28 March 2010


Bless you, Bottom of Christianity, you have been translated now - to nothing.

H.G. Wells, The Conquest of Time

Considering the assaults currently being leveled against Pope Benedict in regard to the German clerical sexual abuse matter, it would be worth reading a recent essay by Elizabeth Lev (posted March 21). She evaluates the rabid and murderous anti-clericalism during the Reign of Terror around the time of the French Revolution, warning of potential recurrence in the modern era. This excellent article very much ties in with the current political situation in America, i.e. messianism, radicalism, socialism, Alinskyism, nihilsm, relativism.

[TH2 analysis in bolded square brackets]

In 1790, most of the world was congratulating France for what seemed like a successfully completed revolution.[in 2009 the world congratulated America for voting in its first black president] The hated King [the hated George W. Bush] had been brought to heel, and change [Obama slogan] had swept through an oppressed nation [so said the Vulgar Left, MSM etc.], offering hope [another Obama slogan] for a brighter future [recall Obama logo with "O" situated on distant horizon] under better [or bigger] government.

Newspapers, then coming into their own, proclaimed the dawn of a new era of peace and prosperity while proto-pundits [e.g. Chris Matthews] compared the change of rule to England's Glorious Revolution of 1688.["I had this thrill up my leg"]

One observer [or conservatives] however, English statesman Edmund Burke, wasn't fooled by the triumphant images [Greek columns at DNC speech, faked halo illuminating photographs] produced by revolutionary PR teams [George Soros affiliated groups, MSM, leftist academics, Oprah and a wide assortment of celebrity tools]; he saw gathering clouds for the darkest storm yet. His first clue that the Revolution had yet to run its course? The sustained hostile attacks on the Catholic clergy.

After the National Assembly diminished the authority of Louis XVI in 1789 [after Obama was elected and commenced dissolving the free market, spitting on the US Constitution, killing the pre-born, etc.], anti-monarchical literature dwindled [jokes about the president by brown nosing late-night talk show hosts and commentators nearly became non-existent], but fierce accusations against Catholic clergy for misdeeds past and present increased [e.g. spewed by Bill Maher, Jon Stewart, Christopher Hitchens]. Isolated cases of clerical immorality were magnified to make depravity appear endemic to the entire priesthood (ironically, in an age where sexual libertinism was running rampant) [as in MTV, Playboy, normalization of pornography on TV and internet] The French propagandists [New York Times reporters] labored night and day, dredging the past for old scandals whether decades or even centuries distant.

In his Reflections on the Revolution in France, published in 1790, Burke, a Protestant, asked the French, "From the general style of late publications of all sorts, one would be led to believe that your clergy in France were a sort of monsters, a horrible composition of superstition, ignorance, sloth, fraud, avarice and tyranny. But is this true?" What would Edmund Burke make of the headlines of the past few weeks, as stories of a clerical sex abuser in Germany a quarter century ago, made front page headlines and top TV stories in US news? What would he think of the insistent attempts to tie this sex abuser to the Roman pontiff himself through the most tenuous of links? In 1790, Burke answered his own question with these words: "It is not with much credulity I listen to any when they speak evil of those whom they are going to plunder. I rather suspect that vices are feigned or exaggerated when profit is looked for in their punishment." As he wrote these words, the French revolutionaries were readying for the mass confiscation of Church lands. [This is happening right now - yes, by enemies outside the Church, but also heretics and apostates from within. Case in point: Sr. Keehan Carol, president of the CHA, just effectively relinquished Catholic hospitals to the subservience of the radical pro-abortion Obama administration]

As the present sales of church property to pay settlements swell the coffers of contingent-fee lawyers and real estate speculators, one has to credit Burke for a profound and historical sense of human nature. [Burke's Reflections is a must read so as to better understand the current crisis in civilization]

The salacious reporting on clerical sex abuse (as if it were limited to only Roman Catholic clergy) has been given a prominence greater than the massacres of Christians happening right now in India and Iraq. Moreover, the term "clerical sex abuse" is often misleadingly equated with "pedophilia" to whip up even more public outrage. It doesn't take the political acumen of an Edmund Burke to wonder why the Catholic Church has been singled out for this treatment. [Consistent and malicious attacks against the Catholic Church indirectly validates its singularity, that it is possessed by the Truth. Why even bother in a war against the Church if it is an "irrelevant" institution in the modern era? Enemies of Catholicism always miss this point.]

While no one denies the wrongdoing and the harm caused by a small minority of priests, their misconduct has been used to undermine the reputations of the overwhelming majority of clergy who live holy quiet lives in their parishes, tending to their flocks. These good men have been smeared with the same poisonous ink.[well said, Elizabeth, cannot be emphasized enough]

The brutal reality is that there are an estimated 39 million victims of childhood sexual abuse in the United States today. Of these, between 40 and 60 percent were abused by a family member (for the most part uncles, cousins, stepfathers and live-in boyfriends). Carol Shakeshaft and Audrey Cohan have produced a study showing that 5 percent were molested by school teachers, while the New York Times published a survey showing that fewer than 2% of the offenders were Catholic priests. But to read the papers, it would seem that Catholic clergy hold a monopoly in child molestation. [we could use a whole bunch more of Bill Donohue's on this front]

Burke's explanation for the furious anti-clericalism of yore could have been written today: The denigration of the clergy was "to teach them [the people] to persecute their own pastors....by raising a disgust and horror of the clergy." If Burke were alive today, he would perhaps discern another motive behind the selective assaults on Catholic clergy, besides designs on Church property: namely to destroy the credibility of a powerful moral voice in public debate. The most recent example concerns the heated battle over the health care reform bill. The vocal opposition of the United States Bishops' conference (particularly in regard to tax-payer -funded abortion) has proved especially annoying to the proponents of the legislation. As the final vote approaches, the clerical sex abuse drumbeat has risen to a frenzy.

The record number of participants in January's Pro-Life March; Bishop Tobin's rebuke to Rep. Patrick Kennedy for his pro-abortion positions; and the success of the marriage movement in the United States, indicate that the voice of the bishops is indeed resonating with people.[This is the only point by Lev to which TH2 disagrees. With the exception of a few, the US bishops - by their inaction, political correctness, endorsement of "social justice", bureaucracy, etc. - coalescing into an effective apostasy, have only exacerbated the crisis, which really started 40+ years ago] To silence the moral voice of the Church, the preferred option has been to discredit its ministers.[TH2 would also add the discrediting of faithful Catholics in the public square. Moreover, the enforced silencing has more often than not come from inside the Church by whatever machination, directly from liberal priests/nuns or indirectly from busybody-babybooming parishioners and their petty parish fiefdoms.]

Within three years of Burke's Reflections, his dire predictions proved accurate [heed this Catholic peoples!]. The Reign of Terror descended in 1793, bringing hundreds of priests to the guillotine, and forcing the rest to swear oaths of loyalty to the State over the Church. To Burke it was clear that the anti clerical campaign of 1790 was "only to be temporary and preparatory to the utter abolition.... of the Christian religion," by " bringing its ministers into universal contempt." One hopes Americans will have the good sense to change course long before we reach that point.[TH2 hopes the same, but trends indicated otherwise. A rough road lies ahead for the American people. All evidence shows that most bishops will act upon nothing, due either to their secret apostasies or simply by being devoid of testicular fortitude. Faithful religious and laity will have to take up the slack.]



Al said...

For the most part this is an excellent analysis. I agree with your point on the voice of the Bishops. Arround here you would swear our Archbishop lost his voice.

&, as you rightly point out, the attack is from within as much as from without to attack & discredit the "faithful" Bishops.

1 huge difference between then & now though is that many of our Bishops (US & I am sure you will agree Canadian) have already sworn oaths of loyalty to the State over the Church.

TH2 said...

Canadian bishop submitted to the State in 1968, with their Winnipeg Statement issuance.

Old Bob said...

Excellent analysis, TH2, and thank you! The mistakes of history are repeated by those who will not learn from the past. "There are none so blind as those who will not see."

I grew up in the 40s and 50s (graduated grade school 1958) and know from watching that the Church 50 years ago - in general - was better than what we have now.

Larry Denninger said...

Nice fisk, TH2.

It's exciting to be Catholic, isn't it?

TH2 said...

Bob: Growing up in the 50s and 60s, you have a wider perspective of what has happened to the Church than myself. Thus it must be that much more disheartening for you.

Larry: Thanks. Indeed, it is very exciting. It's so much fun when Catholicism is constantly berated, vilified, attacked. But, of course, Our Lord said this would happen: "I have chosen you out of the world. Therefore the world hates you."

Al said...

The Winnipeg Statement, just what was thinking of.

Then let us not forget that the huge majority of "Catholic" colleges, led by Fr. Theodore Hesburgh, CSC who was president of Notre Dame at the time, did the same thing with the Land O' Lakes Statement in '67. & we saw the fruit of that at Notre Dame last year. As well as in how the Bishops fought the implimentation of Ex Corde Ecclesia.

Al said...

& it keeps getting worse. Just read at LifeSiteNews that Hesburgh is still at it. They reported that Pelosi called in Hesburgh to persuade U.S. Rep. Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.) to vote for the health care bill despite the vast expansion of abortion funding embedded in it.

Do these people NOT realize that just like the French Revolution ended up destroying those who signed on to it, that this will do the same to them? (Purely rhetorical as I honestly think they either don't or don't think it will happen to them.)

TH2 said...

Al: You are correct to be rhetorical - they have absolutely no idea.

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