Dare we hope?

After twenty years of lockdown (or has it been more?) we feel less connected to the world and its institutions. The institutions are less connected with each other. Many have “atomized from within.” They continue to exist, but only nominally; reduced to some links on the Internet, perhaps.

One thinks of the Catholic Church, for instance. Once a robust presence, whose tentacles extended through every department of human life, it is now contracted, like a spider under threat. One may poke it, but it will not move, except to shrink a little more. Since long before the lockdown, it had stopped catching flies. Its web is in tatters, blown about by the Zeitgeist. Perhaps it has finished making apologies for itself, and is simply resigned to extinction. (I would call the Church, “she,” were it not for her current fear of gendered pronouns.)

Gentle reader may ask: Am I speaking of the last score of years, or of the next? I’d rather not commit myself. In either case, I hope I am exaggerating.

Reading accounts in “official,” or long-established Catholic media, I am often saddened. They depict congregations that are aged, and dying. Worse, they put a “happyface” on this. A piece last week, by Edward Pentin, describing a trip to churches through the Alpine spine of Europe (here), increased my misery; for Pentin is that rare thing, an honest journalist. Likewise, here in Christendom’s former suburb of Canada, I recognize all the features of decay. What could possibly have caused it?

In particular, I am struck by how Catholics — our hierarchical guardians even more than the laity — are so obsequious, going beyond the Batflu restrictions commanded by Nanny State. We do not even try to get away with anything. That “safety is our first priority” is repeated ad nauseam, by Church authorities without the slightest remembrance that this is the opposite of the Christian teaching, from our Master on the Cross.

Contrast, if you will, the more catholic behaviour of “Evangelicals for Trump,” in Nevada. They have taken to holding big packed prayer sessions in Las Vegas casinos, so that they can pray with minimal restrictions, unlike in a church. Better yet would be to do this before a real altar. Force the state to arrest us, if they have the nerve. Fill the gaols with our penitents, until they have to release us under Batflu regulations.

Politicians in the West are terrified of offending Muslims. Yet Catholics are probably still more numerous than they. The strategy of our leaders should be to make the politicians even more terrified of offending us. Instead, they compete for who can be most compliant.

To which end — Catholic emancipation — we need not even loot stores, toss Molotovs into police cars, and firebomb courthouses, as our Left likes to do. Just be Catholic, in the old-fashioned ways.

And shriek: when our own clergy refuse to acknowledge the demonic, all around us. Who won’t even mention Hell, and like our current pope, and actually a couple before him, flirt with such nonsense as the “Dare We Hope?” heresy, which holds that if Hell is not empty, it soon will be. (This is on a level with the advertisements I remember for the Pepsi Generation.)

Indeed, a first step might be to make errant clergy afraid, very afraid, of their parishioners. For what if, very suddenly, we ceased to be the milquetoasts everyone takes us for?