Monday, August 28, 2006

Returning Round-up

So, I have limited computer access once more, and though I won't have all of my files and such back for a bit, I can still post about things that require none of my own resources to discuss. In that vein, then, let us return to the round-up format that had proved so popular.


In a move that curiously evokes the trials (both literal and figurative) of the Early Church Fathers, a Polish football player on a team in Scotland has been formally charged with breach of the peace and ordered to pay a fine after he took the scandalous step of performing the sign of the cross at a recent game. The Crown Office pronounced the action an "incitation to violence" and likely to provoke alarm.

To be hated in ancient days because you loved people was not uncommon; so too was to be killed for wanting to save lives, or robbed for wanting to practice charity. We can at least be thankful, I suppose, that the will and imagination have left our detractors now, even if they still occasionally lob their little fireballs of indignation.


As it is generally felt that the West has neatly and happily accomplished everything else under the sun of human achievement, the only novelty left to us, I suppose, is self-destruction. We have seen this policy in action time and again in recent years, but nowhere are the results more profound than in the cultivated anti-intellectualism of our young. Sometimes this takes the form of a mere disdain for eggheads. Sometimes, however, things are more alarming still.

The surest way to send a country or culture screaming into the outer darkness is by corrupting - not simply destroying - its youth. There are three key things that must be done for this to happen:
  • The youth must be cut off from any sense of their country or culture's history. The West is efficiently bringint this about by accomodating a program of retrovilification and ahistoricization. When some historical fact or work or concept can not be turned to the destroyer's aims, it is dismissed as inconsequential, or hateful, or both. A sane man calls it propaganda and revisionist history; the people in charge call it enlightenment and progress.
  • The youth must be bent to the task of producing a future society in which the efforts that ruined the youth themselves will no longer be necessary to keep it all miserable. In countries like Cambodia and North Korea, many have already begun to see this tree bear fruit. In North Korea, especially, they are on the verge of being populated exclusively by citizens who have no memory or conception of a free country.
  • The youth must be taught that knowledge and inquiry are wrong, though it does not matter under what pretext this lesson is conveyed. The same essential result can be achieved by telling them that knowledge and inquiry are shamefully decadent as can be achieved by telling them that they're stodgy and conservative. The less likely to learn the youth become, the less likely they'll be able to spot ordure when they see or hear it.
These programs are ticking along nicely even in my own city, my own school, and my own home. They are a daily and frustrating reminder of just how essential Catholic Christendom is to the world, and just how much will be lost if it is driven away. The only upside is that the boiling of my blood that all this provokes drives down the heating costs in the winter.


Our image for the day comes from John Singer Sargent's stupendous Triumph of Religion, a mural/sculpture work that can be found and reverenced at the Boston Public Library. In this central panel from the Frieze of Prophets, Moses stands, in a curious Egyptian motif, with the tablets of the law before him. He is flanked by Elijah and Joshua.

It is of interest to me that the to wings that cross Moses' breast seem reminiscent of the popularized, wings-touching design of the cherubs on the Ark of the Covenant. Whether it means something or not I couldn't say, though it must be remembered that Sargent was something of a syncretist in some ways, so it wouldn't surprise me if there was something meant by it.


And finally, to close lightly and profitably, I will direct you to this excellent collection of talks by the marvelous Fulton J. Sheen, so well-remembered by many of you and so lately admired by myself. I have never seen his television programs, unfortunately (not having been alive at the time), but I'm doing what I can to fix that. There is a touch of sadness to it, too, to be reminded of a time when a Catholic Bishop giving lectures was one of the hottest things on television, and not for some ironic reason. Nowadays we're lucky to get something like Father Ted - and, believe me, we were lucky to get Father Ted - if not outright mockery.


Anonymous said...

To Nick Milne:

You should proofread your writing before posting; your grammar and spelling are poor, and errors may affect your credibility.

Alan Capasso said...

"Lord deliver me from the man who only knows one way to spell a word."