Saturday, June 26, 2010

The fall of the Western Empire … redux

I was standing in the smoking area with an acquaintance who commonly brings his Kindle™ to work. As we commented on that, and on the construction of the new Pizza Hut corporate offices across the street, a thought akin to despair enveloped me like the steamy heat of the Dallas morning. I couldn't help but say it: "When we were growing up, we were afraid that we'd destroy the world with nuclear weapons. That's not going to happen. The Western world is going to collapse from within."

David smiled ruefully. "It's already started."

I've been reading more of the writings of G. K. Chesterton; the more I read, the more I notice just how much more things have degenerated than I once suspected. Whereas once I traced most of the evils of the present to the malign influence of quasi- and proto-Marxists on the counterculture of the ̉'60s, which group has taken over much of our legal and educational systems, I now see that the seeds were active and sprouting even a century ago when the "Apostle of Common Sense" was very much in his prime, and that much of his indictments of the patent silliness he witnessed can be easily transposed to condemn the conventional wisdom of this age.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

The root of the Catholic difference


The Crescat posted on Thursday (June 10) about her best friend, who “is fond of referring to Catholics as private club members. … Maybe she just doesn’t understand the intrinsic nature that Catholicism enmeshes itself into your very core. It’s not something to do on a Sunday or simply a preference for liturgical styles. Catholicism is so much more than just another denomination to chose from in the spiritual gumbo of religions.”

Perhaps.

On one level, many Catholics do seem to treat Catholicism as a “religion of choice”, as if their attendance at Mass were simply one of convenience and social connections. They blush, shudder, wail or become irritated whenever the Pope or some prominent bishop insists on some doctrinal point that, within the modern cultural context, seems hopelessly outdated or unfriendly. When they feel compelled to worship, they do so at a Catholic church because that’s what they’re used to; fortunately, there’s still quite a few parishes where the priest avoids preaching on the hard topics and chooses to emphasize love and forgiveness so as not to offend.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Of rebels and bishops

We Americans have a soft spot for rebels. I think the soft spot is in our heads.

On any ordinary day, we subject ourselves to Authorities, sometimes with tacit approval, sometimes with grudging acceptance, most often without any thought one way or another. Our rebellion rarely goes beyond violating the speed limit; when we’re caught, we pay the fine with a smile of sheepish chagrin. Occasionally our financial circumstances force us to play chicken with the law until we have a chance to “get legal” again. We obey our bosses; we obey our parents; we obey the law; in the military, we obey both the commissioned and non-commissioned officers in our chains of command.