before his imprisonment. When men were moved to ask him if he was the Messiah, John confessed that he was but the Forerunner of another who stood in their midst; Christ Himself does not appear or speak in this Gospel. (John 1) The Gospel of the Fourth Sunday is the very beginning of John’s mission, St Luke speaks once again, and draws us further back in time, to the prophets who foretold not only the coming of Christ, but also that of the Forerunner. This is the only Gospel of the liturgical year in which Christ Himself makes no appearance at all. (3, 1-6) ...

If we were to consider only the Sunday Gospels, it would almost appear that Christ is drawing away from us as we come closer to the day of His Nativity.

From Wikipedia:

Kairos (καιρός) is an ancient Greek word meaning the right or opportune moment (the supreme moment). The ancient Greeks had two words for time, chronos and kairos. While the former refers to chronological or sequential time, the latter signifies a time lapse, a moment of indeterminate time in which everything happens. What is happening when referring to kairos depends on who is using the word. While chronos is quantitative, kairos has a qualitative, permanent nature. Kairos also means season in ancient and weather in modern Greek. The plural, καιροί (kairoi (Ancient Gk. and Mod. Gk.)) means the times.

So maybe ... just maybe ... after all.


The most excellent Anthony Esolen:

The synod’s final recommendation to Pope Francis is mainly bland and inoffensive. It is also an exercise in unreality. That’s what happens when your mode of thought and expression is neither philosophical and theological, nor earthy and poetic: It does not aspire to reveal the essences of things, and it does not confront the sweat and mire of the created world. The bishops write in sociological patois, abstract and banal at once. Reality escapes them ...

So, too, do they turn their eyes from passion. It seems strange, in a document on sexuality, that the bishops seem unaware of what moves men and women to make the beast with two backs. By their account, young men and women shack up because they are insecure in their finances, or because they are beholden to the philosophical errors of individualism or of a certain kind of feminism, or because they have witnessed the pain of divorce. Let me correct you on this point, your excellencies. If a boy and girl are playing house and doing the child-making thing, there is nothing, financial or otherwise, to prevent them from getting married. If they are committed to each other for life, they should make that promise public before man and God. If they are not, they are lying and are willing that their children should pay later for their hedonism now. They are not afraid of divorce so much as they take it for granted, as a way of life. It is the exit sign above the bedroom door.

They rut because it is delightful and dangerous. Let Shakespeare instruct us:

Th’ expense of spirit in a waste of shame
Is lust in action; and till action, lust
Is perjured, murderous, bloody, full of blame,
Savage, extreme, rude, cruel, not to trust,
Enjoyed no sooner but despised straight,
Past reason hunted; and no sooner had,
Past reason hated as a swallowed bait
On purpose laid to make the taker mad.

About nothing in life do people more often and more dreadfully lie to themselves and to others than about sex. Not even money comes close. People in the grip of sexual vice are “not to trust”—they perjure themselves, they stifle the conscience or suborn it, they make a conquest and soon despise the conquered. It is the old story. But the bishops pass by that misery in the ditch because it’s more comfortable to stroll on the academic side, to issue high-toned warnings about income inequality, than to confront the sinner, to clean him and bind up his spiritual wounds.

Monday, December 14, 2015


On the one hand ... imagined harm.

An eccentric great-grandmother who sent a letter to the headmistress of a top Islamic girls school claiming 'all Muslims worship Satan' has landed herself with a criminal record for 'causing harm' ...

At Manchester magistrates court she denied wrongdoing but was convicted of sending an indecent or grossly offensive letter and was ordered to carry out 100 hours of unpaid work ...

After the case she said: 'The letter is not offensive - it just told the truth. As a Christian it's my duty to tell them to start worshipping Jesus.'

She was also sentenced to a 12-month community order with £510 in costs.

On the other ... incitement!

Game, set, match.

What we mistakenly thought then (I know, I was there): there was still hope.

In September of 1976 the Minneapolis General Convention approved the ordination of women to the priesthood. Clergy and laity who held to the historic position of Catholic Christendom were in a state of political disarray and had insufficient influence on convention proceedings to impede advocates of women's ordination to the priesthood and episcopate. On December 4 and 5, 1976, 14 bishops and 253 priests and members of the laity, all of whom did not accept what they viewed as the "unilateral action" of the General Convention, met together at the Ascension. Eleven bishops and 161 others signed a Covenant which averred "that the evangelical faith and catholic order which the Anglican Communion has received are God given."

We solemnly covenant ourselves to uphold this faith and order within the Episcopal Church. We affirm the tradition of male priesthood ordained by the Father in His choice of the sexuality of His Son, the One High Priest, maintained in the appointment of Christ's Apostles, and manifest in the mind of the Holy Spirit in the unbroken practice of the Church in history. We believe that the ordination of women to the episcopate and priesthood provides no assurance of Apostolic authority for eucharistic consecration, ordination, absolution, and blessing. Therefore, until there is a consensus of the whole catholic church we will not accept the sacramental acts of this new ministry.

This meeting provided the genesis of a new organization, the Evangelical and Catholic Mission (ECM). In addition to opposing the ordination of women to the priesthood and episcopate, ECM has adopted positions on the authority of General Convention, the limits of obedience, sexual morality, abortion, and the Book of Common Prayer. Since 1977 ECM has held many of its steering committee and council meetings in the parish church. By 1982 the organization numbered 3,500 members, including 50 bishops.

What we know now: game over.

The Anglo-Catholic movement in TEC is utterly dead, with a few parishes clinging on that will be picked off in due course by revisionists, probably homosexual activists.

Ascension, Chicago, is a fine example -- now in the hands of an entirely Affirming rector and run by a gay vestry. If it were not for a large endowment, left by a rector of the past, the parish would be bankrupt. I doubt they ever see more than 120 at all 3 Sunday masses except at Easter and Christmas. There may be six children in the Sunday School, pre-K through 12.

The Anglo-Catholic movement in England has decided to go along with the modernist agenda, hoping that the alligator will eat them last. I expect them to be quietly suffocated by the AffCats over the next decade, and many now mostly orthodox clergy will find that their minds have changed miraculously by osmosis.

If there are to be Anglican Catholics, they will be in the Ordinariates. Catholic Anglicans may persist in tiny numbers in the Continuum. But, essentially, the game is up.

Return to sender. Address unknown.

Very Sad News

From Anglican Curmudgeon:

In another part of ECUSA's domains, the Episcopal Diocese of Chicago appears bent on following in the footsteps of the Diocese of Los Angeles -- though not yet (thank God) to the point of civil or disciplinary litigation leading to the sale of property. Nevertheless, the tendency to follow Neuhaus' Law -- by which the traditional and orthodox is first made optional, before eventually being proscribed altogether -- seems alive and well.

One of the Diocese of Chicago's older parishes is the Church of the Ascension, just north of the Magnificent Mile, which began as a mission in 1857 and by 1869 had become one of the Church's leading Anglo-Catholic parishes. It maintained that tradition faithfully, becoming renowned for the extent and beauty of its liturgy and music, until the advent of the Rev. David Cobb in 2014. No friend of the Church as it had established itself, the Rev. Cobb promptly sacked Ascension's leading musicians, slashed the budget for the choir, and began reducing the number of paid services.

The moves threw the congregation into turmoil. Bishop Jeffrey Lee was forced to intervene. The Rev. Cobb eventually departed, after having been voted a generous six-figure "severance package", and an interim priest was assigned, but the damage to the Church's musical and liturgical infrastructure was by then a fait accompli. The Church found a replacement organist and choir director, but one whose permanent residence is in London. (There is no explanation of how the vestry viewed that as a move that saved money over the previous arrangements.)

The vestry split in the past over support for the Rev. Cobb, and it has been rumored that Bishop Lee will bring in retired Bishop James Jelinek of Minnesota, 73, to transition the Church from Anglo-Catholicism into "affirming Catholicism". (Bishop Jelinek, by all reports, managed this same feat during his recent tenure at St. Paul's Church on K Street, in Washington, D.C. "Affirming Catholicism" is to Anglo-Catholicism as anti-matter is to matter: in contrast to the traditions from which Anglo-Catholicism springs, it endorses the liberal agenda of ordinations to the priesthood of all and sundry, regardless of gender, identity or sexual orientation -- and sees itself as a counter-movement to "biblical fundamentalism".)

I'll always remember the good, old days.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

For thought

"... how was it possible, that the Enlightenment has been victorious?"

... it has achieved only this. That it itself, that is, that the already enlightened human being, is immune to miracles; it has created a position that is unreachable by miracles. But a miracle is, according to its own meaning, only capable of being experienced as a miracle on the foundation of faith — and thereby, the Enlightenment offensive is thus rendered impotent. At this point, ... it becomes clear that the Enlightenment does not owe its victory to assertions of the scientific refutation of revealed religion. It owes its victory to a certain will, which one may, with a grain of salt, characterize as Epicurean. This will seems to me to be no foundational justification for the Enlightenment, against revealed religion ... [my emphasis].

--Leo Strauss, letter to Krueger, 7 January 1930

False Dilemma

In general, I don't clutter up other people's blogs with my graffiti. Others have the right to frame issues as they see fit. They also may rigorously defend their views, be they ultimately to be proven right or wrong. Anything appearing here, on the other hand, is utterly provisional.

One thought -- pursued across multiple posts -- is that an essential trait of 'catholicism' is the ability to contain within itself the complexio oppositorum. It is 'protestantism', by contrast, that usually pursues a rigorous, internal coherence, often to even its (quite frankly) absurdist, outlying conclusions. The latter insists upon "either/or"; the former embraces "both/and."

Anglicanism often gets it wrong, at least in its various (rigorist) interpretations. But into the muddle of "strong supersessionism" vs. a "dual covenant" theology, no one need go. All of the following can be true, without having to sacrifice one to the other, for the simple sake of seeming consistency. Consistency is only a hobgoblin and no virtue here. (For, after all, how can a strong supersessionist avoid failing into either antinomianism or Marcionism?)

THE Old Testament is not contrary to the New; for both in the Old and New Testament everlasting life is offered to mankind by Christ, who is the only Mediator between God and man, being both God and man. Wherefore they are not to be heard which feign that the old fathers did look only for transitory promises. Although the law given from God by Moses, as touching ceremonies and rites, do not bind Christian men, nor the civil precepts thereof ought of necessity to be received in any commonwealth; yet, notwithstanding, no Christian man whatsoever is free from the obedience of the commandments which are called moral.


O MERCIFUL God, who hast made all men, and hatest nothing that thou hast made, nor wouldest the death of a sinner, but rather that he should be converted and live; Have mercy upon all Jews, Turks, Infidels, and Hereticks, and take from them all ignorance, hardness of heart, and contempt of thy Word; and so fetch them home, blessed Lord, to thy flock, that they may be saved among the remnant of the true Israelites, and be made one fold under one shepherd, Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, world without end. Amen.


To the intent that, being admonished of the great indignation of God against sinners, ye may the rather be moved to earnest and true repentance; and may walk more warily in these dangerous days; fleeing from such vices, for which ye affirm with your own mouths the curse of God to be due.

CURSED is the man that maketh any carved or molten image, to worship it.
And the people shall answer and say, Amen.

Minister. Cursed is he that curseth his father or mother.
Answer. Amen.
Minister. Cursed is he that removeth his neighbour's landmark.
Answer. Amen.
Minister. Cursed is he that maketh the blind to go out of his way.
Answer. Amen.
Minister. Cursed is he that perverteth the judgement of the stranger, the fatherless, and widow.
Answer. Amen.
Minister. Cursed is he that smiteth his neighbour secretly.
Answer. Amen.
Minister. Cursed is he that lieth with his neighbour's wife.
Answer. Amen.
Minister. Cursed is he that taketh reward to slay the innocent.
Answer. Amen.
Minister. Cursed is he that putteth his trust in man, and taketh man for his defence, and in his heart goeth from the Lord.
Answer. Amen.
Minister. Cursed are the unmerciful, fornicators, and adulterers, covetous persons, idolaters, slanderers, drunkards, and extortioners.
Answer. Amen.

Friday, December 11, 2015

The House by the Cemetery

Ex-Muslims become Protestants and then attack Catholics. Grand.


One big problem with liturgical reform in general is that what looks like reasonable tinkering actually ends up producing hash. It all seems so doable but ... the end result ....

Retention of the Cranmerian Advent collects seems odd when the lectionary they make direct reference to is nowhere in sight. "Preparing the way" ain't just a venerable suggestion: it reduplicates the words of the Gospel of Matthew, read on that day.

What is needed is an ecumenical but traditional one-year lectionary. In the lectionaries of the past, there is already a vast area of agreement in both epistles and gospels. (In the following chart, the actual Advent days only apply if there are, in fact, six distinct lections given: the others are merely fitted in, best as they might be.)

There is so much thematic overlap, how difficult would it be to arrive at a meaningful Western lectionary?

On second thought, "no." Committee-think would produce only more (and worse) hash. Just look at the results to date!

And most important of all, I declare the following inviolable precept: Don't fuck with the most ancient features at all, simply because you do not understand them (no one does). That is a much better principle than, say, this: "to appreciate and incorporate the richness of the proper Masses for December 17-24 in harmony with [the Ordinary Form of] the Roman Rite." Just because someone "thought it desirable to prune away [Advent] Ember Days so as not to detract from the late-Advent focus on the Lord’s Nativity," doesn't give that proposition any real virtue or sustainable weight.

In a word, moving the Ember Days to the first week of Advent is just plain loony. Sorry.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015


An anti-marriage equality booklet published by the Catholic church could cause “immeasurable harm” and should be investigated by Tasmania’s anti-discrimination commissioner, a marriage equality advocate says.

But Hobart’s Catholic archbishop argues the church is simply exercising its right to free speech on an important issue.

Now, just who do you think will prevail?

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Close enough

Despite my earlier animadversions, and including the fact that I would have done it differently, it very well may be that the Ordinariate Missal is only the opening salvo in the restoration of the Roman rite.

As Southern Orders remarks, we have arrived at a moment of supreme irony, in all events:

But with the advent of the Anglican Ordinariate's new Divine Worship: the Missal, it is clear, very clear that Archbishop Annibale Bugnini and his ideologies are being stripped from the Mass beginning with Protestants in the Anglican Communion who have come into the Full Communion of their Church and have brought their Catholic ethos in Anglican form to our Mass! This is called Gospel "reversal of values!"

My only hope was for some form of English Catholicism -- never the perfect form. This is probably as close as we can get. Now, forward, to the Lectionary.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Responsorialia et antiphonaria Romanae ecclesiae

In this book

we find this manuscript (also in Tomasi).

One obvious curiosity is that the "antiphons" for the Sundays after Pentecost seem to reflect the same Gospel readings found in Sarum and the BCP. Very strange indeed.

(Perhaps easier to peruse here.)

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

The great betrayal

As I look ahead, I am filled with foreboding. Like the Roman, I seem to see "the River Tiber foaming with much blood."

That tragic and intractable phenomenon which we watch with horror on the other side of the Atlantic but which there is interwoven with the history and existence of the States itself, is coming upon us here by our own volition and our own neglect. Indeed, it has all but come. In numerical terms, it will be of American proportions long before the end of the century.

Only resolute and urgent action will avert it even now. Whether there will be the public will to demand and obtain that action, I do not know. All I know is that to see, and not to speak, would be the great betrayal.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

The offerings of the dead

David Warren:

The refusal to deal with reality — and I mean hard-tack, material, worldly reality here — is paradoxically the consequence of refusing to deal with spiritual realities. It comes home to us again as the fatuous displays of an affected grief continue in Paris, and sympathetically all over the West, as also in the cells of secular Westernization, elsewhere. Of course, many in the Islamic world are not soi-disant “grieving” at all. They are quietly, and in some places noisily, exulting ...

... As I watch the great masses outpouring their fake grief in fits of populist emotion, I realize that they, much more than any Muslim fanatics, have determined what that future will be. They are, in the strictest sense, de-moralized. The fact that they indulge in the sacrilege of godless “candlelight vigils” is an indication of how far gone they are: to a mess no longer within the human capacity to repair. They are — and have been for some time — completely incapable of defending what remains of our civilization, against a quite straightforward threat. They no longer even belong to what is, for them, only a museum relic ...

“Sacrilege” was the word — I am trying once again to be “insensitive,” as I was doing in my last Idlepost — for these candlelight vigils, and this foolish little inverted-crucifix peace sign, overbrushed with an image of the Eiffel Tower. What the masses are proclaiming is their faith in the efficacy of human emotion. It is the faith of Peter Pan.

But it is worse than that. They are using a means long hallowed within the Church, and adapting it to the worship of some other God than Our Saviour. Their only defence is the bottomless, “invincible” ignorance in which they live, as a consequence of Europe’s abandonment of the Faith. They are not projecting, but rather exhibiting, the collapse of our Western, and once unambiguously Christian, civilization — into the hands of the very people who have been murdering them.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

The Ephesine hypothesis

According to received opinion, the following "picture," so prevalent, flagrant even, in the nineteenth century is now known to be bosh.

And yet we do not know much more and have scarcely gone much further than the researches of those persistent dilettantes and talented intuitives.

One question that probably will never be answered is why the Roman rite was held in such flagrant disregard by so many, especially the Roman pontiffs. But this much we do know: the liturgical changes wrought therein, in the previous century, were well under way before the Second Vatican Council. Just examine this peculiar tome and, in concert, the pertinent discussions here and also here.

Examine the pictures showing that the new Mass was to be ready for the Space Age and just as anodyne as GM's latest offering. In all events, certainly suited for a spectacular debut at a venue such as the World's Fair!

Presumably, 'mass' production, along the assembly-line model was also only a few, short steps away!

But what is the motive -- the rationale -- for the drastic and dramatic change? See if one can discover the loose logical linkage and the highly disputable facts in this following account:

Clearly the reforms instituted have not been adequate to the task of conveying to the people the true nature of liturgical worship and their role in it. Perhaps this is because the changes have been within the structure of the Roman liturgy as it was frozen in the sixteenth century.

To the man of the twentieth century, the Mass does not appear to be what it actually is: a formal proclamation of the Word of God, a sacrificial oblation re-presenting “in mystery” the redemptive work of Christ, and a community meal renewing the covenant — the pledge of eternal life and love — between the Father and His chosen sons. This threefold reality is not immediately and directly revealed by the words and actions of the Latin rite Mass, which fact has led to a growing realization of the need for further reform.

But why reform? Why not better education in the liturgy as it is? The answer lies in the very essence of what liturgy is. Let us define it here as that complex of rites or sacred signs which contain what they signify and through which God is glorified and man sanctified. No one questions the essential efficacy of the Latin liturgy in glorifying God and sanctifying man. What is in question is its efficacy as “sign,” for insofar as our Mass today fails to signify or communicate to the man of today what it actually is, it fails as “sign.” A sign which means little or nothing to me is not really a sign at all; it is an enigma.

What we may hope for, then, is that the fathers of the Second Vatican Council will provide us with a complexus of intelligible, meaningful signs (if the reader will forgive the redundant adjectives). Precisely what changes are called for are well known to anyone who has been observing or engaging in the liturgical movement. The innumerable details need not concern us here; those seeking them are earnestly referred to such recent works as H. A. Reinhold’s Bringing the Mass to the People (Helicon, 1960).

A sign which means little or nothing to me is not really a sign at all; it is an enigma.

Greetings from the Caspian Sea!

Saturday, November 14, 2015

And now ...

because good grooming comes first, it's off to the tonsorial parlour ....


The Iron Legion:

It’s clear now that Europe is now facing a series of converging crises: financial collapse, the struggle to meet energy demands, a corruption of morals, Islamic terrorism, a declining native population and a foreign invasion. These crises are now coming into focus so sharply as to be impossible to ignore. This is the shock of history that Dominique Venner predicted ...

Our young men drown in a sea of porn and video games and other worthless distractions while their nation is stolen from them. Europeans are not having enough children to replace themselves. Utterly reliant on technology and processed food, we’ve become the fattest, laziest people on earth. Our churches are empty. We let sodomites teach our children their perverted moral values. How exactly is European society strong? Because of love, hope, and democracy? Liberté, egalité, fraternité? The misguided values which have got us into this mess are not the tools we need to get out. Europe is not strong and it not worth fighting and dying for.

If freedom and democracy means the right for women to dress like sluts and kill their babies then I’m not dying for that. The European Tradition however is something entirely distinct from the states of modern Europe. Find that, and you find something worth defending ...

So pray for the souls of the recently departed in Paris. Cry if you must. But thank God we have been gifted this warning, the eyes to have seen it, and the hands with which to fight it.


Our iconostasis and royal doors.

Translatio imperii

Mark Steyn:

... I'm Islamed out. I'm tired of Islam 24/7, at Colorado colleges, Marseilles synagogues, Sydney coffee shops, day after day after day.

After all, as I see it, the real war is one to be waged against ourselves.

So, the only thought I have is The Great Escape.

The only question then becomes which Ultima Thule?


The farthest North continuously inhabited?

Mad world.

Friday, November 13, 2015

The Ottaviani Intervention

The focus on the chiastic structure of the Roman Canon is to help zero in on the center point -- the fulcrum -- of the old actio.

"The Ottaviani Intervention" makes a number of points, some more compelling than others. Two which deserve our attention (IMHO) are as follows (as per usual: my emphases, with footnotes eliminated, and some material interpolated in brackets). It is the second which has, perhaps, theological (and not merely psychological) significance.

Motive: Yet this same Constitution, which would definitively end the use of the old Missal, claims that the present reform is necessary because "a deep interest in fostering the liturgy has become widespread and strong among the Christian people." It seems that the last claim contains a serious equivocation. If the Christian people expressed anything at all, it was the desire (thanks to the great St. Pius X) to discover the true and immortal treasures of the liturgy. They never, absolutely never, asked that the liturgy be changed or mutilated to make it easier to understand. What the faithful did want was a better understanding of a unique and unchangeable liturgy--a liturgy they had no desire to see changed. Catholics everywhere, priests and laymen alike, loved and venerated the Roman Missal of St. Pius V.

Performativity: The Roman Missal added the words "As often as ye shall do these things, ye shall do them in memory of Me" [1 Corinthians 11:26] after the formula of Consecration. This formula referred not merely to remembering Christ or a past event, but to Christ acting in the here and now. It was an invitation to recall not merely His Person or the Last Supper, but "to do" what He did "in the way" that He did it. In the Novus Ordo, the words of St. Paul, "Do this in memory of Me," will now replace the old formula and be daily proclaimed in the vernacular everywhere. This will inevitably cause hearers to concentrate on the remembrance of Christ as the end of the Eucharistic action, rather than as its beginning. The idea of commemoration will thus soon replace the idea of the Mass as a sacramental action. [As the General Instruction describes it, the sacramental action originated at the moment Our Lord gave the Apostles His Body and Blood "to eat" under the appearances of bread and wine. The sacramental action thus no longer consists in the consecratory action and the mystical separation of the Body from the Blood--the very essence of Eucharistic Sacrifice.] The General Instruction emphasizes the narrative mode further when it describes the Consecration as the "Institution Narrative" and when it adds that, "in fulfillment of the command received from Christ...the Church keeps his memorial." All this, in short, changes the modus significandi of the words of Consecration--how they show forth the sacramental action taking place.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Notes to Myself

Another rendering of chiasmus in the Roman Canon.

The Roman Canon:

1. Initial praise (Preface dialogue, preface text, Sanctus): “The Lord be with you….” “It is truly right and just….” “Sanctus, sanctus, sanctus”

2. Initial prayer through Christ: “To you, therefore [Te igitur], most merciful Father, we make humble prayer and petition, through Jesus Christ, your Son, our Lord.”

3A. First intercessions (for the Church, the Pope, Bishop, the living): “…which we offer firstly [In primis] for your Church.” “Remember, Lord, your servants N. and N. and all gathered here [Memento, Domine]….”

3B. First list of saints: “In communion with those whose memory we venerate, especially the glorious ever-Virgin Mary, Mother of our God and Lord, Jesus Christ, and blessed Joseph….”

4A. First formula of offering: “Therefore, Lord, we pray [Hanc igitur]: graciously accept this oblation or our service…”

4B. First (consecratory) epiclesis: “Be pleased, O God, we pray, to bless, acknowledge, and approve this offering [Quam oblationem] in every respect…”

5A. Double consecration: “On the day before [Qui pridie] he was to suffer, he took bread…” “In a similar way [Simili modo], when supper was ended, he took this precious chalice…”

5B. Anamnesis: “Therefore, O Lord, as we celebrate the memorial [Unde et memores] of the blessed Passion, the Resurrection from the dead, and the glorious Ascension into heaven…”

4A. Second formula of offering: “Be pleased to look upon these offerings [Supra quae] with a serene and kindly countenance…”

4B. Second (communion) epiclesis: “In humble prayer we ask you [Supplices te rogamus], almighty God: command that these gifts be borne by the hands of your holy Angel to your altar on high…so that all of us…may be filled with every grace and blessing.”

3A. Second intercessions (for the deceased and for the participants): “Remember also [Memento etiam], Lord, your servants N. and N., who have gone before us…” “To us, also, your servants, who, though sinners [Nobis quoque peccatoribus], hope in your abundant mercies…”

3B. Second list of saints: “…graciously grant some share and fellowship [et societatem donare digneris] with your holy Apostles and Martyrs: with John the Baptist, Stephen….”

2. Concluding prayer through Christ: “Through whom [Per quem] you continue to make all these good things, O Lord, you sanctify them, fill them with life, bless them, and bestow them upon us.”

1. Concluding praise (doxology): “Through him, and with him, and in him…all glory is yours forever and ever.”

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Modern Educayshun

This is higher ed’s time for choosing. If this is the new purpose of the universities—to nurture a crop of activists trained at whipping up angry mobs, and a generation of college graduates conditioned to submit to those mobs—then there is no longer any purpose served by these institutions. There is certainly no justification for the outrageous claim they are making on the economic resources of the average family, who sends their kids to schools whose tuition has been inflated by decades of government subsidies.

The universities have done this to themselves. They created the whole phenomenon of modern identity politics and Politically Correct rules to limit speech. They have fostered a totalitarian microculture in which conformity to those rules is considered natural and expected. Now that system is starting to eat them alive, from elite universities like Yale, all the way down to, er, less-than-elite ones like Mizzou.

They created this Frankenstein monster, and it’s up to them to kill it before it kills them.

To the ground.

I remember one time talking with another professor about the likely effects of the most recent round of budget cuts. His concern was that with declining state funds, a larger percentage of the university’s income was coming from tuition, and once tuition became a clear majority of the funding the dynamics of the university would be ruined: we would become employees of the students. This seemed like a strange worry to me at the time–shouldn’t we be at the service of our students?–but although the older professor was more liberal than me in the ordinary political ways, he had thought things through from a more properly reactionary perspective than I had. Society is not a social contract; the sovereign’s duty is to his subjects’ good, but he is not under their authority. His master is God. The university is not a business; the faculty’s duty is to our students’ good, but we are not their servants, and they are not our customers. Our master is truth.

America is doomed.

Monday, November 9, 2015

The Neighbourhood

So, while we are nearby, some pictures I wanted to keep handy. They portray the steady evolution of human culture.

Kant's tomb, next to the Cathedral and near the old university.

Another view, this time from across the river.

From above.

1544–1945 -- more than 400 years.

Post-war -- can you feel the love? RIP.

On 10 July 1944, the university celebrated its 400th anniversary in presence of Reich Minister Walther Funk. A few weeks later, during the nights of 26/27 and 29/30 August, Königsberg was extensively bombed by the Royal Air Force. From January to April 1945 the city was further devastated by the East Prussian Offensive of the Red Army and the final Battle of Königsberg. When General Otto Lasch signed the capitulation on April 9, the historic inner city was destroyed by the attacks, and 80% of the university campus laid in ruins. The faculty had fled ....

Memories, may be beautiful and yet ...

Continued antagonism of Russia and Mr. Putin will undoubtedly lead to short-range ballistic missiles being neatly situated in the Oblast. Then we can all enjoy the fun.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

How Organizations Die

Being a lover of the odd, the discarded, and the truly off-beat, once I found out about this guy, and his work, I was completely intrigued. And then there was that title: "The Prophet." The man in question? Laurence Veysey.

I don't think much of author of the piece but I raced to get a copy of the book highlighted anyway. It came yesterday and I read through much of it today. I'll summarize the basic idea my way (which may diverge not only from the article but from the basic intentions of the original author himself).

The American University, at the time of writing, betrays the marks of four highly discordant ideas. By my lights, these are:

  1. The American I: the purpose of higher education is mental discipline or what I call "mental orthopedics." This is the Puritan idea that effort and the full exercise of our innate capacities is good in and of itself. (Notice that it scarcely matters what subject matter the mind is then exercised with.)
  2. The French: the purpose of higher education is social utility. The institution must serve and pay close heed to its master, the State, and its multifarious interests.
  3. The German: the purpose of higher education is pure research, unsullied by such mere instrumentalities as actual applicability. (Here the danger is that students themselves may become subordinated only to the institution's own goal of self-replicability.)
  4. The English: the purpose of higher education is the acquisition of that rarest of possessions, humane or liberal culture.

    To this must now be added a fifth:

  5. The American II: the purpose of higher education is to serve as the hothouse in which necessary social engineering first takes place, in light of the ultimate goal: social justice. This is the Progressive idea that all the wrongs of larger society must be overcome from within the institution itself. For example, the university must be completely color-blind, totally egalitarian, and utterly free of the race prejudice that infects the culture at large, etc., ad nauseum.

I think Veysey overestimates the disappearance of even the first ideology. Although Puritanism, as a social movement, is surely marginal, I keep encountering versions of this idea nonetheless (and sometimes in the strangest of places).

Veysey's main contribution is the realization that these discordant goals and aspirations may nonetheless coexist inside a social structure, without leading immediately to incoherence and dissolution. It may thrive, after a fashion, despite these odds, and so it has, until late. In one of the more lyrical passages (of which there are many), he writes:

The success of the American university, despite its internal incoherence, is best explained as the product of a working combination of interests, only one of which (the faculty’s) was inescapably linked to the values which the university could uniquely promise to realize. The combination of interests worked, it might be further hazarded, because the various participants were sufficiently unaware of the logic of the total situation in which they found themselves [my emphasis]. The fact that students were frequently pawns of their parents’ ambitions was meliorated by the romantically gregarious tone of undergraduate life. The fact that professors were rarely taken as seriously by others as they took themselves was hidden by their rationalistic belief in the power of intellectual persuasion, direct or eventual, and was further concealed by all the barriers to frank dialogue which are stylized into courtesy. Those at the top, in their turn, were shielded by a hypnotic mode of ritualistic idealism. … Tacitly obeying the need to fail to communicate, each academic group normally refrained from too rude or brutal an unmasking of the rest. And in this manner, without major economic incentives and without a genuine sharing of ideals, men labored together in what became a diverse but fundamentally stable institution.

The university throve, as it were, on ignorance. Or, if this way of stating it seems unnecessarily paradoxical, the university throve on the patterned isolation of its component parts, and this isolation required that people continually talk past each other, failing to listen to what others were actually saying. This lack of comprehension, which safeguards one’s privacy and one’s illusions, doubtless occurs in many groups, but it may be of special importance in explaining the otherwise unfathomable behavior of a society’s most intelligent members [my emphasis].

The real danger is not ideological pluralism but rather the subsequent imposition of an organized, bureaucratic structure. Not only will that bureaucracy seek to enforce coherence, rationality, and efficient economies, but it will ultimately subordinate the entire organism to its own, parasitic, self-interests. Then the whole thing unwinds, as we know, according to Hoyle.

This is the way the world ends:
Not with a bang but a whimper.


Teacher: Ever to the child in man, night neighbours the stars.

Scholar: She binds them together without seam or edge or thread.

Scientist: She neighbours; because she works only with nearness.

-- Heidegger, Gelassenheit

Me? I stitch various things together (even if they don't go together), here, in "the polar night of icy darkness and hardness" (Weber). So here's another attempt.

Sins? There are many. Too many to count. And, yes, sometimes the grievous sin of despair. For which, I believe, rightly or wrongly, the only medicine is foolishness.

By that logic, to be destroyed (utterly) is the necessary precursor to new life (resurrection). We must not regret but hasten the downfall of outmoded forms, so that new ones can come to light. But sometimes I do get rather caught up in the regret.

This is totally different from madness. Here is modern madness: In the name of human rights, both humans and rights must be abolished! With that pernicious project, I want no part.

A Silly Tale: I was once in a rickety book store in Riga, looking through some dusty German books. An old man said to me, in German, with some obvious disgust, pointing to one side of the store, "All these books are in German." Then, pointing to the other side of the store, "All those are in Russian." I mumbled something stupid like "Ja, natürlich" and I thought to myself: "How horrible: ravaged from the West; then raped from the East. Nothing else left." But then I thought, "Still here, nonetheless." On the way to the airport, in a taxi, the driver said to me, in broken English, "Look. The sun. How beautiful."

Old Town

Saturday, November 7, 2015

The Holy Fool

Parsifal in der Gralsburg

'Despair, or folly?' said Gandalf. 'It is not despair, for despair is only for those who see the end beyond all doubt. We do not. It is wisdom to recognize necessity, when all other courses have been weighed, though as folly it may appear to those who cling to false hope. Well, let folly be our cloak, a veil before the eyes of the Enemy!'

Meanwhile, on the religious front, ...

Into The Polar Night

Conscience be damned!

The Church of Iceland has scrapped its freedom of conscience clause, ending the right of clergy to refuse to solemnize same-sex marriages. The resolution introduced by the Rev. Guðrún Karls Helgudóttir overturned a 2007 statement by the annual Church Council, the Kirkjuþing, that held the “freedom of clergy in these matters must be respected”. However Ms. Helgudóttir argued that it was now time“take things the whole way and place no limits on human rights.” The conflict between religious freedom and human rights must always be decided in favor of human rights, she argued. As state employees Church of Iceland clergy should not be allowed to place their conscience above the law. On 28 Oct 2015 the 29-member Kirkjuþing endorsed the resolution.

Safety first!

Religion ... destroyed. Education ... destroyed.
Next stop: final destination. Everyone out!

Sunday, November 1, 2015


I'm no liturgical scholar. But I have been teaching some old books that exhibit both strange parallelisms and numerical mysticism. I warned the students: Just because this idea won't occur to you does not mean that it did not occur, quite naturally, to others.

Other people seem to have noticed this too (before) in connection with the Roman Canon. From the comments:

... the Roman Canon ... has a very ancient two-part structure, in common with only a few other surviving anaphoræ. A quick look at its successive clauses will reveal that the whole exhibits a pleasing chiastic (or "onion-ring") structure, a format beloved of the Greco-Roman world and common in the New Testament.

So this is hardly an original idea. In any event, the real question is: could it be true?

Saturday, October 31, 2015


From "How Civilizations Die" (click hyperlink to read the whole thing):

To the processes of modernisation just noted must be added the profound impact of religion and secularisation, interacting in complex and previously misunderstood ways within societies. Secularisation, it appears, promotes infertility. As secularisation promotes and facilitates the supremacy of individual choice regarding reproduction within previously traditional societies it activates a “demographic contradiction—individualism leading to the choice not to reproduce—[that] may well be the agent that destroys” those societies, as the sociologist Eric Kaufmann suggests in Shall the Religious Inherit the Earth? (2010).

This is not an argument against the liberalisation of tradition-bound societies or for the artificial preservation of obviously non-viable tribal communities. Rather, it is part of Goldman’s case that such liberalisation can have devastating demographic effects that can only be comprehended if adequate attention is given to the spiritual dimensions of human reproduction, and such attention has not been paid by most of the prominent commentators in the field. He believes that “secularism in all its forms fails to address the most fundamental human need”—the deeply embedded human desire to achieve some form of immortality for themselves and their loved ones. The world that secularism offers is a purely immanent world of the here-and-now, stripped of any sense of the transcendent or the eternal. It appears that people are increasingly choosing not to bring new life into such a world.

Religions, on the other hand, in their different ways, “offer the individual the means to transcend mortality, to survive the fragility of a mortal existence”. Life is experienced as a journey full of challenges, joys and disappointments, and new life is embraced as part of a shared voyage through various stages that ultimately stretch beyond this world. Goldman recognises that such claims will mean little to convinced secularists, and that communicating the existential force of religious faith to such persons would be akin to “describing being in love to someone who never has been in love”.

For example, traditional political science, Goldman points out, regards religion as just another belief system, an ideology like communism or fascism, and is therefore unable fully to comprehend the existential grip that the longing for some form of immortality has on human consciousness. Nonetheless, without a comprehension of the power of this spiritual force in human societies, Goldman believes it will be impossible to understand how entire societies can lose faith in the future, turn away from having children and choose instead to accept oblivion. For example, across a range of modern societies the lowest fertility rates in the industrial world are now found in the atheistic former Iron Curtain states of Eastern Europe, while the highest rates are registered in America and Israel, where religion continues to play a major role in people’s lives ...

Civil society is a central concept in Goldman’s analysis, as it is within this realm that family life unfolds and is sustained. It is also a realm whose historical vibrancy characterises Western societies, while its absence or rudimentary level of development is a central feature of Muslim societies. Here he derives insights from St Augustine in The City of God, which, he emphasises, was written as the Roman empire collapsed through demographic decline, and the author awaited the rampaging barbarians that would soon lay waste to his civilisation. Goldman contrasts Augustine’s recognition of the role of civil society with the focus on the state by the Roman philosopher Cicero: Augustine “looked through the state to the underlying civil society, and understood civil society as a congregation—a body bound together by common loves, as opposed to Cicero’s state founded only on common interests”.

It is the strength and vibrancy of civil society, bound together at the most intimate personal levels, that ensure the continuity of a civilisation, and not the exercise of power by the state in the pursuit of its own interests, whatever they might be and however much it may claim to rule on behalf of the people. A theocracy such as that of Iran, despite its pretensions to be implementing traditional religious values, actually operates like any other totalitarian or statist regime, destroying civil society by its domineering presence in the life of the people, and suppressing, suffocating and dissipating the very social and cultural dynamism that any civilisation depends upon if it is going to survive and flourish. (An excellent description of how this process destroyed civil society under the highly intrusive rule of the Soviet communist state is contained in Orlando Figes, The Whisperers: Private Life in Stalin’s Russia, 2007.)

Goldman’s analysis leads to what he calls a position of “Augustinian realism” in foreign policy, which focuses on those societies that both preserve civil society and nurture within it the values that resonate within American civil society. The calculation here is simple: the principle that “civil society precedes the character of a nation [means that while America] can ally with, cajole, or even crush other states … it cannot change the character of their civil society”, and consequently it is a chimerical pursuit to attempt to do so by military intervention or massive amounts of foreign aid.

It follows therefore that America should not waste its time seeking to democratically transform intrinsically ruinous states, but should focus instead on pursuing and nurturing alliances with “people who are linked to [American] civil society—our mother country England, for example, as well as the Christians in the global South”, including Australia.

Common loves.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

More thoughts

For not all "Uniate" movements were the result of Catholic machinations. Bulgarian "Uniatism" was at least partly instigated by Constantinopolitan Greek Orthodox imperialism via-à-vis the Bulgarian Church. And the numerically tiny but by no means spiritually and intellectually negligible Russian Catholic Exarchate in Russia on the eve of the Revolution was a spontaneous movement from within the Russian Orthodox Church itself, largely among intellectuals and people of some substance, including several Orthodox priests, who were less than satisfied with the condition of their Church, reduced to little more than a department of the state since the time of Peter the Great, but refused to abandon their native religious heritage for that of Latin Catholicism.


From here. Written in 2005. Saving parts here, from potential destruction in the 'memory hole'.

On first consideration, the suggestion seems absurd that Byzantine Catholicism might be a real ecclesiastical option for American Episcopalians and other Anglicans seeking a fuller expression of their own catholicity. Why would Episcopalians, struggling with issues of parochialism, universality, unity, and the boundaries of legitimate diversity, even consider a tradition which has its own version of these problems, in addition to looming issues of ethnicity and inculturation within the American context? Surely for catholic-minded Episcopalians the only two real options are Roman Catholicism or Eastern Orthodoxy, either in their traditional forms or in slightly marginalized structures, such as a revised form of “Prayer Book” Roman Catholicism or Western-Rite Orthodoxy. All of these, of course, are genuine alternatives which a number of Episcopalians, in their search for more theological cohesion, have chosen. I, however, would seriously like to suggest the option which is the obvious subject of this essay–Byzantine Catholicism ...

The ideal situation with regard to Anglicans and the restoration of full communion would be, in my opinion, the creation of an entire “uniate” Anglican Ritual Church, similar to that the Eastern Catholic Churches. Since, however, this seems unlikely in the near future, the next best option, it seems to me, would be the assimilation of former Anglicans to a Catholic Church which is like them in ethos and is in full communion with the Holy See.

Of all the Byzantine Ritual Churches, my own, the tiny Russian Church, probably fits the cultural bill the best. The Russian ethos and the English ethos, even in their attenuated American forms, are very much compatible with one another. Russian Catholicism, moreover, is largely a “convert phenomenon” and does not suffer from the ethnic problems that other Eastern Churches frequently experience. Moreover, since it is the youngest member of the family of Byzantine Catholic Churches and did not go through the painful experience of Latinization, it has maintained the Byzantine Orthodox heritage perhaps more fully and more integrally than some other Byzantine Churches have been able to do. Ever since the 2nd Vatican Council, the Holy See has, in fact, repeatedly called upon all Eastern Churches to recover, where lost, their authentic traditions.

In any case, out of love for the unity of the Church, both Anglicans and Byzantine Catholics have had experience in living as “bridge communities,” striving to unite diverse, and seemingly divergent, elements and drawing them into “wholeness” and communion. Isn’t this in fact what the struggle for “catholicity” really means? The possibility of Christian communities bringing together and synthesizing the Anglican experience of living within the mainstream of Western culture and intellectual life, the Eastern tradition of theology, spirituality and worship, and real communion with both the Latin Church and the Petrine centre of Christianity bristles with truly exciting possibilities!

Friday, October 23, 2015

Eyes Wide Shut

Time for more thoughts out loud about organized religion. And other forms of incompetence. Sure to piss someone off. (No flame wars, please.)

Last night I was lured to see a film that, given its provenance, would have been shot -- and, hence, should have been screened -- in standard Academy ratio:

Academy ratio: 1.375:1.

What I got was a projected Blu-ray, in a perfectly square format, which produced sharp anamorphosis along the vertical axis, as the sides were forcibly squished in. After thirty minutes, I left.

I'm sure everyone else was perfectly happy. This is the curse of those who know, while those who do not know are supremely content in their blissful ignorance. It is all-too-easy to apply the same principle to liturgy: "However, as I have argued many times before, the average Catholic in the pew would hardly know the difference." Those who protest are labelled non-constructive "squabblers."

Given certain facts about me and about the world, this augurs strongly for Eastern Christianity after all. I can now assume the position of the blissfully ignorant, as I don't know a troparion from a kontakion. Instead of marching out of church in a huff, I can simply rest content in what it is not.

That is my new pattern for happiness: At least, it is not that. “Pray as you can, not as you wish you could.”

Not that.