Contemplating one’s sins. The problem with developing a conscience is that is is really uncomfortable and one can rarely do much about those times in the past when one swallowed one’s leg up to the hip, except to be ashamed and sorry.
In our outrage at a perceived evil do we indulge ourselves in an “injurious manner of speaking”? When we write about apparent errors and evils perceived in the secular world around us do we do so with charity and compassion or with the very malice and contempt the use of which we are castigating in others’ propaganda efforts, the secular sales pitch which tempts and converts so many?
In essence, what I ask here is “Do I (and others whose work I read) retaliate in kind for perceived injustice, do we match “atrocity with atrocity” in a small verbal war of attrition fought in our own minds and transmitted through our writing?
Am I using a “Donald Trump” style of communication or a “Jesus Christ” style of communication?
When I match them, the “others”, stone for stone and stick for stick, am I loving my enemy as Christ commanded or am I returning hate for hate because of my own wounded pride?
Whatever my “good intentions”, am I on the side of the Angels or the side of the Orcs? Sins of pride piled upon sins of malice piled upon sins of hate, sins, sins, and more sins to the last syllable of time, Screwtape, and the father of lies must be laughing all the way home.
I am reviewing all my posts, doing fact checking (again), and looking for inappropriate content and style. Looking back, checking the back trail, in retrospect it’s kind of like looking at a large mirror of one’s thoughts, undeniably one’s own sins and biases and food for reconsideration of one’s approach now removed from the heat of the moment. In a post a couple of years ago I quoted a small book called “Liberalism is sin”.
In the uproar after it came out in Spain in the 1800’s, the work was denounced even within the church because it offended some bishops. Eventually, the conflict made it to Rome where the ruling came down in favour of the original work and the detractors were required to withdraw their efforts to suppress the little book.
In part the Sacred Congregation wrote: “The same judgment, however, cannot be passed on the other work, that by D. de Pazos, for in matter it needs corrections. Moreover, his injurious manner of speaking cannot be approved, for he inveighs rather against the person of D. Sarda than against the latter’s supposed errors.
Therefore, the Sacred Congregation has commanded D. de Pazos, admonished by his own Bishop, to withdraw his book, as far as he can, from circulation, and in the future, if any discussion of the subject should arise, to abstain from all expressions personally injurious, according to the precept of true Christian charity; and this all the more since Our Holy Father, Leo XIII, whereas he urgently recommends castigation of error, neither desires nor approves expressions personally injurious, especially when directed against those who are eminent for their doctrine and their piety.”
So I guess the take away is simply that “the ends never justify the means”. That using the same styles and tools as one’s opponents to berate and castigate ones opponents instead of dealing only with the facts in question is simply never acceptable. My grandfather used to say, “if you can’t say something good about someone then say nothing at all.”
Looked at in this way the problem of how to write about these atrocities, dressed up as they are in a secular cloak of desirability, is rather magnified. The bar of quality and justice is significantly raised when considering writing a charitable blog about evil things in the mainstream culture.
Always remember, “be charitable in your judgements, never take yourself too seriously” and of course “Do not argue with an idiot. He will drag you down to his level and beat you with experience.”
Sometimes when I post, I look at my sig and wish that I’d follow my own damned advice. And who says he is an idiot? Maybe he’s right and I am the idiot, maybe not, but can I leap to judgement using the same clubs the “idiot” uses?
(continued from previous post) … European civilization had already been well formed by the Catholic religion for, at the most, 1,200 years in some regions to, at the least, 400 years in others….
A significant fact, as Hilaire Belloc points out in “Essays of a Catholic”, is that THE PEOPLE WHO HAD BECOME PROTESTANT 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 centuries. The only problem was that they no longer believed 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. They had in effect declared themselves demi-gods. Not quite full gods yet, but the rest of the story was more or less inevitable given man’s natural proclivities.
This rift between varying professed faiths of the various peoples, and the unremarked but continued practice of the traditional Catholic moral customs, has come down by lesser and lesser degrees into our own time. During the many centuries since Luther’s revolt in 1517, Western society has been able to function fairly well, despite the various false religious-philosophical ideas in the minds of people in the same nation—simply because, practically speaking, they were by and large living by the old inherited Catholic truths and practices, and this was what enabled our society to function more or less harmoniously, despite a diversity of belief among its members.
Let us name some of the Catholic social teachings and moral customs that are based on the revealed word of God: to worship God on Sunday, not to work on Sunday, to give honest work for your pay, not to steal, to keep monogamous marriage relations, not to practice polygamy, to avoid adultery and fornication, to shun homosexuality, to have children and not to practice birth control, to raise and nurture them within the family they were born in, to respect and care for the elderly, to nurse the sick, to bury the dead (in anticipation of the resurrection of the body), etc., etc.
Now, the average person might say, “Most of that we have always taken for granted!” and in that they reveal their utter lack of knowledge of their own history and that of their civilization. The bald truth is that in 2015 most of these traditional customs have been simply abandoned by most people, as if there were no objective truth, and definitely as if there were no divine retribution for sin left unforgiven and unexpiated and no temporal results of bad behavior. These customs and traditions, now abandoned in the name of “freedom to do your own thing” are the very bedrock of our culture. They are everything that has made our society workable for 20 centuries. This rejection of traditional moral values and customs is the direct result of the loss of the Catholic faith as the integral creed of our society as a whole. This inevitably resulted in the abandonment of traditional Catholic moral customs that enabled men to live in conformity with God’s laws and enable society to function harmoniously.
Luther’s Ninety-Five Theses on the Power and Efficacy of Indulgences (original Latin: Disputatio pro declaratione virtutis indulgentiarum) as written by Martin Luther in 1517 are widely regarded as the initial catalyst for the Protestant Reformation. The disputation protests against clerical abuses, especially nepotism, simony, usury, pluralism, and the sale of indulgences. No doubt everything he protested was true and is recorded historically in the same sources which teach us about Rome and Constantine the Great. Regardless of the truth of his protest, given the reality of “progress” since Luther’s time, it is not a stretch to contend that this revolt constituted the first and deadliest nail in the coffin of western civilization. Screwtape must be laughing all the way home, ” I will not serve!”, indeed! I think of Al Pacino’s last line in “Devil’s Advocate” : …”AAAH! Pride is my favorite sin!”.