Tuesday, 11/1/16

  1. Your power or your faith?
  2. Tipsy: Young at heart
  3. Christian culture is dead
  4. We’re number >1!
  5. HRC, POTUS, DOA
  6. Why is Trump stalking me with threats?
  7. Erotic, cynical, and rotting


First Things

1

Where your treasure is, there your heart is also.  Moreover, no man can serve two masters, and it’s pretty clear that a bunch of the older culture warriors have put mammon or Caesar ahead of God.  When Ben Carson can say bald-facedly that we have to put aside our Christian principles to get the job done, or when Falwell Jr and Dobson et al can toss aside all scruple in support of Trump, they not only ignore their faith, they also cheapen it and appear hypocrites in the eyes of the world and of prospective believers …

If our choice is between losing power and losing faith, we must take losing power any day.  What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses his soul?

(Unnamed college professor who wrote Rod Dreher)

Secondary Things

2

I think it’s absolutely fascinating that the split over the Ben Op seems to correlate with age and generation.  The older generation is still refighting the last battle and can’t believe the tectonic plates have moved even in the last few years.  The younger folks, your generation and below, see how bad things are and that the pace of change accelerates.

Because earthquakes earlier this year made the basilica and the monastery unstable, the monks had the good sense to flee outside the town’s walls and set up camp in tents on the side of a nearby mountain. This is why they are alive today. If the monks had been maintaining a faithful presence within the basilica on Sunday morning when the earthquake struck, they would all be dead.

(Rod Dreher; block quote within block quote is an unnamed college professor who wrote Dreher)

Maybe I’m too old for this “Benedict Option” thingy if it’s really all that generational. But I have almost zero interest in re-fighting the fights of the 80s and 90s — and not because I think my side won and should quit while it’s ahead, either.

3

Traditionally minded Catholics must face the fact that Christianity has nothing to do with the present political situation in this country.  In fact, it has had nothing to do with Christianity for a long time, if ever.  When one is faced with a presidential election  where both candidates are radically post-Christian, to say the least, then one must face the reality of the situation.  But Father, but Father, you say, what about the Supreme Court?  Can you imagine any of the saints putting their trust in appointments to the Supreme Court of the United States, especially when it was a practicing Catholic who wrote the majority opinion that made abortion legal in this country?  The Christian culture in this country is dead, and what we have to do is to figure out not only how to survive in this situation, how to pass on our faith to our children, how to make them as wise as serpents and gentle as doves in the lives that they will lead—but ultimately how to make sense of the feast of Christ the King of the Universe in which the universe itself has been evacuated of ultimate meaning by the all demanding self-centeredness of a culture that makes Jerry Seinfeld look altruistic and thoughtful?

And how can we make sense of Christ the King in a Church whose strength has been sucked out by her own hierarchy and priests who are all too happy to live in a post-Christian world that is unhampered by both truth and personal sacrifice? We here make sense of Christ the King in this celebration of the Mass in the rite whose roots are in the Catholic Tradition, roots in Christ. What we do here together, priest and people is one of the antidotes and answers to the crisis in the Church and the world. And the re-formation of Catholic culture will happen quietly wherever the family says the Rosary not as an act of penance and discipline but as an act of love, wherever Lauds and Vespers are sung in this church not because of a schedule but because of an act of love, whenever men meet before dawn to adore Christ in the Blessed Sacrament, whenever people gather for prayer quietly and hopefully, wherever acts of kindness are truly spontaneous, when Classical education is not a slogan but rather a joyful attempt to restore all things in Christ, wherever the great monuments of art, music and literature of Christian culture are preserved, not as in a museum, but for the love of God– and this parish, Deo volente, will be one of those places.  And all of this with no Traddie angst or fear or hardness of heart.  At this point you think that I am going to tell you, amidst all of this, how to make sense of the feast of Christ the King today?  No.  I just once again quote Fr. Benedict’s email.  There is more damage, but we are safe.  We are being purified.

(Father Richard Cipolla, reflecting on our society and on the Benedictine Monks of Norsia, Italy, whose 14th-century basilica was destroyed by the latest earthquakes; via Rod Dreher) The specifics of this piety are somewhat foreign to me, but I understand what he’s saying anyway.

Tertiary Things

4

For all the undoubted genius of your Constitution, in 2016 it is no longer sustainable for Americans to say they have the best democratic system in the world. There have been many types of democracy—the Athenian agora model of direct participation, the Westminster-based constitutional monarchy, the Swiss referendum and cantonal model, Indian mass democracy, and so on. But it is impossible any more to suggest that the finest one is that which has thrown up Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Trump as the final choice for 320 million Americans.

I’m not for a moment suggesting that democracy is under threat in America. With your Constitution, Bill of Rights, First Amendment, Congress, separation of powers—and the sublime instincts of the American people—democracy is under no threat whatsoever here, for all your president’s absurd hyperbole. But the concept of democratic values as worthy aspirations for modern society certainly is under serious threat globally from a totalitarian state-capitalist model that is dangerously attractive in what it is producing for its populations, while American democracy is offering a choice between a crook and a clown.

(Andrew Roberts, 1776: Would You Like to Reconsider?)

5

A Hillary Clinton presidency will almost certainly still happen. But it will also be dead on arrival.

Why? Because Clinton’s executive branch will be mired in prosecutions, investigations, and inquiries from day one.

You can blame GOP partisanship and hatred of Hillary, or you can blame Hillary’s own Clintonesque urge to play fast and loose with the rules and the truth. Or you can be faithful to reality and blame both.

(Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry, Hillary Clinton’s presidency is inevitable. It’s also over.) Read how the whole thing to see how Gobry sees this playing out.

6

Donald Trump is all over my Facebook news feed threatening to put my name on a wall at Trump Tower or some other public humiliation if I give his campaign some money. That’s how I see it anyway.

7

Though Halloween is a masquerade, it offers an unmasking of society. Between the mincing harlots, the homicidal maniacs, and the morally-muddy superheroes, what the masks of Halloween reveal is disquieting.

One of the things that best defines a society is the manner in which it uses its recreation. What is done during “time off,” when unconstrained by the necessities of life, is sometimes the strongest signal of mental attitude and condition of soul. Leisure is the basis of culture, to borrow Josef Pieper’s famous title, for, when it comes to labor, rest is what Aristotle called that-for-the-sake-of-which. What a people do in their leisure is central to self-identity and sub-consciousness. Popular icons and activities of amusement depict what is prominent in both imagination and ideals. This is why the pervasiveness of Internet pornography and casual sex is a tremendous concern. This is why the trend of grotesque tattoos and gruesome television programs depicting slaughter, psychosis, and death is a terrible touchstone of the times. This why blockbuster movies showcasing comic-book superheroes who are dark, perverse, and questioning of the traditional moral compass are damaging. This is why the focus of Halloween, like the focus of any nationally celebrated holiday, presents worthy material for cultural analysis, for it is ultimately a mass expression of mass experience and mass expectation.

… Though shrugged off as “harmless fun,” the most fearful thing about the masks of Halloween is that they are more like mirrors. When the erotic, the cynical, and the rotting are the prevalent concepts of fun, there is reason to recoil. They reveal what lurks in the psyche. We are the sex slaves. We are the confused superheroes. We are the walking dead. We are dressing up as ourselves. At Halloween, the sins of the day are put on parade with an “anything goes” attitude that exposes a culture of excess, relativism, and death.

(Sean Fitzpatrick, The Horrific Hedonism of Halloween)

* * * * *

“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.