Ephemera III

“Crony capitalism” comes up a lot whenever the economic liberals start spouting off about the economy, as if this alleged variant of capitalism is not the natural outgrowth of the “pure” free-market capitalism they claim to defend. It is no small irony, however, that when pressed into arguments with others, the same economic liberals who decry “crony capitalism” will point to the empirical effects of this capitalism as “proof” that their free-market ideology is superior to any other option being put on the table. But if “crony capitalism,” that is the capitalism we all know and love, is “bad,” how can it possibly vindicate the free-market position? To this question, certain liberals will say, “Well, imagine how much better it would be if cronyism was removed!” Maybe—or maybe the positive results achieved under capitalism were always due to the fact that regulators and lawmakers had some involvement in the economy. Nobody knows because contrary to what the economic liberals say, their “pure” economic order has never existed; there is no way to know empirically what the results would be. Perhaps that is why those tied to the heterodox “Austrian School” of economics are always eschewing empiricism; it provides no support for their more outlandish, quasi-theoretical claims.

I will be back on Magnificat Media’s Friday show, Church and State, tomorrow discussing the alt-right, voting, and Donald Trump. (More information on the show, including airtimes, is available here.) For those who haven’t seen it, I encourage you to pop over the official website of the Society of St. Pius X to reflect on two pieces from The Angelus archives which discuss a Catholic’s duty regarding voting and, just as importantly, when abstention can be morally licit (perhaps even necessary). For what it’s worth, I still have not made up my mind if I will participate in this election cycle, though I think there is a strong argument to be made that certain local elections may be necessary for a Catholic to participate in, particularly if the outcome will avert evil.

In a couple of earlier posts I made mention of my home church, St. Michael’s Ukrainian Catholic Church, in Grand Rapids, MI. The future of this tiny parish remains uncertain, particularly since funds are in short supply and our pastor is well into his 60s. It is, as I have mentioned, the last outpost of Byzantine Catholicism in West Michigan. Decades of assimilation, coupled with the fact that almost all of the Ukrainian and Polish immigrants who first established the parish have passed on to their Heavenly reward, make St. Michael’s survival unlikely. Still, with God all things are possible. Please, if you think about it, say a prayer or two for this church and its small community of Greek Catholics. It would be much appreciated.

Rod Dreher is praising Russia again over at his web-log at The American Conservative. While I have no interest in seeing the United States embroiled in a major global conflict with Russia, I refuse to stick my head in the sand when it comes to the fact that Russia has been a multi-time aggressor in Eastern Europe in recent years. Also, despite all of the lip service given to the resurgence of “Holy Russia” under Vladimir Putin’s watch, let us not forget that Russia invaded a fellow Orthodox country—Georgia—in 2008 and is currently carrying out incursions against fellow Orthodox and Greek Catholics in Ukraine. I can understand Dreher, a member of a hyper-minority confession with no substantial roots or future in the United States, longing for an ecclesiastical mothership to look to, but no Catholic should be siding with him in this. Russia, and the Russian Orthodox Church, remains officially at odds with the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church (UGCC) and has refused to apologize for the imprisonment, torture, and murder of her clergy and faithful from the 1940s onward. Remember: Until 1989 the UGCC was the largest oppressed religious body in the world. Russia is not a friend to the Catholic Faith. Never forget that.



  1. Aethelfrith
    September 8, 2016

    >Russia is not a friend to the Catholic Faith.

    What about the Pope and Patriarch meeting in Havana? (Bear in mind I have no interest in defending Russia).

    1. trevsliw
      September 8, 2016

      Russia does not equal ROC; though that is not always true.

      His Beatitude Shevchuk had some things to say about the declaration, esp some points of friction where the UGCC is concerned.

  2. James Bendell
    September 8, 2016

    I really appreciate these commentaries.

    God Bless,

    Jim Bendell

    Sent from my iPad


  3. Woody
    September 8, 2016

    Great comments as always, Gabriel. As an Ordinariate person who also frequents our local Byzantine Catholic Church here in Houston, I hope I am not trollish if I just note that Dreher’s little Orthodox group, the ROCOR, have two churches in the metro Houston area while the UGCC have one. Thanks also for the review of the 3rd ed. of the Old Rite prayer book. I am going to get a copy. Will folks look sideways at me if I make the sign of the cross with two fingers?

    1. Woody
      September 8, 2016

      In fact, I have started to do so at the local downtown chapel Novus Ordo Mass celebrated by a very nice Opus Dei priest. No one seems to notice or care, and likely not to understand, the esoteric meaning.

    2. Gabriel Sanchez
      September 9, 2016

      Well, I doubt anyone would recognize how you are making the Sign of the Cross and in truth, even a vast majority of Orthodox don’t understand the differences between the Old Rite Orthodox and their own ways and practices. So I think you’re safe.

      My point on Orthodoxy’s hyper-minority status still stands, I think. Yes, Greek Catholicism is even smaller than Orthodoxy in the West, but Greek Catholics are also part of a larger confessional body which dwarfs the Orthodox Church in the West. Of course, perhaps that wouldn’t have been true if the Greek Catholics weren’t treated like garbage in the 19th and early 20th Century by their Latin brethren, but that’s another story altogether.

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