Hail the Conquering Hero!!
A Willful America Prepares to Adulate a Willful Pope
(The Remnant, September 25, 2015)
When the “pastoral-minded” pope arrives in the United States on September 22nd, he will undoubtedly receive the thunderous, multi-religious, bi-partisan (dare I say bi-sexual?) welcome due to a conquering hero. This is no wonder, given the fact that he will be visiting a land that prides itself on its “pastoral-minded”, practical, and pragmatic approach to political and social life. For, far from being at odds with one another, America and Pope Francis share the same insistence on the need to separate pragmatic and pastoral action from all that silly and disruptive thought that the Fathers of the Council of Trent believed to be absolutely necessary to ensure that “pragmatic” and the “pastoral” action actually did, in practice, work in favor of something true and moral rather than against it.
This dubious basis for fraternal union is enhanced by the fact that American society and the pontificate of Pope Francis both replace disruptive, uncharitable, Faith-and-Reason shaped meditation with another common guide to their “pragmatic” and “pastoral” action: willfulness pure and simple. And it is the strongest expressions of willfulness in any given time or place that ultimately determine what the words “pragmatic” and “pastoral” really mean.
Hail the conquering hero, indeed. Both America and Francis are pathetic victims rather than victors. They are fraternally united in a cancer ward filled with a myriad of fellow patients all manifesting the ravages brought about by that basic willfulness which is the motor force of all of modern pseudo-civilization. And the ticker-tape parade that will begin on September 22nd can be viewed as preparation for the massive, celebratory fireworks that will greet the five hundredth anniversary of the entry of this willfulness into the lymphatic system of Christendom in 2017.
There is no way that one can spell out in a brief commentary decades of explanation of the reasons why the whole American pluralist vision is one enormous fraud. Based originally upon the argument that practical and pragmatic---i.e., pastoral---concerns for social order in a multi-cultural society require respect for the “freedom” of everyone, this seemingly prudential freedom revealed itself to be an iron-clad doctrine of liberty unleashing each and every individual will to wreak its havoc with the body politic---with the disaster that this inevitably ensured restrained temporarily by whatever controls might still be imposed by a “common sense” whose content constantly diminished under the pressure of the strongest and most willful passions. I cannot say how much it frustrates me that this is not obvious in a land where everyone makes reference to the “will of the Founding Fathers” as a determination for what is right and wrong, and where contending ideological schools battle with one another for the right to elucidate what that “will” actually permits and prohibits.
Who cares what the Founders’ will was, if that will was not in line with Faith and Reason? But in saying that, one, of course, commits the sin against the Holy Spirit. With such a question that evil monster called “thought” has come back into the picture! And thought is not allowed to judge what the willful have already decided must practically and pastorally be done to ensure the charitable satisfaction of their particular passions.
Once again, no one can spell out in a brief commentary decades of explanations of the reasons why the Church had to fall into the same enormous fraud once she went down the pluralist-minded path. The whole gimmick played out perfectly. The pastoral concern for peaceful coexistence in a multi-religious, multi-cultural society turned out to require acceptance of that ironclad doctrine of liberty welcoming into the Camp of the Saints the unleashed individual will---with the havoc that this wreaked temporarily limited only by what the faithful could swallow at the moment.
Alas, the faithful’s capacity for swallowing more and more individual willfulness was stretched ever further by the strongest wills inside and outside the Church. It should be clear by now to anyone with eyes to see that whenever the word “pastoral” is evoked as the grounds for change it means that the lobby for satisfaction of yet another illicit passion has gained sufficient strength to demand that the weak wait upon their needs hand and foot as an obvious act of charity.
History is filled with popes who are good and bad, intelligent and mentally challenged, efficient and hopelessly incompetent, pastorally calamitous and pastorally fruitful. It was perhaps inevitable that, given the preferential option for pluralism adopted by a “pastoral” Council, the Church would be forced to endure the reign of a willful pope ready to impose his own crochets upon the faithful or voluntarily promote those of others he admires. Proof after proof of that willfulness is offered to us every day, especially with reference to the momentous Synod about to open in Rome.
It is no wonder that American neo-Catholics---trained by their pastoral, pluralist, willful environment not to allow the teeniest sliver of thought to interfere with the desires of the strong---have slavishly lapped up every bit of willful pottage offered from the time of the Council to the present as though it were manna from God. Heaven forbid that they should allow the decrees of past Councils, the pronouncements of past pontiffs, or the text of Holy Scripture and the commentaries upon it by the Doctors of the Church to interrupt their adulation. If the pope wills it, Deus lo vult! Don’t tread on him! Laissez-faire! This mindlessness will lead them---like the moderate revolutionary Girondins who sang the Marseillaise on their way to be guillotined---to sing the praises of the coming Synod even if it pastorally decrees the destruction of all that they hold dear today. After all, in the land of pluralist willfulness, the man who is sacrificed should accept the demise of his intellect as charitable and pastorally essential.
As I intimated above, the problem of willfulness and the willingness of the weak to snap to attention when the dictates of the strong are made known to them, praising them for their charity and vision as they are abused, is not only endemic to pluralist societies. Pluralists are merely more efficient in gaining the victims’ acceptance of their pitiful self-destruction. Willfulness and self-deception are in the lymphatic system of all of modern civilization, in its pluralist and its non-pluralist forms. They entered into the lymph when Luther’s willful distortion of Christianity was injected into the body of Christendom in 1517, bringing with it all of the stimuli to willful, mindless, individual reductionism that had already been fighting the medieval Church’s efforts to transform all of nature under the Social Reign of Christ since the twelfth century. It is Christ as King that is the real target of the willful assault.
Yes, a willful America is now preparing its adulatory welcome for a willful pope. But the parades to come are nothing compared to what is to follow next. Get yourselves ready for the Roman Triumph that will greet the five hundredth anniversary of Martin Luther two years hence. And if the pope wills it, must it not be pastorally good?
Martyrs of the Catholic Reformation, pray for America, pray for Pope Francis, and pray for the final end of this five hundred year Reign of mindless Willfulness. Pray that Christ becomes the King at least of his Church on earth once more.
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