Oración al Judio Errante

28 05 2009

judio errante

¡Oh, Judio Errante de los amantes! Según tú entraste en el templo de
Jerusalén y apagastes la lámpara del Santísimo Altar, así yo quiero
que te metas en el corazón de ________ y no me lo dejes comer , ni dormir,
ni estar tranquilo , hasta que no venga donde mi de todo corazón en
cuerpo y alma .

Judio Errante , no me lo dejes ni en silla sentado , ni en cama acostado ,
ni en sitio parado , que por donde quiera que vaya oiga mi voz y vea mi sombra ,
y que según de campanazos den las campanas de la iglesia ,sean debatidos en
el corazon de __________.

Judio Errante , no me lo dejes vivir con nadie , que sea yo quien me lo presente
en el sueño y me le ablande el corazon solamente para mí y para más ninguna
mujer .

3 Padres Nuestros, 3 Ave Marias .
Use el escapulario del Angel Guardian para que lo proteja contra todo lo malo.

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Jansenism as Whipping Boy

28 05 2009


Via Fr. Chadwick’s page, I found an essay by another cleric stating that the recent child abuse scandal in the Irish church is due to the lack of a vibrant and colorful liturgy and the prevalence of Jansenism amongst the clergy. While I have indeed myself had recourse to this argument when approaching other questions, I think this priest’s use of such an accusation is unfounded. There is no reason to believe that theology had anything to do with it. If anything, what was really at fault was fundamentalist ultramontanism that is a general outgrowth of realized eschatology; not so much a theological principle, but a religious ethos. In the midst of an increasingly persecuted Church, the hierarchy was seen as being able to do no wrong. Needless to say, the institutional Church in many places took that principle and ran with it, often over the backs of the innocent.

First, however, I would like to address the idea of attacking of Jansenism as an all-powerful bête noire. Jansenists are now portrayed as moral monsters responsible for everything from taking Holy Communion away from children to ingrown toenails. While Jansenists were indeed extreme in their ideas and practices, their being painted as the ultimate villains is the result of history being written by the victors, and it was a hollow victory at that. From infrequent Communion we have gone to Holy Communion as a social right of the members of the People of God. From the strictness of the Port Royal nuns we now have an overly relaxed regime where ascetical minimalism is the name of the game. From the victory of “God’s mercy” in the disputes with the Jansenists, we have now a secular Europe and an often liberal, fuzzy deity who few take seriously, and so on. The only place where some of the Jansenists’ ideas flourished were in the realm of liturgy; some of the aspects of what is known as the Novus Ordo Missae were first proposed by the Jansenists, and condemned by the Church after the Jansenist Council of Pistoia.

Indeed, with the final defeat of the Jansenists and in the aftermath of the French Revolution came the idea that the institutional Church was a heroic, suffering institution that needed to be followed in even the most insignificant things. (This perception is alive and well in the Catholic blogosphere.) Catholics ceased to be mere believers and had to become militants. This was no doubt a product of the fiercely anticlerical regimes in the 19th century, but the other side of the coin is that many saw in these struggles that “the Church could do no wrong”, especially in the face of a hostile state. No state was more hostile than the British one in occupied Ireland. It is no wonder that in the aftermath of independence, the Church could get away with anything short of murder. In many ways, it was Jansenism, in all its misguidedness, that was the last flicker of a “loyal opposition” in Catholicism that could call the institution out on its own imperfections.

In the post cited above, there is a a romanticism unbecoming of any sort of serious discussion. It is quite pollyanish to think that such horrible stories of abuse were due to the hostile weather of the northern climes, or that it could have been prevented if people danced more or enjoyed themselves. I come from an ecclesial culture that is the polar opposite of Irish Catholicism: vibrant, emotional, colorful, and loud, and I can tell you that such horrible things still occured in this ecclesial context as well. The only difference is that in Mexico, the government disliked the Church to the point of persecution, so the Church obviously didn’t have the power to exploit people to the point of slavery and child rape. Where the Catholic sun shines, people just don’t get warmth, they can also get burnt.

(I should comment that Jansenist liturgies may have been somewhat sparse, but they were far from lacking in beauty. I once heard a recording of Jansenist chant that was quite beautiful.)

And if anything, such revelations probably prove the Jansenists to be the more correct party rather than the ones at fault. Homo homini lupus. Such horrible things are due to man’s penchant to sin, and such sin leads to selfishness and cruelty. The other side of the rhetoric against “Calvinist gloom” is that we have forgotten our own miserable state in our march of modernity. At the end of the day, I don’t defend the Jansenists, but in their defeat, we may have lost more than we gained.