Tuesday, June 3, 2014

SUPERFICIAL CATHOLICISM OF THE KUMBAYA ERA


A caricature of 1970's trendy and superficial Catholicism can be summed up in two songs, both touchy-feely and both extremely superficial but both regularly sung at Mass in the 1970's. Both are caricatures of that era, the hippie generation, the drop out generation, the flower power generation.

People my age and older either remember it with their stomach's churning at its superficial Utopianism  and immature sentimentality or they remember it fondly as it brings them back to the past and the happiness of the drug induced euphoria of that age.

The first is Kumbaya My Lord and this was best accompanied by holding hands. I won't print the words, but they are simple and superficial enough to recall.

The second is "We Are One in the Spirit" which I will print.

I wonder if these songs and songs like them and people who have embraced them as young, immature people who now approaching their 60's and 70's are still stuck in that immaturity and sentimentality as it concerns the hard truths of Catholicism?

I wonder how many Catholics formed exclusively on this tripe in the 1970's and unfortunately beyond, still believe what the Catholic Church teaches in all areas, without cherry picking like in a cafeteria only that which they like and makes them feel warm and fuzzy?

It strikes me that the following song is Pelagian and seems to forget that loving can be an atheistic characteristic or apply to any of the great religions of the world. Christians have no monopoly here. It is a human trait because we are made in the image and likeness of God regardless of our religion.

It strikes me too, that our way of loving is what gets us into heaven, our works rather than God's action. So apart from its superficiality and ethnocentric sentiments in implying that love is what makes people know we are Christians when they could be atheists, Jews, Hindus or members of the Kiwanis Club.  

These are the words:

We are one in the Spirit
We are one in the Lord
We are one in the Spirit
We are one in the Lord
And we pray that all unity
May one day be restored

And they'll know we are Christians
By our love, By our love
Yes, they'll know we are Christians
By our love

We will walk with each other
We will walk hand in hand
We will walk with each other
We will walk hand in hand
And together we'll spread the news
That God is in our land

And they'll know we are Christians
By our love, By our love
Yes, they'll know we are Christians
By our love

All praise to the Father
From whom all things come
And all praise to Christ Jesus His only son
And all praise to the Spirit
Who makes us one

And they'll know we are Christians
By our love, By our love
Yes, they'll know we are Christians
By our love.

82 comments:

Robert Kumpel said...

"I wonder how many Catholics formed exclusively on this tripe in the 1970's and unfortunately beyond, still believe what the Catholic Church teaches in all areas, without cherry picking like in a cafeteria only that which they like and makes them feel warm and fuzzy?"

No need to wonder Father. Just come to the average parish (I can think of one in particular) and remind everyone to wait until they are outside to chat. Or preach a homily about the evils of artificial birth control or in vitro fertilization. Or worse yet, announce that you will offer a Traditional Latin Mass once a month. Before you can shake the first hand after Mass, there will already be a petition drive underway to get you transferred.

However, tickle their ears with whatever they want to hear, and you'll have a cushy, lifetime parish assignment.

Anonymous said...

Is there a petition drive underway at St Joseph's?

Robert Kumpel said...

St. Joseph's is NOT your average parish.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

To sing the Pelagian "We are one in the Spirit?" Not that I know of? Do you know something?

BTW, on what grounds is "We are one in the Spirit" Pelagian or heretical (parts of it?)

Pater Ignotus said...

None is Pelagian.

Anonymous said...

Just a rumor, I guess.

Anonymous said...

I find it disheartening that you use your blog to take shots at men who, like you, have dedicated their lives to serving God through the priesthood. Both Father Dawid (in an earlier blog entry) and Father Cuddy deserve better treatment than to be mocked in your blog.

Catholic said...

Heretical or not, the song you posted is incorrect. If we were "one in Spirit... one in the Lord," there would be no need to pray that "one day unity might be restored."

As it is, the Church is one and undivided. The Church is unified. Yet, there are groups and individuals who have chosen to separate themselves from the Church. This didn't change the ontology of the Church. It merely changes those people's status vis-à-vis the Church: that is, they are outside of the Church. The song would do better to pray that heretics and schismatics set aside their errors and return to the fold so that they can experience the unity of the faith.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Eh? Fr. Dawid and I had and have a very good relationship and the two of us being of European origin understood each other very well and shared the same sense of humor. Those who attend Mass here know that very well. The same with Msgr. Cuddy who was quite able to see how trite some of the songs he liked were. He had a great sense of humor too.
So all I can say is that your ax to grind would be better spent on e who don't uphold the teachings of the Church. As Pope Francis has said over and over again, you can't love Christ without loving the Church and anyone who worships anyone other than Christ worships the devil. His words not mine, so take your frustrations out on him not me.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

I'm not sure if the song is completely heretical or Pelagian, but it is a lie. The Church is divided especially today, but also and most especially in the 1970's when this song was used as a tool to make believe we were one in the Spirit; one in the Lord and they would know us by our love, love, love. What trash.

The Church is a field hospital for sinners, but no amount of medication and healing will help if the sinner doesn't believe one iota that her sin is a sin and thus the need for forgiveness and healing and a new life.

The song is also a brag and narcissistic. Let's look in the mirror and be pleased with what we see and how we are so beautiful. Ugh!

Pater Ignotus said...

The Church is not divided. (Talk about heresy!) The Church is ONE, and will always be ONE.

There are divisions among the members of the Church, but that does not diminish or change the unity of the Church.

CCC 813 "The Church is one because of her source: "the highest exemplar and source of this mystery is the unity, in the Trinity of Persons, of one God, the Father and the Son in the Holy Spirit." The Church is one because of her founder: for "the Word made flesh, the prince of peace, reconciled all men to God by the cross, . . . restoring the unity of all in one people and one body." The Church is one because of her "soul": "It is the Holy Spirit, dwelling in those who believe and pervading and ruling over the entire Church, who brings about that wonderful communion of the faithful and joins them together so intimately in Christ that he is the principle of the Church's unity."Unity is of the essence of the Church..."

Next you will be telling us that, because of the sin of some of the members, the Church is not Holy...

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

I doubt that We Are One in the Spirit intended to reflect that teaching, it is too touchy freely.

Pater Ignotus said...

Read the Catechism again: "It is the Holy Spirit, dwelling in those who believe and pervading and ruling over the entire Church, who brings about that wonderful communion of the faithful and joins them together so intimately in Christ that he is the principle of the Church's unity."

It is the HOLY SPIRIT... who joins them together....he is the principle of the Church's unity.

Yes, We Are one in the Spirit.

John Nolan said...

Pater Ignotus

'None is Pelagian'. Does the same apply to Prime, Terce and Sext?

Gene said...

Ignotus, saying "we are one in the spirit" is quite different from saying "the Spirit makes us one."

The first does, indeed, imply man's initiative and is, therefore, somewhat Pelagian. The initiative comes from God.

Pater Ignotus said...

Pin/Gene - Why does "We are one in the Spirit" imply that the initiative does not come from God?

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

A non narcissistic version of this song that would eliminate the haughty self indulgent aspects of this song would be:

God's love has made us one in the Holy Spirit, yes his grace has made us one in the Holy Spirit and they'll know we are Christians by our repentance and God's forgiveness, yes, they'll know we are Christians by our repentance and God's forgiveness which is love, which is love yes God is love!

Joseph Johnson said...

Fr.McDonald,
You forgot couple of other well-worn chestnuts of that better-to-forget era: "Blowin' in the Wind" (a 60's "folk" song made church song) and "Sons of God":
Sons of God, hear His Holy Word,

Gather 'round the table of the Lord,

Eat His Body, drink His Blood and our life has just begun,

Allelu! Allelu! Allelu! Alleluia!

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Joseph just when my old age was helping me to forget those songs which my parish Sanford in the 60's, you had to recall them for me! Please go to Confession!

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Auto spell check is going to do me in! My parish sang in the 60's!

Anon friend said...

Or, my personal favorite for a Communion hymn:

Let us break bread together on our knees,
Let us break bread together on our knees,
When I fall on my knees with my face to the rising sun,
O, Lord, have mercy on me.

Joseph Johnson said...

Fr. McDonald,

It is my childhood and teenage memories of songs such as these (which we made fun of back at that time as being very "hokey") juxtaposed against decent older vernacular hymns such as "O Lord I am not worthy," "To Jesus Christ our Sovereign King" and "Holy God, we praise Thy Name," that even then made me gravitate toward the older ways and practices, paying closer attention to them. When I was 9 (and a proudly uniformed Cub Scout) in 1970 I just couldn't understand why the older (teenaged) kids in bellbottoms, sideburns, miniskirts and "go-go" boots liked that "folk" stuff!

By the time I first encountered the Tridentine (EF) Mass in a conscious way (full, active and conscious anyone?) in my early 30's I was ready to know more. It has never been the same for me ever since that time. I really mean what I say when I prefer to forget all the hokey stuff that was coming into the Catholic Church in the 60's and 70's and, unfortunately this "tradition" seems to be alive and well today in many American parishes. It's just now they use commercially printed disposable missalettes from which to propagate and sing this stuff rather than the ammonia-scented purply-blue blurry lettered mimeographed song sheets that were literally churned out in the secretary's office at our local K through 8 parochial school.

Heck, I even have a pastor who insists on beginning each homily with a verse or two of his favorite "Glory and Praise" song (a somewhat later incarnation of the same musical "tradition"). But at least he did give a homily last week on a certain "creeping fundamentalism" in the Catholic Church. I don't think he was talking about mass foot washings on Holy Thursday, though . .

Robert Kumpel said...

Joseph:

"Sons of God" is the very first song I ever heard at my very first "folk" Mass. Its insipid melody haunts me to this day. I think I would rather watch a video of a messy surgery than hear that awful song ever again.

Fr John said...

I rather like 'we are one in the spirit' and always have - it is certainly not heretical in any way, what a totally ridiculous suggestion! Catholics believe that all people are one under the holy spirit (whether they believe or realise it, or not) similar to ?Rahner's thesis of the anonymous Christian.

Father McD, have you become temporarily unstable due to the Macon college difficulties.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

No Fr. John, not the Macon college thing that is making me unstable but the resurgence of American 1970's mentality concerning the Church music and its, how shall I say it, blather, which evidently affects you in GB. How sad!

Gene said...

Ignotus, Because it does.

Anonymous said...

I remember as a teenager going to my first folk Mass. At first I enjoyed it and the songs were pretty mild compared to the stuff posted here which came later - after my first two or three I started to become bored and it became a struggle to attend Sunday Mass. I think that must be what afflicts the young people today who have stopped attending Mass. Really, it is an assault on people's intelligence to expect them to sit through repetitive nursery rhymes like that and the Mass is better without any music at all if this is all the music group can or wants to provide.
Jan

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

"We Are One is the Spirit" is like a nursery rhyme in many respects, but it is also a genre of hymns which is devotional in quality and really should not be sung at Mass (although in devotional or private and public pieties, I'd give it a pass.

It is like Gather Us In and "We are called we are chosen" and All are Welcome. The focus is almost (not exclusively) me or us centered. It is about the Church and singing about the baptized. This is the antithesis of worship (sacrifice) where God is the focus.

Compare the words of "Praise God From Whom All Blessings Flow" to "We Are One in the Spirit" or "All are Welcome" and you will see what I means.

Liturgical music for the Mass is not hymns, but the propers and the parts of the Mass,the entire Mass, including the readings. Hymns are add ons and filler but completely unnecessary for the Mass.

But when hymns are chosen, they should match the theology and spirituality of the Mass which is to worship God and even the style of music should be taken into consideration so that it isn't similar to what one might hear in a piano bar or on Broadway (in terms of melody).

Anonymous said...

Still no word from Pater Ignotus on the MDS situation.

qwikness said...

How about, "I am the Bread of Life...And I will Raise you up, On the last day."
Ugh, I had to suffer through that song for so long. Saccharin.

Pater Ignotus said...

"We Are One in the Spirit" contains nothing heretical. You may not like it, but to suggest that it contains heresy and then to give no evidence to back up the charge is nothing more than silliness.

The text correctly notes that the Spirit is the source of the unity of the Church. "We are one in the Spirit," not in ourselves, not in our efforts, not in our anything...

The text repeats the prayer of Jesus that we may be one.

The text echoes the teaching of John 13:35, "By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another."

The text reminds us of the call to preach the Good News to the ends of the earth.

The text offers praise to God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

There's nothing heretical there.

Gene said...

In the statement, "We are one in the spirit," spirit is predicated upon "we." In proper theology and Christology, God's initiative is never predicated upon any determination of being. It may seem a minor issue, but in the theological context of neo-protestantism and modernist Catholicism it is a problem. We should teach ourselves and others coming along to use theological language carefully and precisely. Hence, "the Spirit makes us one" is better than, "we are one in the Spirit."
Just like that terrible BS, "they will know we are Christians by our love." That is not how they will know we are Christians…they will know it by the fact that we confess Christ as Saviour and believe that He is who He says He is…and we are not ashamed to say we believe in His resurrection and His Real Presence in the Eucharist when we are asked, Ignotus.

John Nolan said...

Gene & Co.

We don't want songs anyway. The word song has been debased by its association with pop culture. We want the Roman Rite with the chant that developed with it, plus the contribution made by later composers who knew what they were doing.

Pater Ignotus, with his hermeneutic of rupture based on the premise that V2 set the seal on a new 'ecclesiology' which is reflected in a new liturgy, plus his reluctance to challenge any of the liberal excesses of which he is undoubtedly aware, is increasingly proof positive that adherence to the classic Roman Rite is the only sensible option.

I shall be sorry to jettison the Novus Ordo altogether, since there are some good things in it and it can be celebrated in a dignified and objective manner (although it rarely is). If one took PI seriously he would be an excellent recruiting sergeant for the SSPX.

Pater Ignotus said...

Pin/Gene - Actually . . .

In the sentence "We are one in the Spirit"

"We" is the subject of the clause "We are one..."

"are" is the verb of the clause

"one" is a pronoun functioning as the subject complement noun

"in the Spirit" is a prepositional phrase which functions as an adjective modifying "one"

"in" is the preposition

"the" is adjective modifier

and "Spirit" is the determiner of the prepositional phrase

Thus, the link you suggest between "We" and "spirit" is not correct.

Henry said...

I agree, John. I am devoted to the OF properly celebrated, because it has wonderful though as yet unfulfilled potential. But those on this blog who defend every aberration that plagues it in typical parish practice, are truly its worst enemies. Whatever is intended by their defense of the indefensible, they are actually doing all they can to forestall the reform of OF ars celebranda that is necessary to make it be all it can, for the glory of God and the enrichment of His people. I can only pray that they will fail in doing this work of the Devil.

Gene said...

Ignotus, the statement "We are one in the Spirit" predicates the action of the Spirit upon the we…the human initiative. It is the overall tone of the silly song and the theology behind it.

Anonymous 2 said...

Gene and Pater Ignotus:

Not to point out the obvious, but the penultimate stanza contains the lines:

"And all praise to the Spirit
Who makes us one"

Doesn’t this suggest that Pater has the better of the argument on this interpretive point?

Gene said...

Anon 2, Not if you consider just the phrase in question. I am making a theological point which is rather important. All of these feel good songs are generally based upon pretty bad theology.

Gene said...

PS Not to mention the nonsense about "they'll know we are Christians by our love.."

Marc said...

The bigger problem here is that we aren't one in the Spirit because untold numbers of people have left the unity of the Church for erroneous doctrines and false teachings.

The song is a lie insofar as it proposes that those outside the Church are still somehow "one" with her unity.

Pater Ignotus said...

Marc - The song is not a lie.

We are one in the Spirit . . . And we pray that that all unity may one day be restored.

The Church is one, in the Spirit, who is the source of unity. (CCC 813 "It is the Holy Spirit, dwelling in those who believe and pervading and ruling over the entire Church, who brings about that wonderful communion of the faithful and joins them together so intimately in Christ that he is the principle of the Church's unity."Unity is of the essence of the Church...")

Yet we know that the unity is imperfect. CCC 817 "In fact, "in this one and only Church of God from its very beginnings there arose certain rifts, which the Apostle strongly censures as damnable. But in subsequent centuries much more serious dissensions appeared and large communities became separated from full communion with the Catholic Church - for which, often enough, men of both sides were to blame."

Our task is to seek the unity desired for us by Christ: CCC 822 "Concern for achieving unity "involves the whole Church, faithful and clergy alike." But we must realize "that this holy objective - the reconciliation of all Christians in the unity of the one and only Church of Christ - transcends human powers and gifts." That is why we place all our hope "in the prayer of Christ for the Church, in the love of the Father for us, and in the power of the Holy Spirit.'

John Nolan said...

Above all, it has no merit either poetically or musically. My own choice for worst-ditty-of-all-time is the following:-

Father we adore you
Lay our lives before you
How we love you

[repeat x2 substituting 'Jesus' and 'Spirit' for 'Father']

To call it infantile is to insult infants. It's not even 'Holy Spirit' - you might as well be talking about gin, which is appropriate since the reaction on hearing it of anyone with the slightest level of culture is to reach for the bottle.

Anonymous 2 said...

John Nolan:

I must protest I am afraid. In fact your post also provides the occasion for a general protest that perhaps I should have made some time ago.

The general protest first -- As I hope you recall, I am a liturgical pluralist, by which I mean that I accept as legitimate all liturgical forms approved by the Church. So, as long as they remain approved, I welcome and appreciate them all, from the TLM and Gregorian chant to folk masses. The reason is that people are different. And if we want to reach them spiritually, we may need to adapt our forms to do so, within the limits, as I say, of what is acceptable to the Church, including theologically acceptable.

Father McDonald and other priests may find some forms such as folk masses questionable, even theologically suspect, and refuse to celebrate them. That’s perfectly fine. I respect that. The Church accommodates their preferences. And perhaps one day the magisterium will take the same view as they do and ban such masses. Until that day comes, however, I have no problem with a reverently celebrated folk mass, such as the one we celebrated once a month at St. Josephs when Father Cuddy was pastor (for over thirty years before he retired and Father McDonald arrived), such as the one celebrated every week at Pater Ignotus’s parish, and such as the one celebrated every week at my parish in England (when I am visiting my old home there).

And now to the specific protest – When Father (now Monsignor) Cuddy was pastor at St Joseph’s, he ended each Mass with the type of little meditative song you mention, including the specific one you deride. Moreover, he never failed to mention God’s Love in every homily. If there was one overriding theme to his entire ministry, it was God’s unbounded Love. True, sometimes it seemed a little overdone but it was always endearing, and always inspiring. To be quite honest, uncultured as I obviously must be, sometimes I miss those days. What must seem even worse, sometimes I still sing these little songs to myself. They have become part of me (I am sure that must seem pathetic, but I am beyond caring if people think I am pathetic). In addition, Father Cuddy was beloved by the entire Macon community; and it is my sense that he brought more people into the Catholic Church from the Middle Georgia area than any other priest before or since (although I stand to be corrected with the exact statistics).

Was Father Cuddy perfect? No. As we all came to know, he had his demons – and he confronted them. Did he make some liturgical mistakes? Probably. But what he gave us was more than just infantile sentimentalism. He was a very saintly pastor, with a simple, childlike faith. And in my book there is nothing too much wrong with any of that.

Thank God the Church has room for fine priests like Father McDonald, who work to build up the Kingdom through the majesty of the liturgy and formal reverence. And thank God the Church has room for fine priests like Father Cuddy, who work to build up the Kingdom through saintly, childlike, and loving evangelization. And thank God the Church has room for fine priests like Pater Ignotus, who work to build up the Kingdom through teaching and preaching as effective as I have experienced in the Church. (I do not mean to suggest that they do not possess other particular attributes, but only that the ones I single out seem to me to be the most striking ones)

How do the sayings go: There are many gifts but the one Spirit? Be as little children?

Sorry, John, I don’t mean to pick on you specifically but you struck a raw nerve with that post.

Now watch people jump all over me (again). Or perhaps I will just be ignored. That may be the best course. =)

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

A2, what you describe is precisely the problem with the Church in the past 50 years, striving to accommodate people with what they want rather than what they need. Accommodation when it comes to the Gospel is watering it down. We are to accommodate ourselves to Christ and by his grace. What you describe is a liturgical Walmart where we give the customer what they want or else we might lose their business. Consumerism applied to the Church is corruption. We see it now with our moral teachings. Let us bend over backwards to accommodate the prevailing trends concerning sex and marriage--all of which are driven by non-Christian ideologues and ideologies, especially in the media, entertainment world and now politics. Corruption A2--pure and simple when we accommodate the world.
Go into the world but don't become a part of the world is what Jesus tells us.
Another word for accommodate which would be more accurate is appeasement, which I hear some English are good at doing.

Gene said...

A 2, Yeah, I think ignored is best...

Gail Finke said...

I loved that song... when I was eight.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Gail I did too and loved it for many years in the 1980's after i was ordained. I loved Chef Boyrdee's canned ravioli too when I was 8 but not today. It is good to grow and not get stuck in any period of immaturity, including music. Although I still like "Row, Row Row your boat.." but not at Mass.

Anonymous 2 said...

Father McDonald:

I suppose I am in the invidious position of defending the TLM to those “progressives” who object to its reintroduction into the mainstream life of the Church, and of defending reverently celebrated folk masses (but not “clown masses” I hasten to add) to those “traditionalists” who want to eliminate them and regard them with suspicion or even contempt. This is similar to being in the invidious position of defending Catholic teaching on homosexuality to those who do not understand it, which I do outside the confines of this Blog, and of trying to further understanding of the existential situation of homosexuals, which I do here on the Blog. So, as I have said before I am used to being attacked from both sides.

I try to take my cue from the Church, the Holy Father, and the magisterium. So, I must ask you a question: Did Pope John Paul II disapprove of reverently celebrated folk masses? Did Pope Benedict? Does Pope Francis? Is there some other magisterial document specifically disapproving of them? I do understand that interpretation of the relevant Vatican II documents is controverted.

You do not approve of folk masses, however celebrated. As I said, that is fine. Of course, I respect your judgment and your reasons for it. But are those priests who do allow such masses bad priests? Are parishioners who attend and appreciate them bad Catholics? Can a priest be a bad priest and can a parishioner be a bad Catholic for worshipping in a liturgical form that is permitted by the Church?

Is it necessarily catering to people’s “wants” to celebrate a folk mass? Come to that, why isn’t it sometimes catering to their “wants” to offer the TLM – do you really know the inner motivations of all those who attend a TLM?

But, of course, what really got to me here was John’s implied, but unknowing and innocent, attack on Father Cuddy. As you probably suspect, I tend to be a very loyal person, and consequently I will come to the defense of those whom I respect when I think they are being unfairly criticized or attacked. Indeed, if you recall, assuming you were able to read the relevant posts, I have done this in your case too. What would you have me do; stand by and just watch when this sort of thing happens?

As for the swipe about appeasement, I assume you are referring to the unjustified and uninformed attacks on Neville Chamberlain. John Nolan answered you all very effectively on this point a few threads ago, although I cannot quickly find his comment. I wish I had copied it. Matters are rarely as simple as coloring book history (or coloring book anything else) makes them out to be.




John Nolan said...

Anon 2

I'm reminded of Noel Coward's remark - 'Never underestimate the power of cheap music'. A couple of years ago I attended a Mass where the Gloria consisted of a trite little refrain by Dan Schutte, repeated three or four times (just the refrain, mind you, not the rest of this ancient hymn), and it was days before I could get the wretched tune out of my head.

It's not that the so-called 'folk Mass' is illegitimate or irreverent. In fact the music is usually just an add-on to what is in effect a said Mass. The complaint is that in parish after parish after parish this is the ONLY genre of music to which people are exposed, whether they like it or not. They will never hear Gregorian Chant, which is the music proper to the Roman Rite, and apart from the odd 19th century hymn, nothing that was written before 1965.

I may be a Chant singer and a music-lover who can't simply leave his critical faculties in the church porch, but this doesn't make me a better Catholic, and I don't want to cast aspersions. That practice should be confined to the start of High Mass on Sundays. You are no doubt aware that the early Mass on a Sunday morning which has no singing is known in England as the music-lover's Mass!

Anonymous 2 said...

Father McDonald:

I have now located John Nolan’s comment about Chamberlain. On May 30 at 11:44 a.m. he responded to Gene on the thread “How Does a Catholic Middle and High School etc.”

Gene had said (at 7:34 a.m. I think in response to me):

“The Church needs to reject the State's definition of marriage and combat it because the State will use it as a weapon against the church. Have you not yet figured out that we are at war? We are also losing because the Church seems to be populated with Neville Chamberlains? The State has already raised the black flag and declared "no quarter." We should do the same.”

John replied:

“Gene, Neville Chamberlain did actually declare war on Nazi Germany on 3 September 1939. The USA remained neutral until attacked by Japan in December 1941, and it was Germany that declared war on the United States, not the other way round.

Chamberlain also began rearmament in 1937. It is true that 'appeasement' which had positive connotations at the time has since acquired a pejorative meaning, and no British Prime Minister has since appeared in public carrying an umbrella. But to use his name as an archetype for spineless passivity does him a severe injustice.”

P.S. I carry an umbrella sometimes but have no prospect of becoming Prime Minister. =)


Anonymous 2 said...

Father McDonald:

I have now located John Nolan’s comment about Chamberlain. On May 30 at 11:44 a.m. he responded to Gene on the thread “How Does a Catholic Middle and High School etc.”

Gene had said (at 7:34 a.m. I think in response to me):

“The Church needs to reject the State's definition of marriage and combat it because the State will use it as a weapon against the church. Have you not yet figured out that we are at war? We are also losing because the Church seems to be populated with Neville Chamberlains? The State has already raised the black flag and declared "no quarter." We should do the same.”

John replied:

“Gene, Neville Chamberlain did actually declare war on Nazi Germany on 3 September 1939. The USA remained neutral until attacked by Japan in December 1941, and it was Germany that declared war on the United States, not the other way round.

Chamberlain also began rearmament in 1937. It is true that 'appeasement' which had positive connotations at the time has since acquired a pejorative meaning, and no British Prime Minister has since appeared in public carrying an umbrella. But to use his name as an archetype for spineless passivity does him a severe injustice.”

P.S. I carry an umbrella sometimes but have no prospect of becoming Prime Minister. =)

Anonymous said...

Anon 2 - Ah, but ALL matters are simple to those with simple minds...

Gene said...

"Peace in our time." Well, he got it, but at what cost?
He really hadn't much choice but to declare war on Germany, now did he?

John Nolan said...

Gene: Sorry, old boy, you're right on a lot of things, but history is not your strong suit. Nazi Germany was not a direct threat to the UK any more than she was to the USA. In fact Hitler admired the British Empire and wanted to keep it intact, unlike the Americans who wanted to destroy it and impose their own world hegemony.

This is a strange anomaly, partly explained by the fact that Americans liked to regard themselves as victims of colonial oppression who threw off the imperial yoke, rather than the beneficiaries of colonialism who then went on to colonize an entire continent - which is of course imperialism although referred to as 'manifest destiny'. How else can you explain FDR's delusion that the British Empire and not the Soviet Union would pose the greater threat to world peace after the War, which led him to side with Stalin against Churchill?

Nor did Chamberlain say 'peace in our time'. In fact he quoted Disraeli who used the phrase 'peace for our time' on returning from the Congress of Berlin in 1878. Whether or not Chamberlain bought time for further rearmament is debatable, since the Germans were rearming as well. But there is a factor that most Americans ignore. In the First World War the Dominion troops (Australians and Canadians in particular) made a contribution to the Allied victory out of all proportion to their actual populations. In contrast, the Americans who entered the conflict in 1917 but were inexplicably slow to mobilize, were unable to make a similar contribution before the war ended. When Englishmen in the 1930s referred to 'the Empire' they were thinking first and foremost of the self-governing white Dominions, whose contribution to the war effort was deemed essential. It is by no means certain that their governments would have gone to war unless they were convinced that the British government had exhausted every avenue for peace.



Anonymous 2 said...

Gene:

Please read all of John’s comment and don’t be silly. On the varying judgments about appeasement, this will get you started (probably in more than one sense =)):

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Appeasement

Gene said...

John,
Well, then, how do you explain the fact that Hitler had contingency plans for an invasion of Britain back in the 30's? How about all the planning for an invasion of Britain? How about Hitler telling an aid after a meeting with the Brits in the early 30's that, "Churchill is the man we will have to worry about(from"The Last Lion")." How about Churchill's constant warnings about Hitler and Nazi Germany, going back to the early 30's ("A Hun alive is a war in prospect.") Maybe we just read different history. I agree about our sorry showing in WWI.

Had Britain and Czechoslovakia gone to war against Hitler, even as late as '38, they could have defeated him easily. Instead they did nothing, the Czechs simply handing Hitler the keys to Prague and the veritable bonanza of weapons and weapons factories in that country….while the French were standing around just waiting to throw their hands in the air.

Gene said...

Also, John, one of your own premiere historians, Max Hastings, in his book, "Inferno:The World at War," he quotes Tory MP Leo Amery thusly when Chamberlain refused to have the RAF bomb German targets after the attack on Poladn, "Loathing war passionately,he was determined to wage as little of it as possible."
Chamberlain was also responsible for the abandonment of the Norwegians and the French, for God' sake, in the battle for Norway, pulling Brit troops out in the middle of the fight with not so much as a warning.
Hastings assessment, "The (Norwegian) campaign's most important consequence was that it precipitated the fall of Chamberlain….it is overwhelmingly likely that he would have retained office as Prime minister…the consequences of such an outcome for Britain and for the world would have been catastrophic because his government would likely have chosen a negotiated peace with Hitler." (from "Inferno, chap. 3, pp. 43-52)

So much for my ill-informed grasp of WW II history.

Gene said...

Now, all you lurkers and observers of the blog (amnd commentators, too) re-read some of Anon 2's posts on here and imagine going to war against Hitler and the most powerful and ruthless army ever fielded on the planet to that point with someone like Anon 2 leading you. Think about it and you will have the situation in Britain in 1939 under Chamberlain.
Even Ignotus would be better…at least he is bristling with anger which means he has stones, even If I don't like him that much. If he got mad enough he would probably at least fight….then feel really guilty about it later. LOL!

Gene said...

John Nolan, I also find it interesting that revisionist historians are falling over themselves trying to apologize for Chamberlain and turn him into some kind of hero, while disparaging Churchhill, probably the greatest man of the 20th century, who saved Western civilization from tyranny. I understand he is hardly mentioned in the schools over there. Shame!

Gene said...

And, Anon2, is wikipedia really your primary source? Do you use it as a legal reference, as well?

John Nolan said...

Gene
Britain in the 1930s suffered from the worst strategic overstretch in modern history. It must have been a nightmare for defence planners. By 1938 she faced a hostile coalition of Germany, Japan and Italy with armed forces which were hardly fit for purpose. The Royal Navy was still marginally the largest in the world but was crucially short of escorts to counter a German U-Boat threat and had only eight capital ships, compared with around sixty in 1914. The army had only one armoured division (in Egypt) and the RAF, which had done better than the other two services out of the limited inter-war defence budget, had too many different types of machine and had embraced a doctrine of strategic airpower without the means of implementing it.

In 1938 France had the strongest army in Europe and unlike Britain, had an alliance with Czechoslovakia. The Czechs would have fought, and the Wehrmacht could not have defeated them without leaving the back door open for France to invade. The German General Staff were acutely aware that the Wehrmacht was not yet in a position to deal with Czechoslovakia and France simultaneously and had Hitler persisted we now know that there were plans to topple him. So in retrospect had Britain and France issued an ultimatum in 1938 World War II might not have happened.

However, hindsight always over- simplifies matters. For a start, the French would have had to go on the offensive more or less straight away, and memories of the disastrous offensives of 1914 were still fresh. The French strategic concept was therefore a defensive one. Czechoslovakia was regarded as a manufactured country with internal tensions which threatened to break it up. German propaganda had the effect of convincing people that the Wehrmacht was stronger than it actually was. After the Locarno Treaty it could be argued that Germany's eastern frontiers could be changed by negotiation. Poland supported the Munich agreement. And so on. In the event the Czechs were sold out.

By the way, Hitler, chancer though he was, was never convinced that an invasion of England (or Ireland) was a practical proposition since the Royal Navy controlled the sea approaches. He saw Britain as the main enemy but sought to force her to come to terms a) by cutting her Atlantic lifeline and b) by knocking out the Soviet Union, her last potential ally. The British defeat of the U-Boat campaign, for which much credit must go to the code-breakers at Bletchley Park, was decisive.

Gene said...

Indeed so, John. The Czechs and the Norwegians were sold out. But, under someone like Churchill, the RAF would have bombed German targets and Norway would never have been sold out.

Yes, Hitler put on a good bluff such that he was able to buy time. Once he had Czechoslovakia, he had the resources to build the Wehrmacht to the formidable force it ultimately became. Yes, hindsight is 20/20 however one does wonder how things might have gone had Sir Winston been PM at the time.

John Nolan said...

Gene, there is no arguing that Churchill was a better wartime PM than Chamberlain. The decision to withdraw British and French troops from central Norway which triggered the 'Norway debate' in the Commons was a joint decision of the Allies made on 28 April 1940. Churchill was soon to oversee a far more significant and humiliating evacuation at Dunkirk. What scuppered the Norwegian expedition was lack of air cover, and the inconvenient fact that the enemy turned up.

As First Lord of the Admiralty Churchill endorsed the Norwegian campaign, and of course had to defend its conduct in the debate.


Anonymous 2 said...

Gene:

I thought that the Wikipedia reference would get you started (in more than one sense), and I was right.

And, true to form, when you are backed into a corner, as you are again here, you resort to ad hominem attacks that sarcastically seek to belittle those who disagree with you. From now on I think I will call you Doug.

Gene said...

Anon 2, I am not backed into a corner. I provided plenty of information to support my statements, even a reference which I am sure is better than wiki.

John Nolan said...

'The RAF would have bombed German targets and Norway would never have been sold out.'

At that stage of the war daylight bombing was near-suicidal and night bombing hopelessly inaccurate. Bomber Command's most effective role in the Norwegian campaign was mine-laying. During the eight-month 'Sitzkrieg' the RAF's leaflet-dropping over Germany has been much ridiculed, but it did give crews practice in night navigation over enemy territory, and had they dropped bombs it would, let's face it, have been just as ineffective.

It's easy to be an armchair strategist, especially three-quarters of a century after the event.

This thread was originally about liturgical music. We seem to have gone down a rabbit-hole of Alice-in-Wonderland dimensions.

Gene said...

Yes, John, you are correct…and Anon 2 started the thread drift on June 5 at 8:26 PM. LOL!

Pater Ignotus said...

Pin/Gene - I would not lead (or follow) anyone into war. I registered as a Conscientious Objector while in college, as there was talk in those years of reinstating the draft.

Now, I can see you frantically searching for a White Feather to pin to my lapel. Just know that I will wear it with pride and a very clear conscience.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

As we puff the magic dragon, let us all hold hands and sing "Kumbaya my Lord, Kumbaya! Kumbaya my Lord, kubaya! Kumbaya my Lord, Kumbaya, O Lord, Kumbaya.

And now a second rousing verse, brothers and sisters of the flower power generation:

Kumbaya no more, Kumbaya! Kumbaya no more, Kumbaya! Kumbaya no more, Kumbaya! No more, Kumbaya!

John Nolan said...

Pater Ignotus

Conscientious objector or not, I trust you would have been one of those Catholic padres who served in the front line in both world wars in order to provide spiritual comfort and sacramental absolution to their men. It is estimated that their bravery and devotion in the Great War led to 40,000 conversions in the British and Commonwealth forces, despite the persistent anti-Catholic ethos in the Anglo-Saxon world at the time.

I would prefer not to think of you circa 1967 lying on your back, flower in ear, strumming anti-war ditties on your guitar while your countrymen were dying in Vietnam, simply because in your private judgement the war was wrong.

Pater Ignotus said...

John - In 1967 I was nine years old, so there is a fair chance that I was climbing trees, playing stickball in the street, and riding my Schwinn Typhoon (green) as far as my legs would take me.

The War in Vietnam was an evil proxy war that accomplished nothing good. It was a failure from the beginning of "French Indochina" in the late 1800's until the last American helicopter left the roof of the US Embassy in April 1975.

The days of colonialism were fast coming to an end in the late 1800's, but politicians in France threw caution to the wind and tried to expand European hegemony yet again to a portion of the world where they had no business.



Anonymous 2 said...

Wrong again, Gene. Father McDonald began the theme with a gratuitously sarcastic comment about appeasement at 4:59 a.m. on June 5, 2014, presumably to convey some sense of guilt by association. Then, perhaps unwisely, I responded to the provocation.

John Nolan said...

PI, was the Korean War an 'evil proxy war?' It was fought for the same reason as was Vietnam, i.e. 'containment'.

Did the Europeans have any business being anywhere but in Europe? In which case, what are you doing in America?

Pater Ignotus said...

John Nolan - The "Domino Theory" as a pretense for war in SE Asia is long since discredited.

The Korean War was primarily the result of the division of that country at the end of WW2. And it was the Allies, not the Koreans, who did the dividing.

The incursion by N Korean forces, supported by China and the Soviet Union, into the South was met by Korean forces, supported by the UN and, primarily, American personnel and armaments.

Yes, it was another proxy war between Superpowers.

John Nolan said...

PI, once again half a question answered and the main question not addressed. The USA was not looking for an excuse to go to war in Korea; in fact they were unprepared for it and in the initial stages performed dismally (certain units excepted).

I'm not sure what you mean by 'colonialism' since the United States owes its existence to it. Otherwise you'd still be in Ireland (or more likely England). I expect it's a symptom of the hypocrisy of white Americans who cheerfully castigate Europeans (from whom they are descended)for doing what they themselves have always done.

The 'scramble for Africa' didn't even start until the 1880s, when according to you the days of colonialism were fast coming to an end. At about the same time the last vestiges of 'native American' culture were being extirpated in the land of the free and the home of the brave.

Anonymous 2 said...

Gene:

I now have a little more time to respond:

(1) Sources can be used according to purpose. One would not generally cite Wikipedia in a scholarly paper. But it can serve as a useful “quick and dirty” source in discussions such as these, depending on the particular purpose. Note that my particular purpose here was to problematize what I consider to be simplistic views of Neville Chamberlain and the policy of “appeasement.” In this the Wikipedia entry does admirable service as it canvasses a range of competing views. As I said, it is something to “get you started.”

If you want something more specific (in addition of course to John Nolan’s knowledgeable disquisitions) I can cite you to the books on Chamberlain and Churchill by John Charmley. Now, of course, I know these are controversial, and you yourself cleverly launch a preemptive strike against “revisionist” historians, perhaps knowing what was coming. Nevertheless, there it is – a problematized view about appeasement. And always remember that, as Churchill himself is reputed to have said, “History is written by the victors.”

(2) The reference to a preemptive strike does double duty because it highlights how notions like “appeasement” are used by politicians (such as George W. Bush) to justify taking the nation to war, as in “We really must do this because otherwise it would be appeasing a dictator like Neville Chamberlain did, and we all know how terrible that was.” In other words “appeasement” is a propaganda word designed to preempt thought, and in Bush’s case to justify ill-conceived preemptive action in Iraq. Of course, from now on, thanks to George and his Merry Men, people can now use the word “Iraq” as a propaganda word to argue against going to war. It is all rather deliciously ironic, no?

(3) As to “stones” and such, I have no insecurities about my stones, thank you. I do not, therefore, feel the need to “prove” my masculinity in some “macho” fashion, although I do understand that this sort of thing is quite popular around these parts. For this reason, if I were your leader, I think I would try to do everything possible within the bounds of reason to avoid the need for war and a needless loss of life on both sides. Anything short of that I regard as unconscionable, as does the Catechism (see, for example, section 2327).

And remember, as Aristotle explained to us long ago, courage is not the same as recklessness. It requires the master virtue of practical wisdom for it to be courage in the first place (rather than recklessness at one extreme and cowardice at the other), and this I think applies both to the individual and to the nation. By the way, I would also make it a top priority that if we did have to go to war, our veterans were treated properly upon their return. That might make a nice change, don’t you think? Just sayin’.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

A2 while you took me to task on the appeasement issue with Chamberlain, you seem to have skirted the issue of making the Church like Walmart and Catholics consumers of liturgy where the parish must please all the tastes of the members of the congregation.

I think you referred to the EF Mass as being offered as a kind of menu of liturgies for the consumers in the parish.

Actually the EF was encouraged by Pope Benedict and he desired to see the return of the Mass as a way for a new generation of Catholics, clergy and laity to see from where it was that the Mass after Vatican II was revised.

He was hoping to recover in the post-Vatican II Mass some of the glory of the EF Mass, that there would be a gravitational pull upon clergy and laity on their participation and reverence.

So this is quite different than allowing on the menu of liturgical choices folk or contemporary music which in fact has led to the diminution of the liturgy even though it might be liked, because it is liturgical hype and superficial, a kind of junkie approach to the Mass.

Anonymous 2 said...

Father McDonald:

I certainly did not intend to skirt the issue. Indeed, I thought I had addressed it in that same first reply at 4:30 p.m. on June 5, 2014. I addressed the appeasement point only in the final paragraph. I also asked a number of questions that I thought might be relevant to the concerns you expressed. If you are already responding to those questions (at least as far as Pope Benedict is concerned), it is still unclear to me whether he disapproved of a reverently celebrated folk mass.

If you have time, please take another look at my comment and let me know if you still think I have skirted the issue. Thanks.




Gene said...

Ignotus, it does not surprise me at all that you were a cowa…er, conscientious objector. LOL! You are still one angry dude and I'm sure it was a type of smearing against authority and your early ego introjects. It is really a shame. If you had ever been shot at, it might have changed your whole outlook on life. It may not be too late, why don't you go hang out on Pio Nono after dark for a few nights. It could change your whole life. LOL!

John Nolan said...

Anonymous 2

You raise an interesting point regarding GW Bush and Iraq. Anthony Eden, who had resigned as Foreign Secretary over Chamberlain's appeasement policy, used the same argument in 1956 to justify the Suez intervention. But neither Gamel Abdul Nasser nor Saddam Hussein could really have compared with Hitler.

Pater Ignotus said...

Good Father - You misstate Pope Benedict's intentions when you say, "...he desired to see the return of the Mass as a way for a new generation of Catholics, clergy and laity to see from where it was that the Mass after Vatican II was revised."

What he actually said and intended can be found in his letter to bishops which accompanied SP: "For that matter, the two Forms of the usage of the Roman Rite can be mutually enriching:..."

Mutually enrichment, Good Father, is a two way street.

Pin/Gene - As Anon 2 said, you reduce everything to ad hominen attacks when you have nothing substantive or relevant to say.

And while you may hang out on Pio Nono after dark, I won't see you there.

Gene said...

No, Ignotus, I have offered plenty with relevance and substance in conversations with you on this blog, but you always dodge, prevaricate, or lie. So, ad hominem is the more enjoyable approach now. LOL!

No, I do not even drive down Pio Nono after dark or, if I must, my pistol is always on the seat by me. Pio Nono is nothing but Democrats…LOL!