Saturday, September 5, 2015

A plague on both your houses

     "Once again, at this point, we must speak plainly:  there is practically no liturgy worthy of the name today in the Catholic Church.  Yesterday's liturgy was hardly more than an embalmed cadaver.  What people call liturgy today is little more than this same cadaver decomposed."

     Louis Bouyer, The decomposition of Catholicism, trans. Charles Underhill Quinn (Chicago:  Franciscan Herald Press, 1969 [1968]), 105.

Bouyer on "the new evangelization" (avant la lettre)

"There is no 'salvation without the Gospel,' no 'anonymous Christianity,' no 'implicit Church.'  These are so many chimeras that worn-out Christians have invented to dispense themselves from working at a task that they are obliged to perform even though they think they have lost the means to do so.
     "For the world to be saved, in the evangelical sense of the word, we have first to believe that it needs to be.  We must then believe not that we have the means but that God has them, since through no merit of our own he revealed them to us, and that he has entrusted them to us."

     Louis Bouyer, The decomposition of Catholicism, trans. Charles Underhill Quinn (Chicago:  Franciscan Herald Press, 1969 [1968]), 99-100.

"the good priests who still believe in God and Jesus Christ, and do not have a mistress"

"If the good priests who still believe in God and Jesus Christ, and do not have a mistress are all integralists, what good Catholics would not want to close ranks behind them?"

     Louis Bouyer, on the "integralism" of the Lefebvrists.  The decomposition of Catholicism, trans. Charles Underhill Quinn (Chicago:  Franciscan Herald Press, 1969 [1968]), 51-52.

"Those Catholics who want only to look at the Omega point can preserve Christ only by volatizing him into pure mythology."

     Louis Bouyer, The decomposition of Catholicism, trans. Charles Underhill Quinn (Chicago:  Franciscan Herald Press, 1969 [1968]), 44.

Episcopal naïveté

"Of all Christians and all the clergy it was the bishops who were accustomed or caused to be accustomed to living in the most protected regions of the Catholic hinterland.  Consequently for the great body of them to speak of the world was to speak from hearsay."

     Louis Bouyer, The decomposition of Catholicism, trans. Charles Underhill Quinn (Chicago:  Franciscan Herald Press, 1969 [1968]), 40.

"'The greatest danger for ecumenism is that Catholics grow into enthusiasts for everything we have recognized as harmful, and abandon everything whose importance we have rediscovered.'"

     "one of the best contemporary ecumenists, a Protestant," to Louis Bouyer.  The decomposition of Catholicism, trans. Charles Underhill Quinn (Chicago:  Franciscan Herald Press, 1969 [1968]), 36.

These showy "candle-stub economies"

St. Peter's, London Docks, Wikimedia Commons
"I find these candle-stub economies particularly degrading.  It is the poverty of Judas and not of Christ.  Worship is a thing that belongs both to God and to the whole people of God.  It is a celebration in which everyone from the poorest to the richest is at home in the house of the Father and is called to rejoice in his presence.  Luxury and tawdry showiness are surely out of place, but real and even costly beauty could not find a better place in this world.  We are told that great churches which are also works of art will no longer be built because they are an offense to the indigent.  Are they?  The Anglicans of the last century who well before us made the greatest effort to establish contact with the most deprived urban proletariat, thought quite the contrary that it was honoring the poor to come to them not only with bread and soup tickets or even the most effective social works, but also to give them churches no less beautiful and a more splendid liturgy than those of the upper class neighborhoods.  And to do this they did not hesitate to fleece those more affluent parishioners.  Out of this came churches like St. Peter's, London Dock, which were soon filled with a people of God that was not exactly aristocratic.  These were to be the beginning both of a spread of Anglicanism into areas it had never reached and of a popular liturgical movement next to which our own appears quite paltry.
     "Moreover, the idea that a hodge-podge worship will necessarily cost less than a splendid one is childish.  Even if quality liturgical art is relatively costly (no more and often much less than the tawdriest), what would be stopping the building of churches or altars worthy of the name, or ceasing to make priestly vestments that are not niggardly or hideous, do for the poor?  It would suddenly enrich all those petty tradesmen who already extract only too much money from the clergy by soliciting them to accept their lines of supposedly inexpensive trash, but it would pauperize a lot of craftsmen or workers who most deserve our concern.  And does not the Church need artists as well as scholars to announce the Gospel in the culture of each age?  Yet today her clergy scorn artist and scholar alike. . . ."

     Louis Bouyer, The decomposition of Catholicism, trans. Charles Underhill Quinn (Chicago:  Franciscan Herald Press, 1969 [1968]), 22-23.

"subterranean and funereal places where, as we have long known, the persecuted Church never actually assembled, whatever the romantics may have thought"

     "From the moment that this theme of poverty made its entrance into the aula of the Council, the press warned us that a group of bishops had resolved to devote themselves especially to its triumph or its exploitation (I apologize for not finding better terms).  They called themselves, or allowed themselves to be called 'the Church of the catacombs' for after calling the reporters they met discreetly in subterranean and funereal places where, as we have long known, the persecuted Church never actually assembled, whatever the romantics may have thought.  People waited aflutter for the momentous decisions to which they would commit themselves, in order to involve a mass of less conspicuously ascetical prelates.  We learned with wonder that they had decided to drive their own motor cars (which would dispense with the salary but also the livelihood of their drivers), no longer to have a bank account in their own names, but in the name of their 'works' (although they apparently retained the signatory right), and above all to use only croziers and crosses made of wood (a glance in the catalogues is enough to show that today these objects of equal workmanship are more expensive in wood than in metal) . . . In other words, with these pioneers the concern for appearances easily won out over a concern for essentials.  Yet it is precisely here and not elsewhere that the problem lies.  As one of these religious told me, there are still men who are not juridically poor, but really poor:  'Why so much concern about seeming poor?  If one really is, people will see it quite by themselves!'  Yes, but we may rightly wonder to what extent we want to be poor, and to what extent we are looking for an illusion to seem poor and thus escape the actual need to become so."

     Louis Bouyer, The decomposition of Catholicism, trans. Charles Underhill Quinn (Chicago:  Franciscan Herald Press, 1969 [1968]), 21.  Note that Bouyer says "the persecuted Church".  ODCC, sv "catacombs":  "It is unlikely that Christians used them for refuge, or, at first, for worship on any scale"; "Families prob. held commemorative meals at the catacombs, above or below ground, and by the 4th cent. the Eucharist was often celebrated at the grave of a martyr on the supposed anniversary of his death."  Follow this up with some research in at least the major works of reference.

"Ah well! I am their leader, I really had to follow them!"

     "Eh!  je suis leur chef, il fallait bien les suivre!"

     Alexandre Auguste Ledru-Rollin, as quoted (whether justly or not) by Eugène de Mirecourt, Ledru Rollin, Les contemporaines/Collection "Contemporaines" 84 (Paris:  Gustave Havard, 1857), 11.  This has been attributed to others, but Ledru-Rollin (1807-1874) is the one cited by the 8th edition of the Oxford dictionary of quotations.  Diogenes Allen used something very like this a lot, though I did not think back then to trace it to source.
     Mirecourt prefaces this with the following:
     The destiny of this man must necessarily end in ridicule. 
     One day, the popular tide traverses the street, and the great leader gives way to the first brawlers who acclaim him. 
     They sweep him along.  They cast him into the hornet’s nest of a Convention [in order] to make fun [of him], and this frustrated dictator consoles himself with this remark, which paints him from toe to head:

"the consensus fidelium is something quite different from a public opinion that is manipulated and even prefabricated by a press which, even when it is not completely led off the track by its pursuit of the sensational, remains hardly or not at all capable of grasping the real import of the questions under consideration, or simply their true meaning."

     Louis Bouyer, The decomposition of Catholicism, trans. Charles Underhill Quinn (Chicago:  Franciscan Herald Press, 1969 [1968]), 5-6.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

So apparently this was stamped about five years after the dissolution of the Sturmabteilung in June of 1930?


SA. der NSDAP.
Standarte J 21
Weißenfels, Klosterstraße 8

Sturmabteilung der Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei
Standarte J[ägerstandarte] 21
Weißenfels, Klosterstraße 8



     Cf. this wry comment on the Kyrieleis forgeries, at just the point at which they were being recognized as such: 
The good A. Döring, who in 1835 acquired an Aulus Gellius, would never have allowed himself to dream that after him [Martin] Luther might immortalize himself in that [same] volume as well. 
Der gute A. Döring, er 1835 einen Aulus Gellius erwarb, liess sich wohl nicht träumen, dass nach ihm auch Luther sich in diesem Bande verewigen würde. 
(Otto Aug. Schulz, “Ein unerhörter Schwindel mit Luther autographen,” Zentralblatt für Bibliothekswesen 13 (1896):  511 (510-513), translation mine).

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Bouyer on "the doubt of intellectuals"

"the doubt of intellectuals is born the moment they imagine that the discursive demonstration of truths is the only way, or in any case the only correct way, to their discovery.  As there is no truth of importance that has ever be found thus or can be, it is not surprising that the moment one wishes to demonstrate the existence of God so as to have the right to believe in him, . . . one is about to place in doubt the very [thing] one means to establish."

"le doute des intellectuels naît précisément à partir du moment où ils s’imaginent que la démonstration discursive des vérités est la seule voie, ou en tout case la seule voie correcte, de leur découverte.  Comme il n’est aucune vérité d’importance qui ait jamais été trouvée ainsi ou puisse l’être, il n’est pas surprenant qu’à partir du moment où l’on veut démontrer l’existence de Dieu pour avoir le droit d’y croire, se rendant compte confusément de cette situation, one vienne à mettre en doute cela même qu’on prétend établir."

     Louis Bouyer, Religieux et clercs contre Dieu (Paris:  Aubier Montaigne, 1975), 18.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

"help[ing] real scoundrels . . . do their dirty work"

"In the name of the modern need for free information, people are ready to be taken in by . . . legends that would have made Gregory of Tours pale, without a shadow of the critical spirit.  Moreover, once they have contributed towards their public accreditation, out of false shame they refuse their minimum duty to the truth, in that they have helped real scoundrels to do their dirty work, by their blundering stupidity."

     Louis Bouyer, The decomposition of Catholicism, trans. Charles Underhill Quinn (Chicago:  Franciscan Herald Press, 1969 [1968]), 9.