“The real way to leverage your time and make a lasting difference is exponential and generational: get married, have children, practice your faith, raise liberty-minded children, be active in the community, serve your family, homeschool your children, give them a real education, and teach them to be self-sufficient, well-read, healthy, and wise.“
The quote above is an excerpt (I’d say, the key excerpt) from a friend and fellow Christian clergyman’s Facebook post this morning. Here’s the whole thing:
“What’s the best way for young people to fight for human liberty in the west? A podcast? A blog? Go on a speaking tour? Run for office?
“But the real way to leverage your time and make a lasting difference is exponential and generational: get married, have children, practice your faith, raise liberty-minded children, be active in the community, serve your family, homeschool your children, give them a real education, and teach them to be self-sufficient, well-read, healthy, and wise.
“And raise each of your children to do the same thing and create strong families of their own.
“Living the swinging single libertarian life and/or having a biologically unfruitful relationship simply neutralizes and nullifies any long-term influence you might have had, and surrenders the field to others who are doing the hard, generational work of raising their own children to promulgate their values. The cultures that reproduce will push all the others out. And if that culture is oppressive and tyrannical, you don’t want them in the majority.
“This is akin to Aesop’s Fable of the tortoise and the hare – only in this version, the rabbit is sterile while the turtle is prolific.
“The west is dying because most young people don’t have the long view in mind, and also because young women do not understand the old adage about ‘the hand that rocks the cradle [rules the world]’ and are thus clueless about what it means to be truly empowered and strong.”
As our Eastern Orthodox brethren would say,
Now, if I could just find someone to raise a family with…! *wry smile*
Bishop Athanasius Schneider has today issued an open letter forcefully condemning the use of the Pachamama statue at the Amazon Synod in the Vatican.
For those who might not be aware, the “Pachamamas” are a set of statues or figurines – goddess / fertility figures, for the Amazonian people, and idols to orthodox Christians – brought back to Rome from the already highly-controversial Amazonian Synod attended by the current Bishop of Rome, Pope Francis, and were “used in an Oct. 4 Vatican Gardens ceremony, processed into St. Peter’s Basilica and kept at a side altar Church of Santa Maria in Traspontina on the via della Conciliazione.”
To say that this has evoked concern from many Roman Catholics (and others) is to risk severe understatement! Such concern that, a few days ago, a couple of intrepid traditional Catholics went so far as to spirit these images away from their location in the Church of Santa Maria, and throw them into the Tiber River (they have reportedly since been recovered, alas). Here is a video of the action itself: Continue reading “Bishop Schneider condemns Pachamama statue as ‘new golden calf’ in open letter | News | LifeSite”
However noble such aims as “human fraternity” and “world peace” may be, they cannot be promoted at the cost of relativizing the truth of the uniqueness of Jesus Christ and of His Church and of undermining the first Commandment of the Decalogue.
While I am not of the Roman Catholic observance, it cannot be denied or ignored that those who are members of that communion comprise half of all Christians in the world, and just a bit under a fifth (16%) of the global population. Therefore what the Roman Catholic Church – and its Supreme Pontiff – says or does has tremendous significance, both among Christians and indeed on a global scale.
Unfortunately, the current Bishop of Rome, speaking with the prestige and moral authority that comes with the See of Peter, has been saying and doing some very concerning things of late: things that have been causing great disquiet to Christians both within and outside Roman Catholicism.
God bless Bishop Athanasius Schneider – Auxiliary Bishop of Astana, Kazakhstan, and one of the leading voices for Catholic orthodoxy in the Roman Church today – and all those who are attempting to obtain clarity on these matters! He comments,
“The problem is of the utmost seriousness, because under the rhetorically beautiful and intellectually seductive phrase ‘Human Fraternity,’ men in the Church today are in fact promoting the neglect of the first Commandment of the Decalogue and the betrayal of the core of the Gospel.
“However noble such aims as ‘human fraternity’ and ‘world peace’ may be, they cannot be promoted at the cost of relativizing the truth of the uniqueness of Jesus Christ and of His Church and of undermining the first Commandment of the Decalogue.
“The Abu Dhabi document on ‘Human Fraternity for World Peace and Living Together’ and the ‘Higher Committee’ tasked with implementing it are somewhat like a beautifully decorated cake that contains a harmful substance. Sooner or later, almost without noticing it, it will weaken the body’s immune system…
“A peace that is an inner-worldly and purely human reality will fail. For… ‘the peace of Christ is not nourished on the things of earth, but on those of heaven. Nor could it well be otherwise, since it is Jesus Christ Who has revealed to the world the existence of spiritual values and has obtained for them their due appreciation…’
“God created men for heaven. God created all men to know Jesus Christ, to have supernatural life in Him and to achieve eternal life. To lead all men to Jesus Christ and to eternal life is, therefore, the most important mission of the Church.”
– Bishop Schneider
Where now the horse and the rider? Where is the horn that was blowing?
Where is the helm and the hauberk, and the bright hair flowing?
Where is the hand on the harpstring, and the red fire glowing?
Where is the spring and the harvest and the tall corn growing?
They have passed like rain on the mountain, like a wind in the meadow;
The days have gone down in the West behind the hills into shadow.
Who shall gather the smoke of the dead wood burning,
Or behold the flowing years from the Sea returning?
This lament the great J.R.R. Tolkien wrote, and placed in the mouth of Aragorn son of Arathorn – heir of Isildur and rightful King of the West, of Eriador, in Tolkien’s magisterial Middle Earth mythos – as he was describing the Land of Rohan and its inhabitants, the Rohirrim (“Horse Lords”); and later, in part, in the mouth of Theoden, King of Rohan and Lord of the Rohirrim, himself.
But it is of a mode that would have been easily recognized by our forebears in the ancient and medieval worlds, for it is a well-known poetic form: the lament, known by scholars as “Ubi Sunt?” from its Latin incipit: “Where is…?” It is a lament for the greatness of things now past, and perhaps, irrecoverable: “the glory that was Greece and the grandeur that was Rome,” as we might say.
Tolkien disliked allegory, but he did allow for what he called “applicability.” And so we can agree with him that The Lord of the Rings was not written as a direct allegory of any historical event, either World War Two, or the Cold War, or today’s social, cultural, and political struggles, with which this blog – originally intended merely as a celebration of things English, British, and Anglican – has become inexorably and inescapably emmeshed.
But we, as Men of the West (*), in this present age of the world, can also recognize that this passage, a lament for the Rohirrim, is applicable to our current age, and can also serve as a lament for us – for the West – in our present and dire situation.
A lament, yes, but perhaps also a rallying-cry?
For the Rohirrim, by their defense against the assaults of the fallen wizard Saruman, and later and most famously by their critical role in overthrowing the Siege of Minas Tirith in the Battle of the Pelennor Fields, did much to help break the power of the Shadow, and make possible the destruction of Mordor and of its Dark Lord, Sauron.
So where, Men of the West, are our Rohirrim? Where is our King Theoden (whose name meant “Lord of the People”)? Who is our Aragorn Elessar?
* “Men of the West” in the old sense, in which “Man” or “Men” was inclusive of all members of a people, folk, tribe, or region – or humankind in general, depending on context – and not merely those who are biologically male.
Following are some additional quotes by Professor Tolkien, some of which may encourage us, and some of which may, let us hope, strengthen our resolve:
“Always after a defeat and a respite,” says Gandalf, “the shadow takes another shape and grows again.”
“I wish it need not have happened in my time,” says Frodo.
“So do I,” says Gandalf, “and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”
― conversation in
“War must be, while we defend our lives against a destroyer who would devour all; but I do not love the bright sword for its sharpness, nor the arrow for its swiftness, nor the warrior for his glory. I love only that which they defend.”
– Faramir, Ranger of Gondor and son of Denethor, Steward of Minas Tirith
“The world is indeed full of peril, and in it there are many dark places; but still there is much that is fair, and though in all lands love is now mingled with grief, it grows perhaps the greater.”
– Haldir, an Elf of Lothlorien, in “The Fellowship of the Ring”
“I look East, West, North, South, and I do not see Sauron; but I see that Saruman has many descendants. We Hobbits have against them no magic weapons. Yet, my gentlehobbits, I give you this toast: To the Hobbits. May they outlast the Sarumans and see spring again in the trees.”
– Professor J.R.R. Tolkien: a toast at a “Hobbit Dinner” in Rotterdam, Netherlands, 1958.
“I look East, West, North, South, and I do not see Sauron. But I see that Saruman has many descendants. We Hobbits have against them no magic weapons. Yet, my gentle hobbits, I give you this toast: To the Hobbits. May they outlast the Sarumans and see spring again in the trees.”
— J.R.R. Tolkien
Would you better understand, not only those great authors, thinkers, and defenders of Western Christendom (note: “Old West,” here, does not mean “cowboys and Indians”), C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien, but also the world we live in, how we got here, and where it may lead, should we continue on our present trajectory? Then read this essay! Long, but worth it.
N.B. – There are a few, mostly minor, issues of spelling and/or proofreading in this rather lengthy essay (doubtless I have many in my own writings, as well). Most are minor, and easily forgiven (the youngest companion of Frodo, in the Fellowship of the Ring, was Pippin, not “Pippen”), but one at least is significant:
The favorite haunt of the Hobbits was “a well-farmed countryside,” not “a well-armed countryside.” They did indeed turn out to be fairly well-armed, at the last, but with hunting arms, not weapons of war. Hobbits were, as Tolkien notes, not a warlike people!
When a man ceases to believe in God, observed Chesterton, he becomes capable of believing in anything. It looks like we may now have reached the “anything” stage of human history.
“As faith in Christianity recedes in the West, a strange thing is happening. Having shaken off belief in God, people are not becoming more rational, they’re becoming more gullible. They believe that babies in the womb aren’t really human beings, that same-sex “marriage” is the equivalent of real marriage, that there are roughly 52 varieties of gender, that boys can become girls, and vice versa. In general, they believe that wishing makes it so.
“Rejection of God does not lead to a flowering of civilization, but rather to a primitivization. Many of the ideas that are now current are pre-scientific and even anti-scientific. Science is solidly on the side of those who say that babies are babies, and that boys cannot become girls, yet when science comes into conflict with today’s magical beliefs it is rejected out of hand. For many, the ultimate source of truth is not reason, or science, or God, but feelings.
“It was belief in a rational God who created a rational and ordered universe that provided the main impetus for scientific study centuries ago. Christian and Jewish scholars thought it worthwhile to study the nature of things because the nature of things was considered to be rational and discoverable. Thus, the scientific revolution was a product of the Judeo-Christian world…”
Read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest!