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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?

I’m glad Mika cleared that up for us

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Now I can sleep at night, gin-scented tears running down the side of my nose and all…

Hey, look at that—AP says I’m Trump Country!

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See me up there in the upper right-hand corner?

As Percy would say, I’m “validated” like the young man who sees his own town in a film or lights up William Holden’s cigarette without acknowledging that he knows Holden knows he knows who Holden is, etc.

(p.s. This is not meant as a provocation, so please if you have anything bad to say about the current president, I would refer you to previous dust-ups at this blog on that issue, which I won’t even link to because I don’t think it bears any relevance to this post. Here, it’s all peace and joy and I don’t really care what you think about the current president – I’m making a Percian point here, which is much more important.

As a smoking/meat-smoking friend of mine in California might say, “Oh, you don’t like my politics? That’s nice. Did I mention that I bake bread?”

Except in my case I would say, “Did I mention I make a helluva good Chicken Cacciatore and that I can make you a martini that you will never forget? Sit down right there at my kitchen table and I’ll stir us a couple, and then let’s light up a smoke—cigar for you? Perfect!—and cigarettes (unfiltered) for me. Let’s talk then about the beauties of poems that completely nail the execution of a perfect enjambment of lines, of women who wear their hair down, of early R.E.M. albums and whether they were meant to be concept albums in the tradition of Pink Floyd and Yes but tinctured with a Southern Gothic ethos, of love in a time near the end of the world, and of children and how, one way or another, the little dears are going to get you out of bed in the morning. Yes—oh, and how’s your drink? See? I told you so….Cacciatore will be ready in about 20 minutes. How ‘bout another round?” )

 

Opening Up a Dialogue

House of Words paid Facebook a nominal fee to boost the dissemination of a haiku in support of the Women’s March this past Saturday. And it generated some interesting feedback from outside the usual House of Words demographic.

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Hair Shirt

I don’t know who wrote this, but it pretty accurately captures my post-election sentiments.

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Democracy at Work?

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Photo source.

Truly, that which is required for the preservation of life, and for life’s well-being, is produced in great abundance from the soil, but not until man has brought it into cultivation and expended upon it his solicitude and skill. Now, when man thus turns the activity of his mind and the strength of his body toward procuring the fruits of nature, by such act he makes his own that portion of nature’s field which he cultivates – that portion on which he leaves, as it were, the impress of his personality; and it cannot but be just that he should possess that portion as his very own, and have a right to hold it without any one being justified in violating that right. – Leo XIII

Haiku Prediction

Pussy-grabbing Trump
Will be grabbing his own ass
When they lock him up

Statement

screen-shot-2016-11-13-at-2-58-42-pmOur president-elect is a con artist, a cheat, a sexual predator, a racist, a misogynist, a blustering incompetent bully, and a buffoon. You dunderheads who voted him in get to watch with the rest of us now as he flounders recklessly in an office he is supremely unqualified and unprepared for, as he back-paddles on all of the multitude of calculated lies he has told, as he tells (in nearly incomprehensible fractured syntax) ever more newly calculated lies, and as he systematically attempts to exact revenge on anyone who has opposed him — because that is what drives him: narcissistic self-aggrandizement, ego, and sociopathic revenge fantasies. It will be something to see.

A Spring Fall, or A Meandering Free-Verse Philippic on Political Victory

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[Editor’s Note: Because IC asked for something, anything related to yesterday’s news (1:40 a.m. CST!) JOB posts the following]

UPON THE OCCASION OF BRIAN LOGUE’S ELECTION TO THE LA CROSSE COUNTY BOARD

Poets, priest and politicians
Have words to thank for their positions.
-Gordon Sumner

I too hate it, politics. And yet,
there it is. The right and left
the up and down
the over and under
the profit and loss, the heads and tails,
it doesn’t matter.

Winning doesn’t matter.

Losing doesn‘t matter.

Nothing matters except
everything.

So, as you stroll the Lyceum of your mind
with Cicero’s headless ghost, Demonsthenes’ humble pebbles
in your mouth,
watch as polity and equity embrace and kiss,
and remember
what the people ask you to keep in mind,
that the terms and limits of empire
begin with the three primary colors of reality:
first principles,
last things
and
final ends.

II
Incumbents last as long as the next emotion cycle….
So one by two by three
they fell – and the laurels
that looked so stylish
with broad gestures and
togas gilded with purple piping
(so say the Roman hacks
who lost their bets to Caesar
and hide their heads beneath
the epitaph of obscurity)
went to the next generation.

But what do you expect?
Anyone the age of Christ ought to know
as much about the world,
its modus operandi:

1. Nail down your agenda and crucify the data.

2. Throw your own gods of liberty into the marketplace.

3. Let other gods bleed for their liberty.

III
Usura slayeth the child in the womb.
Thus, Mr. Pound remarked in that way how summer falls
and makes a winter spring

from its sleepy lair, ravenous.
And thus, too, the fool will have had his day
(and so a king too…).

In chasing the specter of usura, though,
and denying error the privilege of rights,
I promise you will find the Son of Mammon’s address.

But if you see the birds of paradise, the sparrow’s nest
and the Son of Man who has no home,
you will know peace as sound as stone among the lilies.

IV
Where yesterday was politics today is policy.
And always April fools day
with sunlight, and the day
is left to shrink and think that spring
promises warmth, acceptance, growth, new creation.

And always the annual portfolio promises
dividends, interest, diversified stock options,
no substantial penalty
for early withdrawal…
Yes, that sense of play lasts all of one day.

Then comes the real work.

The Wisconsin farmer climbs upon his tractor,
ready to spread
the true springtime message
acre by acre, row by row
in a steady stream, like oratory
shoveled out, and like public trust discharged
behind him –
“It’s time for a change.”

And now a new team of factional rivals
grab the rostrum of La Crosse
(by hook or by crook),
spinning at poles like a captain’s wheel
and as the bilge water flows
in their wake each member would augur
as much:
“It’s time for a change.”

V
First, for tactics, we countered the numbers –
then, for strategy, we counted the numbers
and last night, for victory,
we considered with nervous fingers on the tickertape
a mere 18 reasons
for overcoming the numbers.

But such integers of population pale
at least compared to what
the world has managed to put up:

And, lo, the City of Man
is like unto a boondoggle
which may make money for a few
but renders many with neither shirt nor honor,
nor bread to rise nor stone upon stone,
nor art its measure, nor craft its purpose,
nor love its gift to man.

And, lo, the City of Man
is like unto a boondoggle
which may spring a virtual Hippocrene of eternal hope
and speciously declare everyone a winner
but puts cliché upon a plinth
and truth in its place,
beneath a white stain beneath pigeon toes.

VI
So don’t fear to scratch the marble
because dirty hands can also mean
honest men earning an honest day’s wages.

Meanwhile, the City of God awaits –
so like unto a certain county district
of unasked and unanswered questions.

So may it be in virtue of a truth
no speech can divide nor words divine
that you help the people find the courage

To ask the questions and find the answer.

Shucks! – I guess the 2017 litterachur Nobel is going to go to Bono

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But I’m energized – Big League – at least it’s going to someone who actually understands the difference between sovereignty and totalitarianism…

Well, shit, if you think I’m wrong about it – the laddy said it right here. I quote unquote quote:

“Edited clips of Trump replied: “I will build a great, great wall on our southern border and I will have Mexico pay for that well.”
“A wall? Like the Berlin Wall? Like the Great Wall of China?” Bono, a donor to the Clinton Global Initiative, shot back to the video screen.”

Well, let me uncling mesself from thissere gun, religion and God type-a-thing before I continue. [Sipping at a cold one now, hold on…]

Well, shit, what I mean to say is, hell and hard nuts, America is so tired of thissere electionation process… Oh, hell, let’s just all go home and hope that we have jobs come Monday… I’ll buy the keg (Quinn, can I borrow 40 bucks? The Hamms is on sale…)

Well, as I look out at this wonderful U Ass of A we gots usself here, I can’t help but thinks about that what which Bono’s countryman and fellow string-strummer once said, “That’tare ain’t no country for old menfolk…”

Well, Cormac, I guess you can be fixin your Nobel year to be—

Hell now, look at that, Mr. Tweedy, you made me spill my Blatz.

No, excuse me – EXCUSE ME, Mr. Tweedy, but we happen to got womenfolk in the audience just now, so you just you shut your jaw the fuck up, now you hear. I realize you got a grimace like a hound dog trying to pass a peach pit. But just heel now, y’hear? You’ll have your chance at the carcass after Cormac gets a gnaw!

Well, I guess that’s about alls I got to say – ummagonna end the conversation righ-chere.

Love and peace and I’m all with Her and all.

JOB