Pen as Sword - Social Commentary, Politics and Economics, The Inner Struggle

Revisiting the Past … “modern English culture”

“Regina Coeli” (Queen of Heaven), The Monks of Glenstal Abbey, from the album “The Sound Of The Spirit From Glenstal Abbey“, 2009

English church

English Countryside

So how did we get to what I have been awkwardly calling our “Capitalist Secular Humanist Progressive English Western Society” which is the prevalent modern world we in the west see all around us every day.  To simplify, I will from now on just call it all “modern English culture”. So off we go across the verdant green countryside of England to our modern English culture which is a direct result of, and offspring of, the Reformation and it’s particularly virulent branch, English Protestantism.

St Augustine of Cantebury

St Augustine of Canterbury

So in very broad strokes the modern Catholic Church in England and Wales is part of the worldwide Roman Catholic Church in full communion with the Pope. Celtic Christianity, with some traditions different from those of Rome, was present in Roman Britain from the first century AD, but after the departure of the Roman legions was in retreat to paganism. In 597 AD, the first authoritative papal mission, establishing a direct link from the Kingdom of Kent to the See of Rome and to the Benedictine form of monasticism, was carried into effect by Augustine of Canterbury. And so the Catholic Church flourished in Britain for just under a thousand years before things started to go rapidly downhill. In the short space of 150 years all was lost, and God’s blessing withall.


Henry VIII

Henry VIII, whose reign began in 1509, broke with Rome and among other things re-fashioned the “English Catholic Church” as “The English Protestant church” under which guise he set out to purge every trace of Catholicism from England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland. Very vindictive that was, although as King of England, he had had his wishes thwarted and been publicly embarrassed by the Pope and had a big grudge it was no excuse for the hundreds of thousands of deaths over the next 150 years.

Be that as it may, unlike other domains affected by the Reformation, the English aimed for nothing less than total elimination of the Catholic Church and all faithful followers of Rome. And while other domains continued to have to deal with a large portion of their population who adhered to the Catholic faith, the English proved singularly successful in wiping out most of Catholicism from the British Isles.


Bayham Abbey

By the time Henry VIII and Elizabeth I and Oliver Cromwell and an assortment of lesser players were more or less done they had extirpated most traces of the English Catholic Church, and driven what remained deep underground to the lasting detriment of western civilization.

“The Beatitudes”, The Monks of Glenstal Abbey, from the album “The Sound Of The Spirit From Glenstal Abbey”, 2009

An Irish Abbey

An Irish Abbey

The government of the day, having expropriated and or destroyed all Catholic Church monasteries, convents, schools and lands and killed almost all faithful Catholic opponents of their regime they found themselves with a population about 95% or more English Protestant and an English church completely controlled by the government. In essence this new church owed allegiance to the King and while nominally Christian, was turned to the primary purpose of supporting the ruling classes, the rich, and the regime in power who were basically the same group of wealthy lords who controlled all politics, all industry, and all the economy.

Clonmacnoise Monastery

Clonmacnoise Monastery

Reformation Protestantism, with an abridged Bible, no Sacraments, and a singular tenet of private interpretation of the new Bible and “Truth” found its highest expression in the national English church or “Church of England”. For if a person has a right to decide for himself what the Bible means, this says, in effect, that he is his own personal “Doctor of the Church” whatever one’s theological and moral training, and has a right to choose whether he will believe or not believe certain teachings.

Kirkstall Abbey Leeds

Kirkstall Abbey, Leeds

Given this starting point the individual easily slides into the position that he has a right to believe nothing at all, or even anything at all. This was the germination of the new subordination of the western protestant churches, and religious freedom, to Mammon. This new direction gave rise to the tremendous material productivity and innovation of the “Protestant Work Ethic” which in a little over three centuries brought the entire western sphere to unprecedented heights of material prosperity and wealth. In addition, as prosperity rose, this productivity and innovation might well have been the seed, the wellspring, of the slippery slope of “rights” without “responsibilities”.


Hore Abbey

Now in the full flower of that prosperity and individualism, our society must concede every person a right to reject religious truth, as far as he or she individually is concerned, but that is only because both religion and society must allow a person to exercise his free will and to choose for himself whether he will accept or reject God’s Revelation and Natural Law.

What is not so well accepted is the reality that the person who rejects the Truth and Natural Law must personally bear whatever evil consequences that result from his own personal choice. That “responsibility” problem is not so popular and gives rise to innumerable contemporary examples of scapegoating and blaming anything else or anyone else for our misfortunes. The popular wisdom goes something like “If only (fill in your own group or organization here) would do the right thing then it would all work out”. Now we have a new “moral” basis for “forcing that group or person to do the “right” thing.

“O Viridissima Virga” (Most Holy Virgin), Noirin Ni Riain & The Monks of Glenstal Abbey, from the album “Vox de Nube”, 1996.

Fountains Abbey

Fountains Abbey

For persons accustomed to indulging in “magical thinking” it is sometimes a shock to discover that actions and beliefs have consequences in the real world.  For some, this view may be difficult or offensive because they are unaccustomed to hearing other views which differ from the generally accepted mainstream view (the “I’m OK, Your OK” generation and their children and grand-children are especially sensitive to being reminded of past failures and disasters and having current failings remarked on). We have “become as gods” and will brook no objections or interruptions to our worship of the image in the pool.

Melrose Abbey

Melrose Abbey

In spite of that, or perhaps because of that it is critically important at this point in history, to reflect on what has gone wrong. Can anyone seriously believe that we live in the best of all worlds, the promised land of the “Enlightenment”? Did abandoning the old order really set us free to realize the full potential of humanity, the Overman, Overhuman, Above-Human, Superman, Super-human, Ultra-human, Higher-Person, Higher-Being. The previous are just a few of the myriad variations of the new Narcissism of the 20th century. The views and values here discussed are so important to each person individually, and to the very survival of our society as a whole, that every thinking human being must become familiar with the issues covered here.


Rievaulx Abbey

Modern English culture, in essence, says and believes that there is no objective truth. To quote Pontius Pilate, “What is truth?”, is a patently absurd question. In the practical order of our social and political lives modern English culture leads to a practiced atheism, that is, to a situation in society where, though we do not deny the existence of God, we nonetheless must conduct ourselves vis-a-vis one another as if God did not exist, because we must in effect deny that He has a right to tell man what to do.

Saint Blane’s Church

This situation results from Modern English culture’s denying in effect that there is one body of revealed truth, or even Natural Law, with which man must comply. Modern English culture destroys adherence to the Natural Law, that law which we all understand to be true without the assistance of divine Revelation. But it also destroys the universal acceptance among people of divine Revelation.

Adherence to both the supernatural and the natural order, therefore, breaks down under its influence, and the result is chaos in individual lives and anarchy in society.

An Taiseirl(The Resurrection), Noirin Ni Riain & The Monks of Glenstal Abbey, from the album “Vox de Nube”, 1996.

Tintern Abbey 590x393

Tintern Abbey

This is patently obvious for any impartial observer. Look around you today, follow the media, read the literature, watch the movies, observe the politics, experience government administration, LIVE in our modern culture, and taste reality. The 300 year loss of the Sacred, and the Sacramental, and the Truth are destroying western man. The hunger to be filled is still there but with what are we filling ourselves?

Now-a-days no thinking, intelligent person can conclude otherwise than that we are “Going to Hell in a hay-basket” as the saying goes. The universal secular humanist progressive ideas that “one religion is basically as good as another” and that “it does not matter what a person believes so long as he is a good person” were spawned almost automatically and by logical necessity due to the context leading up to where we find ourselves today.  So in our next post let’s take a look back behind the Modernist’s Wizard curtain.





Glenstal Abbey

Always remember, “be charitable in your judgements, and never take yourself too seriously”