The View From 1776

A Reader Disagrees

      http://www.thomasbrewton.com/index.php/weblog/a_reader_disagrees1/

Some observations regarding Pope Benedict XVI.

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Reader Christopher Sufle has some reactions to Survival of the Western World.

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I disagree with this post a little bit. Mr. Auster is somewhat off the mark when he says that the Pope’s conception of multiculturalism is wrong. Pope Benedict XVI uses the term in a broader sense than the “multiculturalism is an end in and of itself.” The context in which the Pope speaks is that in which freedom is a means to an end, the greater good.

I have to wonder whether Lawrence Auster’s expression here is not ultimately rooted in a fear of saying, “the Pope is right, and I may have something to learn here.” I’m going to get a little bit more theological here than our society is used to when it comes to “polite” discussions. That’s my segue into a rhetoric in defense of Christendom and the reunification of the religion that I believe is the way to peace and more importantly, the best way to knowing the will of God.

I’ll start of by attempting to tag a historical dynamic of degeneration: BPC. Ann Coulter in remarks made at a Clare Boothe Luce Inst. Award ceremony, spoke of Bike Path Christianity (BPC) in reference to Howard Dean leaving the Episcopal Church (“the Church of the Proper Fork”) because it opposed his local bike path project.

Martin Luther was confounded by a Pope of a very fallen nature. The Pope was the least accomodating of the two; yet these two men, If I’m not wrong, undermined the institution, the architecture by which the work of the apostles was and is to continue. Mt. 16:18 reads “Thou Art Peter And Upon This Rock I Will Build My Church and the Gates of Hell will not prevail against it.” Each Pope, in the Church, is considered the successor of Peter. A new Pope, also known as the Bishop of Rome, is selected by the College of Cardinals of the Catholic Church. Cardinal comes from Latin, a word meaning hinge; so the Cardinals are the clerics around whom the church turned, so to speak; the pivots; the key figures. They are key officers in the world changing body of Christ…

In terms of Information Technology (“Get wisdom, get understanding…” -Prov. 4:5, “Test Everything, hold on to the good.” -1 Th 5:21), This system of heirarchy reflects the idea that Jesus made Peter the leader of the apostles producing the organization by which the West was Christianized.

The term Roman Catholic reflects a historical shift brought about by the continued historical revelation of Providence; a new empire, so to speak. New Advent’s encyclopedia explains that the term church “is the name employed in the Teutonic languages to render the Greek ekklesia (ecclesia), the term by which the New Testament writers denote the society founded by Our Lord Jesus Christ.

George Neumayr had some insights regarding the future of Christianity: “Toward the end of liberalizing the Church, the media will look for fixes to problems from the liberal clerics most responsible for causing them… Pope John Paul II knew that a worldly liberalism had derailed the Church and was trying to remove it… The greatness of his life consisted in what the press ignores and seeks to undo in the Church: holiness, the measure of which is never the will of men but of God.”

And on the new Pope, Oswald Sobrino explains the significance of the name ‘Benedict’: ” the collapse of Western culture happened before when the old social structures of the Roman Empire finally gave way in 476 A.D. The barbarians had invaded. That was the collapsed world that St. Benedict was born into in 480 A.D. Similarly, both John Paul the Great and Benedict XVI saw, as youths, the collapse of Western society in the barbarism of Nazism. They later saw the monstrosity of Communism gobble up Poland and half of Germany. Finally, they saw Western democracies morally collapse from within as pagan hedonism and a pagan Culture of Death set off decadence on a Neronian scale throughout the democratic West.

“And so it is fitting to look back at the achievement of Benedict in rebuilding European culture as the old classical order collapsed. Cardinal Ratzinger did just that with Peter Seewald at the reknown monastery of Monte Cassino founded by St. Benedict in the same year (529) that the classical Platonic academy in Athens closed:

‘I find this temporal coincidence of the closing of the Athens academy, which had been the symbol of classical culture, and the start of the monastery at Monte Cassino, which then became, as it were, the academy of Christianity, to be of great significance. The Roman empire was in decline; it had already broken into fragments in the West and no longer existed as such. There was, of course, the danger that an entire culture might be lost, but Benedict more or less preserved it and gave it new life. And therein he was entirely consistent with a Benedictine motto: Succisa virescit—ever again pruned, it grows again. The breakdown became in a certain sense a new departure.’

Ratzinger, p. 389 [God and the World, Ignatius Press, 2002]

“Benedict XVI, has a mission to preserve and give new life to Christianity in the West. Our Pope has spoken in the past about the Church first becoming smaller before expanding again in the West. In my view, the becoming smaller in number is a consequence of recovering and proclaiming unvarnished Catholic moral truth as the first step toward re-evangelizing the West. We must first prune so that the Church will grow again in the West. We must prune away the confusion and secularism that has infected the Church herself—pruning work that Cardinal Ratzinger did since 1981 under John Paul the Great. “

I recommend the lecture, The The Rise of the West by Professor Ralph Raico of Buffalo State College. ?But I would first make clear that it needs some correcting. I believe that one great aspect of this talk is that it emphasize something that is often overlooked by many unsuspecting people. That the power of taxation confers a great centralizing power that people that lived centuries before us were very very familiar with and weary of. They could see things that many of us can’t, even with the benefit of hindisght and other developments.

Prof. Raico concludes that “collision” and “economic freedoms” were the keys to progress and what made the West different from the rest of the world. I believe that that is a very sad and depressing distortion. Those who fought for freedom and in defense of God’s holy commandments were absolutely not fighting to be means to no end. I believe that Prof. Raico makes a shallow interpretation that progress ultimately came down to a matter of “counterveiling powers.” Though they absolutely played a significant role, it is absolutely critical to stress that this is not what made the West. As I explained to a libertarian friend: “The moral vacuum left by the arrogance of self-centered man that produced transitional libertarianism in Europe only rolled out the red carpet for the tyranny that moral relativism leads to. With the coming challenges that face the world, not disregarding the present threats to the future of civilization, now more than ever we must stress the folly of th e idea that we can repeat the present threats to the future of civilization; now more than ever we must stress the folly of the idea that we can repeat the claim in America as was made in Europe, implicit and explicit, that civilization can harvest and consume the fruits of Christianity presently without bothering to care for its seeds for very long.” The weather may prove fortunate today, but it’s no guarantee tomorrow, as the Europeans and Asians have learned while flip-flopping back and forth between economic centralization and decentralization.

To recap my disagreement with the libertarian claim that the West, that capitalism was produced by people fighting for economic freedom “primarily”: In fighting for Christendom, of course economic freedoms were advocated, and those strengthened also the overall rights of man. If you agree with that then you agree with America’s founders that the law of history was written by God.

Here is where I believe that Bikepath Christianity comes into play. I believe that libertarianism and leftwing liberalism developed from a backslide into paganism and sin, and that because of the unnecessary division of Christianity via what I call the BPC factor. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for tolerance but the point is that the BPC approach is the kind of multiculturalism that we criticize, yet as Christians out of habit/culture we?condone.

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