1962

On the old Opus Publicum I staged several defenses of the liturgical books approved for use with the vetus ordo (“1962 books”) against those critics, some more good-natured and well-intentioned than others, who find them wanting. Some in fact argue that the 1962 books represent a transition from the classic Roman Rite to the New Rite of Pope Paul VI, though as a genealogical matter that is a hard argument to maintain. While the modern liturgical reformers had been busy at their dark craft since the first-half of the 20th Century, the revolutionary changes to the Holy Week Rite in the 1950s coupled with a reduction of the Breviarium Romanum and the Roman Calendar did not inevitably point to the Novus Ordo Missae and the Liturgia Horarum. Besides, it is anachronistic to assess the value of the 1962 books based on what happened later in the decade, as if the slight and subtle simplifications introduced into the Missale Romanum of John XXIII eviscerated the Offertory in the New Mass and gave us Eucharistic Prayer II. The integrity of the 1962 books must be judged, if not exclusively then substantially, in the light of what preceded them.

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Open Letters and Orthodoxy

It didn’t receive as much play in the blogosphere as I expected, but George Weigel’s “An Open Letter to the Patriarch of Moscow,” housed over at First Things, is still worth reading. It is worth reading not because Weigel’s neoconservative political posture isn’t nauseating, but because it should remind certain Catholics who have doe eyes for “neo-Holy Russia,” i.e., the apparent resurgence of symphonia between the Russian Orthodox Church (ROC) and the government of Vladimir Putin, that, at this juncture at least, support for Russia and her church is a betrayal of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church (UGCC).

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Rebegin

If you have found this web-log then there is a good chance that you are familiar with its predecessor that occupied the now-defunct address modestinus.wordpress.com. When I launched Opus Publicum in January 2012 I did so to continue, in part, a critical engagement with the Eastern Orthodox Church from a Catholic perspective. As most of my early readers knew, I had been a member of the Orthodox communion for seven years and had only returned to Catholicism—the confession of my youth—during Lent 2011. Despite certain suggestions to the contrary, I did not part ways with Orthodoxy on bad terms even though some Orthodox Christians, including certain individuals I called friends, were less than thrilled with my decision. I should have realized, however, that every critical remark I made about the Orthodox Church and, more specifically, Orthodox polemics against Catholicism was bound to be read by the Orthodox (and some non-Orthodox) as manifestations of a deep, even pathological, animus toward Orthodoxy. As my blog continued to draw more and more traffic from Orthodox and Catholics alike, it became host to numerous inter-ecclesiological knife fights which were unedifying to say the least. Although I know a good deal of the chaos that ensued was, barring heavy comment moderation, beyond my control, I certainly see how the tone of certain posts and comments which I authored did nothing to relax the situation. At some point I had to ask, “Is this really the message I want to send? Are these words, even if true, the sort of words I would use in other public forums? Are posts riddled with sarcasm and inside jabs the sort I want associated with me years from now?” Finally, after discovering that I could only answer “No” to all three questions, I knew that it was time to sweep the contents of the first Opus Publicum into the digital dustbin.

The Orthodox Church was not the only topic that elicited ire over the past two years. As I transitioned away from my former libertarian commitments in order to submit my thought and talents to the social magisterium of the Catholic Church, I frequently found myself going nose-to-nose with certain—in my estimation—wrongheaded attempts to marry Catholic Social Teaching (CST) with the tenets of economic liberalism. Some of those engagements also resulted in me asking those three aforementioned questions in return for the same answer: “No.” In fact, there were few topics covered on Opus Publicum—law, politics, economics, liturgy, professional wrestling, etc.—that didn’t create a fair share of acrimony while leaving me wondering whether I would confront those issues with the same style over at Ethika Politika or in the pages of The Remnant. At that point I knew it was time to make a change, to “raise the game” so-to-speak with respect to how I approach blogging or simply exit the medium altogether. While I cannot lie and say I wasn’t tempted by the latter option, some much-needed encouragement has brought me to choose the former.

I know that there are certain risks attending Opus Publicum’s re-launch, not the least of which being the immediate loss in readership this blog is likely to experience. However, affixed with a clearer conscience about what I am doing here coupled with a renewed dedication to offer entries that consistently meet the standards set by the best posts I could muster during Opus Publicum’s first incarnation, I am confident that this blog can regain and even supersede its predecessor’s traffic. To that end, dear readers, I am humbly asking you to use whatever means are at your disposal—Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, the town square, and so forth—to advertise this version of the blog. In exchange I promise to keep plugging away on the multitude of subjects I normally address from a traditional Catholic perspective that is informed by the Church’s Eastern and Western patrimonies.

For those curious, I have retained an entire archive of Opus Publicum’s old content. If there is a particular post or comment(s) that you would like a copy of, feel free to contact me. Also, don’t be surprised if you see (potentially reworked) posts from the previous blog make their way back onto this one. For the sake of clarity and continuity, I will “flag” when earlier content is being recycled. Moreover, please be patient with me over the next several weeks as I add more content, including links and other things of interest.

Finally, for those of you who participated in some way, shape, or form on old Opus Publicum, thank you for two years of encouraging, insightful, and sometimes sharply critical comments. Thank you for the links and other information shared and, most of all, thank you for your prayers. Please keep me in them.