Something funny and clever to start your day

11 08 2010

The Catholic Fascist

Probably some of the best satire I have read in years. I think this is enough to get one’s attention:

Contributors… Parker Euton is a 25 year old Catholic convert, community college student, and self-taught theologian. He agrees with most of his blog collaborators, but disagrees that the root cause of decay in America and the Catholic Church is liberalism and socialism. No, it is sodomy. Parker is anxiously awaiting God’s choice for his wife to come along, so if anyone can help God out by offering rosaries for this intention, he would be most grateful. His future wife should know that he is already in possession of a thermometer.

Please comment there and link accordingly. Spread the word.

Once more on morality

11 08 2010

A moralizing Philistine’s favorite method is the lumping of reaction’s conduct with that of revolution. He achieves success in this device through recourse to formal analogies. To him czarism and Bolshevism are twins. Twins are likewise discovered in fascism and communism. An inventory is compiled of the common features in Catholicism – or more specifically, Jesuitism – and Bolshevism. Hitler and Mussolini, utilizing from their side exactly the same method, disclose that liberalism, democracy, and Bolshevism represent merely different manifestations of one and the same evil. The conception that Stalinism and Trotskyism are “essentially” one and the same now enjoys the joint approval of liberals, democrats, devout Catholics, idealists, pragmatists, and anarchists. If the Stalinists are unable to adhere to this “People’s Front”, then it is only because they are accidentally occupied with the extermination of Trotskyists.

The fundamental feature of these approchements and similitudes lies in their completely ignoring the material foundation of the various currents, that is, their class nature and by that token their objective historical role. Instead they evaluate and classify different currents according to some external and secondary manifestation, most often according to their relation to one or another abstract principle which for the given classifier has a special professional value. Thus to the Roman pope Freemasons and Darwinists, Marxists and anarchists are twins because all of them sacrilegiously deny the immaculate conception. To Hitler, liberalism and Marxism are twins because they ignore “blood and honor”. To a democrat, fascism and Bolshevism are twins because they do not bow before universal suffrage. And so forth.

Undoubtedly the currents grouped above have certain common features. But the gist of the matter lies in the fact that the evolution of mankind exhausts itself neither by universal suffrage, not by “blood and honor,” nor by the dogma of the immaculate conception. The historical process signifies primarily the class struggle; moreover, different classes in the name of different aims may in certain instances utilize similar means. Essentially it cannot be otherwise. Armies in combat are always more or less symmetrical; were there nothing in common in their methods of struggle they could not inflict blows upon each other…
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You are alone

11 08 2010

Tú eres sola
entre las multitudes

como son sola
la luna

Y sólo el sol
en el cielo

ayer estabas en el estadio

en medio de miles de gentes
y te divisé desde
que entré

igual que si hubieras
estado sola
en un estadio vacío

-Ernesto Cardenal
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The Holy Family

11 08 2010

Just some converging thoughts, along the line of the usual.

I was reading somewhere a footnote with a quote from the historian John Bossy where he wrote something to the effect that the modernization of religion is tied into the transformation of collective religion into individual religion. I think that is a good way of looking at it. But how does that tie in more generally to what was going on in the rest of society?

Then I started to think about the cult of St. Joseph in the West. Why did it evolve so late, and why was it that St. Joseph before the modern period was portrayed as an old man, and why afterwards is he portrayed as a man in his prime? Now, don’t get me wrong. I am very devoted to St. Joseph, but I am wondering whether the interiorization of religion and the rise of the nuclear family (and its apotheosis in Catholicism in the cult to the Holy Family) have anything to do with each other.

As in all questions in the social sciences, you are never going to have a “smoking gun”. Reading certain things in the recent days, however, makes me think that there is at least a significant trend at work here. I suppose I would have to delve into the personal and state that I grew up in an extended family situation. I feel that I was not just raised by my parents, but by my grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and even my great-grandmother. So the analogy between the Trinitarian God and the nuclear family (father, mother, child) is somewhat lost on me. In rural Mexican society, you felt more part of a clan than a small nuclear family unit, even on this side of the border.

Perhaps this is also why John Paul II’s theology of the body never appealed to me either. I don’t find anything particularly noble or ascetical about the nuclear family situation in that I am used to the idea that the family is about obligations to your clan, and not some “life decision”. But that is a bit of a digression.

What that has to do with the individualization of religion, I am not sure. Perhaps in such a clan-like environment, religion was most seen as loyalty to familial beliefs and rituals. When I was young, this was even more the case than it is now. Before, there was a real series of rituals of food, prayer, and social interaction that had to be observed by everyone. Now, everyone seems to be going their separate ways (and a couple of them have become evangelicals). So there was a more collective attitude towards faith. Whether or not that is a good or bad thing, I cannot say. Only that even in my mother’s family, it is an endangered species.