Irenic. Adj: favoring, conducive to, or operating toward peace, moderation, or conciliation. Notes from a Politics and Economics undergraduate just back from somewhere in the MidWest. "You said you were going to Ohio? Where the Hell's that?"

Friday, April 3, 2009

What St Pius X and University of York students have in common

I encourage you to read this essay by James Kalb, introducing his new book "The Tyranny of Liberalism". Here's an extract:

Today all things are justified on the grounds that they help men get what they want. Those who recognize an authority superior to human purposes are seen as dangerous bigots who want to oppress others in the name of some sect or arbitrary principle. As a consequence, fundamental political discussion no longer exists. Politics today is divided between an outlook that presents itself as rational and this-worldly, and absolutely dominates public discussion, and a variety of dissident views that speak for goods higher than human desire but are unable to make effective their substantial underlying support. The conflict is never discussed seriously since it is considered resolved; the ruling liberal view is accepted as indisputable, while dissent is considered confused or worse.

I recently had a conversation with a non-Christian student friend of mine about the Catholic Church and General Franco. I mentioned that The Tablet supported the Generalissimo for a time and suggested the liberal catholics who now run that paper are ashamed of their publication's history. "Liberal catholics!", he interrupted, "surely that's a contradiction in terms?"

I couldn't but resist a broad smile when I heard those words. I wasn't chatting to an altar server outside an SSPX Mass centre here, just a plain old University of York student. I thought of all the ways liberals have tried to make the Church seem non-controversial since the Second Vatican Council: dissenting from Humanae Vitae, not speaking up about abortion, attacking John Paul II, womynpriests, rushing through marriage annullments, trendy sisters, "Justice & Peace" ... The list goes on. And on.

And yet! This ordinary non-Christian liberal student friend of mine thinks all these things are of no account. Furthermore, so does contemporary society. So do I: liberalism and religion are opposites. As long as Catholicism speaks to those higher goods beyond this world with which our rational politics of consumption cannot cope, as long as it preaches self-control in the face of hedonism, Liberalism will always regard it with distrust. No matter how hard the trendy sisters try.

St Pius X said "liberal Catholics are wolves in sheeps' clothing". Contemporary Liberalism agrees.

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