CATHOLIC Culture... or Chaos
In fact, the great man might have been surprised by the speed and nature of developments: at how dramatically Christianity decomposed, and how rapidly the death and chaos that filled the vacuum assumed a pseudo-sophisticated "cultural" gloss.
For unlike the gradual dissipation of Christian faith and morals that followed past upheavals, such as the Protestant and French Revolutions, endemic irreligion (aided and abetted by the Catholic crisis), together with unprecedented affluence and the Scientific-Technological Revolution, has accelerated to warp speed the descent from civilisation to barbarism. Had he lived but a little longer, Eliot, like the rest of us, would have seen this bestial chaos morph into "modern culture" before his very eyes. Fashioned by the "new barbarians" of academia, the arts and the entertainment-media, the "new coat" of hedonistic secularism was indeed "ready made": to fit and feed the disordered appetites of the unchurched masses.
Before this perfect pagan storm, erstwhile Christian democracies could not stand for long. "We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion," warned America's second president, John Adams. "Our Constitution is designed only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate for any other."
Dissolving the Christian consensus
Essentially a tax-funded bully pulpit for agnostics and atheists, the BBC is not content with merely preaching its Marxist Social Gospel day in and day out to the conservative majority. It seeks to purge every last vestige of Christian civilisation from public consciousness. Last September, as if in defiant response to all those stubborn Christian symbols, prayers and vows that marred its coverage of the Royal wedding, its "ethics advisers" even issued guidelines aimed at airbrushing the Lord and Measure of History out of history! "As the BBC is committed to impartiality," they announced with typical partiality, "it is appropriate that we use terms that do not offend or alienate non-Christians. In line with modern practice, BCE/CE (Before Common Era/Common Era) are used as a religiously neutral alternative to BC/AD."
So, even though the very notion of a pre- and post-"Common Era" remains meaningless without the Nativity, the Holy Child of Bethlehem is now historically redundant in the eyes of the national broadcaster — 70% of whose audience (42 million people) regard themselves, at least nominally, as Christian! L’Osservatore Romano's immediate protest at this "senseless hypocrisy" hardly bothered a Corporation blind to its perennial duplicity. While its partisan secularity fuels the religious and moral dissolution that leads to corruption and self-serving high and low, it pontificates sombrely as the dreadful societal fruits of its handiwork ripen on a daily basis.
But if the BBC has contributed greatly to the shattering of that national coherence and cohesion formerly cemented by the Gospel of Jesus Christ, spiritually moribund Liberal Protestants paved the way. Explaining in the May 2008 Standpoint magazine how the Anglican influence began to wane during the 1960s, Michael Nazir-Ali of Rochester, one of the more robust prelates of that "ecclesial community," confessed that Liberal theologians and Anglican leaders "all but capitulated" to the Marxist students propagating a "social and sexual revolution." Among the disastrous outcomes of this ready acquiescence was a loss of "faith and piety among women" which precipitated the steep decline in Christian worship.
Tragically, while all this was happening, Rome handed over the local Church to the Worlock-Hume coalition. Obsessed with befriending the rotting Anglican corpse instead of burying it once and for all, these neo-Modernists refused to preach and apply the divine Catholic cure for our contraceptive-abortive society: the diseased and deadly "culture" that Anglicanism has bequeathed to England in the venereal spirit of its homicidal founder.
Acutely and shamefully aware of this epochal Lost Opportunity, Catholics would add one bracketed clarification to Nazir-Ali's lament: "It is this [post-conciliar] situation that has created the moral and spiritual vacuum in which we now find ourselves. While the Christian consensus was dissolved, nothing else, except perhaps endless self-indulgence, was put in its place." The Catholic IHS Press recently summarised the universal fallout:
Futile diagnoses and prescriptions
In order to stop the rot, he insisted, "It is necessary to understand where we have come from, to guide us to where we are going, and to bring us back when we wander too far from the path of national destiny." His reasoning is logical but deficient, since the enduring "values" of this country "have come from" Catholicism: ergo, Catholic England wandered from "the path" of its "national destiny" nearly 500 years ago! As we alluded at the outset, only the religious capital amassed over centuries delayed the depreciation of that protective Catholic currency that set in thereafter, as the nation moved inexorably over succeeding generations towards Eliot's unhappy "new culture": from sola scriptura pseudo-liberty to welfare-state dependency and politically correct enslavement to the culture of death.
As it happened, Nazir-Ali's Standpoint critique appeared only days after he had accused Anglicans of failing in their duty to convert British Muslims to Christianity. On cue, the "diversity" and "multicultural" police decried his intolerance. Yet once again he had missed the point, since Muslims converted to sola scriptura "Christianity" would fall prey to the same corrosive subjectivity in matters of faith and morals that has spawned the truly grotesque religious pantomime known as "Anglicanism."
Right starting points: primary targets
On the contrary, the real issue is the refusal of the Catholic hierarchy to teach with the authority vested in their apostolic succession by the Head of the Church, Christ Himself. This is the heart of the matter: the episcopal preference for endless "dialogue" in lieu of the Catholic mission to re-convert the English to the Faith of their Fathers. Only this return to the country's "path of national destiny" will provide long-term solutions to seemingly intractable social, cultural, political, financial and economic problems. And since Christianity, correctly understood as Catholicism, has for all practical purposes "gone," then, as T.S. Eliot simply pointed out, we have no option but to "start painfully again."
To establish the right starting points, however, so as not to provoke the same catastrophic wandering from the "path of national destinies" everywhere, requires a Catholic mind; one that observes earthly realities through a supernatural lens. This view is easily clouded in a Church suffused with lukewarm prelates dragging us into compromising alliances based on the pragmatic assumption that "what unites us is more important than what divides us." Yet to glance at the Christmas crib is enough to refocus Catholic hearts and minds, not only on the other-worldly nature of the war currently raging about us but on the fact that Catholicism, not generic "Christianity," is the principal object of Judeo-secular attack. Through the eyes of faith our unclouded view comprehends that the Child and His Family are the primary targets because they embody the heavenly and human realities of the Church: higher truths the New Herodians must obscure, corrupt or annihilate in order to achieve their own debased and selfish ends.
Since all conflict, ultimately, is theological, as Cardinal Manning insisted, it starts with this rudimentary choice re-presented each Christmas: between the false doctrines, values and assumptions of false gods and religions, and that selfless, sacrificial Catholic Truth tenderly wrapped in swaddling by His Immaculate Mother and St. Joseph. Precisely through this organic portrayal of all that is good, true, holy, noble and authoritative, the Nativity tableau conveys the living yet immutable bedrock of divine and natural law upon which She built the humane, sophisticated culture we call "the West." Insofar as they oppose the Church, therefore, socio-political and religious enmities are united in opposition to these foundations: embodied in the Holy Child Himself — "the Only-begotten of the Father, full of Grace and Truth," Who is the Church — and in the Holy Family — the "domestic Church."
Personifying and recalling all of this, the Nativity is the most profound reminder of why the revolutionaries have turned on the traditional intact family with such ferocity in our time. Having torn the Mystical Body of Christ and debilitated ecclesiastical authority at the Reformation, and again during Vatican II, His "domestic" Body must now be utterly disfigured to finish the job: re-shaped to serve their Mammonistic revolution. As Brian McCall neatly explained: "The family is the most basic and fundamental unit of authority in human society. The totalitarian megalomania of Liberalism must eliminate all that opposes its oppression in the name of Freedom. With the conquest of the Church and Monarchy complete, having executed or reduced to harmless bureaucrats these two pillars of authority, all that stands in the Liberalism's way now is the authority of parents over their children" [The Remnant, 31/7/11].
Led by the homosexual-feminist apparatchiks who dominate UN human rights' committees, the Nativity puts this diabolic onslaught in divine context. At the same time, it underlines that only the True Church, protected and guided by the Holy Spirit [Jn 16:13], retains the knowledge and wisdom to guide the West out of its intractable woes and back to the God-given building blocks presented to the world at Bethlehem. And yet we are back at square one precisely because Catholic bishops have not led from the front with the faith and conviction of apostolic possessors, guardians and expositors of Absolute Truth. Preferring instead to be led and misled by non-Catholic parties hostile to the Faith, their Grand Silence apropos abortifacient contraception, from whence the panoply of evils that constitute the "new culture" emerged, speaks vociferously to the negligence and betrayal involved.
Population control propaganda
From Kristof's perspective, in failing to understand that pregnancy is not a blessing but a liability, reckless pro-lifers are stifling the humanitarian efforts of International Planned Parenthood to save us all from the endless strife babies foment. But he finds "a ray of hope" in a supportive "Christian" statement from The New Evangelical Partnership for the Common Good who insist that "Family planning is morally laudable in Christian terms because of its contribution to family well-being, women’s health, and the prevention of abortion."
"So as we greet the seven-billionth human," he signs off triumphantly, "let’s try to delay the arrival of the eight billionth. We should all be able to agree on voluntary family planning as a cost-effective strategy to reduce poverty, conflict and environmental damage. If you think family planning is expensive, you haven’t priced babies" [New York Times, 3/11/11].
Wielded always and everywhere by the new barbarians, this chilling utilitarianism strikes at the very heart of the family. And yet the truth is the precise opposite of everything Kristof said and implied. Italy is representative. According to the President of the Italian Bishops’ Conference, Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco, the decrease in the birthrate has sent his country hurtling towards "demographical suicide." Presenting a report by the Bishops’ Conference on the demographic changes in Italy, he stated that the cause of this situation (the calamitous 1.41 children per woman officially recorded in 2009) is not only the economic crisis, but also a "cultural and moral distress." And everybody loses in this post-Catholic chaos because "An increase in consumption and a decrease of births cannot contribute to a reestablishment of the economy." The Cardinal also pointed out that the fall in the birth rate cannot be balanced by the arrival of immigrant children [Il Messaggero, 6/10/11].
Several weeks later, underlining the Cardinal's message and further countering Kristof's overpopulation propaganda, Steven Mosher, President of the Population Research Institute [PRI], told the assembled national media at the National Press Club in Washington that the birth of the seven billionth person was "a happy occasion." "The world's population has more than doubled since 1960," he said, "and humanity has never been so prosperous. ... Baby Seven Billion, boy or girl, red or yellow, black or white, is not a liability, but an asset; not a curse, but a blessing for us all. Humanity's long-term problem is not going to be too many children, but too few children."
China and Russia are living proof of Mosher's prediction. The latter is close to demographic Armageddon. And with a population 400 million less than it would have been had the Communist Party not adopted and enforced its coercive one-child "family planning" policy, China is also experiencing major social, cultural and economic problems. Thanks to the selective abortion of unborn baby girls, young Chinese men cannot find brides and young women are trafficked across borders to meet this demand. At the same time, it has a rapidly aging population that is disproportionately male and labour shortages across the country are commonplace, with many factories unable to recruit enough workers. The PRI summed up the economic madness: "Is China really better off because its leadership has eliminated 400 million of the most intelligent, hard-working, and entrepreneurially minded peoples the world has ever seen? Has the Chinese Communist Party lost its collective mind? It has eliminated 400 million customers."
Canada's cautionary tale
The socio-economic crisis we face should thus come as no surprise. Only last month, a report from Canada's Institute of Marriage and Family highlighted the interrelated familial and fiscal breakdown that is ruining countries East and West. Carolyn Moynihan of MercatorNet.com summarised this "cautionary tale":
Some admirers in the rest of Canada (if not elsewhere) want to take Quebec as a model, but the authors warn that is not advisable. It is true that the province’s fertility rate is rising — up to 1.74 in 2008 after sinking to a low of 1.48 in 2004 — and some of its education outcomes have been good. It also weathered the recession better than other provinces. But, there are worrisome trends:
A day of reckoning is coming — the dreaded A-word that has Greece in turmoil these days springs to mind. Quebec may have to cut back on social benefits, and without a strong marriage culture many people will lack a social safety net. The double-whammy of a fiscal deficit and marriage deficit could bring a lot of hardship and suffering [9 November 2011].
Detailing plans to broaden and supplement its admirable activities and outreach [www.ihspress.com], the IHS Press concludes:
Catholic culture... or chaos
Nonetheless, despite the ongoing crisis of episcopal faith and authority — the Church retains its divine mandate and mission. Moreover, despite the ecclesiastical criminality, scandal and ineptitude of recent times (albeit vastly overblown by a hostile media), Her institutional credibility is beyond the wildest dreams of Michael Nazir-Ali's "ecclesial community," which formally accepted contraception at the 1930 Lambeth Conference (Resolution 15) and proceeded to spiral downwards into ever greater error, sacrilege and depravity. As have those myriad streams of Talmudic Judaism whose rabbis promote the culture of death as zealously as they foster Catholic-Jewish "dialogue."
In the end, the choice is very simple: either the Church goes back to basics and starts the civilising process once again, with bishops doing what they were consecrated to do, leading vigorously and unapologetically in the direct manner of Pius XII, or the "new culture" will continue on its hellish way and the West goes down with it. After all, Pius XI did not establish the Feast of Christ the King for fun! He did so in order that, being yearly observed, it "may hasten the return of society to our loving Saviour." He insisted that "It would be the duty of Catholics to do all they can to bring about this happy result." And he added with gentle mix of fatherly reproof and encouragement that
Any non-Catholic or non-Christian individual, group or ecclesial community wishing to march beneath this uncompromising banner is a most welcome collaborator. If not, they must treated and spurned as unwitting tools of anti-Christ and fomenters of Satanic revolution. "Dialogue" and cooperation with perverse ecumenical partners is mere fodder and fuel for the culture of death: tantamount to treating divine solutions offered by the Church as medieval fantasies, and fiddling while the West burns. Yet only Catholic doctrinal, moral and social teachings — incorporated under the Social Kingship of the Holy Child and fashioned according to His Nativity template — can extinguish that raging fire.
Therefore, since only conversion to the True Faith can civilise the new barbarians, as it did their forebears, the Church must once more set about this painstaking task: of 're-growing the grass to feed the sheep to give the wool out of which the new coat of Christ's Social Kingship will be made', as Thomas Stearns Eliot, like Michael Nazir-Ali, understood in his imperfect Anglican way. On 1 December 1948, addressing him before he accepted his Nobel Prize in Literature, Gustaf Hellström of the Swedish Academy acknowledged Eliot's perception:
The two-fold key to understanding and action, however, is that the Seed is Christ, and Christ isCatholicism. There will be no escaping the chaos and no harvest to be had until our shepherds (not least Archbishop "God is not a Catholic" Nichols!) preach that salvific fact and all its manifold implications from the rooftops. Once they do so, with conviction and courage, eschewing all human respect and ecumenical fudge, the irresistible Angelic Message of "great joy" and "peace" proclaimed to the Faithful Shepherds of Bethlehem will regain the full force of its missionary appeal.
The much vaunted New Evangelisation of the West will then begin in earnest. For only then, inspired by the return of their Lost Shepherds — now united, vociferous and unflinching before the egoistic culture of sterility and death — will families of the Church Militant become the partisans of Catholic Truth and exemplars of the selfless Gospel of Life and Love the Nativity calls them to be: the holy leaven of authentic Catholic culture.