Thursday, August 12, 2004


So far it's always been a good day when an archdiocese decides to grant an indult to the Tridentine Mass, but what happens when it's done as a form of religious marketing, a way of keeping up with the Lutherans and Episcopalians?
Nevertheless, he and St. Josaphat's pastor, the Rev. Mark Borkowski, have been impressed by successes at nearby Episcopal and Lutheran churches, where historic buildings have been revived by suburbanites driving downtown for traditional forms of worship.
"We're bringing in antique-looking vestments, too," he said. "We've done a lot of work to make sure that this looks authentic. This church was built a century ago for this kind of mass, and we want it to look that way again."
"Authenticity," he said. "If someone goes to Greenfield Village expecting to see petticoats, they don't want to find people making do with blue jeans."
Just when you thought the traditional Mass was impervious to bourgeois commercialism. Makes me think of MacIntyre's opening hypo in After Virtue about a society born after a revolution against science & technology, trying to piece it back together with no context, no cultural glue to hold the pieces in proper perspective.

Even more disturbing are the comments of Fr. Thomas Reese, editor of America magazine:
The only thing that could spoil the venture at St. Josaphat is too much success, Reese said.

"When the pope authorized bishops to allow this mass in 1984, the idea was that this was a pastoral response to older people who still are so attached to this older mass that they need it," Reese said Monday. "The idea was never to create a new desire in people for this mass."

Maida's decision to allow it at St. Josaphat seems in keeping with the spirit of Vatican rules, Reese said. But, "It would be counterproductive if too many people turn this into a marketing strategy to fill churches. The idea behind allowing this mass was that it could help older people in the later stages of their lives. The hope is that this mass eventually will fade away."
I've come to accept this kind of condescending crap from the liberal secularist literati, but from a priest-editor of a Jesuit magazine? And St. Ignatius does another roll in his tomb. Read more here.

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

NRO - fair and balanced

It's taken me a while to get over my distaste for conservative political journals. But articles like Jonah Goldberg's here, voicing distate for the newborn Keyes campaign, sure make it a lot easier. What a pleasant surprise to see a conservative journal not drool over the possibility of preserving a Republican Senate seat, whatever the cost. Instead, Goldberg is quite perturbed by the trendy political MOs practiced by both sides of the Aisle.
The trends at work are complex and numerous. The cult of celebrity allows famous but unqualified candidates to drop into politics in ways that, say, scholars or economists cannot. Loopy campaign-finance rules encourage the super-rich to buy their offices, and weakened political parties are only too happy to serve as closing agents for the sale. Worse, consumer culture has infected civic culture. The push to make voting so convenient you can do it with a remote control exemplifies a growing tendency among voters to regard their "choices" as more important than their obligations. Indeed, for some reason, lots of people think it's imperative that criminals vote. Put your ear to the ground and you'll hear the bulldozer coming for the Electoral College.

Saturday, August 07, 2004

Bishop Breslin of Breslinland

Saw the cover of Breslin's new book in B&N the other day and thought, "oh no not another one." Of course, it was prominently displayed in the religion section. At first disappointed to see another celebrity "Catholic" take his turn of giving the Church a cheap whack, I today took great pleasure in reading Kenneth Woodward, in WaPo of all places, peel Breslin down to the adolescent he is when it comes to his religion. Breslin is embarassingly too easy for Woodward.

Monday, August 02, 2004

Annuit coeptis, novus ordo seclorum

Said a sad sayonara to Chicago. Been moving around a lot. Now settling into my new city, with a new book on the religious dimensions of which on my nightstand (see docket in sidebar). Great book so far. Everyone moving to a great city should read an exegesis of the local architecture and urban layout. Makes for great pickup conversations.

Like: "Hey, babe, did you know that Jefferson wanted to put 'Rebellion to Tyrants Is Obedience to God" on the obverse side of the Great Seal instead of the 'Annuit coeptis' thingy?" If that doesn't work, I can always go and egg his memorial.