Chartres, the Sacred Heart, and a League to Un-Locke America
(The Remnant website, June 15, 2015)
(“Locke: dry, cold, languid, and wearisome, will live forever”-J. Bentham)
Walking the Chartres Pilgrimage always puts me back on the straight and narrow path. It does so by the simple expedient of making me feel as though I am dying; as though I am a condemned prisoner undergoing a peculiar form of execution that will continue---slowly, torturously, and unabated---for almost three entire days.
Of course experience assures me that this particular misery will actually end in happiness, and that all I really need to do for the moment is add my bit to maintaining the joviality crucial to keeping the moveable pilgrim gibbet on the road.
Still, that part of me that really, really hurts---namely, every bone and muscle in my body---brings the reality of pain, death, and the meaning of it all to center stage in a way that nothing else I do during the year---at least up until now---has yet matched. And that honing in on the dreadful effects of Original Sin never fails to confirm commitment to the central Catholic teaching that is only through an ever deeper surrender to the knowledge, love, and service of God that the purpose of our lives, with all their pains and joys, can be clarified.
The direct road to a more complete connection to God that is confirmed so clearly every year along the path to Chartres stands in sharp contrast to that twisted highway into a Twilight Zone of ever more murky confusion regarding things divine down which the “mainstream” Church has guided the average pilgrim soul for the last half century. Believers who have taken this second path are now at a truly mystifying dead end where everything their Faith once taught them seems to be thrown into doubt. Their connection with Catholic Truth and what it is that this Truth demands of them as individuals and social beings has become about as clear and firm as that of blind men hanging from a precipice by the tips of their fingers.
Charity and prudence require that those of us who through God’s mercy have regularly benefited from the confirmation of the straight and narrow path offered by experiences like that of the Chartres Pilgrimage stop pussy footing around regarding what they should or should not say to their fellow Catholics to prevent them from losing their last tenuous grip on the Truth and slipping irrevocably into the abyss. In short, the time for grabbing our brethren who dangling off their highway to nowhere by the tips of their fingers and pulling them back onto the direct route to knowledge, love, and service of God has arrived.
For one thing, this means proclaiming over and over again that the straight and narrow path finding assistance provided by events like the Chartres Pilgrimage can never be gained from the Second Vatican Council and the Novus Ordo. Yes, there were real long-term problems in the Church that justified calling a Council, and some of this Council’s pronouncements are actually of permanent value. Nevertheless, the “Spirit of Vatican Two” poisoned the whole enterprise, ruining the effectiveness even of the good bits in the overall project of Catholic enlightenment. It turned the Council and its aftermath into a “happening” so bizarre in character that one might hope that future scholars will consider it a legendary event invented by grotesque enemies of Catholicism for the purpose of discrediting the Faith. And as far as the Novus Ordo is concerned, even some of its original supporters have by now joined the chorus of Traditionalists in identifying the detour signs its cartographers placed along the direct road to deeper knowledge, love, and service of God.
Still, total clarity regarding why and how modern Catholics---and modern man in general---have been so effectively led down a twisted highway into a spiritual Twilight Zone, and away from that straight and narrow path to deeper connection with God regularly confirmed en route to Chartres requires more than raking the obvious over the coals. Quite frankly, Catholics on their own steam were not inventive enough to come up with the modern roadblocks to divine wisdom and its consequences constructed by the “Spirit of Vatican Two” and the architects of the Novus Ordo. They needed help from outside experts in truly effective obfuscation. Catholics had to undergo a “basic training” in learning how to shut their eyes to the path to the fullness of the Truth and, even better still, a basic training in learning how to abandon all desire to find that path entirely. This unfortunate basic training they received in superabundance: through long-term exposure to and eventually unreflective acceptance of a mentality that had already begun to turn our whole intellectual, political, and social environment into a Kingdom of the Blind centuries before Second Vatican Council.
This is the mentality shaped by John Locke (1632-1704): undisputed Founding Father of Liberalism, and coordinator supreme of all those power-driven, mechanist, and ultimately totally earth-bound tendencies stimulated by men like Francis Bacon (1561-1626) and Isaac Newton (1643-1726). Quite simply put: no Locke and Earth-Bound Company, no truly effective long-term Catholic stumbling down the highway into the Twilight Zone from the 1960’s down to 2015. He who would redirect Catholics from a mindless plunge into a mundane, secular, individualist abyss deadly to the life of the spirit and the mind; he who would open Catholic eyes to the straight and narrow road to a deeper knowledge, love, and service of God, must fight John Locke and destroy the Kingdom of the Blind---the Locke Land---that his vision bit-by-bit established.
Now many Catholic Traditionalists in other parts of the world are highly conscious of just how fundamental the damage done by Locke and life in Locke Land has been to the development and continuity of our current Catholic crisis. One of the key figures here, and the man with whom I have the oldest personal friendship, is Professor Danilo Castellano of the University of Udine. Dr. Castellano’s many writings dealing directly and indirectly with Locke’s liberalism and its consequences for secular and religious life, first pointed out to me by my good friend Monsignor Ignacio Barreiro-Carámbula, the chaplain of the Roman Forum, have had an enormous impact on my own thinking. One could only wish they were translated into English. Another crucial member of the anti-Locke “International” represents the best that Christian and classical minded France has always brought to the Traditionalist camp. This is Bernard Dumont, editor of the journal Catholica and the chief inspiration behind a recent book that highlights the historical roots and sociological effects of the broad political and social disaster accompanying the religious revolution effected by Second Vatican Council and seeks a way to escape it: Church and Politics: A Change of Paradigm (Artège, 2013). Alas, this, too, has not yet been made available in an English translation.
No description of international Catholic opposition to Locke and the stultifying spiritual, theological, and philosophical effects of living in Locke Land can be complete without calling Remnant readers’ attention to Dr. Miguel Ayuso of the Pontifical University of Comillas in Madrid. Dr. Ayuso combines an intellectual insight, an organizational genius, and a superhuman capacity for travel that have made him an apostle of the counterrevolutionary vision---and the whole anti-Locke message along with it---throughout the entire Latin world.
One of Dr. Ayuso’s academic contributions is his organization, through the Fundación Speiro, of an annual conference in Madrid dealing with the manifold pillars and incomparable beauty of Catholic civilization. A crucial member of the anti-Locke club who regularly comes to this vibrant gathering is Professor Juan Fernando Segovia of the University of Mendoza in Argentina. This year’s conference was proceeded by a seminar at the Royal Academy of Jurisprudence in Madrid discussing Dr. Segovia’s latest book, whose title translates into English as Natural Law in the Spider Web of Reason: Ethics, Law, and Politics in John Locke (Marcial Pons, 2014).
Anyone with a reading knowledge of Spanish who wants a solid introduction to the reasons why Locke and Locke Land have been so destructive to a discovery of and steadfast march down the highway to knowledge, love, and service of God cannot do better than study this highly instructive work. Dr. Segovia tackles these reasons in detail in the body of the text and then offers a superb summary of them with direct reference to their anti-Catholic impact in the last chapter of his work.
It should be noted that this is not an easy task. Locke’s teachings involve a mass---a spider web---of contradictions. Everything he wrote reflects not only the logical development of anti-rational medieval Nominalism and its Protestant offspring, but also his own evolving meditations on the period of religious, intellectual, political, and social confusion in Britain from the time of the Civil Wars in the 1640’s through the Commonwealth, the troubled period of the Restoration, and the Glorious Revolution of 1688. It also very much reveals his activist role as an aide to Anthony Ashley Cooper, Earl of Shaftesbury (1621-1683) and founder of the first liberal political movement: the English Whig Party. Men like Shaftesbury---and Locke along with them---were eager to do everything possible to prevent that interference with individual property ownership and usage that the religious battles and the efforts to build stronger monarchical power in England both gave rise to throughout the 1600’s. Locke’s hugely influential and highly problematic conclusions about man and nature can be briefly summarized from Dr. Segovia’s work as follows:
There is no Natural Law without God as its guarantor.
We know of the God who stands behind Natural Law not through the teachings of a Church or obscure and diversely interpreted Scriptures but through Reason.
Reason tells us only that God is omnipotent and owns us as His property.
In the absence of further information about God, what that means is that Natural Law is limited to a “property question” with a two-fold “negative” character. We must do no harm to that property of God that is our own individual persons, and we must do no harm to that property of God that is other individual persons.
In the original “State of Nature” all of us, as equal parts of the property of God, are alone responsible for enforcing the command to do no harm to ourselves or to others. For God has no means of enforcing that command Himself.
How do we know what “harm” means? God has left no impression in our souls of principles of morality giving us guidance in this regard. All we have is the knowledge that we gain from individual empirical experiences concerning what causes pleasure and what causes pain. These we must follow, seemingly without any worry regarding limitations due to Original Sin. As stewards of God’s property, we have an obligation to expand that property by “building ourselves” as human persons. Such construction can only be based upon sensual experiences, and to render this construction sure and lasting, life teaches us that we need property of our own.
Despite the dismissal of Original Sin, Locke admits that individuals in the State of Nature “overreach” in their property and personality construction and quarrel with one another. Hence, the negative command to do no harm is violated. All individuals, all of whom are threated by “overreaching”, are therefore obliged to make a “social contract” creating a government designed to prevent it.
That government’s sole purpose is to defend Natural Law by protecting the “Natural Right” of all individuals, as stewards of God’s property rights over them, to build their personalities with the aid of property of their own. In effect, Natural Law becomes nothing other than protection of this Natural Right.
How is “overreaching” defined and controlled? Only on the basis of contractual, conventional agreement. There are no substantive guidelines to such restriction. They are provided solely on the basis of what is “fashionable” or “customary”, all of which can be labeled “common sense” at any given moment in time, but all of which can change due to time and place.
- In theory, it would seem that conventional agreements regarding what is and is not “customary” or “fashionable” should be made by all individuals equally, given that they are all stewards of God’s property rights in them. Nevertheless, a certain gnostic influence over Locke’s mind-set, as well as the practical experience of democratic influences and their seemingly nefarious effects on property during the English Civil War and its aftermath, made him prefer to see this control in the hands of the existing propertied elite. Hence, the whole tendency of Liberalism to link the idea of universal popular sovereignty with constitutional checks and balances putting real decision making in the hands of the most powerful and willful elements in society alone.
In sum, what Locke does is to complete the medieval Nominalist reduction of our ability to know things rationally to nothing other than a knowledge of individuals and their individual experiences. This he worsens through his obliteration of what we can know by Faith and his transformation of all the arbitrary willfulness that Nominalists and Protestants attributed to God to human individuals as the “rectors” of God’s “property”. These individuals he leaves free to their own devices, with God’s Law and Natural Law redefined in terms of individuals’ “Natural Right” to create themselves as persons with the aid of private property. This “Right” is limited by the government created through a social contract purely on the basis of a changeable fashion, custom, or common sense that should presumably be determined willfully by everyone, but turns out to be decided upon by nothing other than a willful power elite.
Because “God” is still said to be behind the whole vision, and because contemporary spiritual battles disruptive to property could only be brought to an end by a “religious toleration” for all “Seekers of God”, Locke gained a reputation as a friend of “Faith” in general. But the “God” of whom he speaks is nothing other than the supreme guarantor of individual property, and the “churches” that are granted their “freedom” in Locke Land are granted it as private clubhouses with no real authority, composed of free individuals who are stewards of God’s property rights in them. These clubhouse churches are prohibited from gaining control of the public order and always potentially subject to control themselves: whenever sovereign individuals composing them feel that church authorities are interfering with their personal “natural right” to self-determination.
Under these circumstances, a seemingly religion-friendly order, concerned primarily for assuring the peace required to protect individual property, becomes, in reality, an ever more anarchic conglomerate of individuals who build their personalities on the basis of their varied sensual experiences. It becomes an anti-society whose privately God-fearing atoms deal with their public lives with the mechanical knowledge that they get from Isaac Newton and his allies for the purpose of obtaining a Francis Bacon-inspired raw power over nature.
This is not the Catholic understanding of Natural Law or political and social order, which is why Locke denied the Roman Church religious toleration, and his followers only permitted it to the degree that believers abandoned efforts to influence the world outside their private clubhouse. This is the Kingdom of the Blind, guided solely by the desire to satisfy whatever pleasurable experiences are accepted by the “custom” and “common sense” of the “sovereign individuals” of a given place at a given time. And, sad to say, Locke’s more moderate sounding naturalist Enlightenment vision gained a vast influence over Catholic lands frightened by more openly radical atheism already before the French Revolution. This influence increased with the growing strength of Liberalism in the nineteenth century and came to dominate the Spirit of Vatican Council itself through the work of men like Jacques Maritain and “personalists” whose greater radicalism merely spread the same message in slightly more convoluted form.
Yes, the dangers of Locke and Locke Land are well known to many Traditionalist and counterrevolutionary Catholics internationally. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for Catholics in our own country. The United States and its Founding Fathers have been so thoroughly shaped by Locke’s ideas that most Americans, Catholics and non-Catholics alike, unthinkingly accept all of his destructive errors and their consequences. They are part of the only “tradition” that they know. Do they recognize what his message really entails---namely, the establishment of a “natural right” to pursue every form of hedonist individualism imaginable, an insistence that this terrifying encouragement of Original Sin provides the only basis for social order and peace in a spiritually divided world, and a limitation of opposition to its ravages to the expression of “personal opinions” inside private religious clubhouses denied all possibility of imposing their “individual values” in the public realm?
No. Instead, Americans shaped by this “tradition” are convinced that a fervent defense of Locke and Locke Land is their patriotic duty. American Catholics compound the problem by accepting Locke’s call for “religious liberty” at face value and believing that praise of what is really an emasculating insult to the Faith is tantamount to advancing the cause of the Christian Tradition in the modern world. The self-deception here is tragic, and the many political “conservatives” who encourage it, ignorant of the fact that they are nothing other than Locke-fed liberals at a less logical stage in the development of his argument than more radical hedonists, are not just wrong but downright perverse in their rape of Christendom.
The inevitable result is that Catholics, along with other Americans, do exactly what Locke wanted them to do: they deny that they are social beings, they act as pure individualists and libertarians in the public realm, and they dedicate themselves privately to highly praiseworthy but insufficient liturgical celebrations and religious devotions that do not rock the civic boat. They fight pointless battles against a battery of secondary thinkers just as impotent as they are and the silly, transitory, and self-destructive movements they generate. Meanwhile, “Locke: dry, cold, languid, and wearisome”, as even so humdrum a utilitarian as Jeremy Bentham lamented, seemingly “lives forever”---not on the strength of what he really is, but as a prophet of modern social order and the shield of a Catholic religious liberty that he subverts and destroys. And, once again, it is this madness that the “Spirit of Second Vatican Council” has tapped into and sought to baptize.
Chartres’ annual confirmation of the need to stay on the straight and narrow path to a true and deeper knowledge, love, and service of God brought my anger with this American Catholic ignorance of exactly what Locke and Locke Land’s highway into the Twilight Zone means to a feverish pitch. And it did so in conjunction with a meditation on Our Lady of Guadalupe Chapter’s dedication its pilgrimage this year to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
This is because the doctrine of the Sacred Heart is one that totally contradicts Locke and the pillars of Locke Land. It teaches us that the God who made nature and set its rules came to redeem it when they were broken, and that He did so in as clear and substantive fashion as was possible: by becoming part of nature Himself. It shows that Christ’s human heart, like every part of His human nature, was made into a Sacred Heart because of the union of divine and human in the Second Person of the Trinity. It demonstrates that the love emanating from Christ’s Heart is one that works to divinize all individuals who flee their limited, sinful state and form a society in Him and in submission to His substance-filled laws. For we who are not divine persons are made sacred---“transformed in Christ”---only by becoming members of His Mystical Body and accepting Him as our King. And the fact that our individual salvation and perfection takes place through membership in an authoritative society---the society of Christ---whose King works openly with all things natural, points to the intrinsic value that all social institutions and social authorities laboring under the guidance of the Mystical Body possess.
In short, the doctrine of the Sacred Heart underlines the truth that we have no individualist “natural right” to develop our limited, sinful “personalities” based on sensual experience alone and just as we see fit. We are beings whose “Natural Law” can only be fully understood and brought to complete fruition through the sacramental development of our personality in submission to Christ, His Church, and that complex battery of natural social institutions obedient to God’s Laws as well. It is for all these reasons that counterrevolutionaries since the 1790’s have always recognized that the Sacred Heart’s transformative individual-social message and its proclamation of Christ’s Social Kingship strike at everything that Locke’s Liberalism in all its forms---both its illogically “conservative” and more logically libertarian and sexually hedonist--- encourages.
While stumbling painfully down the route to Chartres, and talking to my fellow pilgrims about this message of the Sacred Heart and the Social Kingship of Christ, a new means of helping to dynamite Locke Land’s efforts to detour us into the spiritual Twilight Zone came to mind. It dawned on me that what we need is a “Catholic League to Un-Locke America, the Church, and the World”. (I wish the “Un-Locke” expression were my own, but I lifted it from a protest button that I saw in New York a few years ago). I intend to launch the League formally under the auspices of the Roman Forum during our Summer Symposium in Gardone Riviera from June 29th-July 10th. And just as with this year’s Our Lady of Guadalupe Chapter during the Chartres Pilgrimage, the work of the League will be dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
The Roman Forum will be organizing a many-session seminar on the problems of Locke, Locke Land, and the desperate need to un-Locke our whole political, social, and ecclesiastical environment from its individualist, hedonist, mechanist, and power grubbing roots. A day long League Conference in New York City during the next academic year, 2015-2016 will crown its labors. Readers can consult our website (www.romanforum.org) for further information regarding the details of these events by mid-August. At the moment, it is an initial consciousness-raising enterprise that we are primarily concerned with stimulating. In aid of such a consciousness-raising project, ordinary members of the League will be asked to take on three responsibilities only:
- A daily recitation of Pope Leo XIII’s prayer of Consecration to the Sacred Heart:
Most sweet Jesus, Redeemer of the human race, look down upon us humbly prostrate before Thine altar. We are Thine, and Thine we wish to be; but, to be more surely united with Thee, behold each one of us freely consecrates himself today to Thy most Sacred Heart.
Many indeed have never known Thee; many too, despising Thy precepts, have rejected Thee. Have mercy on them all, most merciful Jesus, and draw them to Thy sacred Heart. Be Thou King, O Lord, not only of the faithful who have never forsaken Thee, but also of the prodigal children who have abandoned Thee; grant that they may quickly return to Thy Father's house lest they die of wretchedness and hunger.
Be Thou King of those who are deceived by erroneous opinions, or whom discord keeps aloof, and call them back to the harbor of truth and unity of faith, so that there may be but one flock and one Shepherd.
Be Thou King of all those who are still involved in the darkness of idolatry or of Islamism, and refuse not to draw them into the light and kingdom of God. Turn Thine eyes of mercy towards the children of the race, once Thy chosen people: of old they called down upon themselves the Blood of the Savior; may it now descend upon them a laver of redemption and of life.
Grant, O Lord, to Thy Church assurance of freedom and immunity from harm; give peace and order to all nations, and make the earth resound from pole to pole with one cry: "Praise be to the divine Heart that wrought our salvation; to it be glory and honor for ever." Amen;
- A dedication, each month, either of of one day’s spiritual intention or of one Holy Mass to the awakening of our fellow American Catholics to the full meaning of the doctrine of the Sacred Heart for the Kingship of Christ over individuals and society at large and the way in which Locke and Locke Land prevent this goal from ever being achieved;
- One mention once a month to one new person of the existence of the League and its purpose.
Nevertheless, in recognition of the fact that the work of beginning such a League seeking to remove the American Catholic blindfold preventing appreciation of the dangers of Locke and Locke Land will be immense, we need the assistance of some extraordinary members alongside the ordinary ones. Hence, this special appeal to Remnant readers. Who among you is already conscious of the hold that Locke and Company have on modern life? Who among you is already aware of the blinding of the mind and dulling of the soul that living in Locke Land ensures? And, secondly, who among you will help in the endeavor to un-Locke our world in a more rigorous intellectual and social manner? I need your names and emails as founding League members now.
Please assist this attempt to do in America what a strange but brilliantly insightful William Blake (1757-1827) dreamed of doing already long ago in Britain: “To cast off Bacon, Locke & Newton from Albion’s covering; To take off his filthy garments, & clothe him with Imagination" (William Blake, Milton, plate 41). Please assist this attempt to go beyond Blake and clothe America not with mere “imagination” but with Catholic Faith and a confidence in a human Reason that can reach to the essence of things and condemn a life of a sinful, prideful, rule-less “personality building”. For “Locke: dry, cold, languid, and wearisome” must not, as Bentham feared, be allowed to live and reign forever. America is in desperate need of Christ as her sole and only King.
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