Link Roundup: Mar. 13, 2016

To start things off, Gabriel Sanchez offers a brief critique of an idea we have heard before: support for the Democratic Party—with its policies of wealth redistribution through taxes and social-welfare programs—may paradoxically result in fewer abortions. (Click through Sanchez’s piece to read the Distributist Review pieces he’s discussing.) It seems to us that there’s a whiff of the post hoc rationalization about that idea. Certainly, the Republicans are terrible on lots of issues, but it’s a little too convenient—isn’t it?—to say that the Democrats’ strengths also magically resolve their one enormous weakness.

Next, at Rorate Caeli, Joseph Shaw has a FIUV Position Paper on the Good Friday prayer for the Jews. You may recall that the bishops of England and Wales have—taking a page from the German bishops—petitioned the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei to replace the Extraordinary Form prayer, itself composed in 2008 by Pope Benedict XVI to replace the ancient prayer, with the prayer currently used in the Ordinary Form. This is sensitive stuff, to be sure, but it ought to be considered (though not obsessed over).

At Reuters, there is a lengthy article by Philip Pullella and Tom Heneghan about the “marginalization” of conservatives under the Holy Father’s reign. It’s an okay overview, though it could be better, especially since it discusses the Society of St. Pius X without noting that regularization of the SSPX has been a major priority for the Holy Father, with rumors of an imminent agreement swirling on message boards and blogs.

The Boston Globe‘s Catholic vertical, Crux, is shutting down. It looks like it’s going to be turned over to John Allen, who had been site lead since it was launched, as his personal project. We were uncertain what Crux’s business model looked like in a world where the Register and the Reporter are established brands, to say nothing of the major blogs and blog aggregators, like Rorate or Patheos Catholic or Aleteia.

Edward Pentin has a lengthy article at the Register about the continuing fallout from the Holy Father’s meeting with Moscow Patriarch Kirill, especially with respect to the tricky situation created for Patriarch Sviatoslav of Kiev. There are some positive notes that have come out of a meeting earlier this month between the Holy Father and Patriarch Sviatoslav.

Pater Edmund Waldstein, O.Cist., has a brief recollection of the late Austrian conductor Nikolaus Harnoncourt. Imagine living in the Austria he describes briefly, where a high-school student could audit Harnoncourt’s classes at the Mozarteum in Salzburg, or where one could turn up regularly for Harnoncourt’s concerts in Vienna.


Link Roundup: Mar. 6, 2016

Austrian conductor Nikolaus Harnoncourt is dead at age 86. Norman Lebrecht has some personal remembrances of Harnoncourt and reposts an essay about Harnoncourt’s great contributions to early music performance.

A recording has made the rounds of Archbishop André-Joseph Léonard, archbishop emeritus of Mechelen-Brussels, entertaining his seminarians by performing for them impressions of the Latin spoken in Rome by professors of various nationalities. There’s quite a bit of French, but when he switches over to Latin, it’s smoother sailing. You’ve got to wait for his impression of the American moral theologian. It’s hilarious. (Keep a copy of De defectibus ready to hand, though!)

Fr. John Hunwicke has an in-progress series about “Diaconia in the Tradition of the Roman Church.” PART 1; PART 2.

Canon lawyer Ed Condon calls for a new Rerum novarum. We haven’t looked at Centesimus annus lately—frankly the tendentious misrepresentation of that encyclical by American Catholics on the political right has put us off it in a big way—but we wonder if Condon isn’t right: the world John Paul addressed in Centesimus annus has changed quite a bit.

“New Catholic” at Rorate Caeli points out a little bit of deck stacking by the Swiss bishops conference regarding a recent interview by Bishop Bernard Fellay, the superior of the SSPX, regarding imminent reconciliation with Rome. It seems that the Swiss bishops have confused “not today” with “never.” “New Catholic” also offers a slight provocation to the followers of the so-called SSPX Resistance regarding Bishop Richard Williamson’s recently announced decision to consecrate Dom Thomas Aquinas, a traditionalist Benedictine in Brazil, as another bishop for the Resistance. (Bishop Williamson also consecrated Bishop Faure.)

Pater Edmund Waldstein, O.Cist., has pointed us to a 1943 article by Dorothy Day, “If Conscription Comes for Women,” which seems especially relevant given the recent statements by American military leadership on that very question. (And Day’s piece is well worth reading for other reasons.)



Link Roundup: Feb. 28, 2016

Did we post Pater Edmund Waldstein’s piece about embertide in Austria?  If we didn’t, we meant to. (Nothing like Lent for relying on one’s good intentions.) We would have sworn that the Ember days had been suppressed, one way and another, throughout the world after the conclusion of the liturgical reform in 1970. But we would have been wrong.

Fr. John Hunwicke has an interesting series going on Pauline pseudonymy. PART 1; PART 2. A third part should be coming soon, but we found it too engrossing not to mention it now.

Elliot Milco has a piece at The Paraphasic about a the necessity of a more serious approach to metaphysics and the importance of such an approach to Christianity. It is his opinion that a metaphysically oriented Christianity is necessary to restore Christianity’s place in public discourse, which, in our view, has been usurped by a lazy scientism and a narcissistic humanism.

Andrea Gagliarducci has some more from Patriarch Sviatoslav of Kiev about the rapprochement between Rome and Moscow, which has not exactly worked to the benefit of the Catholics of Kiev.

Gabriel Sanchez notes that Bishop Richard Williamson, one of the four bishops consecrated by Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre in 1988, though subsequently expelled from the Society of St. Pius X, intends to consecrate Dom Thomas Aquinas, a traditionalist priest from Brazil. Bishop Williamson, you may recall, consecrated Bishop Faure some time ago.

We have generally associated Handel’s coronation anthem “Zadok the Priest” with The Madness of King George. (Insofar as we have associated it with anything other than an English coronation.) More recently, AT&T has taken up the anthem in its advertising. Jesuit Fr. Joseph Koczera, however, recalls that “Zadok the Priest” was sung as the offertory chant at his priestly ordination last summer. An interesting choice, to be sure. The video Fr. Koczera provides shows a really very grand moment from the Mass, which will no doubt be long remembered by those in attendance.

Link Roundup: Feb. 22, 2016

Note: This Link Roundup, in addition to coming a day late, is devoted to a single topic. 

The Holy Father’s recent statements about contraception in the light of South America’s Zika virus crisis have thrown everyone into a frenzy. Secular news outlets have leapt to proclaim papal endorsement of contraception, noting that some Catholics have argued that the Holy Father’s statements are largely in keeping with the Church’s traditional teaching.

Catholics of a certain stripe are especially happy to hear that the Holy Father has, allegedly, opened a crack in the Church’s doctrine, since, we are unfailingly reminded, most American Catholics don’t buy the Church’s position on contraception.

One point of controversy that has emerged is the Holy Father’s anecdote about Paul VI giving women religious in the Congo dispensation to use birth control, since they were in danger of being outraged. In Catholic News Service’s translation of the Holy Father’s interview, the Holy Father said:

Abortion is not the lesser of two evils. It is a crime. It is to throw someone out in order to save another. That’s what the Mafia does. It is a crime, an absolute evil. On the ‘lesser evil,’ avoiding pregnancy, we are speaking in terms of the conflict between the fifth and sixth commandment. Paul VI, a great man, in a difficult situation in Africa, permitted nuns to use contraceptives in cases of rape.

Don’t confuse the evil of avoiding pregnancy by itself, with abortion. Abortion is not a theological problem, it is a human problem, it is a medical problem. You kill one person to save another, in the best case scenario. Or to live comfortably, no?  It’s against the Hippocratic oaths doctors must take. It is an evil in and of itself, but it is not a religious evil in the beginning, no, it’s a human evil. Then obviously, as with every human evil, each killing is condemned.

On the other hand, avoiding pregnancy is not an absolute evil. In certain cases, as in this one, or in the one I mentioned of Blessed Paul VI, it was clear. I would also urge doctors to do their utmost to find vaccines against these two mosquitoes that carry this disease. This needs to be worked on.

(Emphasis supplied.) Some writers have, understandably, focused on this bit about Paul VI.

John Allen has a piece at Crux about the origins of the Holy Father’s anecdote. However, Allen concludes that no such juridical act occurred. What happened was, in 1961, an academic article about birth control was published in a magazine close, according to Allen, to then-Cardinal Montini. That article concluded that, under the circumstances alleged to exist in the Congo, birth control would be acceptable. Fr. John Zuhlsdorf has a longer version of the story at his blog, which includes some detail about the article and its post-publication history.

We note, as a parenthesis, that the question of “the pill,” which involves natural hormones, was very much debated before Humanae vitae, when it was still essentially a scientific breakthrough. For example, Charles de Koninck and Msgr. Maurice Dionne, two of the titans of Laval Thomism, wrote a lengthy brief in 1965 for Maurice Cardinal Roy, then the archbishop of Quebec, arguing that, under certain circumstances, “the pill” might be permissible. We mention this not to show that “the pill” is or is not permissible, but to add some context for those of us who have grown up, essentially, in the wake of Humanae vitae and the pontificate of its primary author, Karol Wojtyła. At one time, the question was not so settled. (Though, for our part, we note also that Casti connubii, another one of Papa Ratti’s prophetic encyclicals, was published in 1930, and it expressed a dim view on contraceptives.)

Edward Pentin has a very lengthy piece at the National Catholic Register analyzing the Holy Father’s statements, including interviews with Fr. Robert Gahl and Prof. Melissa Moschella, two philosophers who argue that the Holy Father’s statements were in line with traditional Church teaching on contraception, properly understood.

Link Roundup: Feb. 14, 2016

Starting off with a classic from the archives, when Seamus Heaney died a few years back, Jesuit Fr. Joseph Koczera posted a lengthy, lovely piece about religious aspects in Heaney’s work. Given the slide away from Christ and Christ’s Church in Ireland even in recent years, we wonder ourselves what Heaney would have made of it.

In case you missed it, Elliot Milco had a lovely reflection on Antonin Scalia’s death at First Things.

A few weeks ago, Mark Shea had a really interesting piece about Bernie Sanders and the abortion question. (Which reminds us, we meant to write our own comment about the topic, but, as Mattie Ross might say, time just gets away from us.)

The Holy Father gave a very interesting speech to the Mexican bishops. Not as interesting from a tea-leaves standpoint (if some reports are to be believed, there’s only a month or so of tea leaves left), but interesting all the same as a window into how the Holy Father thinks more generally.

At New Liturgical Movement, Fr. Augustine Thompson, O.P., has made available a PDF of a Latin-English Dominican Rite hand missal, which apparently represents the Dominican Rite as of 1962. Interesting for study, at the very least, and if you’re lucky to live within driving distance of a Dominican Rite Mass, it might be helpful to print out bits to take with you.

Fr. John Hunwicke follows up on the Joint Declaration of the Holy Father and Patriarch Kirill with a piece from last fall about historical examples of communion between particular Orthodox churches and the Church of Rome. (Maybe we mentioned it at the time. We can’t recall.) An interesting piece which ought to be read carefully.

Link Roundup: Feb. 7, 2016

First, Pater Edmund Waldstein, O.Cist., has been engaged at Sancrucensis in dialogue with an anonymous author who has, as the result of the author’s philosophical speculations, defected from the Christian faith. You need to read the comments, too, as the author, Pater Edmund, and Fr. Thomas Crean, O.P., have a very interesting, very complex discussion. (Of your charity, pray for the anonymous fellow.)

Then, over at The Josias, there was an interesting piece by Elliot Milco about liberal democracy and the crisis of pluralism. It drew an interesting response from “Petrus Hispanus,” covering Catholic Action and Carlism. The response drew its own response from Gabriel Sanchez at Opus Publicum, citing Pius X’s statements on Catholic Action.

Sanchez, a much keener observer of eastern matters than we are, also has a comment on the upcoming meeting between the Holy Father and Patriarch Kirill of Moscow.

Fr. John Hunwicke has a couple of interesting posts about the Requiem celebrated by the Cardinal Duke of York for his brother, Charles IX, in 1788, in which he observes, “Must have been a unique liturgical occasion, don’t you think, a reigning monarch being buried by his own brother, a Suburbicarian Cardinal Bishop, who had already succeeded de jure to his Three Crowns? (Italics in original.)

Fr. Joseph Koczera, S.J., has a couple of posts at his blog about Bernie Sanders and millennials. He concludes with this observation,

Given shifts in the American political landscape in the last four years and the fragmentation of the Republican primary field, it’s hard to know what has happened to the Millennials who backed the ‘Ron Paul Revolution’ the last time around; I’d love to see some pollsters ask young voters who backed Ron Paul in 2012 who they’re supporting in 2016 (at the very least, it seems safe to say that a lot of them have chosen not to back Rand Paul, who hasn’t achieved anything the near the level of support his father enjoyed four years ago). I look forward to finding out how securely the Pied Piper mantle rests on Bernie Sanders’ shoulders as the 2016 presidential primary season runs its course, but I look forward with even greater curiosity to seeing what becomes of this new youth movement in American politics in the years to come.

(Emphasis supplied.)

Finally, Edward Pentin has a lengthy interview with Velasio Cardinal de Paolis, the eminent canonist, Curial cardinal, and, perhaps more relevantly, one of the contributors to Remaining in the Truth of Christ, a book which Cardinal Baldissieri found all too convincing. It is a wide-ranging discussion, touching not only upon communion for bigamists but also the Holy Father’s apparent plan of synodality and decentralization.

Link Roundup: Feb. 1, 2016

We have, so far, not done a sort of “link roundup,” as other blogs have, but there are several really interesting pieces, which we want to pass along to you, dear reader, without burdening you with unnecessary commentary. (Though we may well offer a little commentary later on one or two of these links.) Thus, it seems like a good moment to try our hand at a Link Roundup:

First, Msgr. Charles Pope has a very lengthy, very interesting piece on the Novus Ordo memorial acclamations and the placement of the Mysterium Fidei.

Second, Peter Kwasniewski has an interesting point to be made about excommunications and other ecclesiastical sanctions at The Josias.

Third, the Reverend Father “Sacerdos Romanus” has a very interesting comment at Rorate Caeli about ecumenism involving the great Pius XI’s great encyclical Mortalium animos.

Finally, Father John Hunwicke continues his series of pieces about the pre-Lenten Sundays with an interesting bit on Sexagesima Sunday, especially Pope St. Gregory the Great’s homily for that Sunday.

We shall, of course, endeavor to make the “Link Roundup” a regular feature here at Semiduplex.