Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Thomism's "Monster Sacrè"

Here's an excerpt from an excellent 1932 essay by Fr. Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange, O.P. titled "The Consecration of the Human Race to the Immaculate Heart of Mary."

One of the great dangers of the present hour, obviously, is international Communism, a materialist movement that denies the existence of God, of the future life, that destroys the dignity of the human person, the family, and the country. It seeks to conquer Europe and dreams about a world-wide revolution which would be the end of Christianity and all religion, according to the program of the atheist league of those who deny God which Bolshevism is spreading in several countries.

In order to resist this Communist movement, in various places there is a nationalism arising, which, when it is not merely defensive but offensive, often surpasses just limits; it can elevate certain people who were bogged down in a completely egotistical individualism, but it can also bring down those who were living in a Christian spirit, a higher and more universal notion of the great spiritual needs of every human soul. Here and there exaggerated nationalism tends even to become a pagan adoration of the State, more or less deified. And in order to react against a form of materialist naturalism, some fall into another form of the same error, to the detriment of the life of souls, who can thus become so disoriented that they can no longer find the true path...

Above internationalism, which refuses to recognize the spirits and traditions of different peoples, and nationalism, which often forgets the higher aspirations of humanity, must rise the "supranationalism" of the Catholic, that is universal, Church, which must unite souls of different nations under the same light of the Gospel, in the same supernatural hope and the same love of God...

So exaggerated nationalism -- which is a decrepit form of patriotism -- is in fact "egotistical individualism." Some groups of radical political nationalists sprouting up in the western world are attempting to whitewash this failing by claiming they are attracted to the social, communal, and corporatist aspects of the Catholic Faith, of all things.

In truth theirs is a consideration of social concerns polluted by their weird racialist notions -- they take a normal and sane thing like affection for one's homeland and distort it by exaggeration and denature it with tribalism. Their reaction to liberalism and communism is not a healthy Catholic abhorrence, but a naturalistic over-reaction steeped in an egotism that blinds them to the true supernatural dimension of the issue. In their failure to apprehend the correct spiritual solution they indulge in another form of naturalism: they become narcissists who adore themselves. May the Sacred and Immaculate Hearts help us steer the safe path between the excesses of the Scylla of prideful modernist liberalism on the one hand and the Charybdis of the nationalist's egotistical individualism on the other!

I mention Garrigou-Lagrange's essay because it also serves as a corrective to a revisionist accusation against the Catholic Church: that the horrific deeds of the Nazis was a culmination of centuries of Christian antagonism towards Jews; I've read this notion from men such as Elie Wiesel, Charles Krauthammer, Frank Rich, and William Safire (RIP). They're all profoundly wrong: Hitler and Mussolini got most of their traction from railing against Russian communists. That wasn't merely a convenient cover: the Soviets were a genuine threat, everyone knew it, and the Germans and the Italians -- whose societies had already gone far down the path of rejecting the religious and social leadership of the Church -- reacted against it with an excess of nationalist sentiment.

The Catholic Church was the one institution who saw the whole affair clearly: it condemned both inherently perverse communism that dehumanized its victims and excessive nationalism that deified the state. Small wonder that the author of the work villifying Pope Pius XII
was a Hitler Youth chump turned communist; even less wonder that an effeminate press acquiesced in a Soviet-backed media blitzkrieg to promote the third-rate play as a great social commentary and used it to calumniate the best friend the Jews had during the war.

Pax Christi


Anonymous said...

The more it changes....etc.

Patti Petersen said...

Excellent post, Sean, and very apropos as a warning to traditionalists..."He that has ears to hear, let him hear!"