The White Lily Blog

Tea Party, or Sex Socialism? You Decide!

A post on Italian blog Cordialiter  was re-posted recently with commentary on Rorate Caeli.  Cordialiter says Catholics must not get trapped in the box the media has prepared for it, a false choice between Tea Party traditionalism or Socialist-flavored modernism. The blog says on the contrary, traditionalists must be ‘”True friends of the poor” and proceeds not exactly to say how to do that, but very definitely how not to do so: by accepting the perks of middle class existence, ignoring the social issues and focusing on worthy liturgy. That would be wrong, in Cordialiter’s thinking.

Rorate Caeli supports Cordialiter’s assertion. “[T]o talk about these things constantly [the vestments, the incense, the cappa magna] and not engage in the great social debates of our time is indeed wrong,” says the Rorate re-poster.

How then does a sincere traditionalist engage in that debate? To put it in Cordialiter’s terms, how does one break out of the unacceptable forced choices to a Catholic solution to the very many civic problems facing our people?

Rorate Caeli answers, the solution is to be found among those Anglo-Catholics of the late nineteenth century. They responded to the social struggle by–bringing good liturgy to the poor. ” The great Anglo-Catholic churches that were built in the late nineteenth century were mainly found in the less than desirable areas of not only London but also the several industrial cities in England.  Amidst a great love for the Mass, amidst a great love for the beauty of vestments, of incense, of shrines and candles, there was a deep understanding that what these “ritualistic” priests were ultimately doing was bringing the Good News of Jesus Christ to their people.”

In what does that Good News consist?  Apparently in personal salvation, as in this convoluted formula: “But we must above all remember that the purpose of Tradition is to hand down the Truth, the whole Truth, to real men and women.  It is not to just pass on ideas.  It is to pass on the Good News of salvation in the person of Jesus Christ and this not in a disinterested way but rather in a hands-on way, in a truly pastoral way that takes the sinner where he is and speaks to him of his need to repent in the context of the mercy of God shown in the Cross of Jesus Christ and to bring him to a complete and radical conversion of mind and heart, and thence to the peace and joy that is found in the Catholic Church.”

Rorate Caeli adds an important qualification to this formula. Yes, please, talk all you like among yourselves about the great issues, but be careful where you take that talk, because, here’s the kicker,  “the defense of and the living out of Tradition can never become sectarian, can never become a party platform.” Never, as in never ever?

That’s right out of the Vatican II playbook!

And it leads nowhere, if one means to relieve us of the maddening burden of the Forced Choice.

Rorate Caeli’s poster’s solution is curiously limited,  the work (let’s examine it again) “is to pass on the Good News of salvation in the person of Jesus Christ and this not in a disinterested way but rather in a hands-on way, in a truly pastoral way that takes the sinner where he is and speaks to him of his need to repent in the context of the mercy of God shown in the Cross of Jesus Christ and to bring him to a complete and radical conversion of mind and heart, and thence to the peace and joy that is found in the Catholic Church. [italicized emphasis in original]”  What is meant by that?  They give us a model, the Anglo-Catholics in the late eighteenth century, the poster says, who took the most reverent form of Anglican worship to the poorest parts of England.  The poster calls for an re-adoption of that great spirit, and believes it will clear traditionalists of the charge of effete liturgy.  Reverent liturgy celebrated among the precincts of the poor qualifies, to these thinkers, as valorous discourse in the great social debates of our time.

Or not.

How will good liturgy, whether in Mexico City or Baltimore, dislodge by itself the false choice Cordialiter mentioned? We are forced to choose among their associated causes every election. Ho-hum, let’s see what’s on the menu today: Tea Party or Socialist? The Tea Party talks a pro-life game yet delivers nothing, going for  a fantasy Free Market whose benefits have yet to be delivered to the dispossessed anywhere at any time, and socialism, well, socialism is too broke to help a brother out but can still offer sex-socialism, that being free, and ruinous.  Both Tea Party and Sex Socialism make the situation worse with every new administration. And yet we are forbidden by Rorate Caeli to talk about alternatives to the fixed choice, when political alternatives exist.  OMG! They might be sectarian! They might be political!

This is the same rationale used by Chicago’s new spiritual leader, Blase Cupich, addressing the struggle of the Church under the Obama administration.  Above all we must be nice! In an article titled “Staying Civil,” Bishop Cupich insisted that ‘common ground’ could be found between mandated contraception coverage and Christ’s teaching on the family if only the Church would ‘engage the world’ rather than keep up their whining about the forces of secularism.  Cupich called for dialogue, not ‘threats and condemnations.’ Cupich, by the way, rejects Tea Party Catholicism in the forced choice scam and recently shared a podium with another of Francis’ favorites, leftist Bishop Rodriguez-Maradiaga in an event chaired by the AFL-CIO. So his ‘common ground’ will be found on the sex-socialist side of the fake choice. It will not stake out any new territory.

But most interesting, and most similar to Rorate Coeli’s political solution, is his application of the principle to abortion.

Cupich rejected Catholic endorsement of the Forty Days for Life events in his Spokane diocese. It is not “Catholic enough,” he told his priests. Catholics must limit and define their role in the struggle against abortion. ” When visiting with the presbyterate, the Bishop asked the priests to approach respect life issues as teachers, for that is what they are. Teachers create new openings for learning and reduce obstacles. Their intense passion to share the truth leads them to greater patience and prudence and not frustration with and disdain for students who fail to respond appropriately. Their witness to the faith through teaching becomes all the more powerful when the presbyterate works together in unity and solidarity.”  Teachers share the Good News without ruffling any feathers and without even visiting abortion sites where babies are killed.

Teachers do not demand the re-criminalization of abortion, as Forty Days for Life does. Or the reversal of homosexual marriage laws. Or breaking up the too-big-to-fails, which would be a truly Catholic initiative based on Catholic economics which pre-dates both capitalism and the reaction to capitalism called socialism. Rorate Caeli’s poster denies these legitimate avenues of charity through political action. Do we want to help the poor? Go celebrate mass among them. That will keep you from being effete. And keep you on the invitation lists to all the big sex-socialist and teaparty shindigs. Keep you published and feted and admired. Keep you on the payroll of the museum that used to be the Church.

And it’s straight out of Vatican II. Peace at all costs. Religious liberty, even if it means bringing the Church down to one among many and deprives society of moral and intellectual cohesion.

It was not ever the traditional way. Michael Davies, whose youthful picture just adorned Rorate Caeli’s masthead like Che Guevara’s, wrote in The Remnant to re-affirm Leo XIII’s and Pius XI’s teaching that Christ is King of all nations,  and that Catholics have a right to a Catholic state.  Davis did not ignore the tough part, that the economics of subsidiarity would dominate, not capitalism nor socialism. And how would this be accomplished? Magic?

Plans to implement this Catholic teaching would necessarily involve discussing a party, and a platform. It would most certainly be labeled sectarian (no, terrorist). It would be rejected on all sides, all the media and NPR would take turns kicking it to the curb.

And it could win, because the people, refreshed and energized by the sacraments, actually can recognize the common good.

That’s ‘ hands-on’ Catholicism.

One other thing Davies wrote in this article that Rorate Caeli likes to forget and re-learn every morning, like Groundhog Day the movie: “The teaching of this encyclical [Quas primas] was ignored and passed over, if not actually contradicted, by the Second Vatican Council.” Just to mention it, while we are on the subject of What Is To Be Done. Vatican II is on the to-do list. It is the single source of the massive infection that has the Catholic Church in a coma, and the particular viral strain under discussion lies deep in Dignitas humanae..

God must be formally recognized in the US constitution.  There is no justice possible in any country which denies the first justice, gratitude owed to God. Abortion must be re-criminalized; it is killing both our souls and our economy. The too-big-to fails must be broken up and ownership must be redistributed among the people, along with land. Homosexual marriage must be undone and services and support of reproductive families must be delivered. We’d need a party to do that. If we only had a party like that! A party not unlike FIDESZ in Europe, the party that overwhelmingly captured Hungary’s democratic vote all the while praying the rosary.

Rorate Caeli should not be telling us we may not have such a party, that we must live out our lives with the big choice between a kick in the head and a kick in the stomach.

Of course giving us a real choice between secularism and a Catholic state would be messy, sectarian, and downright rude, as it always has been. Not the least oppressive is the common cause it makes with Islam over the legitimacy of the religious state, which would join a long list of similar ‘tainted’ associations, as in the association of Catholicism with fascism in World War II (in Spain, Italy, Austria, Portugal).  However, our times are not those times. Our demographics are much more threatening, kill-shot contraception really is a new thing in human civilization, and at the same time our enchantment with the poetry of capitalism and liberalism and sex socialism is just about played out. Secularism is bare at the bum for all the world to see, and we might win the struggle with it. Of course it would be awful. Politics that serve God and nation is no country for old men.

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