Saturday, June 27, 2015


The best word to describe this post.

Certain groups of Christians are in a state bordering on despair at the recent US Supreme Court decision. While there is much that needs reflection and introspection, one is delusional if one believes Gregorian chant (and other trappings of traditional Western liturgy) will win a "culture war."

I've written this elsewhere and I will repeat it again: you cannot win a culture war if you do not offer a vision of a counter culture for people to adhere to. Putting a different shine on the veneer of the status quo does not suffice. You are still left with the same rotten culture as you had before, just more palatable for conservatives.

Whatever the future brings for Christianity in the West, neither compromise nor despair will prove the catalyst for a powerful response that leads to another awakening. Christianity will either benefit from events out of the control of any human agency, or it will come terms with the last vestiges of the Constantinian order being wiped away and look to its past for the means of engaging the present.

Christianity can no loner expect to have a relatively comfy relationship with Western culture. In turn, it must offer an alternative to the West. This will come, in part, from establishing more intentional Christian communities, developing alternative micro-economies, and, hopefully, the establishment of new monastic centers. More importantly, it will come from communion with the supernatural in the context of whatever liturgical tradition runs as the undercurrent of these activities.


  1. I will put the comment that I left at the ChantCafe here as well. I doubt that they would understand. I am sure that you will:


    As usual, I appear to have entered late to the party, or more to the point, the Cafe.

    That said, I would agree with you that we are losing the culture wars. I would have to say that the last verb in that sentence should be adjusted from the present progressive to the past perfect: we have lost the culture wars.

    And while I would agree with you that it would be necessary to introduce chant in order to change the odds of the present battles, chant is by no means sufficient.

    What we would need would be bishops and priests who knew the fountains of our faith, and knew how to teach them to their flocks. But then, they would have to know the languages of Scripture, Tradition and the Magisterium fluently in order even to begin to do so. Those languages, by the bye, are Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek (for Scripture); Latin, Greek, Aramaic, and possibly Coptic (for tradition) and Latin and Greek (for the magisterium of the Councils and the Pontiffs). Then, they would have to use those languages to read those sources, absorb them, maybe even believe them, and then teach them.

    Then, in addition to the saving truths of the faith, they would have to teach Latin to their flocks, so that they would understand the meaning of the chants which they sing.

    Anything else would be, in the literal meaning of the word, preposterous. It would be putting the cart before the horse.

  2. I must say, however, that I understand the writer's motivation for doing as she has.

    After all, the ship had been sent out on its maiden voyage, with a poor design, and an unqualified crew. After the jollity of the first days, the more aware knew that the ship was venturing into cold and hostile waters. And, after the iceberg ripped most of the side of the ship with its hard and harsh mass, all but the most clueless knew that the ship was going down. But the ship's stewardess had to do something, and that something was rearranging the deck chairs in first class.

  3. Reasons to Believe in Jesus

    Reasons to believe Jesus is alive in a new life with God can be found in quotes from two prominent atheists and a biology textbook.

    Thus the passion of man is the reverse of that of Christ, for man loses himself as man in order that God may be born. But the idea of God is contradictory and we lose ourselves in vain. Man is a useless passion. (Jean-Paul Sartre, Being and Nothingness: A Phenomenological Essay on Ontology, New York: Washington Square Press, p. 784)

    Among the traditional candidates for comprehensive understanding of the relation of mind to the physical world, I believe the weight of evidence favors some from of neutral monism over the traditional alternatives of materialism, idealism, and dualism. (Thomas Nagel, Mind and Cosmos: Why the Materialist Neo-Darwinian Conception of Nature Is Almost Certainly False, location 69 of 1831)

    And certain properties of the human brain distinguish our species from all other animals. The human brain is, after all, the only known collection of matter that tries to understand itself. To most biologists, the brain and the mind are one and the same; understand how the brain is organized and how it works, and we’ll understand such mindful functions as abstract thought and feelings. Some philosophers are less comfortable with this mechanistic view of mind, finding Descartes’ concept of a mind-body duality more attractive. (Neil Campbell, Biology, 4th edition, p. 776 )

    Sartre speaks of the "passion of man," not the passion of Christians. He is acknowledging that all religions east and west believe there is a transcendental reality and that perfect fulfillment comes from being united with this reality after we die. He then defines this passion with a reference to Christian doctrine which means he is acknowledging the historical reasons for believing in Jesus. He does not deny God exists. He is only saying the concept of God is contradictory. He then admits that since life ends in the grave, it has no meaning.

    From the title of the book, you can see that Nagel understands that humans are embodied sprits and that the humans soul is spiritual. He says, however, that dualism and idealism are "traditional" alternatives to materialism. Dualism and idealism are just bright ideas from Descartes and Berkeley. The traditional alternative to materialism is monism. According to Thomas Aquinas unity is the transcendental property of being. Campbell does not even grasp the concept of monism. The only theories he grasps are dualism and materialism.

    If all atheists were like Sartre, it would be an obstacle to faith. An important reason to believe in Jesus is that practically all atheists are like Nagel and Campbell, not like Sartre.

    by David Roemer