The Sarabite: Towards an Aesthetic Christianity

There is a continuous attraction, beginning with God, going to the world, and ending at last with God, an attraction which returns to the same place where it began as though in a kind of circle. -Marsilio Ficino

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Rerum Pius Tenax Vigor....

Or What is Wrong With This Picture?

All of us want to be something that we are not. And sometimes we want to be something we once were. I have always admired the Society of St. Pius X, even to this day. I so wish that I can be so sure of what I believe that I can be just as nasty as they are to those who disagree with them (at least rhetorically). True, I was like that once, but very briefly (I wasn't tough enough, I guess). I saw that things are not so black and white, I saw that maybe God does write straight with crooked lines. Just as, however, we can admire someone very small and very drunk audaciously picking a bar fight with a large biker, so I admire the SSPX for entering into doctrinal issues where they put their historical foot in their theological mouth.

"Theology by knee-jerk"..... no wait, just thinking by knee-jerk. Such is the article that I perused of the complementary copy of the Angelus Magazine that they sent me (I ordered one of their nice calendars). Unfortunately, only part of it is available on-line. They covered all of the bases in this one: a virtual defense of slavery, a defense of the medieval social order, condemnation of liberalism, etc. What really caught my eye, however, was one particular quote. The setting is the deposed ex-president of the Confederate States, Jefferson Davis, in prison receiving a photograph from Pope Pius IX :

During President Davis's imprisonment following the defeat of the Confederacy, Pope Pius IX sent a picture of himself to him with the handwritten inscription: "Come unto me all ye who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest." (emphasis mine)

-from the June 2005 edition of the Angelus Magazine, p. 34

Wow! John Paul II, eat your heart out! The Vicar of Christ becomes Christ's usurper. Not just the guide of the Church, but God himself, the source of all solace and comfort!

Maybe I shouldn't be so hard on Pio Nono. He is, after all, lying incorrupt in Rome in the Basilica of St. Lawrence Outside the Walls. Compared to this identification of the Sovereign Pontiff with Christ Himself, however, what is changing the Mass, calling ecumenical councils to alter the face of the Church, and defining doctrine infallibly for all time? Just some things you do before breakfast!

And if the Pope is indeed so on parallel with Christ, why not say any Mass that he pleases, even if he asks you to consecrate a chocolate chip cookie using the words of a Beastie Boys' song?

Indeed, life can be very ironic sometimes.


At 11:17 AM, Blogger Rubrician said...

What was it that Bishop Strossmayer said to the assembled bishops at Vatican I - something like if God wished to punish mankind and the Church "..He has only to let them make Pius IX a god, as we have made a goddess of the Blessed Virgin. Stop, stop, venerable brethren, on the odious and ridiculoous incline on which you have placed yourselves. Save the Church from the shipwreck which threatens her..."

Shame they didn't listen. Once you have a man saying they are Tradition the inevitable collapse of the Roman Church was both unavoidable and inevitable.

Consecrate those choclate chips!

At 12:06 PM, Blogger Sean Roberts said...

I was under the impression that that Strossmayer quote was bogus.

At 12:43 PM, Blogger Rubrician said...

I don't think so: I think the Ultramontanists wanted people to think that.

Even if it were bogus it is still prophetic.

At 1:45 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Among traditionalists, (not just the SSPX) there is a stong glorification of the south as the One Place in America that (could be) the most congenial to Catholicism, with the aristocratic nature of pre-Civil War south, as well as the avoidance of that nasty Northern Congregationalist/Unitarian abolitionism, and all that nasty 19th century liberalism condemmed by Pius IX.

Politically, it ties into Agarainism, as well as Paleoconservatism. And always throwing Flannery O'Connor around as a saint.

Of course, what if you do sympathize with traditionalists, but despise that kind of political talk?

At 10:17 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Arturo is the biggest knee-jerker going!!

At 10:30 AM, Blogger Arturo Vasquez said...

The quote, "Rerum Pius tenax vigor", is actually from Louis Veuillot, who around the time of the debates on papal infallibility actually re-wrote the first line of the traditional hymn at the Office of None: "Rerum DEUS tenax vigor." Roughly translated as: "God sustainer of all things". The source: a book Louis Bouyer wrote on Cardinal Newman.

I think the idea of consecrating a chocolate chip cookie to a Beastie Boys' song may have crossed the line a bit. But I am planning on using one of their songs as the sequence to the Votive Mass to the Spirit of Vatican II that I am currently writing. The song is, of course:

"I Can't Stand It I Know You Planned It
But I'm Gonna Set It Straight, This Watergate
I Can't Stand Rocking When I'm In Here
Because Your Crystal Ball Ain't So Crystal Clear
So While You Sit Back and Wonder Why I Got This F@#*ing Thorn In My Side
Oh My God, It's A Mirage
I'm Tellin' Y'all It's SABOTAGE!"

The Latin translation is pending. As for the music, I have been kicking around putting it in Gregorian mode viii or a variation of the "tonus peregrinus". In any event, this kind of stuff keeps me busy.

At 2:39 PM, Blogger Sean Roberts said...

You're like a scientist, when you're applyin' this.

At 3:41 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

I'm an SSPXer who has had for years to endure that kind of pro-Confederacy diatribe from poor folks who insist that the South was "more Catholic" and the war was about "state's rights." Sure it was . . . it was about the right of the states to have slaves. Slavery was the cause and catalyst of the war. All one has to do is point to the reasons for secession which each state published to prove it.

I think some traditionalists get into a mindset of rejecting not only the harmful "reforms" that came from Vatican II but also anything else that the secularists and modernists claim as good, including some modern science and modern notions of democracy and politics. But in the same way that we traditionalists argue when we talk to modernists that just because something is old doesn't mean it is bad, we traditionalists should realize that just because something is modern doesn't mean it is bad, either.

Anyway, I wanted you to know that there are many SSPXers and other traditionalists who do not have these odd, pro-aristocracy, pro-monarchy, pro-Confederacy ideas. I am perfectly comfortable thinking that the French Revolution was terrible without wishing to restore the aristocracy, for instance. I'm writing my senior paper (I'm a history major at Gonzaga University) on the relationship between Pius IX and the Confederacy, and even though I'm only in the early research phase I've already discovered that it's not nearly so black and white as that Angelus article would have you believe.

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