Life, as John Lennon once memorably sang, ‘is what happens to you when you’re busy making other plans’.
So it has been with my weblog. Back in February, I announced two things – that my publisher intended to bring out my long-delayed book later this year and that I would be reinvigorating this weblog.
I am glad to say things still appear on course for the first. However, I have stumbled badly with the second.
Because life happened to me, disrupting my plans, in a beautiful, unforgettable way.
An inspiration ran away with me like a wild horse – and the only way to ride that horse was to stop writing for this site and put my responses and correspondence on hold.
But, as a result, I have – in barely over two months – written a second (admittedly short) book!
Personally, it is extraordinary for me. The first book took six years. The second took around ten weeks.
Whilst I cannot express my gratitude to God for this burst of inspiration, I am sorry for misleading readers and delaying responses. To produce this second manuscript, I had to shut everything else I could in my life down – focussing entirely on the manuscript.
But I now plan – barring life erupting again – to resume work on this website with zeal.
Today, however, I will only say a little of my second manuscript. Unsurprisingly, the manuscript concerns the major themes of this site: Catholic tradition and the threat to that tradition from secularism, the New Age movement, globalisation and more.
It’s a small Catholic Counter-Revolutionary work – with a particular emphasis on Ireland as a microcosm of the changes in the wider world.
Yet, surprisingly – to me at least! – the new book is, in large measure, fiction. (It is surprising because I never imagined myself writing fiction!)
Still, the fiction is really about ideas. Indeed, it is quite simplistic fiction.
I find myself thinking of The Da Vinci Code, which is poor fiction. Subtle as a brick with cardboard characters, The Da Vinci Code simply functions as a device to propagate Dan Brown’s masonic revolutionary ideology.
Readers may think my new manuscript is the same in reverse. Likewise subtle as a brick – but with a Catholic Counter-Revolutionary agenda instead.
(I should add that the book is not a thriller like Brown’s, but a dialogue of ideas framed in a whimsical romance involving Catholic, liberal and New Age characters.)
I will not say much more now – but only offer a very brief fragment.
Here, the liberal protagonist – writing in the first person – encounters a man called GT.
GT has a Counter-Revolutionary mind, not unlike my own. But our liberal protagonist knows nothing of the Counter Revolutionary mind and this small passage unfolds – in simple broad strokes – his growing understanding of GT’s Catholic traditionalist perspective.
It also reveals – again in broad strokes – much that I will be concerned with as, God willing, I resume work on this website.
Anyway, here it is. A little taste of things to come … (The references to 1789 are, of course, to the French Revolution.)
All sorts of things started falling into place now [including] a Cambridge lecture I once attended about Max Weber and his book The Protestant Work Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism. I recalled, too, what GT said earlier about the Enlightenment or ‘Age of Reason’ leading to the French Revolution.
A timeline began taking shape in my mind. [GT’s] version of history at least …
According to [his] version, things started going wrong in 1517 with Luther and the Reformation. Then, Henry VIII took over the English church, forcibly converting people to the new religion. Europe separated into two spheres – a northern Protestant one and a southern Catholic one.
I was beginning to see that, for GT, this fact had led to very crucial distinctions, not just in religion, but every aspect of culture.
Two very different psychologies emerged between nations that remained faithful to the older Catholic tradition and those that didn’t – indeed which actively protested against that tradition. And the new Protestant sphere went on protesting, went on innovating, went on dismantling tradition. This had led to secularism much more rapidly in the northern Protestant world than the Catholic one.
The northern sphere, particularly England, had also pioneered capitalism. That’s what GT meant by capitalist bourgeoisie replacing medieval rulers. And, obviously for him, it was all connected to the secularising revolutions. ‘1789 and all that’. The cultural revolution of ‘1968’ only built on every revolution that preceded it.
Of course, 1789 had happened in Catholic France, not Protestant Europe! That would seem to throw GT’s theories.
But, as we continued talking, I realised that – for GT at any rate – this exception only proved the rule. Violent revolution didn’t tend to happen in Protestant countries, precisely because those countries already underwent the original Protestant revolution – jettisoning tradition. Those countries secularised rapidly, indeed almost effortlessly.
By contrast, secularism didn’t take hold in Catholic countries without revolutionary violence. And France, like other Catholic countries, experienced not only revolution, but also reaction to revolution. In France, Catholics resisted the revolution to protect Christian tradition. They even went to war against the revolution!
Later in our conversation, GT called this resistance ‘Counter-Revolution’. But Counter-Revolution never really featured in the Protestant countries. Generally speaking, they didn’t suffer revolutions the same way Catholic countries did.
In GT’s view, they all-too-easily accommodated themselves to secularism.
As I say, all this points to where this weblog will be going in the future.
If the idea of Counter-Revolution is new to you, dear Lector, you may wish to read this earlier post: What is a Counter-Revolution?
There is also a little blog here about my pilgrimage to the Vendée in France – home of the Counter-Revolution to the French Revolution …