Nicholas Frankovich on Several Things

At National Review Online. Like so many other writers I’ve discovered at the magazine over the years, Nicholas Frankovich has become the guy to go to for the Catholic culture overview.

On Trump’s intrusion into sports:

The Boston Red Sox won the World Series in 2004. A few months later, they went to the White House for the traditional round of presidential congratulations. Manny Ramirez was a no-show. Why? He didn’t like the president, George W. Bush, a baseball man himself, a former part-owner of the Texas Rangers? Sox officials said Ramirez was visiting his sick grandmother. Boston won the Series again a few years later, and the president invited the team back to the White House. Again, no Ramirez. Bush’s response? A shrug, a teasing smirk. “I guess his grandmother died again,” he said.

On the decline in Catholic Literature:

The traditional Catholicism that is the setting of that backward-looking novel included a lot of looking backward itself, of course. That’s what made Catholicism traditional. For believers immersed in the faith, the past was alive no less than the present. They could see ghosts. A heavyweight from the Norman Mailer generation of American letters once commented on the Catholic writers of her generation. They were sure of themselves, she recalled, though not preachy. Spend time with them and it was hard to escape the impression that they knew something you didn’t. That’s gone. So the flowers in the garden aren’t what they used to be? Blame the flowers if you like, but it remains the case that the soil has been depleted.

Here he is on reasoning behind the Novus Ordo:

In the 20th century, Church leaders began to advocate an effort, more deliberate and thorough than in the past, to enculturate the faith among the various nations of the Third World: Catholic missionaries should learn, and learn to love, local customs and languages and to translate the faith into forms that would be meaningful and appealing to indigenous peoples. Implicit in their argument was the need for the Church to pour the Romanità out of Catholicism so that vessel could accommodate the new wine of non-Western cultures.

Read Sacrosanctum Concilium (1963), the Vatican II blueprint for liturgical reform, and you will notice a lot of concern for the mission lands. References to them dot the document, and in their glow the reader is led to imagine that the point of the many broadly sketched recommendations is only sensible and moderate, generous but not extravagant.

In the mission lands, let bishops adapt the liturgy to local cultures. Trust their circumspection and sober judgment: “Provisions shall also be made, when revising the liturgical books, for legitimate variations and adaptations to different groups, regions, and peoples, especially in mission lands, provided that the substantial unity of the Roman rite is preserved; and this should be borne in mind when drawing up the rites and devising rubrics.”

No sooner had Western Catholics digested and largely shrugged in agreement to the gist of this plan for liturgical reform than they discovered that Rome now counted them, too, as inhabitants of mission lands, in effect. In America, English was introduced into the Mass by increments, which meant of course that Latin was ushered out at the same pace, until the process was complete in the fall of 1970.

The movement away from the sacred, classical language and toward the vernacular was accompanied by a corresponding change in tone and style, from solemn and formal to less solemn and less formal. William F. Buckley Jr. recorded for posterity a typical reaction of many a Catholic: both a sense of loss and a glum resolve not to be sour about it. Surely some good could come of this?

Crystal Blue Perdition


Anyone getting psyched for the first of Breaking Bad‘s final eight (8) episodes could do worse than revisit this post from two years ago by a friend of Korrektiv. The commentary contained therein is still relevant, as is the link to the New York Times profile of the show’s creator, Vince Gilligan — a lapsed Catholic, in case you didn’t know (which reflects at least a few faint photons of glory on us). As an Extra Added Bonus, there’s a YouTube embed of an old (i.e., young) Bryan Cranston commercial for J.C. Penney that — at least for those of us not too familiar with the man’s pre-Walter White résumé — constitutes a real-life flashback as paradigm-shifting as anything on the show.

In case you didn’t click the first link above, here it is again.

And Hank exits the loo in 3… 2… 1…

Inter: Ference

I seem to be running into Ference a lot.


BTW: The Franciscan Sister who threw the Boss into the trashcan was Sister Martina, who by the time I attended was principal of St. Rose. And, yes, she was all that. Fearfully wrought and simmering with equal parts love of God and Dies Irae…

The priest who allegedly knocked the Boss down while serving Mass could very well have been Monsignor (then-Father) Thomas Coffey, who retired from active ministry in 1990. I too served under him, a meaty Irish priest with an inscrutible depth of reserve – even for a descendant of Hibernia… It is this which makes me wonder either a) what Mr. Springsteen could have done to warrant arousing the emotions of Msgr. Coffey or b) perhaps it was not Msgr. Coffey at all, but some anonymous assistant pastor.

BTB: Note that DT is under new management and y’all could do worse than subscribe to the magazine if you haven’t already. Lots of good stuff in this issue, which is, as always, a gorgeous gift to the eyes, the ears and the mind…

Also, the new look to the website – what can I say? It’s built for speed…!


Just what you’ve all been waiting for:  another installment of Lickona and a Jew talk Christmas.

Round One:  Positively Irenic!

Round Two:  Grumpy, Grumpy, Grumpy.

And now, Round Three:  A Jew’s Favorite Christmas Movies.

Today in Poetry

My daughter thinks that I should move

The tendrils from Our Lady’s face

But I demurred:

Grace perfects our fallen nature

But nature may obscure the grace

Or so I’ve heard.

Babies having babies.

A propos of nothing.

“It is sad that there are what you might call professional Catholics who make a living on their Catholicism, but in whom the spring of faith flows only faintly, in a few scattered drops. We must really make an effort to change this.”
Pope Benedict XVI, Light of the World

Another Perspective

   Religious people are nerds.

Heads up.

The kind of Catholic Church bloodletting-style reporting we really ought to be doing on our own.

And here’s a followup.

Rough going.  “An untenable and corrosive hypocrisy” indeed.

More More (and Less Les)

We were remiss of late in letting pass mention of Love in the Ruins, Walker Percy’s wild apocalyptic ride of a novel, which takes place just prior to and during the July 4 celebration of the birth of our “old violent beloved U.S.A.” … “at a time near the end of the world.” (Notice the reference there in the Korrektiv masthead?) Percy’s protagonist is one Tom More, bad Catholic, psychiatrist, and inventor (viz. The Lapsometer, patent pending) and descendant of his namesake Saint Thomas More, another fellow who lived in troubled political times. Well, we missed mentioning Percy’s More, but we’re just in time to observe the saintly More’s death day. Here’s something on the subject from today’s Writer’s Almanac:

On this date in 1535, Sir Thomas More (books by this author) was executed in London. More was a lawyer, philosopher, humanist, and statesman, and since 1935, he’s also a Catholic saint. He is the author of Utopia (1516) and the unfinished History of King Richard III (1513-1518), which has been called the first masterpiece of English historiography and provided the source material for Shakespeare’s play Richard III (1591).
More attracted the attention of Henry VIII in 1515 when he successfully resolved a trade dispute with Flanders, and again when he helped quell a London uprising against foreigners in 1517. Henry appointed him to his Privy Council in 1518, and knighted him in 1521; one of More’s early services to the king was to assist him in writing his Defence of the Seven Sacraments, a rebuttal of Martin Luther. Henry named him Speaker of the House of Commons, where More advocated free speech in Parliament. Even though he was not in favor of Henry’s divorce of Catherine of Aragon, he still remained the king’s trusted advisor, confidant, and friend; he succeeded Thomas Wolsey as Lord Chancellor in 1529, when Wolsey fell from favor.

He was a devout Catholic who had at one time considered becoming a monk, and he grew uncomfortable with Henry’s increasing opposition to the pope. When More resigned in 1532, citing ill health, it was probably due as much or more to his unease over the split with Rome. He refused to attend the coronation of the king’s second wife, Anne Boleyn, and though he acknowledged that she was the rightful queen, he refused to take an oath that named Henry Supreme Head of the Church of England. He was arrested for treason and imprisoned in the Tower of London on April 17, 1534. He wasn’t tried until more than a year later, but imprisonment suited his ascetic tastes; he said to his daughter Margaret that he would have chosen “as strait a room, and straiter too,” had he been given a choice. He was tried on July 1, 1535, and the judges — among them Anne Boleyn’s brother, father, and uncle — unanimously found him guilty. Traitors were customarily hanged, drawn, and quartered, and that was his sentence, but Henry commuted it to beheading. More spent the five days before his execution writing a prayer and several letters of farewell, and when he mounted Tower Hill to the scaffold, he told his escort, “See me safe up, and for my coming down, let me shift for myself.” His last words were, “The King’s good servant, but God’s first.”

More is the subject of Robert Bolt’s play A Man for All Seasons (1960). The play’s title comes from something that Robert Whittington, an English grammarian and contemporary of More’s, wrote about him in 1520: “More is a man of an angel’s wit and singular learning. I know not his fellow. For where is the man of that gentleness, lowliness and affability? And, as time requireth, a man of marvelous mirth and pastimes, and sometime of a sad gravity. A man for all seasons.”

So, more More, I say.

(And less Les.)