Pen as Sword - Social Commentary, The Inner Struggle

“modern English culture” … part 3

Sacrament of Tears”, Adrian von Ziegler, from the album “Mortualia”, 2012.

So we are continuing on the theme of “Where Western Civ went wrong, also known as “the decline and fall of modern English culture”, live and in living colour on all sides and from all directions in all media. This post was inspired by my own observations and attention to media coverage of current  events and by a couple of interesting websites I have visited.

I post this as a tentative answer to the common question shouted and whispered on all sides: “WHAT IS WRONG?” My thesis is “We, the Children of Mammon, the modern protagonists of the Cult of Self Delusion, abandoned the Faith of our Fathers, that is the Catholic Faith and Catholic Morals”. We willingly threw away the wisdom of millennia for a pocket full of hand mirrors.

This post is partly sourced from the preface  by Thomas A. Nelson to a translation of a book by Dr. Don Felix Sarda Y Salvany entitled “El Liberalismo es Pecado”, published in 1886 and  translated and adapted for U.S. (English) readership by Conde B. Pallen, Ph.D., L.L.D. under the title What Is Liberalism? and published in English in 1899. The preface by Thomas A. Nelson is from the TAN publication of the latest printing, March 10, 1993. so this little book has been in print continuously for over a hundred years. Must be something good about it to resist being banished to the dustbin of history for so many years

A second source of inspiration is information and writing found at the Cor Jesu Sacratissimum website. Both sites make interesting reading and leave me with a sense of relief that I am not alone and nuts and that there have been others in the last two centuries observing and writing about what I think of as the 2nd fall of mankind.  It’s anyone’s guess whether we will get a 3rd chance or not – I rather lean towards NOT, but that is just my optimism shining through the smoky cloud of corruption covering the world today.

By the year 304 A.D., “Catholicism” had pretty well permeated and converted the ancient Roman world, so that 8 years later, with the victory of Constantine the Great at the battle of the Malvian Bridge and with his succession as Roman Emperor in that year, Catholicism became the official religion of all civilized society. And as the Roman world more and more influenced its neighbors, especially the northern European peoples, the civilization that developed there was Roman-Catholicized civilization.

For just a minute or two to give us context and a sense of just how long 2000 years of Catholic Faith really is let’s wander down a time line of Catholic Truth from Constantine the Great through 2013 and Pope Francis and whatever is going on now – a perceived rebirth of the spirit of Vatican II in all it’s mundane glory.  Bear with me as I do not share the modern belief that anything that has been around for a long time is necessarily obsolete and must be discarded. Some things have a long history because they bear important Truths for the present, all the little presents that make up the past and the future.

312AD Roman emperor Constantine receives a vision of a flaming cross with the words
‘In hoc signo vinces’ : ‘By this sign conquer’.
Defeats rival Maxentius at the Battle of Milvian Bridge.
313 Edict of Milan issued by Constantine – Christianity becomes a legal religion within the Roman empire.
325 Constantine calls the first ecumenical council at Nicea.
Arian heresy which declared Christ was a created being is refuted. Nicene Creed is drawn up, declaring Christ to be “…Begotten, not made; of one essence with the Father…”
367 Saint Athanasius is the first to list all 27 New Testament books in his festal letter.
381 Ecumenical Council at Constantinople revises the Nicene creed to its current form.
c.382 Saint Jerome begins a translation of the Bible into Latin.
397 Synod at Carthage ratifies the 27 books of the New Testament as sacred scripture.
431 Ecumenical council held at Ephesus refutes Nestorianism.
(The doctrine that Christ was two persons (one human, the other divine) in one body). Mary is declared Theotokos   i.e. ‘God-bearer’ or more commonly, ‘Mother of God’.
449 At Ephesus, Pope Leo I delivers his ‘Tome’, defending orthodox Christian belief. Leo also asserts Papal supremacy.
451 Ecumenical council at Chalcedon affirms Christ as having two distinct natures united in one person (known as the ‘Hypostatic Union’).
553 Ecumenical council at Constantinople affirms teaching of previous councils.
563 Columba establishes a monastery at Iona.
589 Insertion of the filioque  (Latin: ‘and the son’) into the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed at a council in Toledo.
597 Following a mission authorised by Pope Gregory I, St. Augustine becomes the first Archbishop of Canterbury.
664 Synod of Whitby ratifies the authority of the Pope in England.
680-81 Ecumenical council at Constantinople rejects Monothelite heresy of one will in Christ.
731 Bede writes his Ecclesiastical History.
787 Ecumenical council at Nicea ends the controversy over the use of icons in worship.
800 Charlemagne is crowned emperor of the Holy Roman Empire by Pope Leo III.
988 Conversion of Prince Vladimir in Kiev. Growth of Christianity in Russia.
1054 Great Schism – Eastern Orthodox and Western Catholic churches separate.
1095 Pope Urban II authorises the first Crusade to recover the Holy Land from Moslems.
1099 Crusaders conquer Jerusalem.
1182 Massacre of Latin inhabitants of Constantinople.
1187 Jerusalem recaptured by a Moslem army led by Saladin.
1189 Third Crusade led by Richard the Lionheart of England.
1204 Sack of Constantinople during the fourth crusade.
1216/23 Papal approval of the Dominican and Franciscan mendicant (‘begging’) orders.
1266-73 Thomas Aquinas writes his great work of systematic Theology: Summa Theologiae.
1305 Papacy moved to Avignon following a dispute with Philip IV of France.
c.1341 Defence of Orthodox spirituality by Gregory Palamas. Rise of Hesychasm.
c.1376 John Wycliffe writes ‘Civil Dominion’, arguing for reform of the church.
1378 Following the return of the Papacy to Rome, rival claimants (Antipopes) emerge. Dispute ends in 1417 with election of Martin V.
c.1380 John Wycliffe translates the Bible into Middle English.
1453 Constantinople falls to the Ottoman Turks.
1517 Martin Luther posts his 95 Theses in Wittenburg, Germany; beginning the Protestant reformation.
1521 Diet of Worms – Luther’s final breach with the Catholic church.
1525 William Tyndale completes his translation of the Bible into English.
1534 Ignatius of Loyola founds the Jesuits.
1534 Act of Supremacy passed – Henry VIII becomes supreme head of the English church.
1536 John Calvin publishes his Institutes of the Christian Religion.
1545-63 Council of Trent – Roman Catholic counter reformation.
1549 Thomas Cranmer publishes the Book of Common Prayer  in England (later revised in 1662).
1555 Peace of Augsburg ends religious wars in Germany.
1611 Publication of the King James Version of the Bible.
1618-48 Protestant/Catholic conflict in Germany (Thirty Years War).
1730-60 The ‘Great Awakening’ – A revival movement among Protestants in the USA.
1738 John and Charles Wesley converted. They lead an Evangelical revival in England and form the Methodist church.
1854 Dogma of the Immaculate conception of Mary proclaimed by the Roman Catholic church.
1870-1 First Vatican council. Dogma of Papal infallibility proclaimed.
1906 Azusa street revival in Los Angeles. Beginnings of the Pentecostal movement.
1910 World mission conference held in Edinburgh.
1918 Billy Graham born. Later becomes one of the most prominent evangelists in Christian history.
1948 Formation of the World Council of Churches.
1950 Dogma of the Assumption of Mary proclaimed by the Roman Catholic Church.
1962-5 Second Vatican council. Major reforms in the Roman Catholic church are initiated.
Mutual anathemas of 1054 between Roman Catholic and Orthodox churches lifted.
1997 Death of Mother Teresa of Calcutta – founder of the ‘Missionaries of Charity’.
1999 Signing of the Joint Declaration on Justification by the Lutheran and Roman Catholic Churches.
2005 Death of Pope John Paul II, who is succeeded by Pope Benedict XVI.
2006 World Methodist Council adopts the Lutheran/Catholic Joint Declaration on Justification.
2011 Beatification of Pope John Paul II.
2013 Resignation of Pope Benedict XVI, who is succeeded by Pope Francis.

By the time William of Normandy had conquered Britain the Catholic Church had been spreading in Britain for about 469 years. By the time of the Protestant Reformation, starting in 1517 and continuing throughout that century, European civilization had already been well formed by the Catholic religion for almost 1,200 years in some regions and at least 400 years in the newest parts of the Catholic world.

I am not making this up. Don’t take my word for it. Just read any pre-“Public School” system “Social Studies” history (see Magical Thinking” in previous post) to discover undisputed facts about our historical past. As Hilaire Belloc points out in his “Essays of a Catholic”, these new Protestants did not abandon their Catholic moral customs. They continued to live by the truths and moral customs which their Catholic forefathers had lived by for more than a thousand years.

The problem was that they now rejected as true the religious-philosophical truths taught by the the Catholic Church, which had wholly created their customary and traditional ethic, and they had set themselves up as the sole arbiters of truth and right values. In essence they declared themselves demi-gods. Not quite full gods YET, but definitely perfectible by their own efforts, because once you have sola scriptura and personal interpretation as the sole basis of right thinking and virtue then the rest of the story was more or less inevitable given man’s natural proclivities. ahhh, such a wonderful sin is pride, no?




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