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Saturday, November 2, 2013

Whither Christendom

Who needs it, asks Dennis Mangan.

The question arises in response to Catholic Marxist Mark Shea's hissy fit over the "white supremacist filth" he sees lurking in conservatism. (I suppose I should thank God I'm not a conservative.) Mangan's question, coming as it does from one of the more trenchant thinkers in the Reaction, is a good one. If Mark Shea represents the weight of Catholic thought, then the Cathedral really is becoming "the Cathedral."

ObviouslyI don't agree with Mangan's reactionary secularism. Religious ceremony provides the last remaining link to the metaphysical in modernity. Secular ceremony can never muster the gravitas of the religious because everybody knows it's only temporal. This is why secular remembrances so often include the honoree's tales of woe as a single mom, sexual deviant, poor-body-image-sufferer, chemo patient, etc. Emotion and sentiment substitute for spirituality. The removal of the Eternal from the world leaves an awfully arid husk. Nobody outside the purely decadent and a few genius/near-genius individuals really wants to live in such a world. Most atheists, to my observation, end up embracing some neo-pagan or animist ritual. As a practical matter, religious ceremony is vital if not a sine qua non for sustainable society.

Reactionary Christians are advised to heed Mangan's objections. The traditional (and traditionally Catholic) conceptions of nationhood, the civil order and private and public morality which have enabled the West's level of knowledge and living standards are under severe attack. The Christian sects, from the Catholics themselves to the Evangelicals, are in the enthusiastic vanguard. If Christians are no longer interested in defending Christendom, then Western champions like Mangan will look beyond Christianity.

In all fairness though, Mangan fails to mention the numerous Catholic writers out there who take their inspiration from Charles the Hammer rather than +Francis of Lampedusa.

On the other hand, I think traditionalist Catholics may be in for a very rough ride.

Back when Europe ruled all the world worth ruling, Catholic universalism meant Western Civilization, and Rome was the West’s premier institution. This cannot be stressed enough: Rome was in all and above all. Over time though, Britain, Germany, and the Nordic nations went into schism, Europe embraced secularism, exhausted herself in two world wars and now faces severe, possibly irreversible demographic decline. You don’t become the Catholic Church by siding with the losers and Europe, and other bequests of the ancien regime, is losing badly. Rome appears quite pleased with her transition to champion of secular democracy and the Global South and its r-selected societies. Western society is highly K-selected and perforce, Rome will be not just pro-Third World, but positively and militantly anti-Western. (K-selected and r-selected societies are immiscible; the former must wall itself off from the latter, or the latter swamps the former.)

There are lots more properties and peoples and histories involved, so this will be way uglier than the Episcopal shipwreck.

Mangan actually appears to have considered Orthodox Christian and High Church submissions and still finds them wanting:
Writers who call for a return to Christianity always seem to mean some sort of specific, minor, and eccentric form of the religion that very few people actually adhere to. I'd say that the above writer is actually in the mainstream, and organized Christianity is actively promoting the downfall of the West.
He is probably right.

5 comments:

Carnivore said...

On the other hand, I think traditionalist Catholics may be in for a very rough ride.

You mean Catholics who are conservative and lean towards traditional Catholic teaching? As far as Traditional Catholics, they hold the current RC Church structure at arms length whether they believe Francis is the Pope or not. They had their rough ride back in the 70's and 80's.

SFG said...

Is the Orthodox church minor and eccentric? They've got millions of Greek adherents. Same for the Russian, though they are way too in bed with the KGB...er, FSB.

Rev. Right said...

"He is probably right."

I guess it comes down to why.

Is it some sort of Spenglerian imperative? A societal disease? The nefarious sabotage of rival cultures?

Losing your faith and cultural confidence leaves you vulnerable to subsequent attacks. The first wound allows for opportunistic infections to take hold.

Whatever it is, it's more than just the rot that takes hold when a culture turns its back on its fundamental institutions. It has too much of a direction.

The Anti-Gnostic said...

Is the Orthodox church minor and eccentric?

Yes. Zero influence in the larger culture.

Visibilium said...

The Orthodox Church's influence isn't zero within high culture range of my 2x4.