Saturday, December 06, 2014

"How the Sensitivity Movement Desensitized Catholics to Evil"

A reader writes: "Any concept of God as demanding, hard to please, or holy seems quite gone. Is this a good thing, and how does it square with earlier eras and Scripture? I have yet to hear a convincing answer to that question." And now from William Kilpatrick, "How the Sensitivity Movement Desensitized Catholics to Evil" (Crisis, November 25, 2014). Excerpts:
... The Church has repudiated the philosophy of relativism, but I’m not aware of any similar repudiation of the human potential psychology that made relativism so popular. I would guess that seminary classes are no longer conducted like encounter groups, but it does seem that the encounter mindset still lingers in the Church. Perhaps the biggest hangover from the self-esteem era is the loss of the sense of sin and evil that comes from too much exposure to me-centered psychology. You will get a much better sense of the reality of evil by reading a single Dean Koontz novel than by listening to a hundred Sunday sermons in an average Catholic parish.


Up to now, the official Catholic response to the global jihad has been nothing more than continued calls for dialogue. But the dialogue process itself sounds suspiciously like something out of the bell-bottom-encounter group era. Not that the dialoguers stand around in circles and hold hands—I presume that they do not—but that they carry over into their discussions many of the assumptions of that period. When Church leaders speak of dialogue, they tend to use language uncomfortably reminiscent of the heyday of the human potentialists. Calls to dialogue are replete with phrases such as “risk-taking,” “releasing creativity,” “mutual understanding,” “encounter,” and “respect for the other.” Moreover, today’s dialogue advocates seem to share the same optimistic assessment of human nature held by encounter enthusiasts. They operate on the assumption that once you get to know the other fellow, you’ll invariably find that, underneath it all, he shares the same worthy values and goals that you do. As a recent USCCB statement on dialogue with Muslims puts it:
Perhaps most importantly, our work together has forged true bonds of friendship that are supported by mutual esteem and an ever-growing trust… Through dialogue we have been able to work through and overcome much of our mutual ignorance, habitual distrust, and debilitating fear.
In other words, we can trust the other. We only fear others because we don’t know them. And once we know them, we’ll realize that there was never anything to fear.

Unfortunately, this trust in the power of trust seems to have rendered the USCCB dialogue participants unable to grasp the possibility that their Muslim dialogue partners are not motivated by the same vision which inspires them. That their main dialogue partner—the Islamic Society of North America—is a spinoff of the Muslim Brotherhood seems to be of little concern. That their counterparts may simply be using the bishops in order to gain respectability for their main agenda—which is to introduce sharia law to America—does not seem to have entered the prelates’ minds.

Back in the seventies, the trust fall became a standard feature of encounter groups, summer camps, and college orientations. In one version of this trust-building exercise, one person stands in the middle of a circle of his peers and falls backward, relying on the others to catch him....

Contrary to human potential psychology, the world is not a giant safety net, and human nature is still fallen. This has always been a fallen world, but right now, thanks to the denial of that fact by the spiritual heirs of Carl Rogers, the world is a far more dangerous place than it might otherwise have been. The sensitivity movement desensitized us to the reality of evil. And many are now paying the price for that naiveté.

In 1967, smiley-face assumptions about human nature led to the collapse of an order of nuns and a district-wide Catholic school system. Unless we manage to discard our trust-fall fantasies about the human condition, we seem destined to experience a fall of much greater magnitude in the not-too-distant future.
[Hat tip to JM]


Amateur Brain Surgeon said...

The Liturgical Year contains this TRUTH in the entry for the second sunday of Advent:

The world has been looking so many ages for peace: it is now coming. Sin has caused enmity and division everywhere; grace will bring unity. A little Child will be the pledge of an alliance between all nations.

But, the shadow church no longer believes these simply profound truths and so we do not speak of sin and grace but of respect for false religions and the naturalistic brotherhood of man, blah, blah,blah.

Jesus is king and all nations - yes, Virginia, even America - have the duty to render Him right worship publicly

Trying telling that plain and simple truth to Francis or any Bishop.

O, and it is long past time to stop bitching about beheadings .What does one expect from a false religion?

False religions are of Satan and they come bearing violence,malignity, and insanity

Pertinacious Papist said...

As recently as the second half of the 20th century, the princes of the Church could confidently speak of the "Duties of the Catholic State" (as Cardinal Ottaviani did in a speech before an assembly of international delegates and leaders at the Pontifical Lateran University in 1953).

They could condemn as error, as Ottaviani then did, the three propositions now widely embraced by the likes of George Weigel, that (1) the state is incompetent to accomplish the act of religion, (2) any legislation asserting the state's obligation to worship God is inadmissible, and (3) even a state composed of Catholics has no obligation to profess the Catholic religion.

That these views are roundly embraced by representatives of mainline Catholics today is amply illustrated by the responses offered by then First Things editor Jody Bottum, and George Weigel, in this video clip from an EWTN show hosted by Raymond Arroyo:

One of my esteemed colleagues, when I raised these issues, declared that there can be no "going back" to the views preceding Vatican II, because the current views of Catholics regarding the role of religion in contemporary pluralistic societies represents a doctrinal "development." Despite my affection for Cardinal Newman, I am not so sanguine.

Amateur Brain Surgeon said...

Through sin, enmity and division entered the world and enmity and division can only be overcome by Grace and it was the Messias who gifted His Church with the Sacramental System as the way He would dispense His Grace to the peoples of the world.

That simple truth is simply ignored and the Holy See, long ago, embarked on a process of dialogue as the way to peace on earth as though that process could produce peace in and of itself.

It seems to M.J. that the track record of the naturalism of the enlightenment (dialogue without calls to conversion) has been an abysmal failure and so M.J. wonders when the Holy See will wake-up and smell the incense?

The Messias-Deniers must be told the truth that if they desire peace and salvation they must worship Jesus in the One True Church He established.

Now just try and imagine any Prelate or Pope publicly confessing such truth; even sick folks in Colorado would have a difficult time reaching such imaginative heights.

Unless a Pope teaches the truth and condemns error, the voice an judgment of Jesus has been denied to the world.

And still invisibilium within the Holy See is that Prelate who possesses Tradition to such an extent that it could be applied as a force against our Inertia Into Indifferentism

Ralph Roister-Doister said...

This is a useful summary of some of the bankrupt psychological and pop-psychological notions that dominated the sixties and seventies.

The worst part, however, is that any thought that is effectively communicated, no matter how trite, preposterous, or dangerously stupid, becomes part of the neural net of the culture. We are never "beyond" them. They become invisible but controlling mechanisms for supposedly "new" progressive thinking. Only when a critical, defining moment occurs does the worthlessness of such controls become obvious. Witness the course of "dialogue" of Christians and Muslims in Bosnia in the 90's: it took no time at all for the enmities of earlier times to surface. "Dialogue" was exposed as the band-aid for a bullet wound that it has always been.

But that is not the worst of it. By now the trite, preposterous, and dangerously stupid notion of the efficacy of dialogue has integrated itself into the neural net. Catholics seem to be particularly addled by it, as witness our council, our popes, and our unfortunate tradition of following our leaders like lemmings. Defining moments exposing the pernicious futility of dialogue have come and gone, but the work of Church leaders for the past several decades has not changed. They still seek to force the "spirit" of the Council of the Sixties on the Church of the twenty first century.

Sincerity is a requirement of “dialogue.” Any encounter in which sincerity is a requirement is fraught with danger, simply because an insincere participant can very effectively exploit sincere participants to his own end. Fans of “dialogue” tend to be blind to this fact of life. They find it an inconvenient truth because it forces them to face the bankruptcy of the idea that drives them, defines them, and through which, significantly, they derive influence over others (I would include Gandhi, MLK etc here). But not even the greatest saints in the dialoguing pantheon can deny that for every MLK, there are slews of Jesse Jacksons, Al Sharptons, and assorted activists who use dialogue insincerely, to gain power over others.

Inside the Church and out of it, those who struggle in the cultural neural net against such notions are marginalized, attacked, ridiculed, and condemned. They recognize what human nature is and how it works – and thus are bearers of bad news indeed. They are unwelcome everywhere, especially in the Church of Good News and Better Vibes.

Ralph Roister-Doister said...

Another point is that, in order to believe in the unlimited blessings of dialogue, one has to believe in the reality of change as a melioristic process. In view of thousands of years of examples in which dialogue has been of limited value at best (and catastrophic at worst), one can only extoll its virtues today from a point of view of men growing, becoming more advanced, more virtuous, more knowledgable, more trusting, etc. Apart from that meta-belief, trust in dialogue is contraindicated by the evidence of history -- to say nothing of the evidence of Adam and Eve's dialogue with the snake.

Incidentally, Romano Amerio has some devastating points to make about dialogue and ecumenism in "Iota Unum." I am sure that that is a major reason why Massimo Faggioli goes out of his way, in "Vatican II: The Battle for Meaning," to paint him as the most extreme of the extremists: "Amerio's historical case for Vatican II as the main agent for radical discontinuity in the tradition of the Church, due to the continuity between Modernism and Vatican II teachings, renders his attack on the council much more extremist than others."

No good analysis goes unpunished. Historical analysis, albeit of an very exotic sort, is after all the tool that the nouveaus and progressives used to "disprove" scholasticism and the tradition from which it sprung. But when a traditionalist uses the same method to disprove them, and discredit the perfumed teachings of their council, he is not only radical, but UNIQUELY radical.

Pertinacious Papist said...

Thanks, Ralph, for your comments.

Ralph Roister-Doister said...

You're welcome, PP. I just wish I was a better editor. Leading two successive paragraphs with "The worst part, however, is . . . " and "But that is not the worst of it" was definitely not my finest hour (:>D)

Amateur Brain Surgeon said...

In view of thousands of years of examples in which dialogue has been of limited value at best (and catastrophic at worst), one can only extoll its virtues today from a point of view of men growing, becoming more advanced, more virtuous, more knowledgable, more trusting, et

That was one of the fatal errors surrendered to by V2 (It was soon-to-be-canonised Paul Vi who wrote the opening crazy-ass speech to the Council read by John 23rd) but what made this love of man (The masonic ideology in action) so deadly was those who made this egregiously erroneous assessment of man combined that with a truly monumental egoism.

This really was a malign and majestic group folie a deux in which the narcissistic Pope Paul increased the mental decencies of the church fathers at V2 by telling them - in a speech during the council - that he and they really were the best and brightest and holiest of all Catholics ever living and the ones most prepared in history to actualise the plan of Jesus.

No, M.J, is not joking.

And the very self-same demonic egoism effected Bugnini and his concilium; they thought they were the sole ones in history uniquely qualified to cast out the Real Mass and write a new mass on the spot and one funny-as-hell example (Satan does have a sense of humor, apparently) is the infamous meal during which two members of the concilium wrote a Eucharistic Prayer while dining in a trattoria in Trastevere one evening.

Ideological ignorance (a willed ignorance) about the nature of man (Who'n'hell suddenly changed his fallen nature?) combined with their personality disorders resulted in utter devastation and a complete and total rupture with the past and M.J just wished that he had arrived at this point of clearly facing the horrific truth back when Ralph did.

JM said...

"Amerio's historical case for Vatican II as the main agent for radical discontinuity in the tradition of the Church, due to the continuity between Modernism and Vatican II teachings, renders his attack on the council much more extremist than others." And much more precise, yes. It is hard to argue against a factually air-tight case.

Anonymous said...

"The worst part, however, is . . . " and "But that is not the worst of it" was definitely not my finest hour (:>D)

Far too perfectionist. Perfectly readable.