Friday, April 10, 2009

Shea & Zmirak on living in exile

Read it here.

Part of Shea:

I don't know how many times I'm going to have to say that I think both parties in our country are, in various ways, deadly to the Church before people believe it and stop making the dumb accusation that I think Bush worse than Obama or the GOP worse than the Dems. Chesterton remarks that "Men do not differ much about what things they will call evils. They differ enormously about what evils they will call excusable."

Anybody with any sense at all knows that I am mortally opposed to the Democrat dogmatic enthusiasm for the sacrament of abortion and their (apparently incurable, though miracles can happen) lust to sacrifice the weakest to money, sex, and power. So it goes without saying that I am implacably opposed to Obama and the Dems current campaign to advance this goal and crush the consciences of those who would oppose them. I've said this repeatedly, as I've said that Obama is behaving like an enemy of the Church. When you support legislation that would effectively destroy the Catholic hospital system, that's called "being an enemy of the Church."

At the same time, in my ongoing quest to urge peopl not to be insane, I have also pointed out that opponents of Obama would acquit themselves much better if they kept their heads and stopped making ludicrous comparisons of the guy to Hitler or some sort of devil worshipper. He is a man. A politician. He has virtues and faults. It is not the case that you will persuade normal people that some of his policies are very bad by screaming that he is evil incarnate, or by insisting that he is completely indistinguishable from a foaming madman filled with a racist, militaristic ideology bent on world conquest, enslavement of inferior peoples, genocide, and the establishment of a thousand year Reich in which every citizen is subject to his absolute and unquestioned will. If you talk this way, people will look at their watch, clear their throats, and say, "I think this is my stop." They will be sure to find a different seat the next time they get on the bus with you.

How do I know this? Because Lefties tried the same thing with Bush. Barking madness it was with them, and barking madness it is with anti-Obama wingnuts.

Part of Zmirak:

As Catholics and Americans, it's clear from recent events that we have just embarked upon a long and dangerous Lent. It's a secular Lent, with no resurrection promised, with tempting spirits aplenty, and no guarantee we will refuse their bread transformed from stones, their angels to cushion our fall, their kingdoms on offer for kneeling before the world. The hungrier we become, the more reckless we will get, more likely to worship would-be "saviors."

The liturgical season itself drags on long enough, and if you take it seriously it can seem to last forever. But it has a definite ending, set down in black and white -- the black vestments of Good Friday, the white dawn of Easter lilies and candles. As hard as we try to recapture the grief of the apostles and Our Lady on Good Friday, to join ourselves to Jesus as He cries, "My God, my God, why have You abandoned Me?," there's always a cushion in the back of our minds: We know the story's ending. As we watch with Christ an hour this Thursday, or meditate upon His seven last words on Friday, at the very lowest point in this bleakest, hostless liturgy. . . we can't quite forget that "death is swallowed up in victory." We have that advantage over the apostles.

Not so in worldly affairs. Societies, even Christian societies, really have collapsed. Catholic missions to pagan empires that came achingly close to mass success -- in Japan, in China -- have failed thanks to human mistakes, to hubris or corruption, and ended in massacres. More tragic than those who died horribly as martyrs are those who succumbed to fear, who traded (as most of us would) the integrity of faith for a few more years of "quantity time.” Catholic nations have lost the Faith, as the English did, under slow, relentless pressure from their governments. Still others have weathered persecution nobly, then greeted the dawn of freedom with a yawn. The faith that sustained my Irish ancestors through the Famine in time of feast seems childish, a bogeyman of the past that adds local color -- like the leprechauns.

As Americans we like to think that we're exceptional, that our nation is some unique, divine experiment, immune to the laws of history. (We're not the first nation to think so, and we're unlikely to be the last.) The events of the past eight years have disproved this charming theory. It turns out we really can't impose modernity and liberalism on a civilization of a billion through either force or farce; neither the Pentagon nor Hollywood seem likely to turn the Dar al-Islam into one more interchangeable piece of a globalized, peaceful McWorld. Nor can we live in prosperity forever without making anything -- trading for cheap imports our cleverness at finagling finances. One needn't think all lending at interest sinful, nor even reject the market economy, to see that the hucksterism that passed for investment wizardry on Wall Street amounted at last to usury. Nor can we count on the order and stability of a society that has undermined its very building block -- the family -- through sexual revolution, incessant contraception, and easy divorce. Anarchy begins at home.

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