At the end of preceding segment, I turned to the subject of hope. For I share a world with many who are losing hope as to the sustainability of our present civilisation.
And as I have written earlier in this little series, I myself have little hope in the prospects of creating an ultimately sustainable civilisation on the back of Enlightenment assumptions and the secular and unbridled capitalist society that has grown from these.
As I have said, it seems to me that our civilisation has been stripped of that which it needs for its very survival. It has been stripped of Higher Order. From a Western Civilisation that once understood its fallenness, its brokenness and need to order itself to the Economy of Salvation, it now increasingly orders itself to the Economy of money, money alone. Aspiration to the Transcendent has been replaced with the bottom line.
Yesterday morning, my beloved said something so poignant. For she was seeing acutely how we had degenerated from a society which had at least aspired to be ruled by this Higher Order to a society ruled by corporations.
And she evoked for me the title of an important book I once studied and which I have now decided to review here: When Corporations Rule the World by David C. Korten.
We believe that in overcoming the authority of the Church, we have created a free, democratic society. But as Korten’s book can serve to make clear, rather than creating a truly free society (which needs Moral Order and Authority), we have in so many ways created a Moral Vacuum. And nature abhors a vacuum.
The great corporations have only been all too eager to rush in and fill the vacuum, fill the vacuum not with Christian values, but with that which feeds and aggrandises egotism.
Yet personally I have hope. For all is not lost. Because the civilisational pattern held by the Catholic Church has not been destroyed. It has been battered, marginalised, diluted, mocked, betrayed, compromised in untold, countless ways – but it is not dead.
This is where my life has led me to: Not a trace of hope in secularism or corporationism, nor in New Age-ism or religionless spirituality, but hope, hope in the Church.
Hope in the Catholic Church, which represents the stream in Western Society which opposed most fully those currents of modernity, which in a certain sense, one can observe began with the Reformation and continued apace with the Enlightenment and secularisation.
Or again to quote Valentin Tomberg from last time: “only one part of divided humanity … remained loyal to the [previous world] conception. It is the Catholic Church …”
It is a Church, which it seems to me very nearly went under after Vatican II. In Iota Unum Romano Amerio does a superb work I think, in detailing the endless compromises of the unhappy post-Vatican II pontificate of Paul VI, compromises which I think were often rooted in a noble idealism, but tragic in consequence nonetheless.
He also shows how under the succeeding Pontificate, Ven. John Paul II began to stop these compromises. To give just one example, Amerio paints a picture of the Priesthood and Religious Orders haemorrhaging under a relaxed rule and attitude, which was seen as Reform. (Yet as Amerio points out in the case of the Orders, reform in the past took the form not of sloppy indulgence, but greater vigilance, rigour and commitment!)
In so many ways it seems to me, Ven. John Paul II began the work of saving the Catholic Church. And now the present Holy Father continues on the foundations John Paul laid down.
O Venerable John Paul – how often you are decried by certain Catholic Traditionalists, but how very much you really did! Perhaps with the benefit of “20-20” hindsight, it was not enough – but who am I to judge YOU, in the midst of pressures I cannot even begin to imagine, how dare I say that you should have or could have done more!
But I digress. The point here is that the Church is not dead – although she has received enormous blows to Her Body both from without and even more tragically, from within. And in this crisis, she needs the effort of the faithful to support her True Cult – if we are not to keep falling ever more into the Death Cult of the Enlightenment.
Yes ora et labora, prayer and effort, great work is needed by all of us who can see what the Catholic Church still is holding for the world. I am not sure whether this little series on the Enlightenment Death-Cult will be continuing or whether I shall be turning my attention soon to the kind of work that is needed and of which I hope this webproject can play its very small part.