Goal 2, Accomplished

Earlier I talked about my longtime goal of attending a Byzantine Catholic Divine Liturgy, a goal I finally achieved. In fact, that church happens to be so close I’ve been several times since then. I really do love that service, and were I not a Latin,, I’d happily go every Sunday.

Well, yesterday was Ascension Thursday, a Holy Day of  obligation…which I nearly forgot. Luckily, about twenty minutes from me is a Shrine to Our Lady that holds Masses at 12:00 (and even more conveniently, BTW, DAILY Confession from 11:30-12:00. Confession offered before Mass should be mandatory, I tell you).

I have been to that Shrine many times. The Chapel there is quite beautiful, in the summer they hold Masses outdoors, and the Priest is young, enthusiastic, and traditional, almost a textbook Fr. YoungTrad. Always, a Novus Ordo was performed, albeit an unusually reverent manner. But today was something different.

Today, to my very great surprise, the Mass was NOT a Novus Ordo, but rather a low latin Mass. For those who don’t know, the low Mass was instituted in the early Middle Ages. It is said in Latin, but differs from the high Mass in that there is no music and no chanting – it is entirely spoken. I had a book to follow along, but I got the sense the Priest wasn’t following it about half the time, and got lost quite easily. I wonder if that was due to it being Ascension Thursday.

It was a much quieter experience than the Divine Liturgy, in more ways than one, and more similar to the Novus Ordo. In a Divine Liturgy, everything – and I mean everything, with the exception of the homily, including the Bible readings – is sung. More than that, the Congregation follows along with at least half of it. Here, the Priest faces ad orientem – away from the people and towards the altar.

This is true in the Divine Liturgy as well, but unlike in the Divine Liturgy there are very few times the parishioners are actually called to respond. The Mass is not so much participated in as reverently observed.

This is most striking after the homily. There is a solid twenty minutes of nearly total silence, only punctuated very occasionally with quiet words of the Priest and a couple of responses. The Priest is constantly praying during this time, but so quietly only the altar servers could hear him. Today I was following along in the book to the best of my ability looking for cues, but I got the sense I was doing it wrong in retrospect. The time is meant to be spent in silent prayer and contemplation; I believe a Rosary is often prayed.

Also, nearly the majority of the Mass is spent kneeling, which is another striking contrast with the Divine Liturgy, in which you stand almost the entire time. Actually, it’s almost comical how they’re so polar opposite in many ways, and yet each so respectful and reverent in a way the Novus Ordo Mass is simply…not.

All in all it was a very interesting experience. I’m not sure of the full effect because I was so focused on following along, but in any case this isn’t the true, “final form”, to speak weeb for a moment, of the Latin Mass. THAT would be the high Mass, the really famous one with all of the Gregorian chanting and singing. And so, that is my next goal.

Review: 8 of 10, not enough chanting, go anyway and preserve the ancient heritage of the Church and western civilization, you heathens, and appreciate the silence of prayer in fellowship.

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Disgust and Contempt

Supposedly as I got older I was supposed to start understanding that I needed a gentler approach; that loud rhetoric and open contempt was cruel, un-Christlike, and ultimately ineffective.

Instead, the opposite occurred. Constant exposure to pro-choicers baby killers and their disgusting rhetoric, as well as the cowardly retreats and lukewarm responses of (some) pro-lifers have pushed me over the ledge.

I do not respect, do not commiserate with, and do not attempt to “understand” the mindset of the baby killers. If outlawing murdering babies means there’s a war on women, well I guess we’re winning then, baby. If it means I’m trampling on women’s rights, let them be trampled to the ground.

Do anyone really think this is about the poor, raped, twelve year old girl bullied into abortion anymore? Really? When the governor of VA is openly in favor of infanticide? When anti-baby murder laws are being compared to masturbation?

Mothers who abort their children deserve to be prosecuted. If it is a poor twelve year old girl bullied into it by her rapist father, then – like ALL murders, or really, all crimes – context should be taken into account in the investigation and the consequences doled out accordingly.

It’s still a crime. Pro-choicers are correct about one thing: If we were really serious about it, we would advocate punishments for those who choose to murder their babies. Fair point. Trial and prison, and perhaps death penalty. My patience is down to 0.

Stop clutching your pearls. The mask has fallen. The baby killers have revealed themselves for what they truly are. It’s time we acted like it.

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Notre Dame Lives

Amazing. Mere hours ago French officials were reporting that the Cathedral was likely totally destroyed.

Today, we learn that almost all art and relics are safe. The structure has been saved. The great organ is covered in debris but has no fire and water damage. The facade is safe. The nave has taken near-miraculously little damage.

And, most miraculously of all, ALL THREE of Notre Dame’s rose windows are intact! This ia almost mind-boggling. They were reported as at-risk from the start. There was hope that perhaps one or two could be saved, eith some damage – yet all are intact.

This all seems to be due to two things, the extraordinary efforts of the firefighters and medieval architecture. The stone vaults beneath the wooden roof, designed specifically to protect against fire, amazingly fulfilled their purpose and saved the Cathedral hundreds of years later.

The Cathedral was saved, through a combination of architecture, extraordinary human effort, and divine intervention. What appeared to be a sign of divine judgment might perhaps be the final call for France and Europe to repent. Let’s pray it’s enough.

Pictures later, when I’m not posting through a phone. One can be forgiven thinking all would be lost when one sees the flames. It is extraordinary that the church survived.

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Let the Dead Stay Dead

Notre Dame has been destroyed, razed to the ground in an act of arson.

Oh? Not arson, you say? So on Monday of Holy week, as Catholic churches have been desecrated throughout France, in the middle of renovations, Notre Dame Cathedral is burnt to the ground. Yeah, sure. Just an accident.

I hope they don’t rebuild it. The one consolation is that with the state of France now, Notre Dame has basically stopped being a true Cathedral and instead become a monument. But it was a monument to Our Lady of France, built out of love for her and love of beauty.

A modern reincarnation would be a monument to tourism and mammon.

There is no point. Mourn her, but leave her alone. Notre Dame is gone, gone forever. And meanwhile?

Vive la revolution.

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Annual Appeal for Sanity

This Sunday was the Bishop’s Annual Appeal, complete with a friendly powerpoint presentation from our Bishop explaining where all the money went. I, of course, did not donate. To understand why requires some background:

In my area there are four churches. My church, the Church of the Annunciation, is a tiny wooden church that has been losing parishioners for over a decade. It is located in a small town about ten minutes away from me and just outside the city. We just celebrated, despite that, our 70th anniversary as a parish.

About ten or so minutes away, if that, is a much larger and fancier church, St. Mary’s. As mentioned, I live next to a small city that is nevertheless a city, and most of the Catholics there go to this Church. Next we have Sts. Peter and Paul, which is the local Eastern Catholic church. That one is so tiny as to be of no consequence.

The last one, the most relevant to my parish, is St. Phillip and James. This is another very large church, this time located in the inner city, and almost all of the area’s minorities go here. Pay attention to that last bit.

So the Bishop went on his typical spiel about where the money went – drug programs, charity, youth ministries, and…”diversity outreach”, or something like that.

Now consider this for a moment: My parish, located in a small town on the outskirts of the city, is dying, and has been for the past at least 15 years. What, exactly, does the Bishop have to say to us? What help is he offering us?

Apparently the future of the Church is brown people. Except that isn’t going to work with us. The town and the parishioners are predominantly white. The minorities in the area have their own Church. Why would they want to come here? Who could blame them if they decide not to?

Are we not welcoming enough? I mean, we have a filipino Priest and one of the most prominent volunteers in the Parish, to my understanding a Knight of Columbus, is a black gentleman. Do they not feel welcome here?

So our money is going to go to reach out to youth, reach out to “diverse cultures” or whatever you want to call it, and help drug addicts. None of these are inherently bad goals.

Except…

Aren’t we the Catholic Church? The universal Church? And, you know, a Church?

What about our message are we changing, exactly, to get minorities through the door? Isn’t our message universal? And what is the point of our charity? Charity is a noble and praiseworthy thing, but are our organizations also making an effort to preach the Gospel? Or are they turning the Church into a social institution designed to make up for all of the injustices supposedly heaped on minority communities, with the hope that will bring them through the door?

What if the money from the Diocesan appeal went directly to the Parishes to add more iconography and statues, to make the churches more beautiful? What if the Bishop said he was going to start a program to educate parishioners who wanted to learn on the Bible so they could teach it properly to their Parish? What if he tried to make sure there were Traditional Latin Masses said throughout the diocese?

And are we not a parish in his diocese? Will he simply abandon us as a lost cause because we’re not brown enough? Do we deserve to die for the sin of being in a white town? Will there be no effort put into growing OUR ranks?

With all due respect to my local Bishop, I would rather donate the money to my Parish. We can use it more than inner city outreach programs.

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Not Even If I Tried

Tone deafness is back in the news again. It seems the left has pushed itself ever so slightly too far on the issue of abortion, and have started turning people pro-life again. Going off of personal anecdotes the shift seems to mostly be among people who are sympathetic to rape and life of the mother exceptions but think pro-lifers “Go too far”. I guess when you have politicians on record in favor of infanticide it starts to dawn on you that maybe those crazies were right and the pro-abortion lobby is, in fact, Satanically evil. Go figure.

This next example of tone deafness is new, so I might end up being wrong about this, but I predict that this “Bill that would require older men to report every release of sperm” is going to similarly backfire, though probably not as spectacularly since it isn’t as central in the news cycle.

Nothing can be more indicative of the insane little bubble extreme feminists (re: most modern women and probably at least a small chunk who would consider themselves conservative) live in than equating restrictions on certain types of female birth control, or a refusal to fund them through the government, with making masturbation reporting mandatory.

Actually, I’m being nice. This is in response to the heartbeat abortion bill. This means that leftist women – the men probably don’t actually agree but are too cucked to call them out on the absurdity – are literally equating male orgasms with chopping up and vacuuming a fetus smoothie.

And what else is there to say, really? There are other absurd measures on the “bill”, but if I was going to parody the left wing on abortion I would probably start off by pretending they equated masturbation with baby slicing and dicing and go from there.

It will be interesting how much of the public reacts to this with “These women are coocoo for cocoa puffs” and how many react with “Slay, girl, SLAY!!!” Well, we know they’re in favor of slaying, anyway.

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Voting, a Dialogue

I would vote for whoever is less left leaning.

That’s way too vague for me. Basically everyone is left leaning. Do you have any dealbreakers?

No, not when the choice is between somebody who will put right wing people on the Supreme Court vs. someone who will put left wing people on the Supreme Court.

That’s not the choice, though. You can vote for somebody who you believe will put the country on the actual right track, not just slow the decline.

But they’ll never win!

You have one vote. One. Your vote, alone, is not going to make a difference.

That’s ridiculous!

Why? It’s literally true.

What if everyone thought that way?

Then we wouldn’t be in this mess, because instead of making compromises we’d all have voted for who we think is actually the best person to lead the country.

Well then, why vote at all?

A vote is indeed your say, however small, in making it known who YOU best think will be the leader we need. Therefore the vote means the most to YOU, not the country. To the country you are literally statistically irrelevant, but to yourself you are expressing what values YOU consider sacrosanct.

But you’re willing to make compromises!

This is true, on certain issues. But there are matters of principle I will not budge on. This is because I don’t think a leader who supports these issues is actually best for the country.

Principles such as?

Quick, off the top of my head, not necessarily everything, just off the cuff ones: The candidate must be pro-life. The candidate must be a Christian (yes, really; we’ll get to that). The candidate must oppose letting in any refugee or illegal immigrant who wants to show up.

Wait wait wait. Must be Christian?

Of course. We were a nation founded on Christian principles, and it’s why once upon a time we were great (debateably, I suppose, but let’s put a pin in that for a whole other discussion). America without a Christian leader is headed only for disaster.

Even if, say, a Jew is ultra conservative and shares all of the same values as a Christian?

Even then. A vote for a Jewish (I mean a non-Christian Jew here, not a Messianic Jew) President is equivalent to me admitting that I no longer believe Christianity was actually important to our country’s success; that it could have flourished just as well under another religion and that our national character was never distinctly Christian. I do not believe that.

What do you think a Jew would do differently?

You seem rather fixated on Jews here, but whatever, sure. A principled Jew would probably not actually do much differently themselves, but a leader is more than just his policies. A leader is a symbol, and it means we are signaling to the world that Christianity is no longer important to us. What do you think this will pave the way towards?

What if this guy would pick principled, conservative Supreme Court justices but Hilary wouldn’t?

Let’s rewind here. Those are not our only choices.

But in theory what if it WAS between those two choices?

You’re missing my point. It never is. Don’t vote for either if it gets to that point, or else back somebody who is Christian and who you think will lead the country in a good direction.

But that guy will never win!

No, he won’t, if we continue thinking like this. Why do you insist on continuing to think like this? Incidentally we’re moving towards inherent issues in voting, but we’ll get back to that.

You’re not going to change how the rest of the world thinks, so you’re willing to just waste your vote then?

My vote already means nothing to the overall result, remember? Statistically it is insignificant.

That’s absurd.

It’s really, really, really not.

So why vote?

See above.

If everyone thought like you, we’d have leftist supreme court justices.

If everyone thought like me we wouldn’t be voting for compromise candidates to staunch the bleeding in the first case and we wouldn’t be in this mess.

So you would be willing to just let a leftist in who would fill the court with leftist justices?

You’re still not listening. No matter what I do in the voting booth, it won’t make a difference to the overall result. Therefore I will throw my support behind a man who I think is going to move the country in the right direction and will get results for me when elected. Trump fit this criteria, at least at the time. He was someone I thought would do better at getting results than other candidates, actually stood up to would be bullies, and yes, did not have any of my dealbreakers.

What if the election came down to a conservative Jew and a leftist?

Man, you really are fixated on Jews, huh? Then I wouldn’t vote.

So you are effectively saying you’d prefer a leftist get in than a Jew. After all, if everyone thought like you then they would avoid voting on principle and the leftist would get in.

Actually, if everyone thought like me we wouldn’t be in that situation in the first place.

But what if we’re already there!

Why would I grant that premise? Sure we’ll probably get there, but only because you’re not thinking like me at all. Once we’re at that point I’m going to continue to stick to my principles.

You’re the reason conservatives keep losing elections.

Sigh.

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