Monday, December 17, 2012

Paul Harvey: "If I Were the Devil"

According to the editor of this clip, the original version of this speech probably originated about 1965. Snopes traces it to a newspaper column in 1964. In any case, the present version of it is probably (according to both the editor of this clip and Snopes) from about 1996.

Harvey's little speech is often credited with representing an amazingly prescient prediction. Rather, what it represents, in my opinion, is the discernment that nearly anyone would have with some degree of spiritual sensitivity to the cultural drift of the times.

It's amusing to hear expressions used that are no longer part of common parlance today, like "square," "dirty movies," and "swinging." But his points are direct and hard-hitting.

A more interesting question, perhaps, is why so many would likely find this kind of account unconvincing or downright offensive. Paradigm shift. Greased skids for hell.


I am not Spartacus said...

Ecclesia Docens has been superseded by The Ecclesia Dialogus and it happened during the time that Mr. Harvey describes.

Before he was elected Pope - and before he had a Twitter Account - Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger confessed we (The Catholic Church) had made our peace with the Triumphant French Revolution;

Let us content ourselves here with stating that the text [of Gaudium et spes] plays the role of a counter-Syllabus to the measure that it represents an attempt to officially reconcile the Church with the world as it had become after 1789. On one hand, this visualization alone clarifies the ghetto complex that we mentioned before. On the other hand, it permits us to understand the meaning of this new relationship between the Church and the Modern World. "World" is understood here, at depth, as the spirit of modern times. The consciousness of being a detached group that existed in the Church viewed this spirit as something separate from herself and, after the hot as well as cold wars were over, she sought dialogue and cooperation with it.

Reconciliation, dialogue and cooperation with our ancient enemy the world; as Saint Cole Porter wrote, who could ask for anything more?

I am not Spartacus said...

Dang...cultural heresy; it was Gershwin, not Cole

I am not Spartacus said...

And now, for a slice of Pie:

"Hear this maxim, O you, Catholics full of temerity, who so quickly adopt the ideas and the language of your time, you who speak of reconciling the faith and of reconciling the Church with the modern spirit and with the new law. And you who accept with so much confidence the most dangerous pursuits of what our age so pridefully labels "Science," see to what extent you are straying from the program set out by the great Apostle, "O Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding the profane novelties of words, and oppositions of knowledge falsely so-called" (I Tim. 6:20). But take heed. With such temerities, one is soon led farther than he first had thought. And in placing themselves on the slope of profane novelties—in obeying the currents of so-called science—many have lost the Faith.
Have you not often been saddened, and taken fright, my venerable brothers, on hearing the language of certain men, who believe themselves still to be sons of the Church, men who still practice occasionally as Catholics and who often approach the Lord's Table? Do you still believe them to be sons, do you still believe them to be members of the Church, those who, wrapping themselves in such vague phrases as modern aspirations and the force of progress and civilization, proclaim the existence of a "consciousness of the laity," of a secular and political conscience opposed to the "conscience of the Church," against which they assume the right to react, for its correction and renewal? Ah! So many passengers, and even pilots, who, believing themselves to be yet in the barque, and playing with profane novelties and the lying science of their time, have already sunk and are in the abyss. "

Cardinal Pie Sermon of Nov 25th 1864

Anonymous said...

'Spartacus, you are an endless file of excellent resources.

Anonymous said...

G. K. Chesterton also sang the praises of the French Revolution. Read WHAT'S WRONG WITH THE WORLD.


I am not Spartacus said...

Traditionalists; Tear down that Catholic Fortress and invite your enemy inside; they all worship the same God we do.

One can't build the civilisation of love on the common ground of shared values with the world beside a ghetto where there still exists an ancient fortress of Faith and which Faith was admitted by all to be an exclusive and Triumphant Church; one must tear down that fortress and in its place establish an effete ecumenical ecclesia of tents that will help usher in an era of peace where we may all seek unity at Assisi where we will smoke the pipe of peace with the disciples of the Great Thumb.

As he observed in "Principles of Catholic Theology," by Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger

Does this mean that the Council should be revoked? Certainly not. It means only that the real reception of the Council has not yet even begun. What devastated the Church in the decade after the Council was not the Council but the refusal to accept it. This becomes clear precisely in the history of the influence of Gaudium et spes. What was identified with the Council was, for the most part, the expression of an attitude that did not coincide with the statements to be found in the text itself, although it is recognizable as a tendency in its development and in some of its individual formulations. The task is not, therefore, to suppress the Council but to discover the real Council and to deepen its true intention in the light of the present experience. That means that there can be no return to the Syllabus, which may have marked the first stage in the confrontation with liberalism and a newly conceived Marxism but cannot be the last stage. In the long run, neither embrace nor ghetto can solve for Christians the problem of the modern world.The fact is,as Hans Urs von Balthasar pointed out as early as 1952, that the "demolition of the bastions" is a long-overdue task.

Sheldon said...


I wasn't aware of Chesterton praising the French Revolution; but I was shocked to learn that Hilaire Belloc did. It must have been something in the pipe tobacco smoked by those two otherwise brilliant men.

Anonymous said...

I wonder how people who think that Chesterton can do no wrong (some even think that he should be canonized) explain this to themselves.
I didn’t know this about Belloc but I haven’t read much of what he wrote. I didn’t enjoy anything of his that I read. I’m sorry but not surprised that he was on the same page as Chesterton on this topic. I have his book on the F.R. I guess I won’t be reading it.


Pertinacious Papist said...

Hi Donna,

This French Revolution connection with the Chester-Belloc axis is new to me. One thing I can tell you about Belloc, however, is that his character studies are marvellous! For example, his book, _Characters of the Reformation_, is excellent. I've only read a few others, which are of an uneven quality, but his basic instincts (like those of Chesterton) seem right most of the time. Which is what surprises me about this mentioned connection. Good to hear from you! -P.B.

Jordanes551 said...

What exactly did Belloc and Chesterton say about the French Revolution? What was the nature of their alleged praise?

Anonymous said...

I don't know about Belloc but here are some quotes from the book WHAT'S WRONG WITH THE WORLD by Chesterton. Sorry that a quote of two is too long but I tried to put them in context. I hightlighted the most important as I see it but they don't show in the comments.

"The world had always loved the notion of the poor man uppermost; it can be proved by every legend from Cinderella to Whittington, by every poem from the Magnificat to the Marseillaise. The kings went mad against France not because she idealized this ideal, but because she realized it. Joseph of Austria and Catherine of Russia quite agreed that the people should rule; what horrified them was that the people did. The French Revolution, therefore, is the type of all true revolutions, because its ideal is as old as the Old Adam, but its fulfilment almost as fresh, as miraculous, and as new as the New Jerusalem."

"There are only three things in the world that women do not understand; and they are Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity. But men (a class little understood in the modern world) find these things the breath of their nostrils; and our most learned ladies will not even begin to understand them until they make allowance for this kind of cool camaraderie."

"It is always said that great reformers or masters of events can manage to bring about some specific and practical reforms, but that they never fulfill their visions or satisfy their souls. I believe there is a real sense in which this apparent platitude is quite untrue. By a strange inversion the political idealist often does not get what he asks for, but does get what he wants. The silent pressure of his ideal lasts much longer and reshapes the world much more than the actualities by which he attempted to suggest it. What perishes is the letter, which he thought so practical. What endures is the spirit, which he felt to be unattainable and even unutterable. It is exactly his schemes that are not fulfilled; it is exactly his vision that is fulfilled. Thus the ten or twelve paper constitutions of the French Revolution, which seemed so business-like to the framers of them, seem to us to have flown away on the wind as the wildest fancies. What has not flown away, what is a fixed fact in Europe, is the ideal and vision. The Republic, the idea of a land full of mere citizens all with some minimum of manners and minimum of wealth, the vision of the eighteenth century, the reality of the twentieth. So I think it will generally be with the creator of social things, desirable or undesirable. All his schemes will fail, all his tools break in his hands. His compromises will collapse, his concessions will be useless. He must brace himself to bear his fate; he shall have nothing but his heart's desire."

Burke was certainly not an atheist in his conscious cosmic theory, though he had not a special and flaming faith in God, like Robespierre. Nevertheless, the remark had reference to a truth which it is here relevant to repeat. I mean that in the quarrel over the French Revolution, Burke did stand for the atheistic attitude and mode of argument, as Robespierre stood for the theistic. The Revolution appealed to the idea of an abstract and eternal justice, beyond all local custom or convenience. If there are commands of God, then there must be rights of man. Here Burke made his brilliant diversion; he did not attack the Robespierre doctrine with the old mediaeval doctrine of jus divinum (which, like the Robespierre doctrine, was theistic)...."


I take no pleasure in pointing this out.

Pertinacious Papist said...

Thanks much Donna. This is a help.

We spent New Year's Eve in the home of a good friend and canon lawyer who is also a great fan of both Chesterton and Belloc. He acknowledged their favorable attitude toward the French Revolution but added the caveat that Belloc himself was a Frenchman, which colored his perspective, that few people of their time understood the full magnitude of the French Revolution until the wide dissemination of historical data we have available today. He also pointed out other historical gaffes by both, such as Chesterton's view that the First World War was not only a just but glorious war! Hindsight is always so much clearer, isn't it!

God bless! -- Phil