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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?

Follow-up to follow-up to follow-up to previous day’s post

Familia Romana - p. 19

From LINGVA LATINA PER SE ILLVSTRATA – PARS I: FAMILIA ROMANA, by Hans H. Ørberg.…

Rome: Tuesday in St. Peter’s

I didn’t bring my camera, so there’s no proof, but after the Scavi tour (!), we took a turn around St. Peter’s. It’s not my favorite basilica, but it’s really, really big. And so, for proportion’s sake, are its statues. What occurred to me: every tribe makes some of its own into giants. But perhaps not always for the same reason. I recall in particular a way-up-there statue of some Foundress. She was massive, but equally massive was the twisted beggar at her feet. Presumably, the order she founded served the poor. She was a giant because she stooped. St. Andrew, above, was a giant because he was willing to die horribly. Of course, every crucifix in every church bears the same significance, but the enormous scale helped break the crust of familiarity.

Yeah, I still need to sit down and actually write this trip out.

Some of the Better Roman Graffiti We Encountered…

…and there was a lot of it.

No, not the “orgy.” The Lego riot police. I’m getting my kid the ’68 Democratic Convention edition – learning can be fun!

Pieta – Orvieto

Rome: Monday: Interior at Orvieto

With a special appearance of my patron John the Baptist, beneath one of the alabaster windows:

Rome: Monday: Possibly the Most Beautiful Built Thing I Have Ever Seen (Continued)

Rome: Monday: Possibly the Most Beautiful Built Thing I Have Ever Seen (Continued)


Okay, so it’s actually Orvieto, not Rome. You take my point. These are scenes from the life of Mary – the marriage to Joseph, and postpartum with Jesus – taken as the afternoon sun set the gold mosaic ablaze. And lest anyone miss out: clicking on the photos makes ’em bigger. Clicking on them again makes ’em bigger still.

Rome: Monday: Possibly the Most Beautiful Built Thing I Have Ever Seen (Continued)


Rome: Monday: The Streets of Orvieto