Wednesday, July 15, 2015


I have been in Baltimore for a week off and on. The last time I was here was in the late 1980's. But most of my time warp memory of Baltimore centers on the years of 1976 to 1980 when I was in the seminary here.

Baltimore has grown and changed in many ways, some positive and some very negative.

Today I had a brief conversation with a docent in a historic Baltimore chapel. He was close to 80 years old. I asked if the EF Mass was celebrated anywhere in the city. He mentioned a couple of churches.

Then he went on to talk about an experience he had when he accidentally attended an EF Mass. When he realized his mistake he left immediately.

Then he went on to describe how "silly" the EF Mass is using the outdated clich├ęs of the mid 1960 through the 1970's that denigrated  1,500 year old tradition of this Mass! He referred specifically to the transfer of the Roman Missal from one side of the altar to the other as an example of ridicule.  Speak about a time warp!

This was the dastardly tactic then and now by his and my still living generation! So sad and tragic and not beneficial for Holy Mother Church.

It is 2015 AD not 1970! But so many remain in a time warp in this regard and sadly so! We need to get with it and value our little t and big T tTraditions!


Rood Screen said...

He would do better to direct his hatred towards hateful things, like genocide, racism, persecution, starvation, etc.

Lefebvrian said...

This is what the laity are regularly encountering, which explains (bur does not completely excuse) why some might come across as hostile during certain discussions.

Supertradmum said...

Same people will persecute the good priests when they refuse to do ssms.

Square, Uncool Catholic said...

The 70 and 80 year old age group is the biggest enemy of Tradition. And they will hold on to their regime of novelty with a death grip until they pass.

Binney N. Smith said...

Little "t" traditions can and, in some cases, should change, be adjusted, or be done away with.

This is 2015 AD, not 1570!

rcg said...

Does he know why those things are done? It seems very strange he would ridicule what is done within the rules. I can see that he would ridicule a Mass that did not meet the standards. Does he mock other rites within the Roman Church?

gob said...

Isn't it amazing that the older and more experienced people get, the dumber they get? Younger, less experienced people are SO much wiser. They know it all....

Anonymous said...

rcg, unfortunately, there is a liberal group with a capital "L" who were and are against any form of ritual - preferring the Protestant liturgy to the Catholic. They have largely got it the way they want it in many places and of course the Church has suffered mightily from this but they will never admit it. "Oh" they will say "the whole world became liberal in the 60s". But the point is that the Church in the past stood as a bastion of truth and did not conform to the world. She doesn't now either but we have this liberal element that has meant there are what you could say two churches within the one Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church. The liberals continually muddy the water so we won't see much improvement until that generation dies off.

This guy has these ideas because he was told them by priests and nuns and we were taught that anything a priest or nun was said we should accept. Thankfully, there were some priests who stood against that idea and told people to look for themselves and find out the truth of what was coming out from Rome and it was a whole lot different than the local churches were saying, but I believe that most of what came out of Rome attempting to correct bad liturgy was thrown into the waste paper bin.

What can we expect really when we know that altar stones were ripped out of altars and the altars were dumped at the tip or in land reclamation areas where I know some parishioners rescued them. Statues were destroyed or painted white. Beautiful hymns were cut out of hymnals by progressive nuns. I heard myself in the 70s when I began working, Catholic women in my office say, "Remember when we couldn't touch the sacred vessels? Well, we used to laugh and laugh and laugh". That was the attitude after the Second Vatican Council and if anyone bothers to read what happened at the Council where there was such in-fighting etc, then they would understand why Pope Paul said the smoke of Satan had entered the Church. Unfortunately, for perhaps all it's good intentions, Vatican II will go down in history and be seen by future generations of Catholics as the Council that was over-run by liberals who wanted to open the Church up to the world and they got their way and largely achieved the end they wanted ...


Anonymous said...

This group, like the LCWR, will be extinct within 10 years, and yes even our pope as well. The faithful need to wait it out. I'm sure during the Arian period, things looked extremely bleak, and eventually tidies out as well

Binney N. Smith said...

We were transferring the Roman Missal from one side of the altar to the other for 1,500 years? Interesting...

Another dastardly tactic is to present liturgical practices as being 1,500 years old when, in fact, they are much less ancient.

And yet another dastardly tactic is to maintain that liturgical traditions that are old cannot, simply because they are old, be changed.

Vox Cantoris said...

Time heals all wounds including this one.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Binney, strawman! We have 2 forms of the one Roman Rite! Don't denigrate either form is 2015 thinking!

Binney N. Smith said...

It is also a dastardly tactic to say "there are two forms of the one Roman Rite." Such a thing is without precedent and a complete rupture with the Tradition of the Church.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Stuck in the past, eh?

Anonymous said...

For the unenlightened like myself, what is or was the point of transferring the missal from one side of the altar to the other? Why not just have it in the center when the portion of the liturgy of the Eucharist occurs?

And Father, if any place needs some "traditional moral teaching", it would be Baltimore with its ultra-high crime rate and huge out of wedlock population---especially in the western side of the city. Broken families=crime, no doubt about it (as was evident too in the Dylan Roof shootings in South Carolina last month).

And for history buffs in the Diocese of Savannah, today the 52nd anniversary of the death of the last bishop of the entire state of Georgia, Gerald O'Hara (bishop of the whole state for 21 years before it was divided into 2 dioceses in 1956). Had a lot of foresight to see the rise of the city of Atlanta, get it to be a diocesan city---and ironically, building our Cathedral of Christ the King onland once owned by the Klan.

Lefebvrian said...

I hope John Nolan will weigh in on this question since my knowledge of these matters is much more limited than his.

The point of transferring the Missal is partly practical and partly mystagogical. Practically, it has the effect of being a Gospel procession. The Missal is moved to the opposite side and is read facing north. At the Solemn Mass, this is more pronounced, of course, since the procession is longer and the Gospel is chanted by the deacon facing exactly north. Practically, this also emphasizes the greater importance of the Gospel as compared to the Epistle, which is read at the other side of the altar.

Mystagogically, the transfer of the Missal illustrates the covenant's removal from the Jews and the Gospel's being preached to the entire world (this is the symbolism of the Gospel's being read toward the north -- the direction from which the "heathens" come).

The fact that something has been done for a very long time is evidence that it should continue to be done, even if we don't understand its significance. The response to the people's not knowing the significance of some liturgical action is not to cease the action -- the response should be to educate the people as to the significance of the action.

rcg said...

Anon at 12:42 : how the two cities, Baltimore and Charleston, reacted to violence could not be more different. The reason is the heart of it. The city of charleston did not want an orgy of violence to divide them, the city of Baltimore does.

John Nolan said...

Binney Smith

The 'two forms of the one Roman Rite' are indeed without precedent (there are of course different Uses of the Roman Rite, some of which are still celebrated, others of which have fallen into desuetude which does not preclude their restoration) but Pope Benedict realized that the Novus Ordo is too different from the classic Roman Rite to be seen as a 'Use' of the same; hence the legal fiction of two forms.

The imposition of a radically different Ordo in 1970 is also without precedent, so if the maintenance of liturgical Tradition is so important to you then the only logical course would be to eschew the Novus Ordo and attend only the Roman Rite.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

More O'Hara History: When "Gone With the Wind" was being made into a movie, Bishop Gerald O'Hara worried that some confusion might arise since he and Scarlett's father shared the same name and were both residents of Georgia.

He wrote to Ms. Mitchell asking that she alter the character's name. She replied that, since the rights to the movie had already been sold, there was nothing she could do about the matter.

It is interesting that the Episcopal Diocese of Georgia, which at one time covered the entire state, was divided into the Diocese of Georgia and the Diocese of Atlanta in 1907, almost 50 years before we followed suit. I wonder what were the factors that led them to split so early.

OLORosary said...

Question: Why do you move the missal back and forth on the altar (P.L., GA)

Answer: At Solemn High Mass the Gospel is sung by the deacon at a prominent place within the church, called an "ambo" or a "pulpit." The ambo is usually located on the north side of the sanctuary (the altar is assumed to be at the east end of the church). If no ambo is available, the subdeacon holds the book, standing in the north end of the sanctuary. The Epistle and other Lessons, being of lesser importance, are chanted on the opposite side of the sanctuary by a subdeacon or lector. The book is held by the reader, or placed on a podium of simpler appearance than the ambo. It is said that the transition from one side of the church to the other represents the transition of God's word from the Synagogue to the Church; a symbolism that fitted better in the early Church when Old Testament readings were more frequently read at Mass.

When the readings are recited or sung at the altar, as at Low Mass or a simple High Mass, the book is moved from one side to the other in imitation of the practice at Solemn Mass. The Epistle and Lessons are delivered at the right side of the altar, giving the name "Epistle side" to that side. The "Gospel side," is the left, and the missal is turned to the north-northeast, so that the priest can face in approximately the same direction as the deacon at Solemn Mass.

The book remains on the Gospel side throughout the Canon, perhaps because this is the place of honor, or, more practically, because the priest can more easily read the Canon with the missal on his left, while he makes the numerous signs of the Cross with his right hand (even if he is left handed).

The missal is returned to the Epistle side after the priest rinses his fingers and the chalice. This may simply be to return the book to its original location for the next Mass. It also distinguishes the Communion verse and Postcommunion prayer from the Last Gospel, but the late date at which this reading entered the Mass seems to disqualify this as a reason.

Jusadbellum said...

So much of life is tribal.... why do we expect the President to show up with a small army of Secret Service, black limos and SUVs, the trappings of pomp and power and not sneer at this 'tradition'? Why do we, as a society, think it not at all funny that brides, including obviously scandalous ones come up the aisle in white? Tradition!

It's tradition to stand and remove one's hat at a baseball game for the national anthem. Do the 80 year olds sneer at this tradition?

How about the tradition that all teens are rebels and are to be expected to behave like animals and lose their virginity by 18?

It seems to me that the very sorts who laugh at the Church for her small t traditions and BIG T traditions, are hypocrites who honor all manner of other traditions out of tribal loyalty first and foremost and last.

It's just that they're no longer in the Catholic tribe that they sneer at Catholic traditions (big or small) while becoming awed at secular or civic customs, habits, and traditions.

Is there anything inherently wrong or evil for moving the book from one side to another? No. And there's nothing wrong with standing without one's hat for the national athem either. In both cases we put up with the custom out of RESPECT.

So if you don't respect the Church and one's fellows in the faith or one's fellow or deceased patriots, one laughs.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

15 gang related murders in the week I was there!

gob said...

Silly Lefeb....haven't you realized yet that EVERYBODY'S knowledge of EVERY matter is much more limited than John Nolan's?

It's amusing that so many seem to think that in 10 (or so) years all of the liberal nuns and priests will be dead. There will be no more progressives and the folks on the way-right will reclaim the Church....the country....the world..

Lefebvrian said...

Well, Gob, on a website where the discussion often turns to matters liturgical, it presents copious opportunities for Mr. Nolan to share with us his knowledge of the subject, which is extensive. I am very glad that he is here to share that knowledge with us. I have been participating on this blog since it began (2008 or 2009?). I don't recall when Mr. Nolan first began commenting here, but I know that he has taught me many things over the years. Primary among those things that he has taught me is some level of humility -- I thought I knew something about liturgics until I encountered him. His knowledge of the subject is both staggering and humbling.

I agree with you that it is a false hope to expect that the "liberals" will not be replaced by new "liberals." It seems like the new "liberals" feel less need to stay within the Church than the old "liberals," but who knows.

Mark Thomas said...

Did Pope Benedict XVI/Cardinal Ratzinger believe that the differences between the TLM and Novus Ordo were so vast that a "legal fiction" was required to "pretend" that the TLM and Novus Ordo comprised the one Roman Rite?

If so, then why in 1998 A.D. did he (Cardinal Ratzinger) declare the following:

"The difference between the liturgy according to the new books, how it is actually practiced and celebrated in different places, is often greater than the difference between an old Mass and a new Mass, when both these are celebrated according to the prescribed liturgical books.

"An average Christian without specialist liturgical formation would find it difficult to distinguish between a Mass sung in Latin according to the old Missal and a sung Latin Mass according to the new Missal."

Mark Thomas

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

Jus - Security for a president is hardly a "tradition," it is a necessity.

The other traditions you mention are not proffered as being made essential by long usage, or even being helpful.

I don't sneer at any liturgical tradition, nor do I think that simply because it is a tradition it must or should be maintained as part of the liturgy.

When traditions morph into something they are not - that is, essential and unchangeable - then, Houston, we have a problem.

Old Tradition Joke: Daughter calls mother at Christmas and asks, "Mom, why do we always cut off the small end of the Christmas ham before we put it in the oven?" Mom answers, "I don't know. Your grandmother always did it so I always did it. Let's call her." They call the grandmother and ask, "Why do we always cut off the small end of the Christmas ham before we put it in the oven?" She replies, "I don't know, but my mother always did it, so let's ask her." They call great-grandma and ask, "Why do we always cut off the small end of the Christmas ham before we put it in the oven?" Great=grandma replied, "Because I had a tiny oven and it wouldn't fit unless I cut that part off."

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

And I, too, appreciate John's extensive knowledge.

Anonymous said...

Father K. on the early split (1907) of the Episcopal Church in Georgia into separate dioceses, I suspect it had to do with the great distances around the state at that time and the no so great transportation system---long train rides, no paved highways at the time. I don't think it had to do with the numbers---even today, there are fewer than 100,000 Episcopalians in Georgia---I think somewhere in 72,000-75,000 range at most, with about three-fourths of that in the Atlanta Diocese. Bishop Cleland Nelson became the first bishop of Atlanta, I think dying in 1917---there is a picture of him in one of the large stained-glass windows of Atlanta's Cathedral of St. Philip---dressed in Low-Church attire (back in those days, it was politically "incorrect" for Episcopal bishops in many southern states to "dress up", like with the traditional miter, chasuble and cope) Choir vestments were the order of the day until the 1970s or so.

A small part of Georgia is in the Episcopal Diocese of East Tennessee (based in Knoxville)---some Georgia counties bordering Chattanooga.

The Diocese of Georgia is based in Savannah and has similar boundaries to the Diocese of Savannah, except, unlike Savannah, the diocese does not include the Columbus or Macon areas (both of which of course are much closer to Atlanta than Savannah, but I guess which are part of Savannah Diocese to boost the numbers of the small diocese---Atlanta's Archdiocese is plenty big enough now that financially it can easily get by without picking up additional territory---the 69 counties it has now are quite enough!)

Oddly in part of the 1980s, both Episcopal bishops residing in the state---Judson Child of Atlanta and Harry Shipps of the Diocese of Georgia---were natives of New Jersey. Shipps, who turned 89 earlier this year, was good friends with former Bishop Lessard---they both left office about the same time in 1995. Think they worked together on various ecumenical matters. Lessard even allowed the use of the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist in 1995 for the installation of Henry Louttit, Shipps' successor. But given the Episcopal Church's "redefinition" of marriage at its triennial convention a few weeks ago---and the bishop of Georgia's recent endorsement of same-sex marriage---I'd be surprised if the cathedral were ever used again for an Episcopal service. I don't think relations between Atlanta's Catholic and Episcopal bishops are that warm---the Episcopal one is pretty far-left---but I don't know what the case is down in Savannah.

Final note on Bishop O'Hara---he was only 40 when named bishop of Savannah in late 1935. These days, bishops seem to be older when ordained or transferred--sometimes even in their 70s. Of course in O'Hara's day, life expectancies were shorter---in his case, he lived to 68, which was probably closer to the norm of that time. He may have aged prematurely given the difficulty of overseeing a one diocese state while also serving in various capacities abroad, and a lot of the latter during the difficult Cold War era. He resigned as bishop of Savannah in late 1959, not quite age 65, and died a little over three and a half years later, I think in London where at his death he may have been the Vatican's apostolic delegate to Great Britain. He had 24 years of service to Georgia---slightly ahead of the near 22 Bishop Lessard had in Savannah.

gob said...

Nobody appreciates it more than John himself.

rcg said...

I think my life is easier when I acknowledge and respect the intelligence, education, and training of other people.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

Anon - Bishop Lessard and Bishop Reeves were good friends, and Lessard and Shipps got along well, too. Bishop Shipps had me make a presentation some years back to a small study group he works with at his retirement community on Skidaway Island. I always enjoyed his company.

When Episcopal Atlanta was going through the throes of electing a bishop, then having to annul the election, some years back, I asked an Episcopalian colleague how their process worked and if any candidate had been elected by the people but rejected by the House of Bishops. He told of one candidate who was elected no fewer than FIVE times by, I think, five different Southern Episcopalian dioceses. Each time he was rejected by the House of Bishops because he was "too Catholic." I think this was in the early 1900's when, as you note, the "Protestant" portion of the Protestant Episcopal Church still held sway.

Bishop Boland did attend the installation of Bishop Benhase at the Convention Center in Savannah, causing a few raised eyebrows among the faithful. I don't know if our Cathedral was requested for the event, but I fear that, with the changes in the Episcopalian polity of late, that may be too problematic.

Our Cathedral was also used by the Southeastern Lutheran Synod some years ago for the ordination, I think, of their new synodal bishop. And the Greek Orthodox used it to bury long-time Savannah mayor John Rousakis.

Anonymous said...

Well, I think life would be pretty dull and uninteresting if there were no traditions. It is traditions that make a people. Each nation has their own traditions and that adds to the rich diversity of cultures.

So it is with the Mass the rich traditions are embodied in the TLM but the Novus Ordo is somewhat stripped.

Personally, I think those who mock traditions and don't want any part of them are themselves the dull and uninteresting. No doubt however even they if they looked at their own lives do things in a set way and follow a set pattern they have traditionally followed since birth, dull and uninteresting though it may be - and that is a tradition in itself.

For example, take Fr Kavanaugh, why does he always have to have J with a fullstop in his name? Like the N full stop in Binny N. Smith's mame. Why the N with a full stop? Why N at all? How many Binny Smiths can there be? It is a traditional way of naming that should be done away with if one doesn't like traditions.


Rood Screen said...

Being a good Catholic includes cherishing long-established liturgical rites and devotional practices, while being open to novelties introduced for the right reasons. So, what drives some Catholics to instinctively pit the old against the new? I don't think this instinct is God-given.

Rood Screen said...

Jan's "full-stops" are our "periods", by the way.

Rood Screen said...


How do you know that "nobody appreciates it more than John himself"? Is this just a hunch? Could it be that you are just a little intimidated by his in-depth familiarity with the Roman liturgical tradition? Or, do you know him outside of weblogs?

Anonymous said...

Of course, liberals possess a certain gene that enables them to know everything with utter certitude.

Those who have the gene, need no proof for anything for the simple reason that they believe they can unfailingly detect, "feel", a "truth" as soon as it "evolves". What was logical and firmly held yesterday is now utterly false today. Progressing you see. Same words different meanings. What is the definition of "is"? Answer: it depends on context. This heresy, liberalism, inspired the revolutionary changes in the liturgy. It continues to justify every liturgical abuse introduced today or even for ever.

Likewise, we read about how doctrine cannot change, however practice can and should. Truth is never what It is, but who teaches what is being taught. So, you shall know the Truth and the Truth shall make you free has evolved into you can change the Truth and the change shall make you free.

I should add also, liberals prevaricate but that is OK because, hey, what is truth after all?


Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

Anon-1 - What was logical and firmly held yesterday - the incapacity of women to be physicians, the superiority of the Caucasian race over all others, the utter lunacy of humans flying in airplanes - is now utterly false today. (It was actually false back then, but people were too obstinate to recognize their errors.)

Doctrine does develop and evolve - it always has and it always will. How we teach that doctrine also develops and evolves - it always has and it always will.

"The tradition which comes from the apostles develops in the Church with the help of the Holy Spirit. For there is a growth in the understanding of the realities and the words which have been handed down. This happens through the contemplation and study made by believers, who treasure these things in their hearts, through a penetrating understanding of the spiritual realities which they experience, and through the preaching of those who have received through episcopal succession the sure gift of truth. For, as the centuries succeed one another, the Church constantly moves forward toward the fullness of divine truth until the words of God reach their complete fulfillment in her." (Dei Verbum 8).

Anonymous said...

Father K, I'm wondering if in 2010, when the current Episcopal bishop of Georgia (Diocese) was installed (Benhase), if the issue (behind why the Cathedral down you way) why it was not used was because of the presider of that ceremony, Katherine Schori (spelling?). Perhaps the idea of a woman bishop at an Episcopal eucharist in a Catholic cathedral was too controversial (especially given her very liberal views). On the other hand, there is a picture in the Augusta Chronicle back in Jan 1995 of the then-new Episcopal bishop in your area, Henry Louttit Jr., with I think one of his daughters aside him who is a priest---right before the altar at the cathedral. Bishop Reeves was a pretty conservative cleric, Shipps not quite as much (he ordained the first woman in that diocese in 1994, which he reflected later caused "considerable controversy" among as many as a third of the priests in his diocese).

There would not be any issue of having Christ the King, the cathedral up here in our Archdiocese of Atlanta, being used for an Episcopal service or any other one, I the sense it is far too small for any sort of big event---maybe can seat 700. Of course back in 1939, when it was dedicated, then-Bishop O'Hara could not have contemplated how much larger the Catholic population would be in north Georgia today. The Episcopal cathedral across the street (St. Philip) can seat about 1,200. It St. Philips ever went out of business (given the Episcopal Church has lost about half its members since 1965), I'm sure whoever the Catholic archbishop of Atlanta would be at the time would take an interest in buying that property, converting it to the new cathedral, while Christ the King could be used for smaller events. When our current archbishop was installed 10 years ago, it was held at a convention center down by the airport---perhaps 5,000+ present.

A source of pride up here in Atlanta that the wealthy Buckhead part of town---where Christ the King is located---probably has more Catholics than Baptists! In fact, the Baptist church next door to Christ the King only has one service on Sunday. Buckhead is dominated by Catholics, mainline Protestants (Episcopal, Presbyterian and Methodist), and a fairly large Jewish population. Relatively few Baptists compared to south Georgia.

Anonymous said...

Fr. K...

Will 4X2=8 ever evolve to say, 7.9?

More to the point, ss relationships, a biological anomaly, among civilized people has never been considered marriage but now it is?

One might point to other efforts at liberal truth twisting but I stand by my earlier post.


Jusadbellum said...

It's my understanding that Catholic doctrine does not change but rather is made more clear.... thus we grew from 1 confession per lifetime to the understanding that confession may be a daily occurance. That reception of the Eucharist likewise can be a more regular affair. That annointing need not be the 'last' rite as in only once and at death bed but can in fact be administered to people who may not be in danger of death.

It's obvious that in times of persecution the sacraments and other organizational details of discipline etc. may need to be striped back to essentials. Thus who would deny that Mass would be licit with a drop of wine on the priest's palm and a crumb of bread? Or that Mass would be licit on the hood of a Jeep in the jungle without vestments etc.? No one, that's who.

But surely we also acknowledge that emergencies are just that - extraordinary circumstances, not the norm and ideal. The Catholics in Japan survived despite having no bishops, priests, deacons or religious and only Baptism, marriage and devotions. But surely we don't see in this some ideal to emulate or work towards?

There was a time when the Church justified capital punishment for witches - not as long as among the Protestants to be sure, but long by our standards. And yet the principle was sound: if it was true that humans could in fact terrorize their community by spells, hexes, and black magic, would we not justify their incarceration (at a minimum)? If they could unleash WMDs our open-minded, progressive American system would justify summary execution of these 'terrorists' via drone strikes without their 'day in court' and half our country would be in favor of it, including our clergy (inasmuch as everyone seems to have stopped caring about drone strikes against US citizens or foreigners starting in 2009).

Thus we stopped believing in witchcraft and so stopped prosecuting witches. But if we believed they were real, the doctrine would follow as night follows day.

But to claim that Catholic doctrine does a 180 degree change? That's poppy cock. Usury is still immoral but distinct from MOST modern day interest. Payday loans to people who will use the funds on consumption and not a productive investment are still immoral.

Likewise, it's still Catholic teaching that capital punishment is licit but the practice is cautioned against due to the rise of the modern justice and penal system that allows convicted felons to be safely and humanely housed for years, thus sparing both them and the public risk to life and limb.

No doctrine of faith and morals the Church promoted by council and defended by saints has - to my knowledge - been repudiated by subsequent council and saint. But disciplinary or rubrical changes have been allowed from time to time and place to place.

We may accept that the rights of the Church (or individuals) cannot be vindicated due to 'force major' without declaring those rights to never have existed.

But feel free to disagree with this warning: if "the times" (meaning simply other people) can force a change of Catholic faith and morals to your liking, why can't the same social forces be employed to change in the other direction?

It's not impossible to imagine a world in 2115 where women no longer have the right to vote and government has again become based on hereditary aristocracy and not the public opinion expressed through democracy.

It's not impossible to imagine a neo-feudal world where the Church once again is the 3rd power besides king and nobles and together they determine civil legislation and regulation to favor the Catholic Church and not any other religion. If such a day comes, would the heirs of Fr. K say "oh well, that's just the times you know, I guess those 21st century ancestors of mine were morally wrong to think women had the right to vote cause it's so terribly unpopular nowadays"?

Live by social change....die by social change.

Anonymous 2 said...

All living traditions must evolve. If they do not, they are dead traditions. The real questions are how fast and in what direction, and what particular elements are immutable? As Thomist-Aristotelian philosopher Alasdair MacIntyre explains in After Virtue, this involves a culture of argument. Thus: “a living tradition then is an historically extended, socially embodied argument, an argument precisely in part about the goods which constitute that tradition.” Of course, in the Catholic Church, the Holy Spirit guides the argument.

I have a question for those who set so much value by tradition: Why, then, is it okay for traditions to be destroyed as long as it is the logic of free market capitalism that does the destroying (Schumpeter’s creative destruction and all that)?

Jusadbellum said...

Anonymous 2

The current global economic system is not 'free market capitalism'.

Let's run through the list of the major countries shall we?

China: is China's domestic and international commerce 'free market capitalism'? No.
Islamic countries:

In all these lands the governments are largely if not all centralized regulatory bureaucracies of various levels of political diversity. Many are one-party rule states where the 'market' is anything but 'free'.

The top 20 big cities in the USA with the highest rates of grinding poverty, decaying infrastructure, failing schools, corruption, and crime are not 'free markets'. They are one-party towns where you have to pay to play and who you know is more important than anything else.

So critiques of the status quo is not a slam against free market capitalism as much as de facto socialism and the fruit of social 'progressive' moral relativism running the post-Christian world.

Anonymous 2 said...


You are correct in one sense, thanks be to God. I would hate to see pure free market capitalism at work (pace Ayn Randians). When we have come close, as in the nineteenth century, the results have not been very pretty. But if you want to use labels, we have to have something. I would not call the system in the United States “socialism” (a much misused word – I have actually lived under socialism and the U.S. is not even close). So, to ponder, the following definition of fee market capitalism:

“A system of economics that minimizes government intervention and maximizes the role of the market. According to the theory of the free market, rational economic actors acting in their own self interest deal with information and price goods and services the most efficiently. Government regulations, trade barriers, and labor laws are generally thought to distort the market. Proponents of the free market argue that it provides the most opportunities for both consumers and producers by creating more jobs and allowing competition to decide what businesses are successful. Critics maintain that an unfettered free market concentrates wealth in the hands of a few, which is unsustainable in the long term. In practice, no country or jurisdiction has a completely free market.”

Also to ponder, as posted on another thread, this from Pope Benedict in 2013:

“In order to emerge from the present financial and economic crisis – which has engendered ever greater inequalities – we need people, groups and institutions which will promote life by fostering human creativity, in order to draw from the crisis itself an opportunity for discernment and for a new economic model. The predominant model of recent decades called for seeking maximum profit and consumption, on the basis of an individualistic and selfish mindset, aimed at considering individuals solely in terms of their ability to meet the demands of competitiveness. Yet, from another standpoint, true and lasting success is attained through the gift of ourselves, our intellectual abilities and our entrepreneurial skills, since a “liveable” or truly human economic development requires the principle of gratuitousness as an expression of fraternity and the logic of gift. Concretely, in economic activity, peacemakers are those who establish bonds of fairness and reciprocity with their colleagues, workers, clients and consumers. They engage in economic activity for the sake of the common good and they experience this commitment as something transcending their self-interest, for the benefit of present and future generations. Thus they work not only for themselves, but also to ensure for others a future and a dignified employment.”

Notice some key language: “The predominant model of recent decades called for seeking maximum profit and consumption, on the basis of an individualistic and selfish mindset, aimed at considering individuals solely in terms of their ability to meet the demands of competitiveness.” Is Pope Benedict a foolish socialist too?

And finally to ponder, the greatest project of de-regulation of the market in recent decades: The WTO and associated agreements significantly de-regulating the global marketplace. Result (for example): cheaper clothes that fall apart sooner than they used to in exchange for loss of jobs, supposedly compensated by job creation in sectors where the United States has a new comparative advantage. The jury is still out on that one.For alternative ways to promote development, see my post on Sir James Goldsmith on another thread.

George said...


I don't know about "Schumpeter’s creative destruction". In this country, especially over the last couple of years we have seen an unholy alliance between the Federal Reserve, the banks, the Treasury department and Wall Street. It seems like our current President and his minions will, by whatever means necessary keep the economy propped up, at least until he leaves office. So our economy has been doing barely more than "treading water", which of course is better than it sinking. We have record numbers on food stamps, disability and no longer in the workforce. The system we have does not serve us well as we would like but the problems and faults can not be laid solely at the foot of free market capitalism. Governmental interventionism, if carried too far, creates its own problems.

I happen to like Distributism which I think could fit into our Capitalist system, but I don't forsee it as being much more than an economic novelty. Incidently, some Distributists argue that capitalism eventually turns into socialism as capitalism's concentrated powers eventually dominate the state (or conversely one could say, the state through regulation and other mechanisms, takes control of capitalism)

Anonymous 2 said...


Thanks for those thoughts, George. Please see my post on two new books on the thread “From the Holy Father’s Lips,”

Anonymous 2 said...


I just read up a bit on Distributism. It seems to be very Catholic, and there is a good argument to be made (indeed some have made it) that Pope Francis is a Distributist in a venerable papal tradition going back to Pope Leo XIII and Rerum Novarum. One commentator said in 2013 upon reading Evagelii Gaudium:

“Essentially, there is nothing new here. Pope Francis has said the exact same thing as previous popes, going back 120 years to Leo XIII, with the only difference being that Francis has said it with more force, and more stinging clarity. From this we can learn that the supply-side ("trickle down") economic model is essentially incompatible with Roman Catholicism. Now before Keynesians and socialists throw a victory parade, the pope went on to speak against their solutions as long-term economic models. He sees them more as temporary measures in times of crisis and that's about it. Rather, the economic model the pope supports, while not giving it a specific name, is based in the Church's teaching of: Solidarity + Subsidiarity = Catholic Economics. He is not the first pope to talk about this, and he won't be the last. The one and only economic model ever developed based on papal teaching is distributism. While it is unfitting for a pope to openly declare himself of a particular economic mindset, I think it's fair to say that the only economic model based on 120 years of papal teaching is probably the one the pope subscribes to. I believe the pope is a distributist.”

As you suggest, the political challenge is how to translate this into a working and viable political program. Perhaps the “reinvention” or at least “retooling” of conservatism as advocated by Arthur Brooks is one way to do that. I have just ordered the book and will know more when I have read it.

Anonymous 2 said...

P.S. The same commentator said

“There is much to glean here, but at this point I think it is now safe to say that the mainstream media got it 100% wrong on Pope Francis. He is not the liberal-modernist "hippy pope" they made him out to be. Quite to the contrary, the pope is a conservative, a radical and a traditionalist all rolled into one. He is John Paul II + Benedict XVI + Leo XIII + Pius XI + a massive dose of steroids!

Anonymous said...

Anonymous Anon. 2, if you are right about Pope Francis then, unfortunately, it appears the steroids have had their way with him! On top of receiving the Communist crucifix he has many protestants and others in a tizz with his words, "It should be a new world order".


George said...

"He is John Paul II + Benedict XVI + Leo XIII + Pius XI + a massive dose of steroids!"

Well now Anon2, I wouldn't go that far (laugh)-except for the steroids. Each pope, for various reasons, is different from his predecessor. Some are a little more to what we would call the right, others (such as Pope Francis), a little more to the left. It comes down to their assessments of problems in the world and proposed solutions.