Tuesday, February 21, 2017

We Are [Are Not] The World.

A courier pigeon from Guy Noir came flying in my open window this afternoon with a message from last October. Not sure what happened here, though the weather has been unseasonably warm of late.

So back on October 15, 2016 Noir apparently wrote this message linking to an article by James V. Schall, S.J., "On Universal Citizenship" (The Catholic Thing, October 11, 2016). Noir's handwriting was barely legible (was he back to nipping that bourbon again before breakfast?). In a scrawled hand, he wrote:
The fundamental difference in trad vs modern Catholics: is modern man at enmity with God? Fr Schall hits the nail on the head in such a single, graceful paragraph no one even notices or hears the "bam!" of impact.
Here are the key excerpts:
From high over the planet in a space capsule, all boundaries on earth disappear. It looks like one unified system below....

Why would it not be a good thing, many ask, if we discarded the political frontiers? We could all be citizens of the same world-government....

Mankind is tired of all this violence. It causes wars. Wars are caused by distinctions, by differing religions, by racism, by poverty, by genderism, by property. Let everyone have access to everything. We can eliminate evil. This is the “right” of every world citizen if given his due.

Above all, no set “doctrines” exist, no “sins,” except for the denial of world citizenship without restrictions....

Yes, we are no longer Gentiles or Jews, Romans or Greeks, barbarians or civilized, Christians or Muslims or Hindus, or Chinese. Nothing is above us. Nothing is below us. We are impatient. We have waited long enough! We are at home everywhere. Nowhere is alien to us.

I look at these claims as a reader of Augustine. He already understood most of these things in the fifth century after Christ. He thought them all mostly true – but only after this life. Here, we are in a vale of tears, a broken world. We are not asked to save the world, but to save our souls in a world mostly at odds with what it means to save our souls.

We are given commandments to keep, not to oppose. The only “universal citizenship” is in the City of God begun in this world following the plan of divine providence, but completed in the next. The meaning of our times is straightforward. We refuse to accept the world for which we were created. What we see about us is the universal citizenship of our collective refusal. [emphasis added]