No April Foolery

  1. Faking it
  2. Intellectual and moral poverty
  3. Clickbait traditionalism
  4. Stable consensus now up for grabs
  5. Nothing to see here #1
  6. Nothing to see here #2
  7. Expecting more than God expects

1

When candidates for high office are faking it in order to persuade a party’s base that, appearances and past record to the contrary notwithstanding, they really, really are “with the program,” they step into dangerous territory. They need to say what the base wants to hear. Indeed, they need to sound like one of the faithful.

But since they are faking it, and not actually speaking from conviction, the risk is grave that they will say something that blows their cover. Indeed, the risk is always there that they will say something that sounds to true believers like a caricature or burlesque of the philosophy they are purporting to embrace.

(Robert P. George) This distills what I’ve noticed for decades. Trump takes it to a new level, but most of the GOP is faking it on abortion.

Then again, “the faithful” seem to want promises (1) that can’t begin to begin until the Supreme Court gets out of the way and (2) that will not be achieved in legislative wrangling and compromise once the court does get out of the way.

The Sexual Revolution will have to completely (pardon the expression) shoot its wad before we can return to sanity, SCOTUS barriers or no SCOTUS barriers.

2

One night, at a ladies’ evening out, the subject of abortion came up; and I overheard Jennifer admit that she really didn’t know much about the legal background to abortion rights. Roe, of course, was important in establishing the right to abortion back in 1973—but Casey? And what about that partial-birth abortion case a few years back?

None of it seemed to matter to those in the trenches, because they already knew what was most important: The legal right to abortion had been guaranteed to them, over and over again. The details of law and the vital debates over the personhood of the fetus mattered far less than the success of a continuing ideological war to liberate women from male domination, orthodox religion, and oppressive notions of traditional sexual morality. But this revolutionary language is spoken sotto voce nowadays. Among bourgeois women like the ones at this party, the issue is cast entirely in the language of “women’s health.” Who could be against that?

Jennifer then asserted, and all the women at the party agreed, that when considering abortion each woman has a right to call the baby whatever she wants. It is equally a baby, a fetus, a cluster of cells. Nobody has the right to impose a particular view of life on anyone else.

… I am ashamed to admit that neither I nor anyone else suggested that the issue was not one of feeling or figuring but that there just might be a preexistent truth about the nature of an unborn child.

As I left the party, I saw at last that abortion was no longer an abstract debate played out primarily in the national media and on billboards …My own views, however, had come into sharp focus over the course of that evening, as I saw firsthand the intellectual and moral poverty that was the foundation of Planned Parenthood’s mission.

(Elizabeth Corey, Life on the Divide)

3

I regret the occasion (essentially, a call for schism in the Roman Catholic Church), but savor the verve of the response:

So why issue such an absurd call? This does not arise from Catholic culture, but from clickbait culture, the need to drive readership by whatever means necessary… Michael Matt is trying to become the Donald Trump of Traditionalism by appealing to the worst passions of his audience and saying the most outrageous things.

Vile memes may be bad for the soul, but they are really good for circulation …

I have never been able to call myself a “traditionalist.” The problem I see is that the “ism” turns too quickly into an ideology and acquires its own agenda, an agenda that ends up doubling back to cancel out the original concerns.

G. K. Chesterton put it this way, “Men who begin to fight the Church for the sake of freedom and humanity end by flinging away freedom and humanity if only they may fight the Church.”

(John Médaille) Interesting, too, that the preferred liturgy of Médaille, a leading economic proponent of Distributism, is not the Latin but the Byzantine. (Yes, the “ism” part of Distributism is worrisome, just like capitalism, socialism, communism, etc.)

4

Same-sex marriage and its consequences have become a central, foregrounded, socially contested issue. The church-state consensus, drawn into the gravitational pull of this contest, has been put up for grabs as a result.

(Paul Horwitz in Harvard Law Review, 2014, H/T Rod Dreher) If same-sex marriage is no threat, then why is religious freedom under attack as “a license to discriminate” and why is the cultural left trying to drive it back inside the four walls of mosque/synagogue/church?

Cet animal est tres mechant; quand on l’attaque, il se defend. 

5

Worth two looks:

I can tell you this: the country to which this poor woman is returning is an American ally, and a place where murders and other atrocities are common against women, non-Muslims, and Muslims who do not fit the majority’s idea of what a Muslim should believe. My heart is so hardened against that country and its ways now. If you can know the heart of a nation by the way they treat their weakest and most vulnerable, then this is a wretched people.

I know, I know. We are barbarians in our own very American way, as I point out almost every day in this space. Still, my God, at least we don’t do that to our women.

(Rod Dreher)

6

[T]he U.S. does not respond with the same gravity to atrocities that happen in non-Western countries. We change our profile pictures and update our statuses for Paris, but it barely registers in our news feed reading when similar—or worse—things happen in other countries.

72 dead, including 29 children. 350 wounded. But they’re Pakistani Christians, these Easter-weekend terror victims.

Unless you got the Facebook message in error, there’s nothing to see here. Move along now.

7

I sometimes think we give too much importance to our outward attitude of prayer. We expect too much emotionally of ourselves, much more than God is asking for.

God is only asking us to remember Him at all times, in good and bad periods to offer Him this moment of our time–this moment, not the following one. The present is what He asks; not in great gestures of surrender, but in a continual natural stream even as we breathe.

The great moments will then be vouchsafed us by Divine grace when we are reaching for them, when prayer quickens into a life of its own and carries us with it to unexpected heights, and above all peace and joys. Prayer carries us–not we our prayer.

(Mother Alexandra, founder of Holy Transfiguration Monastery, Ellwood City, PA, neé Princess Ileana of Romania)

* * * * *

“In learning as in traveling and, of course, in lovemaking, all the charm lies in not coming too quickly to the point, but in meandering around for a while.” (Eva Brann)

Some succinct standing advice on recurring themes.