Life in a small town

Thoughts of our society … on Holy Saturday …

“Crux Fidelis”, Benedictines of Mary, Queen of Apostles, from the album “Lent at Ephesus”, (2014)

Yesterday was Good Friday, and as I always do now, I watched “The Passion Of The Christ”.  Good Friday is still a statutory holiday in Canada though it passes understanding why that should be in this essentially godless nation. It is a sign of the times, I suppose, that the bare bones of the old Christian culture which made the nation, still survive today, sheltering the godless in the ruins of everything good and holy.

Jesus Taken Down From the Cross, from “The Passion Of The Christ”.

I don’t know … but I look at that picture below of the ruins of the Vatican II alter in the foreground, and The High Altar behind, standing untouched with its gleaming Cross, and the Blessed Virgin weeping, holding her dead Jesus in her arms. It makes me think … am I the only one, … again … I strongly suspect not.

 

Inside Notre Dame

As I have posted before, I am tempted to consider the dictum “The enemy of my enemy is my friend”. Were I not already a committed Catholic Christian I suspect I would be tempted by Nazari Islam. The question of trust remains a stumbling block and I remain faithful to my Master.

Then again, there is the Prophecy of Fatima and our Lady Maryam, recounted by Archbishop Fulton Sheen years ago, a prophecy that through the intercession of Our Lady of Fatima the Muslim world will be united with the Catholic world and become the one religion of the one God.

Imagine that … just for a moment … what a world that would be, no? What would the unbelieving secular progressive leadership of the west be able to do about 4 billion believers? Could the believers influence a change for the better?

So after Ottawa in October, it is an Interesting future I see – over 50% of the world’s population united against the godless bureaucracies of Mordor and the Antichrist. hmmm … We can always pray.

For now all I see is a post-apocalyptic wasteland of self worship, casual murder, and mass atrocities threatening the health and well-being of all the blind citizenry.  Maybe I am too pessimistic but that view is shared by others, far more perceptive and intelligent than I … (from The Catholic Herald) …

Cardinal Sarah kneels before the Blessed Sacrament in Toronto (University of St Michael’s College) Photo: Catholic Herald

“… Muslims despise the atheistic West. They take refuge in Islamism as a rejection of the consumer society that is offered to them as a religion.

Can the West present them the Faith in a clear way? For that it will have to rediscover its Christian roots and identity. To the countries of the third world, the West is held out as a paradise because it is ruled by commercial liberalism.

This encourages the flow of migrants, so tragic for the identity of peoples. A West that denies its faith, its history, its roots, and its identity is destined for contempt, for death, and disappearance.

But I would like to point out that everything is prepared for a renewal. I see families, monasteries, and parishes that are like oases in the middle of a desert. It is from these oases of faith, liturgy, beauty, and silence that the West will be reborn.”

So, in conclusion I will quote from a post from several years ago, which was itself a quote from another blogger who I think highly of, which article I commisioned:

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” … (our) new civilization has its own cosmological conception (the Darwinite vision of randomness); its own moral ethos (wherein every person is a law unto himself); its own intellectual and aesthetic norms (establishing that not only beauty, but truth, and goodness, are in the eye of the beholder).

It is governed by metastasizing rules and regulations — in which custom has, formally, no jurisdiction. Faith itself, and the conduct it has governed, is taken to be a purely personal matter, and all values associated with common belief may be dismissed as equally arbitrary. This leaves arbitrary “equality” as the one ideal: the value that denies all other values. Pope Benedict called this, “the dictatorship of relativism,” and those who resist its dictates may very well find themselves in court.

From thirty-five years ago, I recall a book that was on many coffee tables: The Culture of Narcissism, by Christopher Lasch. It was an essay in post-modern sociology, but in its season it clanged a big bell. Lasch wrote of the destruction of the traditional family by the “organized kindness” that had assumed its functions; of the radical movements that emerged in the ‘sixties to enforce the atomism that was the inevitable result.

And then he plunged into psychological observation, reviewing everything from New Age cult affiliations, to the popular obsession with oral sex. By the 1970s, the typical American was displaying not some, but all the symptoms of what had once been diagnosed, in the psychology textbooks, as pathological narcissism (Any reader who is interested should also consult Lasch’s much-ignored sequel, The Minimal Self, in which he spades deeper into the XIXth-century roots of this phenomenon, and defends the objectivity of his thesis against both critics on his Left, and inconvenient fans on his Right.)

We’re beyond that now. Even the word “narcissism” tends to be employed in pathologically narcissistic ways. And while that older, Christian worldview remains — now as a counter-culture, providing closed environments in which narcissistic behaviour is still instinctively punished — it is going underground. For this new orthodoxy also invaded, and made a conquest of most of the Church, as well as rolling over the “mainstream” Protestant congregations.

The victory of narcissism is glaringly apparent in every single liturgical innovation of the New Mass: from the turning of the priest towards the people, to the stripping of the altar now placed between them; and in every direction from there. The new gestures, from the 1960s forward, distract consistently from the divine presence, and mediate a message that is “all about you.”

And so it is with the lonely at Easter, vaguely remembering some other age. It is all about them. For most my age — and I am getting older — it has been all about us since time out of mind. We grew up in the Pepsi generation. (the) nursing homes are now filled with contemporaries of the Beatles and Elvis Presley, as one may discover in the foyer, when they’re wheeled down for a sing-along. Their memories of Christmas and Easter go back, increasingly, to broken homes, where what they actually remember is themselves being “in the way” of their parents’ private lives.

Their memories, too, are free of church attendance, and so throw back to the commercialized sentimentality of treats and gift-wrapped, heavily-advertised products around a casually decorated Christmas tree, Easter egg hunts and chocolate bunnies and shredded tissue basket stuffing — a kind of semi-annual pay-off for minding their own business.

And, what is the most terrible thing I have seen in there, when that past is challenged, and anything better is proposed: that flicker of defiance, that parody of faith which still declares, after a lifetime of sin and error: “I’m as good as you are!” For it was a culture of narcissism to which they bought in.

This is the new orthodoxy, which Christians must be careful to respect, as tourists remove their shoes when entering a mosque. For it is considered extremely bad form, to disturb the votaries while they are at prayer, making their devotions to the pond image.

But the winds howl, and the waters roughen, and Christ was always coming. It is something to think about, for no matter how you cut it — whether you are a traditional Christian (there can be no other kind), or a perfectly conventional, orthodox Narcissist — the message of Easter is not, never was, and by its meaning never will be, “all about you.”

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I wish you a thoughtful Holy Saturday …

Cheers

Joe

Quid Hoc Ad Aeternitatum

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