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.

V – Non-Modern View

Your sense of injustice is well founded. It comes from the very nature of Man: his objective weighing of that in-built understanding of his nature, of what is right and what is wrong. But Modernism destroys the weighing of merits of one kind of injustice from another and destroys one’s ability to see the whole picture; it is fundamentally “imprudent” because it forbids understanding of the whole ethical picture, especially since all morality is deemed relative. One is forbidden to place moral decisions into some kind of hierarchy (yet everyone, naturally does this). So, one is left with no basis to judge one injustice from another. One is left chasing one endless social and political “issue” after another. Politics and the points of view of the media become the centre of all discussion.

The answer is to look at the fundamentals of Law and government.

Firstly, recognition of your being a person and others being persons. You did not bring yourself into existence and you owe your family and all of the rest the debt to look after yourself and other persons. You do not own yourself – it is a given. Whatever so-called “rights” come with being a person. Those rights do not come from society or from government. They are self-evident in being a person. Other persons also have been given their self-awareness. Also given.

And a person has a natural end, a first function – to be and for the Good and whatever makes a person’s end as Good. Health, work, education, family life, etc., all are for the person to grow into the Good. A person needs to possess the truth about things, even the simplest thing, in order to grow. A person desires the good in all things but above all the highest goodness that a person can possess. A person cannot but thirst for truth and yearn for unity with the highest things. A person cannot but help but to make judgments over which is best, which is right, in order to grow towards the Good.

Nature has given us the powers of reasoning to attain those goods and a rich tradition of family and cultural life to help attain those goods.

All natural laws descend from being a person among other persons. Persons cannot live without a family, without all the extensions going right back through families, culture, traditions and society. Governments are called into being for the common good of persons and families, and all the fundamental social groups which help persons to grow towards the Good.

A government cannot be true unless it has some understanding of what are the fundamental goods. It cannot trash culture and tradition because these organically hold the Goods to which we are born to attain. It cannot ignore the Common Good for the sake of relativism or scepticism, or multiculturalism or individualism, for the sake of Ideology.

So, our good depends on our family first, then our clan, our tribe, our patria, our gods, and all the traditions and cultures which potentially contain the Good.

VI – Confront Modernity with Natural Law

Whenever a political or social issue arises I must follow Natural Law. Is it best for the Good of my immediate family, my extended family, my clan, my patria, my “gods” – remembering that religion defines culture? My “patria” is Australia, New Zealand, as colonists, from Great Britain, within Western Europe, fundamentally Catholic but shared with Protestants. I glory in Western Civilisation, in the music, art, and culture of learning from the Middles Ages extending to the various times and places where Modernism has not destroyed!

So, I demand to be prejudiced and give privilege to all the above hierarchy of my family: to give preference as an employer to family, then religion, then patria. The government of Australia then should give preference to its own Patria – British ancestry, heritage and culture; to Christianity and its culture, and to the family – family being the physical, sexual coupling of men and women which fundamentally generates the foundations of the State.

No ideologies should be allowed to stand in the way of these prejudices. There is no natural “equality”, but government should make laws which protect our cultural and traditional institutions, our families, our common religious beliefs grow. Laws to protect the family come first: the livelihood of the family, its economic survival, its need for time to grow as a family, a trade, a modest living wage, its need for a variety of educational, cultural, social and religious pursuits in order to grow within its extended clan and the community of one’s clan.

Modernism has made such ugliness and a hash of the family world and its structures are largely in place. So, then make laws to ameliorate the awful situation families are placed in. Sacrifice all other social, environmental and economic considerations for families! Make a 6-hour working week compulsory as well as two-day weekends. Enforce holidays. All so that families may be able to be together longer. Allow families to choose their own child carers and subsidise them, especially if they are family members! Tax joint family income. Reward stay-at-home mothers as child-carers and educators. Petrol and working-time subsidies for those who must travel more to work away from their families. Subsidise local industries, local trades, local monopolies, force decentralisation on all government and large businesses to assist families to work near where families live. Open up the land for families and make housing structures and allowances for extended families to live near or together.

Where there is a clash between different traditions, then Western Civilisation’s cultural traditions prevail. One tolerates “evil” only if, by not tolerating an evil, a worse evil develops. Toleration of itself is not a good thing. There are deep-seated traditions in our culture which must not be destroyed by multiculturalism. Respect for our traditions of chivalry – the poor and weak are to be protected, gentleness, politeness, of respect for women as physically weaker and possibly child-bearing, respect for our Christian roots in the holidays of Easter, Christmas and Sundays publicly and at schools. We have no duty to place other religious traditions on a par with our “Patria” – our European Motherland. We celebrate Armitice Day and Anzac Day, we do not celebrate the Fall of Constantinople nor Hanukkah!

Citizens do not need to be Christians, but to respect that those Christian traditions contain the very values which make us the kind of civilised life-style which we and others of the world enjoy. Remember, the separation of State and Church is not part of our constitution: it is an American tradition and even then it means the separation of the State from any one Christian denomination, not the general beliefs of Christian culture itself!!!

We should also respect the great line of thought stretching back to Greece and Rome. Christianity, the Roman Imperial idea of a Universal Law overarching particular cultures and the unique belief in reason emanating from Greece, are the fundamentals on which the good things of the Modern World are made. We must not relativise these connections. Children and young adults should be schooled in that Western heritage of learning, even if some of those ideas are bad, because when taken altogether, goodness and truth lie. For instance, all our technology and science developed from the belief that truth can be found in nature. Discoveries are made on those assumptions. Those assumptions are from the Ancient Greeks – we must not be sceptical about reality itself.

Part of Western  tradition is respect for those who protect us all – MPs, the army, the police, the judiciary. We should bring back the formality of these officials, and the full honorific titles for each of these officials in public. And on the other hand, those who work for the good of all, should work as if they worked for charity. Some of their recompense should be the honour which they are regarded by the community rather than financial reward. Rudeness to any one of these is an attack on the safety of the State and eventually the family.

We should protect, honour and respect those and their institutions who work for the common good without reward: charitable organisations and churches. And those who work in health and education, social care, etc., should be encouraged to work as if they were working for charity.

To do all of this, the media should censor anything which might bring disrespect to the office of those who govern, who care for, and who protect us: the media should protect the office of everyone!

And defy Globalisation, root and branch.

Finally, Modern Humanitarianism is based at root in the Christian idea of loving one’s neighbour. The French Revolution used this idea and invented the idea of the Brotherhood of Man. And stemming from that belief, wonderful, good actions have followed all over the world. But, without a true heart, humanitarianism easily becomes a love for “humanity” but not the individual person right in front of one. And it is the weakness of men’s hearts – deep down – that causes all the trouble in the world – not weakness in failing to act from one’s ideological beliefs.

Modernism, on its own, will fail, and is failing, because it cannot ever heal men’s hearts.

VIII – Modernity and Art

PART TWO: Ugliness dressed as Beauty

Now let’s get the issue of “beauty” and “ugliness” cleared up. Yes, I know it is said time and again that “beauty is in the eye of the beholder”. This is used to justify Relativism at its core. So, it is used by Moderns to avoid any criticism of modernity.

Beauty in art and music is the recognition of the mind of the balance of forms of a made thing. The proportion of the parts to the whole, the suitability of the form to the function of a thing. A carved spoon can be judged beautiful if it performs well the function of being a spoon. It holds just the right amount of matter, it balances in the hand, it is the right weight for a person to hold. It may even have decoration which enhances the shape of the spoon. It may even have other decoration which delights the mind in its delicacy of line with the shape and direction of the use of the spoon for eating. For instance, a spoon is ugly if it cannot hold its matter, is unbalanced, is too long for a normal human being to direct the food to the mouth; or has decoration which distracts the mind from the food – draws attention away from the food, like having scenes of excreta on the handle.

I do not think most people would have any difficulty with applying non-relativistic standards to the making of a spoon. A work of art is a thing made “well done”. We can apply this all works of mankind: the teacher teaching, the surgeon operating – is the job well done? When it is done well, we can exclaim: “You beauty.”

The problem really lies in using the term “beauty” when applied to complex forms and ideas, such as in Fine Art forms of the Visual arts, but as well, in the forms of Music and Literature. The idea of “Fine” art is an invention of Post-Renaissance intellectuals. But let us continue with the idea of a thing being made well, being in proportion to its end. Before the Renaissance, most paintings were made for mainly specific religious reasons. They had a function: to glorify God or to tell a religious story, or be an icon – a holy image in itself. One would judge a painting on how well it conveyed those ends. Colour, form, space: all brought together in proportion to the end. It were craftsmen who made them: your everyday plasterer, or wall decorator. Were they made well? Of course they were. They are beautiful as only a good craftsman at his work could make.

The intellectual ideas leading to the High Renaissance in the visual arts was Humanism. Fine Art was that object of art which raised the mind of the viewer to Universal Ideals. Forms became complex in order to convey a range of theological, philosophical, or historical beliefs. The aim was to raise the mind of the viewer to the highest form, the highest idea of Man.

So the use of the term “beauty” now entailed forms which in turn in-formed a refined viewer, a viewer who could identify with the belief of the Ideal Man as seen through the beliefs of Christendom and Platonic philosophy. The artist searched for nobility of the human form based on the arithmetical and geometric principles of the Ancient Greeks as well as the virtues of Christian chivalry, gentleness, and godliness transmitted through Europe by the belief in the Incarnation of God in Man.

Fine Art then could be judged to be beautiful not only to the standards being “well made” by the tradesman artist, but also being “well made” to the standards of Christian Idealism. There is no room here for “beauty being in the eye of the beholder”. The beholder needed to live within the culture of the refined Christian Humanist. One had to be informed, to be open to being raised by the work of art. This same aesthetic applied to the development of music and literature.

Now, if one does not believe in universals, in objective reality, in the nobility of Man, then there is no standard for anything in art other than being “well made”. Hold on here. How can we judge a Modern work as being well made, of being beautiful? All we can say is that it obeys the superficial rules of construction, form and shape, of logicality. Once we investigate the aim of the artist (if we can), we must judge that aim according to the rules of morality, the rules of universality. No Universality, no Fineness, no Goodness, then no Beauty.

Beauty is in the eye of an “informed” beholder. A beholder within a culture informed of goodness and grace, of nobility, of the ideal behind nature. Without that world, there can be no Fine Art.

And as Modernity and its philosophical assumptions are now ingrained in our Modern Culture, there is no thing informing the mind in nobility, in what it is to be “refined”, in the universal ideals of form and goodness, which would have encompassed and soothed the emotions of the artist and the beholder, which uplifts and refines the mind and emotions of Man .

So-called works of art become brutal, disjointed, deliberately challenging the very beliefs which underlie art and humanity itself. Works convey either the superficial combination of shape and colour, or smash one in the face with rebellion against nature. This assessment also applies to music.

Beauty and the Academy

The Impressionist rebellion against the Academy did have a point. By the end of the 19th Century, Modernism had killed the ideals of Christian Humanism as embodied in the Renaissance and Baroque periods. And neither had the Rationalistic Enlightenment Classicism, the symbol of the secular Modern revolution, anything left to give the New Man, except a solid architectural foundation for the public buildings of the late 19th century – all symbols of the New Man and Money.

And so Art became the expression of rebellion against the very excesses of Modernism, a means to draw attention to alienation of Man to the very society Modern Man created. The Academy of Fine Art standards became a dead project. The term “beauty” is no longer used to refer to works of so-called “fine art”. “Provocative”, “explorative”, “interesting”, “futuristic”, and “progressive”, became the terms for judging works of art.

Ugliness Enthroned

The world of Modernity is ugly. Graffiti artists point this out every day. Ugly cities, ugly noisy abominable traffic, concrete monstrosities vying with blocks of glass competing with soaring dominating walls inhumanly Babel-high – the pride of Man and Money. And the people sub-divided into little isolated pockets where the word “community” is used to make them feel as if there really is a community and there is none! And the culture engages Man by ugly inhuman fashions denying any sense of Man as a dignified person of real worth: the stubble beard, the piratical piercings, the savage tattooing, the androgynous clothing: all quite diabolical. Nothing of substance, or permanence, and certainly no fine art.

And so there is no “informed” eye of the beholder, and therefore there is no beauty. Thank the heavens, that Nature still exists. At least a tree or a blade of grass or a humble sparrow, exists in our cities to remind us of what real beauty is and what we must do to imitate such noble works which Nature has put before us.

IX – Modernity and Literature

PART THREE: Literature – Enlightenment Propaganda

Before the lofty idealism of the Humanism of the Renaissance, European literature was eminently practical.

A. Poetry and Drama

Lyric poetry honoured God or one’s chivalrous lover, epic poetry recounted the exploits of heroes such as Charlemagne or Roland. Prose reached its heights in clear, logical treatises of philosophy and theology. Or was used as ribald commentary on society. The origin of drama was in the liturgy of the Mass and the cycle of the Catholic year: the very popular miracle and moral plays of Medieval Europe.

There was no school of intellectuals judging literature as works of art. Medieval society and its art was unselfconscious. Moderns would say, naive.

The Medievals lived close to Nature. Everything was seen and felt to be connected. This meant that in the arts, the writer’s imagination knew no bounds. Anything and everything could be put together to show connections. Up to and including the Metaphysicals, Poetry was able to connect thought and feeling through the metaphors of a nature lived among men. Nature and word were joined. Shakespeare’s muse is full of the connexion of life, nature, meaning, men, and a commonality of unity of man with nature.

With the beginnings of Modernism in the late 17th, Classicism heralded the break between man and nature, even though Pope and Dryden invoke Nature as their goddess, it is a goddess undressed by their own rationalism. The Classicist is emotionally removed and examines his art, his forms, as a Newton or a Descartes. All cleverly effete.

Drama divided into the Comedy of Manners and the more serious French imitations of Ancient Greek and Roman tragedies.

The Romantic poets of the 19th Century contrived a unity of man with nature, but the horse has bolted. Nature is now remote and lost. It is a nostalgic discovery of the daffodils. A nostaglia matching the Romanticism of a Wolf or Schubert Lieder.

By the 20th Century, poetry and drama become the tools of social commentary. Ideology dominates. Or it weeps at the destruction wrought by Modernity. The Poet is alienated, as is the Dramatist and Painter, the Artiste. And as Modernity creates a universal ugliness of implemented ideologies into life, the artist paints ugliness to challenge and to reflect the ugliness of Modern Society.

B. The Literary Novel – a Modernist Invention

The Literary Novel is a Modernist invention. The Modern novel is about man, his thoughts, his feelings, his interactions with others in his world. A novel is judged on how it is “true to life” – a life centred on man. The novel is judged to be good if it simulates the reality of character, plot, life, psychology, the interactions of human relationships.

It is no coincidence that the first novelists were from the late 17th Century – the beginnings of Deism and Modernism. The world no longer wanted to hear about God – so “divisive”. Reality excluded God and Man’s relationship with God. The Novel became the new vehicle for exploring the Modernist’s world, ostensibly more real. But how real is the exploration of reality if a person’s life is centred on God. The life of many people is religious: people pray, address their God all through the day, are aware of themselves as part of a religious story which takes place daily. Yet, this huge aspect of life is ignored in the novel. Let us also consider the very real conflict some people every day one has with “conscience” at its very depths – the fight with God. You will not find that in “realistic” novels.

The most realistic personal writings in the past were by the saints: such as St Augustine’s “Confessions”, Dante’s trilogy, St Catherine’s “Dialogue of Divine Providence”, and St Teresa of Avila’s “Autobiography”. These works reveal very deep reflections of the relationship of the soul and God in dealing with the challenges of life, stream-of-consciousness narration, totally honest, humane, and almost “modern” in their understanding of what it is to be a human being – a normal, everyday person in their struggles in life.

It is not until the end of the 19th Century, that the novel, especially the historical novel, becomes of age: popular, universal, and the main means of Modernist Liberal propaganda. And this trend extends right into the 21st Century. Novel after novel explores social, political and religious injustices. First, the villains are the aristocracy, the Tories, Catholics and the higher Anglican clergy – the enemies of the Liberal Revolution. The villains then become the rich, the capitalist, the bourgoisie. And then, in the late 20th and early 21st century, the villain is anyone who dresses well, has taste, who has manners, or who is a “fundamentalist”, a bigot – but must be a religious bigot.

It is interesting to watch films adapted from older stories. The heroes, who once were virtuous chivalrous nobles, are reinvented as rebel teenagers, or “cool” and slovenly – the new virtue: being true to the freedom of one’s emotions, a real “dude”. Any control over one’s behaviour is seen as aristocratic pretence!

C. History Literature
The writing of History by academics is an Enlightenment Project – interpreting events in the past in the Spirit of Progress and Humanism, with the over-arching theme of showing just how evil the Catholic Church and its impact on delaying Progress and Civilisation.

Edward Gibbon’s mighty work – The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire – gives free rein for the author to interpret every event involving the Church in the poorest of light. The Enlightenment interpretation of History becomes the main theme of 19th Century English historians and continues right through the 20th Century.

D. Contemporary Novels
There is little of value in reading present day novels. Many portray the dull, grey lives of people caught in the hopelessness of Modernity: broken marriages, lonely women and abandoned children. Many rely on including immodest sexuality and general acceptance of immorality to identify with the reader. Many portray the challenge of people from multicultural backgrounds adjusting to modern life – with the approval of the author on the side of the modern rather than the traditional.
Novels for men rely heavily on violence, sex, war, and heroes whose heroism omits any other virtues than courage and manly skills. There are no manly heroes in modern novels full of gentleness, kindness, grace, modesty, charity, etc. It would seem inconceivable now that a hero could be manly and courageous and virtuous!! So much for Gawain, Percival, Lancelot and Galahad!

E. The Catholic Novel
Intellectual Catholics in the 20th Century tried to employ the literary novel as a means of portraying Catholic life: Mauriac, Bernanos, Greene and Waugh being the most famous. But they had bought into the Modern agenda. The Catholic novelist had become too aware of modernistic criticism of their novels based on “bringing God” into everyday life. So Catholic novelists based their plots on the main character experiencing some moral dilemma which would be solved in the end by some act of moral heroism generated by Catholic belief. The characters are portrayed as anti-heroes, extreme personalities, ignoble, or self-righteous: all it seems with one eye on the modern critic, who would insist on so-called “realism”.

But one would be then led to believe that Catholicism is nothing but morality – hardly a religion which moves and directs one’s emotions, thoughts, perceptions, interactions with others … totally opposite of the writings of Catholics in the Catholic world who are totally unselfconscious of Catholicism affecting their life.

F. Conclusion
The contemporary media of novels, film and TV dramas are devoid of life. Predominant is the sensational: extreme blatant in-your-face violence and sex, end-of-world scenarios, fantastic super-heroes, or dark portrayals of the everyday life of broken families, abuse, rape, angry men and women. Or progressive propaganda stories which take pleasure in cynically reducing any seemingly “good” or traditional life-style as basically hypocritical and corrupt.

Moral and cultural and subjective Relativism and Reductionism reigns supreme. There is no real substance of beauty, truth or goodness about contemporary culture. No real end nor resolution to life’s problems. Nihilism underpins it all. Concepts of “being nice” and “being tolerant” are pulled out of a hat to save the plot and redeem the hero. No storyline is allowed to really examine where in the “hat” these values come from or why they are there in first place.

The True Story of Fatima

The Three Children of Fatima

The Lady in the Light

by the Rev Father John De Marchi, IMC

1952.

Re-published by Patrimonium Publishing, 2016

[Download Kindle version: truestoryoffatima – a ‘mobi zip file’]

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Introduction

Lucia, Francesco, Jacinta and the Marto Family

The Three Angelic Visitations

First Appearance of Our Lady

Second Appearance of Our Lady

Third Appearance of Our Lady

The Three Children Imprisoned

Fourth Appearance of Our Lady

Fifth Appearance of Our Lady

The Children Examined

Portugal Assembles for a Miracle

Sixth Appearance of Our Lady

The Miracle of the Sun

The Children Examined Again

The Cost of Heaven: Vandalism, Mockery and Persecution

The Chapel

The Cost of Heaven: Francisco’s Offering

The Cost of Heaven: Jacinta’s Offering

The Cost of Heaven: Lucia’s Offering

The First Pilgrimage Statue and Official Persecution

The Chapel Bombed

Miracles

Lucia – a Dorothean Nun

Official Recognition by the Catholic Hierarchy

APPENDIX

I – Letter of Dr Mendes, September 1917

II – Masonic Notice

III – Letter from Lucia, July 1927

IV – The Secret of Fatima

V – Papal Consecration of Russia, July 1952

VI – Analysis of Miracle of Sun

VII – Lucia’s First Communion

VIII – The Seventh Apparition

IX – Erroneous Version of Events

X – The “Unknown Light” – the Extraordinary Aurora of 1938

XI – Father Ferreira’s Defence

XII – The First and Second Secrets

XIII – The Third Secret

The Fall of Mankind

Our First Ancestors – Adam and Eve
Adam and Eve – our first ancestors, generators of all mankind, the pair, wonders of the Universe!

We cannot understand ourselves without knowing our nature, and we cannot know our nature as human beings without knowing our genesis. We are all children of Adam and Eve. We carry within ourselves their nature. They generate to us through time what it is to be a human being.

Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”

So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.
God blessed them and said to them: “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”

Then God said, “I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food. And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds in the sky and all the creatures that move along the ground – everything that has the breath of life in it – I give every green plant for food.”

And it was so.

The Image of God
Adam and Eve were made in the image of God. Not just an animal, a living, breathing thing – but in the image of God: a self-conscious, self-reflective being, a being capable of understanding truth, free to choose among the good things presented to him. Being an animal, transmission of reality is borne through the senses, but being in the image of God, their intellects are in union with the essence of all things sensed. Fundamentally truth-seekers, knowers of the Universe of things. Their intellects go out to all things and unite with them. That is what we are made for: to know truth, to know God, to know what is good, what is the higher good and the lower good and to choose from them.

A little like angels. But angels see the essence of things directly; Adam and Eve indirectly through his senses. Angels live outside of time; but our parents live and us within time.

In the Image of God, Adam and Eve were created with an inbuilt need to direct each everyday act towards God – to love and serve God. The intellect of Adam and Eve demands that they know the Truth – God Himself. Their wills demand that they will, love, and desire, heart and soul, God Himself: that Adam and Eve need the full vision of God to be completely happy and fulfilled as a person.

The fundamental relationship between Man and God is an absolute ingredient, essential to the whole nature of what it is to be a Man. Man is created as a being, a thing, which needs to be in a total relationship with God – a marriage, if you will. Just as the soul and body are constituents of a human being – marriage partners – so also is it necessary, for man to be wholly man, for man to be with God.

This of course means that after the Fall there is no such thing as a fully natural Man. A truly constituent Man is one with God. Without God Man falls apart and becomes disintegrated.

So, they were given great gifts in order to fulfil Man’s nature: God gave them the special gifts of Himself. Firstly, God gave the gifts of the Holy Spirit, the indwelling of God in their hearts, souls and to the very depths of their being.

Secondly, God gave them the gift of infused knowledge of God and nature – angelic knowledge. They had no limitations to their knowledge of things. Their intellects were clear, super-intelligent, knowing the inner essence of each thing directly without analysis – infused knowledge. Thus they knew God, knowing God not just through the senses but by infused knowledge. God talked to them directly. There was no doubt in them as to whom they were with. No doubt either in them over their closeness to God.

Infused knowledge meant that Adam knew an animal or plant in its very essence, as an angel knows. This means that Adam knew not only the parts of things by sense observation, but also, the whole inner essence directly. Each and every cause of each thing. Adam really knew – became one with everything. Adam could sense each animal and plant in depth.

Thirdly, they were given the gifts of immortality and impassability. Adam was immortal. Death had no claim on him. So, although other living creatures died, Adam enjoyed the fruits of immortality – no disease, no weakness, no anguish, no fear, no clashing instincts, no unruly desires, no shame. The gift of impassability meant that Adam could not suffer any injury – nothing could pass into him. Therefore, heaven was present on earth.

Adam and Eve were truly innocent. They experienced no shame, no remorse, no lack of control over their bodies. What they willed to do they did. No unruly passions. Their passions matched the demands of reason and will. They were like children, totally trusting in God.

All these gifts made Adam and Eve the perfect human beings – the Lord and Lady of the Universe!! Lordship over all the material world. With Lordship came real Power.

The Rule and Power of Adam and Eve
Adam and Eve were created as the center of the Universe: the link between the material universe and the world of spirits. This means they were given the rule, as Lord and Master of the material Universe: which means the earth is the centre of the material Universe. Regardless of one’s ideas of galaxies and theories of the expanding universe: the earth, Adam and Eve’s progeny, are the Lords of all the worlds in time and space. There are no “aliens”. No matter how far we explore the material universe, we will find no other living things, which do not come under the rule of Adam.

Adam and Eve are given the right and the power to rule over all living things.

“Now the Lord God had formed out of the ground all the wild animals and all the birds in the sky. He brought them to the man to see what he would name them; and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name. So the man gave names to all the livestock, the birds in the sky and all the wild animals.”

Adam and Eve, before the Fall, had real, effective power over all living things. This means that they had the summation of all the instincts of the animal world – as Lord and Lady. They knew living things in a depth greater than any scientist, not only how they lived but also they had the power to control them. For instance, we, even today, observe animals’ awareness of the subtle changes to the environment, to atmosphere, to evil events, to threats, etc. Adam and Eve could control animals by their very presence, their knowingness of them. At the very beginning, Adam named the animals and by virtue of naming them became their Lord.

Indeed, the lion and lamb could sleep at his side. No animal would worry them. Adam and Eve were actually the mightiest – the most powerful and knowledgeable of all of mankind who have ever lived on earth!

How small, ignorant and ignoble we have become!

The Unselfconscious Adam and Eve

Because of all these gifts of God to Adam and Eve, there was no need for them to analyse reality. Reality was a given. There was no “science”, no Adamic “investigation” into reality. No self-consciousness examination of cause and effect. No questioning of reality.

So, if we could see Adam and Eve then, we would be stunned and shamed at a sight of such truly magnificent creatures: a presence emanating from them that would stun us with our own lowness. We would bow down to the ground in their presence: the King and Queen of Humanity.

And they would be shocked at the existence of us miserable examples of humanity.


The Fall

The Fall of Adam and Eve is the first of the two greatest event in the history of mankind. It is not to be put aside by supposed scientific examination. The event cannot be examined neither by science nor historical research. But the Fall is absolutely evident in our own natures: we know that something has gone wrong!

What went wrong was the Fall!

Adam and Eve rejected walking and living with God. They chose to become as gods – to seek knowledge, knowledge of good and evil, to examine “why?” and “why not?” The temptation was to disobey God in order to know “what if?” To become as gods meant for Adam and Eve to stand back from themselves and to try seeing alternative options, one option being to take and eat the apple.

The evil entered them before eating the apple – the choice was already made: to be as gods. The serpent, Satan, assisted the process, by giving them the option.

To disobey God meant rejecting all the gifts. To choose to be gods was to choose the pride of life: this garden is mine; this knowledge I have been given is mine; I own it all. This all is mine. The great decision to stand apart from God created a division in Man’s nature: fundamentally he will now become “unnatural”!

In an instant Adam and Eve lost the gifts: they lost the indwelling of God in their hearts in rejecting God. They turned from the love of God and in doing so rejected His gifts.

They lost the gift of infused knowledge – knowledge now would have to be worked out through analysis, deduction, abstraction. But they would have retained the memory of all that they previously knew. Thus there would now be a degenerating knowledge of Man about Nature as time progressed.

They lost the gift of immortality and impassability. They would die. They could be injured.

And the consequence of mortality is that heaven is lost. No man nor women would enter heaven. The very nature of Man is to be in the Image of God. Our nature is to live forever with God as physical beings in paradise. Death is the result of the disjoint reality of Man divorced from God. The afterlife would now be a place without the presence of God. Death and an afterlife without God are totally Unnatural to Man. Hell, Hades, Sheol, are all terms describing the “unnatural” end of Man’s life. Every man feels this loss, this challenge of Death – the loss of one’s body – totally depressing, and an end where one’s soul is divorced from the body to wander in the shades for eternity.

And they lost their innocence. They knew shame. Suddenly both Adam and Eve were aware of their lack of control over their bodies: the flesh warring against the soul. Only the Love of God indwelling in them could keep their being integrated. Without that indwelling of God the will is at war with the body. What they will not to do, they do; what they will to do they do not! Lust in all its aspects – thirsting for sex, power, possessions – is at war with their wills. The sexual passions run riot through their bodies – their bodies visibly demanding satisfaction. All a great visible shame. Their bodies had to be covered.

Personal sin now enters the life of every man: not only the Original Divorce from Heaven brought about by the transmission of Adam to his progeny, but also the prideful rebellion of each man’s heart against God: the aggregation of little to big transgressions of the will against what is good, and each one’s willingness against Nature, God and His goodness demanding Just deserts.

They lost also their Lordship of the visible World: now dominated by disunity and discord, death and disease. Satan now becomes the Prince of this world, rather than Adam and Eve in unity with the Holy Angels in Heaven. Nature is now divorced from mankind. Animals will now bite and threaten. Even the very course of the stars and planets and interaction with the earth now are out of kilter. The harmony of the earth and the universe is now disrupted by earthquakes, and violent storms from which we would have been protected. The Nature of the Material Universe now heads downwards.

The biological decay of the Universe affects us right down to the microscopic core: viruses multiply; cell divisions cease without reason; or cancerously multiply; and cells start dying without known biological triggers. The Lord of the Garden of Eden, is exiled into a world of dying and death.

The Effect on Mankind and History
From now on all men inherit all the inabilities, the disjointedness, the lack of integrity, of Adam and Eve. Man is disjoint with the Universe and Nature. Man is now fully open to all the snares Satan and his minions lay before such weaklings! There is no Progress now, but a Great Fall Down through Time of Mankind. Knowledge of God slowly weakens until, as thousands of years go by, man even questions the existence of God. Knowledge of spiritual realities becomes muddied, superstition grows, scepticism grows, and the universal feeling of alienation becomes the ground of people’s existence. Hopeless.

Since we all have to suffer the discomforts of tiredness, ignorance, disease and eventually die, technology and religion now become the marks of mankind on earth. Technology – the making of things, of wheels, of fire, of an infinite variety of implements, of roads and cities, means of transport. All to lessen the impact of approaching death, to mark time! to make some kind of contentment until death.

Religions are founded to assuage the onset of misfortune on earth and to ease the prospect of death. All die knowing there will be reward and punishment for the unavoidable evils we cause in our lives. Justice hangs like a sword above our heads. Death and the afterlife threaten. Mankind sacrifices to the gods to make up for the underlying evil in our hearts.

Mankind progresses in technology, while trying to avoid the inevitable. And the progress of technology, the ever-growing complexities of social, political and economic global life, cushions Mankind from the inevitable, and indeed makes Man even forget the inevitable, until Man turns his back on Death, pretends that it does not exist, or has little import.

And Nature? Nature falls with Man. Over time all the species of the earth will gradually die away. The Gardener has lost his way.

The Future
Without the grace of God, Mankind will make greater and greater civilisations, exceedingly complex, world-binding, soul-binding. Mankind will become as little spoilt children teased with the promise of endless pleasures, and obedient to vindictive Masters given over to the Prince of this World.

The Afterlife: Heaven, Hell or other?

Our Modern Age seems to have a very vague sense of the afterlife: most of us definitely do not want to even think about it. When we do, it is when someone close to us dies, a friend dies, a child dies … and we hear vague statements about the deceased somehow in some way surviving in some kind of afterlife.

It doesn’t really matter that we see ourselves as atheists, but more probably, agnostics – God doesn’t come into it. We still have this “hope” that something of ourselves survives death: as a soul, as a bird, as a star, part of a rainbow, a something more than a memory, a sort of angel or fairy thingey.

Those intimations are indeed from the vast store of mankind’s beliefs since time began! Every race, religion, tribe, clan, kingdom, civilisation, believed in some kind of afterlife, even the caveman. One of the oldest remains of the most ancient grave sites of pre-historic man had grave goods as part of his and her burial – goods to accompany the dead on their journey to the afterlife.

There are common strands in mankind’s beliefs about the afterlife: a place of punishment and reward, a land of shadows, where there is some connexion between the living and the dead, some kind of journey takes place, and there is final destination determined by one’s actions while alive.

This place of the afterlife is called by many names: Hades to the Greeks and Romans, Sheol to the Jews, and the names of the various “heavens” and “hells” in Buddhism and Hinduism, “happy hunting grounds” of the North American Indians, the home of the ancestors in very many cultures, etc. In both China and Japan there is a very deep connexion between the ancestors and one’s family. Traditional beliefs entailed the idea that there remains some kind of real connexion between the living and the dead.

As an aside here: Buddhism has become an alternative belief for many non-religious Moderns – quiet meditation, a take-it-or-leave-it disciplined way of life, a set of non-threatening moral commands, and an end in eternal bliss. Yet how disturbing it is to see paintings in Thailand of the tortures in the Buddhist Hell – the absolute horrors of the damned – those who break the traditional natural laws common to mankind. And then to look back and examine the very real strictures of traditional Buddhism in contrast to the cafeteria Buddhism of Moderns.

Together with these common traditional beliefs about the afterlife, is the common need by the traditional bereaved to help the dead on their journey by prayers and grave gifts for sustenance for the trip. Traditional rituals also made the very necessary sacrifice of an animal or precious thing to mollify the spirits in charge of the departed.

It is natural to mankind to believe in an afterlife of some kind. Modern confusion comes from the decline of Christianity in the Western world, the separation of modern people from their traditional cultures which gave a secure understanding of death and the afterlife, and the growth of religious agnosticism, which has cast modern man adrift at the very time in his life when he confronts the “fact” of death.

What happens is that the death event calls up one’s own standing to one’s religious beliefs – guilt generally – a determined running away from anything resembling “superstition” (after all, we are progressive, scientific people), but then the need also to handle the huge impact death has on our lives.

After all, the fact of death is the most confronting, truly terrible event in our lives. There is no avoiding the fact. This fear of “nothingness” or the fear of the totally unknown experience or the fear of losing one’s body is truly a terrible event. Even to those who believe in an afterlife: death is the tearing of one’s body away from the person. “I, the me, the identity, may indeed survive, but there is no way that whatever comes next, will ever be the same, without my body, the physical expression of what makes me a human being!” Such grief there is in the prospect of one’s own death or that of a loved one. One will never be in that experienced relationship ever … ever again. What a loss!

“Heaven”?
And so, we mix up a whole vague set of ideas to make us comfortable. Some vague sense of Heaven is mentioned. We need to feel that our loved one is happy in some way, and so we talk about “heaven”. But what or where is “heaven”.

Traditional non-Christian heaven is totally unlike Christian heaven. The trouble is that modern man mixes up the bits of the Christian heaven with bits of the old heavens of the past. So, lets get things straightened out!

Yes, indeed, in the non-Christian traditional heaven,a good person who dies, an innocent child who dies, may indeed go to a place of happiness – a happiness of light and beauty, a gentle refreshment of “heart” and soul. The person is rewarded by the demands of justice riding through the universe that good shall be rewarded and evil punished. There is no escaping the demands of justice, otherwise life on earth is totally meaningless: anyone can do anything evil they like and get away with it at death! Those agnostics who thirst for justice in the modern progressive thrust of political debate, who are the first to speak out about the obvious injustices of this world, must then by logic demand that justice be done, otherwise their words are just pointless! And so, nature demands justice! it is part of our DNA. If not in this life then in the next, Justice will come: the good are rewarded and the evil are punished.

Justice demands punishment, the “law of Karma” or the Natural Law, or the “Tao” of the East, is written in our conscience, governs the universe, nature demands reward and punishment. Those who need punishment are sent further “down” the levels of a Hades or Sheol; those who are the just are sent further “up”.

Where does the idea of forgiveness, and softness regarding death?

We all fail by the demands of Justice. The traditional “heaven” looks to be filled only with the souls of the very young and the souls of the few “just” men and women.

And so, we mix in Christian belief in the forgiveness of sins (from out of thin air!), and the old traditional belief of heaven, leaving a vague sense of everything being all right after all – no need for sorrow except for the personal loss of relationship, and a vague hope that we will see or be with our loved one again in some way or another.

The Christian heaven is totally beyond such naturalistic traditional beliefs. The Christian belief is that we are called to be perfect, to be with God Himself, to become God-like, to share the vision of the intensity of the love of Almighty God, God about Whom it is said: “To see God is to die!” – a vision so beyond imagining. More frightening than Death itself! More frightening if not for Love itself. If we are not perfect and full of Love when we die, we, if willing, will be made lovingly perfect – a very, very painful but loving process for most of us. And finally, we will have our bodies back, glorified, “super-bodies” physically and joyfully, ecstatically, in touch with our loving families, and friends.

The Christian heaven is nothing like the traditional belief in some “heavenly” after-life. No place of relative peace and happiness, of those demeaning images of playing harps, but a thrusting into a full personal facing-up to and with God Himself. And the so-called “forgiveness of sins” that we so magically call up to comfort us at the thought of death, comes at a price! Justice dying at the hands of Injustice for Mercy’s sake: a price we are all called to pay.

So, us Moderns scramble around avoiding the confrontation which death brings concomitant with religious belief. We end up “celebrating” the life of the deceased, but not giving them what they may desperately need – prayers to help them on their way. To pray for them and to make sacrifices, would entail belief in some kind of invisible authority above us. Even many Christian funeral rituals have mainly succumbed to the modern need to celebrate a life rather than to mollify the guardians of the souls.

To avoid such religious complications, we mix in a little reincarnation here or a little New Age Spiritualism here: the deceased becomes a bird, a fairy, a sparkling thought, and maybe even a little angel. But real connexion? We avoid the very real connexion with the deceased soul, spirit, a real being – good or bad – who we may pray to (to talk entreatingly with), who may pray for us, may hear our prayers, and may silently be present in our daily lives. Traditional beliefs firm up these connexions.

But we Moderns honour them with a photo as a reminder to ourselves, but avoid their presence in our continuing lives just at the time when we most desperately need them, in case that entails the supposed “silliness” of ghosts, goblins, and “spirits”.

For all others, except us Moderns, the whole event of death and the process afterwards is accompanied with age-old ritual which encompasses the whole nature of man and the very general sensible beliefs about the afterlife and death. It is still of great comfort to the dead to visit the grave site and lay flowers, gifts of life, not just as a memory, but a real reaching out to the dead – “I am here, dear. I am with you. Pray for me.”

And so sad this all is – this Modernity, this creeping atheism, a world of nothingness, of nothing good nor evil. If the traditional belief in an afterlife is true – that there is some real justice in the Universe; that there is some final meaning somewhere – then many of us Moderns who die are drastically missing out on the prayers and the sacrifices which are needed to accompany us and to sustain us after death.

Thankfully there are many still who offer those prayers and sacrifices for us all, including the Moderns.

The Incredibles and The Resurrection

Recently, I took the guilty opportunity to watch The Incredibles replayed on TV, while my wife and daughter were watching British drama on the main TV. I had been informed in the past that The Incredibles was a good film, but then again I have been so disapppointed by recommendations of contemporary animated films: their obvious moral relativism, their rude, tawdry preoccupation with adult issues disguised as childishness, rather than childlike innocence; their political ideologies, etc. They are cleverly constructed, and only very mildly amusing. In fact, I had given up going to any film on release, relying on the video release, so I can fast-forward through the graphic sex and violence and perhaps, just perhaps, enjoy what may be a really interesting story.

Well, The Incredibles took me by surprise. I was enchanted and experienced some joy, like the little boy on the tricycle at the end of the film, who expresses great delight at the final display of superpowers by the ordinary family next door. Wonderful indeed. But why? After all, this was the second time in 15 years I had been really impressed by any cultural work.Fifteen years ago I accompanied my art history students on a tour of France and Italy. Unexpectedly, we were all more impressed by Giotto’s narratives in the Arena Chapel and Martini’s Annunciation panel in the Uffizi than all the Renaissance works put together. According to the learned, and I count myself included, we should have experienced the Renaissance works as superior, conveying the nature of the Catholic Faith more effectively through greater, more convincing naturalism. Instead, Giotto’s narratives and ornate Mediaeval altarpieces carried the day.

Last year, I retired from teaching, and we immigrated to Sydney, Australia, from little ol’ NZ (Kiwiland). We joined the Maternal Heart of Mary Traditional Catholic Mass FSSP Community at Lewisham in Sydney. After a month going to Solemn High Mass there, the same feeling washed over me – heartfelt joy and hope. I looked to my wife and there she was, in tears of happiness. We were both actually singing Latin Gregorian, among clouds of incense, the Elevation among pealing bells, candles, the profound bowing, the numerous genuflections, the veils and Medieval Latin hymns.

The Incredibles, Medieval Art and Traditional Solemn High Mass? I think I could throw into this mix the climax of Pride and Prejudice, and Frodo’s cry of “Elbereth, Githoniel” in Shelob’s lair.

I may hazard a guess about reactions to Giotto and Medieval Art – innocence, purity and especially humility – the Mystery of Faith, human and divine. The same with the Gregorian Solemn High Mass. There is profound gentleness and no sentimentality.

But why The Incredibles?

The little boy realises that there are indeed super bodies which only he could dream about in his wildest dreams. Yes, the goodies win, but what joy to behold “ordinary” people possessing what may in fact be a promise to us all, an expectation that we might break free from the limitations of physics. I think, Startrek fans share similar fantasies. But then all mankind share this dream: that if we could have our way, we would live forever as human beings with real bodies, to fly, to go where no man has gone before, to thrill with absolute bodily freedom free from the limitations of our world. I do not think we really want “spiritual”bodies – real, physical bodies is what we would prefer, thank you very much. The Greek and Germanic gods had such bodies, and I suppose, most other developed religions thought the same.

Human beings really do want to live forever. But then we want to be happy as well. Death sucks. The little boy, in The Incredibles, like the rest of us, has a sneaking suspicion that it all may be possible, and that is why we respond with him – yes, let me have one too. And the reason for our reticence in voicing our hope in this fantastic possibility – to live bodily forever – is that none has set us a scientifically-proved example of breaking the barriers of physical space and time.

But, one cannot have this gift unless one is prepared to accept the full truth of the Passion, the Sacrifice, the Cross and the will to join oneself with Him. So, we can enjoy the ecstatic vision of God by becoming God in His Flesh and Blood, hearts which become like the Sacred Heart which can stand the demands of love of the Vision of God Himself.

It is all physical, mate! Christianity is all about bodies. About the hope of having a body with a heart so big that Mr Incredible’s body size and self-sacrifice is nothing compared to Christ or what is demanded of us. Yep! Christianity is Incredible. It is incredible that any group of Jews or Gentiles 2000 years could have invented a set of promises which infinitely surpasses the rationalism and idealism of Greek philosophy, the promises of all other religions of the world, and answers and surpasses the hidden heartfelt desires and yearning of the whole of humanity.

The bold claim by Christians that Jesus Christ did exactly that – overcome with His body the limitations of time and space – has been attacked from every possible angle, by historians, by scholars, by scientific theorists, even by Christians themselves. In these years of the Post-Modern world, the very meaning of the terms of “The Resurrection” have been nuanced out of existence. We have people making claims that this event is no more than what a Buddhist or Hindu means about heaven – a state of perfection of the soul reaching the highest levels, and purified by good living. Or we have some Christians claiming that this Resurrection is a Resurrection “event” – a symbol of hope in goodness and hope in the future of some kind of “spiritual” perfection. A faith in having faith. A symbol of the need to have good feelings about each other, to be kind and nice to each other. We have replaced the physical meaning of the Resurrection with “finding ourselves”, “looking for the spirit inside ourselves”, closing our eyes and meditating, etc. All very “wishy-washy”, vague, insubstantial – nothing new here because human society has always had its “spiritual improvement” side-by-side with its “moral movements”. A Heaven with resurrected physical bodies has been replaced by a “state of goodness”, a “state of perfection”, a higher state of [here it comes….] “spirituality”. And with this “spiritualizing” of our hopes and dreams, the “Real Presence” becomes a “spiritual” presence of Christ – no wonder the tabernacles have been removed to the side altars!I don’t think the little boy in the film would jump up and down with these beliefs. These reductive beliefs about the Resurrection are joyless, washed-out, “mellowed”, “reflective”, self-absorbed, and certainly not physical. So, what is the content of Christian belief about the Resurrection and Heaven.

Christ had a real physical body after the Resurrection. Hundreds of Christians, not just the Apostles, saw, touched, ate, and drank with Him. He appeared at any time at any place. His Resurrected Bodily Presence was so powerful that Christianity became a religion based almost solely on the Apostles and others proclaiming His Resurrection, certainly not because he was a good, loving guy who died for our sins, and not because of his nice teachings. It was the physical fact of the Resurrection – the in-your-face physical fact.

Secondly, He promises that we all will have recognisably our own bodies, bodies which will live forever, perfect ageless bodies which will be able to do anything , not restricted to the must-therefore-be very “provisional” laws of this universe. We will be able to fly from one end of an endless universe to the other in no time.Thirdly, we have been promised the ecstatic vision of the Face of God – the Face that the cherubim and seraphim cover their eyes from, the Face that one glimpse would sear your eyeballs in their sockets, the glow of which would burn one’s flesh off one’s bones, the vision of Love which would make one’s heart leap out of one’s chest, and a vision which only God can endure. And all in the company of other physical gods and goddesses, physical princes and princesses of a physical heaven, in place and time (but not our time).

Now the big point – our hearts and minds cannot take the power of these promises. We cannot take the infinite on board just like that. To experience the infinite and eternal is for gods. This Revelation of Christ is that we can only enjoy these things of God Himself unless we become in our hearts and minds perfect like God Himself. Our hearts and minds, the very substance of what we are, has to grow in this world in order to embrace fully the possibilities of the next. Christ promises us this absolutely mind-boggling future – a future which will come anyway, a future which every human being born on this planet will experience. Some will have a bad experience of this future. Why? because they reject the very openness to the fundamental love required to enjoy the physicality of the new world – I imagine that they will live “point-bodies” circling within themselves forever. Others of us, may, we hope, become purified after death. This will be a very, very painful experience! An extreme heart-rending experience, which only the saints have experienced in this life. An experience where every unintegrated desire will be expunged by the fire of love. Only those who have fully experienced the sacrifice of the Cross will be able to enjoy these promises. Unlike the Muslims, the promise of a physical heaven demands a fundamental change in our very physical substance.

Fourthly, He gives us the physical nature of Himself in the Eucharist – the god-making power of His Body and Blood – the physical stuff of the future so that we can be the Incredibles for real! As soon as one starts to theologize, to rationalize, about this promise it is reduced. He – the Lord of the Universe, the Resurrection Himself – is “physically” present, localized, in the Tabernacle, in the Host, unlike any “spiritual” presence. The words of the early Church Fathers and John’s Gospel use Greek terms like “crunch” and “gnaw” on his bones. Those are not to be taken symbolically, or “spiritually”.

In conclusion, Giotto’s narratives convey the profound humility of Christ and a humility of what is required of us; the Medieval altarpieces convey the physical glory of the promises in the sheer physical substances of gold and fine detailed rendering of everything with such gentleness and quiet joy; the Traditional Solemn Mass conveys the same gentle, pure, humble, many-layered reality of the Promises. Here at these Masses in particular, the physical reality of the sheer mind-boggling Face of God and the Sacrifice necessary for us, is made present in the only way possible for us in this world. The modern Mass on the other hand is too nuanced, too vague, too obviously hand-made, too comfortable, and too “spiritual” – needing further instruction for the faithful to understand things which it cannot convey. The Incredibles convey the shared joy in the very possibility of the promises of Christ.

This day, August 15 is the Feast of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary – taken physically to heaven, the first of mankind to experience heaven with a body. Mary, the most humble maiden, is now magnified in Heaven, she now physically sees her son’s physical Face to her physical face in his glory. She now sees us as we are now, hears our said prayers, is present where she wills to be, her will being totally united with her son’s will. Her intercessions for us are physically-present as a mother of her adopted sons and daughters. In our eating her son’s Body and Blood, we are more than her adopted sons and daughters – we are physically made her real sons and daughters. She has now become our real physical Mother.

Pray for us, Holy Mother of God, that we may be made worthy of the Promises of Christ.