Latin Catholic by birth, Byzantine Catholic by the grace of God.
Pro: Restoration of the Holy and Universal Christian Roman Empire.
Caveat: The author makes no claim to being an exemplar of Catholicism or Monarchism (or blogging).
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Location: Upstate, New York, United States

Friday, August 20, 2004

Speaking of HHJPII

I've finally got the whole thing figured out. I read somewhere that many well-intentioned people are canonizing Pope John Paul II premortem because, in our secular age, any pope is going to seem great. That's also why some of his wackier moves get downplayed. To this, may I add that he also seems to be something of a "rockstar" pope, one who has charm and novelty: the first non-Italian in centuries, an anti-Communist agent as a young man, a fan of skiing, the most traveled in history, one of the longest reigning. All of these things are great, but they don't make you a good pope (or a bad one).

His Holiness also writes A LOT. He is universally acclaimed for this, but, his excess verbiage and desire to write publicly on every topic imaginable obfuscate both the essential meaning of any given subject, and give weight to banal questions and theses that is more due to more important topics. When the pope, in the middle ages, wrote one encyclical sometimes in a whole papacy, and wrote it in maybe three pages, the dogmas and opinions within were given much more consideration. The Pontiff now writes eight paragraphs every time I crack my knuckles (which is a lot).

But let's bring it down to the nut. If we want to understand His Holiness' relative greatness, let us simply ask what he has done that any other pope wouldn't. Considering the positives, all of the things I can think of that he gets credit for, with the exception of his participation in the downfall of the Soviet Union, are things that every pope before him has done. This includes defending moral theology - every pope did that. Just ask yourself, Did the Pius' 9 through 12 or Leo do it? Yes? Than so what? I'm a life insurance salesman. Do I get an award for "being a great defender of life insurance?" No, it's part of the job description!

On the negative, he has done things no pope before him have ever done: kissing the Koran, accepting a forehead dot from a Hindu, and telling Catholics not to try to convert the Orthodox. Can you imagine a pope telling you not to try to convert someone? Yipes! I hope it works out well for all souls involved, especially the Orthodox ones that may have been converted.

So, let's pray for the health, happiness, and efficacy of the Holy Father, and the Universal Church.

Russian Orthodox Patriarch Alexy II ...

... says that the pope isn't welcome in Russia, to give him an icon as an icebreaker.

Screw you, buddy. You're the schismatic here, not His Holiness John Paul II. May God have mercy on us.

Side note: Why is Blogger so buggy? Every third time I try to log on or view my site, it's down.

Thursday, August 19, 2004

Great political cartoon

By some guy named Sandy Huffaker.

Sunday, August 15, 2004

Drewdas must be evicted

I don't know if my reader(s) watch Big Brother, but Drew the Judas must go. He's sold out every one of his team mates for in-house tail. Disgusting. She's a whiny butterface anyhow.

This summer's biggest sell-out.

For some reason, the men never understand that it always turns into a gender war. By then, it's too late. Gay Will, who sided with the ladies early, is now learning what it's gotten him.

Saturday, August 07, 2004


I attended a Maronite liturgy this past weekened. They're from the Antiochene Patriarchate, and follow a heavily Romanized version of the liturgy of St. James. It's good, better than the current Roman Missal, but doesn't touch the Ukrainian Byzantine liturgy of St. John Chrysostom.

Icons are not seemingly in their tradition, and like the Romans, they have updated their liturgy frequently over the years. Apparently, as the article linked above discusses, they (the Lebanese) developed an intense devotion to Rome, as they swam in a sea of Orthodox schismatics and Muslim heathens. So, they made changes to their liturgy that they didn't have to, to show their love of the pope, mixing up his role as Latin Patriarch and Supreme Pontiff. Thus strangely, the Catholic Churches that were formerly in schism have better liturgies, because they are more rabidly attached to tradition.

The most notable aspect of the Maronite liturgy, at least where I live, is that it is said in five languages. Arabic chant, the consecration in Aramaic (wow! cool!), a Latin hymn, the Kyrie in Greek, and English hymns (it's the vernacular here, after all) really make the centuries melt away and bring you into the universal, historical continuity of the Christian Era. Beautiful! The heavy incense is wonderful, the devotion tops current Roman custom, and the kiss of peace is handed from the priest to one person, who hands it to the next, and so on, in the ancient custom. You receive the peace from God that way, instead of the touchy-feely way you "receive" it from the people next to you in the Novus Ordo.

But, only 2/3 of the liturgy is chanted. After the Ukie experience, I find spoken liturgy banal. There's no comparison. A few yahoos also raise thier hands at the consecration, as is the loony charismatic custom (which I must note is not directed in the missal, even in the Roman), as if they are co-consecrating. That drives me nuts. And this parish lets females lector! Boo!

But I'm going back. I may even join there, and support the parish. One side effect of the ultra-tradition of the Ukrainians is their unfriendliness. In almost a year, I've had three conversations, and the priest has never wanted to meet me, in their tiny parish. I'm also usually the only one who's not Ukrainian. At the Maronite Church, a full third are not Lebanese, and they invited me to stay for wine and snacks after liturgy.They were curious about me, and very welcoming. Now, while I know "community" is a silly buzzword people use for leaving the Church for some Protestant "church," no man is an island, and it's really hard to re-engage religion (I spent some years as a poor Catholic) by yourself. My wife, parents, and friends are supportive of my Eastern leaning, but I always have to go by myself, and they get sick of hearing me talk about it. So I think I may split my time between the Ukrainian and Maronite parishes.

On a strange side note, I saw Tiny Tim on Laugh In recently, and it inspired me to find out his story. Turns out he was a Maronite, and his grandpappy was a Maronite priest. After some indiscretions, he died a good Maronite Catholic. Weird, huh?