Two items

Two items that have come to my attention, I link, because they are exceptionally worth reading. Each says what I would say, had I the wit. Both articles are about Power, but where the first by “Spengler” in the Asia Times (here) considers the matter in a profane context, the second by Maureen Mullarkey at The Federalist (here), looks beneath.

Mrs Mullarkey is a friend, whom I much admire; an unusual writer at the edge of the “meejah” (kicked out of as many places as I have been, perhaps) who thinks for herself, and thinks thoroughly to conclusions. This (I want to compliment “Spengler,” too) is extremely rare. The overwhelming majority of hacks bounce to a beat, like pebbles on a drumhead; these writers flutter on their own wings.

Chastity is something almost impossible for that “post-modern,” vacantly atheist mind to comprehend. We think of it in explicitly sexual terms; we cannot cope with the idea of detachment, as it applies to all human activities — including all poetry, science, and art. Conversely, we imbue sex with an autonomy that became possible only with easy access to contraception and abortion — by which technological means we were able to demean sex itself, turning it from something profound in its communion, into a form of home entertainment. We cannot begin to understand the ancient ecclesial call for chastity, poverty, simplicity; for celibate priests.

As I was just writing to Mrs Mullarkey, “On certain topics, the most interesting thing is that they are boring.” Illicit sex is finally a bore, because there is nothing beautiful in it. It is of use only to the expression of Power. The feminists have a point, but as ever, get it backwards. Celibacy in the Church was a means to contain Power, both directly and indirectly. Directly it provided a means to undermine all dynastic ambitions within the Church. Indirectly, it was the shield of innocence against a broad range of depravities — parcelled with the command for poverty, for detachment from this sinful world. Sex, the Church teaches, as Nature also teaches, is for the purpose of procreation; marriage is for the purpose of children to be conceived, born, protected, raised in virtue; and for the union of the female and the male within the Body of Christ. The fornication promoted everywhere in our culture is everywhere founded in deceit.

When we consider the current vast scandal within the Church herself, we witness something that goes beyond fornication. The fact of a “gay lobby” is not something new. As the latter link notes, it was present also in the 14th century. Appalling in itself, it becomes something worse when we discover the challenge it offers to what Christ taught — right across the board.

Homosexual strutting, whether in the 21st century or in the 14th, is the most comprehensive subversion I can imagine against the whole mission of Holy Church. In defiance of the ancient world, and its punishments, she condemned it absolutely.

It is hard for the post-modern man, whose head is full of glibness, to consider this even as a possibility. He works exclusively from a principle of pleasure, and with an idea of freedom that is ruthlessly selfish: “I want what I want.” His quality of life is purely quantitative. When the possibility of pleasure is withdrawn, he wants to be dead. He’s “the end of history,” the “zero sum” man.

And yet, even if he wants to be this, he cannot. The rebellion against God, the power-lust and vanity that infiltrate his pleasures, mark him still as a spiritual being. But it is an inverted spirit that he serves. “The arrogance of power” describes it well.