Monday, August 26, 2013

American Anti-Americanism, Catholic Anti-Catholicism?

I recently read a bit of an online article by Maureen Scott. One sentence -- a question she asked -- made me think: "Have we ever heard Obama speak lovingly of the U.S. or its people, with deep appreciation and genuine respect for our history, our customs, our sufferings and our blessings?" she asked.

This question may deserve some pondering in its own right -- particularly the increasing anti-Americanism of Americans, and the wholesale disdain for America and its traditions that we see throughout the country, from the highest political offices down to popular culture. But it also got me thinking about something else.

One could just as well ask: "How often have we head our pope, bishops, and priests, or rank-and-file Catholics, speak lovingly of Mother Church, with deep appreciation and genuine respect for our history, our traditions, our customs, our sufferings and our blessings?"

Now here is an irony every bit as deep as that of American anti-Americanism, namely, Catholic anti-Catholicism.

One of the first puzzles I faced upon being received into the Church on that blessed Holy Week exactly twenty years ago, was the bizarre spectacle of Catholics who despised their own traditions. What was more, they often seemed to despise these traditions in direct proportion to their ignorance of them. It was the Church's historical credentials that first commended themselves to my mind, just as it was her traditional devotions that first commended themselves to my heart. How then could Catholics despise their own historical credentials and religious traditions? I was intrigued and perplexed by the perverse irony of it.

While it may have been a long time coming, there is something deeply twisted about the turn our society took some half-century ago in the Cultural Revolution of the 1960s. Even in the most superficial terms of popular culture there is something of this to be found, I think, in the euphemisms, memes, and metaphors we hear used in common speech these days.

When a pianist is exceptionally good, someone may remark, "He plays a WICKED piano." When someone wants to describe himself as very good at something, he may say, with a grin, "Hey, I'm BAD, man!" When some vulgar philistine sees an attractive woman, he may say "She's the SH__!" What's up with this? Since when did it become uncool to describe anything as "good," "true," or "beautiful"?

But back to the Americans and Catholics. It may be easy enough to dismiss American anti-Americanism by observing that this set of Americans has broken faith with the principles of the American founding fathers, that it represents a post-modern and post-Christian people.

But what about Catholic anti-Catholics? What can we say of them?


Amateur Brain Surgeon said...

Excellent observations Doc.

I think the catholic anti-catholics have internalised the false accusations made against them and that by rejecting Tradition they seek to be accepted by the popular culture which appears now to be focused on the question as to whether or not Obama Care will cover the expenses required to repair Anthony Weiner's Penis if it is run over by Justin Beiber in his race to get to see Oprah's new movie.

Amateur Brain Surgeon said...

But what about Catholic anti-Catholics? What can we say of them?

That they do what the latest Simon says even if the latest Simon is in direct Theological/Doctrinal (not Disciplinary) opposition to the 260 Simons who preceded V2.

Long before his election, the great Pope Saint Pius X used to read, and re-read, the writings of the great French Cardinal Pie who issued this 1864 caution in a sermon:

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. "

And now read this declaration from Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger:

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.

++++++++ end of quotes +++++

Would someone please tell me how these two views of how Catholics ought manage their relationship with their ancient enemy, the world, is indicative of continuity.

Reconciliation, dialogue and cooperation with our ancient enemy the world. Really?

This is Catholic Tradition?

The plain and simple truth is that Ecclesia Docens has been superseded by Ecclesia Dialogus; and that ain't kosher.

Amateur Brain Surgeon said...

For a long time I lived in Cape Elizabeth, Maine and I used to haunt the Portland Library in winter where I read The Jesuit Relations and when I took the Family to Mount Desert Island, Maine we used to go on hikes to such spots as Flying Mountain and from which summit we could see the beautiful Sommes Sound with its Fernald Point ( The Jesuit Field) where the French Jebbies landed- nearly a decade prior to the progeny of Perfidious Albion stumbling onto Plymouth Rock - as the first whitey on that beautiful island and they befriended the Injuns and began construction of a fort.

They named the place, Saint Sauveur (Holy Saviour) and then began to learn the injun language and convert the savages to the one true Faith.

The main town on the island is now called, Bar Harbor (English twits, don'cha'know)

Here is a copy and paste from The Jesuit Relations online for free:

On the twelfth of June, 1611 there arrived at Port Royal, at the instance of King Henry IV, two Jesuit fathers, Pierre Biard and Ennemond Massé. They were, however, not favorably received by Poutrincourt (Proddies) and his followers; they found great practical difficulties in acquiring the Indian languages, and made slight progress in the Herculean task to which they hod been set. To them came, the following year, a lay brother, Gilbert du Thet, who was soon dispatched to the head of the order, in France, with an account of the situation.

In the spring of 1613, he returned, in company with Father Quentin.The little band of missionaries had no sooner established themselves at the new French colony on Mt. Desert Island, than the latter was attacked and dispersed by the Virginian Argall. (Proddy)

Du Thet was killed in the fight, Massé was, with other colonists, set adrift in a boat, and Biard and Quentin were taken to Virginia, to be eventually shipped to England, and thence allowed to return into France. Several of the earlier documents of our series have to do with this first: and apparently unfruitful mission of the Jesuits to Acadia.

I don't know how many times I have spoken about those brave Jesuits - not a sodomite amongst them - as we all had a picnic over-looking that gorgeous spot; but it was never enough times.

Oncet, as I was speaking about Baird, Masse, and Quentin, four Eagles began to ride the warm air up from down in the valley and they eventually soared way up over our heads without once beating their wings; and that was right and just for that is where Eagles used to gather before Perfidious Albion extingusihed their light.

Years later, me and three other men from our Trad Study Group were at Mass for the American Martyrs Feast- at the Cathedral of The Immaculate Conception in Portland, no less - when the Pastor opined during his sermon that the Missionaries erred in converting the injuns.

We all walked out together as he shot us a quizzical look.

The new church ain't the old church.

Pertinacious Papist said...

Go figure. A colleague of mine in NC, where we both taught at the same institution for many years, was from Bar Harbour, Maine. Of course -- what else? -- he is a Baptist.

Amateur Brain Surgeon said...

(Click on photo to enlarge)

At one time, we had Saints (Benedict, for instance) who smashed idols and we had Popes who commissioned art to teach the world about the Triumph of Christ and His Church and in whose name alone one may attain to Salvation whereas today we have Popes who praise those who worship false religions (Satan worship accrd to the Bible) and who send missives of praise and congratulations to those who worship idols and we call this continuity.

Today, it is inconceivable that such art would be commissioned, say nothing about merely denouncing the worship of false Gods in false religions.

No, the universal solvent of Ecumenism has dissolved such truths of Tradition.

Nowadays, I guess the best we can hope for is that the Pope does not tear this down after issuing a public apology for violating religious liberty and not respectng the dignity of those who worshipped false Gods.