The long march

There is a secret about the Devil that I propose to share with my readers. I hope it doesn’t get me into trouble.

It is an interesting secret, which emerges from the careful study of Catholic doctrine, as it has been articulated through the centuries. If we want to understand the Devil, that is the first place to look. The Church is the expert on demonic activity, having been in active competition with the infernal powers all this time. She is kept on her toes as their principal target. Until recently, she spoke with one clear voice, the words of Our Saviour, and indeed, were it not for divine assistance she would have succumbed to the satanic service, long long ago.

The Italian cardinal, Carlo Caffarra — outspoken in defence of rooted Catholic dogma, and in his demand that the Church teach the same — was unusual in his clarity. He died, as we learn, in holy desolation, appalled by what is happening in Rome; yet not without a useful reminder that the game is not up. There will always be faithful bishops and priests; the gates of Hell will not prevail against them. God will not abandon them, nor us, if we are faithful. And note: it is His Church we must defend. We’ll never be alone in that.

Which brings us to the Devil’s embarrassing secret: the flaw that must finally bring him down.

The secret is that, he can create nothing. He is utterly powerless in himself: a blank, a nullity, a zero. He can compel us to do nothing; his threats and taunts are empty. Any Christian, indeed any human being can, if he wills, have the upper hand. All it takes is to refuse the Devil’s bidding. (The harder part is to identify it.)

A crocodile can eat you, as a young Financial Times correspondent discovered the other day. (Sad story from Sri Lanka.) But a crocodile is a thing, with a body. It has fierce jaws, claws, and so forth. It can be quicker and quieter than one might expect. But it can occupy only one place at a time. The question of evil in nature is for another day and a thousand books. For the moment: all animals are good, except when they’re not. That they can be inhabited by “spirits” is, curiously enough, confirmed by Our Lord in the Gospels. But there’s only so much a demon can do when he gets at the controls of a dumb animal.

Much more can be done at the controls of a human. Which is not to say the Devil’s task is easy. He needs the man’s cooperation just to get in, and must manoeuvre carefully to avoid setting off various internal alarms. Yet as a fallen angel, he can be quite adept. Once in the driver’s seat, he can do incalculable damage. He can now do whatever a human can do; even use the human’s brain to strategize mischief. (Humans are suggestible; often we can improve on a suggestion.)

Worse, he can “network,” with other humans of demonic inclination.

Of old our ancestors created many institutions. In my own lifetime I have seen a few set up, to resist an evil or advance a good. One may see the good intentions, however naïve. The creative powers with which we were endowed, in the image of our Maker — the ability to “co-create” through art, music, poetry, and marvellous acts of charity — must be something that excites the Devil’s envy. He wants power, and finds in us a power that he lacks. How to turn it against us?

Too, he needs to disable what most interferes with his own operations: to pervert men and twist their institutions. For this reason he takes the Church far more seriously than the average Catholic. If he can somehow twist that — even mix its messages for a season — he can disorient millions.

But the same is true with lesser institutions. The Devil does not, because he cannot, found human institutions. (Only humans can do that, with God’s help.) But by tireless effort, he can take them over, and by “progressive” increments adapt them to serve the very opposite of the purposes for which they were established.

The phenomenon to which I refer is, of course, der lange Marsch durch die Institutionen (“the Long March through the Institutions”), conceived and successfully executed by the Left through the last few generations. It is a conscious effort to infiltrate and subvert organizations both public and private, then like a cancer, metastasize. The better the reputation of the institution, the better the weapon in diabolical hands, for it can play on a heritage of trust, to sucker the innocent.

So that finally we must either purge or extinguish the very institutions upon which the good for man and society once depended, and start over modestly again. For the Enemy now controls the media of news and entertainment, our schools and universities, all government departments and increasingly, the law.

Note: men who create nothing; only seek to appropriate what other men have made.