It's official. The Catholic Knight is retired.  I'm hanging up the helmet and passing the torch. There will be no more articles, no more commentaries, no more calls to action. THIS BLOG IS CLOSED. I've spent a very long time thinking about this, I believe the time has come, and is a bit overdue.  I want to thank my readers for everything, but most especially for your encouragement and your willingness to go out there and fight the good fight. So, that being the case, I've spend the last several weeks looking for bloggers who are fairly active, and best represent something akin to the way I think and what I believe.  I recommend the following blogs for my readers to bookmark and check on regularly. Pick one as your favourite, or pick them all. They are all great..... In His Majesty's Service, THE CATHOLIC KNIGHT

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Ordinariate Controversy Surrounding Traditional Latin Mass

THE CATHOLIC KNIGHT: Catholic In The Ozarks: The Latin Mass and the Anglican Ordinariate: is an article written by a blogger near my hometown in Southwest Missouri.  He is a former Anglican, like myself, who converted to Catholicism.  Here he addresses the recent controversy surrounding the ordinariate and the Traditional Latin Mass (1962 Missal).  It's a fairly good piece.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Blogging Vacation

Riverboats Are Still Very Much A Part of Dixie Culture
They Can Be Regularly Seen From Waterfronts Across The American Southeast
THE CATHOLIC KNIGHT will be taking an extended blogging vacation as he travels cross country with his family this summer. The Southern beaches of Dixie are very pleasant this time of year. The mountains of North Carolina and Tennessee are gorgeous as well.

This vacation promises to be an extended one, with multiple hops all over the region.  In my absence you might enjoy some of these blogs.  I know all of these bloggers in some way or another, and it's usually because we share some common views on at least a few subjects.  Pay them a visit if you please.  Enjoy.

God bless the South! Deo Vindice.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Restoring Tradition In Your Diocese -- Methods and Strategies

Elevation During The Tridentine (Exraordinary Form of the Roman Rite)
Missal of Pope John XXIII
THE CATHOLIC KNIGHT: As we have now passed the fifth anniversary of Summorum Pontificum, and are quickly approaching the third anniversary of Anglicanorum Coetibus, it is clear the Catholic Church is steadily moving toward a restoration of tradition. However, the process is slow at times. This is especially true in liberal dioceses with stubborn bishops and priests. Often traditionally-minded Catholics complain in frustration and defeat in these situations. As I pointed out in a previous article, there is no need for a defeatist attitude.

First and foremost, let me make this perfectly clear. The spirit of defeat is outdated and obsolete. It is completely unnecessary now. You, as a Roman Catholic, living today, have much more available to you than you did just before 2007. If you're fortunate enough to live in the English-speaking world (Anglosphere), as of 2009, you actually have twice as many tools at your disposal than Catholics in non-English-speaking countries. A spirit of defeat is completely and totally unwarranted.

Before we get into it, allow me to define exactly what the problem is, what our goals should be, and the available tools at our disposal.

The Problem...
The real issue that plagues local parishes today is a general misunderstanding of the liturgical reforms called for by Vatican II and what was intended by the 1970 "Novus Ordo" Missal of Pope Paul VI. The general (albeit misguided) idea, motivating many people at that time, was to bring the mass down to the people in a folksy kind of way. It was believed (or misunderstood) that by "dumbing down" the mass to the lowest possible level, it would effectively make the liturgy more accessible and personable to the general public. It was in effect, the extreme opposite of a high Latin mass celebrated according to the 1962 "Tridentine" Missal of Pope John XXIII. Now while it is true, the Second Vatican Council and the "Novus Ordo" Missal of Pope Paul VI (1970), was intended to bring the mass closer to the people, there was nothing in the Council or the Missal, that called for "dumbing down" the mass. That was just how the general population interpreted it, and as a result, Western Catholics had to suffer everything from bad vernacular translations to banal celebrations that stripped the liturgy of her rich tradition, followed by church renovations that changed the look and feel of Catholic worship, ultimately leading to strange and bizarre liturgical abuses that were designed to "spice up" a bare-bones mass that had already been "dumbed down" by poor vernacular translations. I want to stress here, this is NOT what the Second Vatican Council intended, and this is NOT what Pope Paul VI intended when he promulgated his 1970 Roman Missal in its original Latin text. These things are the product of a huge misunderstanding, and in some cases intentional abuse, of what was meant to come out of the 1960s Catholic Church. The height of this wacky liturgical situation also happened to coincide with the worst period of clerical sex abuse during the late 1970s through early 1990s. What we are dealing with today is the residual effects of both, and thankfully, they are both on the decline.

Today, as of 2012, reports of clerical sex abuse are at their lowest levels since before the 1950s. The liturgical chaos is fading at a much slower pace, yet nevertheless, it is definitely on the decline. The English translation of the 1970 Missal has been vastly improved.  The Church is trending toward traditionalism, and the only thing slowing her down is stubborn clergy, who for whatever made-up reason, refuse to implement the pope's plan. Much of this is the result of a learning curve. The vast majority of people resistant to reform are simply ignorant. They are on the low end of the learning curve. They can change, but it's taking them longer to catch up with others. This can be especially problematic when this person happens to be a bishop. Granted, there are always people who are not ignorant, or creatures of habit, but are instead insistent on their own agenda which is anti-tradition (i.e. Modernist), but this is the exception, not the norm. The fast majority of problems out there are caused by people who perhaps should know better, but sadly and regrettably, they do not.

The Solution...
The solution of course is a simple one. We simply need to help local priests understand that the people crave tradition, but what makes this complicated is a good number of people don't know that yet. The ultimate goal is to start getting every priest celebrating the Novus Ordo mass the way it was intended to be -- with reverence, solemnity and awe, drawing upon the traditions of the past. This can be a challenge, but once this goal is obtained, in every parish of every diocese, the liturgical crisis in the Catholic Church will effectively be over. So how is this done? Well, simply going up to your local priest and asking for more solemnity and tradition probably won't work, even if he is a good man who means no harm but is genuinely ignorant. The problem is, he simply won't agree with you that that is what the people really want. Why? Because his experience tells him otherwise; starting from his seminary training to the voices of his parish council that have been telling him the opposite for the last two or three decades. No, to get the priests on board, we are going to have to get a sizable majority of Catholic laypeople exposed to tradition. That doesn't mean we have to make traditionalist out of them, far from it, we simply need to expose them to tradition, and in doing so, most of them will gain an appreciation for tradition, and this in turn will motivate local parish priests to sit up and take notice.

How do we do that? Simple. We have two tools at our disposal, given to us by Pope Benedict XVI himself.

The first is Summorum Pontificum and the second is Anglicanorum Coetibus. From Summorum Pontificum, Catholics gain the tools they need to force a return of the Traditional Latin Mass to their diocese. This would be the return of Latin Traditionalism. From Anglicanorum Coetibus, Catholics gain the tools they need to introduce the Traditional English Mass to their area. Between both the influences of Latin Traditionalism and English Traditionalism in any given diocese or region, it will cause two things to happen. The first is that two islands of safe refuge will be provided for those of a staunchly traditionalists mindset. The second is that regular Novus Ordo parishes will be forced to live in close proximity to these traditionalist communities, and in time will be forced to adopt some of their ways, lest they be perceived as "Modernist" and lose members because of it. So how do you go about doing this in your area?

The Strategy...
The way to reintroduce tradition to a diocese is either through Latin Traditionalism, or through English Traditionalism, but preferably through both. Both will effectively bring about change much faster, putting a tremendous amount of pressure on priests and bishops to bring traditional features back to their regular celebration of the Novus Ordo mass.

How To Restore Latin Traditionalism...
If your local bishop is not already hosting a Traditional Latin mass in your area, five years after Summorum Pontificum, then I'm afraid you're likely dealing with a very stubborn bishop. Here is what has likely been happening these last five years.

You see the motu proprio Summorum Pontificum, says the bishop only has to provide a Traditional Latin Mass (TLM) if there is a small but steady group of people asking for it. Problem is, when various indivuals ask for it individually, a stubborn bishop can sweep all of these individual requests under the rug and tell the Vatican there have been no "groups" in his diocese asking for the TLM, thus getting away with suppressing the TLM in his area on a manufactured technicality. So to get around this, Catholic individuals must themselves organise into a group on their own. UNA VOCE is probably the best organisation out there to help Catholics do this. Once you have a list of names, and you meet once a month in a home or library or something, UNA VOCE can help you together draft a group letter addressed to your bishop, bearing all your names and signatures, requesting a TLM, and then forward a copy of this to your bishop and Ecclesia Dei at the Vatican, letting the bishop know a copy was sent to Ecclesia Dei.  Now the bishop is under pressure from Rome, because Summorum Pontificum says he HAS TO provide a TLM if a "stable group" asks for it, and he can no longer hide the fact that such a group exists. Rome is now watching. If the bishop does not respond in the affirmative within a few months, your local group can now start writing to Ecclesia Dei directly and regularly (the squeaky wheel gets the oil) with the help and advice of UNA VOCE. If the bishop says he doesn't have the resources to provide, Ecclesia Dei will direct him to the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Peter (FSSP), or something similar, and advise him to use their resources to fix the problem ASAP, because after all, the bishop is now officially in violation of canon law. Rome now has legal justification to act in accordance on this issue. Checkmate! From this point, it will just be a matter of weeks to months before a TLM will be provided in this area.

How To Introduce English Traditionalism...
The process of introduction of the "Anglican Use of the Roman Rite" is a bit different than the restoration of the "Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite" otherwise known as the "Tridentine" Missal of Pope John XXIII. In restoring Latin Traditionalism, the process is to legally checkmate a stubborn bishop who for whatever reason has so far refused to implement the Holy Father's will in his diocese. In introducing English Traditionalism, the process is to effectively bypass a stubborn bishop all together, but not necessarily in any kind of adversarial way. To do this, the implementation of Anglicanorum Coetibus is required. How do you do this? Simple. Locate some Anglican converts to Catholicism in your diocese. Chances are you probably already know one or two. See if they are interested in seeing Anglcanorum Coetibus implemented in your area, and introducing the Anglican Use of the Roman Rite into the diocesen territory. In other words, ask them if they are tired of the Novus Ordo, and if they would like to bring in some Vatican approved, "high church" Anglicanism into their regular worship. Once you've found just one or two families interested in this, you're ready to go. The process will require those former Anglicans (now Catholics) to petition the regional Anglican ordinariate within the Catholic Church for membership. This can be done in the United States for example, by filling out this application form for individuals and families to the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of Saint Peter.

Once that is done, a group may be formed, and there are two ways of going about this. The group can be a "private group" or a "public group." If it is a "public group" you will need the blessing of your local diocesan bishop. If it's a "private group," meeting privately in somebody's home, then permission from the local bishop is not usually necessary. However, if you decide to go the "private group" way, you will be unable to get the word out to the general public though websites, advertisements, news articles and public listings. It is by nature a "private group" which means PRIVATE. Letting people know about it is spread by private invitation only. It is not necessary to have a large "public group" if one fears persecution by local diocesan officials. A "private group" will suffice to get the job done eventually. Just keep in mind, should you ever decide to go "public" before the ordinariate has accepted your membership applications, you will need permission from the local bishop.

Why create a group and have regular meetings (monthly, bi-weekly or weekly)? Because by doing this, it opens membership up to Catholics without an Anglican background. For example in the United States, on the ordinariate membership form for individuals and families, there is a provision for Catholics to join the ordinariate who are already members of an Anglican Use community. If you have a private or public group that is regularly meeting for Morning or Evening Prayer according to the Anglican Use "Book of Divine Worship" (download PDF here), you effectively have an Anglican Use community in operation. Membership in this community, may likely qualify such persons for membership in the ordinariate. When the ordinariate is ready to accept your group, and possibly supply it with a priest, they will be in contact and inform you what to do next. Be advised, this process can take several months to a few years, depending on your location and the availability of ordinariate priests.

Upon reception into the ordinariate, both you, and all the members of your group, will be transferred to the episcopal oversight of the Anglican Ordinary for your region. The local diocesan bishop will have no more power to persecute you. Henceforth, your group will be allowed to celebrate English Traditionalism to your heart's content.

Now please be advised; if you do not believe your diocesan bishop will attempt to persecute you or your group, please don't hesitate to at least write him a letter to let him know what you are doing. You might be surprised at his level of support! There is no sense undercutting a bishop who has done nothing to cause you to fear. He may not be a Traditionalist-friendly bishop, but that doesn't necessarily mean he is anti-Traditionalist either.  Remember, an Anglican ordinariate group can also be sold as an ecumenical outreach, under the banner of Vatican II.  That is after all, its primary purpose.  If you can help some traditionalist Anglican families, persecuted by their Episcopalian bishop, then you'll be doing a good service.  Chances are, you know your bishop better than I do.  You know his history and his likely tendencies. Only you can decide what to do in regards to this.

Conclusion...
We are not helpless victims of the liturgical crisis that currently plagues the Roman Rite of the Catholic Church. The Holy Fathers, both Pope Benedict XVI and John Paul II, together have given us the necessary tools we need to fight back in an orderly and lawful way. Please keep in mind, the enemy is NOT the Novus Ordo mass, but rather its systematic abuse.  If the Missal of Pope Paul VI is ever to be suppressed, that is a decision for Rome to make, not us.  Our goal is not to eliminate the Novus Ordo mass, but rather provoke its reform and subsequent renewal.  

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Summorum Pontificum: Five Years Later


Cardinal Raymond Burke, who now lives in Rome, was formerly
the Archbishop of Saint Louis Missouri -- The Rome of the West

THE CATHOLIC KNIGHT: It's been five years! Hard to believe it. Nevertheless it is true, and it amazes me how much things have improved at the local level wherever the Traditional Latin Mass (Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite) is regularly celebrated. I had the privilege of attending the Traditional Latin Mass in Springfield Missouri recently and it was absolutely beautiful!!! It has been four years since the institution of the Extraordinary Form at the cathedral, and it amazes me how far it has come. From such humble beginnings, it is now coming of age, and there is a fluidity to it all that makes the whole thing just flow naturally. I am pleased with how things have turned out there, and any Catholic living in Springfield Missouri, who craves tradition, had better get his tail down to the cathedral and sit in on some of these. Within an hour, you'll be hooked.

In the English-speaking world, the pope has given us a double blessing with Anglicanorum Coetibus which came out in 2009. These are two "islands" of safe refuge from the liturgical mayhem that is common in most (but certainly not all) Novus Ordo (Ordinary Form of the Roman Rite) celebrations. On the one hand we have Latin Traditionalism, with the Extraordinary Form. On the other hand we have the rising English Traditionalism of the "Anglican Form" (a local friend recently told me of this novel expression). Technically, it's called the "Anglican Use of the Roman Rite," or some just call it the "Anglican Ordinariate Liturgy." For those who seek a more traditional style of Catholic worship, but feel the Latin is just a little too much for them, this is a suitable alternative. Here is just a quick sample...


From Our Lady of the Atonement Catholic Church
San Antonio Texas

In my opinion, there really is no better way to describe this wonderful form of worship than English Traditionalism. It is on par with Latin Traditionalism, but of course a little different, and entirely in English. There is also a lot of crossover between Latin Traditionalists and English Traditionalists, simply because they have so much in common. For example; a growing number of Anglican clergy who convert to Roman Catholicism, often choose to celebrate the Extraordinary Form in addition to the Anglican Use. Furthermore, a growing number of diocesan Catholic priests who regularly celebrate the Extraordinary Form have expressed some interest and curiosity over the Anglican Use. It is common for the same lay parishioners to be seen at both celebrations in any given month, when the two are available within close proximity. This is because the Anglican Use has many similar structures in common with the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite, and there is good reason for that. The Traditional Anglican mass was actually modelled after the Extraordinary Form back when it was just called "the mass" during the late 18th to early 19th centuries!!! That's right. For nearly 200 years, traditional Anglicans have been keeping Catholic tradition more than regular Catholics for the last 40 years! So as Pope John Paul II brought this form of liturgy into the Catholic Church back in the 1980s (strictly in the United States at that time), it was only natural for there to be somewhat of a crossover between Latin Traditionalists and these English Traditionalists. After all, they are both Catholic Traditionalists for heaven's sake -- kindred spirits.  Now that Pope Benedict XVI has expanded this to include the whole English-speaking world (Anglicanorum Coetibus - 2009), starting with the UK, US, Canada and Australia, we can (and should) expect more of this crossover which will serve as mutual enrichment for both groups and should theoretically accelerated the liturgical renewal of the English-speaking world.

The best advice I have for any Catholic, who craves more solemnity and tradition in his regular worship, is to get out there and support these groups -- both Latin and English. If you can find a Traditional Latin mass in your area, then go there! If you can find and Anglican Use mass, then go there! If you don't currently have both of these forms in your area, then find a prayer group that is working to get them, and support that group! Currently, in my area, when there was no Latin mass in our diocese, I occasionally attended small group meetings put on by Una Voce at the Library Centre in Springfield. Within two years we had the Latin mass at our cathedral no less than five times a week! The local chapter of Una Voce is now defunct, and that is something its founder rejoices in. The need simply no longer exists. Now a local friend is putting on weekly prayer group meetings for the Anglican Use in our area. I try to go to them whenever I can. It's been two years, but the ordinariate is still young, and it is still ordaining priests. So we are waiting. Again, I am supporting my local Traditionalist group. It worked for Latin Traditionalism in our area five years ago. There is no reason to believe it won't work for English Traditionalism now. I can't stress this enough. If you want Tradition back in your area, then get off your duff and do something about it. It's not hard, and you don't have to be a leader. Chances are there are already leaders out there -- right in your region. All you need to do is support them. If you don't have a Traditional Latin Mass in your area, and you want one, try to find a local chapter of Una Voce, or else find a small group of people who share your desire, and start one! If you don't have a Traditional English Mass (Anglican Use of the Roman Rite) in your area, then find an Anglican ordinariate prayer group in your area, and start attending their meetings! If you can't find one, see if you can find some Catholics and Anglicans willing to start one. It can be done. It's not hard.

In the end, what it really comes down to is YOU. The Holy Father has provided us with all the tools we need in Summorum Pontificum and Anglicanorum Coetibus. If you're reading this right now, there is a good chance you have a love for tradition, as most of my readers do. So ask yourself; are you part of a Latin or English traditionalist group? Are you supporting a local Tridentine or Anglican Use mass? What are YOU doing to change this mess in the Church today? Or are you just sitting back, reading Internet blogs, wondering when somebody else is going to do it for you?

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Secession Amendment

The Betsy Ross Flag
1776
THE CATHOLIC KNIGHT: The following text was forwarded to me today by a group of well-known and influential businessmen in my local region. For obvious reasons they wish to remain anonymous, and because of that this text has been forwarded to this anonymous blogger for Internet publication. I have been asked to relay this to my readers, and in turn, request that the text be copied, in its entirety, and forwarded unaltered to as many people as possible, by all electronic means available: email, forums, blogs, newsgroups, etc. I am now requesting that you, my readers, examine the text below, and forward it as far and wide as you possibly can...
On this fourth day of July, in the year of our Lord, two-thousand and twelve, this call goes forward to reclaim the liberty that was lost to a once free people. We call upon the people of the United States to pressure their elected representatives, both at the federal and state level, to introduce for ratification by the states, a simple amendment to the United States constitution, either by an act of congress or by constitutional convention. The amendment shall read as follows: "The right of the people in a state, or group of states, to secede from the union of the United States, shall not be infringed, and secession shall be determined by popular vote of the people within said state, or group of states.  The states shall retain exclusive power to enforce this article."

The right of secession is what the United States of America was founded upon two-hundred and thirty-six years ago today, when our founding fathers signed the Declaration of Independence. It is a right still supported by the majority of Americans, and it is a right that should be recognised by the United States constitution. Ironically, the constitution currently makes no mention of this right, and that is an oversight we seek to correct. For free men are not truly free unless they have the right to leave. We believe when this right is duly recognised and protected by the constitution of the United States, then and only then, will the federal government truly respect Americans in their other rights, and once again, fiscal responsibility and political sanity may return to our people. Please join us in calling upon our elected representatives, both at the state and federal level, to protect the rights of Americans.  May God bless the United States of America!

HAPPY SECESSION DAY !!!

Signing of the Declaration of Independence
July 4th, 1776
THE CATHOLIC KNIGHT: On July 4th, 1776, only one thing happened.

This document was signed....
IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776.

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.--Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government....

....We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

read the full document here
Today, and most especially tonight, we celebrate the secession of thirteen colonies from the British Empire. Let us put on a magnificent nationwide firework display for the whole world this evening, as we Americans show to all the inhabitants of planet earth just how much we revel in the right of secession.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Vatican Approves Anglican Ordinariate Liturgy

Order for Marriage from UKOrdinariate on Vimeo.


THE CATHOLIC KNIGHT: It's been a long time since I've discussed developments concerning the Anglican ordinariates within the Catholic Church. Just to bring my readers up to speed, if ya'll haven't been following the news on your own, there are now three Anglican ordinariates within the Catholic Church.

The first one was erected in 2011 for England, Wales and Scotland -- The Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham. The second one was erected in 2012 for the United States and Canada -- The Personal Ordinariate of The Chair of Saint Peter. The third was erected just last month (June 2012) for Australia -- The Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of the Southern Cross.

In the United States and Canada, ordinations are under way in earnest, as dozens of former Anglican clergy are made into Catholic priests. Only a handful of full U.S. and Canadian parishes have entered the ordinariate so far, but that is expected to change soon. The real interesting thing about the American ordinariate is that more priests than congregations are currently being brought in. This means we are looking at the potential for a lot of missionary church planting in the years ahead, and there are plenty of ordinariate prayer groups that are already laying the foundation for that around the continent.

Today we learned of the Vatican approving two portions of the official liturgy that will be used for all ordinariates around the world. These are the Rite of Matrimony and the Order for Funerals. Inspection of the documents reveals that the ordinariate liturgy will take on a staunchly traditional Anglican character with heavy reliance on Tudor English. The rites are modelled after the 1928 Book of Common Prayer. It is very typical for Rome to approve liturgical texts in segments. However, by releasing these two texts to the public now, we can gain a good idea of what the new ordinariate mass will look like. It will follow along the same pattern of traditional Anglican, relying on Tudor English, presumably fitting seamlessly into these rights which are designed to be inserted into a mass as needed. For the American ordinariate, the integration of these two new rites can now be incorporated into the "Book of Divine Worship," which includes a similar style of liturgy already approved by the Vatican years ago for the Anglican Use Pastoral Provision.

Catholicism Comes To Dixie -- And Both Are Reborn!

(NCRegister) - Fifty years ago — 10 years ago and, to some extent, even today — many Southerners regarded Catholics as unsaved and Catholicism as a non-Christian mystery religion.

But that day, everyone at the station greeted and welcomed the sisters. One woman even asked the nuns to pray for her injured nephew.

This acceptance marks a sea change in the Southern Baptist and evangelical Protestant-dominated South, where Catholics make up less than 10% of the population, compared with double-digit percentages in most northern states.

The Diocese of Charlotte, where the seminary will be located, is a prime example of Catholicism’s explosive growth in the South. Formed in 1972, the diocese had an initial 11,200 registered Catholic families.

By 2010, there were more than 63,000 registered families and an estimated 291,000 unregistered Catholics, including many of Hispanic origin. This brings the total Catholic population up from just 1.3% in 1972 to 9.7% today.

Much of the growth comes from immigration: northern Catholics following technology jobs southward and Catholics arriving from Spanish-speaking countries. But Catholics from the north can’t expect to find the pockets of cultural Catholicism typical of the ethnic enclaves of big cities, and Hispanic Catholics won’t find a village whose rhythm revolves around feast days.

Within hours of their arrival in the South, newcomers will be welcomed heartily by their Protestant neighbors — and invited to their church services.

“In such an environment,” wrote Father Jay Scott Newman, pastor of St. Mary’s Church in Greenville, S.C., in his website welcome to parishioners, “those who are casual cultural and cafeteria Catholics quickly become either ex-Catholics or evangelical Catholics, and that is paradoxically one of the reasons why our congregation and many other Southern parishes are flourishing: The unique challenge for Catholics seeking to live their Christian faith in the South leaves no room for spiritual mediocrity, doctrinal confusion, uncertain commitments or a lukewarm interior life.”

He is so fervent in this belief that he has composed what he calls the “Principles of Evangelical Catholicism.” In them, he promotes the ideas that “being a follower of Christ requires moving from being a Church member by convention to a Christian disciple by conviction” and that “all the baptized are sent in the Great Commission to be witnesses of Christ to others and must be equipped by the Church to teach the Gospel in word and deed.”

read full story here
THE CATHOLIC KNIGHT: The news stories keep coming in, one after another, reporting the same thing. The names and places are different, but the gist is the same. Catholicism is moving to the Southland of Dixie, and when it does, two phenomena happen. First, it takes on a staunchly conservative, orthodox and evangelistic character. Second, people in the South (mostly Baptists, Evangelicals and Pentecostals) are for the most part accepting and hospitable. The reasons for this are explained in the article above, and I really don't think I could do a better job re-explaining them. So instead I will expand upon the article.

I am going to say that right now North American Catholicism NEEDS the South, and in turn, the South NEEDS Catholicism. Here is why...

North American Catholicism needs the South (Dixie) because the strong Evangelical character of the South has two effects on Catholicism. First, it weeds out the chaff. Nominal Catholics are quickly picked off and proselytised into Evangelical churches. Second, it strengthens the strong, like iron sharpens iron, it makes good Catholics better Catholics, and in turn gives them a strong Evangelistic character. This vibrant, and staunchly orthodox, Catholicism in turn brings in converts, as Evangelicals become attracted to REAL CATHOLICISM, the way the Church was meant to be, not the watered-down liberal Catholicism that is so common in the North and West. North American Catholicism is in sore need of this. As liberal Catholicism breaks down in the North, and enclaves into little more than a cultural expression in the West; a vibrant orthodoxy meshed with aggressive evangelism, is a form of Catholicism North America hasn't seen in some 400 years! It has been sorely missed, and desperately needed.

In turn, Dixie needs Catholicism because of the outright cultural genocide that has taken place in the South ever since the Civil War. The Antebellum (pre-Civil-War) period, 1820's to 1850's, was the height of a European cultural renaissance in Dixie. The culture that developed during this era was staunchly Christian and moving toward a return to Christendom. This is an aspect of Antebellum Dixie that is often glossed over in the history books, as the slavery issue took centre stage in the years leading up to the Civil War. However, the Civil War was not a "civil war" in the classical sense, but rather a Civilisation War, as the culture that developed in the Northern states was entirely different; puritanical, industrialised, modernist, and Masonic -- a total product of the Enlightenment Age. The North and South had nothing in common at the time of the War, which tended to make the War even more savage and absolute. Of course, the period of occupation that followed the War (Reconstruction) further served to eradicate Dixie's culture, followed by decade after decade of federal policies designed to "remake" Dixie into the image of the North.  The latest and final insult is twofold.  First, liberal modernists have staged efforts throughout the South to ban all Southern symbols (especially the Confederate Battle Flag) as "racist" symbols of "hatred" and "intolerance." Of course this is completely untrue, as racists use all symbols that are convenient (including the American flag). All throughout the South, patriots have locked horns with liberals in a life or death legal battle that threatens the existence of all Dixie monuments, statues, artwork and flags. It is nothing short of a final effort by liberal modernists to wipe out what little there is left of Dixie's cultural heritage. Second, the United States federal government has adopted a policy of zero enforcement of the Union's immigration laws. While this most profoundly effects Southwestern states, which have been overrun by Latino immigrants (both legal and illegal), it has a growing effect on Southeastern states (Dixie) as well. Whether cultural elimination is the intent of this policy or not, that is exactly how it is being interpreted by the people of Dixie who have already suffered 150 years of cultural genocide at the hands of the federal government and Northern opportunists. Latino immigrants to Dixie bring with them Latino culture, which tends to replace Dixie culture in some places, but thankfully some of them are integrating and assimilating into Dixie culture at a much greater rate than in the West. So this type of immigration-assault on Dixie's culture has been only nominally successful for the time being, but Southerners (Dixians) worry how long they will be able to hold off this rising tide, especially with all the other assaults that continue on every front. So why does Dixie need Catholicism?  Particularly Anglicised (English-style) Catholicism?  Because the charm of Antebellum Southern culture was based on a dominant religion in Dixie's upper class prior to the War. That dominant culture was "high church" Episcopalianism (Anglicanism).

That's right, the dominant cultural religion in the South was not just Episcopalianism (Anglicanism), but "high church" Episcopalianism, or what eventually came to be called "Anglo-Catholicism."  Virtually all of the South's major Civil War heroes were Episcopalians, from Jefferson Davis to Robert E. Lee.  Not only were they just ordinary Episcopalians, but "high church" Episcopalians at that.  The "high church" Episcopalian movement began in the United States between 1790 to 1820.  It was an attempt by American Episcopalians to recover much of what had been lost from English Christianity after the Reformation period.  This included the recovery of liturgy, vestments and sacraments.  Granted, there wasn't necessarily much theological development behind these things initially.  It was simply an attempt to get in touch with one's ancient Christian roots, and this accompanied the return of Romanesque architecture in the Old South.  There was a general desire to distinguish American Anglicanism from British Anglicanism, especially after the American War for Independence and the War of 1812.  This movement took deeper root in the South and was generally embraced by Irish immigrants and French colonists who were absorbed by the Louisiana Purchase.  Gradually the dominant culture of the South began to reflect the liturgical religion of the South's higher class.  It wasn't until later, during the middle 19th century, that the Church of England began to imitate the American "high church" movement in what eventually came to be called the Oxford Movement.  The English contributed more to the intellectual side of Anglo-Catholicism, forming a deeper sacramental theology and ecumenical aspirations.  Granted, Dixie wasn't totally Episcopalian.  There has always been plenty of Baptists, Methodists and other Protestants.  There has also always been a good smattering of Catholics too, especially in Louisiana, Florida and Richmond Virginia.  Though this Catholic sub-culture had a tendency to compliment and augment the Episcopalian upper culture, as many Southern Episcopalians frequently sent their children to Catholic parochial schools. 

During the 20th century, the influence of Episcopalianism over upper American culture began to wane.  This was only in part because of the cultural genocide of the South.   Other Protestant denominations (particularly the Baptists) gained dominance mainly due to the appeal of a simple and personable religion in the war-torn South.  Elsewhere in the Union, an influx of German and Swedish immigrants gave rise to American Lutheranism, and in other places, the Pentecostal movement caused a large demographic shift from traditional Protestantism over to Pentecostal churches.  However, the largest reason for the fall of Episcopalianism (and many other mainline Protestant denominations) was the rising influence of liberal modernism in the middle to late 20th century.  As Protestant denominations became more liberal, congregations voted with their feet, and simply moved over to the more conservative Baptist, Evangelical and Pentecostal denominations.  Of all the mainline Protestant denominations embracing liberalism, it seemed The Episcopal Church was leading the charge.  This trend of course was extremely distasteful to Southerners which explains why The Episcopal Church in the South ceased to grow with the Southern population.  The "high church" Episcopalian culture of Dixie today is but a shell of what it had once been.

As I've pointed out many times on this blog, the word culture derives from the Latin word cultus meaning "religion."  Culture is really nothing more or less than the way a religion interacts with various people in the places they live; affecting their arts, language, customs and manners.  Case in point; nobody can argue with the fact that the Hindu culture of India is radically different from the Shinto culture of Japan.  They are both essentially pagan cultures, but the form of paganism is different, and the people are different too, not to mention the geography and history.  So these two pagan religions created to entirely different cultures.  Almost nothing about them is the same, other than the fact that they worship many gods.  Now let's look at two monotheistic religions -- Christianity and Islam.  The differences are rather obvious, but even in the Middle East, where Christianity takes on a strikingly Arab form, there are still easily detectable differences between the culture of the Christians verses the culture of the Muslims.  Now let's compare the differences in culture within a form of Christianity -- Catholicism.  Nobody can argue with the fact that Catholic culture in Ireland is radically different from the Catholic culture in Mexico.  How can this be?  It's the exact same religion!  The doctrines are identical.  The beliefs are identical.  The Catechism (teaching book) is the same, the hierarchy is the same, the sacraments are the same.  They even have the same leader -- the pope!  It's the exact same Church for heaven's sake!  Yet, nobody can deny that Irish Catholics are different from Mexican Catholics.  It's as plain as day.  The music is different.  The language is different.  The customs and traditions are different.  What's the deal?  How is it, that a Southern Baptist from Dixie will find a much more kindred spirit with an Irish Catholic than with a Mexican Catholic -- even if the Mexican Catholic speaks perfect English!  Again, it all comes back to culture.  While the doctrines and sacraments of Catholicism are the same, wherever you go around the world, the Catholic Church teaches their missionaries to redeem the people and sanctify their cultures.  It does not teach them to change their cultures into an exact clone of what you might find in Rome Italy.  In other words, the Catholic Church recognises that people are different, and religion needs to work with them in a complementary way.  So when Catholicism reached Mexico, it eventually adopted many Native American characteristics.  These later became manifested in the arts and customs of the people.  Meanwhile, when St. Patrick evangelised Ireland about a thousand years prior, he did the same thing, embracing the Irish people and adopting many Irish characteristics.  These later became manifested in the arts and customs of the people.  The same was true with St. Augustine of Canterbury when he evangelised England, and St. Regulus when he evangelised Scotland with the bones of St. Andrew the apostle.  Of course, all of these men were evangelising the same British Isles.  While the people of these various regions in the islands were different, they nevertheless possessed some very common features.  Catholicism flourished in the British Isles for a thousand years, sharing the cultures of each region with the other, in what later became a nearly fluid super-culture in what eventually came to be called "Anglo-Celtic."

The history of the Protestant Refomation is complex, but in spite of the doctrinal split that occurred between Catholics and Protestants, it was the Anglo-Celtic culture that primarily settled the American Southeast (Dixie).  In time it was only natural for many of these Anglo-Celtic people within The Episcopal Church to resurrect their Anglo-Catholic religion in the "high church" movement of the 1790s through 1820s.  It is simply a tragic fate of history that this return to British-style Christendom was lost by the outbreak of a catastrophic war, followed by decades of occupation and a century and a half of repression.  The whole affair can be described as nothing less than apocalyptic.  A great civilisation was cut down in its youth only to be slowly exterminated over the course of 150 years.  The Southern people of today have nearly forgotten who they were, and can scarcely imagine what they might have become.

Yet here in the early decades of the 21st century, a new beginning has emerged.  This time, as Catholicism finds its way back into the South, through various different means, it is encountering a competitive force (Bible Belt Evangelicalism) that serves to purify it and strengthen it.  The result is massive growth, at a rate that dwarfs the rest of North America and South America too.  (It is only surpassed by Catholic growth in Africa and Asia.)  However, just as saints Patrick, Augustine and Regulus embraced the cultures of the British Isles to sanctify them in the name of the Holy Trinity, so the Catholicism of the South today is embracing the culture of Dixie, and there she is finding a familiar face.  The remnants of the Old South, though terribly weakened, still exist in some forms, and those remnants come from the influence of "high church" Episcopalianism nearly two centuries ago -- an Anglo-Celtic movement that sought to restore what had been lost of their Anglo-Catholic heritage.  Herein we find old hymns of our Southern fathers, and the mannerisms of a people who recognised the dignity of their faith and virtues.  The South of tomorrow may look a lot more Catholic than the South of yesterday, but the South of yesterday was learning how to look more "catholic" anyway, even if it was within a Protestant context.  I see in the Southern Catholicism of today a yearning toward a return to Christendom, and this is nothing less than what Southern Episcopalianism yearned for nearly two centuries ago.  It is a common cause, and though the religious brand may be different, the goal is the same.  The rise of Catholicism in the South will bring about the rebirth of Southern culture.  It's inevitable because that is the nature of Catholicism.  Find a people with their established culture, sanctify them, and then help them both flourish.  It is the Catholic way.  Southern patriots who want to see the rebirth of Dixie as a great and dignified civilisation should not only welcome the arrival of Catholicism, but join with it, for in doing so, they will only accelerate the rebirth of our Antebellum culture (old Dixie).    Deo Vindice!