A View From Rocco’s: The End of History and the Reign of Francis
Can Believers Escape Their Country Club Existence?
(The Remnant, March 15, 2015)
Any educator seriously engaged in the teaching of history knows that his days are numbered. Unless he invents some trick turning historical instruction to the service of a more “useful” discipline like cooking, or into some form of entertainment providing amusing tidbits of conversation for cocktail parties and television commercial time, his superiors will soon be hunting for an excuse to toss him out on the street. Why? Because the reactions that he encounters in the classroom through the teaching of serious history range from the bored indifference displayed by the majority of his “with-it” students to a small minority’s rage over his call to confront what they consider to be dead issues and the impractical and contentious arguments connected with them. “Subvert, amuse profitably, or die” are the choices presented to those who still feel themselves duty-bound to remind men and women that they indeed do have a past, and that that past weighs heavily on their present and their future, for both good and evil---whether they like it or not.
Admittedly, the supporters of the Renaissance and Reformation, as well as those history slaying Jacobin and Soviet commissars who emerged from the Radical Enlightenment, share the guilt in this subversion, degradation, and outright destruction of the historical mission. Still, the first two had the benefit of encouraging studies of the ancient pagan and Christian world, even while they unjustly ignored those of the Middle Ages. And the mad zealotry of the latter did at least prove capable of arousing militant Catholic reaction to their root and branch attacks on the past. But nothing has dispatched serious treatment and digestion of the lessons of our heritage so effectively than “pragmatic”, soul-killing American Pluralism: the Established Religion of the United States and its satellites throughout the globe.
This diabolical mish mash of Moderate Enlightenment, John Locke, Founding Father, and secularized Puritan inspired hoo-ha administers the coup de grace to history in three ways. First of all, it builds an anti-social and anti-authoritative political system that encourages a “pursuit of happiness” reduced to the satisfaction of those many individual material passions---the desire to accumulate personal property chief among them---that define the human person in Locke’s distorted vision of things. Secondly, it baptizes the global spread of this drab reduction of the human experience as the “exceptional” God-given mission of the United States in history, any questioning of which would constitute an obstacle to fulfillment of mankind’s “last, best hope in history”---and guarantee the victory of Nazis and genocidal maniacs in its place. Finally, while convincing religious denominations to rejoice over the freedom that American Pluralism gives them to worship God as they see fit, it mercilessly drills into all of them the true dogmatic consequences of its religious liberty: the fact that it is only meant for personal entertainment at what amount to ecclesiastical “cocktail parties” in those Country Clubs we once called churches; that the real public mission of religious forces is aiding the progress of God’s Pluralism and the individual expressions of Original Sin it unleashes and adores; and that religious thinkers and their Socratic philosophical allies must keep their divisive mouths shut regarding any blasphemous critique of the divinely-guided will of the Founders of Locke Land that might come into their psychotic minds.
Now history satisfies none of the base individual material passions to which our fallen nature calls us, and accumulates property for no one. It points, instead, to a much broader vision of what the human person and human life are all about, exposing the cheapening of existence and enslavement to willful materialist individuals and oligarchic parties that the victory of American Pluralism actually ensures through its stunted vision of “freedom”. History makes it clear that Pluralism is really nothing other than fascism “with a gentle American face”, leading to the Triumph of somebody’s more powerful Will through every one of its many nooks and crannies. And it demonstrates the irrational pagan fideism that those calling for belief in its God given mission demand of their victims.
Hence, for the crime of revealing too many skeletons in too many closets, history must suffer one of the three fates outlined above. It must accept that its survival in an American Pluralist world requires that it either provide bootlicking historical arguments praising one or the other of the base materialist forces that this “last, best hope of mankind” inevitably brings to power, confine itself to offering amusing, pointless anecdotes for impotent private Country Club cocktail party entertainment alone; or accept its annihilation as Public Enemy Number One.
From Vatican Council to The Reign of Francis
Many factors entered into the calling and hijacking of Second Vatican Council, all of them conducive to dragging a supernatural institution down to the level of a hopelessly impotent clubhouse whose members mill about pointlessly, looking for a little entertainment. A good number of Council Fathers and their periti, inspired by what is called “Personalism”, wanted the Church to abandon her authoritative teaching in order to open her ears to the “signs of the time” preached by Marxist intellectuals. They, too, were enemies of history, consultation of which they treated as an insufferable questioning of the unquestionable voice of the Holy Spirit in current events…which they alone, of course, had the key to interpreting.
But ultimately the influence of American Pluralism and its ever-greater domination of the entire globe since the 1980’s meant that it gained the upper hand in defining what the Holy Spirit “really” wishes to teach an impotent Country Club Church. Predictably, this meant that anyone responsible for teaching history who wanted to stay in the Catholic game had to wake up, smell the coffee, and do one of three things: either provide the usual bootlicking arguments justifying the predominance of whatever willful, materialist individual or oligarchic combination of individuals might win in the jungle warfare that American Pluralism unleashes in the Church as elsewhere; organize historical entertainment for impotent Catholic Country Club “cocktail parties”; or find the best way to say sayonara and commit hara-kiri---privately, and with no divisive fuss, lest the stock market or the gay community be alarmed.
The Roman Catholic branch of the Global Pluralist Church has by now had a good number of years to mature in its soul-killing role. One has to admit that it has done a remarkable job by 2015. “Well done good and faithful servant!” all of us should now shout. For it has finally given us as pope today someone who---contrary to the conviction of many conservatives, convinced that he is a Marxist---is Pluralist Catholic Man par excellence.
Pluralist man reflects at one and the same time two contradictory characteristics. He is both John Locke’s thoughtless bundle of individual, willful desires, but also a person who knows that he is obliged to bend to what it is that the more powerful wills around him want from their underlings in order to avoid being labeled a “divisive” disturber of the peace. Moreover, Pluralist Everyman fulfills this dual role best when he actually hypnotizes himself into equating the will of the more powerful with his own. And the task of a Pluralist Catholic Man who is the spokesman for his Country Club is to show that the will of his masters, conceived of as his own, is that of the Creed that he is responsible for defending as well.
Pope Francis has done his job as Pluralist Catholic Man to perfection. He shows a willful individual commitment to certain pet Church teachings that do not threaten the oligarchs of the world around him, while displaying an unhappy acceptance of their concerns on all those matters that do---such as the destruction of the family. He bases his procedure on the central Lockean motto---“the world, that’s me!”---translating it into its papal equivalent---“l’Église, c’est moi”. And he answers rational bewilderment over his contradictory call for a Catholic crusade in the public forum and a chastisement of faithful Catholics attempting honestly to undertake it in an orthodox fashion with a contempt for logical thought and a personal “humility” worthy of the emptiest of pluralist utilitarians and of a Uriah Heep.
The Catholic Love Affair with Historical Ignorance
Now a serious consultation of Church History---the whole of Church History---would reveal the nightmare that taking the path of Second Vatican Council and electing a man like Bergoglio as pope entails. More importantly still, it would reveal what it is that constitutes the chief cause for that nightmare: Vatican Council’s and Francis’ full-scale surrender to the nature-bound socio-political system that dominates our unhappy world.
But, alas, as noted above, history is dead! American Pluralism has done yeoman service in destroying it as a force with any practical impact, and Catholics in general have learned that they have an obligation to bury it alongside the other slaves of the Regime. And worst of all, those responsible for teaching and enlightening their fellow believers have engaged in such historical grave digging with unsurpassed enthusiasm and energy, furthering the cause of ignorance with an arrogance that is unmatched by anyone with the exception of our papal leader.
Some of these teachers---the Novaks, the Weigels, the Libertarians, and the Acton Institutes of the Catholic world---want the faithful to be kept in ignorance because they are themselves deeply enamored of the American Pluralist Regime. They have mastered the techniques of Locke Land, gained their position of worldwide prominence through their application, and need a Church founded primarily upon the Moderate Enlightenment, and deemed praiseworthy only because she is the Bride of Locke and the Founders.
Other Catholics in various teaching roles do not pronounce the judgment on Pluralism as the danger to the Faith that historical investigation of its genesis and development would reveal it to be out of sheer terror. After all, they know they would lose their positions, their grants, and other perks of life if they did so. Worse still, that they would be driven into the outer darkness by the “if not us, Hitler” argument with which the real fascists of the world around us---the Pluralists---grind their enemies into the dust. They therefore find the bootlicking arguments that they need to praise the pluralist system, the oligarchs currently guiding it, the Roman Catholic branch of the Global Pluralist Religion, the Established Think Tanks, and the destructive pronouncements of the Pluralist Pope par excellence, whatever they may be.
Still, the sad truth is that the bulk of those in some way responsible for teaching the Faith have opted for dealing with its history in the most depressing of the manners indicated above: by turning it into a form of entertainment for one or the other of the impotent Country Club cocktail party venues that Catholics huddle about in in our time.
This is bad enough when it involves Catholics wasting their time teaching Hobbit language instead of Latin and Greek. It is worse still when it leads believers into that Tower of Babel built of exaggerated blogging, commenting, and counter commenting that gives them the sense of accomplishing something while they are merely playing games. James Madison must be rubbing his hands with glee, watching the Catholic enemy bogged down in such self-deluding madness. For their behavior confirms what he said in The Federalist, when he described the way that the new Regime would maintain its stability by “multiplying factions” whose clash with one another would render their chance to impact on the public square totally hopeless. Bravo, Catholics! We have too much babbling to do to be bothered with learning and doing things with practical political and social significance.
Still, this preaching to the well-behaved flock that never seriously emerges from its country club atmosphere to disturb its betters in the secular world outside is most upsetting---and a dangerous corruptio optimorum to boot---when it entails each teaching force picking one element out of the jewel box of Church History and displaying it for worship to the exclusion and even the condemnation of everything else to be found therein. The examples of this “libido for the all too exclusive treasure” are legion, and, sad to say, numerous among Traditionalists as well as other Catholics.
The consequences are dismal. Chesterton and Belloc trump the entirety of the modern non-English speaking Catholic Tradition and the Church Fathers to boot. The supporters of St. Thomas and St. Augustine hold their noses when confronted with the “enemy” Doctor of the Church. Support for the Traditional Liturgy, one or the other devotional practice, this as opposed to that religious order, the family in contrast to the State, or the pursuit of artistic Beauty become the sole key to saving modern man for Christ. A pox on all the other labors!
The “victory” of one of these good things without the triumph of all the others would guarantee nothing but more problems for the future; a swing between supporting one narrow key to building Christendom and another. And meanwhile, somehow, always and everywhere, contemplating the most crucial problem of all---namely, our servitude under the heel of a wretched socio-political system that allows no space for religious and rational social authority to promote virtue and crush vice, and limits us to the Country Club and cocktail party circuit is the one unthinkable thought. All I can say to those engaged in this Catholic reductionism is: “Gentlemen, choose your drinks!” The soul-killing world outside won’t lose one moment’s sleep by your activities. It will even contribute the peanuts to accompany the soporific drinks.
Can Catholics Escape their Country Club Existence?
My main reason for musing on this subject of the death of history and its meaning for believers by the time of the reign of the Pluralist Catholic Man par excellence, Pope Francis, is the question of whether there is any chance for our breaking out of our limited, Country Club, cocktail party circles.
I am not saying anything that I have not said a hundred times before in insisting that the only way for us to entertain such a hope is twofold: first of all, by winning back an appreciation of the lessons provided us by the whole of Sacred History, and, secondly, by recognizing that treating history seriously involves destroying the hold of the American Pluralist Regime on the Church and the world.
There is only one practical means of our doing this, and it involves a long-term intellectual project. We must admit that we are still ignorant of our Tradition, and that we need to have a permanent institute dedicated to the study of the whole of Church History, all of the lessons that it has to offer, and a particular critique of the Regime producing the secular, materialist oligarchy designed to crush all concern for mind and spirit. And such a permanent institute has to be dedicated to producing well-trained, lay, activist leaders rather than to exercising an immediate mass appeal. Lacking an emperor to intervene to put mad popes in their place there is no other choice for the faithful laity.
Quite frankly, our insanely democratic environment has done great damage in making it seem that everyone be “with it” intellectually. Most people, quite rightly, are pressed by inescapable circumstances simply to work, marry, have children, raise a family, and do what is morally right to do on the basis of what they are told: without having to concern themselves with pouring over innumerable documents from archives available on the Internet and digesting messages from the time of the Sumerians to the present. My argument is not with the bulk of mankind, which, after clocking out of work and having a couple of drinks and a cigarette, asks nothing other of “history” than a few hours of cinema entertainment showing Spartacus leading slaves against corrupt oligarchs of the Roman Republic. Of course, I would rather that that cinema entertainment feature Catholics leading “free Americans” against their pluralist oligarchs. But the end of my argument is still the same. We need leaders ready to take on the evil Regime that rules us. And they need to know more than endless quips from Chesterton, an exegesis of Narnia, and when to incense the congregation in the presence of a thousand new priests to bring this demon down.
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