Tuesday, August 29, 2023

Maybe You Didn't Screw Up

 ... maybe you just misread the environment.

I'm reading three books at the same time right now. The Day Is Now Far Spent by Cardinal Sarah, The Great Dechurching by Jim Davis and Michael Graham and America's Cultural Revolution by Christopher Rufo.

Cardinal Sarah, who is one of my spirit animals, argues that the Catholic Church has become distracted by modern concerns.

That smile is the last thing an apostate prelate sees before he is intellectually devoured.

Cardinal Sarah makes the case for the main thing to be the main thing. That is, living out the Gospel and the worship of God should be where we focus, not Global Warming Climate Change, immigration, social justice and the like. Prayer and sharing the Word of God is our business and the rest is a distraction.

Jim Davis and Michael Graham have done solid social science work examining the decline of religion in the US and, by extension, the West as a whole. They have statistically significant amounts of data and they have rigorously analyzed it. I've enjoyed the book, but I can't help but think that they're doing an after-action report on a battle where they aren't taking into account what the enemy did.

Christopher Rufo examines what the enemy did and why his forces have been overwhelming to date. He grinds through the history of the modern left, starting with that monumentally destructive dingbat, Herbert Marcuse, moving through his acolytes like Angela Davis and then going on to describe how their armies have captured academia, the entertainment industry, the media and now, through undergrads entering the workforce, HR departments, marketing teams and so forth.

In short, Rufo has the strategic picture, Davis and Graham have the casualty lists and Cardinal Sarah has the way forward.

If I could do two things, I'd first get ahold of Davis and Graham and get them to re-examine the thesis of their work in light of the overwhelming advantages of the enemy. People are in church for an hour or two a week. They're in school or at work 40 hours a week. The priest or minister can't get them fired, but their HR team can. At night, unless they're deliberately watching Christian entertainment, they're being saturated in leftist agitprop.

The second thing I would do is more local. I'd find a way to get this in front of the people who work for our diocese and rabble rouse so they went on strike until Cardinal McElroy pulled his head out of his nether regions. Dittos for the people who contribute money to the diocese. McElroy, if you didn't know, is a far-left political activist first and a Catholic second. His university, USD has a reputation for being one of the most anti-Catholic institutions in the country.

Last night, I participated in a discussion with some of the men of my parish. One of them has a daughter who is a senior at USD. She's managed to keep her faith and is in a leadership position with the college Republicans there. She helped to invite Matt Walsh, the orthodox Catholic podcaster with the Daily Wire who created the What is a Woman? movie and movement to come and speak at USD. The leftist authorities at USD, playing perfectly to type from Christopher Rufo's book, disinvited Matt, calling him "grossly offensive."

That's our Cardinal's team, boys and girls. Knifing orthodox Catholics in the back while gazing up at heaven in leftist sanctimony. Nauseating.

What Rufo understands that Davis and Graham don't quite get is that the left's complete takeover of education, specifically the education industry where new teachers and professors are trained, has inexorably led to what we're seeing in the Catholic universities.

We let a bunch of copperheads loose in our house and now we're trying to figure out why we're getting bitten all the time.



tim eisele said...

"People are in church for an hour or two a week."

It's not the amount of time that matters so much as what they choose to do with it. And what the Catholic Church has chosen to do with it is to turn it into an exercise in stultifying boredom and pointless rote repetition.

When people talk about "the Church's enemies", I think that more often than not they are making excuses for the Church's own failings. The Church is its own worst enemy, and doesn't want to admit it. If the priests mostly can't whip up any particular interest or enthusiasm in what they are doing themselves, then what makes them think that the congregation is going to have any interest or enthusiasm, either? When Lisa Simpson said that the time immediately after Church on Sunday was the best time of the week "because it was the longest possible time before more Church", people laughed because it was true.

So the Church hierarchy makes up stories about how their "enemies" are seducing people out of the Church, when in reality they are gently, but firmly, pushing people out of the Church themselves. And the longer it takes them to admit this to themselves, the more the churches are going to dwindle away.

Mostly Nothing said...

I have to say we are currently self exiled.

Last year, we moved at the end of the school year when my wife retired from teaching pre-school at a K-8 Christian school at a Lutheran Church near our old home.

That church was among the reasons for us moving. It was more about the insanity of politics and by extension safety of the twin cities. The thought of moving started with me getting a new job on the other end of the twin cities. But the disfunction of the church and how it treated the school was a part.

We are still members of our church, and watch service online more Sundays than not. We love that church, having been members for 30 years, and the fact that during that time there was little drama and a lot of stability. But we need to join a new church out here. There are 2 Lutheran churches out here. We have been to both during lent, which does not give you a good feel for the normal day in day out life of a church. Yet, all summer, we haven't made the commitment to go again to either.

And the drama of the church/school got worse, ending with the school closing in a very authoritarian way. The church having no regard for the feelings of the teachers, students, or families of the school. So much so that the Synod stepped in and told them to stop whining, the church was right.

Attendance of church plummeted from not very good to near 0. Few people believe the church will make it to Christmas.

So that is a nagging worry in the back of our minds. We come from a growing, healthy church, and are worried that that may be the exception to the rule.