Britian

Angelism – II

Angelism – II posted in Eleison Comments on February 18, 2012

Alert readers of these “Comments” may have picked up on an apparent contradiction. On the one hand the “Comments” have repeatedly condemned anything modern in the arts (e.g. EC 114, 120, 144, 157, etc.). On the other hand last week the Anglo-American poet T.S.Eliot was called an “arch-modernist,” and praised for launching a new style of poetry more true to modern times, certainly chaotic.

As the “Comments” have often said, modernity in the arts is characterized by disharmony and ugliness, because modern man chooses more and more to live without or against the God who has planted order and beauty throughout his creation. This beauty and order are now so buried beneath the pomps and works of godless man that it is easy for artists to believe they are no longer there. If then their art is to be true to what they perceive of their surroundings and society, only an exceptional modern artist will convey anything of the divine order underlying the disordered surface of modern life. Most modern artists have given up on order and, like their customers, wallow in the disorder.

But Eliot was born and reared in the late 19th century when society was still relatively ordered, and he received in the USA a good classical education when only a few secret villains yet dreamt of replacing education with training in inhuman subjects. So Eliot may have had little or no access in his youth to true religion, but he was well introduced to its by-products since the Middle Ages, the classics of Western music and literature. Sensing and seeking in them an order missing around him, Eliot was thus able to grasp the deep-down disorder of the rising 20th century, a disorder which merely burst out in the first World War (1914–1918). Hence the “Waste Land” of 1922.

But in that poem he is far from wallowing in the disorder. On the contrary he clearly hates it, showing how empty it is of human warmth and value. So the “Waste Land” may bear little trace of Western religion, but it does finish on scraps of Eastern religion, and as Scruton says, Eliot was certainly tracking the religious depths of the problem. In fact a few years later Eliot nearly became a Catholic, but he was scared off by Pius XI’s condemnation in 1926 of the “Action française,” a condemnation in which he recognized more of the problem and not its solution. So out of gratitude to England for all it had given him of traditional order, he settled for a solution less than complete, combining Anglicanism with high culture, and a Rosary always in his pocket. However God does write straight with crooked lines. How many souls in search of order would have stayed away from Shakespeare or Eliot if they thought that either of them, by being fully Catholic, had answers only pre-fabricated, not true to life.

That is sad, but it is so. Now souls may well be deceiving themselves in one way or another if they shy away from Catholic authors or artists on the grounds that these are untrue to real life, but it is up to Catholics to give them no such excuse. Let us Catholics show by our example that we do not have minds made cosy by artificial solutions necessarily false to the depths of the modern problem. We are not angels, but earthy creatures invited to Heaven if we will pick up our modern cross and follow Our Lord Jesus Christ. Such followers can alone remake the Church, and the world!

Kyrie eleison.

State Religion – I

State Religion – I posted in Eleison Comments on November 26, 2011

What part should the State play in protecting or promoting the Catholic religion? Any Catholic who knows that Catholicism is the one true religion of the one true God can only answer that the State, being also a creature of that God, is bound to serve as best it can his one true religion. On the other hand any liberal who believes that the State is incompetent to tell which is the true religion because, for instance, religion is in any case the individual’s business, will answer that the State must protect the right of all its citizens to practise the religion of their choice, or none at all. Let us look at the Catholic arguments.

Man comes from God. His nature comes from God. Man is by nature social, so his socialness comes from God. But the whole man, not just part of him (First Commandment), owes worship to God. So the socialness of man owes worship to God. But the State is nothing other than the society formed by the socialness of all its citizens joining together in their body politic. Therefore the State owes worship to God. But amongst all different worships necessarily contradicting one another (otherwise they would not be different), maybe all are more or less false but certainly one alone can be fully true. So if there is such a worship, fully true and recognizable as such, that is the worship which every State, as State, owes to God. But Catholicism is that worship. Therefore every State, as State, owes Catholic worship to God, including even today’s England or Israel or Saudi Arabia!

But an essential part of worship is to render to God the service of which one is capable. Of what service is the State capable? Of great service! Man being social by nature, his society has a great influence on how he feels, thinks and believes. And a State’s laws have a decisive influence on moulding its citizens’ society. For instance, if abortion or pornography are made legal, many citizens will come to think that there is little or nothing wrong with them. Therefore every State has in principle a duty by its laws to protect and promote Catholic faith and morals.

Such is the clear principle. But does that principle mean that every non-Catholic should be rounded up by the police and burnt at the stake? Obviously not, because the purpose of worshipping and serving God is to give him glory and to save souls. But inconsiderate action on the part of the State will have the opposite effect, namely of discrediting Catholicism and alienating souls. Therefore the Church teaches that even a Catholic State has the right to abstain in practice from taking action against a false religion when taking that action would cause a still greater evil, or hinder a greater good. But every State’s duty in principle to protect Catholic faith and morals remains intact.

Does that mean forcing Catholicism on the citizens? Not at all, because Catholic belief is not something that can be forced – “Nobody believes against his will” (St Augustine). What it does mean is that in a Catholic State where taking such action may or should not be counter-productive, the public practice of all religions other than Catholicism may or should be prohibited. This logical conclusion was denied by Vatican II, because Vatican II was liberal. Yet it was common practice in Catholic States before the Council, and it will have helped many souls to be saved.

Kyrie eleison.

Kings Insufficient

Kings Insufficient posted in Eleison Comments on May 2, 2009

I have never felt entirely comfortable around monarchists, by which I mean people for whom a return to kings and queens would solve a large part of our present democratic woes. I agree that bygone monarchies like those of England, France and Russia are great landscapes for a nostalgia trip, and that Cromwell, Robespierre and Lenin were treacherous pioneers of a ghastly New World Order. Nevertheless the nostalgia comes across to me as a distraction.

Such thoughts arise from a visit to the delightful Exhibition at the Tate (Britain) Gallery in London, open until May 17, entitled “Van Dyck and Britain.” Sir Anthony van Dyck, knighted by King Charles I, was the outstanding painter of 17th century England. Born in 1599 in Antwerp, in today’s Belgium, he showed an early talent for painting, and soon became the “best pupil” of the famous Flemish painter, Peter Paul Rubens (1577–1640). Amidst youthful travels on the Continent, in particular to Genoa to learn from the Italian masters, he made a brief visit to London in 1620–1621.

However, from 1632 until his early death in 1641, at the invitation of the Stuart King Charles I, a keen patron of the arts, van Dyck came to England mostly to stay. Here he became the fashionable and highly influential portrait painter of England’s ruling class, projecting, as no doubt the King had wished, a glamorous image of the Stuart kingdom. The glamour lives on in the colorful and characterful portraits that make up the bulk of this Exhibition.

Like his Continental masters, Rubens and Titian, and like the King’s spouse, Henrietta Maria of France, van Dyck was a Catholic. Even if a Puritan could be a painter, never could he rejoice as does van Dyck in the play of light upon gorgeous fabrics, nor could he portray costumes still more fanciful than they were in reality, like van Dyck’s ballooning sleeves. Of course the Puritans made war on Charles, and in 1649 they cut off his head, but with the Stuart Restoration of 1660 some of the color and joy returned, and van Dyck’s influence upon English portrait painting lasted – one thinks in particular of Gainsborough and Reynolds in the 18th century – through to the early 20th century, when at last the lights were switched out all over Europe, and remaining monarchies were extinguished with them, or gutted.

Therefore kings alone are not enough. They may patronize the arts, and their courts may uphold for a while the glamour and the glory, as reflected for instance by van Dyck, in whose dashing canvases one finds surprisingly little or no trace of the murderous tensions underlying the 1630’s in England. Nevertheless soon after him King and court were swept away, and only Restored on modern skids. What then does it take to overcome colorless and glamourless modernity? No less than the King of kings, and his Catholic Cross! “O crux ave, spes unica” – “Hail to thee, Cross, our only hope.”

Kyrie eleison.

1984 Attracts

1984 Attracts posted in Eleison Comments on January 26, 2008

When in a small publication of the Society of St. Pius X in England – circulation about 500 – an article recently appeared describing the police-state fast closing in on Great Britain, the British authorities complained to SSPX headquarters in Switzerland! It gives one to reflect . . . .

As people have today less and less religion, so they have less and less reason to control themselves. If I believe neither in God nor in any moral law, nor in any after-life, eternally rewarding or punishing my observance or non-observance of that law, why should I put any brake upon satisfying my selfish desires in this life? But a society of such egoists must turn into a jungle of human beasts devouring one another.

Therefore where the people have neither faith nor internal self-discipline, they must welcome any external discipline enabling their society to survive, e.g. (or i.e.) a police-state. As seminaries close, so prisons must open. Today, prisons can hardly be built fast enough.

Now in any such dissociety of course there will be villains fabricating reasons to impose and extend the police-state for their own nefarious purposes. 9/11 is a classic example. However, even in the case of 9/11 there might have been amongst the authorities some honest men who said, “Lies and fabrications are nasty, but how else can one govern a modern population?” Alas, they would have had a point!

So the police-state may be a bad substitute for godliness, but where the people are godless, such a State may appear to be the only way to hold a society together, and whoever opposes the police-state will then appear to be anti-social. In this respect the defenders of modern police-states may mean well, and not deserve blame.

However, let them have no part in tomorrow’s persecution of Christians towards which today’s police-states are being steered! The Catholic Faith upheld by the SSPX is not in fact their problem, but it is, of their real problem, the true solution.

Kyrie eleison.

Just Dispossession

Just Dispossession posted in Eleison Comments on January 19, 2008

An SSPX colleague in North England tells me a frightening little tale for the future of our country. Two months ago, parking his car briefly to take a telephone call in what looked like the ordinary street of an ordinary suburb of an English Midlands city, he found himself within a few moments being glared at by two immigrant youths standing in front of his car and then by two more positioned behind. Within minutes a car also pulled up alongside him, and the adult immigrant behind the wheel was facing him down with a still more hostile glare.

My colleague rolled down his window – “Is there a problem?” he asked. “What are you doing here?” “I have parked for a couple of minutes to take a telephone call.” „Alright.” Then my colleague ventured to add, “But this street doesn’t belong to you, does it?” The answer was a stream of vicious profanities (in English), concluding with, “If you don’t get out of here in two minutes, we will smash your car to pieces.” My colleague chose to move on.

The non-native Englishmen in this case were Muslims who have made of large parts of a number of English cities “no-go areas,” where the native English hardly set foot any longer, and where even the police prefer to stay out. In the early 1970’s when the immigrants began flowing into England, a native-English politician, Enoch Powell, famously warned that the flow would end in “blood in the streets.” He warned in vain. The flow of immigrants has not stopped since.

The same has happened in many a Western nation. How can one not see here the sentence of God upon these nations’ way of life? Firstly, the soft selfish living which refuses children in order to “enjoy life,” means that there are not enough native workers to man the pumps, so to speak, so that without immigrants the whole way of life would risk collapsing. Secondly, the liberalism and materialism of that way of life so undermine patriotism that the scheming globalists have a virtually free hand to pave the way for their international godlessness by breaking down the nations’ identity through unchecked immigration.

The kingdoms of the West are being taken from the natives and given to peoples that at least have babies (cf. Mt. XXI, 43). But without Jesus Christ as the uniting corner-stone (Eph. II,20), it means – blood in the streets.

Kyrie eleison.

Restless Change

Restless Change posted in Eleison Comments on January 12, 2008

Amongst recent manifestations of the puppet parade known as the “American political process,” one candidate – identity completely unimportant – allegedly became unhinged on being accused by another of being “in favour of the status quo.” In other words the accuser knew that the voting public wants change, and it wants their politicians to promise change, so no modern politician wants to be accused of not being in favour of change. Sure enough, the accusation struck home.

Similarly in Great Britain (once “Great,” maybe), it seems that last year’s new Prime Minister announced his intentions in a speech mentioning some 15 times the word “change.” Where in Heaven’s name does such restlessness come from?

Now by no means everybody today admits that human nature is a given framework inside which man has free will to operate as he chooses, but outside of which, or against which, he is powerless to do anything. On the contrary, are not modern men, for instance communists or feminists, proud of up-heaving any such supposedly given framework? “We are changing human nature,” boasted Lenin.

However, might not this restlessness of today’s political public and so of its puppit politicians be a testimony to the existence of that abiding human nature? Might not its unyielding resistance to all efforts to change it explain why one effort fails after another, and so the attempt to make a “new man” for a “new world” must be constantly –

renewed?

In truth, God exists and it is He who is the giver of man’s given nature. It has not changed since Adam and Eve, except for the damage that they – and not God! – did to it by their original sin. However for the last 500 years mankind has been in rising revolt against the Giver and his givens. Of course the revolt does not work. But men persist in their folly, and will not vote for politicians who do not promise “change.”

Kyrie eleison.