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Getting to the point

The progressive National Catholic Reporter has an editorial on liturgy that makes their view altogether clear: “Liturgy is the visible expression of the arrangement of power.” They don’t say why that is so, although their whole discussion presumes the point, so it’s worth making the logic explicit: a sacrament is the visible expression of a spiritual reality. For progressives, the only spiritual reality is power. It follows that liturgy is really about power. QED.

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Thinking about hatred

Here’s a provocative if somewhat odd piece on hatred from Taki’s Top Drawer. A quote:

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America, the world, science, the Tridentine Mass, etc.

In my recent entry on being American I quoted John McCain and Thornton Wilder as authorities. McCain evidently views America as a sort of overriding moral cause that we should all buy into, Thornton Wilder as an inescapable reality and predicament we must accept and deal with on its own terms. That is to say, their understanding of America is their religion. It defines what they believe is ultimately real and unavoidable and obligatory, at least for us (as with Wilder) and possibly for everyone (as with McCain).

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Difficulties in Alexander's proposed conquest

If Alexander is right in The Nature of Order, what do we do about it?

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The battle of the booth

Another fruit of Vatican II: Catholics who have come of age since then are without sin, or at least don’t think they have anything much to confess. After 40 years of the new springtime in the Church, 42% of Catholics born before 1943 still go to confession at least yearly. Only half as many of those born later do so. A similar tendency holds even among those who attend Mass weekly: 73 percent of weekly attenders born before 1943 go to confession annually compared to 44 percent of those born after 1981.

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The Church and the niceness creed

Here’s another discussion of social trends related to Christianity, this one relating to the themes about which opposition to Christianity seems to be crystallizing: A New Generation Expresses its Skepticism and Frustration.

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After Strange Interpretations

Some time ago J. Bottum, now editor of First Things, published a sort of hit piece on T. S. Eliot, What T.S. Eliot Almost Believed, that I just ran into going through some old correspondence.

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More notes on contemplation, beauty, love, religion, etc.

Truth and beauty enable us to place and orient ourselves in a world that is larger and more full of things that are worthwhile and interesting than the closed system of resources, desires, technology and formal logic that modern thought presents. That’s why contemplation is basic to the good life.

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Catholicism is America!

America was once a Protestant country. However that may be today, polling results confirm that Catholicism has become an American religion—indeed, as a sociological matter, largely identical to an increasingly secular Americanism.

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There will always be an England

Or at least something called by that name:

  • Hindus there are planning to bring a legal challenge against the refusal of two churches to host yoga classes. The churches say they’re Christian and yoga promotes some other religion, so they don’t want to host it. The Hindus say “yeah, that’s the point, if a church supports one religion and refuses to support another that violates the Equality Act.”
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God in the Anglosphere

To follow up my recent post on the topic, here are some things I’ve noticed in the past couple of days suggesting that the threat of fundamentalism is not quite as severe as advertised:

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    More comments on liberalism, Christianity, Ellul and what not else

    While composing my post on Ellul and rummaging around other things I had written, I ran into some comments I had made in in a discussion thread regarding a short essay of mine on liberalism and Christianity. The comments were extensive enough that I thought I’d edit them a bit and post them here, for preservation if nothing else.

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    A "rising tide of fundamentalism"?

    I suppose people could claim things like these are signs of some such:

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    Nominalism etc. for dummies

    John Milbank has a nice clear article for popular consumption on the Church as an organic union of divine and human aspects. The piece goes into nominalism, voluntarism, William of Ockham and what not else, and explicitly says that the mixed and organic nature of the Church should serve as a guide to secular as well as church polities. If he wants to call such views “socialism” and take a swipe at Margaret Thatcher it’s OK with me, we all have our quirks.

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    Ramblings about patriotism in bad times

    At bottom, conservatism is simply attachment to a specific society. It is therefore a disposition to maintain the features of the society that make it what it is: the particular people who make it up, the beliefs, commitments and institutions that order it, and the concrete features that define its character and distinguish it from other societies.

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    Should I slam Islam?

    Islam continues to fascinate. Whatever the value of suggestions that it emphasizes will over reason and therefore leads to mere assertion and violence (I think there’s a lot to that view), it seems clear that discussions about it mostly generate more heat than light.

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    How radically orthodox?

    Here’s a CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Company) podcast on Radical Orthodoxy that includes extended soundbites from John Milbank and Catherine Pickstock. What they say sounds sensible enough to me, although they’re academics so it’s all quite theoretical and respectable-sounding, and Milbank at any rate has an ingrained attachment to socialism.

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    More on the pre-Vatican II Church

    A correspondent sends the following extracts from Lesson 10, “The Virtues and the Gifts of the Holy Ghost,” in the Confraternity Edition of the Baltimore Catechism, published in the late 1940s. Within living memory, it seems, there were people who did not identify God’s Kingdom with an inhuman secular utopia:

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    From ontology to sociology

    To descend from the sublime to the not-so-sublime, it’s worth noting that a recent Barna Group study finds that Catholics have become mainstream America. There don’t seem to be discernible differences between Catholics and other Americans, except that Catholics take religion and the more austere demands of morality less seriously. They’re more into pornography, for example.

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    More Catholic stuff

    The Vatican Press Office has released some Observations on the use of the Old Roman Liturgy. It’s not clear just who they’re from or what their status is, but some points may be interesting to Tridentine Mass fans. The release suggests, for example, that the faithful recite or sing the Kyrie, Gloria, Credo, Sanctus and Agnus Dei, and observes that the old missal says nothing about whether the priest faces the people or not.

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