Sunday, November 04, 2012

Weigel commemorates the socio-political dethronement of Christ the King

Do not for a moment mistake what I say here as a brief supporting the regnant imperious administration of Black Messiah. It is but a caveat concerning elements in the Neoconservative Catholic support of the classical liberalism of Republicanism that I find inimical to the traditional Catholic Faith.

There are good reasons why Catholic bishops and Neoconservatives have been re-thinking their traditional alignment with the Democratic Party as the party of the working man and traditional Catholic family values -- namely, because the Party has long-abandoned those values in a history littered with Griswold v. Connecticut (1965), Roe v. Wade (1973), the mainstreaming and celebration of homosexualist values, same-sex "marriage," and opposition to Catholic moral teaching.

By the same token, there are many good reasons why Catholic Neoconservatives have been shifting their support to the Republican Party over the last several decades. Republican opposition to the egregiously overstepping provisions of Obamacare and the HHS Mandate are, certainly, understandable reasons for supporting its candidates. And this is but the most recent history of Catholic support for classic liberal opposition, in the spirit of Ludwig von Mises, to big government. Witness Michael Novak, the late Fr. Richard John Neuhaus and William Buckley, Tom Woods, Lew Rockwell, and the ever-loquacious and prolific George Weigel.

At the same time, however, resident within the classical liberalism of the Republican tradition are elements that should give pause to any Catholic who knows and values traditional Catholic social teaching. Without going into detail, let us just say here that that teaching refuses to compartmentalize the reign of Christ, suggesting that He is King and Lord only of our private spiritual lives, but not over our collective social life as confessing Catholics in the public square.

This, however, is precisely what Neoconservative Catholics like George Weigel espouse. Take, for example, his recent essay, "Constantine and Campaign 2012" (National Review Online, November 3, 2012). Here he describes Vatican II as signaling the liberation from a long Constantinian captivity of the Church, which, in his view, was mistaken to get involved in presuming to extend the Kingship of Christ over the secular realm.

Here, again, is a YouTube interview in which Weigel describes Vatican II's document, Dignitatis Humanae, as liberating the Catholic Church from a 1700-year "Babylonian Captivity" since Constantine's Edict of Milan (AD 313). The problem with his view lies not in his criticism of political and spiritual corruption of various political and religious leaders during that nearly two-millennium period, but rather in his dismissal of the very acceptability of the socio-political Lordship of Christ, which popes have consistently emphasized in their official teaching up until Vatican II.

What this amounts to, in practical terms, is the Neoconservative embrace of the classic liberal political tradition of Protestant America, with its particular interpretation of the separation of Church and state and disestablishment cause as a normative and positive development for American Catholics. In our present climate, I'm sorry to say that this is ridiculous. It might have been plausible in the 1940s and 1950s, back when thinkers like Jacques Maritain and Fr. John Courtney Murray, S.J., were cutting their teeth in political philosophy, to have assumed that the American experiment, with it's "naked public square" and privitization of religious values, was a good and viable project. No more so. The spiritual antithesis has been drawn in the sand, and his imperial highness, the Black Messiah, has thrown down the gauntlet. There is no neutral ground. You are either for Christ as King, or against Him.

And, if you are truly FOR Christ as King, you cannot expect Him to restrict His jurisdiction to just the private spiritual domain our our prayer and liturgical life. Rather, as Abraham Kuyper once declared in one of his more prescient moments, "There is not one square inch of the entire creation about which Jesus Christ does not cry out, 'This is mine! This belongs to me!'"


Steve "scotju" Dalton said...

Amen PP, amen!

Anonymous said...

"It might have been plausible in the 1940s and 1950s [with] Jacques Maritain and Fr. John Courtney Murray, S.J., ... No more so."

Exactly. Weigel can be quite encouraging, but when he tackles VII issues he is a bit too much the JPII PR machine. That narrative simply does not quite fit. All V2s' contributions will only be appreciated when at the same time the over-reach in novelties is also reckoned with.

Ralph Roister-Doister said...

I wish I had seen your essay sooner, PP. It is spot on.

Weigel owes his comfortable life to JP2. His fawning books have brought him eminence, influence, and creature comforts. Follow the money. Weigel is writ large what Mark Shea is writ tiny.

Laicism, in the sense of tipping the balance of power between cleric and lay person toward the latter, has been regarded in better times as heresy. But in future times I suspect that V2 might be recognized as an outbreak of laicism within the Church itself. And V2 laicism is certainly understandable as the real world outcome of Karl Rahner's hegelian cum existentialist noodlings, as Rahner was the most influential of the Great Council's periti.

V2 was rife with proposals for abridging and restricting the roles of clerics -- everything from freeing them from their traditional asceticism, and abridging their requirements of prayer, to scaling back their duties within the parish. Those proposals not adopted by the council were adopted soon after, during the period of implosion popularly known as "the spirit of Vatican II."

And what did these priests do with all their newly gained free time? Many of them left the priesthood and became hippies, social workers, and stock brokers (no I am NOT kidding). Many of them remained and became even worse: ask Rembert Weakland of Milwaukee; ask Ab Hubbard of Albany; ask Cdl Law of Boston – no shortage of names to choose from, no shortage of scandals over which they presided (or in some cases, arguably, enabled).

In the face of this five decade busman's holiday on the part of our clerics, the various kitschy calls to holiness, to sainthood, to ministry etc, have placed a variety of priestly responsibilities upon the laity, who have reduced the faith to infantilism -- or have simply left it all behind in favor of the porcine lifestyle.

Thus Rahner's laicist dreams became the fulcrum for Murray's libertarian adventurism, and Murray's adventurism the fulcrum for the present ataxia.

Pertinacious Papist said...

Thanks, Ralph.