Thursday, April 06, 2017

Cardinal George: a tale of two churches

Shortly before his death, Cardinal George of Chicago wrote an insightful column on the position of the church in the United States.

Here in Melbourne the Catholic Church still seems to be trying to be an arm of the liberal state. I've long thought this to be unwise, given the incompatibility of liberalism with Catholic doctrine.

Cardinal George set out the problem with great clarity in his column ("A tale of two churches").

He begins with the claim that the liberal state in the U.S. once promised to protect all religions and not become a secular rival to them, "a fake church". He then adds:
There was always a quasi-religious element in the public creed of the country. It lived off the myth of human progress, which had little place for dependence on divine providence. It tended to exploit the religiosity of the ordinary people by using religious language to co-opt them into the purposes of the ruling class...It had encouraged its citizens to think of themselves as the creators of world history and the managers of nature, so that no source of truth outside of themselves needed to be consulted to check their collective purposes and desires. But it had never explicitly taken upon itself the mantle of a religion and officially told its citizens what they must personally think or what “values” they must personalize in order to deserve to be part of the country. Until recent years.

The situation now? According to Cardinal George:
The “ruling class,” those who shape public opinion in politics, in education, in communications, in entertainment, is using the civil law to impose its own form of morality on everyone. We are told that, even in marriage itself, there is no difference between men and women, although nature and our very bodies clearly evidence that men and women are not interchangeable at will in forming a family. Nevertheless, those who do not conform to the official religion, we are warned, place their citizenship in danger.

He urges Catholics to resist yielding to the false state religion:
The inevitable result is a crisis of belief for many Catholics. Throughout history, when Catholics and other believers in revealed religion have been forced to choose between being taught by God or instructed by politicians, professors, editors of major newspapers and entertainers, many have opted to go along with the powers that be. This reduces a great tension in their lives, although it also brings with it the worship of a false god. It takes no moral courage to conform to government and social pressure. It takes a deep faith to “swim against the tide,” as Pope Francis recently encouraged young people to do at last summer’s World Youth Day.

Most of the Catholic leadership here in Melbourne seem to be desperately trying to fit in with the state religion rather than taking a stance against it. They are doing this not by renouncing core theological positions, but by "reading" Catholicism as an SJW philosophy. (Says the modern Melbourne Catholic: "I will serve others by supporting SJW political campaigns.") This might temporarily avert a crisis of belief by realigning Catholicism with the Zeitgeist, but in the longer term it is helping to cement in place a liberal state religion that is deeply, philosophically at odds not only with Catholic theology but with the future existence of a Western culture and civilisation.


  1. Canadian Christians have been voting to transfer wealth and power to a big secular government

    Indeed, my church has completely abandoned Christianity for a veneer of virtue signalling and humanistic self aggrandizement.
    And its ugly underneath the smiles.

    The Church’s function is not to adapt Christianity to the world, nor even to adapt the world to Christianity; her function is to maintain a counterworld in the world.

  2. Cardinal George is right. The modern political movements, especially the LGBTI Activism, is assuredly theocratic in nature. At every turn it denies its agenda (straight out of Alinsky) yet demands coherence or suffer ostracism. That's not how fascism operates.

    The problem with the Catholic Church, broadly speaking in the above context, is that Caritas is little more than a Social Gospel - more works based without bringing the Gospel to the table. It's a cultural Christianity. I suspect this is because the heavy lifting of the faith is left to the clergy. In the Reformed faith, Calvin promoted the notion that every believer is a theologian.

    What we are seeing more of is religious institutions and/or organisations becoming unmoored from those origins. It's like the Church steps in and establishes an organisation then steps back letting the organisation run itself. The Australian Union Movement started by the Methodist preachers can hardly be said to be Christian by any stretch of the imagination.

    Thus the unmooring of democracy from its Christian influences seems to mean it's in the throes of departing for sea. Any chance of getting Christian Thought and democracy to re-dock? Probably not.

    The best I can do is plant the seeds of faith in my children, impart Christian values, Christian Character and Worldview, and pray.

    Lastly, to touch on Cecil's point, that the Church shouldn't influence the world, nor be influenced by it, I tend to agree. Christian morals are good for the broader society, but definitely cannot or should not be imposed. Christianity was never meant to be theocratic.

    However, amongst the Protestant churches, the Confessional churches seem to be holding firm to the faith while the Conservative and Liberal Churches are irrevocably sliding more and more toward the broader culture.

    1. "Caritas is little more than a Social Gospel - more works based without bringing the Gospel to the table"

      That's something like the situation I've observed with the church. Caritas is invoked not just as the central principle, but as the only one, and is then directed via "social justice" to leftist political causes that frequently dissolve the Christian society rather than sustain it.

      There is no vision of a larger, viable order that brings together the spiritual, social and material facets of our existence.

  3. Whilst the faith of Jesus Christ was not intended to create a theocracy, Catholic societies and nations were built as a symphony of Church and Monarchy representing body and soul. The Church governed the spiritual realm and the Monarch governed society as the Catholic ruler, ruling over the body of the church ie human society. This produced stability in Europe for almost 2 thousand years.

    The reformation, Enlightenment and social revolutions which removed or weakened Monarchy, cast society adrift and broke the governing link of Church and Monarch. The vacuum permitted the diffusion of atheism and its offspring ideologies of socialism and communism.

    Catholic society has a viable order which governs all spheres of life but it is based upon a society in which the family and not the individual is the basic social unit in a hierarchical order. This order still exists in parts of Europe, Asia and the Middle East. It cannot exist in Anglo Saxon countries in which the individual and not the family is regarded as the basic unit of society. A society of individuals can have no coherent or viable order or common good. A traditional society is a group of families in which individual rights are secondary to the common good. The majority of people in the Anglo Saxon countries are too devoted to self interested and narcissistic individualism to be able to uphold any viable order.

  4. A lot of it seems to be in the congregations. They totally ignore the 'be wise as serpents' instruction, the average christian in the west seems to live in ignorant bliss, and has so for hundreds of years.

  5. He was right about this, but unfortunately he was the typical go along to get along Cardinal like most of the rest. He allowed the Latin Mass to make a comeback, but aside from that he wasn't particularly vocal about staying true to the Faith, especially since he sucked up to Jews, Muslims and the rest for the duration of his ministry. The only reason he looks traditional is because his predecessor, Cardinal Bernardin, was a homo who gutted Holy Name Cathedral, and his successor, Cardinal Cupich, is a total SJW directly appointed by the Pope. Case in point. Today, Good Friday, Cupich lead a march to protest the violence in a black neighborhood notorious for gang violence.