Thursday, September 3, 2009

Dogma and the Transcendentals

I think someone said that each person tends to be attracted more to one of the transcendentals - the good, the true, the beautiful (accepting for the moment that the beautiful is a transcendental) - than to the others. I suppose in my case it would be the true that captivates me. The beautiful also; the good, less so: hence my sins tend to be about missing the good or going after goods in the wrong way. The true in a sense corresponds with faith, one of the theological virtues; the beautiful, with hope I suppose; and the good with charity.

Alas, love is the virtue I lack. (For this cause, and because of the replacement role it plays in modernist misbelief - filling in for lack of belief in doctrine - I cannot abide talk of social justice. Catholic schooling has permanently inoculated me against it, for ever. Of course, I do try and give alms and such, but I no longer believe the secularist aCatholic claim that it is the trendy left that really help, rather than infantilize, the poor...)

With this in mind, it can be seen how I heartily agree with this statement of Newman's:

“From the age of fifteen, dogma has been the fundamental principle of my religion: I know no other religion; I cannot enter into the idea of any other sort of religion; religion, as a mere sentiment, is to me a dream and a mockery.”

For this cause, I hate and detest sentimentality, doubt, and the rejection of reason - nothing gets me riled up worse than fools saying "Why don't we just all love Jesus and not worry about these silly doctrines any more?". I am firmly of the opinion that many after the Council delighted in rejecting as much of the Faith as possible, dumbing everything down - evacuating our most holy religion of content. Some people would rather believe nothing - it's more convenient. Stupidity is alive and well in most Catholic churches! I don't mean by this anything against those of low intellect - they are creatures of God - but by this I reprobate those who wallow in ignorance and delight in their own lack of understanding, in a mad kind of pride.

Similarly, while some just "lurrrve" sentimental songs of dubious orthodoxy, such as the lyrics of Marty Haugen or John Bell, I cannot stand their puerile sound and uncatholic message. Compare such unhealthy "fast food" music to the more difficult to appreciate and sing, but holier treasures and more beautiful far that is the prodigious inheritance of sacred music down the ages. Trust our own Philistine and narcissistic age to dump most of this. It is the same with the awful solemnity of the Sacred Liturgy - too many think Mass ought be (aging) hippies gathered with a guitar round a trestle table. Mass like that is an abomination! "O worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness" should be the words to heed.

So I do value the beautiful, but not to the extent of running into effete æsthetic excess. Particularly in Australia, the beautiful is often mocked by lazy lax liberals as being "gay" - and of course there is that perversion of beauty around, but abusus non tollit usus. "Bells and smells" cannot be the end of it - as is said of some immoral Anglicans, their holiness ends when the vestments are packed away. (A friend of mine and a female friend of his were horribly scandalized by some High Church types, who invited them to a fancy dress party that turned out to be low and vile - at which those dirty buggers were tricked out in church vestments. I use the term buggers advisedly.)

Liturgy must never be camp; neither must it be feminized as the Novus Ordo too often is, with the only man present in the sanctuary an emasculated old priest, surrounded by women, with a congregation largely of the same. The Mass should be masculine in the true sense of imaging sacrifice, for Christ the Bridegroom gave Himself sacrificially for His Bride the Church, and His priests and their ministers sacramentally represent this truth. If Mass does express this, both men and women will feel comfortable with it. Liturgy, if feminized or effete, repels normal folk of both sexes.

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