Is the “natural habitat” of Catholic Christians (including Anglicans) urban or rural?

Angelus-Jean-François_Millet
The Angelus (1857–59) by Jean-François Millet

I wrote this piece as a reply to a thread in a Facebook group called “Catholic Village Movement: Rebuilding Christendom.” The idea was floated that, Many of us came from cities just 100 years ago. Maybe cities are the Catholic’s natural environment. Ugh. Gross. But also maybe true.” I am not so sure. In fact, I doubt it!

Here is my response – please read “Catholic” or “Catholics” to include all branches of the Church Catholic, including not only those of the Roman observance, but our Eastern Orthodox brethren, and of course, those of us who are Anglicans – slightly cleaned up and elaborated upon from the original:

I have just been an observer of the conversations on this group heretofore, but for what it’s worth (maybe nothing), here’s another perspective on the urban-vs-rural thing. Yes, “pagani” meant, roughly, “country bumpkins.” Actually it meant, literally, “dwellers in the pagus,” with “pagus” meaning – interestingly enough – “village,” but also district, countryside, rural portions of a civitas (http://latinmeaning.com/pagus-latin-to-english-translation/). It had, by the early Christian era, acquired a slightly pejorative cast to it, like “hicks” or “rednecks.”

So the question to ask ourselves is, why did those who clung to their pre-Christian religions (shades of Obama’s infamous “bitterly clinging to God and guns” remark…) become known as “pagani” (“pagans”)? Because a) new teachings took longer – a lot longer – to percolate out to the countryside, in those pre-hi-tech (and, for many, pre-literate) days, and b) because the cities had become inhospitable to them, having been largely converted to the new religion, Christianity. The situation is similar today, although the roles are reversed.

Ask yourself, where is the greatest survival of Christian (not only, but including, Catholic) belief and practice today? Hint: it’s not in the big, densely-populated coastal urban enclaves! It’s in the “flyover states,” and in more rural sections of the rest of the states. And for many of the same reasons that the “pagus” remained “pagan” long after Christianity had begun to gain traction in the more urban areas: cities are not, and never have been, amenable for those who want to maintain traditions. Continue reading “Is the “natural habitat” of Catholic Christians (including Anglicans) urban or rural?”

Wisdom from our Roman Catholic brethren

vitruvian_man - Da Vinci

“The human body shares in the dignity of ‘the image of God’: it is a human body precisely because it is animated by a spiritual soul, and it is the whole human person that is intended to become, in the body of Christ, a temple of the Spirit: Man, though made of body and soul, is a unity. Through his very bodily condition he sums up in himself the elements of the material world. Through him they are thus brought to their highest perfection and can raise their voice in praise freely given to the Creator. For this reason man may not despise his bodily life. Rather he is obliged to regard his body as good and to hold it in honour since God has created it and will raise it up on the last day.”

— Catechism of the Catholic Church, ❡❡ 364

Far too many Christians fall into the Gnostic heresy of devaluing the material world, including the human body, and believing that only “things spiritual” have ultimate worth. Do not be like them!

The Official Catholic Beer Blessing | The Catholic Gentleman (slightly modified…)

Source: The Official Catholic Beer Blessing | The Catholic Gentleman

Now, who – Roman Catholic or otherwise – can help liking this…?

One of the great things about being Catholic is that the Church has quite literally thought of everything at some point or another. Some inventive cleric even thought to include a beer blessing in the Rituale Romanum… Creation is good. Beer is good. Let us rejoice and be glad in it.

And one of the great things about being Anglican is that one can reasonably “borrow” things from both “sides” – Roman Catholic and Reformed (not to mention Eastern Orthodox, just ask the Scots Non-Jurors who ordained Samuel Seabury and provided the American Church with the model for our classic Prayer of Consecration) – so long as they do not conflict with the Book of Common Prayer and the XXXIX Articles!

Here is a version of the beer blessing slightly modified to suit Anglican sensibilities, and to turn it into a prayer that can be said by lay-persons:

V. Our help is in the name of the Lord.
R. Who madest both heaven and earth.
V. The Lord be with you.
R. And with thy spirit.

Let us pray.

O Lord our God, who dost cause grain to spring up from the earth for our sustenance: do thou bless, we pray thee, this thy creature beer, which thou hast deigned to produce from that thy good gift of grain, fruit of the earth and product of human labour, that it may be a salutary remedy to the human race; and grant, for thy mercy’s sake, that whomsoever shall drink of it may gain both health in body and peace in soul: Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

V. Let us bless the Lord.
R. Thanks be to God.

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be with us and remain with us, now and always. Amen.

For the original forms, in both English and Latin, click through to the linked blog post!

Pope says gender theory part of ‘global war’ on marriage, family | Reuters

Pope Francis warned on Saturday of a “global war” against traditional marriage and the family, saying both were under attack from gender theory and divorce.

Source: Pope says gender theory part of ‘global war’ on marriage, family | Reuters

The current occupant of the See of Peter can be a bit… erratic… in his pronouncements, in my opinion, but I cannot fail to agree with him in this. There is indeed a global war on marriage and family – especially in the West, where the falling birthrate among Europeans and people of European heritage practically amounts of a species of self-inflicted genocide – and “gender theory” (along with easily-obtainable, “no fault” divorce) is certainly a weapon in that war.

Gender theory is broadly the concept that while a person may be biologically male or female, they have the right to identify themselves as male, female, both or neither.

Regarding that: I hope and trust I am not alone in experiencing severe cognitive dissonance when I hear people on the left side of the political aisle decrying “alternative facts,” and loudly proclaiming their allegiance to “science” and “reason” – only to turn around and, in the next breath, proclaim “but you’re whatever gender you self-identify as.”

Excuse me? What happened to science and reason? Isn’t it an “alternative fact” for someone who was born, say, a biological male – and clearly remains one, on the genetic level (chromosomes don’t lie) – to, in effect, “cosplay” a female through the use of hormone injections and cosmetic surgery? Isn’t it an “alternative fact” to think that God or nature made a “mistake,” which then has to be “corrected” by drastic means – which, nonetheless, do not alter one’s biological / genetic makeup?

Don’t misunderstand me, I have great empathy for people with gender dysphoria (formerly known as “gender identity disorder”). It must be a terrible thing to wake up each morning uncomfortable in your own body. But as a matter of science and reason, not to mention the pursuit of objective truth – and yes, I do believe that exists – shouldn’t someone with gender dysphoria be encouraged to engage in therapy, or whatever other appropriate means exist, to help them overcome this psychological disorder, rather than enabling them in their delusion?

That was, of course, a rhetorical question. There is no doubt in my mind what the answer should be.

Some reflections on Maryland Day

Source: the Ark and the Dove – from the rectory porch

Reflections on Maryland Day, the founding of the Maryland Colony in 1634 – now the State of Maryland – and the Feast of the Annunciation, from the Rev. Greg Syler, Episcopal priest and rector of St. George’s Church and Church of the Ascension, St. Mary’s County, Maryland.

My comments follow…

O Lord Christ, whose prayer that your disciples would be one, as you and the Father are one, inspired certain of your followers to create on American shores a colony that would practice tolerance, consecrated in the name of your blessed mother to whom the angel announced this day a new gift: Grant that the people of this land may continually give thanks for your protection and uphold the liberty of conscience and worship, until all shall receive the benefits and follow the disciplines of true freedom, endowed by the Name of the same, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

On 22 November 1633, a group of English travelers — about 150 in all — boarded two ships, the Ark and the Dove, and set off from their mother country from the Isle of Wight.  Most of the group were indentured servants who would help settle the new colony and prepare the way for future arrivals, roughly equal numbers Catholic and Protestant, in fact, and on board was also at least one Jesuit priest, Fr. Andrew White, as well as Leonard Calvert, the intended future governor of Mary’s Land, the third English colony in the so-called “new world,” and Lord Baltimore’s younger brother. Continue reading “Some reflections on Maryland Day”

The Angelus – YouTube

The Angelus – traditional salutation to Mary, in honor of the Incarnation of her Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ, recited or sung at morning, noon, and evening – as chanted by the Daughters of Mary: in honor of the Feast of the Annunciation.

The full text of the Angelus, in both Latin and (traditional / liturgical) English, together with some background history, is found here.

On the Cartesian fallacy as “the source of our present cultural malaise”

Source: John Paul II Identified the Source of Our Present Cultural Malaise – Crisis Magazine

Pope John Paul II – now St. John Paul II, in the Roman Catholic Church – was a wise man in many regards. One of them was in his realization that part of the root of our present-day malaise is philosophical: putting “Descarte before the horse,” as it were, by adopting the Cartesian axiom that thought is prior to being (“I think, therefore I am”):

“Before Descartes, philosophy was concerned with being (esse), with what was real and with the reasoning necessary to bring the mind to an adequate knowledge of that reality. Since Descartes, the concern has been primarily (even exclusively) with questioning the instrument of reason — that is, with analyzing thought [cogito] …

“In the early twentieth century, the advocates of neo-Thomism (a renewal of Saint Thomas Aquinas’s method of philosophy and theology) chose this Cartesian ‘break’ as the obstacle to be overcome: we must get back to the reality of being and out of the cobwebbed darkness of thought, where philosophy had in a sense languished, turning and turning upon itself, unable to gain any traction. [In contrast to Descartes, traditional philosophical thought — not to mention a common-sense grasp of reality — has asserted that] extra-mental being [objective existence] was prior to thought and consciousness: real things stir the intellect into activity in the first place, and so there was no reason to begin philosophy in thought. Thought, in a sense, begins in being.”

Continue reading “On the Cartesian fallacy as “the source of our present cultural malaise””