Conservative Column: The dangers, reality of modernism



If I can leave you with one thought, it’s that our political life is failing because our communities and homes are failing. America’s bedrock principle, “one nation under God,” isn’t being treated as such.

A Romanian economist insinuated that the destruction of the American economy is paralleling the destruction of the market economy in the USSR. (He couldn’t speak explicitly about the connection between America and the Soviets for safety reasons, but I have nothing to lose.)

Communism is a sick mimicry of the Catholic Church centered on modernism and ideological, political fanaticism, hinged around the idea that man can transcend himself. We see similar religious fanaticism centered on the American political state, with a similar idea about man at its core. It’s dangerous. It’s destructive. It’s wrong.

In his encyclical “Pascendi Dominici Gregis,” St. Pope Pius X writes, “(the doctrines of modernism) give bent to (the) minds, that (modernists) disdain all authority and brook no restraint; and, relying upon a false conscience, they attempt to ascribe to a love of truth that which is in reality the result of pride and obstinacy.”

Modernism is “the synthesis of all heresies.” It uses phenomena as the only bases for dogma. It prefers pride over humility, control over trust. It places confidence in sentiments, not in sound teaching, and from those sentiments generates “truth.” It says there is no structure to reality, no way to know beyond a doubt, no value to human life. It claims that science, art, beauty, work and even people are only as good as they are useful. Other people are scary, instead of made in the image and likeness of God. Modernism is dangerous, and we’ve all been raised in it.

Like Lenin’s communism, which trashed human dignity in trying to make man transcend himself, modernism makes man the ultimate measure of all things, including morals. Modernism is causing America and the rest of the world to crumble. If there is no commonality between experience or sentiment, no unity in identity of the person, then what good is it to talk about unified law? About one government for a variety of peoples? About ethics, morals, virtues, objective guidelines for life?

Our civil structure is based on the principles of subsidiarity and solidarity, which both require Christian charity in order to function. Our law was supposed to foster practices that contribute to a virtuous life as lived daily, in culture, based on the holy law of the church. But our government does not function with the respect proper to a governing body that acknowledges there even might be a God – and from that faulty premise, our political and social dysfunction flows.

Without the ultimate Good – God – one has no criteria by which to judge any passing good. Politics requires wisdom, prudence, humility and Christian charity. It is the highest form of charity, as Pope Francis said, because it seeks the common good. Without virtue, it will crumble into something like the aggressive communism of Lenin’s time. It already has.

Look at China and Russia, how Europe is falling apart. You can’t have a government for man if you don’t know what man is, and modern man has no clue who he is, or for whom he is made. Our political stability depends on the stability of our souls.

We’ve been given the truth. We know who we are, and we know where we’re going. The state doesn’t need what we have – it needs what we are (Thanks, Edith). It needs children of the living God who know their dignity and share Him with others.

I can’t take credit for these insights. I’m synthesizing for you everything that I’ve learned. America is not going anywhere good. The state is happy to “think” its way into hell. Conversion is possible! But the only way that’s going to happen is if we accept the Lord’s invitation to be saints and persevere in our own continual conversions. The question is – will we let Him? Will we live lives worthy of the call we’ve received (Ephesians 4:1)?

We will. By your example, our nation will change. America needs the lasting hope found in Christ. Be saints by doing small things with great love. And don’t be afraid.