According to a commentor, Jefferson bethke of the “Why I hate religion, but love Jesus” video goes to Mark Driscoll’s church…uhh…worship space…uhh…thing…anyway, Driscoll is from Western Seminary. Readers are excused for thinking this is a religion–just a very anti-liturgical/sacramental one.
Rather than try to nail the Jell-O on the wall on what the Bethke/Driscoll thing is specifically, it got me thinking about Mark Shea’s comment that everyone in America is Calvinist, including the Catholics. Here I’m going to use Calvinism in a very informal Mencius Moldbuggian sense, so please allow for, as he would put it, some semantic drift. It is quite difficult to argue with the Borg from Star Trek. They assimilate everything, and take those little bits from you that help spread itself. That is to say, the same ideological black hole that inspires one to post that the Roman Catholic Church is the Whore of Babylon, is the same that compels gay Episcopal bishop Gene Robinson to say…you guessed it…religion is eeeevvvviiilll. The motives may be different–the former is garden-variety bigotry and the latter is a desperate search for a license to do perverted things with the genitalia–but the ends are the same: the satanic destruction of Faith as a supernatural virtue to be replaced with a solipsistic ideological head trip.
Catholics are not immune to this by a long shot, and while thinking of this not-religion-wink-wink video, I thought of a comment by one “Ralph Roister-Doister” who remarked that our decades old “new” Mass is an anti-liturgical blotter designed to soak up novelty. A stalwart and well-trained bishop or priest can keep a tight reign on liturgical shenanigans, giving fodder to the hollow cry, “See? The NO can be celebrated reverently!” Given a lazy, indifferent, or even well-intentioned but confrontation-phobic churchman and we get what one sees in way too many parishes: endless yakking before and after Mass, nursery-room music, people routinely dressed as if they woke up on the floor of someone else’s dorm room, and a platoon of EMHC’s holding hands behind the altar.
Now I am tempted to talk about the new translation as a sand castle built to hold off a tsunami, but I just want to mention the resistance to the the new translation as illustrative of how Mordor can’t tolerate deviating from the religion-is-evil script by so much as a millimeter. God bless the confrontation-phobic leadership at my parish. They set up roundtables to explain to the laity the reason for the changes. It was friendly, cordial, rational, and overall, correct. Yet I happened to overhear one lady exiting the discussion saying that if this keeps up, she’ll go somewhere else because, as she put it, she came to have a relationship with God, not learn a new language. New Language? The only thing our parish did that was another language was to sing the Gloria refrain in Latin. That is, sing what everyone sings at Christmas when they sing “Angels We Have Heard on High.” Phew! Better start brushing up on your declensions! But you can’t win against a malcontent and having failed to make a substantial argument against the english language, internet gripers proceeded perilously close to Jack Chick territory by disparaging Ecclesial Latin as gutter Latin.
So some guess that the language isn’t the real objection. After all, I can’t think of much that is more worldly than marketing and advertising–except perhaps marketing beer:
obviously they don’t have a problem with “chalice”, what is our problem? I suspect that the objection isn’t that the new translation is too worldly, it’s that it isn’t worldly enough. It’s elevated (even if based on gutter Latin). This gets us back to Mark Shea’s comment that all of us are Calvinist, even the Catholics. I didn’t give his context (see here), but he was talking about when a certain celebrity went on a drunken anti-Semitic tirade, asked forgiveness, and many people said his contrition was baloney. According to the world, virtue and refinement are mere false fronts for vice and evil which is where our true nature lies. This worldview has utterly swallowed all of civilization and even the best of us indulge it occasionally. Resisting the ideology of religion as vice and not virtue is difficult. Let me suggest this as the start of a regimen of innoculation.
H/T and raised bottle of Stella Artois to Fr. Z for the chalice reference. Yep, I was too late to get in on the free chalice deal. Maybe my parish still has some illicit glass chalices lying around. Ok, naughty dig. I’ll stop now.