Why Are the Moslems Doing Our Job?
(The Remnant, February 15, 2006)As I sit here on this February afternoon in the café on Bleecker Street where I do my daily scholarly work, two persistent thoughts distract me from the article I was vainly trying to write for the next issue of The Remnant. They are upsetting thoughts, they deserve a deeper consideration than I am giving them here, but I am dashing off comments regarding them as they come nonetheless. Caveat emptor!
The first of these concerns what is a constant preoccupation of mine: the vivid distinction between the immeasurable riches granted society by the Catholic Faith and the mess of pottage dished out by the mind boggling fraud of our arrogant “enlightened” civilization. My latest stimulus to meditation upon that awful comparison came through the unexpected and very sudden death of my first, beloved mentor, who taught at Drew University in New Jersey. This was the man who not only inspired my study of Church History, but who also introduced me to Drs. Dietrich von Hildebrand and William Marra, the Roman Forum, and, in consequence, the entire battle for the maintenance of Catholic Tradition and the Traditional Mass.
I am, alas, no philosopher, but this teacher was for me what Plato always said that Socrates was for him: a divine surprise. Without the divine surprise that he supplied, my eyes and ears would have remained closed, perhaps forever, and I would never have been pressed into the ranks of those walking in the great pilgrimage to God. He and he alone was the one who opened them to the great truth and turning point of human history: the Incarnation and the immeasurable fullness of its consequences. It was he who showed me that the Word Incarnate’s redemption of the world had confirmed the beauty of Creation and indicated that God’s handiwork had to be cherished, fought for, freed from the stain of sin and transformed in Christ. My teacher’s love of life demonstrated, in practice, that this transforming struggle regarded all of nature--all of it without exception--and that the more one engaged in this universal crusade, the easier the appreciation of the hierarchical, ordered way in which its different elements had to be loved would become. He was right.
When I spoke to a colleague on my campus last week of the death of the man who opened my dull-witted eyes to the overwhelming beauty of existence, some students overheard our conversation, but only in fits and starts. Once the murmur of changing classes had subsided, one of them asked me what it really was all about. I told her. “That’s terrible”, she commiserated. “But I know exactly how you feel. I just found out that my guinea pig died”. That absurd comment, joined so jarringly together with the reality of my friend’s demise, brought back the Modernist-Catholic comparison again, now in the form of a two-fold momento mori.
It seemed to me that my student’s comment was a momento mori for the whole of the two to three hundred year fraudulent Enlightenment obsessed world in which we live. Her words demonstrated that it had reached fruition and its time had come. This was a world that was supposed to lead us out of darkness and into the light that its name portends. This was a world that was dedicated to providing a universal education to ensure that reason, freedom, and human dignity would finally thrive. And what has it, in fact, created? A society where the recipients of this education and enlightenment, with rare exceptions, do not know the names of the philosophes that wanted them to have it, could care less about them if they did, and loathe being placed in those contemporary “prisons of peoples” otherwise called schools where their wisdom is dispensed. A society where the death of a man who really did love nature and understood how it could be lifted to the highest glory—by seeking the light that comes from above, from the Father of lights--can be placed on the same level as a guinea pig. Thank you Voltaire. Thank you Diderot. Thanks…but no thanks. It is time, gentlemen. Closing time.
I hesitated before writing this down, because the student in question is really one of the “good guys”: sincere, sympathetic and, I think, quite eager to open her eyes and ears. I have written it down because I am certain that she will never read this journal until her eyes and ears are opened and if, when they are, she can be saved from the fate that I have seen befall a number of others awakened to the cheat of the world whose “light” they once accepted: a single-minded, Fascist-like, all-consuming anger; a desire for root-and-branch destruction of everything they once adored. She can only escape this fate if she has a divine surprise.
And that brings me to the second momento mori encapsulating this recent meditation on the Modernist-Catholic distinction, the more common one, the one reminding a man of his own mortality. Here I am, fifty five years old, subject to the possibility of the same instantaneous death that struck down my mentor. Here we all are, dear Remnant readers, traditionalist Catholics one and all, with our own personal “apocalypse” which could arrive at the literal drop of the proverbial hat. My family and I pray for my friend, and I have hopes that those prayers will be heard because he was such a good teacher of the truth of the Incarnation, and my Faith tells me that good teaching covers over a multitude of sins. He did his work for me, serving as a “divine surprise”. I know what he taught me, both positively, about the glory of the Catholic Faith and negatively, about the fraud of enlightened modernity. Am I serving as the divine surprise for my confused but promising student? Am I really striving to open her eyes and ears so that she can escape from the Great Lie of modern Progress the way my friend struggled on my behalf? Not all that vigorously. Can I hope that my good teaching to her will cover over a multitude of my sins? Not as much as I would wish.
But what about the second disturbing thought distracting me from what I ought to be doing here in this café? This concerns the question of who is and is not serving as the divine surprise opening eyes and ears to the fraud of modernity on the grand scale. Edmund Burke said that one would have expected a thousand swords to leap spontaneously from their scabbards to avenge the slightest insult offered to the lovely Marie Antoinette. One would have thought that the Catholic faithful would leap like one man to battle against a vision of life which prevents nature from being lifted up to the greater glory of God and forces it into the role of cheapening human existence and preparing the individual’s perdition instead. But the fact is that we Catholics, the chief beneficiaries of the Incarnation, are generally not doing what we ought to do to open men’s eyes and ears; we are unmoved by uncertain trumpets calling us to ill-defined battles. Perhaps our own eyes and ears have really not been fully opened to the riches we have lost.
It is contemporary Moslems who are doing our job for us. It is they were are exposing the Great Fraud of our Enlightenment-drenched swamp of a civilization at every turn of the road, the latest events in Palestine and Iran illustrating this as clear as day. They are the ones who are demonstrating what real believers do: defend the sacred from the profane; protect their Faith from being swallowed up in a mindless pluralist acceptance of everything and its opposite; indicate that there are things worth dying for, because life without them is nothing other than a living euthanasia. They are the ones showing us that our democracy and freedom are a swindle, because they only allow for the election of candidates and the defense of nations acceptable to the powers that be: those, that is to say, who permit pluralist libertinism and uncontrolled money-grubbing to advance unhindered; those-- as I have on several occasions paraphrased Chateaubriand to describe--who open wide the doors for Vice to enter society tightly entwined on the arm of Crime. They are the men teaching us that the frauds we live by are hidden to our sight through the constant evocation of the events of the Second World War and its fight for All Things Bright and Beautiful, with the obvious purpose of making anyone eager to unmask present-day evil as a vicious hidden Nazi. It is they whose sufferings lament the fact that the movement of Enlightenment is still today what it has always been: a recipe for permanent warfare giving scope to the ambitions of cocky imperialists as dangerously scatterbrained as those who unleashed the First World War and continued it “so that the sacrifice of the first batch of unjustly squandered cannon fodder not be a sacrifice in vain”.
So why is it that the Moslems are doing our job? Perhaps to shame us to “take up the Catholic’s burden”. God has used many forces to right the balance in salvation history before, including Egyptians, Assyrians, Babylonians, Persians, Greeks, Romans. Perhaps he is utilizing the Moslems in this respect today, to remind us of the death that awaits us right around each bend, to press us to become the “divine surprise” for others that will cover up a multitude of our sins before it is too late. Maybe you, dear Remnant readers, have thought this too, in your heart of hearts, when no one is wiretapping them, if only for just one brief moment? Maybe you, as well, have wondered why we let the followers of Mohammed do what we ought to be in the front lines doing to uncover the shame of a civilization in its death rattle? What will we say to God on Judgment Day when He asks why we were buried in fights for the restoration of checks and balances which have not succeeded in checking and balancing anything, but have shocked and awed us into the destruction of the very cradle of our civilization, in the Tigris and Euphrates, instead?
I am not happy that the Moslems are doing our job for us, because they are not the right troops for the campaign. One can certainly admire their courage and their spirit in battling the pluralist beast, and hope that somehow, God, in His mercy, will reward them for it, but they cannot fight properly. Their religion is an erroneous one. It does not have a correct teaching on the proper place of nature. It cannot allow for that transformation in Christ which my dear deceased friend taught and opened my eyes to. Their understanding of the omnipotence of God is such that they do not believe that any actions of theirs speed up or delay their death. They are convinced that their demise comes solely on God’s command. Men with this kind of outlook should not be doing the Catholic work of waging the war versus the darkness of the Enlightenment. They will risk everything alright, as sincere men and believers must be ready to do, against the right enemy, but for the wrong cause, and in the most imprudent way imaginable. Face them off against a civilization of Vice and Crime and the time for all of us is very short indeed. Take up the Catholic burden with all the speed ye may!
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