First, an image to set the scene.
Let’s now move along.
In the wake of posting about Robert Royal’s roundup of books on Francis, I read today at NRO a piece by Daniel J. Mahoney, “Pope Francis, Wayward Shepherd”.
The article is more than about ways in which Francis seems to be leading the Church into a secular NGO mode of action, obsessed with climate change, and through it, even population control (what the hell is Jeffrey Sachs doing at the Vatican all the time?) and the glossing over of perennial teachings.
It is about a wider element.
Political correctness — and hostility to the West as the West — pervades a good deal of what this papacy says and does.
Royal refers to these juvenile ideological clichés, and predictable policies, as manifestations of “simplistic progressivism.” This is a Vatican that conflates the truth of Christ with a “religion of humanity” that has become a substitute for a religion that affirms transcendence. Sober political thinking is not much in evidence, nor even a modicum of realism and moderation in human affairs. Love and charity have been hopelessly politicized, confused with a sentimentality that excuses every excess carried out in the name of a perfected “humanity.” When one sides with an atheistic and totalitarian regime that endangers the children of God, one has entered into morally and theologically troubled territory, indeed.
What is responsible for this steady evacuation of, this open assault on, classical Christian orthodoxy and moral-political good sense? To begin with, Francis and his cohort are partisans of a “new Christianity” that pays insufficient attention to the horizon that Christians call “eternity.”
“The silence of most of the bishops in the Catholic Church on this embarrassing but destructive mixture of progressivism, reflexive activism, and casual dismissal of the deepest wisdom of the Church is disconcerting.”
Instead of kneeling before the world and succumbing to the allure of a late modernity that has no place for elevating conscience and binding truth, Cardinal Sarah calls on the Church to fearlessly witness to the truth about man. It must witness, with evangelical zeal and fidelity to the natural moral law, against the terrible perversions that are gender theory and transhumanism. They are the “pernicious face” of totalitarianism in the 21st century since they, too, “hope to mutilate and control [human] nature.” The Church now should have one paramount mission: to defend human nature, moral responsibility, and a conscience informed by natural and divine truth (not pernicious self-will) as precious gifts that come from the Lord of Hosts. Sarah puts it so well: Men and women of good will would respond with enthusiasm and gratitude to a “splendid act of courage by the Church” to recover the true sources of human liberty, dignity, and responsibility. Without such an act of courage, the progressives will lead the Church of Christ down a path of gradual renunciation of everything that defines the Christian Church as a vehicle of divine truth, of the moral law, and of liturgical fidelity to the worship of the Most High. And as he argues in a new book, Des profondeurs de nos coeurs (From the Depths of Our Hearts), written with a contribution by Benedict XVI, the new Christianity undermines an authentic and faithful understanding of celibate priesthood, of priesthood truly sanctified by God. [US Pre-Order Soon HERE for 12 March 2020 release! – FRENCH HERE]
By becoming shrill, dogmatic, and moralistic practitioners of a politically correct religion of humanity, the Church follows the path of perdition. The political philosopher Leo Strauss, speaking in 1964 at the University of Detroit, a Jesuit institution, said that the Roman Catholic Church was the last remaining spiritual body or institution to truly appreciate all the pitfalls of a modern project that openly and self-consciously rejected natural right in the classical and Christian senses of the term. Strauss made that remark at the very moment when important elements within the Church were succumbing to modernity at its least wise, least sober, least admirable. This is what the political philosopher Eric Voegelin so aptly called “modernity without restraint.”
For generations to come, the Catholic Church will bear the shame of its capitulation before a totalitarian regime in Beijing, a regime that demands loyalty to state power and Communist ideology before fidelity to the saving grace of Christ.
It’s a sobering assessment.
On a macro level there is not a lot must of us can do, even though we know that prayer and charity have no borders.
On the micro level, the sphere we reach each day, there is a lot we can do in word and in deed, dicta et facta.
One thing we must do is assess where we are and where we want to go. The piece above describes: “partisans of a ‘new Christianity’ that pays insufficient attention to the horizon that Christians call ‘eternity.’”
In geometry, when two lines diverge from the same point, the farther they extend, the farther apart they get.
In a journey, if you take a road leading the opposite direction of your destination, the farther you go from it. If you are smart, and you really want to get to your goal, you have to turn around and find the correct road. If you are smart. Or … if you are not perverse.
I think that a false road was purposely created for our naive feet by the City of Man’s diabolical civil engineers and we were lead astray.
But we’ve now had time to study the map.
Heaven. Not heaven.
On the path of the Church? On the path of the world?
Do you like the direction we are going?
Friends, stay close to the sacraments.
Find good reading sources.
Form small “base communities”, to study good sources.
Participate well in your sacred liturgical worship.
Fathers, get serious about catechesis and get those altars turned back the right way. Preach about the Blessed Sacrament in such a way that people of their own accord will never want to receive in the hand again. Put rails back in. Learn more about who you really are by learning the Traditional Latin Mass. I virtually guarantee a knock on effect in your parish.
And hear confessions.
And GO TO CONFESSION!