“Cancel culture”, indeed!

Nice to know that such a term as “cancel culture” has made the headlines. What does this mean? That the “culture” a people are living in is not right and efforts should be made to set things right – to create another “culture” – as if “cultures” can be made overnight and spirited out of thin air. It takes generations to make a living culture. A culture is made of all the fundamental beliefs and practices, laws, celebrations, etc., of a people united with that culture built over generations.

We Catholics have suffered for over 300 years a “cancel culture” attack. Every academic, every history book, almost every work of entertainment, especially novels and films, have contributed to the cancelling of Catholic culture over the whole Western world.

North-western European Protestantism cancelled Catholic culture and dominated the North American world. Even the Irish immigrants to the USA and the bishops gave in to the cancelling of Catholic culture – “Must not display too much Catholic culture publically in case it offends the majority Protestant culture.” We are allowed a St Patrick’s Day march. Wow. Street marches celebrating feasts of Our Lady and Our Lord have been over the century severely curtailed until the contemporary Catholic has lost almost all it was to be a “cultural Catholic”. Catholics would once stop work at noon and say the Angelus – gone! Publically crossing oneself at many occasions through the day – gone!

The great revolutions of the Enlightenment and the French travesties of “Freedom, Equality and Brotherhood” have dominated to the point where Catholic history and scholarship is studiously ignored by the intelligensia. Edward Gibbon’s defining historical work for future historians set the stage for an all-out attack on Catholic culture, history, and life. Modern history is dominated by under-playing the role of the Church in establishing the Western world. How many times had you heard just how bad the “Middle Ages” were. The Middle Ages founded our schools, universities, our people’s parliaments, our foundations of reasoning – the rules of logic and the necessary valid argumentation which should follow from firm logical thought. Social welfare was extended right through Europe by men and women willing to give up their lives for the poor, sick and indigent – in fact way out of proportion to what now exists in our modern world!

Novels in the 19th century made Catholics the villains: nobles, then priests, and especially the Spanish (after all they used to be the only independent Catholic country left in Europe) – there are a number of female villains called “Isabella” because that is a popular Spanish name. The popular “Captain Blood” series featured Catholics as the villains. Even our royal family may not marry a Catholic and remain an heir to the throne. “Cancel culture, indeed!”

South America, the only area with a Catholic culture under Spanish and Portuguese rule in the 19th Century was deliberately undermined by the “Liberal” forces of the UK and USA, until each government in South America yielded to liberalism, causing huge destruction of many indigenous peoples not disposed to “democracy”. At least in some South American countries some semblance of Catholic culture remains. The USA made war on Mexico and extended their control over the future of Mexico ensuring there was no return of a vibrant Catholic expression of its culture. The USA secretly supported the atheist Mexican extermination of Catholics in the 1920s and supported every anti-Catholic movement till the present. Cuba, the last Spanish possession was invaded by the USA, and its reward was, ironically, Castro!

Note here the patronising flirtation with Mexican culture among Americans, especially their music and joyful celebrations arising from the depth of their still Catholic culture (hanging on by the fingernails) – something missed in the dour world we live in.

Us, modern Catholics, just have lost what is was to be a cultural Catholic. Our Faith needs the support of a surrounding Catholic environment in which to raise our families. It is gone! We are in some ways back to the position of Catholics in Ancient Rome, having to resort to private gatherings, and schooling our children outside the restrictions of the modern “atheistic” state – and let’s face it – the governing progressive ideas of the modern world are absolutely opposed to any dynamic expression of Catholicism even in our Catholic schools who know how to toe the line. The leaders of the modern world (even so-called Catholics) are servants of the underlying atheism of the world).

What is truly tragic is the choice of millenials to choose Marxism as an alternative to modern culture: a Lenin, whose first instructions to his party was to insist that they, the prols are to taught to be cruel, to get rid of all those petty bourgeois sentimental Christian beliefs of mercy. Officials were chosen on how effective they were in making random acts of cruelty for their own sake! It is unbelievable that our youth would choose “cancel culture” and replace it with Marxism.

The Last Judgement, Godzilla and Deep Impact

(Many of these essays here on this web-site are intended for our post_Christian agnostic, skeptical, humanitarian-believing brothers and sisters, who have had little knowledge, if any, of the fundamental doctrines of the Catholic Church.)

I believe many people see the Last Judgment as some kind of disaster movie where Our Lord appears as some great giant Godzilla-like or comet-like approaching figure bringing with His presence great physical disasters, disasters which may presage the coming. There are many disaster movies, but which end with man very much immersed in the same sins and life-styles as before the disaster. Man does not change much through suffering disasters.

At the Last Judgment it could well be quite the opposite: time and space of our universe stops instantly. The dead arise instantly. And all see at the same time, in the very front of each and every one of our consciousnesses, Our Lord, present to our eyes with a reality never seen before – a reality unavoidable. One’s eyes have nowhere to look, neither up nor down, nor sideways, but only gazing at the face of Our Lord and His wounds. There is nowhere to go, for there is no time and space in which to go to or to turn to. Eternity, Our Lord’s eyes and wounds are immediately present to all. The old world is gone.

The Judgment takes place instantly through the gaze of Our Lord’s eyes. There are only one of two responses to that gaze: of love or of hate. For those who hate, Our Lord said they would wish for the mountains to fall on them, because there is no way to escape from the eyes of Our Lord. We know in His life on earth, Our Lord’s relationships with us drew no intermediary responses: He was either loved or hated. There was no indifference of men to Him. He spoke by command and instruction and testing questions. There were no conversations and there will be no conversations in the Last Judgment, no appeals, for we will have judged ourselves by our response to His gaze and to His wounds which we each have caused.

In one instant, our hearts may reach out in sorrowing love for Him, sorrow for hurting Him so much for our sins; or sorrow for the horror of our rejection and the deliberate ignoring of Him and the consequences that brings. Those eyes of Our Lord are the eyes of Judgment. Instantly we see through His eyes the state of our souls and our hearts, our life, our works. No words need be spoken. Those eyes in the very front of our consciousness are the Judgment itself.

For those who love Him, in that one instant our purgatorial fire of sorrowing love is measured not in years but in the intensity of that love. We humans measure time in purgatory by being trapped into using time and space to explain events in eternity which has no time. So, the “time” between the Particular Judgment at death and the Last Judgment may be instantaneous – the only measure being the intensity of that loving sorrow for Our Lord.

And in the next instant, there is a new universe created for us, with a new kind of time and space and dimensions, with new kinds of bodies, impassible in time and space, perhaps even different times and spaces for everyone to live eternally. “There are many mansions” Our Lord said which are prepared for His followers. Endless bliss – a bliss proportioned to each – is promised for those who love Our Lord, even to the weakest of those who love Him.

The hope for many, who are ignorant or complacent regarding Our Lord and the Last Judgment, is commanded by Our Lady of Fatima that we pray after each Rosary decade: “Save us from the fires of hell and lead ALL SOULS to heaven, especially those in most need of Thy mercy.”

Covid-19 and the Prospect of Death

(Many of these essays here on this web-site are intended for our post_Christian agnostic, skeptical, humanitarian-believing brothers and sisters, who have had little knowledge, if any, of the fundamental doctrines of the Catholic Church. Yet, much of the underpinning of these thoughts are just the common sense philosophical pretty-strong arguments of non-Christian, pre-Christian Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, and the widely-held beliefs of mankind over millennia.)

Covid-19 – we all are getting quite unsettled by it. Thoughts of one’s demise arise more frequently than in the past, even though we shrug off the prospect of Death and say: “Gotta go sometime,” the idea of Death stays just underneath our consciousness like a bad smell.

Well, Death is a horrible prospect no matter what way one looks at it! I do not, definitely not, want to die, and nobody else wants to die as well. Death is an awesome fact of life. It is the end of life, my life, my whole series of prospects, adventures, relationships, hobbies, everyday awareness of things as they are. Death is the end. The End.

Death is the most unnatural event, most ghastly thing that is going to happen to everyone born on earth. Yes, animals die, but they don’t know it. To us human beings, it is a confrontation of something not right. Death is not right. There is something wrong with life, existence, if we have to die! I mean, what is the meaning of life if we have to die. Eventually, there is nothing left of us in this world which will remain. Our works, our achievements, our families, even our grave stones will disappear eventually. Nothing remains. Death takes it all.

Or does it?

The fact of Death raises two possibilties: either we human beings are constituted of purely material objects, or we have a soul, an essential constituent, which exists after Death.

The first possibility, that we are purely material beings, is pretty stupid, really. Matter does not look at itself, chemicals don’t stand outside themselves and think. Pure materialism is just outrageously stupid. It is obvious that no matter how much we explain our functioning in material terms, it is the very fact of our standing outside ourselves explaining material causes which is contradictory. What is the thing which stands out, which sees the picture, the logic, the whole rather than the material parts? It ain’t matter!

Just suppose we are nothing but material processes, then there is no meaning to anything, there is no meaning to a bunch of protons and electrons, no matter how complex they are assembled. “Meaning” is something beyond the parts: and that is the constituent element of a human being which allows us to give meaning to anything and it can’t be material. So there is a constituent element of being a human being called the “soul” for want of a better word. I hate using the word “spiritual”. Too many silly connotations with that word. Even the word “soul” has too many silly connotations. But we have to use such words but try to be as accurate in our use of them as is possible.

So, to the second possibility: we have a soul, an essential part of being a human being. And when we die the soul continues to exist. This is not rocket science: for ever since man has been earth mankind has and will always believe in life after death, some kind of personal existence. That is just common sense. Almost all believe in life after death, one big reason being the need for justice after death, some kind of ordering of the good and the bad, some kind of punishment and reward. Otherwise, if there is no justice then there is no good or bad, no consequences for the evil man who may be full of hate and kill millions of people but is kind to dogs and small children, and dies peacefully in his bed.

However, there are many, many beliefs about what constitutes this kind of “soul” existence as there are cultures and individuals on earth: from the idea that this soul transmigrates to another plane of physical existence in another material being, to the idea of a “ghost-like” being that is just like a physical human being without the “physical” body.

So, let’s examine the idea of the “soul”. It is a principle of life which gives order and direction to the physical elements of a body. In a human being, this “soul” is self-aware to the point of being aware of its being self-aware – our soul looks onto itself’s own self-awareness, and one can conceptualise an infinite number of steps of being aware of self to aware of self on to infinity. So, the meaning of the soul is to end in some kind of being in touch with the infinite – a huge jump from being just a functioning material being, fulfilling its normal physical requirements. Whatever happens after Death, this “soul” is still aware. And therefore our life is not completed at death.

Sure, we can no longer call the soul a human being: it’s not, it is missing a body. What a huge wrench, a huge divorce of two elements which makes us human. That is what makes Death horrible, unnatural. It stops the fulfilment of being complete: of reaching the truth, of achieving the highest dreams we can think of, because without a body, the soul after death is not complete either. Mr John Doe is no longer, even though his soul lives on. His soul is not a human being!

What is worse is that this soul has no longer a body to inform it of the senses which it requires to operate: no touch, no sensation, no physical world to respond to, to interreact with. It lies open to whatever constitutes the non-material universe, of which we know very little. And since it is sense data which gives the soul options to choose one thing over another, the will is probably fixed after death. The will needs data to choose options. A mystery is that one cannot know whether the will or orientation of a person’s soul to reality after death can change. The same with understanding: does the soul understand the state it is in? Is it aware of things in the physical world? The soul will still be “individuated”, that is, it is different from anyone else’s soul, because it’s understanding and memory and habits of thought have been imprinted on it by it’s body all its existence.

All the above discussion is pretty much basic Aristotlean philosophy. It is fairly minimalist. Aristotle worked with a scientific mind from first principles and made no assumptions beyond the limits of reasoning. The Catholic Church’s teaching about the soul are pretty much the same as Aristotle. The above fits with common sense reasoning without being sensationalist.

But where philosophy ends, religious beliefs begin.

The big questions are about the soul and God, Judgment, Heaven and Hell. Since we live in a post-Christian world many people choose to minimise the role of all of these beliefs. They have heard about Jesus and love and mercy, about heaven being the reward for good people. They believe that most people are “good”. They are also infected with the Enlightenment belief that we are all born “good” and that good and evil actions are only really caused by social and economic factors. So, when we die we have this vague belief in some kind of justice for the really “bad” but the rest of us get to some happy place called “heaven”. Furthermore, many believe that the soul then flies around like a happy bird, somewhat similar to the beliefs of New Age spirituality: Eastern religious beliefs without the uncomfortable other beliefs of Hinduism or Buddhism. Those religions have their heavens and hells as well as Christians.

And the idea of “heaven” is quite vague in many minds. “Heaven” is where we have a good time, pursuing our pleasures, or being born higher up with the gods, or losing one’s self in the eternal Buddha of nothingness, or a place where one meets up with all those other “good” people – our family. In many ways, post-Christian belief in a heavenly life after death is similar to pagan beliefs: a place of comfort for the good, contentment, happiness. And so did the ancient Greeks and Romans and other cultures believe that the good rested well in Elysium wandering peacefully among the dead.

The Christian idea of Heaven is totally different from all of these. It is quite confrontational! Heaven is the one to one personal, ecstatic, vision of the very heart of God – the face to face loving relationship with Jesus, Creator of the Universe. Only those who are perfect in holiness are able to enter this state of being.

So, contemporary post-Christians are unsettled by the thought of Death, yet ignore the consequences of belief in the nature of the after-life of the soul. Well, it is very unsettling to realise that the soul after Death is open to the spiritual world, without the veil of the body. That means that the soul is open to the effects on it of all the spirits, good and bad. But more than that, the soul is open to the presence of God, and that means Judgment: is my soul “good” in God’s eyes? What we believe to be the average “good” person may well be not enough in God’s judgment. After all, the First Commandment is that one should have no other God’s than Me, in other words, the main goodness God is looking for is loving piety and humility. Does this soul have the habit and thought processes of piety, worship, and loving complete humble surrender to God, with no hint of that inner rebelliousness every human is born with. Didn’t Jesus say that the first commandment is to love God with all one’s might, strength, heart, soul, etc. Those are the qualities of a “good” person, nothing to do with being measured by what is meant by “good” in this world!

So, when a person dies, the soul is immediately judged according to the first commandment. Without love of God, the soul cannot enter heaven. It can’t change its mind.

I can imagine the kind of conversation a typical modern “good” person’s soul might have with God at Death: “I have done lots of good things in my life: looked after the sick, the poor and been kind to everyone.”

And God’s reply: “But I have called you to pray to Me, to lift up your heart to Me, to find Me in your local church, many times in your life, and you have rejected those calls in the hope that this shopping list of good works is a suitable substitution for loving Me. I am your Creator and you have consistently refused Me because in your heart of hearts you are a rebel saying ‘I will not serve’. And even those good works which you have done, were at My initiation and direction. It is the return of love in your heart for Me which I desire and died for on the Cross.”

However, many of us will die in that “grey” area of loving God but not wholeheartedly. Of dying in sorrow for one’s incomplete love of God, yet willingly surrendering oneself to God and joyful at seeing Him at last. And this kind of soul will fly towards Him in increasingly loving joy and sorrow, burning up with incomplete fulfillment of love, yet secure in knowing that soon it will possess the fullness of that union with Him.

Otherwise… Let us not contemplate the alternative possibility.

So, Death is indeed an awesome prospect and one’s life ought to be oriented to that fact, to be in a position of hope that one’s will is not so rebellious, that one’s life is directed to being open to God. That is why Catholics ceaselessly pray that Our Lady intercedes for us “now and at the moment of our Death”.

Why “at the moment”? Because that moment is when the soul comes under attack by the enemy, either by keeping it complacent in its self-sufficiency, or tempting it to hopelessness. All the wiles of the enemy are brought to bear at that moment of Death. Catholics are taught to pray for “final perseverance” and to have a “holy death”, and to receive the Last Rites by a priest, so as to dispel all and every attack by the enemy.

The finest final act is for one, at the moment of Death, to lovingly offer one’s death with God’s death on the Cross, as a loving, willing sacrifice for others, to the point that one willingly accepts even greater pains to unite oneself with Him.

So, Death loses its sting. It is defeated and becomes a source of victory. It is to be looked at as a final gateway of one’s life, the race which has been won for us. We cross the finishing line into the “humble triumph” of the Cross and the Resurrection of the Dead.

Covid-19 then is a call to prepare for and to welcome Death.

THE WITHDRAWAL OF GOD’S GRACE FROM THE WORLD

PART ONE

During these present times, one at first may think that God is withdrawing His Grace from the world. But God’s loving grace is eternal and ever-present. It is present in two ways: exterior to our hearts through nature, societal and cultural channels; and interiorly, in our hearts in those who accept His grace and have made Him a guest in the house of their hearts and souls.

So, the only way we might be brought outside God’s grace is by our rejection of Him: by rejecting His laws written in nature and in our hearts, and/or by rejecting His guidance through the world’s many grace-influenced cultural channels, which He has gently guided through history.

So, if we feel that grace is withdrawn, it is us, either as individuals, or our society, which has closed off those channels of grace. And we have been doing that off and on for centuries now.

Exterior grace is God working actively, outside our will, not inside the very depths of our hearts with us cooperating as a willing friend and agent of God: that is interior grace. Example of exterior channels of grace, perhaps, is a society which has established just laws, or which has a culture which expressed piety to God, through its worship of a god or many gods, or a society which has developed a sense of humanity among its people. None of these channels are perfect because mankind – each one of us – is at base, disobedient and rebellious and will twist those channels to suit oneself. But nevertheless, God works His ways through those channels to give us glimpses of His Beauty, Truth and Goodness.

To solve the problem of our rebelliousness, God Himself, came to dwell among us to establish permanent, unbreakable physical channels of grace: Interior grace where He works directly inside our souls.

Jesus Himself is The Channel. While physically on earth, He is Grace amongst us physically. After He ascended into heaven, the Church He established is His Body on earth and its sacraments are channels promised to supply grace perfectly and to be spread over the whole earth until all have had a chance to receive His grace not just exteriorly but interiorly and affect the growth of society and culture in exterior means of grace. The interior grace is channeled through the Church making God Himself reside within ourselves making us “deified”: literally God’s special creations of Himself.

The world now has mostly rejected the Body of Christ as it did 2000 years ago: it, we, crucified God. And the world now has mostly rejected the societal and cultural channels of grace guided by God through His Church. The exterior channels of grace are rejected by society’s rejection of natural law and in increasingly stopping the flow of grace through cultural practices which might carry His love into men’s hearts. For instance, the cult of chivalry for the protection of the weak by the strong, of “gentlemen and ladies” rather than the bare “men”, “women”, of works of beauty in music and art, of good manners, of respect for the elderly, the health worker, the police, etc., these societal channels of grace are falling apart.

It took a thousand years, for God, through the Church, to establish a society based on channels of grace: Christendom – the Kingdom of Christ on earth. The empire of ancient Rome had to go even if it was Christian by 400AD. The cultural practices, habits and attitude of mind of Rome had become too hardened for grace to grow effectively.

A new society of a mix of German barbarian culture guided by the Church, especially by the Benedictine monks, who were informed with the best of Roman culture and law created a new vigorous and thoroughly Christian society and culture: Western Europe. For a thousand years, from about 800 to 1800, the world had been in-formed of the wonderful “gentleness” of grace woven into the very texture and fabric of European life, despite the constant battle going on in men’s rebellious hearts!

Real proof of the change in the hearts of men by interior grace working within their souls is seen in the new words, or old words with new meanings, introduced into Western Europe by 1200 AD: words like pity, gentle, mercy, beauty, bounty, charity, comfort, compassion, courtesy, delicate, devotion, grace, honour, humble, passion, patience, peace, purity, tender. Just think about this! Before Christendom, the above words would have been meaningless to pagans in everyday life. Sure some of these words were used, but the demand for the expression of these virtues and deeply felt emotions spread right across society at all levels. What a change to humanity! Most of these words were at first liturgical, part of the Mass, and became secularised to express a new reality of person’s attitude to others, a culture of “tenderness”. The world today still gives a nodding agreement with the emotions which lie beneath these words, but the generator of those emotions is the constant presence of the doctrinal reality of the Catholic Mass. Take away the presence of the Mass in people’s lives and the ground of those emotions become sheer sentimentality – “virtue-signalling” with no actual meaning other than conformity to whatever is the contemporary virtue of the day!

PART TWO
It is Interior Grace which really transforms our hearts, our wills, our habits, and by extension, our combined activity in society to transform the channels of Exterior Grace. Since we are physical beings, both interior and exterior grace must enter us through physical means, through physical channels.

The absolute means of God entering any one of us is by the physical sacraments of the Catholic Church. Note here: “physical”. Since we are physical creatures God’s main means of giving Himself to us is by physical means: firstly, by being physically among us, and then through the physical sacraments, the extension of Himself in human Time and Space. Let’s avoid the word “spiritual”: it is too vague and easily twisted by our dumb minds to understand even what “spirit” really means, but we all know what “physical” is.

And the main and ultimate physical conduit of God in the world is the Catholic Mass: the real physical sacrifice of God on the altar by a physical priest, and the separation of God’s physical Body and Blood on that physical altar made of stone – that is what things are killed on. That is what a priest is: a sacrificer of something physically living and then dying by that sacrifice. Any belief which reduces the physicality of this sacrifice reduces the main and essential conduit of God’s grace to the world.

Sacrifice is the main means mankind has of pleading to God, or the gods of the past, or for that mattter, pleading to someone else, for justice, for forgiveness, for good weather, for health. Justice demands that something living – a replacement of ourselves – is given up to God as a gift in order to receive something back from God. No different from the natural interchange in human justice. Sacrifice is part of Justice. So, that is why God became a Man so that a perfect sacrifice could be made for all mankind – past, present and future. Payment for each and every one of us in our indwelling disobedience and constant rebelliousness against God Himself. Just look at how many times we blame anyone other than ourselves. We even blame God. We are each and everyone of us quite debilitated in our thoughts, our hearts and our habits. It takes an almighty act of God to straighten us out: that is the Catholic Mass! It is the beautiful act of Love: God Himself, the Loving Creator of the Story of the Universe, allows Himself to enter the Story, and submit Himself to its evils, its hate, with Love. He died through Love to teach us how and why to love. He died to heal our hearts and to form a channel of interior grace into our hearts.

And over a thousand years, a huge number of physical actions, rituals, paintings, statues, churches, etc., all works of man, were made to underscore the main means of God’s grace in this world by the sacraments. Daily life of a Catholic was filled by continually making the physical sign of the cross before any activity, the Angelus bells, the holy cards, the daily office of psalms, the physical Rosary beads and the physical vocalising prayers through the day. All physical reinforcement of the conduits of God’s grace to the world through each Catholic. And these men and women spread those means of God’s presence in the world to the rest of mankind. The very presence of a Catholic in grace, physically spreads grace through his very body, he is carrying the Body and Blood of Christ inside him and that grace – grace is a form of God Himself – is physically touching everything that a Catholic touches – a normal Catholic in his practice of the Faith is physically altering the world!

It has almost all gone now. We, mankind, have taken away the conduits of God to physically be present on earth!!

We have made a new Tower of Babel, by giving free rein to our greed, licence for our feelings and thoughts, prideful insistence on our “rights” without “duties”, our prideful “individualism”, our deliberate ignorance of the past and the wisdom of our ancestors, and undermining even the force of logic in our promise of a “nice” life of earth, covering up the fact of death and the punishments in the after life. We have become conveniently agnostic, atheistic, and nihilistic, and have built enormously huge systems to support the Tower in worlds of politics, education, the media, our popular cultish art and music. And having the childish pleasures in sport, technological and scientific achievements to entertain and justify our “progress” and “superiority” over mankind. We are mesmerised by so-called facts of science and the miracle of the latest gadget, and turn a blind eye to some of the worst and most disgusting human behaviour in the history of mankind.

God will not be mocked. We have been steadily and increasingly mocking Him, closing off the channels of grace over the past 200-300 years and especially over the past 100 years, and we are going to be punished severely for it. This punishment is the natural consequence of our withdrawing from grace. It is not as if some angry god is punishing us. It is a loving God allowing nature to take its place hopefully to open our hearts and seek again the channels of grace.

PART THREE
We got into this “damming the channels” of grace by historical events which altered and finally destroyed Christendom. Developments in European culture broke down the social and cultural exterior means of grace.

Firstly, the growth of usury, wealth and the economy linked with the ending of feudal loyalties accelerated the growth of national kingdoms with the subsequent decline of Papal authority and “nationalism” of the bishops.

Secondly, by 1600, the Renaissance gradually established Greek humanistic rationalism and replaced the God-centred culture and thought of Europe.

Many of us are enchanted by the Renaissance. How wonderful the works of Leonardo, of Michelangelo, of Raphael! Yet each religious work combines a worship of Man as well as of God, a huge change in our view of reality. How wonderful becomes the prose style of the Renaissance! We now have intellectuals whose writings are imitations of Classical Roman prose. Gone now is the cool, logical, direct, Medieval prose, not particularly interested in making communication “beautiful” but ensuring that they were true.

The Renasissance was the greatest revolution in thought in the history of mankind, reaching into every aspect of life through writing and art and all expressions of culture and education. The iconic nature of religious art was replaced with the worship of God in rational terms and expressions, with the iconic sacramental nature of a Gothic cathedral replaced by the rationally-constructed Baroque pagan-styled temple. Greek rationalism brought with it an underlying scepticism and distaste for all the previous achievements of European culture to the point that all history after the end of the Roman Empire was called the “Middle Ages” – a deliberate term of abuse! This arrogant attitude created a self-reliant independence from God right through Western society, especially in Italy and the rich northern kingdoms. “Intellectuals” now became the arbiters of culture and religion.

To illustrate the tremendous change in the attitude to art objects, compare any of Raphael’s Madonnas with the traditional Our Lady of Perpetual Succour. On the one hand we have a most beautifully composition by Raphael: idealised beauty and proportion of Mother and Infant Christ arranged in a perfect pyramidal spiraling group to give life to the figures. On the other hand, we have iconic representation best seen in the Our Lady of Perpetual Succour icon of Mother and Infant Christ: no attempt at addressing realism, gold background, the oval tilt of the head, elongated fingers, strirated lines to represent folds of cloth, the child disproportionally adult, etc. In the our former attention is drawn to its “beauty” dominatiing our reactions. In the latter, “holiness” dominates our attention, “beauty”, if at all, a secondary consideration in this portrayal.

This same process takes place in music: compare Gregorian chant with Renaissance Polyphony. In the former the music is composed on the modes: no key signature and the meaning of each phrase is given notes with no attempt at making a rational whole of the chant. Gregorian chant addresses God directly: the idea of its being “beautiful” is secondary. On the other hand, polyphony is beautifully constructed to bring about religious feelings of gentleness in an very pleasing, aetheral manner. To be sure polyphony praises God, but since its beauty dominates, it replaces Gregorian chant in the Mass.

Now the questions are these: Which of the above works best conveys “holiness”? Which of the above works conveys the dominance of “beauty”? Even today there are quite educated and religious people who prefer “beauty” over “holiness” in their art. The Renaissance popes chose “beauty” over “holiness” and Gregorian chant gradually disappeared from major centres of European Catholicism, for once “beauty” became the standard then the Catholic Mass became dominated by either polyphony and works of classical composers.

Thirdly, by 1700 the Protestant Revolution got rid of the physicality of the sacraments: the sacraments were believed to be symbolic only and thus destroying the physicality of Christ’s presence in the liturgy, which no longer was called the Mass, because Protestants did not believe in the actual physical sacrifice of Christ in the Mass nor in the reality of His Body and Blood in the Host for Communion. The sacramental nature of life was therefore destroyed: no making the sign of the cross, nor rosary beads, no praying to the saints, no special religious status of kingship (thus the beheading of Charles I). In fact almost all physical sacramental signs were abolished in most of northern Europe where pure Protestantism took hohld. The Church as a universal physical body became an “invisible” united church, and the body of a church building became a bare, barren worship centre, dominated by a preacher and sentimental hymns. So, the whole of northern Europe lost the main interior means of Grace: the Mass and sacraments, but also the large numbers of expressions of exterior grace.

Fourthly, by 1800, the Enlightenment – a term to describe the progress of Reason over Superstition (engendered by the Renaissance) – won over all the intellectuals, the scientists, the lawyers, the educated man, and the media through essays, commentary and newspapers. This period of history is often called the Age of Reason. Rationalism became the dominant philosophy of Western Europe. Now, it might seem that being “rational” is a most common sense position to take in addressing the main issues of life, of reality, of the place of religion and science. However, being “rational” and believing in Rationalism are two different things. Rationalism is the belief that one cannot know reality as it is present to one’s mind. Descartes, the father of Rationalism, declared “I think therefore I am.” This claim made one’s own thoughts the centre of reality, making the great assumption that reality only existed in the mind, and that all one had to do was to build systems of thought on the logical progression of thoughts following from one’s own mind. The trouble with this assumption is that before one can even think, there has to be a Reality pre-existing in which one’s mind is already a part. Decartes separated Man from the Nature of Reality – a separation which dominates all modern philosophy and consequently all educational and cultural expressions in society. Everything becomes “subjective”.

And on the other hand, Hume, the father of empiricism, went further: the only reality is what one senses: the senses themselves – one has no reason to believe there is any thing or object (apple or orange) outside of one’s mind. All one can say is that I receive a sense of redness, of roundness, but I may not assert that the apple exists objectively. This branch of philosophy created a wave of scepticism about anything which was not “sensible”: out went religious belief, the soul, God, angels, and universal moral laws – all having no “rational” basis, none being “sense”.

Science and technology developed freely as these branches of thought rely purely on observed measurements regardless of their actual existence. But, of course, a scientist always believes in seeking the laws in nature, laws themselves beyond sensible proof, contradicting the basis of “rationalism” and its philosophies.

The philosophical structure of Rationalism was also brought to bear on politics and society. Political ideology developed through Hobbs, Locke and Rousseau. In Anglo-Saxon countries, John Locke’s theories justified the rights of property against the central government and supported the growth of capitalism. On the Continent, Rousseau invented the idea that all men were born innocent and equal and that it is only the social environment which creates “good” and “bad” development in people. The ancient idea that government was for the common good of the people guided by ancient moral principles fell to the idea that only the “individual” with his freedoms was the object of government.

So, Rationalism in all its forms created a world-wide intellectual atmosphere of irreligious, agnostic, scepticism and latent materialism. This atmosphere affected all aspects of society – a contagion affecting our educational systems and thus university and school syllabi, our media, our political systems regardless of being “left” or “right” wing. The expression of any strongly help religious belief was virtually banned even from casual conversation among friends and colleagues.

Because the Church was so successful in generating a “gentling” of mankind, these Rationalists pretended that the cultivated, civilised culture of French was a natural product of their own. They kept the practice of a mannered, civilised society and dropped the engine which kept that kind of society running. The Age of Reason justified itself by claiming responsibility for a world dazzled by technological, scientific and industrial victories over Mother Nature. “Progress” became and still is, the war cry of the Enlightened.

From about 1750 onwards, every writer of books, novels, plays, essays, etc., had one enemy: the Catholic Church and its cultural channels of grace. These channels of grace were derided. History books were written to show the evils of religion opposed to the great minds of ancient Greece and Rome. Gibbon’s deliberately anti-Catholic “History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire” became the standard for all historians. Guess which institution was blamed.

The French Revolution – a product of the Enlightenment – accelerated this process: run at first by well-meaning intellectuals it degenerated into some of the greatest atrocities mankind had ever seen. And now they added the nobles to the list of enemies of society together with the priests. Just read the novels of the 19th century and you will find the villian: a noble, or a priest, or a Spaniard (after all, they were pious Catholics). Increasing attacks on the Church were made right through the 19th Century by the French forcing the laicising of the clergy and the appropriation of all Church property; and by the British in full support of Garibaldi’s and Cavour’s takeover of Italy – the pope becoming a prisoner inside the Vatican. Germany also took up the fight against the Church – the Kulturkamp.

Religion was replaced with the Ideology of Liberty, Equality and the Brotherhood of Man, a vehicle of propaganda used by all nations to suppress channels of God’s grace. These ideas without grace easily became distorted by substituting Christian virtues with “citizenship”, “civic politeness” and a “love”, a word which could mean anything now and which soon became just an expression of sentimentality, without any substance, the individual determining the application of love according to one’s own convenience.

This great loss of Faith and the channels of grace led to two world wars and the rise of atheistic totalitarian governments on the one hand and liberal-dominated governments on the other hand, resulting in enormous loss of life world-wide by the imposition of ideologies on the rest of mankind through the 20th century.

All the above trends has led to a 21st century dominated by liberalism and its consequent consumerism, selfish individualism, the break up of families, the slaughter of innocent babies and the onslaught of euthanasia, all of which reveal people trying to escape the discomforts of life and the reality of death. Contemporary society is now ruled by adults with children’s pursuits, by bureaucrats and politicians who have no idea of what the “common good” is because “good” implies belief in something higher in reality – an objective moral law, which in turn implies a Lawgiver, God.

So, we have world-wide society dominated by finding means to escape from religion and belief in God.

PART FIVE

At the height of Christendom, it is difficult for us moderns to understand just how much the practice of Catholics entered the everyday lives of lay people. For instance, both the lowly poor to the high nobles attended daily Mass in the early morning, all together, and after fasting since midnight might take Communion. Those who could read might have the Book of Hours and recite the Little Office of Mary through the day – every three hours. The Angelus bell would ring and all would stop whatever they were doing for 5 minutes and say the Angelus. Many who could not read memorised the psalms and prayers of the day and of Mass. Rosary became very popular later in 14th Century and also became part of everyday life. There were many other channels of grace available to them through the day to the point that God, His passion, death and resurrection and the hope of salvation, the hope in heaven were the main thoughts behind a person’s daily life. All “normal” secular activity was seen as secondary to living a Catholic life. Of course, the force of our weakness as human beings reduced the impact of the channels of grace, but one could not avoid reminders of God, of Christ and Redemption everywhere.

It took centuries of attacks on Catholic life and the effectiveness of Christendom to reduce these channels of grace. The Great Schism in the 14th C., the Renaissance and the Protestant Rebellion reduced the influence of the Church on Europe.

Much of Europe was saved from Protestantism by the work of the Jesuits whose disciplined life, doctrinal purity and intense training broke the back of Protestant infiltration into France, southern Germany, Italy and Spain. The brilliant scholarship of the Jesuits, their holiness and their publications continued through the 17th and 18th centuries in answer to the forces of the Enlighenment. Intelligent, scholarly answers had to be made to fight the huge challenge of Rationalism. The main question requiring an answer was: Could a rational person believe in the beliefs of the Catholic religion? The Jesuits took on this challenge with remarkable success to the point that they produced systematic answers to every objection raised by the Rationalists. Jesuit founded schools and colleges to train Catholics to respond to these challenges.

But, in the process, doctrinal Catholicism was emphasised tending to replace the need for the publically expressed external cultural, liturgical life of Catholics. The Jesuits used the culture of Rationalism against the enemy but in the process, Rationalism entered the Church. The prayer life of Catholics became more personal rather than liturgical. For example, devotional life centred on subjective, emotionally-laden devotions to the Sacred Heart. Consequently, the ancient liturgy of Gregorian chant was lost, so much so that it took years of research by Benedictine monks around the early 20th century to rediscover Gregorian chant. Even the call by Pope Pius X to the Church to bring back the fullness of the ancient and Medieval liturgy and its supremacy in rendering God’s grace to Catholic life was met by great resistance, and eventually failed.

During the 19th Century and in the 20th Century the Church had to accomodate the new secular world. Much of the effort of its theologians was to minimise the ancient traditions of the church by makiing religious practices more acceptable to a secularised Catholic world. Vatican II was the great effort by the Church to accomodate the secular world, but which brought about disastrous results.

After Vatican Council II he Church lost the battle against Modernity: against usury, divorce, masturbation, contraception, abortion, euthanasia, and the economic splitting-up of the family unit. The Church even proclaimed itself as being now part of the “Modern World.” A tragic mistake for which the Church is suffering and will continue to suffer until it rejects accommodation to the world.

So, the Mass, the key to God’s physical presence on earth, was made ambiguous, a construct by a committee, still now in the 21st century retaining the “hippie” music, and the pseudo-Marxist community “spirituality”, filled now by old “baby-boomers” and emptied of the young, ruled by women who have as many abortions as non-Catholics. The only physicality left is the horrible introduction of shaking hands with everyone – that became “The” Sacrament – the pseudo-socialising shaking of hands. The Sacrifice of the Mass itself is shortened and disappears as we all eagerly await our “Bread” and “Wine” at the Meal (God forbid that we call it the Sacrificed Victim in case we offend anyone). The greatest event in the whole Universe since the beginning of time – Christ’s death and resurrection is rushed through – forgotten in the rush to get my little “piece of Bread”!! Rationalism brought this about by theologians selecting only the words of Consecration to make a Mass valid, but forgetting that the ancient Mass is a whole seemless robe made over centuries of guidance by the Holy Ghost stretching over centuries. And all the other sacraments have been reduced to symbols, not theologically (God forbid that we forget the Catechism) but practically. All the “old” rituals and prayers thrown away as signs of “superstition” and not “with it” in the “modern” church. Words and phrases of the past both in Scripture, the Psalms and the spoken ritual are replaced by ambigous, optimistic, inoffensive expressions covering-up any sense of the depth of sin, the devil, evil, tempation, death, judgment and heaven and hell.

One’s reception of the external graces given to us at Mass are limited to the dispositions of the receiver. If the Mass is reduced to common, secular, cultural expressions then the dispositions to receive grace are lessened. In the traditional Mass, especially sung and chanted in Gregorian modes, together with the full ornate cermonial creates a heavenly hierarchical world in total contrast to the secular mind. The old rite opens up heavenly dispositions in which to receive the inner graces of the Eucharist. Furthermore, the old rite emphasised the Sacrifice of Christ immediate to our senses requiring us to join that sacrifice with our hearts and souls, thus inspiring souls to become saints. The new rite is uninspiring at all levels and thus the call to the sacrifice to become a saint is seriously lessened.

The center of authority – the Vatican – is now run by the “gay mafia” and cultural Marxists who cleverly avoid making any “infallible” pronouncements, but hint at superficial heretical ideas repetitively in such a way as to make them seem authentic, accepted by all under the mistaken belief in the absolute authority of the Pope when he speaks about anything at all! And to top it all off, 99% of the bishops run scared of rocking the boat under a culture of obedience, joined at the hip with the rest of the world obediently bowing to the great global rulers, media and its advisers.

The only channels of God’s grace are now exterior to man: the left-over crumbs of the virtues taught us by Christendom: “gentleness”, “decency”, “fairness”, being “kind to others”, virtues which only survive within the context of Christianity. Take Christianity away and those virtues will gradually die away because, men being men, fall to the lowest level, without the practice and reminder of God’s love for us all. And Christians are dying out. They are contracepting themselves out of existence, and given in to modernity, and pick and choose convenient beliefs which support their life style. Going to Mass is a social and emotional occasion, a life-style choice only, in opposition to any expression of the Sacrifice of the Victim, God on the Cross, perpetually dying for their sins.

PART SIX

So, we now have a global pandemic and an economic crisis. The Tower of Babel will not fall though. The powers that be will just become more incompetent to handle either the pandemic or the social-economic breakdown. People will not become more religious, and not even more pagan. At least the ancient pagans had a deep sense of piety and channels through which God could exteriorly generate goodness, truth and beauty. Even the barbarians had piety. Not our coming barbarians, for despite the veneer of global civilisation there will appear a fundamental cruelty following the withdrawal of God’s grace from the world, a cruelty not seen before, not by the State, but by individual cruelty engendered by total selfishness. Our present totalitarian controllers will still remain the efficiency experts, but who have no idea and no understanding, not even an ideology to justify their actions nor understand the growing cruelty of the general population. And they will be incompetent and rightly ignored by the masses, and the weakest – the average mum, dad, and kids – will suffer horribly, caught between the barbarians let loose at the front fence and the demands of the employer, the government and the banks at the mortgaged door.

Where will our children’s children learn: “fairness?” “decency?” “being kind to others?” without channels of God’s grace, destroyed by total secularised culture with its Christian roots fully destroyed?

Urgent missive from Screwtape – Easter, 2019

My scrumptious Dark Flower,

I have had an urgent howl from Our Father Below, seeking the ones to blame for the recent unfortunate events over the past few months. I have traced the events to you, Dark Flower and your team.

We have been winning. Winning this great battle against the Enemy over the past few years. Hate, envy, lust, and confusion have spread like wildfire through the earth. Just look at our recent victories: we have made those horrid creatures of the Enemy substitute politics for religious belief. And then we have made politics a weapon of hate. The Russian Trump conspiracy is making Americans angry and hateful of each other; the Brexit issue is destroying the peace of England; the Gilets Jaunes issue is destroying France; the antifa and anti-immigration movements in Europe are dividing all into little pockets of hate. We even have power over the leaders of the main Christian churches: they all have interpreted the message the Enemy gave them into political and social issues. We even have a leader in the Vatican announcing that 2 + 2 could equal 5. Oh, what a victory for our team: relativism at its best.

What great victories for Our Father Below.

We have spent over 200 years convincing these miserable creatures that we do not exist, just to spite the Enemy and make all believe that we and all spiritual things are superstitious. We have made them all materialistic: all fixated on sex, gender, medicine, health, consumer spending, global warming, democratic elections, sport, and science : all filling their minds with nothing so that we may show them real suffering Nothing when they die.

And here we have you lot, impatiently desecrating and firing a few churches in Europe, which no-one noticed at the time. Other teams have tempted the destruction of Nigerian churches. We kept the media and the police quiet. But one of you, just to be smart, tempted a workman in Notre Dame to make a small accidental error in the cleaning up of the tower one night.

And what a time of the year to choose! Just when many lukewarm Catholics were slightly warming up their religious beliefs about hope, about the horrible victory our Enemy made over Our Father Below, your team made the world realize that such an event was about to be remembered. You all could have waited until later in the year.

The damage to our cause is terrible: we have those ugly creatures of the Enemy praying publicly on TV – and they are young! It would have been better if they were a bunch of old people, but no, they are young. That image on TV gave people the idea that religion is for the young and the future. Cannot you see the damage such a stupid temptation has caused. And we have the atheists falling over themselves to make repairs to our Enemy’s building.

And what is more it has revealed to many that the churches of France, our great atheist country, is ruled by atheists. People will now start asking questions about religion, a subject we do not want to be discussed, unless it is of course about corrupt priests and bishops.

And then again your team, attack the churches in Sri Lanka this Sunday. We have tried for years now to teach our marks, that other religions are “religions of peace” – non-moralistic, alternatives to the Enemy. And what do you do? Again draw attention to Christian persecution. Our Father Below is very, very angry.

This great accident has made people sympathetic and nostalgic about religion. What a great victory for Our Enemy.

Now it is imperative that you and your team get a so-called pious Catholic to retaliate by desecrating or burning another religion’s building. That will be hard: better to get some white right-wing extremist of no religious belief do it. He will already be in our camp, but Christians will be blamed.

And we must make the issue of the spire of Notre Dame a hateful debate making all forget about religion and concentrate on architecture. If one of you can get a truly ugly spire accepted then lots of damage to our Enemy will be done.

Remember, I am waiting for immediate results and I am getting hungry for a soul to devour.

Yours voraciously,

Screwtape.

Middle-earth Revisited Another version....

Everyone of us hobbits had to carry a ring around our necks. It weighed us down through our lives, muddied our thoughts, weakened our bodies to death hoping that one day we were to be freed. And some of us were called to carry our personal ring up Mount Doom and throw it into its depths.

It was, indeed, a struggle to get rid of it. The ring was embedded in our hearts and souls and minds and thoughts. But we did. We threw it away.

The life-long weakness remained though. The yearning for its false comforts left traces in our hearts. But such solace we received by the elves sustained us.

We ate lembas bread through the days until our departure; we listened to and sang their songs in the glades of Lothlorien; in Rivendall, we researched and charted the paths outside the ring; we preserved the wisdom of the elves; transcribed their music; we wrote our memoirs; we honoured our Lady Elbereth Githoniel and wore her phial round our necks; and yearned for the promises of Iluvatar.

And then we finally were called to the Grey Havens and off to the West Isles we went to wait for better days to come.

The Shire did not survive. In the next Age, the world of Men destroyed Hobbiton as they destroyed everything they touched. The King did not return.

Then, after another long Age, we returned. Tom Bombadill and Roseberry met us at the dock, and escorted us to the New King.

Gone was every trace of the past. The Misty Mountains had become gentle hills. The Great Forest, now of gentle wide-spanning branches, had spread right across the earth, with glades of the gold and silver trees of Lothlorien separated with lush pastureland. As we walked, time and space seemed to slow down. Distances seemed short and yet expansive. Days seemed like hours yet timeless. We felt no tiredness, no hunger, no thirst. We seemed to fly along the ground.

The forest trees moved apart as if to welcome us. The Ents had met their wives and the thrumming of their joy echoed in the forest among the lilt of Elvish song.

We could see others in the far distance in front and behind us making their skipping way on the same journey.

At last we reached the land of Gondor, or where it used to be. And there behold was a new City: a city of golden columns and towers reaching up to the sky. Trumpets welcomed us as we hurried to the gates of the City.

And there: a huge mass of hobbits, elves and men gathered with one joyful voice of expectation.

And there he stood on the dais: the King, glowing in white and shimmering behind him the High Queen of Heaven: Elbereth-Githoniel. And above, the Valar renewed their lost song.

I – Modernity and one’s Children

This is a letter to my children in the World of Modernism. Yes, my children, you are deep within Modernism, as the whole world is. And I am trying to contact you and trying to relate with you, as the noticeable conversational gap grows wider. There are just so many things which occur in “polite” family conversation now which just cannot be said, so many little alley ways, little entrances of talk which introduce concepts which are “no-no”s between us all. Just so sad. Normal areas of family talk become narrower, the range of common areas of family up-bringing, of anything which impinges on “values” just cannot be spoken.

I – Moderns and non-Moderns

The world has now passed into a stage now that all social and political debate involves huge impassible assumptions between Moderns and us non-Moderns, or “Traditionalists” (though I hate that term). I would call us “traddies” just old-fashioned common-sensibles.

But even “common sense” is capable of mutation by Modernity that it just becomes last season’s brand of Modernity, last year’s fashion.

I detect an underlying scepticism about anything solid, foundational, God-forbid “fundamental”, in your thoughts, yet a deep longing for justice, for goodness, for security, for abiding family solidarity, for peace, for gentleness. But if I took the trouble to inquire about where those longings have foundation, I would run into trouble with you.

And why? because Modernity has made Scepticism and Relativism almost universal. And I also detect an avoidance of anything to do with religion. Yes, I know that lapsed Catholics identify religion with guilt, but Modernity is opposed to all religious belief and is opposed to Nature itself. And that is where the main thrust of this letter is: in upholding non-religious truths, truths that confirm where you yourselves are coming from, the kind of truths you imply by your very passions about family, political and social issues. Not everything fundamental is religious …. hmm…. maybe it is? But then there is a real problem if even this is true for then you would become divorced from Nature itself – floating in a stormy sea, compass-less, and thrown about by the winds of “preference” social and political issues – one day supporting one thing and finding out that the next day that support undermined where you were yesterday.

Modernity has made politics a passion. Left versus Right, Liberal versus Conservative, Socialism versus Capitalism: all grist for the mill of seemingly endless debate in Modern society.

But there are truths which underlie reality, truths which defy Modernity to its face.

So let’s start at the beginning.

Modernity was born during the Enlightenment and gained its foothold in the success of the Revolutions of the 19th Century, and has now matured in the 21st Century.

Modernity, is where man makes his own universe, his own reality, remodels nature in his own image, and makes good and evil according to his own preferences. Modernity is where Man stands apart from Nature, and reasons for himself outside of Nature. All is rationalisation. All is made from ideal abstractions. Nothing is objective: all is subjective. And the beginning of of what Marx described as “Alienation”.

Once one enters into political debate, one is forced to argue any position from the point of view of Modernity, and the huge, deep assumptions of the Ideologies encompassing Modernity: the philosophical foundations in the rationalism of Descartes, the sceptical empiricism of Hume, and the idealism of Kant; the political and sociological foundations of Hobbes, Rousseau, and Locke; and the atheistic scientism of the Philosophes. All these foundations were laid in the 18th Century and led to the world-wide success of the French Revolutionary ideas. Everything else are ramifications of the foregoing; variations on an over-arching theme.

So, if one does not believe in the very foundational beliefs of Modernity, it is very difficult, even impossible, to enter into contemporary social and political debate, except in a very pragmatic way. But even pragmatic politics demands some over-arching end to which man is disposed. One either accepts the Ideological ends proposed by Modernity or is left wandering in a political wilderness.

Let’s look at each of the assumptions on which our society is based.

II – Modernism: The Philosophical Assumptions

Yes, I know, philosophy is a bore. One did philosophy at Uni to find truth and all one got were a whole lot of endless sceptical examinations and putting-down of one system after another. But this is a result of Modernism itself. To deny truth and refuse to examine its own assumptions.

I am aware that many discount the importance of reflecting deeply at the philosophic level. After all, scepticism is universal among our intelligentsia. The Modern does not re-examine his own philosophical roots. The famous statement of Descartes – “I think therefore I am.” – cuts man off from reality. The assumption here is that my thinking of myself makes reality, as if Man is separate from Nature – from the very things which provide contact with the conscious mind. So, Rationalism is borne.

This is quite revolutionary. Totally opposed to all philosophical thought from the beginning of mankind. It runs against common sense, against all religious belief, all cultures, all normal human responses to reality. A common sense person before Descartes would have seen himself to be part of reality, part of Nature, his own conscious existence as a given in the very act of thinking, dependent on the holistic act of thinking, not separating the person from his own nature. It is a fundamental act of faith in reality each person makes. Otherwise we are all mad. And that is Modernism. Mad, seemingly reasonable, very clever.

Hume built on this: the only reality beyond my thoughts are sense data. Again, there is no fundamental reality of things, nothing but the ephemera of sense data: there is no apple, just roundness and redness! The person is divorced from objects themselves: no objects, no objective goodness, no truth, no beauty, no fundamental ground of anything – just sceptical opinion, and endless “subjective experiences” without roots.

Kant then built a huge apparatus of ideas in answer to both Descartes and Hume to justify some kind of objective reality. The result was Rationalistic Idealism. For the next 200 years, men were fascinated by the different structures one could invent from the variety of worlds of Ideas. And from which sprang the Ideologies of the 19th and 20th Centuries. Religions are not Ideologies. Ideologies are constructs of Rationalism, supposedly “free” thinkers thinking up total systems of ideas to envelop man and society. Ideologies are man-made.

So then, what we have now is a rejection of the wisdom of the Western Medieval and Ancient worlds, of the Greeks, of Socrates, Plato and Aristotle, and the sustaining developments of traditional philosophy through the Middle Ages and Renaissance.

Without the underlying sustaining Christian culture and moral framework of Western society, Nietzsche told us what Modernism means, taken to its cold, logical conclusions: we are beyond good and evil, and the only thing left to us is the will to power – and those who become aware of the logical conclusions become the Superman free from all moral constraints.

And Nihilism is with us everywhere in the modern world. The best analysis of Nihilism is Fr Seraphim’s essay: Nihilism: the Root of the modern Age.

Here is a very short and inadequate summary of the presence of Nihilism in everyday people’s lives today:

Liberalism: the first step to Nihilism
First is the Liberal and Humanist world-view. This is the world-view on which our whole modern world is based upon: its technology, its markets, its legislation, its urban life-style, its preoccupations. The Liberal Humanist is at base worldly in his theology, his ethics, his politics, and in other areas truth has been weakened, softened, compromised; in all realms truth that was once absolute has become less certain, if not entirely “relative.”
…. The Liberal is undisturbed even by fundamental deficiencies and contradictions in his own philosophy because his primary interest is elsewhere. He is indifferent to the reality of Heaven and Hell, if he conceives of God as a mere idea of a vague impersonal power, it is because he is more immediately interested in worldly ends, and because everything else is vague or abstract to him. The Liberal may be interested in culture, in learning, in business, or merely in comfort; but in every one of his pursuits the dimension of the absolute is simply absent. He is unable, or unwilling, to think in terms of ends, of ultimate things. The thirst for absolute truth has vanished; it has been swallowed up in worldliness.
….Liberalism is the first stage of the Nihilist dialectic. The Liberal proclaims his love of Truth, Culture, etc., but it is empty of any end to which they lead. This emptiness calls into being Nihilist reaction. The Nihilist will assert that the Liberal’s love of Truth and aspects of the Old Order is superficial: and so it is. The Liberal world-view is sentimental, it has no depth and so the intellectual Nihilist draws out the logical consequences of the weak-kneed Liberal world-view.

Realism: the development to Nihilism
The “Nihilist” is the man who respects nothing, bows before no authority, accepts nothing on faith, judges all in the light of a science taken as absolute and exclusive truth, rejects all idealism and abstraction in favor of the concrete and factual. He is the believer, in a word, in the “nothing” – but, in the reduction of everything men have considered “higher,” the things of the mind and spirit, to the lower or “basic”: matter, sensation, the physical.
The Realist questions everything, but only to be able to abolish all suggestion of or aspiration to anything higher, and to reduce and simplify it into the terms of the most obvious and “basic” explanation. The Realist sees only “race” or “sex” or the “mode of production.”
Nihilist “simplification” may be seen in the universal prestige today accorded the lowest order of knowledge, the scientific, as well as the simplistic ideas of men like Marx, Freud, and Darwin, which underlie virtually the whole of contemporary thought and life.
This Realist Nihilism dominates the upper and lower echelons of those who control our thoughts and decisions at all levels of society. Scientific analysis of the discrete particles of human existence dominate: no truth other than statistics, measuring, reports, the purely physical world and its needs. Decisions are made at the base level of the market, of preference choices, of freedom from any so-called “moral” restraints.

Vitalism: the consequence of Nihilism
Vitalism is a more advanced kind of Realism; sharing the latter’s narrow view of reality and its concern to reduce everything higher to the lowest possible terms, Vitalism carries the Realist intention one step further. Where Realism tries to reestablish an absolute truth from below, Vitalism expresses the failure of this project in the face of the more “realistic” awareness that there is no absolute here below, that the only unchanging principle in this world is change itself. Realism reduces the supernatural to the natural, the Revealed to the rational, truth to objectivity; Vitalism goes further and reduces everything to subjective experience and sensation. The world that seemed so solid, the truth that seemed so secure to the Realist, dissolve in the Vitalist view of things; the mind has no more place to rest, everything is swallowed up in movement and action.
For men weary of truth it is enough that a thing “is,” and that it is “new” and “exciting.”
The appeal of Vitalism is psychological. Only the dullest and least perceptive of men can remain satisfied for long with the dead faith of Liberalism and Realism. Extreme elements first – artists, revolutionaries, the uprooted multitudes, and then, one by one, the humanist guardians of “civilization,” and eventually even the most respectable and conservative elements of society, become possessed of an inner disquiet that leads them into the pursuit of something “new” and “exciting,” no one knows exactly what – a hunger that the varieties of Vitalism can only tease, but never satisfy.
Everywhere men feverishly pursue the work of “progress” – for what reason they do not know, or only very dimly sense. In the free world it is perhaps a horror vacui that chiefly impels men into feverish activity that promises forgetfulness of the spiritual emptiness that attends all worldliness. The sterile “purity” and “functionalism” of contemporary architecture are a typical expression of such a world; the same spirit is present in the disease of total planning. Some of the apologies for such schemes approach perilously near a strange kind of lucid insanity, wherein precision of detail and technique are united to an appalling insensitivity to the inhuman end these schemes serve.

Nihilism: the force of Destruction
“Who wishes to be creative,” said Nietzsche, “Must first destroy and smash accepted values.”
Bakunin appealed: “Let us put our trust in the eternal spirit which destroys and annihilates only because it is the unsearchable and eternally creative source of all life. The passion for destruction is also a creative passion!” Here Vitalism mingles with the will to destroy: but it is destruction that triumphs in the end. [The Nazis] exulted, that “we may be destroyed, but if we are, we shall drag a world with us – a world in flames.”
Since there is nothing real, modern man feels great unease, alienation. One way to assuage this feeling is to take action: any action. Violence is one solution: any violence, any release of passion, fighting, sex, sport, violent physical activity. Sport becomes a means to express such feelings of alienation and passion: either watching violence or participating in it. It is a Spirit of the Age, the Spirit of the Gang, or the Team.
The Nihilist “revelation” thus declares, most immediately, the annihilation of authority. Some apologists are fond of citing “corruptions,” “abuses,” and “injustices” in the Old Order as justification for rebellion against it; but such things – the existence of which no one will deny – have been often the pretext, but never the cause, of Nihilist outbursts. It is authority itself that the Nihilist attacks. In the political and social order, Nihilism manifests itself as a Revolution that intends, not a mere change of government or a more or less widespread reform of the existing order, but the establishment of an entirely new conception of the end and means of government. In the religious order Nihilism seeks, not a mere reform of the Church and not even the foundation of a new “church” or “religion,” but a complete refashioning of the idea of religion and of spiritual experience. In art and literature the Nihilist is not concerned with the modification of old aesthetic canons regarding subject-matter or style, nor with the development of new genres or traditions, but with a whole new approach to the question of artistic “creation” and a new definition of “art.”

Nihilism: the New Man
The New Nihilist Man is rootless; discontinuous with a past that Nihilism has destroyed, the raw material of every demagogue’s dream; the “free-thinker” and skeptic, closed only to the truth but “open” to each new intellectual fashion because he himself has no intellectual foundation; the “seeker” after some “new revelation,” ready to believe anything new because true faith has been annihilated in him; the planner and experimenter, worshipping “fact” because he has abandoned truth, seeing the world as a vast laboratory in which he is free to determine what is “possible”; the autonomous man, pretending to the humility of only asking his “rights,” yet full of the pride that expects everything to be given him in a world where nothing is authoritatively forbidden; the man of the moment, without conscience or values and thus at the mercy of the strongest “stimulus”; the “rebel,” hating all restraint and authority because he himself is his own and only god; the “mass man,” this new barbarian, thoroughly “reduced and “simplified” and capable of only the most elementary ideas, yet scornful of anyone who presumes to point out the higher things or the real complexity of life.
[And the people under these Watchdogs of Nihilism become immersed in Market Consumerism and Alienated from anything which defines a person: aliented from family, community, church, culture – all transformed into a muddy greyness, becoming darker with each decade].

III – The Modernist Philosophical Effect on Society

It took a couple of centuries these philosophical ideological systems to become popular. Revolutionary ideas need the support of social, economic and political change to gain a foothold, “to catch on”. After all, the above philosophies would else remain just ideas.

Firstly, the ties which bound people together in the traditional Western society of the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries were gradually destroyed. The legal and social ties which bound the higher ranks of society to care for the lower ranks were slowly cut, one by one: the Church and Tradition, the binder of those ties, the protector of the poor and lowly, lost almost all power by the end of the 17th century. Although the very deeply-entrenched traditional Western Culture slowed the implementation of scepticism and relativism and their implications in their personal lives, scepticism and relativism certainly entered into the economic and political life.

Now freed from the authority of the Church, Parliaments now dominated by the moneyed men and no-longer-bound-to-custom nobility joined to force the peasants from their land and livelihood. The population of the countryside decreased,  and the urban working class were now exploited through the demands of the Industrial Revolution. The sheer acceleration of wealth in Western Europe through the late 18th and early 19th Century, focussed the minds of the intelligentsia.

The ties that bind had to be destroyed, one by one. Why? because wealth and economic power and Progress needed the freedom to run through Custom and Tradition. The great restrictions placed on the growth of economic power by the forces of Custom and Tradition had to go. In the depths of Western Culture and Tradition was intertwined Natural Law: the binding traditions of family life, the extended family, the trading and craftsmen guild’s binding of employer to employee and apprentice, the laws against usury, the binding of family with the land, the binding of the local lord to his tenants, the “democracy of the little man” in his locality against the faraway State.

Secondly, the intelligentsia relied on the revolutionary beliefs of the new philosophies to undermine Tradition and the binding power of Nature. Nature now was open to the forces of Rationalism: Progress demanded the freedom to treat Nature as a physical phenomenon to be studied and catalogued, to be uncovered by Man Outside of Nature. The independent “Free-thinker”, and the physical scientist, whose main fruits were the growth of technology and industry, the heroes of Progress. And so, also, the application of reason to politics and economics: the new invention – Political Ideology.

From Rationalism was borne Political Ideology – the “isms”: Liberalism, Socialism, Communism, Nazism, Progressivism, the Left and the Right, Environmentalism, Multiculturalism. From the old Christian culture, one abstracted the belief in Rousseau’s “goodness of man”, and the brotherhood of man, the idea of the dignity of man and his freedom. From the remaining old Christian cultural milieu of 18th Century French nobility we abstracted the cultured “polite” society, the good manners, the assumed standards of morality. We mixed it all up into a very popular set of Ideological slogans: freedom, brotherhood and equality. Liberty became the watchword to defend Progress against the forces of “obscurantism” and “superstition”; and most of all to fight privilege – the very enemy of equality.

So why were these ideas so successful and so popular?

Freedom gave people material prosperity. The powers of the State released by Modern ideas were extended way beyond the powers of even the most so-called “absolute” monarch of the 17th and 18th centuries. The Absolute Monarch was limited by the universal respect for tradition and custom. The Modern State is now able to organise any personal, social and political unit at any time, in any way – totally – as long as the voting public see an economic advantage.

Each “person” – I put this word in italics because the Modern does not really believe in persons – is but an economic unit, a tax number, a voter, a Social Security number. Government is by numbers, and units making up the greatest number. To be a person just means having political “rights”, rights being defined by and for the State.

Of course, at present, there are still cultural and traditional pressures to place limitations on what the Modern State may not do: personhood and rights may be manipulated according to the demands of Modernity.

So, you say. Look! Look at the vast world of happiness that the Moderns have brought us. People are free to “shop till they drop”, to swim, to travel in comfort where they will, to holiday on luscious beaches. People live longer, and more productive lives. The death rate is much lower, people live longer. Modernity has brought us great health. We look after the sick and elderly, and the dispossessed. We live comfortably.

And look at our hopes: that the Modern world will find a way to spread Modernity to all around the globe; the ups and downs of economic life will be levelled out; and those who now are suffering will one day suffer no more. All we have to do is to find solutions for the poor and dispossessed. Inequalities will disappear. Once we rid the world of the greedy, the religious fundamentalist, the tribal loyalist, the remnants of traditional morality, and rid ourselves of political strictures, raw capitalists, their cronies, and any propaganda from capitalist media, all will be well.

And what will be left after one ideological structure is destroyed, but another! Another ideology, another political form of Modernism. Greed and the will to power are endemic in human nature. Once all those cultural restraints of our past disappear, hell will break loose. A “nice” hell. A hell of being ruled by moral and social guardians unbound by any considerations other than polite “niceness” which changes according to the dictates of the powerful.

At present, the hearts of love, of compassion, which guide our beliefs about how we should care for each other, have been deeply engraved in our laws and institutions from non-Modern ages past. The aim of Modernism is to imitate the cultural remains of Christianity without the dogma. The French and Russian Revolutions tried to simulate those traditions, but without success – contrived and at base, heartless.

IV – Modernity: the rage of “isms”

Liberalism is the dominating ideology of the Western World. From the French Revolution, two strands developed: Economic Liberalism and Social Liberalism. Economic Liberalism – free trade, free markets – opposed the old, traditional belief in protecting local businesses, local farmers, local workers. It opposed the traditional monopolies granted to privileged individuals and social groups. The ideas of Liberalism necessitate Capitalism.

Economic Liberalism is the enemy of Nationalism (Nationalism closes markets – the economic liberal prefers Global Markets), yet Nationalism also is a child of the French Revolution as well. Getting rid of the King, a personal ruler, meant creating the idea of a Nation – an identifiable group around a common flag – another contrived idea to replace the natural local affections of people. Another Modern ideology. Unfortunately for the world, Nationalism caused two of the greatest wars in history.

Social Liberalism stems from the other French Revolutionary idea – equality for all. Social Liberals demand that the State makes laws to ensure all are equal. At first, revolutionaries demanded equality before the law, and now it is a demand for total fundamental equality for all – no discrimination between people at all.

Both these Ideologies dominate political debate. Those who are economic liberals – the “Right” – form political parties such as Conservative, Republican, National, or Liberal Democrat. Those who are Social Liberals – the “Left” – Labour, Democrat, Social Democrat. There is no room in either of these ideologies for those who oppose the Modernist Agendas of both Liberalisms.

“Conservatives”, who might be described as opposers to the Revolution, are mostly Economic Liberals who have shifted their position over the years from opposing the old “Left” issues and now find themselves on the Right of any current debate. But they are Modernists, just the same. Even, the old Labour “Left” find themselves forced to shift ground to the current “Left” – the Progressives, or be accused of being of the “Right”.  Our present Progressive Liberalism is victorious and has been over the past 250 years.

So, the Modern is imbued with constant rage at the injustices of the present in the hope for Progress – a debate which will never end.

Globalist Utopian Zombies
Below is an article by a Frenchman, Dominique Venner, on Nihilism and “The Religion of Humanity”. He also makes references to a very cogent book by a Frenchwoman, Flora Montcorbier, from her book: : “Market communism – From the Marxist Utopia to the Globalist Utopia.”

The Manufacture of Zombies
No one has yet undertaken fully to comprehend the curious outcome of the Cold War, that capital phase of a great upheaval. Who was the victor in this false war? It was the United States, of course, and with it the market economy. But it was also the religion of humanity, uniform and universal. It was a religion common to both opponents of yesterday. Nor was it their only affinity.

What did the communists of yesteryear want? They wanted to appropriate the wealth of all humanity under a supposed rational management, thereby ensuring all abundance and peace. They also wanted to create a new man, capable of desiring these benefits, a rational and universal man, freed from all the obstacles constituted root-like by nature and culture. They wanted finally to revenge their hatred of actual men, those embodiments of actual difference, and their hatred also of the old Europe, so diverse and tragic.

And the American West, what did it want? Well, the same thing. Rejecting central planning through coercion, however, the American system saw the market as the main determiner of economic rationality and of change. – Hence the name “market communism” assigned to it by Flora Montcorbier.

Market communism, which is simply another name for globalism, shares with its ex-Soviet enemy-brother not only the radiant vision of the ultimate goal. But, in order to change the world, it too must change man; it must manufacture the Homo Economicus of the future, the zombie, the man born of nihilism, emptied of content, and possessed by the spirit of the market and universal humanity. The zombie proliferates under our eyes. He is happy because “the spirit of market whispers to him that happiness consists in the satisfaction of all his desires.” And the only desires are designated for him by the market.

There is some resistance to zombification nevertheless. As the design is grandiose, one must not skimp in fashioning the means to break resistance. Whoever stubbornly refuses to recognize the benefits of the system can expect the fate of Iraq in 1991 and Serbia, in 1999. The world is full of stubborn dictators whom it is necessary to reeducate.

In order better to zombify Europeans, so persistently rebellious, immigration proved itself a beneficial innovation. The results were excellent. The permanent installation of immigrant communities accelerates the proletarianization of immigrants themselves, but also of the indigenous working class, the “little whites.” Without the protection of a coherent nation, treated as suspects by the public authorities, and denounced by legal authorities, the natives lost the last of their social immunities. Still recusant they become “naked proletarians” loathed by the zombies in power.

To overcome such recalcitrance, the radicals resorted one might say ingeniously to the teachings of the Old Guard of communist intellectuals, ever their traveling companions and familiars. The Old Communists provided the Communists of the Market with all-important inquisitorial clergy of the Religion of Humanity, that new opium of the people, in which sport functions as the High Mass. The Religion of Humanity is a religion that bases its notion of law in the so-called rights of man, i.e., the Rights of the Zombie, which are in fact onerous duties. The Religion of Humanity has its dogmas, its secular arm, the American military, its European auxiliaries, and various international or national courts.

One of the main instruments of the Religion of Humanity is its simultaneous manipulation of the collective guilt of the Europeans and their addiction to a false compassion. “Victimology” became the litmus of legitimacy for the new self-legitimating elites. In order to bring about the obliteration of all questionable thoughts, the “victimological” dogma has had to establish itself in a permanent criminal tribunal. Indeed, “Victimology” perpetually doubles-down. She denounces the “crimes” of the past or those of various exotic dictatorships and she attributes to herself the highest of moral patents. “Victimology” suggests that in comparison to her, despite her corruption and flaws, she is nonetheless the ethical paragon, the best justice of all. Of course even the best-designed systems are subject to contingencies. Occasionally “Victimology” bites back against her users.

The thought policemen meanwhile never cease to chase down evil, the evil that is to say, of being different, being individuated, loving life, nature, the past, cultivating critical thinking and refusing to sacrifice to the universal deity. Evil: That also signifies to the liberal regime any refusal to be duped by the system, or, in the words Flora Montcorbier, to demur in respect of any “appeal to the liberal credo, to moralistic humanism, or to a false environmentalist redistribution of wealth for the purpose of masking the inevitable and essential character of liberalism’s destruction of man, nature, and social life.”

Note: The term victimology translates the French victimologie. A more accurate translation might be victimocracy. Victimology would be the ideology of victimocracy, or rule by the (self-nominating) representatives of (self-alleging) victims.