Secularization: A Concrete Case

19 12 2008


From Platonic Shift by Lee Hamilton

The change that has taken hold in Québec has been astonishingly rapid. I come from a francophone family (on my mother’s side) that was steeped in Catholicism, but which has – over the four living generations that can still be gathered in a (large) room – lived out the dramatic inter-generational passage from religiosity to secularism.

Read the rest here

It is pretty certain that no such secularization has yet to take place in Latin America, and even the cult of Santa Muerte and Jesus Malverde in Mexico, among other things, means that secularism has not yet penetrated in spite of the best attempts of the government to supress the influence of the Church in Mexico. Nevertheless, in Argentina, it was interesting how many people didn’t even know what a cassock was. It is a universal phenomenon, just taking different forms in different places.

In the end, it seems that secularization, as I have argued before, comes about when people feel they no longer need God for their daily needs. As Mr. Hamilton argues, in the case of Quebec, the government stepped in to take the Church’s place, and in many ways it is doing a better job. There is no real way around it: being affluent weakens religion. No wonder Our Lord is so harsh against rich people in the Gospel.



6 responses

24 12 2008
Lee Hamilton

Vincentius, thanks for the video link. I watched it more than once – the lyrics definitely ring true. – Lee

22 12 2008
The Scylding

Of course, in Western Canada, the anti-Quebec feeling has grown since the “Quiet Revolution”. Why? Because the perception is that the Quebecois Politicians has held the rest of Canada hostage, threatening secession, with the result being massive federal prgrams and grants, far outstripping especially what the West receives, even on a per-capita basis.

The Secular government has thus been doing a better job than the Church perhaps Only because of its political brinkmanship. Witness the strong anti-sovereigntist feeling generated by the recent political crisis in Canada.

20 12 2008

This music video “Mes Aïeux – Dégénération” tells the transition of a Catholic society into a secular society:

19 12 2008

When you say Argentina, can I guess you talk about Buenos Aires?

And, not knowing what a cassock is… well, that’s just about the priests don’t using them anymore, not about real secularization.

19 12 2008

It is paradoxical, but persecution (as in Mexico and elsewhere), tends to strengthen faith in certain ways, while the lack thereof, along with affluence, can result in secularization. What you mention is certainly an aspect of “the problem of wealth,” but I think the heart of it is that wealth is rarely, if ever, acquired without engaging in oppression (and yes, this is an indictment, not simply of wealthy persons, families, and corporations, but also of wealthy nations), and there is certainly oppression involved in the use of wealth that is consumerist and status-driven.

19 12 2008

Question: How much of an influence did the anti-clerical laws passed in the early 20th century influence the development of Mexican Catholicism?

I’ve been to Montreal and it’s pretty depressing to see all the churches, monasteries, and convents that are now used for secular purposes. Ecclesiastical buildings are becoming entirely detached from their original purposes and have become relics of a less enlightened time for post-moderns to gawk at on a Sunday afternoon.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: