Saturday, April 17, 2004

"See how they waver in the trees, / how stray their spears, how knock their knees..." 

The battle seems to be heating up. We've all witnessed the sudden promotion in the last year of the Wonderful World of Homosexuality. What was still a fringe topic a year ago, accepted by the elite who prided themselves on their "tolerance," has now been embraced by the Supreme Court's ever widening "right to privacy," has become the Episcopalian Church's Way of the Future, and is now to replace the family in Massachusetts, by order of the Wise.

And that's just one aspect. But it seems that "where sin increases, grace abounds the more." More and more in the past year I hear of bishops speaking out against the Culture of Death, and even against the Culture of Stupidity, that surrounds us. And the elite don't know what to make of this. God was supposed to have died sometime in the nineteenth century. Religions were odd social phenomena among the little people, movements that would disappear with education and prosperity. The Catholic Church in particular was domesticated in the 1960's between JFK and the Spirit of Vatican II™, and should have presented no more trouble than any mainline Protestant denomination. And surely whatever authority it had left should have been taken away by the Scandals!

And yet the Thing is still alive. Mel Gibson dares to make a movie about Christ, forcing journalists and academics to search desperately for any charge to throw at it, from anti-Semitism to historical inaccuracy to being too Christian. Among the episcopacy, Archbishop O'Malley dares to speak against American culture, Archbishop Burke dares to show his teeth against pro-abortion Catholic politicians, and in my own diocese Bishop Morlino has surprised the newspapers with his clear and well-articulated teaching. And slowly the utopian Left is beginning to suspect that the aged beast may not be as dead as they once thought. One is reminded of Belloc's analysis of the growing voice of the Church in his own day and the nervousness induced in the anti-Catholic world:

A new antagonism to the new force of the Catholic Church shows itself in nations of Protestant culture by a certain note of exasperation which in the day of our fathers was unknown. There was plenty of active opposition and bludgeoning of the Church in mid-Victorian days; but it was a contemptuous and assured anger: that of to-day is panicky. In nations of the Catholic culture the ill-ease at Catholic advance shows itself in a sort of sullen muttering among our opponents; the complaint of an old cause which thinks its success a matter of right but no longer certain.

   --Hilaire Belloc, Survivals and New Arrivals, p. 281

In the late twentieth century, the Church once again "ha[d] to all appearance gone to the dogs"; yet there are signs that once again, it may well be the dogs who die (GKC, The Everlasting Man II.vi).

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