Monday, July 27, 2015

Correspondence from the Catacombs

The first of a couple of recent email exchanges, post-Obergefell.

Bill, I can't take it much longer. My dear father had a refrain about the contemporary scene: "madnesses on the land." I'm glad he passed from the scene four years ago. He could not have imagined even five years back what's going down now. That Catholic philosopher who described witnessing modernity as watching a nuclear bomb going off in slow motion, MacIntyre? We're in fast forward now. I'm in a sick panic.
Panic won't help. The new regime must be resisted, but what form that will take I have not the wisdom to foretell. All the states, for example, should behave as if the Obergefell decision did not exist. That is, continue doing business as they always have.

This will require great courage at all levels of society, which I think is probably lacking in general. A few individuals have shown it, like that Baronelle Stutzman in Washington, but I suspect most Christians today have little taste for martyrdom. We're about to find out what Christianity is made of in this country.

A fun test for the upcoming election: keep an eye out for which candidate promises, upon taking office, that there will be no more admission of open homosexuals to the military, and that those currently serving will be honorably discharged.

When I heard of the Obergefell decision (I think I was on the computer, reading the news), tears came to my eyes. I knew the decision was coming, but it devastated me anyway. It was as if the justices had reached inside the corpus of our culture and ripped out a vital organ, something without which we cannot live. I realized I had been hoping all along that even Justice Kennedy would not do that. Not that. But he did. These Dr. Moreaus of the moral life think they're so enlightened, but they're going to hell.

You are in a sick panic; I in a sick despair. I look forward to how the new dispensation will play out in various arenas, such as the educational.
I brush over the topical, so I'm not well acquainted with the details of the Obergefell affair, neither with the decision itself nor with all the cacophony about it, sensing in this case as in others that I won't find clarity. How could it ever come to pass that the Court (I call them the Supreme Selves) change the definition of marriage?

Just that--that the Supremes, or one justice, change marriage radically. How could that happen? Staggering. Didn't happen even in Sodom, did it? Or under Caligula. Did the Jacobins entertain the idea? Bolsheviks? Maoists? It got left to the Democrats. Or to vanity and depraved sentimentality, the justices'.

Sodomy wrapped in kitsch beats sacred order. And social order. Astonishing.

Sorry to rehearse what must be a stupid question, but how could one justice, or five, denature marriage? Not getting it at all.

I'm sure there's no shortage of rationalization. Did they find the institution inherently, harmfully discriminatory? Was the decision predicated on a diabolical calumny? By extension, then, nature and God are bigoted?

The "new dispensation"? I used to attend Latin mass in a little church downtown. In the vestibule Father L. had posted a bill that warned of the perils to one's mortal soul of sodomy and Islamism. I'd be surprised if that bill hasn't been taken down.

God was silent for five thousand years during the Egyptian captivity.

Then Moses.

The Obergefell-cannibalizing infant parts-"trans" convulsion-appeasing Iranian hyenas parade of horribles. Accelerating apocalyptic barbarism.

Lord, come quickly.
* Sorry to rehearse what must be a stupid question, but how could one justice, or five, denature marriage? Not getting it at all. *

They can't, obviously. Nature and nature's God will have their revenge, but I doubt I'll be around to see it. What you really don't get is how one man or any group of men could possibly think they have the authority to pen into law the most violent revolution in history against common sense and cultural order, without ever a shot being fired. (You are correct; no society in history has dignified sodomy with the name of marriage. I think Caligula married an animal, but permission to do this doesn't seem to have passed into Roman law.)

* Did they find the institution inherently, harmfully discriminatory? *

Of course. The magical love between man and woman - and the consequent, most tender solicitude for any children they might have, as Jesus would have sheltered Jerusalem beneath his wings, as indeed He called us 'Little Children' - is the most beautiful and sublime communion between two people that can be known on earth. (This is obvious, even to any child.) There are single people, some very lonely, who will never find this love (although they can participate in it through their very longing). But it discriminates against them, especially if conceived as a "right." Homosexuals are obviously dysphoric in their sexual attraction, so it discriminates against them. Polygamists and polyamorists are being left out, so it discriminates against them. (But this will change; over time, on Kennedy's logic, they will have to be brought into the fold.) All beauty discriminates against the ugly and the perverse. The chaste fruitfulness of the Holy Family (the real target of this attack) is a reproach to our elevation of sexual urgency in all its forms, and must be extirpated.

If Satan is capable of laughter, Kennedy's Pride must have him prostrate with merriment. I don't think I'm ready to look God in the face, but I too sometimes pray for a quick end to it all. I fall asleep asking God to save my country, because I don't know where else to turn, or who else could possibly do the saving.
On Obergefell:

"The world has lost its story." Robert W. Jensen

Bill, have you read this article? I think it's worth reading:

Rieff: "In our time, human decisions to obey or disobey are a matter of life and death of the world... Against the regnant third world anti-culture, I quote Cardinal Ratzinger's remarks on the praxis of the Catholic faith: 'To be a Christian is a life and to the life belongs: not to have abortion, not divorce, not to have homosexuality.' Those 'Nots', among others, are in the true commanding teaching tradition of an elite in a sacred order at once social. I have named the 'Nots' of sacred order 'interdicts', commanding truths in the vertical aesthetic of authority. Ratzinger's 'Nots' are integral elements of commanding highest authority. 'Nots' are not only present but predictive in compelling form, as in shalt not/wilt not. Christian interdictory motifs may intensify but do not supersede the interdictory form-praxis of Israel, as in You have heard/But I say unto you. Christian interdictory motifs constitute tremendous intensifications of the interdictory mode of Israel so to fulfill the commanding truths, not to abolish them by substituting love for law. Love abolishes no divine law, not by one jot or tittle."

"Love is love," Obama declares.

Rieff: "The homosexual assault on the heterosexual family--the holy family--marks a critical battleground in the war of our worlds. No culture struggle is more important."

I think we lost the war in a walkover. Unarm, Bill. We're for the dark, maybe for that "heavenly mansion raging in the dark."

The unloosing of the polymorphous-perverse heart. I predict that before I die a million more American children will self-proclaim the fiction of "gay identity." A conservative prediction.


Saint Peter Damian (1007-1072): "Truly, this vice is never to be compared with any other vice because it surpasses the enormity of all vices.… It defiles everything, stains everything, pollutes everything. And as for itself, it permits nothing pure, nothing clean, nothing other than filth.…The miserable flesh burns with the heat of lust; the cold mind trembles with the rancor of suspicion; and in the heart of the miserable man chaos boils like Tartarus...It becomes unmindful of God and even forgetful of itself. This plague undermines the foundation of faith, weakens the strength of hope, destroys the bond of charity; it takes away justice, subverts fortitude, banishes temperance, blunts the keenness of prudence... And what more should I say since it expels the whole host of the virtues from the chamber of the human heart and introduces every barbarous vice as if the bolts of the doors were pulled out."
[Quotes by Saint Catherine of Siena and Saint Bernardine of Siena also included.]
Quotations presented as evidence that: "The world has lost its story."

Unarm. Drink up.
Thanks for those quotes, especially the ones from the saints. You've got me wanting to read Peter Damian, to whom I've never paid any attention. (I'm not much for reading the pious scribblings of holy people, even though others seem to take great nourishment from them. No doubt a number of treasures have passed me by because of this fault. I do read the Fathers from time to time on things theological.) Oh, and you can pat me on the back for finally picking up Waugh's biography of Edmund Campion, whose sufferings make my own discontents look trivial. I trust you follow the news somewhat, and have noticed the Obama administration taking great joy in beating up on some nuns, the Little Sisters of the Poor. Nuns for Christ's sake. Ideologues have neither shame, nor honor.

I read Jensen's article. Many good things in it. The diagnosis seems sound, and eloquently expressed. But of course I look for the answer to "what is to be done about it?" And he like everyone else I've read, doesn't have that answer. He has a couple of related articles - such as here - in which the call seems to be toward a turning inward, but not to martyrdom, to outright resistance:

Now the Church encounters her own creation precisely as ex-Christendom.
How are we to deal with that? Should we try to rescue Western culture from itself?
To recall it to what once shaped it? It seems unlikely that persuasion or argument,
however cogent, will have much effect; our apologetics are all discounted in advance.
Various nostrums, such as entertainment evangelism or seeker churches, have been
tried and seem only to dumb down the Church’s own culture. Perhaps the cause is lost,
and the Church must simply move on from her old base as a mammoth “burnt-over district.”
Or we may find ourselves willy-nilly emulating the roles of Celtic Christianity
or of the Benedictines during the “dark ages.” If the Church survives in the West
as a tiny and despised community, let her attend to the authenticity of her own life:
Let her cultivate Eucharist and its associated practices of mutual care, with the
world viewing this strange body. God may bless such witness, as he did that of the
Irish and the Benedictines. And we should remember: Pagan antiquity did not exclaim,
“See how they love us,” but “See how they love one another.”

Of course, Jensen is not dealing with Obergefell directly, so perhaps I'm unfair. What's left of the warrior in me wants to throw back in Kennedy's teeth the full measure of contempt he has shown for us.
[To be continued...]

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