Monday, April 21, 2008

Benedict and Belloc

HILAIRE BELLOC, historian (First honors, Oxford), author, and friend of G. K. Chesterton, is known but not widely read today. This is too bad. He knows better the ailments of the dilapidated West today than the talking heads, pundits, and politicians who happen presently to be alive.

Belloc describes in utter lucidity the gradient of the degradation of the West in the chapter of The Great Heresies entitled, "The Reformation." The entire book should be required reading for all concerned with the apparent demise of the West. Suffice it to say that the Protestant hegemony, a truly anti-Catholicism, broke up finally and certainly with the Great War, World War I.
But let it be noted that this breakdown of the older anti-Catholic thing, the Protestant culture, shows no sign of being followed by an hegemony of the Catholic culture. There is no sign as yet of a reaction towards the domination of Catholic ideas - the full restoration of the Faith by which Europe and all our civilization can alone be saved. [141]
Belloc goes then into the final chapter that describes with wincingly accurate ways what he calls "The Modern Phase" or "The Modern Attack."
To many who have no sympathy with Catholicism, who inherit the old Protestant animosity to the Church (although doctrinal Protestantism is now dead) and who think that any attack on the Church must somehow or other be a good thing, the struggle already appears as a coming or present atttack on what they call "Christianity." [143]
This phase of the attack on the Faith is replete with rabid scientific dogmatists like Dawkins or Fleet St. jingoists like Hitchens or separate religionists like the Scimitar-terrorist boys or recrudescent Neo-pagans-R-Us in the mainstream media. It is a dark and apocalyptic time for the Catholic Church in the world, let alone in the West.

ENTER BENEDICT XVI ON HIS MISSION TO AMERICA. The Pontiff leaves the Vatican to celebrate his eighty-first birthday on American soil, meets with his American bishops, celebrates the Blessed Sacrament in two -- count 'em, two -- major league baseball fields, strolls Fifth Avenue, meet with young people and seminarians, and kneels in prayer at Ground Zero, praying for loving forgiveness in the face of heinous and murderous evil.

This aged leader of the Catholic Church has not given up on the West; nor is he about to look fearful before the specters that haunt our televisions, newspapers, or internet-browsing computer monitors. The Holy Father toddled through his stomping-grounds to show that he is Christ's Vicar -- the 265th since St. Peter himself -- and come hell or high water, he will come to bless, to serve, to love, and to spread the Gospel. How about us?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

HILAIRE BELLOC, historian (First honors, Oxford), author, and friend of G. K. Chesterton, is known but not widely read today. This is too bad.

So true, Athos.