In my last weblog entry, I made reference to the materialism of the liberal Protestant theology of the likes of Rudolf Bultmann. And I noted briefly that this materialism had now tragically made its way into Catholicism, as well.
Thus do I recall the teaching of a certain Jesuit, who explained the Crucifixion in terms of pacificism. According to this Jesuit, the meaning of the Crucifixion seemed to lie largely or entirely in this: Jesus had taught pacifism in terms of turning the other cheek. In order to be completely consistent in his doctrine of non-violence, it was necessary to demonstrate it on the Way to Calvary. And I recall no mention at all of the God-Man sacrificing Himself to take away the sins of the world … And Jesus Christ is reduced to Gandhi.
Now this represents a particularly outstanding form of demythologising. But we see countless examples everywhere in modern Catholicism – where the Holy Mysteries of the Faith are regularly described in routine ways, stripped of reverence and awe.
Rather than say more myself today, I thought I would instead append to all of this, some profound words from Valentin Tomberg. These are taken from a meditation, among other things, on degeneration and time in the first section of his work Lazarus Come Forth.
“Christ´s saying to Pilate:”My Kingdom is not of this world”, is valid also for Christianity and for the Church. Now the so-called “demythologising” humanist theologists want to adapt Christianity and the Church to this world, to make it into a piece of this world. They call it “modernising”- adaptation to the “spirit of the age” and its requirements, including its “progress”. Thus Prof. Mag. Doctor. Edward Schillebeeckx, Professor of Dogmatism and Theological History at the University of Nijnegn, (Holland), in answering the question: How did it happen that the Netherlands are in advance of the development within the universal Church? – made the following statement: “The Netherlands were the first country where theologians, priests and laymen interested in religion approached religious problems from the aspect of humanist science and not from that of theology only. The inclusion of sociology, psychology and the humanist sciences made possible the breakthrough in general here in the Netherlands.”
A German theologian and priest “consoled” a friend of mine in a conversation by stating that the angels (including the archangels Michael and Gabriel), have no reality - according to the most recent and now apparently universally accepted theology. They are merely personifications of human soul-forces and thus and only thus did an “angel” come with the annunciation to the Virgin Mary. It seems that psychology takes priority over the Holy Scripture and Tradition.
This and similar methods and teachings of theology are clearly symptoms of apostasy from Christianity- which indeed works in this world, but is not of it, nor of the world of psychology and sociology. Christianity is not an “ideological superstructure” to psychological, sociological and economic facts, but a revelation of the reality of the moral world-order in the realm of the mechanical, causal world- order. Whoever does not understand this – how can he be a “theologian” or “priest”?”
The above examples only serve to demonstrate the fact that a strong movement is working within the Church which has chosen “this world” with its pretensions and demands. It seems that this movement is drawn with irresistible force to the human sphere belonging to the realm of time. It wants to be human (and humanistic) and up-to-date (“progressive”). Thereby it subjects itself to the laws of time, which is the path of inevitable degeneration, decline, and death.”
And elsewhere within the same section, Valentin Tomberg concludes:
“Demythologisation carried to its conclusion yields nothing other than the “dialectical materialism” of Marxism. “Judas, what though doest, do quickly; but if thou betrayest, at least do not do it with a kiss”.