Friday, December 20, 2013

Awake from your slumber, arise from your sleep

One of my fondest memories of the seminary was one crotchety old Scripture professor becoming furious every time the hymn "City of God" was performed at Mass. He denounced it as rank Pelagianism to assert that we ourselves build the city of God.

I think most Catholics recognize that the Church has been ineffective in resisting modernity. One of the problems, of course, is that many Catholics who remain within the pale of the Church have personally surrendered to the spirit of the age and spend much of their time, talent, and treasure trying to get the rest of us to follow suit. We all know the type: at best he thinks of dogmatic and moral orthodoxy as silly old superstitions the Church is much better off without - I mean, it gets really embarrassing when SWPLs keep asking you if contraception is really sinful - but he furiously resents having his own orthodoxy impeached.

Another problem is that our theologians seldom practice the ascetic life anymore. Asceticism has become something of a lost art. Friday, for example, is still officially a day of penance and Catholics are expected to mortify themselves in some way. It used to be the universal law that all Catholics had to abstain from meat every Friday, not just Fridays of Lent. The bishops, in their infinite wisdom, decided that God's people were mature enough to not need the force of law behind their Friday penances. It didn't quite work out that way in practice. Most lay Catholics took it as "Oh, I can eat meat on Fridays now," and now only right-wing Traditionalist cranks abstain from meat every Friday. We're willing to fast and subject our bodies to all sorts of discomfort to make ourselves look good without a shirt on, but priests seldom urge us to do violence to ourselves to improve our souls.

I think one of the problems we Catholic lay people face is an inability to draw conclusions from first principles. The Church deserves much criticism for her post-Vatican II buffoonery. But it's also not her charism to, say, teach men the most effective ways to pick up chicks. Christ founded the Church so that his flock could be sanctified through the sacraments and shown the way to heaven. Everything else the Church has done is a consequence of that first principle. Her charitable works can be traced to Christ's commandments about the poor: that what we do to the least of us, we do to him.

If you seriously study the Catholic faith, then you begin to see the world through its lens and not the Church through the lens of the world. The hierarchy of being, the essential differences between men and women, the objective existence of reality, objective rules for the moral life, the existence of both good and evil within every individual, the essences of things... all of this flow naturally from the Catholic worldview.

Due to an unfortunate series of events, most Catholics know virtually nothing about their faith, and what little they do know is likely to be mixed with error or all together wrong. I'll never forget the man who spluttered in sheer outrage and demanded to know who the hell I was to call him a bad Catholic as he always went to Mass every Christmas and Easter. There's a reason why "instructing the ignorant" is classified among the spiritual works of mercy.

There's some overlap between the manosphere and orthosphere, but by and large there's no love lost between the two. Manosphere writers criticize Traditionalists as hopelessly beta white knights who enable the excesses of feminism. Traditionalists criticize the manosphere as a collection of dishonest manipulative cads whose only purpose in life is fornicating as much as possible. There's some truth to both criticisms, but they're too narrow. Both are products of the modern world which makes madmen of us all.

Truth cannot contradict truth. Either the "red pill" provides an accurate picture of reality, or it doesn't. I think it does. The question is what are we going to do about it. The red pill worldview only sounds shocking if you've forgotten a dogma of the faith: Original Sin. Believe it or not gentlemen, women are sinners too (one wag friend of mine pointed out that God explicitly calls out Adam for listening to his wife.) Extramarital sex is not an option for the practicing Catholic, so not all the prescriptions of manosphere writers are equal, which is not to say they aren't spot on in their forensics. There's a lot of overlap between "Dark Enlightenment" ideas and principles that flow from a Catholic worldview (not necessarily Catholic dogma.) I'm standing on the shoulders of giants, but I hope that my own efforts, however meager they may be, can contribute to the restoration of both the Church and the culture.

No comments:

Post a Comment