10 October 2008

OTSOTA: Respect, Dude!

.
I came away from EF Mass recently absolutely convinced that everything is going to be fine, and that in spite of the discussion in the porch on the way out by people who wanted EF Mass every day, and particularly on Sundays, instead of periodically but all over the week.
.
I suppose I wanted to say to them that the decisive step has been taken: that the Bishops (and the Bishops' Conferences) have had their control of the Mass taken from them, and forever. That the next generation of seminarians is different. That twice every three weeks is so immeasurably better than anything that has happened where I live in the last forty years, and is so little in comparison with what our children and grandchildren will experience, that carping is really bad. I didn't, because those taking part in the discussion weren't whingers or carpers, but Catholics who, having had nothing but the most basic NASA rations for forty years, had been reintroduced to the freshly prepared banquet, and who, not unreasonably, had decided that this was the way they wanted to eat all the time.
.
I have no argument to counter the emotional content of that point pof view: how could I? I largely share it! But I wanted an intellectual argument which might persuade people that allowing the EF to grow gently, like magma, for a decade or two might lead to a permanent future which would not be personality-dependent. I found the argument in a combox!
.
Damian Thompson's Telegraph blog is pretty hard going at the moment (to me at least). His postings have been met by, what seems to me, polarisation: shouting one's own view and a refusal to engage with that of others. I admire what he is trying to do, but he seems to be down a fairly sterile cul-de-sac at the moment.
.
Flicking through the innumerable pages of comments on one of this week's postings, however, I came across a beacon of light. A regular commenter on Damian's blog is Paul, owner of the On The Side Of The Angels blog, which has thrilled me since I found it. Paul, commenting on something another commenter had posted, came out with the following which explains to my satisfaction exactly how and why the Holy Father has got everything so right.
.
"1] This is where the subtlety lies - tying a successor's hands - giving them virtually no manoeuvrability - being categorically precise - clinically diamantine doctrinally ; having fundamental moral principles set in stone. This is where His Holiness [and his phenomenal team] excels without contemporary comparison....How ? Well it's very technical ; and you have to scrutinise the writing ; but Benedict XVI is ensuring catholic dogma and morals are becoming inextricably linked with unbreakable bonds - he's bringing to the fore adamantine connections to ensure that future generations cannot jeopardise or compromise catholic positions without it leading to all manner of absolutely unacceptable conclusions.
.
Take for instance contraception : Where John Paul II went off course with the Theology of the Body [don't get me wrong - it's all fine and dandy - but it's nothing to do with the fundamental theological principles inherant within our natural law approach - it's sourced in it of course - but its a how ; not a why - and for moral theologians to base sexual and life morality on it is confusing and can lead to serious 'ethical reverse-engineering' problems.] Instead Benedict reiterates the natural law teaching within Casti Connubii, the Allocutios to the Doctors and Midwives and Humanae Vitae - of the inseparability of the unitive and procreative aspects of human lovemaking.
.
This gives a cast-iron holism to sexual morality ; and makes it virtually impossible for any future papacy to even attempt to revoke it. Were we to remain in the transient wavering obfuscatory miasma of pragmatisms that could so easily contaminate the theology of the body - it could simply be altered by the unscrupulous into a pro-contraceptive agenda.
.
Doctrinally the big offensive assault by the progressivists is going to be against original sin and the mass [esp. the real presence] - the old doctrines may be perfectly fine for supporting the dogma ; but for defending them we need new powerful inviolable symbolism of the formal reality within the doctrine - and His Holiness using in particular the work of von Balthasar has provided an asbestos formula with the diachronicity of salvific grace and the moral disordering nature of sin ; and universal conspiracy in original sin's actuation - not only are we our brother's keeper ; we share the burden of culpability for all our scarring - not only does this compound the universal efficacy of prayer ; it concretises it - not only does this prevent scientific and psychological obscurantism of our heritage ; it compounds personal and mutual responsibility to such an extent that the dogma of original sin becomes as blatant and understandable as the nose on our faces. It makes the sacrifice upon calvary the alpha point reaching forwards and backwards throughout history - shooting out into transcendental anticipatory events and prophecy [it validates the last supper, the immaculate conception, the global heralding of the incarnation among every race and creed ; it substantiates the whole notion of the mass as being the return to that single sacrificial calvary event ; it vindicates the religious revelation , mysticism and inspired wisdom by its interaction and harmony with the pentecostal sending forth of the Holy Spirit - it makes the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church an authentic living entity and not merely a source or path among many.
.
Pope Benedict has undertaken a great theological re-wiring scheme - where everything is all part of a single system - the modernist or progressive may attempt cut a myriad of doctrinal wires; but the orthodox power source still gets through to every principle and ideal from the most obscure or hitherto ignored source. It's sheer genius - and ironically the source material came from the Church Fathers and Doctors - de Lubac [et al ] didn't exactly realise that when he was resurrecting the differentiating theologians [who sought to separate and classify] he was providing a vast array of resources to integrate catholic theology into a single entity supplemented and complemented by everything else within the Mystical Body of Christ.
.
No longer is the modernist merely fighting a dragon where a single lucky blow can decapitate - within Benedictine writings and teachings the modernist now fights a hydra - it chops off one head and two grow back in its stead - it tries to attack one 'ology' and a dozen other 'ologies' now fight alongside to defend that principle - some the modernist may be very reluctant or virtually impotent to enter conflict with....
.
With Ratzinger our faith and morals are not just built on rock ; they're now buttressed and arched all over the place....and it would be an almost impossible task for any future progressivist papacy or oecumenical council to attempt to knock everything down in order to breach a wall.
.
2] You worry about the 'overly cautious' prudence - what you're not really considering is even though futurechurch and the progressivist agenda is a busted flush - it's desperate and aggresssively destructive in in its death pangs ; as dangerous as a wounded tiger . Instead of a cavalry charge His Holiness and the armies of light are crawling through the minefield ; defusing explosives and incapacitating the last few lethal bastions of opposition.
.
Every easter we sing 'battle is o'er , hell's armies flee' - yes we're victorious but the past 2,000 years have been skirmishes with the bitterly twisted adversary trying to drag everyone and everything down with him into the abyss of defeat.
.
Futurechurch and the progressivistas are so incorrigably and pitiably vindictive and petty - that which they cannot convert to their agenda they will seek to either annihilate or adumbrate with calumnies.
.
If they persist in declaring sour grapes all too often the gullible believe all grapes are sour, the vineyard owner soured them , and ultimately all wine is vinegar they must never drink... See my point ?
.
Just because futurechurch has lost the war ; it doesn't mean it isn't still terribly dangerous and won't launch a good few final volleys and suicide missions before it perishes.
.
His Holiness is playing a most dangerous game - previously we always had assassins and fifth columnists - but now we ave kamikaze pilots to deal with too. This cautious prudence isn't cowardice ; it's bravery compounded with understanding."
.
(Apologies for the title - it's all some of these people understand!)

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

I think you may be right about the EF working out OK, Ttony. As for OTSOTA - he's one of the main reasons I read my own blog!

Damian Thompson

Mark said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mark said...

Damian's courageous blog is essential reading, but I often feel that some of the remarks in the comments section don't always serve his cause in the best possible way, and that some of the more hardline traditionalists who post there and elsewhere can sometimes (as Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos has pointed out) be their own worst enemies. OTSOTA's contributions, on the other hand, are uniformly witty, intelligent, and satirically accurate, and, along with Damian's own contributions, are the best reason for following Holy Smoke.

the mother of this lot said...

I agree with everything everybody's said about Paul. I just wish I knew what he was talking about half the time!

JARay said...

Indeed OTSOTA is very good value. I'm also very glad that he chimes in with his erudition on the Holy Smoke blog.
JARay

JARay said...

Hey, my picture has appeared. It's not very big. Sorry!
That's me standing in the doorway of the tiny presbytery which Mgr John Hawes built for himself at Merridin. There is no room for any furniture other than perhaps a chair. He put a "dog flap" in the wall for his dog Domminie, the one thing he bitterly regretted leaving behind when he left Australia in 1939 and headed for the Bahamas. He used to sleep on the floor of this tiny presbytery and the one he built for himself on Cat Island in the Bahamas was no bigger. The trail of churches and other buildings which he built here is now regarded as a State treasure. Most of the building work he did himself, as well as all the design work.Perhaps his most famous work here is Geraldton Cathedral, an outstanding work with nothing to match it anywhere in the State
JARay

Ponte Sisto said...

Paul is a breath of fresh air, which is why certain people (who don't matter) ridicule him so much. I'd love to see him writing for the Herald, or even running Ecclestone Square. Can you imagine the ar*e that would be kicked!