The following is a call to Europeans to be proud of our heritage when it is under such irrational, ignorant, emotional and misguided attacks by the world at large.
What wonderful worlds I belong to as a European and especially as a Western.
Firstly, I belong to Homer’s Iliad, the most insightful epic of man’s anger and grief, and of a father over the body of his son – a story of the futility of war. Nothing ever written since captures war at its most violent, of a hero who makes Marvel heroes look simplistic children.
And then as an European Athenian I belong to the depths of the Greek culture: the idealism and love of the human body; Greek literature, drama, its humanistic philosophy embedded in sculpture, architecture and buildings proportionate to the human body, and its science.
I belong to Euclid, to Galen, and Ptolemy and a host of others who founded the rational investigation into the truth of things: who established the fundamentals of Maths, physics, and medicine.
More importantly, I belong to Aristotle – the summation of philosophical reasoning of Socrates and Plato – the reality of the world, truth and the glorious victory over atheism, relativism and nihilism.
In Aristotle’s lectures, we have the complete answer to issues which challenge us today. No modern philosopher can defeat Aristotle in his basic principles of being and searching for Truth. One either agrees with the conclusions brought about by his line of his logic on “being” or becomes a nihilist, atheist, relativist and thus believes nothing – even the existence of one’s self. One has to take the line of perfect logic of Aristotle or give up – there is no squeezing, sneaking out of his logic and the logical foundations of the conclusions of his thought. Socrates revealed that line of questioning. Not one contemporary scientist, media personality, politician, educationalist, professor today can challenge him. They don’t because Aristotle would raise too many unassailable contradictions in their assumptions prevailing today in the institutions of our modern world. The modern world is frightened of logic, and the Laws of Nature from which our reasoning is generated. Gravity obeys the laws of gravity: man is guided and should obey the laws of nature embedded in his conscience.
To reinforce my belonging to Aristotle, I proudly belong to the world of the 12th and 13th Scholastic philosophers and theologians, especially St Thomas Aquinas, who extended and reinforced Aristotle’s reasonings with the rules of logic and argumentation. No truth can be established without submitting to the process of establishing a first, and second premise which should lead to a valid conclusion. Students were trained in solid logic and to establish valid premises needed to read a wide history-spanning set of authoritative books. Schools and universities, such as Paris and Oxford in the 13th century_were built on the these foundations, the foundations laid by the Benedictine monks and Aristotle.
Our moderns are bereft of the whole world of reason, a world full of screaming, generalisations, biased assumptions – empty of truth – “truth” a term avoided in the world today .
I am proud of Alexander the Great, one of his main aims was to spread Athenian culture to all of mankind, establishing Greek theatres and academies in Afghanistan and Persia, intermarrying with an Afghan princess, melding his army with Persians, sending commentaries back to Aristotle of his scientific discoveries – all with the hope of civilising the world with a sense of shared humanity. Extending this, I belong to the world of the Western European conquistadors and colonisers of the Americas, Africa, the Pacific and Asia. The wonder of the huge masses of peoples of this world escaping from the horrific, barbaric, inhuman practices which dominated their lives, being replaced by the graces of Christianity. We catch some joy in this conversion in the joy of Mexican music today, of which many cannot see that our world would have had that joyful folk music developed over the centuries if not for the wholesale destruction of our Medieval lifestyles by the scourges of industrialisation of the West and the dour conversion of Northern rich Europe to Protestantism.
I belong also to the great Roman writers, their urbane reflections on life, their expressive, intelligent and moderate understanding of the human condition. And their prose style is unbelievably beautiful. I belong to their great achievements in engineering, architecture, and above all to their belief in the universality of the rule of law, a belief that at least has been extended to the modern world – the idea of the unity of universal law, in a multicultural environment.
I belong to over five thousand years of the ancient Jewish traditional beliefs of One God and the concept and practice of holiness in worship and life – beliefs which attracted many a Greek and Roman 100 BC. No other religion on earth promoted the need for individual personal holiness as its main characteristic. Thus I belong to Catholicism – the fulfillment and extension of Judaism’s hopes and expectations, and of its ritual – the promised future of mankind – universal holiness. Anyone experiencing the liturgies of the traditional Catholic or Orthodox Church world experiences the worship of the Temple of Jerusalem. The priest in the holy santuary ascends to the altar to offer the holocaust demanded by Moses, incense abounds, the sacrificial prayers are made accompanied by the psalms of David, which Jesus and the Apostles obeyed, and which the monastic Catholic church recites still today. The victim is killed, the blood collected, the priest consumes the victim. It is finished – the sacrifice to bring holiness and love into the world. And the people are then invited to consume the holy victim. This is what I and others participate and belong.
I belong to Western Europe, the conquest of Charlemagne and the idea of a unified Europe under a Catholic rather than Roman model: shared power between Emperor, his kings, their parliaments, and the Church – the alien concept of “sovereignty” did not exist. The Church and kings exchanged roles when needed to supervise law and order in their kingdoms.
I belong to the Benedictine monks who from 600 to 1200AD guided the kings and peoples of Europe in the scholarship and historical foundations of the old world, who re-established learning, created schools and universities, hospitals, hundreds by hundreds of welfare homes for the poor, the beaten women, abandoned children, the unemployed – far more in proportion to any modern city of town. Not because of economic, social or health reasons but because they loved their charges – suffering and death required a sacrificial loving man or women to nurse them – all who gave up their lives to unpaid virginity and purity- that sacrificial impulse an extension of the holiness of the daily Mass. People in trouble need the presence and touch of love – love of God conveyed through the presence and touch of a monk or nun. The social and other problems will always be with us – but not that loving touch of a monk or nun.
I belong to the new words invented in the 12th Century: words like gentleness, dear, delicate, beauty, charity, compassion, courtesy, grace, humility, peace, purity, tenderness, patience, devotion. They were invented or rather secularised by the lay people attending Mass. They needed these words to express a new consciousness about our relationships to each other. New words are invented to express new ideas and relationships. Look at those words and see the huge impact the Mass has on our lives and the ongoing relationships between people even in the 21st century. Even “hello” used to mean “hail” – wishing you good health or even the more Catholic meaning- “wholesomeness”, wishing you are full of God’s grace.
I belong to world of chivalry. The cult of chivalry has spread from the 12th Century Catholic noble to all men, even up to the 19th Century. Children and adults were read stories about chivalous men and events for centuries – chivalry dominated literature. Chivalry means that I am bound to protect the weak and poor, women and children. I must not fight anyone man on the ground, or who is lesser than me in stature and weapon. For the commoner, fists are equal weapons (knives are for cowards). I must especially give way to women: open doors for them, ensure they are seated first, doff my hat to them, and the same rules to the elderly and infirm. No man may strike a women or ignore chivalrous behaviour or he will be expelled from the company of his peers.
I belong to the Medieval peasant and his village. I wake early and attend 7am Mass, say Lauds and Prime of the Little Office of Mary when I hear the bells of the monastery ringing, we stop work for a few minutes for Angelus to honour Mary. We go to work till 3pm when I hear the bells announce Nones and start finishing off the day’s work till dinner and we all go to Vespers at 7pm – the whole village. And afterwards we go to the pub – with the whole family and drink our beer well, and sing our ancient songs. I meet my lord to discuss improvements to the estate. We get on well and we enjoy each other’s company, after all, we have shared our families’ lives for over 300 years!
I am reminded every day by those bells that the work I do must be done with excellence, no matter what it is because it is all for God and His Mother, and for the increase of grace in my soul when at last I face my Saviour at death and yearn for the bliss of love in heaven. Nothing else except serving God in daily tasks really matters.
I do not belong:
I do not belong to the French revolution and which is still developing and continuing and deepening its atheism, socialism, capitalism and democracy, which sets me against my lord and Nature itself. Or the Protestant revolution which takes away my Mass, and my precious religious monks and sisters.
I do not belong to ugly railway lines and engines, to enclosures, to landless labourers forced to the huge mills and now to ugly multi-storey buildings full of slaves at desks, to concrete jungles and asphalt roads, cars, and streets full of families who are foreign to each other. Before World War I, streets were full of houses built to accommodate large families, living with people of similar cultures. They formed bonds with each other and forged real communities of extended families and neighbours distantly related to them. From those communities arose a real living culture. They have now gone except among strongly bound religious commmunities like the Moslems, Lebanese Christians and Polynesians in Sydney, or among some Mexican communities in the USA.
And then contraception, feminism, fabian socialism combined with greedy capitalism broke the family apart: it broke fathers and husbands (having no natural leadership role denied them, and seeing their trade disappear by capitalist corporate multinational replacements) alienated from their wives who now became breadwinners and now combining the roles of housework and the slavery of employment. The natural foundations of the family and authority forced by the law, council planning, and the economy is the death of natural authority. Children are now temporary “wards”of the state, especially at school where all the anti-natural ideologies are inculcated into their minds – the parent’s authority is of the lowest level in planning a curriculum. Are children educated to obey their parents without question? Or parents and other being Nazi, which has become a term of abuse for the very word “natural authority” written in the heart of Natural Law “Obey thy father and mother.”
I do not belong to the so-called “media” full of mindless cant, over-ridden by ads, thick sentimentality or exagerrated violence, stories of “relationships” eventually leading to fornication. All honour, purity, and any grasp of real goodness, real extended family life has disappeared. It is totally godless and at base totally meaningless. The insertion of coloured, gay, cross-gendered cast makes all seem normal. The teeth have been pulled of real demonic monsters: Dracula becomes a comic character. There are real demons inserting thoughts into our souls all day long to choose seeemingly-less inconsequential lesser goods and which persons are pulled without access to grace towards hardening their hearts against angels guided by the Holy Spirit to choose a higher good – be it turning off the league match and helping with the dishes or the kids. Damnation awaits the modern soul who habitually ignores the calls to grace!!
So, I look around me, my block of flats and the street, and see not one family celebrating Christmas but just an excuse to exchange presents, replace a Saint with a Santa, and have a family get-together. Might as well choose December 21 – the solstice – as the date for all it matters to our world. God is born to mankind and is ignored. Same as with Easter – have it at the other solstice. Worship the bunnies and enjoy the eggs. Ignore the passion of God suffering on the Cross and rising, conquering Death, to open the gates of heaven for those who love Him. He wondered on earth when he returned would there be any left who had faith. At present, the West deserves a great chastisement to remind them of who and what they are!