The sacking of Troy
A scene from Wendell Berry’s Jayber Crow, narrated by the titular character, in which a man gets angry about the then-current protests against the Vietnam War:
One Saturday evening, while Troy was waiting his turn in the chair, the subject was started and Troy said — it was about the third thing said — “They ought to round up every one of them sons of bitches and put them right in front of the damned communists, and then whoever killed who, it would be all to the good.” […]
It was hard to do, but I quit cutting hair and looked at Troy. I said, “Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you.”
Troy jerked his head up and widened his eyes at me. “Where did you get that crap?”
I said, “Jesus Christ.”
And Troy said, “Oh.”
It would have been a great moment in the history of Christianity, except that I did not love Troy.
Via Alan Jacobs
Not a bad reminder during Lent. It almost certainly has salience in the political realm of American 2023 as well.
I’ve heard several real-life variations on this anecdote. American Christianity is a mile wide and an inch deep.
My antennae were up at the headline: Five charts that explain the desperate turn to MAGA among conservative white Christians. Any variation on “desperate Christians” tells me I’m reading something sensational or that the “Christians” are adherents of some Christianish ideology rather than sound Christian faith.
… [U]nless I’ve been gravely misinformed, if it throws in for nothing else, surely Christianity is bullish on hope. Americans should take note. Stateside, hope is in short supply.
Reading the Five Charts article, I was inclined to think the headline was sensationalist more than substantive — a religious variation on “The GOP is all White Christian Nationalists now.”
Rigor, whether you like it or not
Rod Dreher watched The Paper Chase and was smitten by The Majesty Of Professor Kingsfield, whose approach to matters once was spiritually helpful for Rod:
Back in the summer of 1991, when at age 24 I had made a decision to enter the Catholic Church, I went to the university Catholic chapel, thinking — oh, sweet summer child that I was — that a college ministry would offer a more intellectually serious approach to Catholicism. After months of therapeutic, sentimental navel-gazing in which I had been invited over and over to get in touch with my okayness, I left in disgust.
I was sent to an inner-city parish, and there met with old Father Dermot Moloney, an Irishman who dyed his hair shoe-polish black, and who had a Kingsfieldian crust to him. He heard my story, and agreed to instruct me in the faith. He said, in his porridge-thick accent, “By da time I get troo with ye, ye might not want to be a Catlick, but ye’ll know what a Catlick is.” I was so grateful that Father Moloney, gruff though he was, respected the faith, the tradition, and me enough to present it that way.
Germany already has a Protestant church [and] we don’t need two.
Pope Francis’ remark to Bishop George Bätzing, president of the German Bishops’ Conference, via George Weigel, Apostasy in Germany’s Catholic Church. More from Weigel:
As the Synodal Way, which some in Rome call the “Suicidal Way,” drew the attention of Catholics world-wide, many said that German Catholicism was heading into “schism”—an institutional rupture with Rome. That isn’t quite right. Schisms typically are caused by issues of church order. Thus the Catholic Church believes the Orthodox churches of the Christian East are “schismatic” because they don’t accept the pope’s primacy and universal authority. What is unfolding in Germany is different—akin to the 16th-century Lutheran Reformation: apostasy.
Rome jumps the shark on war and killing
Bernard [of Clairveaux] did not stop with the [Knights] Templar Rule. He went as far as writing a treatise entitled In Praise of the New Knighthood. In it he declared without hesitation that “the knights of Christ may safely do battle in the battles of their Lord, fearing neither the sin of smiting the enemy nor the danger of their own downfall, inasmuch as death for Christ, inflicted or endured, bears no taint of sin, but deserves abundant glory.” Perfectly aligned with the new papal doctrine of indulgences, such a claim encouraged Christians to do what traditional Christianity had always taught them never to do: to kill their enemies, with an assurance that doing so would open to them the kingdom of heaven.
Fr. John Strickland, The Age of Division
For all its piety and fervor, today’s United States needs to be recognized for what it really is: not a Christian country, but a nation of heretics.
Ross Douthat, Bad Religion
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