Saturday, 19 August 2017

Mass readings in Scots: Twentieth Sunday of the Year (Year A)



First reading
Isaiah 56: 1, 6-7

Syne sae quo' the Lord: Haud ay by the straught, an' do ay what's right; for my ain heal-haddin's nar till win on, an' my right-recht till win intil sight.

An' the sons o' the frem wha tak up wi' the Lord, till ser' him; an' wha like the Lord's name, till be loons o' his ain; a' siclike's min' the sabbath weel, an' tak haud o' my tryst sae leal: I sal e'en fesh them hame till my halie hill, an' fu' blythe they sal be in my houss o' prayer; their burnt-offrans a', an' the beiss they fell, sal be a' taen weel on my autar thar: for that houss o' my ain, for the ilk ane, sal be ca'd the Houss o' Prayer.

[From Isaiah frae Hebrew intil Scottis, by P. Hately Waddell 1879 (Amazon US here; Amazon UK here)]



Responsorial Psalm
Psalm 66, 2-3, 5-6, 8.

GOD be gude till us; aye, an' be kind till us;
glint his face on us: Selah.
That yer gate may be kent on the yirth;
an' yer health amang a' the hethen.

Lat nieborly kins be blythe an' lilt:
for the folk ye sal right
i' the gate that 's straught;
an' the kins i' the lan', ye sal niebor them: Selah.

Lat the folk gie ye laud, O God;
lat the folk gie ye laud, the hail o' them.
God, he sal blythe-bid oursels ;
an' a' ends o' the yirth sal be fley'd o' him!


[From Psalm 67 in The Psalms: frae Hebrew intil Scottis by P. Hately Waddell (1891) here]


Second reading
Letter of St Paul to the Romans 11: 13-15, 29-32.

Bot I say to yow, hethinmen. For als lang as I am apostile of hethinmen, I sail honour my mynisterie, gif in ony maner I stere my flesch for to follow, and that I mak sum of thame saaf. For gif the lose of thame is the reconceling of the warld, quhat is the taking vp, bot lijf of deidmen?

And the giftis and the calling of God ar without forthinking.

And as sum tyme alsa ye beleuet nocht to God, bot now ye haue gettin mercy for the vnbeleue of thame; Sa and thir now beleue nocht into your mercy, that alsa thai get mercy. For God closit togiddir althingis in vnbeleue, that he haue mercy on alle.


[From The New Testament in Scots Murdoch Nisbet [c.1520] (1903) vol 2 here.]


Gospel reading
Matthew 15: 21-28

Then Jesus upt an left that place, an he went awa tae tha dïstrict roon Tyre an Sidon. An thïs Canaanite wumman frae thaim pairts cum tae hïm, cryin oot, "Loard, Sinn o Davit, hae peetie on me! Ma dochtèr ïs sufferin sumthin tarrible wi an ïll spïrit." Jesus niver saed a wurd. Sae hïs follaers cum tae hïm an plaidit wi hïm, "Senn hir awa, fer she's follaein iz an she'll no stap hir yellin oot." He saed bak, "A wus onlie sent tae tha loast sheep o tha Hoose o Israel." Tha wumman cum an got doon on hir knees afore hïm an she saed, "Loard, halp me!" "It ïsnae richt," saed he, "tae tak tha weans' breid an clod ït tae tha wee dugs." "Ay, Loard, that's richt," she saed, "but still wi aa, e'en tha wee dugs gits aitin tha crumbs that faa frae thair maïstèrs' boord!" Then Jesus saed bak tae hir, "Wumman, sitch an a faith ye hae! Ye'll het whut ye axt fer." An hir dochtèr got bettèr that verie oor.

(From Tha Fower Gospels  (2016) (Ulster-Scots), Ullans Press, ISBN: 978-1-905281-25-1, Amazon UK here,  Amazon US here.)






Saturday, 12 August 2017

Mass readings in Scots: Nineteenth Sunday of the Year (Year A)



Gospel reading
Matthew 14: 22-33


An’ straughtway Jesus gar’t his disciples get intil a ship, an’ gae afore him until the tither side, while he sendet the thrang awa. An’ whan he had sendet the thrang awa, he gaed up intil a mountain by himsel to pray: and whan the gloamin’ was come he was there alane. But the ship was now in the middle o’ the sea, tosset wi’ waves; for the win’ was contrair. An’ in the fourt’ watch o’ the nicht Jesus gaed until them, gangin’ on the sea. An’ whan the disciples saw him gangin’ on the sea, they were fleyed, sayin’, "It is a wraith;" an’ they screighet out for fear. But straughtway Jesus spak’ until them, sayin’, "Be o’ guid cheer; it is me; binna fleyed." An’ Peter answer’t him, an’ said, "Lord, gin it be thou, bid me come until thee on the water." An’ he said, "Come." An’ whan Peter was come doun out o’ the ship he gaed on the water to gang til Jesus. But whan he saw the win’ gousty, he was afear’t, an’, beginnin’ to sink, he criet, sayin’, "Lord, saufe me." An’ at ance Jesus raught furth his han’, an’ teuk hand o’ him, an’ said until him, "O thou o’ little faith, wharefore didst thou doubt?" An’ whan they were come intil the ship, the win’ ceaset. Syne they wha were in the ship cam’ an’ worshippet him, sayin’, "Verament thou art the Son o’ God."

(From The Gospel of St. Matthew, Translated Into Lowland Scotch, by George Henderson (1862) here

Monday, 7 August 2017

Dugald Stewart on St Augustine and Beauty

Dugald Stewart:
In the article Beau of the French Encyclopédie, mention is made of a treatise on the beautiful, by St Augustine, which is now lost. Some idea, however, we are told, may be formed of its contents from different passages scattered through his other writings. [Stewart in note: "Augustin [sic], in his Confessions, records the purport of his treatise, De Apto et Pulchro"] The idea here ascribed to St Augustine amounts to this, that the distinctive character of beauty is, that exact relation of parts of a whole to each other, which constitutes its unity.

[...]

Even in the works of nature, one of the chief sources of their Beauty to a philosophical eye, is the Unity of Design which they everywhere exhibit. -On the mind of St Augustine, who had been originally educated in the school of the Manicheans, this view of the subject might reasonably be expected to produce a peculiarly strong impression.

Dugald Stewart, vol 5 Collected Works, pp.453-4, 'Note QQ, (p358), Essay III, chap. 3 -The Beautiful and St Augustine' (1855) here


Commentary:

I excerpt this with no guarantee that it is an adequate representation of St Augustine's views (this seems to be the best way to explore that topic), but rather because I find it interesting in two ways:

a) as a matter of the history of ideas, it suggests the close link between the idea of God and the idea of the (albeit limited) rational comprehensibility of the universe that is key to a lot of Stewart's thought: the task of the philosopher is simply to discern the rules which God, as designer, has laid down without expecting fully to be able to discern the reasoning behind those rules. God as designer and knowledge as the discernment of the pattern of that design are fundamental to his thought. (So yet again, the importance of religion to the Scottish 'Enlightenment' is clear.)

b) as a matter of philosophy, it suggests the way that the arguments for the existence of God in natural theology need to be read in both directions: that (eg) the argument from design not only shows the existence of God, but the existence of God shows the correct way of seeing the world -of seeing it as designed/beautiful/unified.

Saturday, 5 August 2017

Mass readings in Scots: the Transfiguration of the Lord (Year A)



Gospel reading
Matthew 17:1-9

An’ efter sax days Jesus takith Peter, James, an’ John his brither, an’ bringith them up intill ane heich mountan fer outbye. An’ was transfiguret afore them: an’ his face did shine as the sun, an’ his yment was white as the licht: an’, behald, ther kythet untill them Moses an’ Elias ta’kin’ wi’ him. Than answiret Peter, an’ said untill Jesus, "Lord, it is guid for us til be here: gif thou wult, let us mak’ here three taabernacles; ane for thee, an’ ane for Moses, an’ ane for Elias." While he yet spak’, behald, ane sheen clud owerskaddowet them: an’, behald, ane voyce out o’ the clud, whilk said, "This is my belovet Son, inwham I am weel pleaset; hear ye him." An’ whan the discipels heard it, they fell on their face, an’ wer sair afearet. An’ Jesus cam’ an’ tuchet them, an’ said, "Ræise up, an’ bina fearet." An’ whan they had liftet up their eyne they saw nаe man, saufan Jesus onlie.
 
An’ as they cam’ doun frae the mountan, Jesus charget them, sayin’, "Tell the vesion til nae man, untill the Son o’ man be risen frae the deæd."
 
The Gospel of St. Matthew in Lowland Scotch, from the English Authorised Version. By H. S. Riddell (1856) here

Saturday, 29 July 2017

Mass readings in Scots: Seventeenth Sunday of the Year (Year A)



Gospel reading
Matthew 13: 44-52

[Jesus spak' until the thrang:] "Again, the kingdom o’ heaven is like until treasure hidet in a field; the whilk whan a man hath fund, he hideth, an’ for joy thereo’ gaeth an’ selleth a’ that he hath, an’ coffeth that field.

"Again, the kingdom o’ heaven is like until a merchantman seekin’ guidly pearls: Wha, whan he hath fund ae pearl o’ great price, gaed an’ sauld a’ that he had, an’ coft it.

"Again, the kingdom o' heaven is like a net, that was coost intil the sea, an’ gather’t o’ ilka kind: Whilk whan it was fu’, they drew til shore, an’ sat doun an’ gather’t the guid intil creels, but coost the bad awa. See sall it be at the en’ o’ the warld; the angels sall come furth, an’ shed the wicket frae amang the just, an’ sall cast them intil the kill o’ fire; there sall be greetin’ an’ runchin’ o’ teeth."

Jesus saith until them, "Hae ye understood a’ thae things?" They say until him, "Ay, Lord." Syne said he until them, "Therefore ilka scribe wha is instruckit until the kingdom o’ heaven is like until a man that is a househaulder, wha bringeth furth out o' his treasure things new an’ auld."


(From The Gospel of St. Matthew, Translated Into Lowland Scotch, by George Henderson (1862) here )


Saturday, 22 July 2017

Mass readings in Scots: Sixteenth Sunday of the Year (Year A)


Gospel reading
Matthew 13: 24-43

Anither parable pat he furth untill them, sayin’, "The kingdoom o’ heæven is likenet untill ane man whilk sawet guid seed in his field. But while he sleepet, his enemy cam’ an’ sawet tares amang the wheet, an’ gaed his waye. But whan the braird was sprung up an’ broucht furth frut, than kythet the tares alsua. Sae the servents o’ the houshaulder cam’ an’ said untill him, 'Sir, didestna thou saw guid seed in thy field? frae whance than heth it tares?' He said untill them, 'Ane enemy heth dune this.' The servents said untill him, 'Wult thou than that we gae an’ gether them up?' But he said, 'Na, in kase while ye gether up the tares, ye rute up alsua the wheet wi’ them. Let baith growe thegither until the hairst; an’ in the time o’ the hairst I wull say, til the sheerers, Gether ye thegither first the tares, an’ bin’ them in bunches til burn them: but gether the wheet intill my bern.'"

Anither parable pat he furth untill them, sayin’, "The kingdoom o’ heæven is like til ane grain o’ mustart-seed, whilk ane man tuik an’ sawet in his field; whilk trewlie is the littlest o’ a’ seeds, but whan it is grown it is the gritest amang yirbs, an’ turns out ane trie, sae that the burds o’ the air come an’ ludge in the branches o’t."

Anither parable spak he untill them: "The kingdoom o’ heæven is like untill leæven whilk ane woman tuik an’ hade in three measurs o’ meal, till the haill was leævenet."

А’ thae things spak Jesus untill the multitud in parables; an’ bot ane parable spakna he untill them: that it micht be fufillet whilk was spokin bie the prophet:

     I wull open my mooth in parables;
     I wull utter things whilk hae been keepet secreit frae the fundation o’ the warld.

Than Jesus sendet the multitud awa an’ gaed intill the hous: an’ his discipels cam’ untill him, sayin’, "Mak’ plane untill us the parable o’ the tares o’ the field." He answiret an’ said untill them, "He that sawith the guid seed is the Son o’ man; the field is the wаrld; the guid seed ar the childer o’ the kingdoom; but the tares ar the childer o’ the wicket ane; the enemy that sawet them is the deevil; the hairst is the en’ o’ the wаrld; an’ the sheerers ar the angils. As therfor the tares ar’ getheret an’ brunt in the fire, sae sall it be in the en’ o’ the warld. The Son o’ man sall sen’ furth his angils, an’ they sall gether out o’ his kingdoom a’ things that offen’, an’ them that do inequitie; an sall cast them intill ane furnace o’fire: ther sall be greetin’ an’ nashin’ o’ teeth. Than sall the richtious shine furth as the sun in the kingdoom o’ the Faether. Wha heth ears til hear, let him hear."

The Gospel of St. Matthew in Lowland Scotch, from the English Authorised Version. By H. S. Riddell (1856) here

Saturday, 15 July 2017

Mass readings in Scots: Fifteenth Sunday of the Year (Year A)


First Reading
Isaiah 55:10-11

"For e'en like's the showir an' the snaw frae the lifts win awa, an' they dinna retour; bot the yirth they can drook till scho braird an' break-out, till gie seed ti' the sawer an' bread ti' the mawer: e'en sae sal the word be gangs but frae my mouthe; it sanna come hame till me toom: bot ay it sal do, what I will tharout; an' thrive, whar I gied it room."

(From Peter Hately Waddell (1879) Isaiah: Frae Hebrew intil Scottis, J. Menzies & Co, Edinburgh and Glasgow (reprint Lightning Source UK Ltd, Milton Keynes, ISBN 9-781274542106 (Amazon UK here; Amazon US here)).)


Responsorial Psalm
Psalm 64:10-14 (65: 9-13)

 9 Thou veesitist the yirth, an' waterist it;
thou gritlie inrichist it
wi' the river o' God, whilk is fu' o' water:
thou prepairist the coorn whan thou best sae mæde it readie.

10 Thou waterist the riggs o't abundentlie;
thou settelist the furs thero';
thou makist it saft wi' shoors;
thou blissist the brairdin' o't.

11 Thou crownist the yeer wi' thy guidniss,
an' thy peths drap fatniss.

12 Thaye drap apon the pasters o' the wuldirniss;
an' the wee hills rejoyce on ilka syde.

13 The heff-gangs ar claethet wi' hirsels o' sheepe;
the vallies ar alsua kiveret ower wi' coorn;
thaye crye owt for joy, thaye lilt alsua an' sing.

(From Psalm 65 in The Book of Psalms in Lowland Scots Henry Scott Riddell (1857) here, original verse numbers retained.)


Second Reading
Romans 8:18-23

And I deme, that the passiounns of this tyme ar nocht worthi to the glorie to cummand, that salbe schewit in vs. For the abiding of creature abides the schewing of the sonnis of God. Bot the creature is subiect to vanytee, nocht willand, bot for him that made it subiect in hope; For the ilk creature salbe delyuerit fra seruage of corruptioun into libertee of glorie of the sonnis of God. And we wate, that ilk creature sorowis, and traualis with payn till yit. And nocht aanly it, bot alsa we our self, that haue the first fruitis of the spirit, and we our self sorowis within vs for the adoptioun of Goddis sonnis, abiding the aganebying of our body.

(From The New Testament in Scots Murdoch Nisbet [c.1520] (1903)vol 2 here )

Gospel
Matthew 13:1-21

And that day Jesus yede out of the hous, and satt beside the see. And mekile pepile was gaderit to him, sa that he went vp into a boote, and satt; and all the pepile stude on the brink. And he spak mony thingis to tham in parabillis, and said,

"Lo, he that sawis yede out to saw his sede: And quhile he sawis, sum sedes fell beside the way, and briddis of the aere com and ete tham:  Bot vthir sede fell in stany places, quhar thai had nocht mekile erde; and anon thai sprang vp, for thai had nocht depnes of erde: Bot quhen the sonn was risen, thai scaldit; and for thai had nocht rute, thai dryet vp: And vther seedis fell amang thornes; and thornes wox up and stranglit thaim:  Bot vthir sedes fell into gude land, and gaue frute, sum a hundrethfald, an vthir sextifald, and an vthir threttifald. He that has eiris of hering, here he." 

And the disciplis com nere, and said to him, "Quhy spekis thou in parabilis to tham?" And he ansuerde and said to tham, "For to you it is gevin to knaw the priuateis of the kingdom of heuenis, bot it is nocht gevin to tham. For it salbe gevin to him that has, and he sal haue plentee ; bot gif a man has nocht, alsa that thing that he has salbe takin away fra him. Tharfor I speke to tham in parabilis: for thai seand, seis nocht; and thai herand, here nocht; nouthir vndirstandis. That the prophecie of Esaie be fulfillit in tham, 

With hering ye sal here, and ye sal nocht vndirstand;
and ye seand sal se, and ye sal nocht se:
For the hart of this pepile is gretly fattit, 
and thai herd hevilie with eiris, and they haue closet thar een;
or perauenter thai se with een,
and with eiris here,
and vnderstind in hert,
and thai be conuertit, and I heill tham.

"Bot your een that seis ar blessit, and your eiris that heres. Forsuthe I say to you, that mony prophetis and iustmen couatit to se tha thingis that ye se, and thai saw nocht; and to here tha thingis that ye here, and thai herd nocht.

"Tharfore here ye the parabile of the sawere. Ilkman that heris the word of the realm, and vndirstandis nocht, the euile spirit cummis, and rauysis that that is sawne in his hart. This it is that is sawne beside the way. Bot this that is sawne on the stany land, this it is that heris the word of God, and anoon with joy takis it: And he has nocht rute in him self, bot is temporale; for quhen tribulatioun and persecutioun is made for the word, anoon he is sclaundrit. Bot he that is sawne on thornes is this that heris the word; and the besynes of this warlde, and fallace of richessis, stranglis the word, and it is made without frute. Bot he that is sawne into gude lande is this that heris the worde, and vndirstandis; and bringis furth frute, and sum makis a hundrethfald, trewlie an vthir sextifald, and an vthir threttyfald."

(From The New Testament in Scots Murdoch Nisbet [c.1520] (1901) vol 1 here)

Saturday, 8 July 2017

Mass readings in Scots: Fourteenth Sunday of the Year (Year A)


Gospel reading
Matthew 11: 25-30

At that time Jesus spak’ an’ said, "I thank thee, O Father, Lord o’ heaven an’ yirth, because thou hast hidden thae things frae the wise an’ prudent, an’ hast shawed them until bairns. E’en sae, Father: for sae it seemet guid in thy sicht. A’ things are gien until me o’ my Father; an’ nae man kenneth the Son but the Father; neither kenneth ony man the Father saufan’ the Son, an’ be til whamsaever the Son sall shaw him.

"Come until me, a’ ye wha labor an’ are heavy laden, an’ I will gie you rest. Tak’ my yoke upon you, an’ learn o’ me; for I am meek an’ laighly in hairt; an’ ye sall fin’ rest until your sauls. For my yoke is easy, an’ my burden is licht."

(From The Gospel of St. Matthew, Translated Into Lowland Scotch, by George Henderson (1862) here )

Saturday, 1 July 2017

Mass readings in Scots: Thirteenth Sunday of the Year (Year A)


Gospel Reading
Matthew 10: 37-42

[Thir twal Jesus sent oot, and chairged them, sayin,] “Wha lo'es faither or mither mair nor me, isna wordie o' me; and wha lo’es son or dochter mair nor me, isna wordie o’ me. And wha taks-na up his cross, to follow me, isna wordie o’ me. He wha wins his life sal tine it; and wha tines his life for my sake, he sal win it!

“He wha welcomes you, welcomes me; and he wha welcomes me, welcomes him wha sent me forth.

“He wha take in a seer, in the name o’ a seer, sal receive a seer’s reward; and he wha taks in a holie man i’ the name o’ a holie man, wins a holie man’s reward.

“And whasae sal gie to drink til ane o’ thir wee anes a cup o' the cauld watir only, i’ the name o’ a disciple -truly I say t’ye, he sanna in onygate tine his reward!”

(From The New Testament in Braid Scots William Wye Smith (1904) here)








Thursday, 29 June 2017

Mass readings in Scots: Feast of SS Peter and Paul, Apostles (Year A)



Gospel reading
Matthew 16: 13-19

Whan Jesus cam’ intil the coasts o' Cesarea Philippi, he spier’t at his disciples, sayin’, "Wha do men say that I the Son o’ man am?" An’ they said, "Some say that thou art John the Baptist, some Elias, an’ ithers Jeremias, or ane o' the prophets." He saith until them, "But wha say ye that I am?" An’ Simon Peter answer’t an’ said, "Thou art the Christ, the Son o’ the livin’ God." An’ Jesus answer’t an’ said until him, "Blesset art thou, Simon-Barjona: for flesh an’ bluid haena shawed this until thee, but my Father wha is in heaven. An’ I say alsua until thee, That thou art Peter; an’ upon this rock I will big my kirk; an’ the yetts o’ hell sallna prevail agayne it. An’ I will gie until thee the keys o’ the kingdom o’ heaven; an’ whatsaever thou sallt bin’ on yirth sall be bund in heaven, an’ whatsaever thou sallt lowse on yirth sall be lowset in heaven."

(From The Gospel of St. Matthew, Translated Into Lowland Scotch, by George Henderson (1862) here)

Wednesday, 28 June 2017

Manent Mercredi #11: more on Manent from the Liberty Law Forum



Further to my last Manent Mercredi, more from Paul Seaton at the Liberty Law Forum:

If I had to venture a French thinker who has significantly influenced Manent’s thinking about the nation, I would propose Charles Péguy (1874-1914). Among other things, Péguy introduced the concept of “communion,” which has a spiritual dimension lacking in the Greek koinōnía, and his writings helped Manent see how the nation synthesizes the temporal (past, present, and future) and historical phases of a people’s existence. There are some beautiful passages in this vein in the book I translated, Democracy without Nations?

[...]

In Manent’s view, oft repeated, the post-Maastricht EU has been constructed in the light of an Idea of Humanity as already (or virtually) united, with no significant collective differences.What is normative is the autonomous individual and harmonious Humanity. As a result, all other human groupings lose normative status, especially nations and religious communions, and are seen as threats, or as material to be remade along ideological lines. Moreover, this view of integrated Humanity is enforced. Rigorously. 

More here.

Seaton discusses a number of alternative 'takes' on Manent which are linked to in his article and are worth pursuing. My tuppenceworth (admittedly a tyro's tuppenceworth offered in the spirit of one who is interested but does not know) is that I find in Manent a number of themes from Leo Strauss which I find helpful: in particular, the 'political' as a sphere of human practice irreducible to philosophy or religion, but which maintains a creative tension with them, and the importance of engaging with classical thought as a root to the perennial problems of politics. In addition, however, Manent has a greater focus on the potential of modernity, coupled with an interest in two contemporary concrete issues: the EU and the place of Islam in Europe. (I found Aurelian Craiutu's essay helpful here.)

Saturday, 24 June 2017

Mass readings in Scots: Twelfth Sunday of the Year (Year A)



Gospel reading
Matthew 10:26-33

[Thir twal Jesus sent oot, and chairged them, sayin,]

“Be-na fley’t at them than; for thar is naething cover’t that sanna be uncover’t ; and hid, that sanna be kent. What I tell ye i’ the mirk, tell ye oot i’ the licht ; and what ye hear whush’t i’ the lug, proclaim ye on the hoose-taps!

"And dreid-na them wha slay the body, but canna slay the saul! but raither dreid ye him wha is able to wreck saul and body in hell! Arena twa sparrows gaun for a bodle? And ane frae mang them fa’s-na on the grund withoot yere Faither! But the vera hairs o’ yere heid are a’ coontit. Dinna be dowie, than: ye are better nor mony sparrows!

"Whasae sal own me afore men, him sal I own afore my Faither wha is in Heeven. But whasae disowns me afore men, him sal I disown afore my Faither wha is in Heeven."

(From The New Testament in Braid Scots William Wye Smith (1904) here)

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Manent Mercredi #10: on the nation



From the Law and Liberty website, a good essay by Guillaume de Thieulloy on Manent's thought, focusing especially on his views on the nation state and on his (comparative) neglect in France:

Accurate glosses of other thinkers and charming writing are the main assets of the writings of my former teacher. Nor is this by chance—for Manent rightly thinks of himself as an heir, as we all are. We received our forma mentis from our ancestors and especially from the classics. Manent, in his latest book (Beyond Radical Secularism), proffered the classic authors as an access point for young French people (including those whose parents were not culturally French) to a shared vision of the world and of the human being. The appeal he made in this 2016 book was very powerful and striking. Unfortunately, the education system in our country worked, and still works, toward the creation of a “new human being,” after the revolutionary tabula rasa. If we are seeking the common good, we need a common language and some common heroes, common legends, and common history. So, the French rulers who pretend to promote the ethic of “vivre-ensemble” (living together)—especially with those who have immigrated into France—while at the same time abandoning education in the classics are deceiving the rest of us, or themselves.

Manent’s public profile is now that of a promoter of the European nation-state—or perhaps more precisely, a defender of that nation-state which is being so harshly attacked by European “elites.” That defense includes, of course, the American “daughter” of the European nation-state. It also includes, in some aspects, the Jewish mother of the European nation-state, which has been for so many centuries a nation without a state. He’s indeed one of the rare influential writers who doesn’t seem to think that “progress” implies the vanishing of this very specific “political form.”

See more here. (The earlier essay by Paul Seaton referred to by de Thieulloy is also worth reading and can be found here.)

Saturday, 17 June 2017

Mass readings in Scots: Corpus Christi (Sunday after Trinity Sunday) (Year A)



Gospel reading:
John 6:51-58

"The Leevin Breid that cam
doon frae Heeven is mysel;
gin ony man eat this Breid, he leeves for Aye:
and the breid I sal gie
is my flesh, that I wull gie for the warld’s life.”

But the Jews had an unco bruilzie anent it, amang theirsels, and cry’t oot, "Hoo can this man gie us his flesh to eat?” Than quo’ Jesus to them,

"Truly, truly say I t’ye,
Gin ye eatna the flesh o’ the Son o’ Man,
and drink his blude,
thar is nae Life in ye!
Wha eats my flesh, and drinks my blude,
wins Life Eternal;
and him wull I raise again at the Last Day.
For my flesh is vera meat,
and my blude is vera drink.
And wha eats my flesh and drinks my blude,
bides in me,
and I in him.
E’en as the Evir-leevin Faither sends me,
and I leeve by him,
sae he wha eats o’ me, sal e’en leeve by me!
This is e’en the Breid that cam doon frae Heeven;
no like as yere forebears wha did eat manna,
and dee’t:
wha eats o’ this Breid leeves for aye!”


(From The New Testament in Braid Scots (1904) by William Wye Smith here)




Friday, 16 June 2017

Weekly posting of Sunday Mass readings in Scots

 

 
For a while now, I've been posting complete readings in Scots for Sunday Mass derived from a variety of sources on a monthly basis. (You'll find an apologia for this undertaking in the blogpost linked to in that sentence.)
 
From this Sunday (Corpus Christi in Scotland) I shall also be posting on a weekly basis the Sunday Gospel reading in Scots whilst continuing to post, at least once in the month, the complete readings for a Sunday Mass (ie (normally) the Old Testament reading, the Responsorial Psalm, the Epistle and the Gospel reading). I'm doing this mostly because I think there's something to be said for the regularity of such an approach. It will also allow the Catholic Church in Scotland to make the (no doubt unworthy!) boast of being the only Church to be providing such regular weekly resources in Scots. (I'm happy to be corrected on this. Resources on a less than weekly basis may be found on the Centre for the Scots Leid here (especially monthly audio readings of Lorimer's New Testament translation) and on the Church of Scotland Worship in Scots webpage here.) As the lectionaries for other Christian communities often coincide with the Catholic lectionary in the Sunday Gospel reading, this will also provide an ecumenical resource.
 
 
 
 
 
 


Saturday, 10 June 2017

Mass readings in Scots: Trinity Sunday (Sunday after Pentecost) (Year A)



First Reading:
Exodus 34:4-6, 8-9

Sae Moses gat twa stanes cuttit like the first; an at day-braw he gaen up Munt Sinai, as the Laird haed said, wi the twa stanes in his haund. And the Laird come doun in the clud an taen his place aside Moses, an Moses gien wirship tae the name o the Laird. An the Laird gaen by afore his een, sayin, The Laird, the Laird, a God fou o peety an grace, slaw tae wraith an muckle in mercy an faith. Syne Moses gaen doun swith on his face in wirship. An he said, Gin nou A hae grace in yer een, lat the Laird gang amang us, for this is a thrawn fowk, an forgie us oor wrangdaein an oor sin, an tak us fer heirskip.

(From The Old Testament in Scots, vol. 1, The Pentateuch, trans. Gavin Falconer and Ross G. Arthur (2014) (translation into Plain Scots under the auspices of the Ullans Academy) ISBN 978-1-78324-005-0. Amazon US here. Amazon UK here.



Responsorial Psalm:
Dan 3:52-56

Lord God of our fadris, thou art blessit,
and worthi to be praisit, and glorious, and abone uphieit (or enhansit) into warldis.
Blessit is the name of thi glorie, quhilk is haly,
and worthi to be louit and abone enhannsit into warldis.

Thou art blessit in the hali tempile of thi glorie,
and abone praisabile and glorious into warldis.

Thou art blessit in the throne of thi realmme,
and abone praisabile and abone enhansit into warldis.

Thou art blessit that behaldis the depnes of watris, and sittis on cherubyn;
(and art) praisabile and abone enhansit into warldis.

Thou art blessit in the firmament of heuen,
and praisabile and glorious into warldis.

(From The New Testament in Scots (1520) vol. 3 by Murdoch Nisbet here)


Second reading:
2 Corinthians 13:11-13

But noo i’ the end, brethren, rejoicin, restore yersels to order; be consoled; be o’ the ae mind; leeve thegither in peace ; and the God o’ love and peace sal be wi’ ye!

Greet ye ane anither wi’ a sacred kiss. A’ the saunts salute ye.

The favor o’ the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love o’ God, and the indwallin o’ the Holie Spirit, be wi’ ye a’!
 
(From The New Testament in Braid Scots (1904) by William Wye Smith here)



Gospel:
John 3: 16-18

For God sae loved the warld
as to gie his Son, the Only-Begotten Ane,
that ilka ane wha lippens till him sudna dee,
but hae Life for aye.
For God sent-na his Son intil the warld
to bring condemnation on’t,
but that raither the warld micht be saved by him.
And ane that lippens him isna hauden guilty;
but ane wha winna lippen him is judged guilty e’en no;
for he hasna lippened
to the Son o’ God, the only-begotten Ane.

(From The New Testament in Braid Scots (1904) by William Wye Smith here)

Saturday, 27 May 2017

The Benedict Option: that review at last

 
Scottish nominalist philosopher John Major (1467-1550) denying responsibility for the sins of modernity



Parturiunt montes, nascetur ridiculus mus...

Which, I should add, is a comment on my labours, not Rod Dreher's.

As I noted in my previous post, I've been putting off reading The Benedict Option. And then, having written that post and having released a flurry of tweets on the first few chapters,



I put off finishing it. I think that's a confession that I didn't really enthuse over it. But putting all that aside, I'm going to start off by suggesting two ways in which other readers -and indeed myself in part- have done the book a disservice by expecting it to be a different book.

1) It can't provide a detailed answer to everything. It's too short. It's written by a journalist not St Benedict. It has to appeal to a popular audience. Secularization is a phenomenon which has generated a vast academic literature and evangelism to the secularised: this book can't replace that depth of discussion and it's no use blaming it for not doing so.

2) It has to attract attention. This is a book written for the trade press and intended to reach a big audience.These are perfectly reasonable purposes, but it does mean that it has to be exciting and to grab its audience. Again, it's no use blaming the book for not coughing in ink.

Given those parameters, could the book be done any better? Possibly, but it's hard to imagine how. Moreover, I think Dreher's main purpose is simply a wake up call: unless Christians do something now, secularisation of some sort will continue to destroy church attendance and commitment. And I think he's absolutely right about that and I do think that most of us need to face this with greater alarm than we do. The perfect reader for this book is someone who is suspicious that things are going wrong in Christian practice, but who hasn't really thought much about the nature of that going wrong, and who has little idea what to do about it. If this were the first book you were reading about the subject, then it would be hard to better it. The worst reader? Probably someone like me...

Another needful prefatory remark is that this book is primarily (and explicitly) intended to deal with the US situation. Moreover (and this is less explicit) it's a book that works best if regarded at directed at a peculiarly American illusion: that with one big push, we can get a Republican government which will restore a Christian commonwealth. That this is an illusion is made clear by Dreher throughout: big business and big politics have signed up to an agenda that, while it may differ in detail between the two parties, in general offers no prospect of a general drift back to a Christian state. Neither of these two emphases prevents the book from having value for a non-American western audience, but they do mean that some of its focus needs to be critically reflected on in our different conditions. (For example, it is one thing to tell American Protestant Christians not to expect to be in the sort of control of society that they were, say, in the first half of the twentieth century; it is quite another to tell British Catholics to abandon a share in the public space that was crafted not in dominance but already as a despised minority.)

What's good about the book

It gets the broad nature of the challenge right: there are fewer and fewer Christians and they are failing to pass on their religion to their children. It gets the desperateness of the challenge right: we need to wake up and do something.

It presents a smorgasbord of interesting case studies, snapshots of imaginative and promising solutions and communities.

 It provides a proper and central place for cultivation of the self by ascesis in the way that the Orthodox and traditional Catholic would understand it: fasting, prayer, reading scripture, chastity etc.

What I didn't like

This is a personal bugbear. Dreher puts forward a 'it woz the nominalists wot dun it' view of cultural history. In rough terms, modernity is the result of a disenchantment of the universe caused by the rejection of realism of universals, particularly natural kinds, by thinkers such as William of Occam in favour of such universals existing solely in the mind. This is a commonplace of a lot of (semi and serious) scholarship, being popularised by eg Weaver's Ideas Have Consequences. I think it's broadly rubbish (eg: Occam died in 1347 and sexual intercouse began in 1963) but I'm possibly the only one to think this. (Tough. I'm still right.)

A more commonly shared worry might be that this diagnosis of the problem seems to serve no purpose. Unlike, say, Ed Feser's The Last Superstition, which shares a similar point of view, Dreher gives no hint that, if this is the main cause of present difficulties, the key treatment ought to be the restoration of realist metaphysics. Being a cynical soul, I'm afraid that this leads me to wonder if it is just intellectual shimmer, the need to give a sort of intellectual glamour to a brand much in the same way that former polytechnics import dark wood and Latin. (That's over sharp: the book does need to attract attention and part of the way of establishing that needful authority is by giving it an intellectual pedigree.)

Another problem is that, inevitably, Dreher doesn't have the space to develop and defend his solutions in detail. For example, at one point, he suggests that young Christians should think of moving to rust belt industrial areas which are struggling to find skilled workers rather than pursuing the sort of university education that is increasingly anti-religious and also ineffective at generating sufficient income to raise a family. Fine. But if I were a young Christian, I would be asking how long any such skills and industries will survive globalization and new technology. Members of high prestige professions are certainly not immune to such fears. But they do have the advantage of being well-placed to enforce their own self-interest. No doubt Dreher would have responses to worries of this kind. Inevitably, however, unless we attribute omniscience to him, all this book can do is to start a conversation in these areas. And equally inevitably, although some solutions may suit some people, they won't suit everyone, however committed a Christian you might be. A standing niggle I've found in common with a lot of modern Church life is that they seem to require a clubbability of a degree that I and suspect many are quite incapable of. It would be ironical if, in a scheme devoted to bringing Christians back to the depths of their traditions, no room could be found for the eremetical and solitary.

Staying with this inevitable lack of space for detail, the question of 'withdrawal' has figured in a lot of criticism of Dreher. In essence, he has been accused of a pre-emptive exit from the public sphere, instead of struggling to turn back some of the secularising forces. In fairness to Dreher, he is quite specific that this is only a refocusing of attention to building up the Church (rather than attempting to impose it through the Republican Party -see above) and not a complete withdrawal. But because he can't deal with detail, he can't quite flesh out what this withdrawal-but-not-a-withdrawal might look like. For example, in setting up Christian 'classical' schools, my betting would be there would be quite a lot of day to day struggling over the details: my own experience of Catholic groups is that they inevitably pull in people who do not share what I would regard as orthodox belief or practice. It's all very well to suggest 'set up your own school' as a Benedict Option; my guess would be that, in many cases, it will be very difficult to do so without reproducing some of the same difficulties that already plague existing Catholic schools. It's not that it can't (on occasions) be done: it's rather that, because it is so difficult to do, it will succeed in very few cases.

Putting aside the general tendency of a reviewer to recommend the writing of the sort of book the reviewer himself would write, my chief worry about The Benedict Option is that it doesn't provide a new solution. Already there exist small initiatives to 'rescue' gathered communities from the secular world. And that's excellent. We need more monks and nuns, more priests, more lay communities. But what works for the saints is not really the problem: some people in every generation will have both the grace and the virtues to grow to holiness. The problem of secularisation is the rest of us who struggle to survive and need the help of others to carry us. And here The Benedict Option is a bit like the underpants gnomes. Instead of, 'Steal underpants, become rich,' we have, 'Stop being secularised, become holy.'




In sum, Dreher has done a good job in starting a phenomenon of which the physical book, The Benedict Option, is only part. He has presented a forceful wake up call in a way that some who previously have been complacent or overly trusting in Republican politics might well heed to their benefit. But the start of a conversation is just that, a start. And my worry in particular is that the focus should not be on creating small faithful oases in a secular desert -there are many, many examples of organisations like Opus Dei etc etc doing that- but of irrigating the desert. I don't think The Benedict Option takes us very far in that: its recipes, in any case inevitably incomplete, will only work for a few.

The Benedict Option is an option. Fine. But it can't be the only one. Let's think of some more options to go with it.

Thursday, 25 May 2017

Mass Readings in Scots: Feast of the Ascension (Year A)


First reading
Acts 1:1-11

The first historie I made, O Theophilus, anent a' that Jesus begude baith to do and to teach, till whatna day he was taen up, eftir that he had by the Holie Spirit gien commauns to the Apostles he had waled oot; and to wham he schawed his sel leevin eftir his sufferans, by mony sure and certain tokens, appearin to them throwe forty days, and speakin o’ the things anent the kingdom o’ God. And companyin wi’ them, chairged them no to gang awa frae Jerusalem, but to bide for the promise o’ the Faither, “ Whilk,” quo’ he, “ye hae heard o’ me. For in sooth John bapteez’t wi' watir, but ye sal be bapteez’t in Holie Spirit no mony days frae noo !”

And sae they, whan they cam thegither, speir’t at him, “Lord, do thou at this time bring back the kingdom to Isra’l?” And he said to them, “It isna for you to ken times and seasons, whilk the Faither has keepit in his ain haun. But ye sal hae strenth, eftir the Holie Spirit is come to ye; and ye sal be witnesses for me baith in Jerusalem, and in a’ Judea and Samaria, and to the far-awa’ ends o’ the yirth.”

 And whan he had said thir things, while they war lookin on, he was liftit up; and a clud happit
him oot o’ their sicht. And while they lookit, peerin intil the heavens, as he gaed up, twa men stude by them in white cleedin; wha said, “Ye men frae Galilee ! why staun ye peerin intil the lift? The same Jesus, wha has been ta’en frae you intil Heeven, sal come in like mainner as ye hae seen him gang intil Heeven.”

(From The New Testament in Braid Scots (1904) by William Wye Smith here)

Responsorial Psalm
Psalm 46 (47): 2-3, 6-9

1. Ding wi the loof, O a' ye folk!

Lilt ye till God wi' the sugh o' a sang !

2. For the Lord owre a' is himlane till be fear'd;

atowre the hail yirth, a king fu' gran'.

5 God has gane up wi' a sugh ;
the Lord wi' the tout o' a swesch.

6 Sing ye till God, sing a sang :
sing a sang till our King, sing ye.


7 For God himlane, o' the hail yirth is King;

fu' wyssly till him sing ye.

8 God owre the hethen is king;
God sits on his thron, sae weel shiftit.


(From Psalm 47 (verse numbering retained), The Psalms: frae Hebrew intil Scottis P. Hately Waddell (1891) here)



Second reading
Ephesians 1:17-23


That the God o’ oor Lord Jesus Christ, the Faither o’ glorie, may gie ye a spirit o’ wisdom and revealin in his knowledge: yere inward een bein fu’ o’ licht, that ye may come to ken what the hope o’ his blythe-bidden is, what his rich inheritance o’ glorie i’ the saunts, and what the unmeasured vastness o’ his pooer toward us wha hae faith, e’en as by the up haudin o’ his micht, whilk he wrocht in Christ, raisin him frae ’mang the deid, and settin him doon amang a’ the heevenlies, at his ain richt-haun, far up aboon a’ rule, and authorise, and pooer, and dominion, and ilka name that is named, no alane i’ this warld, but eke in that that is to come: and "pat a’ things under his feet"; and gied him as heid ower a' things to the Kirk; whilk in sooth is his body, the completion o’ him wha completes a’ in a’ for himsel.

(From The New Testament in Braid Scots (1904) by William Wye Smith here)



Gospel
Matthew 28:16-20


And the xj discipilis went into Galilee, into ane hill quhar Jesus had ordanit thaim. And thai saw him, and wirschipit; bot sum of tham doutit. And Jesus com nere and spak to tham, and said, Al powere in heuen and in erde is gevin to me. Tharfor ga ye and teche al folkis, baptizing tham in the name of the Fader, and of the Sonn, and of the Haligast; Teching thame to kepe al thingis quhat euir thing I haue comandit to you ; and, lo, I am with yow in al dais, til into the ending of the warlde.

(From The New Testament in Scots Murdoch Nisbet [c.1520] (1901) vol 1 here)














Saturday, 13 May 2017

Mass readings in Scots: 5th Sunday in Easter (Year A)




First Reading:

Acts 6:1-7

Noo, i’ thae days, thar gat up a murmurin amang the Grecian Jews again the Hebrew anes, aboot
the weedows bein owerlookit i' the giean-oot o’ the daily breid. And the Twal’ brocht the thrang
o' the disciples thegither, and quo’ they, “It’s no bonnie that we soud lea’ the service o’ the Word o’ God, and ser’ tables. Sae, brethren, look ye oot frae ’mang yersels seeven men o’ gude name, wyss men, fu’ o’ the Spirit, that we may set ower this maitter. But we wull mainteen oorsels aye in prayer, and i’ the service o’the Word.”

And the word was weel thocht o’ o’ a’ the thrang; and they named Stephen, ane fu’ o’ faith and the Holie Spirit, and Philip, and Prochorus, and Nicapor, and Timon, and Parmenas, and Nicolas, a proselyte frae Antioch. Wham they set fornent the Apostles; and whan they had prayed they set their hauns on them. And the word o’ God grew uncolie ; and the feck o’ the disciples multiply't in Jerusalem; and an unco thrang o’ the priests follow’t the faith.

(From The New Testament in Braid Scots (1904) by William Wye Smith here)
 
Responsorial Psalm:
Psalm 32 (33):1-2, 4-5, 18-19
 
1 Rejoyce in the Lord, O ye richteous;
for prayse is cumlie in the upricht.

2 Prayse the Lord wi' herp;
sing untill him wi' the psaltrie, an' ane instriment o' ten strings.

4 For the wurd o' the Lord is richt;
an' a' his warks ar dune in trouth.

5 He loes richteousniss an' juudgemint;
the yirth is fu' o' the guidniss o' the Lord. 

18 Behald, the ee o' the Lord is apon thame that feær him,
apon thame that houpe in his mercie;

19 Til free thair saul frae deæth,
an' til keep thame alæive in scanth o' fude.
 
(From Psalm 33, in The Book of Psalms in Lowland Scotch by Henry Scott Riddell (1857) here)



Second Reading:
1 Peter 2:4-9


And nere ye to him, that is a leving staan, and repreuit of men, bot chosen of God, and honourit; And ye you self as quick staanis be ye abone biggit in to spirituale housis, and ane haly preesthede, to offir spirituale sacrifices, acceptabile to God be Jesu Crist. For quhilk thing the scriptur sais, Lo! I sal set in Syon the heichast kirnale staan, chosen and precious; and he that sal beleue in him, sal nocht be confonndit. Tharfor honour to you that beleues; bot to men that beleues nocht, the staan quham the biggaris repreuit, this is made into the hede of the kirnale; and the staan of hurting, and staan of sclandir, to thaim that offendis to the word, nouthir beleues it, in quhilk thai ar set.

Bot ye ar a chosen kynn, a kinglie preesthede, haly folk, a pepile of purchasing, that ye tell the virtues of him, that callit you fra mirknessis into his wondirful licht.

(From The New Testament in Scots (1520) vol. 3 by Murdoch Nisbet here)


Gospel:
John 14:1-12

"Dïnnae let yer hairts be sair annoyt. Pit yer trust ïn God, an lippen ïn me forbye. In ma Faither's hoose thair's monie dwallin-places. If that wusnae richt, A wudnae hae toul ye that A'm gaun tae mak a place readie fer ye, wud A noo? An whaniver A hae got a place readie fer ye, A'll cum an tak yis bak alang wi me, sae that whar A be, we'll aa be thegither. Yis ken whar A'm gaun, an yis ken tha róad tae whar A'm gaun."

Tammas turnt an saed til hïm, "Loard, we hae nae notion o whar ye'r fer, sae hoo cud we ken tha róad?" Jesus reponed, "A be tha róad, an tha truith, an tha life. Naebodie cums tae tha Faither but throu me. If ye knowed me weel, ye wud ken ma Faither as weel. Frae noo on, yis dae ken hïm an yis hae saa hïm forbye!"

Phïlip saed, "Loard, show iz tha Faither an that'll be eneuch fer iz." Jesus answert, "Dae ye no ken me Phïlip, tha mair A hae bin amang yis aa thïs time? Oniebodie lukkin at me haes saen tha Faither. Sae hoo can ye say, 'Show iz tha Faither?' Phïlip, dae ye no believe that A be ïn tha Faither an tha Faither's ïn me? Tha wurds A'm taakin til yis ir no jist ma ain. Na,  ït's tha Faither, leevin ïn me, wha's daein hïs wark. Tak ma wurd fer ït whaniver A say that A be ïn tha Faither an tha Faither ïs ïn me; or at the laist, trust me acause o tha warks yis hae saen me daein.

"Noo here's tha truith o ït, oniebodie that pits thair faith ïn me wull dae tha same warks that A dae. Ay, an he'll dae faur bïgger thïngs ner thon, fer A'm gaun tae be wi ma Faither."

(From Tha Fower Gospels  (2016) (Ulster-Scots), Ullans Press, ISBN: 978-1-905281-25-1, Amazon UK here,  Amazon US here.)

 
 

Wednesday, 10 May 2017

Manent Mercerdi #9: after Macron?


I can't find anything that Manent has written specifically on the election of Macron to the French presidency, but the following excerpts from recent commentary might suggest a Manentian approach:

"The perils in question [of the project of 'significant numbers of the bien pensant [who] came to view both nations and classes as social forms to be steadily overcome' ] lay centrally in hoping for the democratic consent of the governed, while simultaneously eroding the main historical source of what Manent calls social ‘communion’. For it is principally the nation that, since the nineteenth century, has been the political focal point of identity, loyalty and accountability in Europe. Insofar as the EU has sought to shift these foci to other, supranational institutions and imperatives, it has embarked on an unprecedented project, one that is unparalleled, indeed, anywhere else in the world.

"In short, below each nation lies ‘civil society’, which remains politically and economically an insufficient object of aspiration; above each nation lies a putative ‘great, enormous European nation’, of indeterminate boundaries and without historical or cultural ballast. Between these sub- and supranational poles the EU finds itself without real moorings, refusing, as Manent puts it, to ‘define itself politically’, and hence taking on the character of ‘an imperious, indefinite, and opaque movement’."

(from 'What French philosophy can tell us about the EU, nationhood, and the decline of social democracy', Tom Angier here )


'Whereas the state can be neutral about religion and morality, society can never be neutral. In fact, the state’s neutrality, its formless character, is present precisely to protect the myriad beliefs, moral codes, and religious practices that comprise society. A secularism that preserves a flourishing society of diverse religious practice is completely different from a secularism that socially engineers a religiously neutral society. The latter would be a bland formless void, devoid of religious devotion, beauty, or character.

'The secularists who advance such a vision assume that Islam will reform by incorporating itself into France. In assuming this, they think that Islam should no longer be an objective value but rather be recognized as a subjective choice—a manifestation of individual rights rather than objective religious law. Muslims, of course, do not agree with this. For practicing Muslims, Islam is not a subjective choice. When Westerners treat it as one, they render themselves incapable of dealing with terrorism and the integration of Muslim immigrants.

'Manent argues that a radical secularist society, one that is formless because it refuses to be shaped by any religious inheritance, is incapable of inviting outsiders to join it. Just as a house must have walls for the host to invite a guest into it, so a society must have customs, ceremonies, and convictions to invite outsiders to join. But a radical secularist society has none of these things: no borders, no common customs, no ceremonies, no education about a common national life, no patriotism. Without common political life, a country has nothing to offer those coming from outside.'

(from 'Vive la Résistance!' in the Washington Free Beacon, by Ian Lindquist here)

'Now, with the rise of Islamic immigration, France faces the ultimate test of its own new political ideals: the growing strength of a minority that rejects diversity, rejects the supremacy of the individual, and therefore rejects the very ideology that allowed the minority to grow.
The only solution, Manent argues, is for France to insist that Muslims accept a role as French citizens, as participants in a common enterprise. But that cannot be if native French citizens do not first acknowledge their role as citizens rather than autonomous individuals.

'What is the difference between citizens and individuals? Citizens recognize their duties along with their rights. Small children will always behave as individuals. In a healthy society their parents behave as citizens—because there is no better way to train people in the habits of accepting responsibility than giving them the care of their own children.'

(from Phil Lawler, 'Apres moi le deluge', Catholic Culture, here)

Friday, 5 May 2017

The Benedict Option: Prolegomena to any future blogpost that will be able to present itself as a review



I've been putting off tackling The Benedict Option . It's been sitting next to my bed since publication and frankly I'm a little scared at having to read and then comment on it. Anyway, procrastination away! After having finished this post, I shall tackle it and report thereon.

This resolution is in part to do with a Twitter discussion that's been going on for a little while in the Catholic UK blogosphere about the new Catholic Education Service's guidance on LGBTQIIAA+ matters. (Countercultural Father here and Joseph Shaw here give a flavour of the report and the debate.) I simply don't have enough detailed expertise in either English education or the legal/regulatory framework on such matters to get too involved in this. The pressure to adopt the Time for Inclusive Education framework will undoubtedly hit us in Scotland with similar issues shortly. But I did leap in with an expression of sympathy for the dilemma faced by the Catholic Education Service: how to deal with a cultural (and legal etc) environment that frames the discussion and sets out questions to be answered in a way that does not sit easily with Catholic understandings of anthropology, and where that discussion seems to be entirely controlled by LGBTQIIAA+ pressure groups such as Stonewall.

This issue seems to me to be very much at the centre of Dreher's concerns: how an authentically Christian life can be lived out in an environment which is becoming hostile to Christianity. (That doesn't necessarily mean persecution, but it does mean (eg) that expressions of the sinfulness of homosexual sex are no longer 'acceptable' and even in some environments legal.) His solution -well, to be considered!- but the essence is clearly some sort of strategic withdrawal into a more thoroughgoingly Christian space than that offered by a secularising society.

Anyhow, I'm a great believer in Collingwood's idea that you should approach an (archaeological) investigation with questions to be answered rather than just digging around at random. Accordingly, I set out below some of the issues I'm going into this investigation with to see if I can sort them out.

1. Modesty of ambition. One of the reasons I've been so reluctant to tackle the book is that I worry there'll be nothing new there. At various times, I've read quite deeply in the literature surrounding secularisation theory and Stanley Hauerwas so I'm familiar with the difficulties that Christians face in modernity and suggestions about how they should form authentically Christian communities. Dreher's work is short (less than 75000 words I believe) and written by a journalist. So I want to find out: what does it offer that's new? (My suspicion is that it's going to provide some interesting insights into some modern ways of concretely living out Christianity. But it has also provided a 'buzz' around this important issue, and that's a good thing I suspect: we need to be thinking about this more.)

2. Specificity of tradition. Dreher is Orthodox, but the book seems to cover 'mere Christianity' without much worry about denominational differences. I want to see whether this helps or hinders his message. (My suspicion here is that we need to dig deeply into our specific traditions. Catholicism isn't Orthodoxy and neither are Evangelical Protestantism. I would expect the problems and solutions facing each tradition to be different.)

3. Outreach to the non-saints. My main worry is the apparent focus on the gathered saints (or at least saints in making). Catholicism has been a religion of saints doing their best to save a lot of sinners despite themselves. I want to find out: how does Dreher suggest that the 'Benedict' communities reach out to people who are not focused on being saints, but who might just get dragged to purgatory with the grace of sacraments?

4. Finally, inter-community structures and practices. Three things that have really had an impact on my religious life are EWTN, the internet and the Catechism. None of these seem easily into the model of a Benedictine community which is at the heart of the analogy. So I want to know: does Dreher's analysis do justice to the ways in which part of the response to the fluidity of modernity is, to borrow from Evola, 'to ride the tiger' rather than run away from it?

As a final point, part of my reluctance is that I want to like the book and I'm afraid I won't. Inasmuch as one can like a public persona, I do like Rod Dreher: he seems like an honest man trying to do honest things. That's difficult to reconcile with the need in the American religious market to become a personal brand; but although I worry that I should probably be spending the time I'm going to spend on the Benedict Option on Duns Scotus and Suarez, he does seem to be trying to deal with an important issue with integrity, and I want to be able to respect and indeed praise him for that.

No doubt other things will emerge. But that's what I'm aiming to get at just now. Wish me luck: I'm going in....





Saturday, 29 April 2017

Mass readings in Scots: 3rd Sunday in Easter (Year A)




First reading
Acts 2:14,22-33
 

 
Bot Petir stude with the elleuen, and raasit vp his voce, and spak to thame. Ye men of Israel, here ye thir wordis. Jesus of Nazareth, a man previt of God before you be virtues, and wonndris, and taknis, quhilkis God did be him in the myddis of you, as ye wate, Ye tormentit, and slew him be the handis of wickit men, be counsale determinit and betakin be the forknawing of God. Quham God raasit, quhen sorowis of hell war vnbundin, be that that it was impossibile that he war haldin of it. For Dauid sais of him,
 
I saw on ferre the Lord before me euirmare,
for he is on my richthalf, that I be nocht mouet.
For this thing my hart ioyit,
and my tonng made full out ioy,
and mare ouir my flesch sal rest in hope.
For thou sal nocht leeue my saul in hell,
nouthir thou sal geue thin hali to se corruptloin.
Thou has made knawne to me the wayis of lijf,
thou sal fill me in mirth with thi face.
 
Brether, be it leefull hardilie to say to you of the patriarch Dauid, for he is dede and berysit, and his sepulture is amang vs in to this day. Tharfor quhen he was a prophet, and wist that with a gret athe God had suorn to him, that of the fruit of his leynd suld aan sit on his sete, He seand on ferre spak of the resurrectioun of Crist, for nowthir he was left in hell, nouthir his flesch saw corruptioun. God raasit this Jesu, to quham we all ar witnessis. Tharfor he was vpheit be the richthand of God, and throuch the behecht of the Haligaast that he tuke of the fader, he sched out this spirit, that ye se and here.

(From Murdoch Nesbit's translation into Scots (1520) here.)




Responsorial Psalm
Psalm 15(16):1-2,5,7-11


1. Waird me weel, O God,
I lippen till yerlane.

2 Ye hae said until the Lord,
My Lord, ye 're a' my ain; I hae nought that 's gude, abune yersel.

5 The Lord himsel's the fow o' my ha'din an' my caup;
my luck yerlane hae lucken'd.

7 I maun blythe-bid the Lord, wha gies me wyss rede;
an' my lisk, night by night, hauds me ay learnin.

8 The Lord evirmair hae I set fornenst mysel:
for he's at my right han', I sal ne'er be sair steerit.

9 Wharthro' my heart 's fu' fain, an' my gudeliheid fu' blythe is:
na, my vera bouk itsel bides in tryst.

10 For my saul ye winna lea' i' the lang hame o' dead;
ye winna gie yer dearest ane till see the sheugh o' dule.

11 Yersel sal gar me ken the vera gate o' life:
routh o' joies afore thy face is;
pleasurs thrang at thy right han' evir mair.

(From P. Hately Waddell's translation of Psalm 16 (1891) here)

 
Second reading
1 Peter 1:17-21

And gif ye inwartly call him fader, quhilk deemys without acceptioun of persounns be the werk of ilkman, leeue ye in drede in the tyme of your pilgrimage; Witting that nocht be corruptabile gold, or siluir, ye ar boucht agane of your vane leving of fadris traditioun, Bot be the precious blude as of the lambe vndefoulit and vnspottit, Crist Jesu, That was knawne befoir the making of the warld, bot he is schawit in the last tymes, for you That be him ar faithfull in God; that raasit him fra dede, and gaue to him euirlasting glorie, that your faith and hope war in God.


 (From Murdoch Nesbit's translation into Scots (1520) here.)


GospelLuke 24:13-35

And mark! twa frae ’mang them war gaun on their journey, that vera day, till a village seeven or aucht mile frae Jerusalem, ca’d Emmaus. And they spak thegither o’ a’ thae things that had happened. And it cam aboot, as they war speakin and reasonin thegither, Jesus his sel cam nar, and gaed wi’ them. But their sicht was hauden, that they soudna ken him. And he says to them, “Whatna words are thae that ye hae ane to anither, as ye gang on?” And they stude still, wi’ a sorrowfu' look.

But ane, by name Cleopas, answer’t, “Div ye bide by yere lane in Jerusalem, and hae-na kent a’ the things that hae cam aboot i’ thir days?” And he said, “Whatna things?” And they said to him, “Anent Jesus o’ Nazareth, that was a prophet, a man michty in deed and word, in God’s sicht, and o’ a’ the folk. “And in whatna way oor Heid-prieets and Rulers deliver’t him up to deid, and hae crucify’t him. But we lippened it wad hae been he that was to deliver Isra’l; and forby a’ this, the day is the third day sin’ thae things war dune. Aye! and a wheen weemen o’ oor ain gar’t us be astonish’t — gaun ear' to the tomb, and no findin his corp, they cam sayin they had seen a vision o’ angels, that said he was leevin ! And some that war o’ us gaed to the tomb ; and faund it e’en as the weemen had said ; but they sawna him.”

And he says to them, “Oh, glaikit anes ! and dour in yere hearts to lippen to the things the Prophets hae said. Was’t no for the Christ to suffer thae vera things? and to enter intil his glorie?” And, beginnin frae Moses, and frae a’ the Prophets, he made plain to them in a’ the Scripture the things anent himsel.

And they cam nar to the village they war gaun till; and he lookit as gin he was gaun on. But they pressed him, sayin, “Bide ye wi’ us! the day is far gane, and the nicht is comin!” And he gaed in to stop wi’ them. And it cam aboot, whan he was sutten doon wi’ them to meat, he took the laif, and bless’d; and breikin it, gied till them. And their e’en war unsteekit; and they kent him! and he dis- appear frae them. And they said ane to the ither, “Did oor heart no lowe within us, while he was speakin to us on the way, and exponin to us the word!”

And they raise up that vera oor, and gaed back till Jerusalem, and faund foregather’t the Eleeven, and thae wi’ them, sayin, “The Lord did rise! and appear’t to Simon !” And they war tell in the things by the road; and hoo he was made kent to them i’ the breikin o’ breid.

(From William Wye Smith's translation (1904) here.)



















Friday, 28 April 2017

New venture: Mass readings in Scots language


                                                       Lazarus dressed for blogging

Ninian Winzet's savaging of John Knox in 1563 for forgetting "our auld plane Scottis quhilk zour mother lerit you." Winzet, McClure explains, was merely ladling on yet more irony in questioning why Knox had not answered the doctrinal questions Winzet had earlier posed: perhaps you are unable to read my handwriting; perhaps you have forgotten your mother tongue. For the purpose of his argument, Winzet could allege a difference in language between his own "plane Scottis" and the variety of English Knox had adopted as part of an excessive "curiositie of nouatiounis."

From: 
Bailey, Richard W. (1991) "Scots and Scotticisms: Language and Ideology," Studies in Scottish Literature: Vol. 26: Iss. 1. (Available at: http://scholarcommons.sc.edu/ssl/vol26/iss1/7 )


David Leask has been banging on a while now about the way Unionists have amongst other things) developed a neuralgic reaction to the Scots language (eg Herald article here). I wouldn't put it quite the way he does, but I do think there's a general problem of political debate in Scotland becoming simplified into the one issue of 'Independence -for or against?' and of other important questions becoming weaponized by both sides in the attempt to win this one battle.

From the 'progressive' Nationalist side, I don't suppose I need to make a case for Scots. (Although in principle, the justification for an emphasis on Scots ought to be problematic in such circles, even if in fact it isn't.)

Turning to the Right, to the extent that the Right is now synonymous with Unionism in Scotland, there is no particular reason why Scots as a language should be a target. There can be different views on its importance, but there is no obvious reason in principle why hostility to Scots is entailed by hostility to Scottish Independence: one of the great pleasures in reading Walter Scott's canon recently was the discovery of just how well he uses Scots in a variety of different registers. (And no obvious SNP-er he.) I sympathise with a kneejerk reaction to the nonsense that graces the pages of The National and to  political Nationalist attempts to coopt the language, but what is kneejerk needs to be resisted. Conservatives need to be much smarter than this: culture is much, much more important than politics.

But, digging a little more deeply, what of a conservatism that is not simply identical with Unionism? Difficult though it may be to peer through the fog of war and see the underlying principles at stake here, it's essential that those of us who (at least in broad terms) think of ourselves as cultural conservatives don't fall into the trap of a simple identification with the Conservative Party and thus Unionism (because the Scottish Conservative Party is self declared as progressive and because, in any case, social conservatives do not have to be supporters of the Conservative Party) or of a simple identification of Unionism and conservatism. I think the former point is relatively straightforward, so it's to the latter I turn.

Imagine for a moment that I am a Kirkian or Scrutonian conservative. Let's adopt the (somewhat ill-fitting) title of 'palaeo-conservative' as shorthand. Why would I be hostile to Scots (quite apart from necessarily hostile to Nationalism or Independence)? I put aside as utterly irrelevant the question of whether or not it is a proper language: it is at the least a proper dialect, and one with a rich, longstanding literature. With an emphasis on the local and the imaginative, and quite simply the preservation of what has been, why would I be resistant to at least preserving (quite apart from promoting) Scots? I struggle to think of an answer except for the assertion that there are more important things to think about. Possibly. But one of the key elements at least of Russell Kirk's conservatism is its element of fancy and eccentric individuality: if people see fit (as many whom I admire do) to spend their time promoting and thinking about Tolkien, then why should not those of us whom Tolkien leaves rather cold, spend time thinking about and preserving Scots?

Beyond this, I think there is a special duty on Scots Catholics to re-imagine and re-enchant Scotland. There has been a strong current in English Catholicism, seen both in Walsingham and the sense of England as Our Lady's Dowry, to remember and wish to recreate at least in imagination, an England in which the Reformation never happened or at least has been healed. For whatever reasons, this sense is rather diminished in Scotland. (The main exception to this in recent years has been George Mackay Brown, but, even here, his emphasis on Orkney reduces his impact on non-Scandinavian Scotland.) So what would a Scotland freed from the poison of the Reformation look like? What would it be for it to live as a daily reality its status as Specialis Filia Romanae Ecclesiae? Well, for one thing, at the very least a greater awareness of the mediaeval literary heritage in Scots. (Back to Dunbar, indeed.)

Anyway, let him wha will be a traitor knave. I don't know what other shenanigans I'll get up to on this, but, from this Sunday (and at least monthly thereafter until -as per usual- I get bored) I'll be posting selected Mass readings in Scots. These will be pilfered from a variety of sources rather than my own workings and this will doubtless result in a number of absurdities. (On present estimates, I'll need to make use of at least some readings in modern Ulster Scots as well as in Scotticised Middle English. (I don't totally dismiss the possibility of resorting to machine translation either.) The resulting linguisic tensions can either be ignored or celebrated as a re-enactment of the linguistic tensions necessarily involved in the original language texts of a 'book' which has been assembled by the Church from a variety of texts produced over centuries.) As with so many other ventures, I am happy to do it badly with a view to others eventually doing it better.

A couple of final points. First, everything I say above in favour of Scots could be said of Gaelic but with even greater force. That I say nothing here of Gaelic is a result entirely of my very, very limited acquaintance with that language. Secondly, none of this is to be taken as suggesting that actual Masses should be said in Scots. I suppose there is an argument in favour of such a view, but it's not one that I'm engaged in. (For what it's worth, I would ban all experiments in the language of the Mass for 1000 years and, if there is a lust for linguistic variety, urge a greater use of Scotland's other great historic language, Latin. But that's for another day.) My purpose here (quite apart from its being a simple jeu d'esprit) is simply to allow that imaginative reception of the liturgy into a wider culture that can be seen (eg) in mediaeval mystery plays and church decoration, and the transformation of that wider culture by a Catholic presence. (Pie in the Sky in practice, no doubt, but at least (ignored) there will be in principle a Catlick presence in a field too often dominated by Proddy, Secularist (and Ginger) Dugs.)