“[T]here is no true civilization without a moral civilization, and no true moral civilization without the true religion….”
— Pope Saint Pius X, Notre Charge Apostolique, August 15, 1910.
As is my wont, in this post I shall try to let cited passages, which I recently discovered in the course of my catch-as-catch-can reading, do most of my speaking for me. To wit:
A considerable body of Christians, untrained in the Christian philosophy of life, are allowing themselves to absorb principles which undermine the constructions of Christian thought. They do not realise how much dangerous it is for Christianity to exist in an atmosphere of Naturalism than to be exposed to positive persecution. In the old days of the Roman Empire those who enrolled themselves under the standard of Christ saw, with logical clearness, that they had perforce to cut themselves adrift from the social life of the world in which they lived–from its tastes, practices and amusements. The line of demarcation between pagan and Christian life was sharp, clearly defined and obvious. Modern Christians have not been so favorably situated. As has been stated already, the framework of the Christian social organisation has as yet survived. This organisation is, to outward appearances, so solid and imposing that it is easy to be blind to the truth that the soul had gradually gone out of it. Under the shelter and utilising the resources of the organisation of life created by Christianity, customs, ways of conduct, habits of thought, have crept in, more completely perhaps, at variance with the spirit of Christianity than even the ways and manners of pagan Rome. …
The Christian of to-day thinks that he is living in what is to all intents and purposes a Christian civilisation. Without misgivings he follows the current of social life around him. His amusements, his pleasures, his pursuits, his games, his books, his papers, his social and political ideas are of much the same kind as are those of the people with whom he mingles, and who may not have a vestige of a Christian principle left in their minds. He differs merely from them in that he holds to certain definite religious truths and clings to certain definite religious practices. But apart from this there is not any striking contrast in the outward conduct of life between Christian and non-Christian in what is called the civilised world. Catholics are amused by, and interested in, the very same things that appeal to those who have abandoned all belief in God. The result is a growing divorce between religion and life in the soul of the individual Christian. Little by little his faith ceases to be a determining effect on the bulk of his ideas, judgments and decisions that have relation to what he regards as his purely “secular” life. …
The sincerely religious–and there are many such still–are beginning to realise that if they are to live as Christians they must react violently against the milieu in which they live. It is beginning to be felt that one cannot be a true Christian and live as the bulk of men in civilised society are living. It is clearly seen that “life” is not to be found along those ways by which the vast majority of men are hurrying to disillusionment and despair. Up to the time of the recent cataclysm the average unreflecting Christian dwelt in the comfortable illusion that he could fall in with the ways of the world about him here, and, by holding on to the practices of religion, arrange matters satisfactorily for the hereafter. That illusion is dispelled. It is coming home to the discerning Christian that their religion is not a mere provision for the future. There is a growing conviction that it is only through Christianity lived integrally that the evils of the present time can be remedied and disaster in the time to come averted.
— Fr. Edward Leen, The Holy Ghost (Sheed and Ward, 1953), pp. 6-9.
Fr. Leen explicated sixty years ahead of me what I have for some time referred to as “squatting/squatters in the cathedral.” This is the phenomenon wherein post- and anti-Christian masses execrate Christian tradition and morality in one breath, but then take the deliverances of that same moral tradition for granted in the next. They are, in effect, squatting in a structure to which they pay no tribute, and which they desecrate and dismantle until it is too late, and the inevitable jackals of pre-Christian hegemony attack them and drag them into the darkness of social chaos.
This is precisely what has led to the further apostasy in Ireland recently, concerning the nation’s popular decision to ratify same-sex so-called marriages. Ireland’s social order, moral assumptions, and even its constitution are suffused with Christian reality, yet all those things have become only so much kindling to tend camp fires in the cathedral. The same goes for the bishops of that nation, and others like it. They are so sure that “the teaching of the Church is clear,” that they have mostly not bothered to proclaim said teaching. After all, the Church’s position is clear, and they are loyal sons of the Church, so why waste time rehashing stale orthodoxy? Surely it would be better to gin up “new ways” of speech, initiate “new historical dynamics” in the conciliar romance of “encounter”. Indeed, what the faithful need are not bishop-pilots but liberated pastoral guides who can listen, accompany, commiserate, accommodate, and adapt, right?
Fortunately, this “blind and unchecked passion for novelty” and the attendant
syphilitic imbecile lust for compromise is but the flavor of our age, and not an expression of the Church’s true pastoral mindset. That mindset was profoundly expressed on Christmas day, 240 years ago, by Pope Pius VI, when, in the thick of the spiritual cataclysm caused by the French Revolution and Liberal/Rousseuavian philosophy, he wrote the following in Iscrutabile:
Beseech, accuse, correct, rebuke and fear not: for ill-judged silence leaves in their error those who could be taught, and this is most harmful both to them and to you who should have dispelled the error. The holy Church is powerfully refreshed in the truth as it struggles zealously for the truth. In this divine work you should not fear either the force or favor of your enemies. The bishop should not fear since the anointing of the Holy Spirit has strengthened him: the shepherd should not be afraid since the prince of pastors has taught him by his own example to despise life itself for the safety of his flock: the cowardice and depression of the hireling should not dwell in a bishop’s heart. Our great predecessor Gregory, in instructing the heads of the churches, said with his usual excellence: “Often imprudent guides in their fear of losing human favor are afraid to speak the right freely. As the word of truth has it, they guard their flock not with a shepherd’s zeal but as hirelings do, since they flee when the wolf approaches by hiding themselves in silence…. A shepherd fearing to speak the right is simply a man retreating by keeping silent.”
Amen, and amen!
Now, if only the
hirelings higher-ups read my blog.