Saturday, January 21, 2012

And so to the regular tour of the thoughts of the Pellists and the Jensenist nepotics, and never mind the fallout for pantheism or feminism ...

(Above: it's a conflation of Pellism and barbecue time, so it's time to know your acronyms and brush up on your ancient intertube memes).

It turns out that the long absent god might well be a bit of a snob, not keen on a beer, or a sausage, whether or not it has lashings of dead horse, as Cardinal Pell explains in his introduction to the New Translation of the Roman mass for long-suffering readers of the Sunday Terror:

Not surprisingly therefore the new texts are more formal and less like the everyday speech used at a barbecue.

And there you were thinking that a barbecue might be a spiritual occasion, what with the scoffing of the lamb:

Ecce Agnus Dei, ecce qui tollit peccàta mundi. Beàti qui ad cenam Agni vocàti sunt.

Oh okay, if you never did Latin, and so never started off a BBQ with a hic and a sunt, here it is in universal English (Chinese and other strange tongues excluded):

This is the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. Happy are those who are called to his barbecue - or supper (if you must be precise and a tad formal, and refuse to accept that 'supper' might be confused with afternoon tea, tea, an arvo BBQ or even dinner).

Yes, the desire to conflate and confuse and cultivate mystery surges in the Catholic clergy just like it did in the middle ages:

They strive more effectively to evoke the mystery of God, while the translations from the Latin are accurate and precise, occasionally causing listeners to pause and think.

You can just imagine the average congregation pausing to think on the accuracy and precision of the Latin. As for striving to evoke the mystery of the omnipresent god?

Sorry Walt Whitman, did you get it wrong or what:

I hear and behold God in every object ... (Song of Myself)

Except of course in a pair of barbecue tongs, turning a nicely singed lamb chop.

And forget it William Blake ...

When the Sun rises do you not see a round Disk of fire somewhat like a Guinea
O no no I see an Innumerable company of the Heavenly host crying Holy Holy Holy is the Lord God Almighty ... (here)

Or as we used to say in pantheistic Tamworth, imagining that god was everywhere and in everything:

When the barbecue flame flickers alight, do you not simply worry about the amount of gas left in the bottle?
O no no I see an innumerable number of burnt lamb chops crying eat me, eat me, and never mind the carbon overload ...

All this nonsense about god being in everything, when really you can only find Her in a church speaking decent formal English and a precise, accurate translation of the Latin (and don't give the pond any of that Mel Gibson jibber jibber about Aramaic).

Moving right along, Cardinal Pell is full of concern for parishioners ...

Some worried that migrant communities in Australia and e.g. African villagers would find the language too formal.

Yes, yes, the pond too is deeply concerned about the way migrant communities in Australia and e.g. African villagers simply don't have a clue about anything, especially formal language, or accurate Latin translations.

Despite some difficult words (consubstantial), the texts have been well received there because they are closer to the liturgical language in their tongues. People can and will learn a new word or two.

Consubstantial? Yep, that'll have mass goers taking a minute out of the solemn mass to browse Consubstantiality on their iPhone. And how relaxed they'll be to discover its ...

... an adjective used in Latin Christian christology, coined by Tertullian in Against Hermogeness 44, used to translate the Greek term homoousios.

Indeed. Is there an attitude to texting, messaging and browsing in church, even if it's to bring you in closer contact with the accurate lord - way better than than Google Translate - and Her mysterious formal ways?

The pond especially enjoyed the response of a certain Father Reese, who truth to tell sounds just like an African villager:

... Father Reese, a former editor of the Jesuit review America, questioned the Vatican decision to use the virtually defunct Latin version as the basis of the new text, calling the result “terrible, clunky, mechanical and wooden.”

“We’re still treating the Latin language as a sacred text,” Father Reese said. “It’s not inspired, it’s not scripture. What we should be doing today is writing new prayers in good English. We want to concentrate on the mystery of God’s love and the resurrection of Jesus.” (here).


Well the good father might want to take the pagan Latin out of the church, but is it possible to tear the church away from the pagan? Not, it seems, if you're a Pellist:

Each tradition has developed a distinctive style and while the Roman rite evolved from Jewish worship it also incorporated elements from the best pagan Latin prayers: concise, elegant and rich in meaning and nuance.

Eek, a pagan prayer lover ...

Father Mars, I pray and beseech thee that thou be gracious and merciful to me, my house, and my household; to which intent I have bidden this suovetaurilia to be led around my land, my ground, my farm; that thou keep away, ward off and removed sickness, seen and unseen, barrenness and destruction, ruin and unseasonable influence; and that thou permit my harvests, my grain, my vine-yards and my plantations to flourish and to come to good issue, preserve in health my shepherds and my flocks, and give good health and strength to me, my house and my household. To this intent, to the intent of purifying my farm, my land and my ground, and of making an expiation, as I have said, deign to accept the offering of these suckling victims; Father Mars, to the same intent deign to accept the offering of these suckling offering ... (here).

Actually that's a little windy and self-interested, don't you think? A bit like Rick Perry and the Texas drought ... and as for the suckling sacrifice, that really isn't up to a little flesh munching and blood drinking ...

And as for those Chinese, or perhaps Indians, with their strange babble of foreign tongues, how about a bit of linguistic imperialism?

A single English Mass text, approved by all the bishops' conferences including the North Americans, is an important achievement; appropriate too because English is the new Latin, the new universal language.

Yep, according to its wiki, some 375 million speak English, and no one quite knows how many speak or mangle it as a second language, but even at best count it would be well under a third of the world's population, but that's enough to make it the new universal language.

Did someone mention Anglophile ethnocentric eccentricity?

After all, who cares what African villagers speak ... and what could they possibly understand of climate science?

Well after those revelatory insights, it was time to drop in on the Sydney Anglicans, and the pond was tremendously heartened by the splash on the front page for Raj Gupta's story Rethinking Parish Councils ...

At last ... a time to rethink parish councils and the way they operate.

No doubt a story about the role of women in the Anglican church, and the need to get women away from the stove, and cliched images of their role in the world, and out into the Parish Councils, guiding and leading the church and its men to a deeper understanding of the role women could play if given half a chance ...

If only ...

Gupta's actual opening line?

Every Parish Council has been there: you need a new stove.

Not a word about the excruciating banality of the image, not a flicker of post modernist post twentieth century irony.

Stick to the kitchen, Anglican women of Sydney.

And at that point the pond didn't have the heart to go on. After all, there are cakes and lamingtons and sponges and scones to bake while the Anglican men go on about their important men's business ...

And of course there's also a great opportunity to pitch brand new up to date images to the editors of the Sydney Anglican website.

By golly, there are dozens and dozens of them on the full to overflowing intertubes, right up there with the most advanced Anglican thinking ....

(Below: click to enlarge if you're a Sydney Anglican and you want to see more detail).


  1. Dorothy, it's a case of sexism dressed up as Complementarianism... working to keep not only women but gays down and out through negative preaching! Why would anyone bother with religion?

  2. That preaching the negative as well as the positive link is a ripper.

    In particular, it is critical that preachers negate the feminist worldview as it collides with biblical truth. This must be done both in terms of the world outside the church and in terms of the inroads that feminism has made amongst Christian people. To only preach those aspects of the relationship between men and women where the world and the Bible agree is seriously to distort not only the Bible as a whole but also the very passages where there is agreement -because they come in the context of a Bible which is quite alien to feminism.

    Truly you know your Jensenists ...

    But then the link to the piece on homosexuality is also a ripper

    Virtually all of the secular professions that deal with sexual orientation are stalwartly opposed to reparative therapy, or to any attempt to change one's pattern of sexual attraction. Indeed, these groups hold to an inflexible ideology that insists that there is absolutely nothing wrong with homosexuality. These groups include, for example, the American Psychological Association, the American Psychiatric Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the National Association of Social Workers, among many others.

    What a treasure trove of inflexible conservative fundamentalist Christians peddling an inflexible two thousand year old ideology of repression!


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