About Me

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I was born, I'm currently living, and will eventually die. After that I face my judgment, and we'll talk then.


Thursday, June 26, 2008

Apologia pro Novus Ordo Missae (redux)

Earlier in the history of this blog (almost a year ago, actually) I posted the first part of a multi-part defense of the Novus Ordo Missae, called by Pope Benedict XVI the "Ordinary Form of the Roman Rite." The reason for that particular name is to emphasize a very important point. The Ordinary Form and the Extraordinary Form (also known as the Mass of Paul VI or the Tridentine Mass) are, in fact, the same Mass, and are even of the same Rite. The difference is a matter of use, not one of rites and validities. Yet many Ultra-traditionalists believe the opposite. They center their belief around the Mass, only they hold that the Ordinary Form, the Novus Ordo, is at best a bad Mass and at worst invalid and heretical. Could they be right? Is it possible that the Church as been not only promoting but saying a heretical Mass for almost 40 years? Could the Holy Spirit, the third Person of the Holy Trinity and Paraclete of the Church, have abandoned that same Church sometime in the middle of the last century. The idea is terrifying, and the errors that lead to such a conclusion are so grave that they almost seem possibly correct. Could the Holy Spirit abandon the Church?

The Ultra-traditionalist examination of this phenomenon is interesting. They hold that the Holy Spirit has not abandoned the Church. Instead, it is a sort of dark night of the soul for the the faithful, where evil men try to lead the innocent to damnation. The bishops of the Church, and even the pope, are trying to lead the Church to its destruction, an ominous plan constructed by Satan himself. There is, however, the Remnant, those who have withstood the attempts of the Father of Lies and have stood on the Church's holy Traditions to save the Church. This is how the Ultra-traditionalists view themselves, a band of 300 Spartans against the possessed Persian Magisterium. It has happened before, they state. It is the same situation that the Church found itself when the Arians took over and nearly drove the Faith to destruction. Only a handful remained Catholic, and the Church was saved. Once again, the Ultra-traditionalists hold, the Church faces a devastating heresy. They, the defenders of Tradition, are the those that stood against the Arians so many years ago.

Are they right?

Ultra-traditionalism, contrary to what many more moderate Catholics think, goes far beyond the liturgical arguments over Masses. The key is the liturgy for them, but their problem goes deeper. Maybe at a later point I'll examine their other arguements, but for now I will focus on the liturgy, the central mystery of the Church, which is the most prominent controversy between Ultra-traditionalists and the Church.

My arguments will be in parts. I will first examine the heart of the liturgy, i.e., the words of consecration, first in its original Latin context (still the official language of the Church) and in the current English translation. I will then examine another argument on the part of Ultra-traditionalists, that the Novus Ordo itself is heretical, focusing first on some of the phrases in the Mass claimed to be "too Protestant" to be Catholic and also provide an argument against claims that the Mass promotes the Antiquarian heresy, my arguments I did not argue in my Apologetics presentation.


Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Crash review

I've wanted to see Crash for some time now, even before it won best picture (beating out Brokeback Mountain in 2006). It was supposedly a great movie, one of those "At least see it once" type of films. My friend Colin gave it a 7 out 10, pretty good, since Colin seems to be a pretty strict movie rater (being a movie maker himself). So when I finally set up my Blockbuster Online account set up, I put Crash as my first choice.

Here is where the background story ends and the review begins.

Crash is the story of our times, the story of race, prejudice, and hatred, a story filled with distrust and suspicion. There are many characters, separated by distance, age, and race, who "crash" into each other, often in violent ways. Their worlds collapse around them as they face the reality of their ideas and their actions. What is probably most intriguing, and appropriate, is that no one race is strictly racist. Even then, it is not each race that is racist, but rather individuals that make the racial prejudices.

But the story is not simply one of race. It is one of the human condition. Spoiled men of many races use each other for their own gain, not realizing until its too late that if they had turned that energy towards something more important, say, their family, they would have saved not only their own life, but those who love them. Once again, here is another movie where the importance of family is shown as more important than personal gain. The petty racial and status-based prejudices the characters express in the movie are the enemy of the family. In every case of racial or social prejudice explored in the movie, a family is attacked. In one case, a husband and wife's encounter with two thugs (whom themselves are racist against white people, proud of their ghetto lives) exacerbates an already growing split between the spouses. In another, an angry Persian store owner takes vengeance on the man who he thinks robbed and destroyed his shop, nearly destroying the other man. All the linked stories follow like that, beautifully showing the horrors of racial prejudice, the evil that is intense hatred, and the destruction of society that ensues when we tear each other apart on such superficial grounds.

It is a very hard movie to watch, at least at the beginning. It is Hell.

It is easy to portray Hell, Chesterton pointed out many years ago. What's hard is to portray Heaven.

There is no portrayal of Heaven in this movie. Actually, the redemption out of Hell (which is so crucial in a movie portraying such Hell) is not as satisfying as one can hope. Some of the individuals realize what is wrong with their life, but not all of them act upon it. Sins are hard to overcome, that is true, but something more redemptive is needed in such a movie. There is also a lot of swearing and cussing in the film, not to mention the racial epitaphs. It is ugly.

I give the movie 3 stars (***) because, while being an excellent story and moving film, as well as a well made one, the need for some sort of redemption for the characters was too great to give it a higher rating.