Wednesday, December 30, 2015
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).
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.
What is the way out of this labyrinthine madhouse? I wish I knew. I suppose one can start here:
Thursday, December 24, 2015
Just some "thoughts out of season." First, ...
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,“Hosanna!”14 Jesus found a young donkey and sat on it, as it is written:
“Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”
“Blessed is the king of Israel!”
15 “Do not be afraid, Daughter Zion;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.
see, your king is coming,
seated on a donkey’s colt.”
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.
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.
32. In dominica Palmarum
Joa., XII, 1-24: Maria unguit pedes Jesu. Turba multa ... acceperunt ramos.
20. Missa in symboli traditione
Joa., XII, 1-8, 12-16: Maria unguit pedes Jesu.
26. In simbuli traditione missa prima
Joa., XII, 1-50 = L.32, B.20
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
And he said: History is an angel
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
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.
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.
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
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.'
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.
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.
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
"... 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
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.
Minister. Cursed is he that removeth his neighbour's landmark.
Minister. Cursed is he that maketh the blind to go out of his way.
Minister. Cursed is he that perverteth the judgement of the stranger, the fatherless, and widow.
Minister. Cursed is he that smiteth his neighbour secretly.
Minister. Cursed is he that lieth with his neighbour's wife.
Minister. Cursed is he that taketh reward to slay the innocent.
Minister. Cursed is he that putteth his trust in man, and taketh man for his defence, and in his heart goeth from the Lord.
Minister. Cursed are the unmerciful, fornicators, and adulterers, covetous persons, idolaters, slanderers, drunkards, and extortioners.
Friday, December 11, 2015
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.