Skip to comments.Cardinal Ratzinger Discovers America
Posted on 12/12/2004 8:54:32 AM PST by Land of the Irish
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John Rao, Ph.D.
REMNANT COLUMNIST, New York
Cardinal Ratzinger has discovered America. Troubled by the total secularization of European lifereflected, most recently, in the battles over European unification and the continental chorus of criticism accompanying Professor Rocco Buttigliones reiteration of the Churchs teaching on homosexualitythe cardinal now suggests that the United States may perhaps offer the better model of Church-State relations for a desacralized world. According to a November 25, 2004, report on Zenit.com, the Cardinal, responding to the secularization of Europe, made the following comments on Vatican Radio:
I think that from many points of view the American model is the better one. Europe has remained bogged down. People who did not want to belong to a state church, went to the United States and intentionally constituted a state that does not impose a church and which simply is not perceived as religiously neutral, but as a space within which religions can move and also enjoy organizational freedom without being simply relegated to the private sphere One can undoubtedly learn from the United States [and this] process by which the state makes room for religion, which is not imposed, but which, thanks to the state, lives, exists and has a public creative force. It certainly is a positive way.
This, of course, was the position of the Americanists of the 1890s, who argued that things spiritual thrived in the United States to a degree that Europeans, passive and obedient to their manipulative governments, could never match. Cardinal Ratzinger has apparently arrived at a similar judgment in typical contemporary Catholic fashion: much later than everybody else, and naively uncritical.
It seems to be the fate of the post-conciliar Church to take up the banner of erroneous causes just as their poisons are beginning to become somewhat clearer to the rest of the outside world. I hope that His Eminence has been misquoted. If not, I pray that a deeper study of the system in the United States will reveal to him just how much the so-called religious character of America is, at best, heretical, and, at worst, a spiritualized secularism emerging from errors inherent in Protestant thought.
One still hears the argument that the threat of Americanism was exaggerated at the time of Leo XIIIs encyclicals against it, and that, in any case, it disappeared shortly thereafter. Certainly many people in Rome as well as the United States wanted to make believe this was the case, using the Modernist crisis, and undoubted American loyalty to the Papacy throughout it, as proof positive of the countrys orthodoxy. But the crises warned against by St. Pius Xs pontificate precisely involve the sort of philosophical, theological, and exegetical issues that Americanism sweeps aside as a horrendous waste of time and energy. Modernisms intellectual character stood in the way of the Yankee pragmatism that simply wanted to get the job done without worrying about anything as fruitlessly divisive as unpaid thought. It was part and parcel of all that pretentious European cultural hoo-ha responsible for the Old Worlds ideologies, revolutions, wars, and bad plumbing. Americans could recite the Creed and memorize catechisms better and in larger numbers than anywhere else. Confident in their orthodoxy and the Catholic-friendly character of their political and social system, they could move on to devote themselves to the practical realities of daily life. Criticisms of what the practical life might actually mean in the long run could be disregarded as unpatriotic, communist, and useless for short or long-term fund raising.
America, with Catholic Americans in lock-step, thus marched forward to nurture what St. Cyril of Alexandria called dypsychia: a two-spirited existence. On the one hand, it loudly proclaimed outward commitment to many traditional doctrines and moral values making it look spiritually healthy. On the other, it allowed the practical life, to which it was really devoted, to be defined by whatever the strongest and most successful men considered to be most important, silencing discussion of the gross contradiction by laughing such fruitless intellectual quibbles out of the parlors of a polite, common-sense guided society. It marched this approach into Europe in 1945, ironically linking up with one strain of Modernism that itself encouraged Catholic abandonment to the direction of anti-intellectual vital energies and mystique. Vitalism and Americanism in tandem then gave us Vatican II which, concerned only with getting the practical pastoral job done, has destroyed Catholic doctrine infinitely more effectively than any mere straightforward heretic like Arius could have done. Under the less parochial sounding name of Pluralism, it is the very force which Cardinal Ratzinger is criticizing inside the European Union, and which is now spreading high-minded moral values, freedom, and democracy around the globe through the work of well-paid mercenaries and five hundred pound bombs.
If, heaven forbid, Cardinal Ratzinger honestly believes that true religion prospers under our system better than under any other, he is urging upon Catholics that spiritual and intellectual euthanasia which Americanism-Vitalism-Pluralism infallibly guarantees. The fate of many conservative Catholic enthusiasts for this false God, in their response to the war in Iraq, should be one among an endless number of warnings to him. No one is more publicly committed to orthodoxy than they are. No one praises the name and authority of the Pope more than they do. And yet never have I heard so many sophistic arguments reducing to total emptiness both profound Catholic teachings regarding the innocence of human life, as well as the value of the intellect in understanding how to apply those teachings to practical circumstances, as I have heard coming from their circles.
May God save His Eminence from adulation of a system that waves the flag of moral righteousness and then tells us that we are simply not permitted to use our faith and reason to recognize a wicked, fraudulent war for the anti-Catholic disaster that it is; an evil that a number of Catholics are some day legitimately going to have to apologize for having helped to justify. May God save His Eminence from a religiosity which will eventually line fundamentalist Catholic terrorists against the wall along with other divisive enemies of the system who cannot live or die under a regime of dypsychia.
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This forked tongued prince needs to read our Declaration of Independence. It is through this document that passage of the Constitution was made possible. Had the Constitutional Convention balked at the inclusion of the ten amendments to that document, there would not have a ratification of it by the states.
It is by and through our Creator - not the state - that American Citizens gained their freedom from state interference into their religious choices, and their ability to assemble for any other purpose.
I guess you would prefer the post-Christian European model, with churches a museum pieces and any speach condemning abortion or homosexual activity is outlawed. Frankly, I prefer the United States, where for the moment at least, the Church has legal freedom of cult, and the Church still has some orthodox vibrancy left to pass on to future generations.
Oh, I'm sure you prefer the "orthodox vibrancy" of Amchurch. You fit right in.
You're right. Apparently American yahooism is the answer.
Even that sweet little Altar boy, carrying the Cross with dignity knows those behind him lack reverence, and are quite out there.
This is the same logic that praises unwed motherhood because at least they didn't have an abortion. The key phrase is "for the moment at least". America has been slavishly adopting the European model one modernist idea at a time. Obviously, Ratzinger believes that it is the state which makes religion possible, when it is God that makes all possible as Christ said to Pilate.
I thought it was sad when women turned away from the Scriptural tenet of covering their heads. Now we have men that have also turned away by covering theirs.
No. I--and, I suspect, LOTI--prefer Christian monarchy, the last significant example of which (the Austro-Hungarian empire) was destroyed thanks in part to the United States in 1918.
Modern Europe is indeed a mess, but that is largely a result of the abolition of monarchies and rejection of traditional political and social values which began with the French Revolution and was virtually completed by World War I, though Rome's apparent surrender to the modern world at Vatican II made things worse.
Traditionalists (or, in my case, their non-Catholic sympathizers) are sometimes accused of claiming that everything was perfect before the Council. Please note that as a monarchist I am obviously aware that the world's problems did not begin in 1962. But Vatican II, with its implication that the Church to a certain extent approved of the great upheavals of the 18th and 20th centuries, did not help, to say the least. And now we see a prominent Cardinal claiming that the American system is preferable to the old European ideal of a Catholic state, a position which Leo XIII condemned.
What on earth are you talking about? I wasn't aware that Crisis had become a hotbed of monarchism, but if so, good for them!
What makes you so sure that Jesus Christ would prefer Americanism to monarchy? If so, why is He called "King of Kings"? Why did the Church for centuries bless kingship with sacramental coronation ceremonies, which have no republican equivalent? Why has the Church canonized so many kings and queens, most recently beatifying the last Emperor of Austria? How many presidents or politicians have been canonized? (I'll answer this one: zero.) Why did the Church until Vatican II clearly understand herself as a monarchy, complete with the papal tiara and coronation ceremony?
If none of these facts convince you, I would ask you to keep this Bible verse in mind: Honour all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honour the king. (1 Peter 2:17)
To see why "American yahooism" is the wrong choice, you might also familiarize yourself with the writings of the great Catholic monarchist Charles Coulombe.
Careful; nothing will enrage Catholic Americanists more than criticism of their favorite heresy. I sometimes get the idea that even some traditionalists are embarrassed by John Rao. I think he's great, even though I haven't always fully understood some of his previous articles. This one is quite clear.
Another important thread for our side, even if this great article by John Rao doesn't specifically mention monarchy.
Democratic states, with open trade, do not make war on each other.
You can't say the same about monarchies, can you?
And now we see a prominent Cardinal claiming that the American system is preferable to the old European ideal of a Catholic state, a position which Leo XIII condemned.
Even Catholic states fomented war; in fact, Catholic states were little better than their secular counterparts when it came to aggression.
I'd have no problem with the British model, where the monarch is a mere figurehead. Modern states can no longer entrust power to a single unchecked individual, Catholic or otherwise.
'Splain. There is nothing any more "sacramental" about placing a crown than taking an oath and proclaiming "so help me God."
"America, with Catholic Americans in lock-step, thus marched forward to nurture what St. Cyril of Alexandria called dypsychia: a two-spirited existence. On the one hand, it loudly proclaimed outward commitment to many traditional doctrines and moral values making it look spiritually healthy. On the other, it allowed the practical life, to which it was really devoted, to be defined by whatever the strongest and most successful men considered to be most important, silencing discussion of the gross contradiction by laughing such fruitless intellectual quibbles out of the parlors of a polite, common-sense guided society. It marched this approach into Europe in 1945, ironically linking up with one strain of Modernism that itself encouraged Catholic abandonment to the direction of anti-intellectual vital energies and mystique. Vitalism and Americanism in tandem then gave us Vatican II which, concerned only with getting the practical pastoral job done, has destroyed Catholic doctrine infinitely more effectively than any mere straightforward heretic like Arius could have done."
You are correct, royalcello. Unam gave me a choice between two evils, neither of which I choose as "models".
From "Coronations in Catholic Theology":
Whence, indeed, came the authority of Kingship itself? True it was, that in most countries, the Crown was passed along by hereditary right...But in both sets of cases, the added charism, so to speak, required something more...The anointing of holy oil...took place at the rite of coronation. While the coronation was not itself held generally to confer the Kingship, it nevertheless seemed to be necessary for the royal personage to enjoy the fullness of the graces thereof.
...it will be necessary to describe a little of the uniquely Catholic world view. In fine, it is a sacramental one. At the heart of all Catholic life is a miracle, a mystery, the Blessed Sacrament. Surrounded traditionally by ritual and awe, it has been the formative aspect of Catholic art, drama, and poetry. The coronation of Kings, swearing of oaths, marriages, celebrations of feast-days, all have a Eucharistic character."
Read both articles; they're worth it.
I would add that the existence of a monarchy, with a religious coronation ceremony marking the beginning of each sovereign's reign, allows the Church to shape the character of the State in a way that is not really possible in republics. By anointing the king or queen, the archbishop confers a type of grace upon the living icon of the nation while making it clear that king is still subordinant to God. Sadly, Europe's surviving continental monarchies have abolished their coronation ceremonies, replacing them with secular "inaugurations" similar to those of presidents. Only the (Anglican) British monarchy, ironically, retains what was originally a thoroughly Catholic ceremony. Did you know that the rite with which Queen Elizabeth II was crowned in 1953 was essentially the same service used for King Edgar in 973, almost a thousand years earlier? I find that incredibly inspiring, moving, and comforting. What can republics offer to compare to that kind of continuity?
From The Rulers of Britain: "Edgar waited to be officially crowned until he was thirty--the age when a man might be ordained a priest. The ceremony emphasized the sacred nature of kingship, and of the monarch as Christ's deputy."