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Thursday, January 10, 2013



The “Nothing” that James Kalb speaks of is what Benedict XVI has called the dictatorship of relativism. But that it has the strength of faith is clear when the entrails of the election exit-polling were examined. It had been axiomatic in the past that voters would vote their pocket-book over ideology and that in some measure was the cynical assurance of some conservative commentators pre-election.

If we think about that assurance just a little we can see that James Kalb’s assessment of the belief system of the Republican party per se is fairly accurate. To rely on the economic self-interest of voters to curb an ideological and moral evil is a hopeless state of affairs, and carries no vision whatsoever. It is to pit concupiscence against a moral evil that we suppose are opposed in practice.

American Catholics have lived under a fantasy for some time, that a state can be morally influenced by the Church and at the same time be neutral. It has since been demonstrated that when the state is no longer influenced by the Church that the much vaunted neutrality is a misty vapor. Yet how many people, Catholics and otherwise, react vehemently when that article of faith “the separation of Church and State” is even remotely challenged. It is almost a mental block. But for how many decades have those self-same Catholics accepted the idea that the Church should receive tax money to further the Church’s charitable works.

There are a couple of simple truths that many Catholics have overlooked. The first is the axiom that all civil laws, not only the criminal laws but contract law as well, are based on a moral code. The source of that moral code then, is critical, and as James Kalb rightly points out, the natural law and human life basis has been usurped by Will and Technology, which really means whoever has the most influence at any given time determines the moral basis of the laws.

The other simple truth is that, much as we have been led into the comfort of enculturation (misapplied in many cases), the gospel is very radical. What we have seen over the past century is not the slide from the normal social morality of human society into a new evil, so much as it is the reversion of a society from a social moral pinnacle back to that human condition that St. Paul talks of when he talks of the “world” and the things that are “of the world.”

It is glaringly apparent that the Church in America, in the aggregate, has for a time forgotten her mission of preaching the gospel, and now is being forced to face it. What a great time for the Year of Faith.

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