Tuesday, April 07, 2020

"I found a court that agrees with me."

Fail harder.

This MoJ post by Adrian Vermeule.

So the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit ruled in favor of Governor Abbot's restrictions on "abortion procedures" during the COVID-19 emergency, referring to the same case that Vermeule did in his The Atlantic essay [Jacobson v. Massachusetts, 197 U.S. 11 (1905)]. Does he, ostensibly zealous Roman Catholic that he is, not know that just because a judge said it, doesn't mean it is right or moral? (Roe v. Wade, hello? Lawrence v. Texas? Obergfell v. Hodges? etc.)

Does Vermeule think that attempts to make HPV vaccination mandatory on our young people are justified? Or just those vaccinations he (or "experts") think are necessary and at the schedule they advocate? Weighing rights claims may not be easy but it is mistake to think that the "right to life" overrules all other "rights," or even other moral considerations.

Vermeule is a statist and no reasonable Catholic should pay any attention to his opinions. Maybe some of those postconservatism conservatives can align themselves with Vermeule but they deserve no support either.

Eight Popes and the Crisis of Modernity

CWR Dispatch: “The crisis of modernity” through the eyes of eight popes by Paul Senz
Russell Shaw’s new book examines how the popes of the 20th century confronted the challenges and shaped the events of late modernity.

Ignatius Press

"At the turn of the century, the pope’s temporal power was significantly diminished, but his moral authority was on the rise."

His moral authority among whom? The temporal powers? The Church Universal? The bishops of Rome did have to make an adjustment with the loss of temporal power and of the papal states, but their claims regarding their authority over the Church Universal and of the world have not wavered. Thanks to advances in communications technology, it is now possible to implement an ultramontanist model of the papacy, with the bishop of Rome as the teacher of the world and of the Church Universal. But who is paying attention?

From the interview:
CWR: Each of these popes confronted the problems of modernity in unique ways. Do you think any of them were particularly successful, or any particularly unsuccessful?

Shaw: The pontificate of Pope St. Paul VI was in some ways a tragic story. Paul certainly engaged the big issues of his times and received an enthusiastic response at first—the reaction to his famous “no more war” United Nations speech illustrates that—but the good feelings and the enthusiasm came to an ugly end with the vicious reaction to Humane Vitae and its reaffirmation of the condemnation of contraception. Pope Paul has been vindicated by events since then, but at the time he was widely written off.

Does Shaw address the disastrous liturgical reform that took place under Paul VI?
CWR: The Second Vatican Council gets its own chapter in this book. What is different about Vatican II’s approach to “the crisis of modernity” from that of the two popes of Vatican II, Sts. John XXIII and Paul VI?

Shaw: As a matter of fact, I see more similarities than dissimilarities between Vatican II and the popes you mention. Gaudium et Spes, the Constitution on the Church in the Modern World, is often criticized for being too optimistic, taking too sunny a view of the modern world, and I suppose there is some of that in its rhetoric. But the Council also saw many grievous problems and abuses in modern times, and it wasn’t hesitant in pointing them out. And the same might be said of the popes. All three—the Council, John XXIII, and Paul VI—were shrewd observers and serious critics of the world around them.

Maybe Vatican II did recognize some of the problems afflicting the "modern" world. But have Latins attempted to do anything else besides lecture and issue documents? In the war between Church and State, the Roman Catholic Church lost when it attempted to fight it on the world's terms, and it's losing now by relying upon outdated institutional practices that not only do not apply now, but never applied. Spiritual atrophy started long ago within the [Latin] [mono]episcopate, even if some think the "Catholic Counter-Reformation" was a moderate success.

More Than Just a Conclusion from Premises

Even if Latin liturgical progressives understand correctly that the context of the Eucharist is the gathered assembly, the ekklesia, and that a privately-celebrated Mass is a less than ideal substitute for this, Massimo Faggioli went too far with his tweet, even if he did delete it. As a Latin, does he feel the need to make reparation for his comment? Or has he transcended the need for all that medieval Latin stuff?

The grave blasphemy of Beans. Wherein Fr. Z rants and makes a constructive suggestion.

I do admit that Latin liturgical progressives go beyond the modest claim that I wrote in the first sentence of the post, and some of their exaggerations in the rejection of private Masses are wrong-headed. They should be addressing the claims of those who defend private Masses as a good norm, and not creating strawmen. For example, the necessity of priests saying Mass everyday, even if it has to be in private, for the sake of bringing the benefits of Christ's Sacrifice to the world--how should they respond to that?

On the topic of the Eucharist as sacrifice, we also have this piece: Easter Without Mass? by Douglas Farrow, in which Farrow gives competing views about the necessity of the current quarantine/lockdown in many parts of the United States. Farrow writes in explaining one view: "The temporal goods of life and health, even public health, do not override the mandate of the Church to offer sacrifice and oblation in every place." I'm not going to address either of the two views and try to come to a conclusion which is correct here. Rather, I'm more interested in this "necessity of offering sacrifice and oblation" as it is instantiated in the Eucharist of Christ in the Church.

The foundational Latin understanding of sacrifice as it relates to Christ is what is of importance in this debate for both sides. If the progressives want to reject the traditional Latin view, then let them do so in an intelligent way.

We can recognize that the Christian faithful are being deprived of "spiritual nourishment" without accepting the progressive agenda of liturgical reform and praxis, just as we can avoid exaggerated Latin beliefs of the necessity of multiplying Masses, private or otherwise.

Fr. Stephen Freeman on the Sacrifice of God

20200401 The Sacrifice of God from God With Us Online on Vimeo.

Not "Romantics" at Heart?

What would St. Maximos the Confessor and others who think like him of the sadness manifested by lovers who have to part from one another? Sinful? Not fully continent with respect to their emotions, like children, and unseemly in their tears? Can reason permit the expression of emotion out as a sign of how deeply united emotion is to love? Can we say that certain Christian models of the divisions of the soul are too "stoic"? Do we need to concern ourselves so much with the emotions per se, or with their healing and how they are united to agape?

A MV for 孫露: 『離別的車站』 coupled with clips from the Korean Movie, The Classic.

One More from Denysenko

The Most Pressing Question on the Diaconate

Frequently, important texts dictate the deacon’s exercise of ministry. Lumen Gentium authorizes deacons to preside at baptisms and the rite of marriage. The deacon reads the Gospel. Orthodox service books appoint certain texts and ritual actions to the deacon, so the deacon performs those specific roles.

The problem with the process is a lack of inquiry into ministerial gaps. The Church tends to view the priest/pastor as a minister of everything, except ordination. The priest/pastor not only presides, but is also expected to teach, preach, console, guide, heal, and pray. The administrative burden is heavy: represent, report, supervise, manage budgets, raise funds, and everyone’s favorite – lead meetings.

The seminary system sustains this model of the priest/pastor as minister of everything. Obtain competence in dogmatic theology and the fundamentals of liturgy, and then learn how to guide everyone and anyone through this life to God’s kingdom. Christians take this model for granted, and we shouldn’t mess with it, because parish vacancies depend on a steady supply of priest/pastors.
Should the deacon be prepared to assume the responsibilities for administration, especially with respect to finances, and almsgiving on behalf of the community? What other analogous duties are there to the original duties given to St. Stephen and others? Preaching the Gospel and perhaps teaching, or supervising the community's catechists. Whether it is necessary for the presbyter to have oversight may be up for debate, if the oversight is provided by the bishop (in the monoepiscopate model of church governance). And the question of the role of deacons should raise the issue of clerical continence, as we have already seen a debate on whether the current reality of "permanent deacons" in the Roman rite conforms to the norms of Roman Canon Law.

A properly formed deacon can share in the Church’s ministry of teaching, preaching, healing, consoling, praying, and administration. Online descriptions of diaconal service in Lutheran and Episcopalian Churches suggest that deacons and deaconesses engage service with breadth and depth. Most of us know what we cannot do – we cannot preside (unless a bishop or community asks deacons to preside for liturgies without a priest).

Why should deacons not be able to "lead" (not necessarily "preside") prayer or liturgical services that are not the Eucharist?

This notion of the sharing of the Church’s ministry is crucial. The priest/pastor presides, and much – not necessarily all of the rest – is shared with Christ’s body. It will be necessary to change the way we imagine ministry for an authentic renewal of the order of the deacon. The Church has to accept that deacons will anoint the sick, lead prayer, preside at some services (when a priest/pastor is unavailable), and represent the Church. Priests/pastors will have to learn to treat deacons as equals in Christ’s ministry – not as subordinates who are deficient in some way.
With regards to anointing of the sick, perhaps he is thinking that within Byzantine theology, the blessing of the oil and the physical anointing may be considered two different acts and the latter can be done separately by someone other than the priest. I have heard that this possibility has been discussed in Byzantine Catholic circles. But in such instances the anointing can done by even a layman? If so, then in an emergency when the presbyter or bishop cannot do it, why limit it to just ordained deacons? Just for the sake of appearances? In the context of a liturgical rite, what is the scripture or traditional justification for a deacon being able to minister holy unction? And if none exists, then how can it be justified that deacons but not laymen can do so in the case of emergency?

Are deacons "equals" in Christ's ministry? How so? Not with respect to some of their roles or duties. Presbyters may be expected to should some of the burden of administration if their communities do not have deacons. Deacons are collaborators in the building of the Kingdom, and they should be respected as such, but who has ultimate supervision of things pertaining to teaching? The bishop (or the presbyters). It may be that this sort of claim of "equal status" is tenable if one sees both presbyters and deacons as being subordinate to the bishop (which I don't think Denysenko would deny), but that is the monoepiscopate model.

Two from Denysenko

Degrees of Active Participation in the Liturgy
Eucharistic Living without the Eucharist

Fr. Rutler on Holy Week

Crisis Magazine: Why Holy Week Is Holy by Fr. George W. Rutler

As one might expect, the essay does link our current circumstances and the circumstances of Manhattan with the meaning of Holy Week. But I was somewhat surprised to see him include this paragraph:
When Pope Francis was elected, there were naïfs who confused hope with optimism, and they expected a “Francis Effect” that would bring new life and vigor to a decaying culture. The decay has in fact worsened. Following some positive indications during the pontificate of Pope Benedict XVI, church attendance has dwindled, and so have seminaries and convents. Between 2013 and 2018, on all continents save Africa and Asia, priestly vocations shrank about eight percent and there are 52,000 fewer women religious and 4,000 fewer male religious as a result. But as Pope Francis stood alone in Saint Peter’s Square, which was as empty as many churches in the West, and the rain poured, there was a magnificent sound to the silence. It was as if the holy Voice was saying once again—this time, to a generation that has come to think of itself as a substitute for God and as lords of a New World Order whose shrines are in Silicon Valley and Brussels—“You have not chosen me. I have chosen you.”

Another Response to Vermeule

Adrian Vermeule’s Nosebleed by Thomas FitzGerald
Originalism has plenty of tools within itself to advance the common good.

Professor Vermeule can better serve the cause of Catholic integralism by pairing his laudable zeal for the natural law and for statecraft as soulcraft with a statesmanly rhetorical restraint in better accord with sensibilities shaped over centuries by the democratic republican traditions of America’s providential constitution. I would respectfully suggest to the learned professor that if he continues to puckishly troll the American democratic and scholarly publics with visions of an authoritarian bureaucracy that suppresses all vices, the integralist project he has seemingly made his life’s work risks being the work of a hero with a tragic flaw—an admirably pious and zealous, impressively clever, scorchingly witty, but recklessly imprudent crusader for Christendom who “violently bloweth his nose, and bringeth out blood.”

The question to be asked of integralists: "How many divisions do you have?" Do they realize they have no political power to implement their "ideals" at the national level or even at the state level? If we need political theorists doing intellectual work, it's to continue the work of Aristotle and the localists, and to look for concrete solutions to oligarchy in specific places.

Interview with Fr. Julian Carron