"You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you odd." ~Flannery O'Connor

Thursday, November 14, 2013

"The End of Protestantism" turns out to be...Protestant

When it came out last week, I had intended to write a lengthy rebuttal of Peter Leithart's First Things piece "The End of Protestantism." But if you know much about church history, reading it for yourself makes that unnecessary. For what Leithart is advocating, which he calls "reformational Catholicism," has been around since the 16th century. It's called "Anglicanism"--or more precisely, what used to be called "broad-church Anglicanism." C.S. Lewis would have been quite comfortable with it. Leithart's brand doesn't require England, but it's just the sort of via media of which traditional Anglicans are so uniquely proud.

The thing is, broad-church Anglicanism, whether English or not, is essentially Protestant--as Queen Elizabeth I rightly insisted. Like confessional Lutheranism and Calvinism, to be sure, it considers itself Catholic in the only sense that matters. In that sense of 'Catholic', Roman and Eastern Catholicism do not together constitute the Catholic Church, but are at most branches thereof, if not sects. But the belief that the communion of churches calling itself "the Catholic Church" is not, in fact, the Catholic Church is what makes Anglicanism in all its forms Protestant. Thus the terminus at which Leithart's "end of Protestantism" arrives is--well, Protestant.

It should be evident that all Protestant attempts to transcend the thing that used to be called Protestantism--such as "non-denominational" Christianity, or pentecostalism--end by coming similarly full circle. That is inevitable so long as those making the attempt fail to see that the Church Christ founded perdures as a visible and unitary whole, from which all other self-described "churches" are in varying degrees of schism--even as those degrees mark, inversely, the degrees of "imperfect communion" with the Church Christ founded.

The American Prospect

Like all things human, the United States will eventually die. Since conquering it by force is not logistically feasible, its death will be de facto suicide. The culprit will be Americans' forgetting the truth that liberty is only sustainable by virtue. And they will have forgotten that truth because we no longer have a collective vision of what "the good" for man is, and hence no vision of what virtue objectively requires.

Friday, November 01, 2013

Accountability and Lust

No corporate honcho went to jail for their admitted part in the massive financial meltdown of 2008, which was due to greed obscured by fraud. No Administration big shot is going to take a fall for the scandals of Benghazi, the IRS, the NSA, or the ACA rollout. The American people don't seem to hold elites accountable for anything more. I believe that's because they are gradually failing to hold even themselves accountable for anything anymore. And the roots of that lie in the "sexual revolution." The inexorable march of the vice of lust tramples not only chastity but all other virtues--especially honesty and prudence.