Instructions in Latin

I have a quick reaction to the Vatican’s latest instructions regarding the celebration of the Traditional Latin Mass, over at the newly re-branded Crisis Magazine.

So far it seems I’m the only one who expresse any worries about it.

Here’s a good part:

A close reading of this instruction seems to reduce bishops to a welcoming committee. It’s almost . . . → Read More: Instructions in Latin

Gottfried’s Theses

Paul Gottfried has some smart reactions to my TAC cover story on white Evangelical Protestants and their unmatched clout in the GOP. And I particularly like his line that many Evangelicals are functionally “divine-right monarchists” supporting whoever, in Providence, the GOP bossess have selected for them. But the good professor has some criticism for me. Gottfried . . . → Read More: Gottfried’s Theses

The GOP Platform is an Article of Faith

My cover-story in The American Conservative is now online. Basically my thesis is this:

The religious right is more convinced of American righteousness in the exercise of its military might than the neoconservatives are, and more invested than Wall Street in lower taxes.

Many on my particular ante-chamber on the right have posited that neoconservatives have brainwashed an . . . → Read More: The GOP Platform is an Article of Faith

You Could Be Headed for the Serious Strife

In response to Ross Douthat’s “Why Hell Makes Sense” column in the NY Times, Adam Sewer ventures out into territory that is unfamiliar to him.

But the notion that hell awaits evildoers really makes more of a mockery of human choice than hell’s absence. After all, if you are making a moral choice simply to avoid hell, and . . . → Read More: You Could Be Headed for the Serious Strife

It Belongs to the Dead

Father Zuhlsdorf has made a pronouncement that Sancrosanctum Concilium, the famous Vatican II document on the Sacred Liturgy is wholly traditional, “wholly ours.”

Being a partisan of the old Latin Mass, I am glad that traditionally-minded Catholics are attempting to impose their meanings onto the document. But if we are to really reckon with what has happened . . . → Read More: It Belongs to the Dead

Bad People Making Art About Jesus

I am in transit to my Jersey Shore vacation, but thought I’d leave the world with a provocation at The Awl.

Mel Gibson is a pretty bad guy it seems, but there’s no reason to let his faults ruin everything he did. And so, after many have come out to try and re-anathematize The Passion of the . . . → Read More: Bad People Making Art About Jesus

Naturally Boring Religon

Gerald O’Collins S.J. surprises me with his contribution (warning:PDF) to the latest American Theological Inquiry. The author of Chistology has set out to respond to British children’s author Philip Pullman, who decided to make his stance against traditional Christian religion even more explicit with his book, The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ.

Like Thomas Jefferson and other 19th century rationalists, Pullman has removed the miraculous events out of the Gospels altogether. But Pullman goes further than Jefferson by inventing a twin brother. In this retelling, Mary conceives a charismatic Jesus and a sickly Christ. Basically Jesus says everything that Pullman finds salutary, and Christ becomes the inventor and spokesman for those things Pullman doesn’t like: Scripture, authority, the supernatural. Here is an excerpt.

The Jesuit, O’Collins, takes on the problem of the miraculous in his article. The attempt to find a naturalistic explanation for miraclulous events ends up creating a laughable character, hardly worth the laconic tragedy Pullman attempts here. His Jesus is a master of autosuggestion (making lepers ‘feel’ better), magic (fooling people into thinking water was wine), and transforming sympathy, (“some people who were sick felt themselves uplifted by his [Jesus’] presence and declared themselves cured.”) In other words, Pullman’s good Jesus becomes a televangelist mixed with David Blaine. Not exactly the type who could convinclingly deliver a portentous moral parable or the Beatitudes. O’Collins writes:

Pullman cannot entertain the idea of Jesus being more than merely human. That failure robs his Jesus not only of his genuinely miraculous activity but also of his unconditional authority and reduces him to being a tragic example of a noble and passionate preacher finally crushed by the powers of this world.

Continue reading Naturally Boring Religon