The 'War of Liberation': An Unmitigated Catholic Defeat

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"This,
also, is one of the steps that leads to Americanism."

~
Ernst Jünger, on seeing the effects of civilian bombing in
Cologne in 1942 – Strahlungen
(Heliopolis,
1949, p. 155)

"We
have sustained an unmitigated defeat." This statement, made
by Winston Churchill with reference to the effects on Britain of
the Munich Conference of 1938, applies equally well to the situation
of Catholics with respect to the current conflict in Iraq. For we,
too, have sustained an unmitigated defeat through the application
of the principles responsible for this "war of liberation,"
the full consequences of which the very near future will reveal
to us. To make matters worse, this unmitigated defeat was a thoroughly
predictable one, whose evils might have been attenuated if eyes
had only remained opened and ears had heard what was clearly being
stated by the proponents of conflict over the course of the last
decade.

How
does the fallout from the latest of the modern world's innumerable
"wars of liberation" make itself felt? One would be better
advised to ask the question how it does not show its effects.
With the most recent carnage of Catholic Christendom lying all around
us, let me limit myself here to a ten-point Syllabus of Collateral
Damage. This, admittedly, will need further elaboration to put
the full horror of the present debacle into proper focus. I have
no doubt that occasions for doing so will offer themselves unceasingly
in the years to come. Nevertheless, an initially rather spartan
statement of the perimeters of the problem serves a useful purpose
as an introduction to a nightmare which is really just beginning.

Syllabus
of Catholic Collateral Damage

  1. Subjection
    to a Global Insistence Upon American Pluralism
    . American
    Pluralism is a pseudo-religion, disguised as a practical plan
    for stability and prosperity, which divides the world into
    the good (those who accept it) and the bad (those who do not).
    All actions of the good are virtuous; all those of the bad
    are wicked. In the past, American Pluralists were generally
    happy to protect the good by isolating the United States from
    the rest of the world. Now they overwhelmingly believe that
    the good can only be defended by transforming all the peoples
    of the globe into virtuous American Pluralists. The central
    doctrine of this pseudo-religion is "tolerance."
    It has no room for a real religion, like Catholicism,
    which is "divisive," will not "integrate itself"
    with all others in a universal creed of tolerance, and insists
    upon a substantive, transforming impact on political and social
    questions forbidden it by Pluralism;

  2. Subjection
    to a Life that is a Living Death
    . Catholicism is open
    to all things natural, seeks to utilize the goods of the world
    to the greater glory of God, and gives life to individuals
    more abundantly than any of the ancients would ever have believed
    to be possible. American Pluralism offers a living death.
    It builds a Regime that despises theology, philosophy, history,
    and the great variety of serious, distinctive cultures that
    have been built up from a common commitment to the service
    of God. It sees these as disruptive of the only two "goods"
    that desicated pluralist culture is permitted to seek: marketing
    and consumption opportunities. It allows no scope for the
    development of the human mind and the human spirit beyond
    their application to a technological achievement used for
    dulling intellectual and spiritual perception. It breaks down,
    trivializes, stupefies, psychoanalyses, and, if need be, eliminates
    entirely anything that yearns for the elevation of the individual
    and all of nature ad maiorem Dei gloriam, exchanging
    it for a mess of pottage that it calls a banquet;

  3. Subjection
    to the Triumph of the Will
    . Catholicism has been both
    history's greatest defender of human reason as well as one
    of its most severe critics of man's errors and unacceptable
    passions. It cannot accept that anti-rational Triumph of the
    Will which the modern proponents of the liberation of the
    "natural man" have espoused, from Rousseau to the
    National Socialists to supporters of abortion to capitalist
    imperialists. The American Pluralist Regime claims to have
    opposed the Triumph of the Will by combating Hitler, and it
    has used its role in the Second World War as proof positive
    that it can never be accused of any irrational, arbitrary
    Nazi-like actions of its own. And yet it is now, with its
    program for "making the world safe for Americans,"
    more openly promoting, defending, and disdainfully laughing
    away criticisms of this violently anti-Catholic principle
    than any other force since 1945;

  4. Subjection
    to Persecution Disguised as Freedom.
    Orthodox Catholicism
    is what it says it is, and fails only in so far as
    people do not live up to its message. We are now witnessing
    the complete victory of a message that has never been
    what it says that it is, and becomes even more of a lie when
    people do live up to its potential for evil. The definitions
    of freedom, democracy, popular liberation, and peace promoted
    by the American Pluralist Regime emerged out of a long history
    of anti-Catholicism and irrationalism. They ensure that the
    strongest "free" wills and passions dominate, forcing
    "the people" to express its joy at submission to
    them. Failure to indicate happiness over such a liberation
    is seen as a sign that the people has not yet had its consciousness
    raised to the perception of the difference of good and evil
    demanded by the strong, and is therefore not yet ready for
    democracy. These are not failures to live up to American
    Pluralist conceptions. This is what the American Regime, one
    of several socio-political by-products of revolutionary Enlightenment
    concepts, inevitably encourages. Its previous record of
    seeming cooperation with solid Catholic moral principles was
    nothing but an accidental, historical footnote, the product
    of the continuing influence of ideas, habits, and a "common
    sense" that the beliefs of the Regime were unceasingly
    working to break down. Unfortunately, many people who are
    used to the Regime's temporary appropriation and distortion
    of the Christian concept of concern for the dignity of the
    human person have been propagandized into arguing that just
    such a noble motive lies behind its current revel with Machtpolitik.
    They are doomed to disillusionment or self-deception.
    Yes, on the one hand, Regime spokesmen do continue to express
    shock over the failure of the critic to appreciate the "freedom"
    and the "peace that surpasseth all understanding"
    which they claim that they are bringing to suffering lands.
    On the other, when this claim is challenged on the philosophical
    level, they mockingly retreat to an anti-intellectual admission
    that they are actually "pragmatists" seeking the
    practical satisfaction of every man's "real" desires.
    Like true cynics, they then point to the gradual, willing
    acceptance by other former opponents of the Regime of all
    of its many supposed blessings. But what they are truly calling
    attention to is the tragic failure of long-suffering individuals
    and peoples to resist the systematic and incessant freedom
    to market sin that these seducers have insisted upon as their
    natural birthright. It is this "saying yes to Original
    Sin" that is seized upon as proof of the "natural
    longings" of mankind which the Pluralist Regime does
    nothing but charitably – and profitably – fulfill.
    Some of the Regime's proponents have now abandoned all moral
    pretensions entirely. They openly assert that the strength
    of America gives it the right to prohibit all those
    who are weaker from defending themselves, and then brazenly
    march that principle into battle to make the world safe for
    seduction;

  5. The
    Full Revelation of Catholic Division and Impotence.
    The
    supposed Great Renewal of the last half century has, in reality,
    been the period of the swiftest collapse of Catholicism in
    history. This is not a surprise to critics of American Pluralism,
    since the Church, through this false renewal, did nothing
    more than adopt a version of the Regime's vision as her guide.
    She thus suffered all the inevitable consequences of manipulation
    by "free" men of passion and will, the uncovering
    of some of whose crimes in the immediate past have
    weakened her ability to speak the truth with any psychological
    credibility among the masses of the Catholic population. Recently,
    the Church has shown some desire to reiterate her understanding
    of what constitutes a just as opposed to an unjust war, and
    this in order to try to block the perpetration of other
    criminally willful actions. Nevertheless, she has merely demonstrated
    once again the confused witness to the Apostolic Tradition
    generated by her "renewed" Faith. Instead of providing
    a forthright condemnation of a blatant case of aggression
    unleashed by application of the principle of the Triumph of
    the Will, she has founded much of her opposition to the Iraqi
    War on her fears for damage to the same Universal Pluralist
    Religion promoted by the Regime. Moreover, the statements
    and eloquent silences of her pro-war priests, chaplains, and
    bishops have again exposed that division and impotence which
    is her chief contemporary hallmark;

  6. The
    Confirmation of the Existence of an Independent American Catholic
    Church
    . Domestic support for the "war of liberation"
    has confirmed the fact that many believers in this country
    prefer to be part of a national Catholic sect rather than
    members of an international Church which may have to criticize
    even the American Regime. The idea that the One True System
    and Way of Life of the only nation allowed to defend itself
    has actually come under attack by Rome is inconceivable to
    them. Apparently, Satan himself is thought to be impotent
    against the power for good of the American Pluralist Regime
    and its Constitution. All other nations and peoples are subject
    to error. The Regime, by definition, is not. A system of checks
    and balances and Pluralism is thereby shown to be much more
    sacramentally effective than grace in fighting evil, and its
    defense becomes an infallible theology of liberation. One
    wonders whether western dating should not begin with 1776
    instead of with the birth of Christ, since true salvation
    came into the world only with the benefits offered through
    the national pseudo-religion;

  7. Revelation
    of the American Catholic Preferential Option for Parochialism.

    The treasury of Catholic doctrine and Church History lie open
    for all to investigate to understand how an individual and
    a whole people can be led astray. Many American Catholics
    have demonstrated a disdain for utilizing this treasury, and
    a preference for burying its wisdom under the mass of parochial
    judgments and interests guiding the Regime. This has seduced
    them, among other things, into the American Pluralist obsession
    with the Second World War as the sole historical subject worth
    studying; in fact, into its treatment of that conflict as
    a pressing current event. Our Regime requires such rapt attention
    both to stigmatize all of its opponents as sympathizers with
    those Nazis whom the freedom loving Pluralist system (along
    with the freedom loving Stalinist one) battled, as well as
    to keep people's attention away from living threats which
    are real and imminent. While Catholic friends of the Regime
    speak of a desperate need to heed the lessons of Mein Kampf
    and fight the crucial fight against dead Hitlerians, the entire
    neo-conservative plan for rearranging the world for the benefit
    of power-obsessed Israeli statesmen, oil tycoons, and American
    imperialists backed by Protestant Millenarianists is neglected.
    Mein Kampf is, after all, a big book and takes a long
    time to read. It allows no leisure for secondary, contemporary,
    life and death issues. Presumably there will be a chance to
    fight the battle for the survival of the Catholic Church and
    the real achievements of western culture later, once both
    lie prostrate, with the Regime as the sole guide to determining
    what it is that both of them mean. Or, perhaps that war can
    be delayed until a day of orthodox Catholic triumph, when
    everyone can finally shake his head in safety and disbelief,
    self-righteously wondering why enough good men did not stand
    up for truth at a time when it was difficult to do so;

  8. American
    Catholic Preference for Anti-Catholic Leadership
    . But
    why should the Regime and its Pluralist vision not be the
    sole Catholic guides? Many American Catholics have shown that
    they prefer anti-Catholics as the accepted spokesmen
    for Catholic doctrine and tradition. After all, if the Regime
    infallibly and more effectively fights evil than anything
    professedly Catholic, God is on its side, and its leaders
    its trustworthy servants. Apparently there is no need to feel
    humiliated by the disdain shown by American Pluralists for
    Catholicism if one thinks that that Regime and its proponents
    better represent it in the first place;

  9. The
    Use of Catholic Corruption to Attack the Healthy Church
    .
    Catholics who believe everything that the national religion
    of Pluralism teaches have shown a shameful willingness to
    call up the failings of the Church to defend their support
    for an anti-Catholic war. The admitted failures of the false
    Renewal are used to justify blind obedience to Machtpolitik
    Pluralism, just as an English Catholic might have used the
    corruption of Pope Clement VII to bless the actions of Henry
    VIII, a "traditionalist" in practically all ways
    save one. One rotted fruit of erroneous modern ideas is thus
    loudly lamented to direct attention away from the stench of
    another being sneaked through the back door. It is becoming
    ever more tragically clear that Catholics will be among the
    chief propagandists for the Regime's worldwide exaltation
    of the Triumph of the Will, and the prison of serious peoples
    constructed by its victory;

  10. The
    Shaming of the Concept of the Crusade. The Church never
    justified Crusading by claiming the preventive right to attack
    and convert an opponent. She argued that she was defending
    Christian lands from an enemy assault. Crusades have, however,
    been misused by men and groups for their own purposes, God's
    name being called upon to cover their clearly self-interested
    goals. In 1911, Italian Catholics eager to find ways of fitting
    into a Kingdom dominated by Liberals harassed by neo-pagan
    Nationalists succumbed to the temptation to think of a colonial
    war versus the Ottoman Empire in Libya as a "Crusade"
    against the Moslems. Many German and French bishops, despite
    the position of the pope, described the First World War as
    an "obviously" just Crusade against erring criminals
    concerning which no upstanding Catholic could entertain any
    doubts. All were wrong. These sins of her children have rebounded,
    indirectly, to the shame of the innocent Church. And now many
    American Catholics have fallen prey to this same self-serving
    temptation, treating the current revolutionary "war of
    liberation" as a Crusade. They are trying to baptize
    a conflict for a pluralist Regime that would have horrified
    both a militant St. Louis IX and a missionary St. Francis.

Unfortunately,
people generally consider "winning" to be a sufficient
argument in favor of the justice of a given cause. Most postwar
westerners accepted the justice of the victory of the United States
and the Soviet Union against Nazi Germany simply because these "freedom-loving"
allies had won. American Pluralism has defeated Marxism-Leninism,
and this convinces the masses of the population of its superiority
more than any of its ideas or lack thereof. Victory in Iraq will
be overwhelmingly construed, at least in the Homeland, as the conquest
of evil by good.

But
the Regime is not good. It is the opposite of God: it is not
what it says it is. Its special horror lies in the fact that it
provides part of what it offers, like sin, under the guise
of good, and for our ultimate destruction. It does not even have
the "fail safe" mechanism of the Soviet system, which
was so root and branch flawed that it almost immediately broke down
everything that it touched. The Pluralist beast seems to
deliver what it claims, but it does so like a thick but artificial
drink, yielding its fluid in abundance until one reaches the bottom
of the glass, when the satisfying liquid comes suddenly to an end,
and we pay the inevitable price of having been badly nourished by
something causing us long term harm.

Earthly
victory ought not to impress a Catholic. We follow a religion which
draws permanent supernatural victory from transitory, natural defeat.
Recognition of the hard realities stemming from adverse historical
conditions has frequently been the springboard for long term Catholic
revival. It causes us to see the depth of the trouble into which
we have been plunged and to react against it. Hard realities are
now visible to all except the ideologically blinded. We have indeed
sustained an unmitigated earthly defeat. It is only the logic of
Faith, Hope, and Charity that will give us the key to escape from
the Prison of Peoples in which the Regime has incarcerated us. The
real renewal will emerge from the war for liberation that they alone
can unleash.

April
11, 2003

John C. Rao [send him mail],
D.Phil., Oxford University, is an Associate Professor of History
at St. John's University, and Director of the Roman Forum and the
Dietrich von Hildebrand Institute.


     

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