Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Habemus ad Nauseum

I keep seeing new articles and posts arguing for the "hermeneutics of continuity" in Catholic liturgy. I've stopped reading them, mainly because it's a settled matter for me. But what gets me is that these orthodox liturgical thinkers seem to write as if the other side is listening. They're not. I mean, is there any real theological substance to the argument against preserving what has been and should be a constant in Catholic liturgies (Christocentric, eucharistic, ecclesial reverence)? No. The progs in the Church may think V2 started one, but they don't care much for squaring their theology with the fullness or the (Balthasarian) "form" of the Tradition, or with anything that pre-dates V2 for that matter. You think Mahony or any Barney-dressing priests give a hoot what Arinze or Benedict says or what the NLM is blogging about? No. Have any progs been convinced and swam the nave? No. When was the last time you heard of a proggie liturgist converting to the traditional liturgy? Progs love their proggie liturgies and nothing else unproggie matters. They even get this eerie giddy look on the faces that screams from underneath, "I hate kneeling and chanting!"

So I think it needs to be said that there is NO debate going on, both descriptively speaking and substantively. It's not theology and doctrinal thought that matters anyway, it's about happy times and embracing our...whatever. If the progs were to actually address orthodox liturgists, they'd lose, pure and simple. It really is that simple.

Bishops haven't even called us to debate these "liturgy matters" in a time when "dialogue" and evermore dialogue is their default policy for all controversies (my, how the Unitarians have taught them well).

In essence, I can't help but feel blueballed for my liturgy friends who are so desperately seeking that next declaration from Rome that put all our liturgical nonsense to bed. Unless someone makes our heretical clerics listen and step up to face the fearsome testimony of the martyrs and saints of the Church, all these books, articles, and blogposts just leave me feeling numb.

Monday, December 11, 2006

NYer on Apocalypto

Anthony Lane over at NYer takes an interesting spin on the op-ed sections' favorite dead-horse of the month: Mel's use of violence.
Contrary to what his detractors say, I don’t believe Gibson is roused by violence in itself. What lures him, in his dark remoldings of Catholic iconography, is breakage and restoration—the deeper and more foul the wounds, the more pressing the need to see them healed.
Lane gets credit for digging in search of a deeper theological current that Mel may be tapping into. (I believe Lane is Catholic himself?) I noticed something similar after watching TPOTC. Yes, the violence of film could only be justified in my mind as a magnifying glass on the sinfulness of mankind. But to what degree does that manufacture a certain perverse incentive, or "lust," for depravity, not in and of itself, but in quest of an ever-greater glory. The "wicked" paths of Graham Greene, Hemingway, and Oscar Wilde come to mind. Not that Gibson shares much in common with these literary greats, other than a deep-seated Catholic aesthetic, but I've always wondered how the particular tilt of the Catholic metanarrative can spin outward in uniquely pathological directions.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

The Beard Theory

...for the "gaying and graying" of the Roman Catholic priesthood. I'm surprised there hasn't been more debate over this, cuz I've come around to the idea that it's one of most overlooked and underrated differences between Eastern and Western Churches, especially after watching all the Eastern and Western bishops intermingling on camera in the Phanar. This is totally coming off the top of my and is based on zero research into why the Eastern Churches have required beards.

My sense is that beards are like the iconostases in Eastern churches -- they veil that which is luminous and mysterious; but in so veiling, they highlight a dignity and maturity that is far more difficult to discern socially among the shorn and shaven. I don't see a particularly compelling theological reason why the West has opted against beards among its clergy, other than as a sign of the vow of poverty or chastity, but even facial tonsuring should permit regrowth into full beards, for there is a greater vanity in regular grooming. The Roman clergy furthermore don't even have to deal with wives who might find beards this side of sexy. Much more could be said on this but, but I'm started to sound weird even to myself, so I'll leave this brainfart while I'm ahead. But if I were in the Congregation of the Clergy or of Institutes of Consecrated Life I'd propose restoring mandatory beards, at least for all monks and bishops. Where would His Flocculence Cardinal O'Malley be without his beard?

Pandering to the Prison Vote

The horror, ooh, how Washington politicos infuriate me with their gimmicks! Actually, it's on the heels of an Iowa federal court's order requiring a prison ministry to pay back the fed for indoctrinating prisoners, a decision I don't understand, or at least I can only understand as far as the exclusively Evangelical-Protestant character of the program is concerned. But on the general principle, if Doe v. Bolton's "health exception" can be stretched to include anything and everything, why can't inmate rehabilitation include religion? The establishment argument is hollow -- we're talking about convicted criminals who are pretty much the waste products of our secular anomie, not religious monuments on the steps of a federal courthouse or public schools. Only religion can restore a sense that they are more than society's garbage, and the state can recognize that as a sociological reality. Of course, I too would question whether evangelical Protestantism is best religion to create long-lasting and holistic cura personalis.

Anyway, back to Brownback - he cuts a nice contrast to Giuliani, Pataki, McCain, Romney, et al who are supposedly tough, strong GOP leaders on everything except life issues. His advisors are onto something in underscoring the common weak spot of all the current GOP racehorses. I could vote for him, depending on how he handles manages the turbulence of campaigning and challenges to his lack of executive experience.

Market disequilibrium in military rosaries

Sniper-resistant rosaries -- gotta love 'em.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Icon of the Christ of Ayn Rand

...and of Christopher Hitchens, Bill Maher, Penn Jillette, Margaret Sanger, Peter Singer, Richard Dawkins, Hitler, and the Orthodox Church of the Libertarian Objectivist Ubermensch.

(If it weren't for the superimposed caption, it would be an icon of the evangelical Protestant Jesus...maybe it is. No idea where it's from.)

Now this is a church

Slick Macromedia slideshow of St. Joseph's Cathedral in Wheeling, WV. The artwork sums up all that B16's visit to the Phanar represents.

HT: The Cafeteria is Closed.

A sign of contradiction

John Allen of NCR, once again, proves his minerals by piercing through media misunderstanding of Catholicism. The secularist mind sees a contradiction between B16's warmth toward Islam in this visit and his insistence on Europe's need to give historic Christianity its due. MSM has also been meming (with some underlying giddiness) about his supposed volte-face on Turkey's EU bid, which Allen addresses here. As Catholicism teaches and Allen demonstrates, disordered Reason will see contradictions where none exist and ignore glaring contradictions where they do.

I think Allen's a little too soft on the press for their characterization of B16's statements, which were made privately to PM Erdogan and never officially released to the public, as a "flip-flop," but that may be because Charles Donahue of the Catholic League has already staked out a huge chunk of the field on this issue in his usual hyperbolic way.