Monday, February 24, 2020

It’s St. Matthias Day . . . I think.

Normal people do not know it is St. Matthias Day.
Pious people, such as my humble self, look at a church calendar and know it is St. Matthias Day.
Liturgy geeks, of which I can be after too much wine or incense or Oxford, remember it’s a Leap Year and . . . oh boy, dating St. Matthias Day gets a bit complicated.  My calendar says it’s today, but if you want to get really serious about it, you could argue it’s tomorrow, and argue and…
A reader wrote in to ask why, in the traditional rite, the feast of St Matthias the Apostle is moved from February 24th to the following day every leap year. The answer lies in the very ancient Roman calendar, which is still part of the Church’s liturgy to this day; it is used in the calendars printed at the beginning of the Missal and Breviary, and in the Martyrology, the names of the days are still read out according to the Roman system.

In the Roman calendar, each month has three days which are called the Kalends, Nones and Ides; the first of these three is the first day of each month. In March, May, July and October, the Nones are on the 7th, and the Ides on the 15th; in all other months, they are on the 5th and 13th….
The Romans named the days of each month by counting backwards from these three points. Thus, Julius Caesar was killed on the day which we call March 15, but which they called “the Ides of March”; their name for the 14th was therefore “the day before the Ides of March.” As every Latin students knows, this system becomes difficult to keep track of because the Romans counted inclusively, not exclusively; therefore, the day we call “March 13” was called “three days before the Ides of March”, (not “two days before”), including the day itself, the day before the Ides, and the Ides themselves.
Hold on, it gets better.
When the Julian Calendar was instituted in 46 BC, establishing the regular leap day every four years, the leap day itself was added by counting “the sixth day before the Kalends of March” twice. From this, the Latin term for “leap year” is “annus bisextilis”, meaning “a year in which the sixth day (before the Kalends of March) occurs twice.” This term for leap year is still used in all the Romance languages, as in Italian “anno bisestile”, and was even adopted by the Greeks, (“disekto etos” in the modern language), even though the ancient Greeks had their own very different calendar….
When the feast of St Matthias came into the Roman Rite sometime between the 9th and 11th centuries, it was fixed to this “sixth” day before the kalends of March, which we call February 24. The precise reason for this choice is unknown, but it is surely not mere coincidence that nine other months have the feast of an Apostle or Evangelist within their last ten days, thus distributing them more or less evenly through the year. In a leap year, when there are two such days, Matthias’ vigil is kept on the first of the two, and his feast on the second.
The Apostles drew lots for this? It’s enough to give the pious a headache.
Well, I am taking the easy way out.  I am sticking to the Book of Common Prayer.  I did Morning Prayer for St. Matthias Day this morning.  So there.  
Hey, love or hate Thomas Cranmer, but the man knew how to keep it simple.
Anyway, have a blessed Feast of St. Matthias . . . or Eve of the same.

Saturday, February 22, 2020

Truro Church an Object Lesson on the Importance of Church Governance

I rarely recommend any article from the Washington Post, and I am not privy to goings on at Truro Church, but there is an interesting and apparently fair article on the resignation of Tory Baucum from Truro Church and how that church is dealing with the aftermath.
The article goes into some different viewpoints behind the causes of the resignation, and I am in no position to get into that.  But it does seem clear that Baucum was tyrannical in dealing with some or most of his staff.  The Vestry was alerted.  It, through the Senior Warden, confronted Baucum.  And, whether or not the confrontation precipitated it, Baucum resigned.
Now one could argue that Baucum should have been dealt with sooner.  No form of church governance that relies on imperfect people will be perfect.  But Baucum eventually was dealt with, and Truro Church is to be commended for that.
Not all churches can say the same.  Among the reasons are that many churches lack a local church governing body with enough independence to say no to a pastor.  Other churches lack an authority above and outside the local church to say no. Many churches lack both. Therefore many churches are ruled by the pastor, which relies too much on one man and invites abuse of power. Now there are godly men that lead their churches well with that much power in their hands.  But trusting one man too much to lead a church can and does result in shipwreck for individual Christians and for local churches.  The same could be said about putting too much power into the hands of a paid staff as I’ve seen for myself.
One of the strengths of Anglicanism in an American context is local churches have both governmental checks to keep a parish and its leader in line.  At the local level, there is the Vestry.  Above the local level, there is the Bishop.  And both have the power to say no to an errant Rector.
I know what some are thinking: “That form of governance did not save The Episcopal Church.”  And that is correct.  No form of church governance can save a church if the leaven of apostasy is not confronted and cleaned out early enough.  Good church governance structures are tools, not cure-alls.
Nonetheless, the recent events at Truro Church demonstrate Anglican church governance working well. And that includes Baucum’s erstwhile “school of peace and reconciliation.”  In that case, authority above the local parish in the form of orthodox bishops stepped in and put that down.
Now I am not saying, “Look at us Anglicans.  We govern ourselves so much better than thou” . . . although I am tempted so to do.  What I am saying is that it is important to have bodies of authority able and willing to correct and if necessary dismiss errant pastors and staff.  And those bodies must be both at the local church level and above the local church.  The recent years at Truro Church have demonstrated that well.

Friday, February 21, 2020

Important Abortion Vote Coming

Next Week, the Pain-Capable Unborn Protection Act is scheduled to come up for votes in the U. S. Senate. This will be worth watching not only because protecting the unborn is of paramount importance, but only because of the political ramifications.
Alabama Senator Doug Jones is among the Democrats not thrilled about the political ramifications. If a 2018 vote repeats itself, Democrats and two or three RINOs will filibuster the bill.  However Democrats choose to oppose the bill this time, it will put them on the record during this crucial election year as extreme supporters of legal abortion.
For the bill outlaws abortions after 20 weeks unless medically necessary.  I believe there are exceptions for rape and incest as last time.  And the bill targets abortion providers, not women seeking abortions.
I know enough biology to know that after 20 weeks, the unborn child is very much a baby; it is almost entirely a matter of growth after that.  That the child can experience pain is only part of the picture.  And women know they are pregnant weeks before that point.  There is no excuse for seeking an elective abortion after 20 weeks except in the most extreme, life-threatening circumstances. One does not have to be a pro-lifer to see that the Pain-Capable Act is the very least we should do to protect unborn children.
So in the next week or so, the country will likely get a reminder what a bunch of baby killers Democrat politicians are. It will be interesting to see if those Senators running for President, including Bernie Sanders, even show up for the vote and so expose their monstrous abortion extremism.
It will also be interesting to watch those, in and out of the church, who claim to be pro-life yet usually support Democrats.  How will “social justice” “pro-lifers” respond to this vote, before, during, and after?  I do not have expectations in that regard, and some will surely be more active than others, but it may reveal just how pro-life they really are – or are not.

Thursday, February 20, 2020

Shy Trump Voters?

(Disclaimer and TRIGGER WARNING: There is not much Anglicanism in this post but mainly political analysis that some may find unpleasant.  See my post yesterday for more explanation.)

Opinion polls have (Anglican Understatement Alert) limited usefulness this far out from an election. But a current odd phenomenon is that while most polls show Trump behind potential Democrat nominees, Democrats sure are not acting like it as one wag has noticed.
I suspect even Democrats know there is a Shy Trump Voter phenomenon about.  This, of course, is a variant of the Shy Tory phenomenon: some who vote Tory will not tell pollsters they are so doing.  Polls have thereby understated Tory support in past elections.  This has been seen in other elections as well.  When I lived in North Carolina, I noticed Jesse Helms always did better in elections than polls indicated.  
Shy right-of-center voters occur not because they are more prone to lying or dissembling or that they are ashamed of their political choices, as much as some Leftists may like so to think.  In a number of circumstances, letting it be known that one intends to vote for a right-of-center candidate invites social disapproval, even rejection, getting flack, or worse, including “cancelling”.  Yes, there are surely circumstances in which letting it be known that one intends to vote for a Lib/Left candidate invites grief, but that is far more often the case for conservative voters.  For many Leftists have a totalitarian streak that is less than tolerant toward political opponents.
In the U. S., openly supporting Trump can harm one’s career in a number of fields.  Wearing a red MAGA cap or just a red cap risks getting smacked upside the head and worse in several cities.  Besides that, some people would rather not be defamed as RACIST or the like. They might even want to keep friends and family on good terms; imagine that.  With not all Trump supporters desiring political combat on a toxic battlefield, it is to be expected that there is a significant Shy Trump Voter factor in this election and the accompanying polls.
Bret Stephens, no Trump supporter, is on to this:
…Perhaps the biggest whisper network of all: the one involving inner flashes of sympathy, frequently tipping into support at the ballot box, for President Trump.
Plenty of people are aware of this phenomenon: One recent academic study noted that so-called secret voters supported Trump over Hillary Clinton by a two-to-one (54 percent to 27 percent) margin in 2016. That statistic should be every bit as alarming to Democrats this time around, not least because it suggests that polls may be dramatically underweighting the scale of Trump's support.
Yet beyond the question of why people might want to conceal their voting preferences -- reputation management, social harmony, and so on -- it's worth asking whether the very fact that a vote for Trump was supposed to be shameful is also what made it so attractive. After all, forbidden fruit is appealing not because it is fruit, but because it is forbidden. For every voter who pulled the lever for Trump out of sympathy for his views, how many others did so out of disdain for the army of snickering moralists (at the time including me) telling them that a vote for Trump was unpardonable?
My hunch: probably enough to make the difference in the states that made the difference.
I would also guess that the number has only grown as the censorious left has become more aggressive and promiscuous in its condemnations.
Methinks his hunch and guess is correct.
By the way, I am posting this because I have long found the Shy Tory and related phenomenon interesting. I am not  posting this to encourage any complacency on the part of those inclined to vote for Trump.  Instead, as I’ve stated after the Impeachment Trial acquittal, it is important that we not merely defeat but punish Democrats in November because they have gone far beyond being mistaken on policy to opposing our Constitutional democracy itself.
Nor do I want Leftists to stop vilifying and harassing us evil racist Trump supporters.  Keep up the good “justice work”!  You are not reminding us of the importance of defeating you, not at all.
But then if by chance you are so reminding us, many of us will not let you know thanks to your righteous work.  The Shy Trump Voter is your creation, you know . . . or don’t know.

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Blog Update: MOAR HISTORY! (and current events and no telling what)

I’ve long wrestled with how to handle blog posts that are pretty much unrelated to Anglicanism.  For some time, I’ve put some posts over on a sister blog, but that has not attracted much traffic.  In addition, I now have a hard time with the logistics of posting there.  The font is unreadable, videos won’t embed, and so on.
So I think it would best to bring posts back to here.  I may warn when something has little to do with Anglicanism.  Maybe I will even have trigger warnings. HA!.... 
…Actually I might. I very much oppose mandatory trigger warnings.  But giving them as a courtesy has its place.  (I hope I did not make any readers faint from shock there.)
Other than that, the main change is that there will be more posts here related to history and current events and culture.  I know there have been some readers that have wished I would stick more to Anglicanism.  I listened.  I tried.  And it just has not worked out.
Besides it is often good to broaden our horizons.  Speaking of which, I post on twitter much more often than here.  But – TRIGGER WARNING, AAAAA, AAAAAAAAA! – my twitter is often politically incorrect and never woke.  
Oh.  You already knew that?

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

What You Are Probably Not Being Told About the Boy Scouts Bankruptcy

This morning comes the sad news that the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) has filed for bankruptcy.  The “news” media will let you know they did so because of mounting lawsuits concerning sexual abuse.  But there are important factors most of the news media and the Left (But I repeat myself.) are either downplaying or hiding.
First, I will say I am no apologist for the Boy Scouts.  Although I know of men who had excellent experiences in the Scouts, I have never been in Scouting, and I disapprove of how BSA is currently run as you shall see.
Having said that, the vast majority of the suits against BSA are based on alleged abuse decades ago. From AP:
Most of the newly surfacing cases date to the 1960s, ’70s and ’80s; the organization says there were only five known abuse victims in 2018. The Boy Scouts credit the change to an array of prevention policies adopted since the mid-1980s, including mandatory criminal background checks and abuse-prevention training for all staff and volunteers, and a rule that two or more adult leaders be present during all activities.
Back then, there was a lot of ignorance in society about child abuse, its harm, and how to prevent it. BSA has since taken a number of measures to prevent it.  The same could be said about many organizations that work with children. How many of them do we wish to drive into bankruptcy?
A big reason these past abuse cases now necessitate bankruptcy is that states such as New York, Arizona, New Jersey and California have after the fact changed their statue of limitation laws to allow law suits for abuse so long ago.  I take the unpopular stand that statue of limitation laws have a good purpose.  Memories weaken after so many years.  And, yes, there are false memories.  It is harder to defend oneself against allegations of acts long ago.  And, especially in the area of sexual abuse, false allegations are frequent; greatly lengthening or eliminating statues of limitation enable false allegations. 
In addition, it is unprincipled, to say the very least, to change the law, then allow criminal prosecution or lawsuits based on allegations of acts before the law was changed.   Such are ex post facto laws rightly forbidden by the Constitution.  But who cares about the Constitution or the Rule of Law any more?  (Yes, yes, I know lawyers will argue that changing statues of limitations, then suing on the basis of that is not ex post facto law. Guess what I think of such lawyers and the hacks in black and unprincipled legislators that enable them.)
Having said that, it is gross negligence that BSA allowed some abusers to return to Boy Scouts. Again, there was a lot of ignorance about child abuse and abusers back then, but that is inexcusable.
But past child abuse is not the only reason behind the BSA bankruptcy.  AP is typical in hiding as much as it reports:
The Boy Scouts’ finances have been strained in recent years by declining membership and sex-abuse settlements.
The number of youths taking part in scouting has dropped below 2 million, down from more than 4 million in peak years of the 1970s. The organization has tried to counter the decline by admitting girls, but its membership rolls took a big hit Jan. 1 when The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints — for decades a major sponsor of Boy Scout units — cut ties and withdrew more than 400,000 scouts in favor of programs of its own.
What AP does not tell you is that admitting girls has harmed membership.  Boys and young men desire male spaces as they aspire to and grow into manhood. Taking that away drives many of them away.  AP also does not tell you that the 2015 decision to allow gay scout leaders alienated many families involved in scouting, families that tend to be more traditional than average. These changes and subsequent membership declines in the past decade have made it that much more difficult for BSA to deal financially with the lawsuits.
Once again we see the phenomenon of “Go Woke; Go Broke.”
All this is not to downplay the difficulties men have gone through due to past abuse.  This is to say the bankruptcy of the Boy Scouts of America is not as simple as you are being told.  Unprincipled changes in the law and politically correct changes the Left pressured BSA to make have significantly contributed.
---
P. S.  Obama once said that “nobody should be barred” from Scouting.  But now Leftists cheer as the Boy Scouts are sued into bankruptcy precisely because people were not barred from Scouting.  Make up your minds, Leftists.  Or was destroying Boy Scouts your plan all along?

Friday, February 14, 2020

The Roger Stone Controversy and MOAR Impeachment Speaks Volumes

The controversy about the sentencing of Roger Stone combines four subjects that can get me to rant and foam at the mouth: prosecutorial misconduct, two-tiered justice, corrupt Democrat hacks-in-black judges, and the perpetual coup against Trump and Constitutional democracy.
Now although my having a prolonged wall-eyed fit may be entertaining, it might not be edifying. So instead I point you to two videos from yesterday that summarize this situation very well.  The first is from Tim Pool (who is not a Trump voter by the way) on Democrats using the controversy as a pretext to continue their coup against Trump.
The second is Tucker Carlson summarizing the facts of the Roger Stone case, including the first excessive sentence request and the jury foreman being a rabid Trump hater who apparently lied to get on the jury.
Again, there is so much I could rant, I mean, say.  But I will confine myself to the reaction of Democrats.
Democrats are oh-so for “justice” and against “fascism.”  So one would think they would speak out against prosecutors attempting to create a political prisoner through excessive sentencing.  One would think they would be upset by a jury being rigged by being led by a rabid political opponent of the defendant.
But, no.  Instead, when they see Trump speaking out against this outrage and Attorney General Bill Barr trying to undo some of the damage the four prosecutors have done, Democrats immediately use that as a pretext to open the door to impeaching Trump again and to impeach Barr.
All this illustrates once again how Democrats cannot be trusted with Constitutional democracy and justice.  They apparently have no problem with turning political opponents into political prisoners.  They certainly have no problem with two-tiered justice rigged for them and against political opponents.  And they so disrespect elections they don’t win, especially the 2016 election, that they are still continuing the perpetual coup against Trump, this time because he did a horrible thing: he opposed a kangaroo court turning Roger Stone into a political prisoner.
And the reaction from some in the church speaks volumes as well.  Some leaders in the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), in the Southern Baptist Convention, and in The Evangelical Church of What’s Happening Now smear Trump and smear his supporters, especially his supporters within the church.  But does this “social justice” crowd say a peep about the injustice against Roger Stone?  Do they say a word about Democrats’ perpetual coup against Trump and disrespect for Constitutional democracy unless they win?  If so, they sure are awful quiet about it.
Maybe some of this “social justice” “evangelical” crowd is more Leftist than they are Christian.