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Friday, November 29, 2013

Hope you and yours had a Happy Thanksgiving.

We did. Heather roasted another perfect turkey, and we added (cooked) bacon to the stuffing, which really worked out well. Plenty of leftovers, too, along with the turkey soup I enjoy making.

Still--yes--still working on the fisk. I should have part II up around Sunday.

What's that?

Ah, yes. The exhortation.

I've printed it, and probably will get around to reading it in detail eventually.

No, the economic parts don't offend me. Frankly, Catholic social teaching has always had problems with liberal (read "capitalism") economics. Even in places where you might least expect to find it, such as condemnations of the horror that is communism (e.g., paragraph 15). I flinch at some of the emphases in EG, and would appreciate a return to that version of CST which acknowledged limits to the healing powers of Caesar in the economic realm. But I think you're fooling yourself if you do not see something morally amiss in modern Western economics. The system that vomits up Miley Cyrus for your consideration, sponsors increasingly...interesting...forms of transgression for family time (e.g., the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade), and is pressuring formerly-solid youth organizations to bend to the zeitgeist is not our friend. If you watch American politics at all, you'll see the business wing of the GOP increasingly agitating for the excising of social conservatives.

Despite them getting their way and successfully nominating and running two of the least culture-warry candidates possible in the last two cycles. Running them right into buzzsaws, in fact.

Nevertheless, count on them to succeed--that's just the way it's going.

So, yes, their discomfort over this document is good. Salutary, even. Their rage-sweat is a perfume, in fact.


But. But. But.

I'm really not interested in reading it in detail right now. My problem is that our genuinely pastoral pontiff has etched his blind-spot disdain into the magisterium. Paragraph 94. So, yeah, he made his perturbation with rosary counters Officially Catholic.

Yep, I'm intransigently faithful to a Catholic style from the past, all right. I have this irrational attachment to the idea that the Church that existed before 1962 has something to offer the world--something more than cherry-picking from the occasional doctor or saint. I have this weird notion that Pius XII and those who preceded him might also have a little something to say about evangelization. I suspect that Vatican II wasn't a consummate vade mecum for how to deal with the world henceforth and in perpetuity. Especially after fifty years of that world's brutish decay from the optimistic New Frontier 1960s.

Yet, good luck trying to find anything that suggests that in the document, whose earliest encyclical cite dates to 1964, and whose sole pre-V2 papal citation can be found in footnote 174. Which is good, since I'm a big Pius XI fan. But there should be more.

Be that as it may, the pique is more personal. Despite reaching out to a traditionalist critic in genuine charity a few weeks back, he now offers this slappy broadside. Please, just stop it, Holy Father. It is unbiblical. It is unworthy. It is unnecessary. It is worse than an insult--it is a blunder. I'm sure I'd get something out of it, but I'm not going to pick it up for a while as a result. I know I'm not the only one.


  1. Glad to hear you and yours had a happy Thanksgiving. We did, too- back in October.

  2. If EG establishes anything it establishes that the Holy Father is in desperate need of an editor. The economic portions to me reek of warmed over Peronism and I find that very disturbing. The Holy Father should have learned from his own nation what happens when government intervention in the economy becomes a perpetual football. That his is favor of such intervention still indicates to me that either he doesn't have the foggiest clue about economics or he will not let facts stand in the way of what he perceives to be how an economy should be run.

    Paragraph 94 which disturbs you disturbs me additionally for another reason: who could possibly write a phrase like anthropocentric immanentism with a straight face?

  3. Hi Dale,

    Happy Tgiving to you and your family.

    And yet, as I've perused through pre-conciliar documents, most recently Pius XII in 1947, I find a good deal that does not resonate. So I'm not as generous in thinking that pre-1962 Catholicism is quite in tune with the 21st century.

    Maybe the blizzard of Scripture citations somewhat amends for the lack of input from the Chair of Peter before John XXIII.

    And I think Pope Francis is on to something with his pokes at vapid traditionalism.


  4. Mine was enjoyable considering I had a 101+ degree fever and was virtually comatose post-meal, and not because of the food I ate.

    Yesterday as I sat in Church and listened to the beautiful post-Communion Marian hymn sung in Latin (during a Novus Ordo Mass), I couldn't help but wonder if I would have been better off blissfully ignorant of the traditional rite. What if I had stayed away from blogs and Catholic bookstores and never discovered or attended a TLM, EF, or whatever the kids are calling it these days? What if I knew nothing of the tradition and the beauty, content with whatever the modern liturgy has become?

    Fittingly enough last night I watched one of the early Matt Smith Dr. Who episodes, "The Beast Below," where people are given the option to push one of two buttons: "Forget," or "Protest." What would I do with such a choice?

  5. I'd read par94 as saying 'don't make an idol of your traditionalism,' rather than 'don't use traditional devotions.' He apparently handed out rosaries in boxes marked 'spiritual medicine' a couple weeks ago. (hattip: the anchoress)

    S. Murphy

  6. Well said, Paul. This past Sunday was the first time I felt even mildly disaffected with the NO. It just seemed to noisy and hustle-bustle. Granted, maybe I just needed some coffee, but having not even been to a TLM in my life, I realize how the past few months are drawing me into the Church's traditional center, rather than out to its indifferentist, liturgically slummy periphery, which Pope Francis seems to adore. Forget or Protest, indeed.

    As for making an idol of traditionalism, that knife cuts the other way, too: how about we put a ten-year moratorium on the regnant idolatry of innovation, truncation, and adaptation?

    Re-submerging now...

  7. Codger,

    "As for making an idol of traditionalism, that knife cuts the other way ..."

    Totally agree that the knife cuts the other way. To "...remain intransigently faithful to a particular Catholic style from the past," doesn't say how far past. If you're invoking "da spirit of Vatuhcun* Two" to exorcise the Spirit of the Council of Trent from your neighborhood, or thanking God that you're not like those cranky trads over there, you're as wrong as anybody caricature out there who thinks you're going to to to Hell for being okay with the NO. But I think some of that is covered under "gnosticism, a purely subjective faith whose only interest is a certain experience or a set of ideas and bits of information which are meant to console and enlighten, but which ultimately keep one imprisoned in his or her own thoughts and feelings."

    I've been to a beautifully celebrated NO in Latin - it was in Greece, and most attendees were tourists from different countries, so no vernacular would have served. I'd love to see the same as the replacement for two 'midnight Masses' or two 'Easter Vigils' - one in English for the old Mick, Wops, and Polaks, and another for the relatively younger Spanish speakers. How 'bout one parish, one congregation?

    *attempted Milwaukee accent (for someone I actually heard expressing anger on behalf of said spirit, although what she meant, and what she wanted were somewhat veiled)

  8. Well, Todd, I'm not sure Francis relying so heavily on the Pope from the Age of Disco advances your "in tune" argument much, but whatever floats your boat.

    Everybody: sorry for the delay, but I've been delighted to watch my daughters shine on stage over the past couple of weeks, so everything else went on the backburner. Will address the promised content as soon as possible.