Men Without Conviction, Churches Without People | George Weigel | First Things

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Source: Men Without Conviction, Churches Without People | George Weigel | First Things

“Christianity is dying in western Europe. There are many reasons for that, including the complicity of many churchmen in the ideological awfulness that turned mid-twentieth-century Europe into a slaughterhouse. But the gospel has power, and those who believe that, and preach it in the conviction that it can transform and ennoble lives, can still get a hearing. Indeed, as post-modernity decomposes into ever more bizarre forms of irrationality, the cleansing, liberating truth of the gospel and the vision of life well lived found in the Beatitudes ought to be a compelling offer. “

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When Britain was Great | Britannia Rules the Waves

Source: (15) Tony Roach – When Britain was Great. If this video clip offends…

Please note, this was from when Britain was relatively unified and homogeneous: demographically, religiously, culturally, linguistically. Therefore, the British people were capable of working together to accomplish great things. The same may be said about many other nations and cultures!

The socio-political Left – the cultural Marxists – have to be given credit for one thing, they have figured out how to destroy the West: play off our sense of compassion and fair-play to force the importation of large number of people who are alien to us in basically every way, fragmenting our cultures and placing us in a state of constant internal conflict that saps our energy, our resources, even our enthusiasm for living and our hope for the future (look at the plunging birthrate among Europeans and Euro-Americans). And if we protest, accuse us of “racism” and “xenophobia.”

“Diversity is our strength” is not only a lie, it is a dangerous lie; it is a pernicious falsehood; it is the very opposite of truth. But so many people continue to swallow it, hook, line, and sinker. It is beyond sad.

An Integralist Manifesto by Edmund Waldstein | Articles | First Things

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Jones provides strong evidence to show that historians have too often distorted our view of the Middle Ages by projecting modern constructions back onto them. But he is not merely making a historical claim. He is also making a normative claim…

Source: An Integralist Manifesto by Edmund Waldstein | Articles | First Things

“Aided by a philosophical and theological sophistication that is unusual for his profession, Jones challenges our most basic assumptions as moderns. He [speaks] of “an integral vision which included all of social reality.” In this integral vision, “church” and “state” did not exist as separate institutions; rather, spiritual and temporal authority cooperated together within a single social whole for the establishment of an earthly peace, ordered to eternal salvation.

“Nor was there an “economy,” in the modern sense of a relatively autonomous system based on private property and contract. Rather, the use of material goods was thoroughly integrated into the peace. “State,” “church,” and “economy” were not merely underdeveloped, waiting to be discovered. They did not exist, and would have to be invented. The vision of social peace gave way to an idea of social life as a violent, primordial struggle for power, and of sovereignty as limiting that violence by monopolizing it…

“Jones provides strong evidence to show that historians have too often distorted our view of the Middle Ages by projecting modern constructions back onto them. But he is not merely making a historical claim. He is also making a normative claim: The construction of modern society with its system of separations between different social spheres was a bad development that inscribes false ideas into our very way of life. Conversely, the integration of spiritual and temporal corresponds to the truth about humanity as revealed in Christ, and is therefore demanded by Christian orthodoxy.”

Provocative claims? You betcha! But fascinating to me, both as an academic medievalist by training, and as a Christian clergyman… and to me, they carry the ring of truth. I have long thought, and often stated, that we have lost much by forgetting or willfully discarding the insights of our medieval predecessors. There is no question that I shall need to add Andrew Willard Jones’ Before Church and State: A Study of Social Order in the Sacramental Kingdom of St. Louis IX to my reading list!

Here are a few more excepts from this excellent review by :

“In the vision of peace that Jones describes, the clergy, who wielded the spiritual sword, and the lay authorities, who wielded the secular, had distinct roles, but they were cooperating toward a single end. They were not engaged in a struggle for “sovereignty,” a concept that had yet to be invented; instead, they actively promoted each other’s power as a means toward their common end…

“Even a short time ago—with the ascendancy of the “religious right” in the Reagan and Bush years—it was plausible to argue that the separation of church and state was good for religion. The accelerating pace of secularization manifested, for instance, in the legalization of homosexual marriage [and, I would add, an increasingly militant atheism making an ever-larger noise in the public square] makes that position much less plausible today. Before Church and State offers an alternative vision, a vision that could be realized only by a profound and fundamental transformation of the whole of our society. I am convinced that in working toward such a transformation, we have nothing to lose.”

Who Stole Our Culture? | LewRockwell

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Sometime during the last half-century, someone stole our culture.

Source: Who Stole Our Culture? – LewRockwell

I was born in 1965… but I was born late into a family rooted in the older, more traditional values and ways of life. My parents were both members of the “Greatest Generation”; my father a decorated combat veteran of World War Two, my mother a Methodist minister’s daughter, both of them survivors of the Great Depression. Both my brothers were born in the early 1950s.

When I was born, the population of the planet was only around 2 billion; we were locked in a Cold War with the Soviet Union, but Vietnam still looked hopeful; the ironically-named “Summer of Love” had not yet happened; and feminism was still mostly concerned with equal pay for equal work. Racial strife existed, but it was something you heard about at a distance – in part because the U.S. was still about 90% European.

My father worked long, hard hours, but the flip-side was that he made enough that my mother did not have to work at all, and could be a full-time wife and mother; we lived in a nice house in a nice neighborhood. We were not rich, but we never lacked anything essential, either, and could go on nice vacations and get nice gifts on birthdays and at Christmas. We were raised with sold, traditional, Christian values; and most of those I came into contact with were much the same.

Unfortunately, my life ever since has been a witness to a long downhill slide… perhaps, though I hope not, a death-spiral:

“Sometime during the last half-century, someone stole our culture. Just 50 years ago, in the 1950s, America was a great place. It was safe. It was decent. Children got good educations in the public schools. Even blue-collar fathers brought home middle-class incomes, so moms could stay home with the kids. Television shows reflected sound, traditional values.

“Where did it all go? How did that America become the sleazy, decadent place we live in today – so different that those who grew up prior to the ’60s feel like it’s a foreign country? Did it just “happen”? […]

“What happened, in short, is that America’s traditional culture, which had grown up over generations from our Western, Judeo-Christian roots, was swept aside by an ideology. We know that ideology best as “political correctness” or “multi-culturalism.” It really is cultural Marxism, Marxism translated from economic into cultural terms in an effort that goes back not to the 1960s, but to World War I. Incredible as it may seem, just as the old economic Marxism of the Soviet Union has faded away, a new cultural Marxism has become the ruling ideology of America’s elites. The No. 1 goal of that cultural Marxism, since its creation, has been the destruction of Western culture and the Christian religion.”

This essay is a long but detailed exploration of how that sad situation came to be. Anyone who doubts that there is such a thing as “cultural Marxism,” or who wants to know how it managed to gain such dominance, owes it to themselves to read this! Even if you don’t need convincing, it’s still helpful to know the history.

But William S. Lind, author of this piece, doesn’t just leave it there, fortunately. While he does not go into the detail the subject deserves (and about which, admittedly, books could be written), he does suggest appropriate countermeasures:

“We can choose between two strategies. The first is to try to retake the existing institutions – the public schools, the universities, the media, the entertainment industry and most of the mainline churches – from the cultural Marxists. They expect us to try to do that, they are ready for it, and we would find ourselves, with but small voice and few resources compared to theirs, making a frontal assault against prepared defensive positions. Any soldier can tell you what that almost always leads to: defeat.

“There is another, more promising strategy. We can separate ourselves and our families from the institutions the cultural Marxists control and build new institutions for ourselves, institutions that reflect and will help us recover our traditional Western culture.”

I am reminded of the strategy of Celtic monastics in the early Middle Ages, as they began to venture forth from their monasteries in Ireland, Scotland, and Wales into lands that had either been taken over by non-Christian barbarians at the fall of Rome, or in some cases had never known Christianity:

They would come into an area and build a small community, a small monastery. Not much: just a small chapel, surrounded by huts for the monks to live in. And then they would go about their lives – neither consciously seeking to proselytize, nor yet to separate themselves from the larger community. They just lived a Christian life, modeling their faith in the way they lived their lives.

And sooner or later, people started to get interested. To ask questions, to engage with the monks. And in many cases, to end up deciding that they were onto something, that they had something worth emulating… and they emulated it, becoming Christians themselves.

And this is how, in the words of author and historian Thomas Cahill, the Irish saved civilization. Call it, not the “Benedict option,” necessarily – though that approach has much to commend it – but the “Columba option,” the “Cuthbert option,” the “Aidan option”: the Celtic option.

Can we do the same? Can we emulate these monks, and their patience, dedication, and persistence?

Can we afford not to?

A Brilliant Defense of Christendom – Crisis Magazine

Many believe that Christendom was a rigid and brutal order. In medieval times, we are told that tyranny ruled, and the Church and the nascent State were constant rivals in the pursuit of dominance.

So many modern historians have cynically reduced this period when Christianity prevailed to a time of cultural darkness and violent power struggles. Such people fail to understand the Christian order since they equate it with tyranny. They judge Christendom from the premises of our present disorders, in which people only seek their self-interest...

That is the problem with those who criticize Christendom. They look rigidly upon the past with modern mechanistic criteria. They cannot think outside our Enlightenment box. Hence, they accuse anyone who thinks otherwise of idealizing the past.

Dr. Jones is far from idealizing the medieval past, but he does present a vision of Christendom beyond the oversimplified charts that box in our vision. We get a glimpse of the real Christian order. When properly understood, this Christian order is very appealing and refreshing.

Continue reading “A Brilliant Defense of Christendom – Crisis Magazine”

Religion as the root of cultural restoration and political transformation – Knights of St. Michael the Archangel

Source: Knights of St. Michael the Archangel | Facebook

Much good thought here, definitely worth pondering.
Whether we like to think of it in these terms or not, we are – all of us – presently engaged in not merely a socio-political, but also a metaphysical war for the future of Western civilization. Not everyone recognizes it, but that doesn’t change the fact that they’re caught up in it. We may choose to defend the heritage and fight for the future of Western Christendom, fight against it, or passively “take a knee,” but we cannot escape the consequences, in any case. And how we fight matters for the outcome!
“All conservative, nationalist, or otherwise ‘right-wing’ political movements are doomed to fail if they are merely reactionary, defining themselves by what they oppose rather than what they promote. That is not to say that right-wing politics should cease to oppose grave evils. Rather, such opposition can only succeed if it is rooted in a set of principles and united by core values, a clearly articulated vision of what we need and an ideological explanation of why we need it…
 
“A political movement striving to restore a civilization and its foundational culture must embrace the religion which gave rise to that culture and maintained that civilization through the trials of many ages. Modern conservatism fails to embrace the fundamentals which we aim to restore. Conservatives must define what they intend to conserve rather than merely function as the party of all who dissent to Leftism, the party which at best merely slows the destruction.
 
“A civilization, like a tree, survives storms and flourishes not because of its size or the number of its leaves, but from the depth and strength of its roots. Any restoration of Western Civilization must be solidly rooted in our historical Greco-Roman roots and the Christian faith.”
I would agree – while also noting that we ought not to forget our Celtic and Germanic (in the case of us Anglicans, most particularly Anglo-Saxon) roots, either! Follow the link for more.

Is the “natural habitat” of Catholic Christians (including Anglicans) urban or rural?

Angelus-Jean-François_Millet
The Angelus (1857–59) by Jean-François Millet

I wrote this piece as a reply to a thread in a Facebook group called “Catholic Village Movement: Rebuilding Christendom.” The idea was floated that, Many of us came from cities just 100 years ago. Maybe cities are the Catholic’s natural environment. Ugh. Gross. But also maybe true.” I am not so sure. In fact, I doubt it!

Here is my response – please read “Catholic” or “Catholics” to include all branches of the Church Catholic, including not only those of the Roman observance, but our Eastern Orthodox brethren, and of course, those of us who are Anglicans – slightly cleaned up and elaborated upon from the original:

I have just been an observer of the conversations on this group heretofore, but for what it’s worth (maybe nothing), here’s another perspective on the urban-vs-rural thing. Yes, “pagani” meant, roughly, “country bumpkins.” Actually it meant, literally, “dwellers in the pagus,” with “pagus” meaning – interestingly enough – “village,” but also district, countryside, rural portions of a civitas (http://latinmeaning.com/pagus-latin-to-english-translation/). It had, by the early Christian era, acquired a slightly pejorative cast to it, like “hicks” or “rednecks.”

So the question to ask ourselves is, why did those who clung to their pre-Christian religions (shades of Obama’s infamous “bitterly clinging to God and guns” remark…) become known as “pagani” (“pagans”)? Because a) new teachings took longer – a lot longer – to percolate out to the countryside, in those pre-hi-tech (and, for many, pre-literate) days, and b) because the cities had become inhospitable to them, having been largely converted to the new religion, Christianity. The situation is similar today, although the roles are reversed.

Ask yourself, where is the greatest survival of Christian (not only, but including, Catholic) belief and practice today? Hint: it’s not in the big, densely-populated coastal urban enclaves! It’s in the “flyover states,” and in more rural sections of the rest of the states. And for many of the same reasons that the “pagus” remained “pagan” long after Christianity had begun to gain traction in the more urban areas: cities are not, and never have been, amenable for those who want to maintain traditions. Continue reading “Is the “natural habitat” of Catholic Christians (including Anglicans) urban or rural?”