Monday, July 23, 2018

And the Agony Continues


I'm not a big fan of Rod Dreher but his latest articles of on the Cardinal McCarrick sexual abuse allegations make for compelling reading and back up my previous post. In yet another iteration of the stories we have seen in the past, it appears that McCarrick's activities were known for a long time, reported to the Vatican, and yet nothing appropriate was done about it.
"Those ambitious clerics who climb the hierarchy the back-door way depend on the complicity-by-silence of the straight arrows. Pope John Paul II, who moved Uncle Ted[Ed: McCarrick] to Washington and who made Uncle Ted the US Catholic bishops’ point man in dealing with the abuse crisis, is known to have been so viscerally disgusted by the idea of sexually corrupt priests that he refused to see what was right in front of his eyes (Cardinal Schoenborn has spoken publicly of this, and others in a position to know have said the same thing privately.) Refusing to acknowledge the truth in cases like this and act to restore justice and is a moral failure. It’s a moral failure when it’s done by religious superiors, as in the cases Barbara Nicolosi discusses in her former order of nuns, and it’s a moral failure when it’s done by a Pope who is also a saint."
and;
Cardinal Schönborn told me that he sat directly opposite John Paul and pleaded with him to make a statement about Cardinal Groër, the Fatimaniac molester that John Paul had appointed, against the advice of the bishops of Austria, to the see of Vienna. John Paul told Schönborn that he would like to make statement, but that “they” wouldn’t let him. “They?” John Paul wouldn’t explain, but it was clear then and Schönborn has since publicly made it clearer that Cardinal Sodano, the Secretary of State of the Vatican, and his underlings were protecting molesters like Groër, Gino, and Maciel.
The Schoenborn statement was remarkable. In 2010, the Catholic Herald wrote:
The Vatican Information Service has just released an unusually detailed communique relating to a meeting between Pope Benedict XVI, Cardinal Christoph Schönborn and Cardinal Angelo Sodano in which the Austrian cardinal was made to explain public criticism he had levelled against Sodano.
After Cardinal Sodano made a surprise speech at Easter criticising the media’s reports about abuse as “idle gossip”, Cardinal Schönborn publicly accused the former Secretary of State of having deliberately obstructed an investigation into accusations of child abuse against Cardinal Hans Hermann Gröer of Vienna. In today’s meeting, Pope Benedict seems to have done several things: he has reminded Cardinal Schönborn that the disciplining of members of the hierarchy is the responsibility of the Pope, he has clarified Sodano’s controversial comments about “idle gossip” and has brought the two men together. Interesting.
Got that? Cardinal Schoenborn told the truth about Cardinal Sodano, whose public statement was intended to throw people off the trail — and he was upbraided by Benedict XVI, essentially for airing the Church’s dirty laundry in public [Ed]. Benedict appears to have been more interested in protecting the Church’s outside image, and maintaining the formal hierarchical order, than in telling the truth about a matter of sexual corruption that devastated the Austrian church.
Comments were made in my previous post that the inability of the Church to deal with these issues was due to the presence of a large number of homosexual clergy who were attempting to stop any investigation, but it's clear that this is not the case as the ability to purge these corrupt elements from the Church rests with the celibate heterosexual clergy who have failed in their task.

Clearly not all of the clergy are responsible for this. As Dreher recounts, others have spoken up and been either ignored or censured, so to tar all the priests with moral corruption is unjust. But what's really important to see here is that there is no faction that is pure, either conservative or liberal; it's the wrong way of analysing the problem. The homosexuality issue also obscures the fact that the moral failures occurring in the hierarchy affect other domains as well. It isn't just sexual abuse the coverups include financial irregularities, nepotism, performance. issues etc.

Reading through Dreher's comments section I was struck by just how many people still believed in the Catholic Church while being appalled by the hierarchy.  This is important because I feel the Church is the only organ out there capable of resisting Modernism but its clear that the hierarchy aren't up to the task at hand. Any renewal of the Church, and therefore West, is going to be a "bottom-up" affair.  Probably with much opposition from the hierarchy.

On a further note, Bishop Juan Jose Pineda Fasquelle resigned as a result of allegations of sexual and financial abuse.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Catholic Inertia




Back to our regular programming.

Warning: for those of an atheist bent this is a religious post.

It's this blog's primary contention that the civilisational failure of the West has primarily come about because of the collapse of the Christian religion. While it is true that there were other factors in the formation of Western Civilisation, Christianity provided the unifying foundational principles of it. Pagan and other traditions were incorporated insofar as they were in conformity with the overarching Christian principles.  By the end of the 19th Century, Western Civilisation was the dominant power of the planet. However by the end of the 19th Century the warning signs were becoming apparent and  the smart guys saw that Christianity was beginning to fail, and they were under no illusions that the decline of Christianity would require a new "value system" to replace it. Marxism, Fascism, and Liberalism were attempts to replace what was lost. We're still groping for meaning despite the rivers of blood.

It is my opinion that there will be no restoration with some kind of  Christian restoration.  However, any restoration of a Christian West is going to have to avoid the mistakes of the past and therefore it's necessary to have a good hard look at where things went wrong. 

As I see it, the two major branches of Western Christianity, Catholicism and Protestantism failed by different modes. Protestantism failed because it denied objectivity and legitimised  the subjectivity of the individual.  Neoreaction has dealt with this subject at length.

Catholicism's mode of failure is different:  Unlike Protestantism, Catholicism affirmed the objective nature of morality--as affirmed by the Magisterium--but was unable to deal with the problems because of the institutional inertia of the Church. And it's this inertia that has allowed Modernist movements to run rings around it when changes have occurred in the cultural environment and inhibited any dynamic response. As it stands, the Catholic Church is basically a defensive organisation and is incapable of cultural offense.

The Benedict option, for example,  is a typical of this mindset. In my opinion Benedict XVI has one of the sharpest minds out there, but even with all of his erudition and spirituality the best response he could give to the problem of Modernity is to curl up in a ball and to ride it out: He had no plan to take the bastards on.

Even Catholic Integralism, with all of its intransigent militancy was in effect a militant a neo-Luddite movement which, unable to beat the modern state,  aimed to co-opt it to secure it's aims.   The paradox of Integralism is that the apparatus of modernity and it's underlying philosophy, i.e. the modern state and its control over the interior life of the individual,  is the vehicle by which modernity is to be fought. The approach is contradictory and paradoxically furthers the transmission of modernity. It's an own goal! A weak religion does not become strong by co-opting a strong state, it simply rides the tiger of the State. It's also why the State, when it throw the rider off, rapidly reverts to modernist form. Cue Spain and Portugal.

As I see it, the institutional inertia of Catholicism is a product of both in its structure and it's mindset.

The Church understands itself of formally being composed of both the clergy and the laity but in reality the Church operates on a notion of a directing clergy and a passive laity. As some wag said, the priests do the thinking but the laity is simply meant to pray, pay and obey. Passivity is the feature of the laity, or as Pius X famously stated:
It follows that the Church is essentially an unequal society, that is, a society comprising two categories of per sons, the Pastors and the flock, those who occupy a rank in the different degrees of the hierarchy and the multitude of the faithful. So distinct are these categories that with the pastoral body only rests the necessary right and authority for promoting the end of the society and directing all its members towards that end; the one duty of the multitude is to allow themselves to be led, and, like a docile flock, to follow the Pastors
In many ways this "structure" is like that of the old Soviet army, individual action is only permitted from higher up and initiative is frowned upon. Maurice Blondel recognised this problem and called it monophorism.  Apart from killing all spontaneity in the faithful, the problem with this approach is that any new challenge has it's locus of response in the clergy. But what the historical record and the recent sexual abuse saga have demonstrated is that even with something as offensive as child abuse the clergy was unable to respond appropriately. It had to be dragged kicking and screaming by a hostile media into instantiating an appropriate response. Unfortunately, as the historical record shows, this is a recurring theme in Catholicism across the centuries. The Council of Trent, for example,  may have been a resolute response to the rise of militant Protestantism but it was also a tacit admission that the Church needed to be reformed. The sobering thought here is that it took nearly the loss of half of Christendom to recognise this fact.

Why has  the clergy has found it so difficult to respond to crises effectively? There are obviously many factors but one to consider is the fact that the Church is the prototype for the modern multinational managerial organisation. The Church may be a spiritual body but its also a practical organisation which needs to be practically run.  It has an "organisational structure" which in many ways resembles a modern business. There is a strict hierarchical order of authority, much like in any modern large corporation, where the CEO calls the shots and everyone is expected to toe the line.  And the Church, just like the modern corporation has it's managerial class, and just like all multinational organisations suffers from bureaucratic inertia.  Understanding the Church's institutional response to the sexual abuse saga becomes a lot more easier to comprehend if you do from the framework of a bureaucratic imperative. Being obsessed with rules and regulations, preservation of position and prestige, procedure orientation instead of results orientated are key features of the bureaucratic mindset. A Pharisee is a simply a religious bureaucrat in whom the rules matter more than the effect that they are having.  His job is to maintain the rules even if they lead to totally absurd outcomes.  Just to make myself clear, the bureaucracy's obsession with avoiding scandal resulted in the total repudiation of the Christian teaching of Justice.

The other factor impacting upon the Church is how the Church understands Tradition, which has a direct influence on the organizational mindset. This is a huge topic but, briefly, in times of ossification Traditional is understood as an absolute expression of faith, whereas in times of renewal Tradition is understood as a contingent one. Rules are "strict" in conservative times and "liberal" in times of renewal.  Given the defensive position of the Church and its institutional nature,  the interpretation of Tradition has almost verged on the Spergy, with Tradition = literal Truth. The point here is that any innovation is almost automatically seen as heresy, therefore the even the ability to develop solutions even from within the framework of tradition is stymied by this mindset. Any novel doctrinal development is by definition anti-traditional and the object of pushback by the institution.

The combination of both bureaucratic and cultural inertia have resulted in the Church being unable to respond to the shifting cultural landscape bought about the impact of technology and population growth which was first really felt at the end of the 19th Century. It much like a saddler bemoaning that people don't ride horses anymore and insisting that they should continue to do so.

No one takes any notice, except the romantics who like riding horses.

Vatican Two was meant to be an attempt to break this mindset but it was poorly thought out and poorly implemented: the result being a mess. Yves Congar and Herni de Lubac may be have been great diagnosticians but I'm not sure they had the right therapy. Old fogey bureaucrats, attempting to look cool and relevant can never pull it off and the who thing looks silly and awkward. That's explains a lot of the silliness in the Catholic Church following Vatican Two. Still, there is a silver lining to the "faults" of Catholicism, the bureaucratic inertia meant the Church was resistant to the pozzification of it in a way that Protestantism wasn't. But it's no advantage in being right when no one is noticing and  sliding back into the same ineffective Traditionalism of the past just simply takes you back to square one.. A new way will have to be found to go forward but I'm not sure how that is going to play out.

Monday, June 25, 2018

Illustrated Political Spectrum: Slumlord's Reality/Temperament Graphs

This is a follow up to the last post.

Sometimes I find it easier to visualise things using drawings.

For a "Man of the Right" what matters is that his beliefs calibrate with reality regardless of his temperament. We can visualise this as follows. If we place conservative/liberal on the X axis and Reality/Non-Reality on the Y axis we would get an illustration as follows.



What we get is a temperament/calibration-to-reality map. Political/ideological/religious beliefs can be expressed as a set of points on this map, however in order for the map not to be impossibly multidimensional we plot particular beliefs only with regard to their relationship to reality.




The reason why I've included that big circle in the middle of the map is dispassionate Spock-like objectivity or depravity is hard. (achievable with some effort though!) It takes a fair amount of temperamental override to cross from one side to the other.

Now, what we do next is take various ideologies and belief systems and map them and what we get is as follows.



What we see by dividing belief systems is that we get clear groupings which fall into the liberal/conservative spectrum and this is how people conventionally think of the terms. This map also illustrates how real world (i.e. Mass-man) politics plays out. Catholic Integralists will absolutely hate Stalinists and Kumbayah Catholics, but will share the political bed with Fascists and Nazi's, and  Kumbayah Catholics will fear the Integralists more than the Trotskyists.

But none of the temperamental stuff really matters, what matters is where you sit on the reality/non-reality axis. And here is where all the interesting stuff in politics happens. If we look at the relationship between Kumbayah Catholics and Transgenderists, they might sit on the same side of the political spectrum but are mortally opposed ideologues. They may be allies of convenience but when time comes they're at each others throats.

This is why I hate the Fascists, it's not because they're the "real" liberals, rather its because they have many beliefs which are non calibrated to reality.

If we look at this graph we'll also see that conservatism is a meaningless term when it comes to reality calibration, since many conservative ideologies have a fair amount of error associated with them. Once again the important point is reality calibration, not temperament.

The Zen point of belief can be expressed by this illustration. Here, regardless of temperament, belief is reality calibrated and this is is what a "Man of the Right" aims for.




*I'm limited in time today so these are really a "back of envelope" illustrations and where I've placed the ideologies is based upon quick convenience rather than deliberation.

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Beyond Left and Right: A Reply to Carlsbad 1819

A digression.

NTSS over at his blog Carlsbad 1819 has put up a rather good post, The left-right spectrum put in its proper meaning and context. Initially, I thought I would put up a comment over there but as it ended up being too long I thought I'd make a post of it.  I've got a lot of respect for Nulla and so the the following comments are made in the spirit of honest criticism.

How you frame a question in many ways predetermines the solutions to it.  How does the Left differ from the Right is, in my mind, the wrong question, as it tends forces the mind to concentrate on what are the differences between the two camps with the assumption that any difference between the two is meaningful. Choosing between International Socialism and National Socialism still leaves you with Socialism in the end.

I think that  one of the greatest advances in human anthropology has been the realisation that human rationality is more far more complicated than we first thought. Rationality, still relatively undifferentiated by philosophers,  has been demonstrated to have both an intuitive and deliberative component with intuitive rationality being the default mode of thinking for the majority, even the hi-IQ types.

One of the features of intuitive intelligence is that it tends to be associative in nature, and one of the results of this intuitive approach is the conflation of conservative with Right and liberal with Left. Once we start realise that right/conservative and left/radical catergorisations are associative conflations disentangling things makes things a lot clearer.

The first thing to realise is that conservative and liberal are primarily temperamental types with voting behaviour being strongly linked to personality type.  Numerous studies have show temperamental differences between conservatives and liberals. For example,  Conservatives are high on the neuroticism and purity temperamental traits while liberals are higher on openness and impurity elements. When you start analysing politics through this dual lenses of intuitive rationality and personality type a lot of politics becomes far easier to understand.

Suppose socialism becomes the flavour of the month. The conservative elements in the population are going to be advocating for a more structured, "pure" and orderly version of Socialism while the liberals will vote for its more open liberal variant. Fascism, is quite literally Socialism made for the Conservative temperament.

Likewise, when we talk about the conservative faction of the Communist party--what would superficially appear to be an oxymoron-- we're talking about the personality types that don't want any innovation with regard to communism and stick to the orthodoxy. It is not deliberative reason that's determining the position, it's the temperament. Orwell understood this phenomenon completely. He recognised that "bellyfeel" motivated political orientation more than rationality.

It's not as if this some kind of new insight. If we look at Oakeshott's famous definition of what it means to be Conservative:
"To be conservative ... is to prefer the familiar to the unknown, to prefer the tried to the untried, fact to mystery, the actual to the possible, the limited to the unbounded, the near to the distant, the sufficient to the superabundant, the convenient to the perfect, present laughter to utopian bliss."
We see that it applies just as equally to political theory as it does to cheese. Anglo Conservatism--with its strong temperamental justification--is largely devoid of any ideological content. It is simply an aesthetic/preferential approach to things rather than an epistemological or metaphysical position. 

This type of conservatism is always going to fail and will drift (in any direction) over time for two reasons. Given it's conservative nature it's unable to initate direction, leaving the initiative to the non-conservative elements in society. Secondly, lacking any fixed ideological or epistemological positions it will eventually move given enough social pressure and habituation. As its own cognitive elements become habituated to the change it becomes to see it as part of "present"-- (Oakeshott was big on this)---and accepts it now as the new tradition.

Therefore it's vital to disentangle the liberal/conservative temperamental dispostional elements from the  epistimological/metaphysical dimension of the Left/Right divide.

Once we get rid of all the purity/hierarchy/preference for order stuff what exactly have we got: What does it mean to be "Right"?

 to this discussion. Once again the Left/Right distinction tends to obscure rather than clarify. Being anti-Left is of no virtue if the resulting positions and beliefs are not calibrated to reality. This is the real danger in defining the Right as the anti-Left, since the it frames the distinction primarily along the lines of the Left and not upon the relationship of its positions with reality: the thing that matters.

As far as I'm concerned the core distinction between Right and Left is where they sit on the realist/anti-realist spectrum. Overlaid upon this are the conservative and liberal temperaments which colour this distinction. What you end up is with the following matrix.

Once we strip the tempramental/dispositional elements from the analysis were left with how the Left and the Right relate to REALITY.

THE DIVIDING LINE BETWEEN LEFT AND RIGHT IS THEIR RELATIONSHIP TO REALITY.

The Right believes in Truth the Left believes in Ideals, no matter how divorced from reality they are.

The thing to remember is that those of a conservative temperament are just as capable of believing in bullshit--i.e. being reality averse--as the most radical leftist and hence these people are also the enemy.  Calibration to reality is the defining feature of the Right, not a laundry list of "preference" options.

The thing is that in real life, given the reality that people are by and large System 1 driven,  people are going to align themselves with others of the same temperament.  Hence we find the strong historical association between trads/integralists/natsocs and libs/socialists/communists. Their union is based upon a superficial bellyfeel analysis rather than cool cognition.  The bulk of humanity, even the eggheads, run with their gut rather than their heads.

The other disadvantage of this doleful state of human affairs is that the intuitive conservatives have more sympathy for those who a conservatives in error rather than liberals in truth. What this means is that statistically Traditionalists are more likely than not to opt for error rather than truth when confronted with a novel situation.  Exhibition 1: Meriol Trevor writes of one of the poster boys of the Traditionalist Catholic Right, Pius X;
Even at the time the Holy Office was forced to examine the morality of the Action Francaise and after long delays reported to the Pope that the movement's moral principles were not compatible with the Catholic faith. In spite of this, Pius X decided not to publish the condemnation. Marc Sangnier, the faithful Catholic democrat, was disowned, but Charles Maurras, the avowed atheist, was allowed immunity. Seldom has political sympathy influenced more clearly a papal act, or refusal to act.
Let that sink in. This champion of Catholic "Orthodoxy" supported a atheist who thought of the Church with contempt while condemning a faithful believer.

This is one of the main reasons why I like to put the hurt on the Trads. I recognise that Traditionalism is a repository for  a lof of truth but what I realise is that for a variety of reasons tradition must be able to be modified or built up in light of the advance in human knowledge in a way that is compatible with the past. Traditionalists completely close this option off, and while liberals, by and large, promulgate error, traditionalists do not allow changes to be affected even if doctrinally or epistimologically sound.

Exhibition 2: Oh, and here's another howler I found just the other day which is quite appropriate given the inane utterances of some U.S. bishops regarding illegal immigration.

Here again de Lubac found himself in opposition to many of the neo-scholastics and members of the Action Francaise who supported Marshal Petain's Vichy government. Foremost among these was Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange who was of the view that support for the stance of General de Gaulle was not merely a case of backing the wrong team, politically or prudentially speaking, but was actually a mortal sin.
You can't make this stuff up. One of the leading Thomistic theologians of the 20th Century actually though it a mortal sin not to support a Nazi puppet state.  This is why its so important to disentagle conservatism from Rightism. Simply so as not to make these idiotic mistakes.

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Some Thoughts on the Child Sexual Abuse Crisis in the Catholic Church

I think one of the most important tasks facing the religious Dissident Right is trying to determine why Christianity has been unable to stop the assault of Modernism. In my mind there are many reasons for the failure however I think the main culprit is the Church hierarchy. There is something seriously wrong with the generalship.

Anyone with any exposure to the media cannot be unaware of the ongoing saga with regard to child sexual abuse which just seems to go on and on. Here in Australia, two weeks ago, one of the Australian archbishops was forced to step down after it was discovered that he covered up instances of child sexual abuse. Then there's Chile, where the entire Chilean Catholic leadership was forced to resigned as a result of their inept and criminal response to the sexual abuse of minors in their jurisdiction. Not only did they try to discredit the victims, but they seemed to have covered up some of the crimes and lied to the Pope.  In Ireland, the U.S., parts of Europe and Australia, a consistent pattern has emerged of a leadership that has been either inept in its dealings with the matter or outright criminal. 

Here in my home town, Melbourne, most of the crimes occurred during the reign of a liberal Church environment, while in Chile and Ireland, the crimes occurred within a conservative institutional framework: It's a problem that crosses factional lines. Furthermore, investigations into the abuse show that it has historically extended all the way back, well before Vatican Two, so it's not a problem, as some "conservatives" would like to say, of Church liberalisation, Many of the crimes occurred during the papacy of "conservative" Popes and during periods of  traditional orthodoxy. These statements are are not my opinions, they are statements of fact.

A lot of rubbish has been written about the issue but as I see it, the sexual abuse saga needs to be considered on two levels; that of the personal and of the institutional.

With regard to the personal level, in any institution of any size there are always going to be members that are going to go bad. the Catholic Church is no exception.  The job of a priest is hard, temptation is constant and the selection criteria are going to favour either the holy or the weird.  Furthermore, priests are men and like all men, sinners: it's a fact of life that you're going to get a few bad eggs.  From the figures that I have seen,  it appears that roughly ten percent of priests were child sexual predators, a figure that appears to be less than that seen in the general community. 

I grew up in a working class migrant community and in my childhood stories of "bad priests" were a not infrequent thing; the issues involved usually implied illegitimate children, fraud and alcoholism. The thing is that most of the community could make a clear distinction between the actions of the an individual priest and the institution of the Church. Individual priest may have been bad but the Church as a institution was good.

It's my opinion that it is at this, institutional level, where the sexual abuse saga seems to have done the most damage. It's at this level where the Church has been undermined most grievously. It's widely acknowledged that sexual abuse saga was a significant factor in the dechristianisation of Ireland.

The church is in an unusual position because, given its moral nature, it must be seen as an exemplar of what it preaches. If it fails to do this it seen as a corrupt organisation with all the negative sociological and religious implications that entertains. When you espouse high moral standards yet turn a blind eye to the corruption in the ranks you're going to be seen as a hypocrite, which totally undermines your original moral position. The bottom line is that the church, as an institution, failed to adequately deal with the problem of sexual abuse at the institutional level. And now it is paying the consequences.

And this institutional failure needs to be seen in a broader context. While sexual abuse allegations are the salacious topic du jour, the financial shenanigans of the church have proven to be just as resistant to eradication as well. Theft does not generate as much moral disgust as the sexual abuse of children but it's a moral evil none the less, and it's an evil that's been extremely difficult to eradicate. A healthy institution would purge itself of these corrupt elements and yet it can't. Rather, it has taken secular outsiders, sometimes quite hostile to the Church, to expose and force change upon an institutional apparatus which seems blind to its own failings and responsibilities.*

A common theme which emerges from investigations into the matter is that a repeated motivation among many of the clergy for keeping the abuse quiet was the desire to avoid scandal. In other words, the clergy were more concerned with need for the church to appear to be good rather than it actually being good. I don't know how to phrase this less bluntly but this, dear readers, is Pharisiacism 101, all done with the most noble of intentions of preserving the the image of sanctity while turning a blind eye to corruption, and in the worst instances, persecuting those who exposed the crimes.

What's very interesting in this whole saga is that the laity seem to have had a greater grasp of the seriousness of situation than their clerical superiors, but given the monophoric structure of the Catholic Church, meant that their concerns went unheeded. Bishop Long, himself a victim of sexual abuse, highlighted this mentality in his testimony to the Royal Commission on Child Sexual Abuse here in Australia.

MS FURNESS: You've also heard evidence that clericalism has been described as a factor or playing a role in the abuse of children and the response to that abuse and the connection between the deference and power that is part of clericalism and the more traditional approach of some seminarians. Now, do you see it like that?
BISHOP LONG: I do, and I see the clericalism as a by-product of a certain model of Church informed or underpinned or sustained by a certain theology. I mean, it's no secret that we have been operating, at least under the two previous pontificates, from what I'd describe as a perfect society model where there is a neat, almost divinely inspired, pecking order, and that pecking order is heavily tilted towards the ordained. So you have the pope, the cardinals, the bishops, religious, consecrated men and women, and the laity right at the bottom of the pyramid.

I think we need to dismantle that model of Church. If I could use the biblical image of wineskins, it's old wineskins that are no longer relevant, no longer able to contain the new wine, if you like. I think we really need to examine seriously that kind of model of Church where it promotes the superiority of the ordained and it facilitates that power imbalance between the ordained and the non-ordained, which in turn facilitates that attitude of clericalism, if you like.

and

BISHOP LONG: Accountability in that perfect Church model only works upwards. You're accountable to the person above you. As long as the bishop has the backing of the Pope, he's safe. As long as the priest has the backing of his bishop, he's safe. There's no accountability that reaches outwards or downwards, and that's the critical problem, as far as I see. That discipleship of equals calls into question that upward accountability that is in operation as a result of that ecclesiastical model of a perfect society where everyone knows their place and the pecking order is strictly dictated by ordination.
I personally think that this is a superficial analysis but does illustrate the institutional mentality of the clergy and their hierarchy of "holiness". The problem with this institutional mentality is that it a fertile breeding ground for the Pharisaical mentality and it's a mentality that those of conservative temperament are particularly prone to.

What the child sexual abuse saga has illustrated is that there is something seriously wrong with the institutional governance of the Church, and while it does appear to be making some attempts to change church procedures in order to protect children it--as an institution--still seems clueless as to why the problems occurred in the first place. As I see it, the institutional cancer still remains.

Traditionalist interpretations with regard to the failure of Christianity in the 20th Century tend to see the issue as one of disobedience of the faithful to the hierarchy, i.e. a failure to respect authority. But clearly a obedient faithful which which knowingly kept quiet about the abuse--under the authority of a bishop-- would have been just as morally reprehensible as the hierarchy which turned a blind eye. The institutional church is much like a general blaming his troops for a battlefield loss, it never occurs to them that he problem may be with the quality of the generalship and the decisions made. It's this blindness which is the core of the problem and it's one of the reasons for the dechristinisation of the West.  I have this sneaking intuition that the clergy may have inadvertently set themselves against God.



*A long report commissioned by the Catholic Church into the nature and extent of the sexual abuse crisis.

Thursday, May 31, 2018

The Age of the Empozzment

One of the reasons why I tend to focus on the religious aspect of the Dissident Right is because I believe that the collapse of religion in the West is THE primary cause of the Western decline.  The transformation in values that came about with the ditching of Christianity lead to the Age of the Empozzment with its current societal consequences.

For better or worse, until about the First World War Christianity was the underlying cultural foundation of the West. Since then its secular replacements have attempted to build a new and better world--with the body count as predicted by Neitzsche-- and while we are, admittedly, materially and technologically richer, it's pretty clear to any objective observer that Western civilisation is on a downhill spiral. It's the last round of drinks before the party ends.

I think that there are many even in Neoreactionary circles who would deny this view of Christianity and feel that a Western restoration can come about through some kind of secular program.  I wish that this was so since the task would be easier but I think it is impossible.  Even the best versions of secularism still run on the "fumes" of Christianity.  Equality, one of the foundation beliefs of the modern secular state is a credal belief  and not one that is supported by a rational appraisal of the evidence. Rationality in the absence of a creed will therefore, in the long run, push against the notion and once the Christian memory of the West is extinguished so will the notion that all men are equal. I know that there are those who will argue that humanistic notions can be derived from rational deliberations but they're on a fools errand. The Neocons, have a similar view, and quite openly advocate the notion that the modern world is purely a secular product. However, as Havers and Gottfried have shown there was nothing in the rationality of "Athens" which supports our current liberal beliefs.  As any good lawyer knows, with enough skill you can make a good argument for anything.

Nietzsche wasn't so stupid and he realised that a post Christian world was going to be was going to be different and not necessarily a world of hugs and kisses. If you want to know why your art is shit, the streets unsafe and degeneracy is advancing in society it has come about from the ditching of Christianity and the embrace of secular values. The "transvaluation of values" comes with consequences.

Recent events in Ireland demonstrate just how profoundly a change in religious attitude affects political outcomes. In what really is a tragedy of European civilisation, what was once a deeply Catholic country has now transformed itself into another secular state.  The legalisation of gay marriage for instance, would have been impossible in a country that believed in the Catholic faith. It's another example of politics being downstream from culture.

The process of secularisation does not necessarily have to lead to a kumbayah pozzed state, it could just as easily of lead to a Japanisation of society, where a culturally homogeneous and peaceful society gives rise to affluent herbivores jerking off to paedophillic anime at below replacement rate. Or it could have gone Natsoc and gotten nuked. Yeah, I know, just like all true believers assert, the next time it will be different, but the money is on it not being so: the road to perdition is wide.

Therefore any attempt to restore the world to one which had some semblance of continuity with world prior to the First World War is going to have to involve the rechristianisation of the West. The problem is that, except for the most deludedly optimistic, Christianity has not been able to mount an effective pushback against the pozz.

One of the aims of this blog is to understand why Christianity failed. Like many Trads, I too believed that "relaxation of discipline" which came about in the 1960's, especially with regard to Catholicism was responsible for the decline, but the more I look into this matter the less satisfied I am with this explanation. Robust systems can take a lot of punishment, it's the weak systems which collapse suddenly. The sudden collapse in the 60's can only lead to the conclusion that despite appearances to the contrary religion in the West was in a very parlous state. The smart guys like Blondel and Troelstch saw years ahead what was happening but no one listened.

And I want to make a distinction between Protestantism and Catholicism. As my thinking stands at the moment, I feel that that each was attacked by a different method.  Protestantism was effectively destroyed by Modernism directly whereas Catholicism was destroyed a "spiritual failure" largely mediated by clericalism which arose in response to the battle against Modernism. Features which both respective religions regard as their strengths have also been responsible for their inability to  mount an effective response to the secular world.

It is my belief that Protestantism, taken as a whole, is beyond reform. I don't say this triumphantly it's just that institutional Protestantism is so thoroughly pozzed that it is unable to recover the critical mass of adherents necessary for societal change.  Small elements of Protestantism are probably quite doctrinally sound it's just that they're going to remain on the margins, Christian witnesses unable to do much.  On the other hand Catholicism still has enough "mass" to effect social change but unless it reforms, essentially by incorporating some of the 'best bits of Protestantism" it's going to ossify into irrelevancy, with tragic consequences for the West.