Friday, September 25, 2015


The Split between “Conservative” and “Liberal” Is a Hidden Atheism: the Manifestation of an Anthropocentric Immanentism: The exaltation of the unencumbered Self.

Pope Francis to Congress: 9-24-15
“All of us are quite aware of, and deeply worried by, the disturbing social and political situation of the world today. Our world is increasingly a place of violent conflict, hatred and brutal atrocities, committed even in the name of God and of religion. We know that no religion is immune from forms of individual delusion or ideological extremism. This means that we must be especially attentive to every type of fundamentalism, whether religious or of any other kind. A delicate balance is required to combat violence perpetrated in the name of a religion, an ideology or an economic system, while also safeguarding religious freedom, intellectual freedom and individual freedoms. But there is another temptation which we must especially guard against: the simplistic reductionism which sees only good or evil; or, if you will, the righteous and sinners. The contemporary world, with its open wounds which affect so many of our brothers and sisters, demands that we confront every form of polarization which would divide it into these two camps. We know that in the attempt to be freed of the enemy without, we can be tempted to feed the enemy within. To imitate the hatred and violence of tyrants and murderers is the best way to take their place. That is something which you, as a people, reject.”
Now consider his remarks “The Joy of the Gospel” on spiritual worldliness in the Church:
The Joy of the Gospel: #93- 94:  No to spiritual worldliness:

The Meaning of Spiritual Worldiness[1]

93. Spiritual worldliness, which hides behind the appearance of piety and even love for the Church, consists in seeking not the Lord’s glory but human glory and personal well-being. It is what the Lord reprimanded the Pharisees for: “How can you believe, who receive glory from one another and do not seek the glory that comes from the only God?” (Jn 5:44). It is a subtle way of seeking one’s “own interests, not those of Jesus Christ” (Phil 2:21). It takes on many forms, depending on the kinds of persons and groups into which it seeps. Since it is based on carefully cultivated appearances, it is not always linked to outward sin; from without, everything appears as it should be. But if it were to seep into the Church, “it would be infinitely more disastrous than any other worldliness which is simply moral”.[71]

  This “worldliness” emerges as “conservative” and “liberal.”

The Meaning of “Worldliness
“94. This worldliness can be fuelled in two deeply interrelated ways. One ["liberalism"] is the attraction of gnosticism, a purely subjective faith whose only interest is a certain experience or a set of ideas and bits of information which are meant to console and enlighten, but which ultimately keep one imprisoned in his or her own thoughts and feelings. The other ["conservatism"] is the self-absorbed promethean neopelagianism of those who ultimately trust only in their own powers and feel superior to others because they observe certain rules or remain intransigently faithful to a particular Catholic style from the past. A supposed soundness of doctrine or discipline leads instead to a narcissistic and authoritarian elitism, whereby instead of evangelizing, one analyzes and classifies others, and instead of opening the door to grace, one exhausts his or her energies in inspecting and verifying. In neither case is one really concerned about Jesus Christ or others. These are manifestations of an anthropocentric immanentism. It is impossible to think that a genuine evangelizing thrust could emerge from these adulterated forms of Christianity.”

 Charles Taylor on Modernity as the secularization of Western culture and the widespread disbelief in God "have arisem in close symbiosis with this belief in a moral order of rights-bearing individuals who are destined (by God or Natuare) to act for mututal benefit. Such an order thus rejects the earlier honor ethic which exalted  the warrior, just as the new order also tends to occlude any transacendent horizon... This  understanding of order has profoundly shaped  th e modern West's dominant forms of social imaginary: the market economy,  thepublic sphere,  the soverein 'people.'

   This, in bare outline, is my account of secularization, onein which Ithink Illich basically concurs. But he describes it as the corrup ting of Christianity. To illustrate he draws, again and again, on the familliar par able of the Good Samarityan, Jedsdus

 stpru about an outsider whohelps a wounded jew . For Illich this story represents  the possibility of mutual belonging be tw een two strangers. Jesus pointstoanew kind of fi ttingness, belonging together ina porpori tonalit ywhich comes f rom God, which isthat of agape, and  which became possible because Godbecame flesh. T heenfleshmen tofGod ex tends outward,  throughsuch new links as the Samaritan makes with the Jew, into a network which we call the Church. But this is a ne twor k, not a categorical g roupoing ; t hat is, itis a skein of r ela tions which link pariocular, uniq ue, enlfleshed people to  each other,ra ther  thana groupoing of peopole  toge ther on   the g r ounds of t heir sharing somje imor tant  proper t. Corrup;t ion occurs w hen the Church begins to respond  to t he failur e and inade   q  uacy ofa motivation grounded in a sense of mu tual beloing oby erecting a osys tem. T his system incorpora tes a code or set of  rules, a swer of discipline     s  to make us in ternalize  these r ules, and a system of ra tionally constroucted organizations-private and poublic cureaucracies, univesti es, scholls - t o make sure we car ry ou t what the  rules de mand. All  these become sond nature toous. We growaccoustomed to decentring ourselves fo rm our  lived, embodied exoeruebce in order to become disciplined, rational, disengaged oisubjec ts. F romwithinth is perspective,the significance ofthe Good Samaritan story ooapopears obvious: it isa stage on the road to a universal morality ofrules.
   Modern ethics illustrates this fetishism of rules and norms, as Illich observes... Not just law but ethics is seen in terms of rules - [Kant].The spirit of the law is important, where it is so,, becausse it too expresses some general principle. For Kant the principle is that we should put regulation by reason, for humanity as rational agency, first. In contrast, as we have seen, the netwrok of agape puts first the gut-driven response to a particular person. This reponse cannot be deduced to a general rule. Because we cannot live up to this - 'Becauseof the hardness of your hearts' - we need rules. It is not that we could just abolish them, but modern liberal civilization fetishizes them. We think we have to find the right  system  of rules, of norms, and then follow them  through unfailingly. We cannot see any more the awkward way t hese ru les fit enfleshed human beings, we fail to notice the dilemmas they have to sweep under thde carpet; for instance, justice versus mercy; or justice versus a renewed relation..." 

Me: The ideal, then, is to master contingency and reduce it to a minimum. But contingency is the hallmark of the Creator, and to extirpate it, is to attempt against  Crea tion (which we have succeeded in doing)

   "By contast, contingency is an essential feature of the story of the Good Samaritan as an answer  to the question that prompted it. Who is my neighbor? The one you happen across, stumble across, who is wounded there in the road. Sheer accident also has a hand in shaping the proportionate, the appropriate response. It is telling us some thing, answering our deepest questions:  this is your neighbor. But in order to hear this, we have to escape from the monomanical perspective in which contingency can only be an adversary requiring control" C. Taylor, in the foreword to "The Rivers North of the Future" Anansi (2005). 

Me: But contingency is precisely God's free creative act where He gives esse and I give myself in response to this detail in esse. And of course control consconces us in the driver's seat at the control panel: the god of the self.

[1] Reference to Henri de Lubac and his Surnaturel

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