We are not just material beings, but spiritual persons with a need for meaning, purpose, and fulfillment that transcends the visible confines of this world. This longing for transcendence is a longing for truth, goodness, and beauty. Truth, goodness, and beauty are called the transcendentals of being, because they are aspects of being. Everything in existence has these transcendentals to some extent. God, of course, as the source of all truth, goodness, and beauty, has these transcendentals to an infinite degree. Oftentimes, he draws us to himself primarily through one of these transcendentals. St. Augustine, who was drawn to beauty in all its creaturely forms, found the ultimate beauty he was seeking in God, his creator, the beauty “ever ancient, ever new.”―Sister Gabriella Yi, O.P.

Monday, October 10, 2016

War not war. And all the world's a stage.

Si vis pacem, para bellum.
If you want peace, prepare for war.
De Re Militari (Preface to Book 3: To The Emperor Valentinian)
by Publius Flavius Vegetius Renatus
‘Warre of every one against every one', of 'a war [...] of every man against every man'... 'a perpetuall warre of every man against his neighbour'.—De Cive ("On the citizen") by Thomas Hobbes.
Ostendo primo conditionem hominum extra societatem civilem, quam conditionem appellare liceat statum naturæ, aliam non esse quam bellum omnium contra omnes; atque in eo bello jus esse omnibus in omnia.
I demonstrate, in the first place, that the state of men without civil society (which state we may properly call the state of nature) is nothing else but a mere war of all against all; and in that war all men have equal right unto all things.—ibid.
Promoters of liberty as defined by the modern liberal mind are a sly lot. The have conditioned citizens of the West to believe that they have a right to feel good about themselves at all times and are thus entitled to have their lifestyles, however disordered or dangerous, blessed by society. The quest for fulfillment of those socio-political rights now pits citizens against citizens and leaves little chance for a just reconciliation of opposing views. Of course, the skirmish created by western liberals is a distraction intended to obscure a more diabolical plan.
Where the nexus between man's inalienable rights and the Creator Who bestowed them upon man is severed, wars of all kinds break out—cultural, spiritual, intellectual and actual warfare between peoples and nations. A feverish intellectual and judicial war has broken out in the public square between citizens claiming that certain rights trump the (formerly inalienable) rights of others. The war is only likely to escalate given that societies have become polarized by the liberal attempt to divide (inalienable) rights from the hand of the Creator.

The goal of liberals all along has been to divorce man's rights (and conscience and vocation to work for the common good) from God and grant to the state the power to confer rights. (This is the 'plan' identified in a preceding paragraph.) Western liberalism is no different than the communist and fascist dictatorships that have so wounded the world and made possible man's descent into survivalism, i.e., the acting out of base instincts in order to protect himself and his corrupt interests from some threat imagined to come from his neighbours who benignly think and act (and pray and vote and...) differently from himself.
Status hominum naturalis antequam in societatem coiretur, bellum fuerit; neque hoc simpliciter, sed bellum omnium in omnes.
The natural state of men, before they entered into society, was a mere war, and that not simply, but a war of all men against all men.
Nam unusquisque naturali necessitate bonum sibi appetit, neque est quisquam qui bellum istud omnium contra omnes, quod tali statui naturaliter adhæret, sibi existimat esse bonum.
For every man by natural necessity desires that which is good for him: nor is there any that esteems a war of all against all, which necessarily adheres to such a state, to be good for him.—Libertas, Hobbes.
The society of which Hobbes spoke should be defined as the society of moral men and women, a society made so by the Gospel. A hallmark of a just society is the rule of law. However, man is, once again, becoming a beast. Where the Gospel is rejected, men and women behave like beasts.
Hereby it is manifest that during the time men live without a common Power to keep them all in awe, they are in that condition which is called War; and such a war as is of every man against every man. [...] In such condition there is no place for Industry, because the fruit thereof is uncertain: and consequently no Culture of the Earth; no Navigation, nor use of the commodities that may be imported by Sea; no commodious Building; no Instruments of moving and removing such things as require much force; no Knowledge of the face of the Earth; no account of Time; no Arts; no Letters; no Society; and which is worst of all, continual Fear, and danger of violent death; And the life of man solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.—Chapter XIII of Leviathan (Hobbes/Wikipedia).
In brief, man becomes a rabidly instinctual being where there is no unifying moral authority. The Old West was an open war between gunslingers and lawmen, and a raging conflict between pioneers and indigenous peoples too frequently driven from their lands. The new West, comprised of nation states from Europe to America, Canada to Argentina, is a battleground, too. We are reaping a harvest of former injustices given force by an ancient adversary.

There is only one true and unifying power that restores man to his original dignity—the power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Unfortunately, we live in times that, the world having been rid of much legitimate authority, both legitimate personal and political moral authority, are rapidly becoming barbaric and extremely so. As a result of man's alienation from the Gospel, the ascendency of the culture of death has been rapid, pervasive and increasingly perverse.

Does anyone doubt that man is entering a second childishness?
As You Like It, Act II, Scene VII
William Shakespeare
And all the men and women merely players; They have their exits and their entrances, And one man in his time plays many parts, His acts being seven ages. At first, the infant, Mewling and puking in the nurse’s arms. Then the whining schoolboy, with his satchel And shining morning face, creeping like snail Unwillingly to school. And then the lover, Sighing like furnace, with a woeful ballad Made to his mistress’ eyebrow. Then a soldier, Full of strange oaths and bearded like the pard, Jealous in honor, sudden and quick in quarrel, Seeking the bubble reputation Even in the cannon’s mouth. And then the justice, In fair round belly with good capon lined, With eyes severe and beard of formal cut, Full of wise saws and modern instances; And so he plays his part. The sixth age shifts Into the lean and slippered pantaloon, With spectacles on nose and pouch on side; His youthful hose, well saved, a world too wide For his shrunk shank, and his big manly voice, Turning again toward childish treble, pipes And whistles in his sound. Last scene of all, That ends this strange eventful history, Is second childishness and mere oblivion, Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything.
The western liberal has no eyes to see his folly, no ears to hear his whining, no teeth by which he may feed on reason. He is a man (and woman) cut off from his Maker, deprived of dignity and in love with a mere shadow.

Peace not peace.

Let us beware of attempts to appease the beast of Western Liberalism.

  • Politicians espouse the popular "personally opposed to abortion but politically pro-choice" mantra.
  • Liberal journalists wearing rose-tinted glasses, fancying themselves the arbiters of information and thus the engineers of the new society and the preservers of liberal (politically correct) society, sanitize the news concerning terrorism and obscure its chief source.
  • Universities give harbour to the manipulation of language and thought and create "safe" places—safe from reason and fact, perhaps, but hardly safe for those who disagree with the emerging status quo—wherein immorality and scientifically untenable views of human sexuality and gender theory thrive among good-willed but low-information citizens.

The enemy has been very effective at abducting the social (political, sexual, legal) narrative and using the confusion to foster attacks on the Church.

The diplomat-historian Louis Antoine Fauvelet de Bourrienne, in reference to the foreign policy of his schoolmate Napoleon Bonaparte, said:
Had Bonaparte been a Latin scholar he would probably have reversed the adage and said, Si vis bellum para pacem.—Memoirs of Napoleon Bonaparte (1851).
Plan a war and put your opponent off guard by (at the same time) cultivating peace with him. Sound familiar?

Let us prefer discipline to strength of numbers.

Vegetius reminds us that "(t)he ancients preferred discipline to numbers." We cannot be given to naive trust. The enemy is within the gates of the Church and society. The Church he will not consume; society, however, is a muddy place that easily absorbs filth and becomes a graveyard of ideas and people. The Church must call all people to their dignity. The world needs a clear message of hope, not a convoluted attempt to merge mercy with sin(ful behaviour).

We, Catholics, must prefer discipline and practice the Gospel. Otherwise, our diverse cultures will sink ever more deeply into a vat of death and destruction.

We might look to Hungary and Poland as examples of societies and cultures which are effectively reclaiming and defending their Christian dignity.

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"A multitude of wise men is the salvation of the world(.)—Wisdom 6:24. Readers are welcome to make rational and responsible comments. Any comment that 1) offends human dignity and/or 2) which constitutes an irrational attack on the Catholic Faith will not go unchallenged. If deemed completely stupid, such a comment will most assuredly not see the light of day. Them's the rules. Don't like 'em? Move on.