Thursday, December 25, 2014

Et Verbum Caro Factum Est

If you ever find yourself wondering how much God loves us, try to recall the last time you didn't do something because you thought it was beneath you, or that you might get yourself dirty, or that it might cause you some kind of other discomfort.

God didn't let any of that stop him. We could decide to lower ourselves to become cockroaches, and it wouldn't even begin to approach the infinite condescension that we find in the Incarnation.

Yet despite our wretchedness, we find it almost impossible to humble ourselves for anything. You think it would be easy considering how often we screw things up. God, though, never screws things up but chooses to undergo a humiliation beyond all others to be one of us.

The reality of this should both chill us sbd warm our hearts at the same time.

Merry Christmas to you all.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Pre-Christmas/Pre-Epiphany Observation

We laud the Magi for presenting Our Blessed Lord with expensive gifts like gold, frankincense, and myrrh. We belittle, scorn, and excoriate churches, art, and the official trappings of Our Lord's anointed as pretentious and wasteful. 

Does it not seem that those who would deny such gifts these days (or even claim that they are sinful) either do not believe in His Presence and/or reject the special honor and effect of Holy Orders?

Friday, December 12, 2014

What Would You Fight For?

It's an amazing thing. ND promoting some kind of bizarre seminar on white privilege is big enough news to make a segment on The O'Reilly Factor and to get me a dozen emails from alumni about it. On a different note, ND's decision to cave on the HHS mandate and its embrace of faculty who promote heresy in the class and turn students against the Faith are regarded as either (a) not news at all or (b) proof of how great of an institution the school is.

Through the looking glass, folks. We are through the looking glass.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

The Church Fathers Say The Darnedest Things

Another reason to like the Fathers is that, every now and then, you see a line that is just too awesome and that makes you appreciate their humanity and ability to take anything and make a teachable moment out of it. We've discussed this previously with writers like Lactantius, for example.

This time, it's St. Augustine:

We know, too, that some men are differently constituted from others, and have some rare and remarkable faculty of doing with their body what other men can by no effort do, and, indeed, scarcely believe when they hear of others doing. There are persons who can move their ears, either one at a time, or both together. There are some who, without moving the head, can bring the hair down upon the forehead, and move the whole scalp backwards and forwards at pleasure. Some, by lightly pressing their stomach, bring up an incredible quantity and variety of things they have swallowed, and produce whatever they please, quite whole, as if out of a bag. Some so accurately mimic the voices of birds and beasts and other men, that, unless they are seen, the difference cannot be told. Some have such command of their bowels, that they can break wind continuously at pleasure, so as to produce the effect of singing.

St. Augustine, City of God, Book XIV, Chapter 24

Is that not just a fantastic line or what?

Monday, December 1, 2014

The Omega Episcopalian

It's a done deal. The Barque of Elizabeth has finally gone all-in for women bishops. We knew this was an inevitability, made all the moreso by Archlayman Welby's ascension to the See of Cranmer.

The Church of England overturned centuries of tradition on Monday with a final vote allowing women to become bishops, with the first appointments possible by Christmas.

Approval of the historic change, which was first agreed to in July, was announced after a largely symbolic show of hands at the General Synod, the lawmaking body of the Church of England. The British Parliament supported the measure last month.

“Today we can begin to embrace a new way of being the church and moving forward together,” the archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Rev. Justin Welby, said after the vote.

Two decades after the first female priest was ordained, the issue of women taking senior roles in the church hierarchy remains divisive. As recently as 2012, the proposal had been defeated by six votes.

But Archbishop Welby, the spiritual leader of the church and the global Anglican Communion, who supported the vote from the start, had warned fellow church leaders this year that the public would find the exclusion of women “almost incomprehensible.”

Which public? Are you including the folks in Africa on that? I'm thinking that a behind-closed-doors confab between Archlayman Welby and Cardinal Kaspar would be a hoot.

Anyways, this is another mile marker on the path of the Anglican Death March and a significant one.

With that in mind, I direct your attention to some great articles by Philip Jenkins (who isn't Catholic in case you're looking for bias) entitled The Church Vanishes, as he focuses on the collapse of Episcopalianism in America. Part One can be found here and is noteworthy for the following comment:

In conclusion, I just offer one wholly scientific theory that I just invented: The numerical growth and success of a religious denomination is inversely proportionate to the favorable treatment it receives in major liberal media outlets (New York Times, Washington Post, Nation, New Republic). Examples? The Episcopal Church USA versus Mormons or Catholics; Episcopalians/Anglicans in North America versus Africa.

Heh. It's a pretty good observation, but plenty of people will shout about the difference between correlation and causation to ignore the obvious here. At least one of the Anglicans' own is recognizing that the road of public approval ends in self-annihilation.

The real gem from Mr. Jenkins comes in Part Two, though, in his discussion of the recent declines in Anglican faithful:

If we extrapolate that rate into the not-too-distant future, then the number of people attending Episcopal churches on a typical Sunday will be negligible by mid-century, typical of a tiny sect rather than a great church or denomination. It won’t reach zero for a while, but in effect, the church will cease to exist. We might need a new vocabulary of religious decline. How about church evaporation?

That mid-century date is really not far off. In fact, the baby baptized at my church last Sunday will by that point only be a young adult in her 30s.

Non-attending notional members will persist for a few years longer, but by the end of the century, we should be talking total disappearance.

In that scenario, America’s last Episcopalian walks among us today.

Holy smokes. I wonder if anybody has done the math on the rest of the mainline Reformed groups. I doubt they're in much better shape.

We need a History Channel production starring Katharine Schori as The Last Episcopalian On Earth, wherein she wanders around a landscape of Anglicanorum Coetibus converts, calling them freaks, and trying to burn their churches down.