Archive for the ‘Culture’ Category

The Death of Christian Culture…

1 Bealtaine, 2008
Author: Gary Brady
Issue: 25 – May 2008

The Death of Christian Culture…
The Death of Christian
culture & The Restoration of Christian culture
By John Senior

Your great-great grandfather cleared the earth
Your great-grandfather laboured on the earth
Your grandfather turned a profit from the earth
Then your father sold the earth to become a bureaucrat

Now you, my little man, you dont know what to do
In your little 3 room apartment – too expensive and cold in the winter
You want something to call your own
And you dream at night of having your own little piece of earth.

Your great-great grandmother, she had 14 kids
Your great grandmother had about as many
Then your grandmother had three, that was enough for her

Your mom didnt want any, you were an accident
Now you, my little lady, change partners all the time
When you screw up you save yourself by aborting
But there are mornings you awake crying
When you dream in the night of a large table surrounded by little ones.

The lyrics to this surprise hit in Canada for the Quebecois folk band Mes Aieuxand will shock many for their portrayal of the culture of death in which they live today.

Yet the fact that the song continues and ends up suggesting that we forget all about it and dance the night away is a classic example of the narcissism that is rampant amongst many of todays youth, including the Irish. The realisation that something is very wrong indeed is commonplace among the young; the increasing workload and lack of leisure time to enjoy any financial benefits, the lack of accountability of politicians elected, the housing crises and the frightening debt to which the young are expected to chain themselves to, are not completely lost on them. Yet they look around and see no answers to their plight. Does it lay with Fianna Fails shallow political philosophy which appears to be grab what you can while the going is good or perhaps Sinn Feins wrapping of a tri-colour around a failed Marxist ideology may appeal to some, but not many. The young soon grow out of believing in a Socialism which means nothing in practical reality and once married with children often leave behind even the imbibed politically-correct philosophies which always seem to be aligning ones-self with the perpetrators rather than the victims of crime.

Yet the answers are out there, hidden amongst the dusty bookshelves of our Fathers, in those books chucked in skips parked next to the latest convent being renovated to make way for more flats, in the Catholic libraries on sale for one euro to make way for the latest Hans Urs von Balthasar monstrosity. The Faheys, McNabbs, Cahills and dozens of other Irish heroes await fresh converts to the cause of the social teaching of the Church and the awakening that follows.
IHS Books continue to fight the good fight in the reprinting of two such works by someone whose name arguably deserves to be mentioned alongside such men. John Senior, was best known for his outstanding work as leader of the University of Kansas Integrated Humanities Program, which he developed and ran with two colleagues at the University. The programmes aim was to convince students that there is a truth, and that the truth is worth knowing; its controversial method was the cultivation of poetic knowledge, through real-life immersion in reading, memorisation, and discussion of the classics of Western thought, art, and literature. Its controversial outcome was hundreds of conversions to Catholicism.

However Senior is best known for two outstanding books he wrote titled The Death of Christian culture and The Restoration of Christian culture. They have been printed and reprinted on a number of occasions by different publishers, always ending up out of print due to high demand and just when the publishers think that there is no more interest, a new generation of converts to the cause mature and once again there is a thirst for these two gems.

Seniors Thomistic style of writing is enjoyable, often positing a negative view before putting forward a positive, for example on home schooling:

Although there is a certain degree of looking inward that is necessary to families at times, it seems to me that home schooling can lead to a unique danger of looking inward too much in a way that can stir up pettiness and concerns growing way out of proportion with their reality. For our family, home schooling makes it easier to look outward because were doing it as a family and helping our children begin to understand how to live out their faith in charity to others and to begin to see that the Church has the answers to what troubles people in the world. How does one look outward? Sometimes it involves allowing the book-learning to be less-than-perfect in order to spend time on other important things – community involvement, Church activities, works of charity, etc. Many of these will provide opportunities to gain that wonderful thing called Perspective. Another aspect of this is books and movies that make us think and grow – especially those that require some sorting out and making distinctions… together.

These books can in some ways be compared to a series of sermons on topics social, cultural, and political. They sound the alarm regarding the continuing extinction of the cultural patrimony of ancient Greece, Rome, medieval Europe, and the early modern period of Western civilization, owing to the pervasive bureaucratisation, mechanisation, and standardisation of the increasingly materialistic lives of those living in the first world. Moving beyond mere criticism, however, the sermons offer challenging and provocative ideas for recapturing the cultural traditions bequeathed to the West and to the world by its giants of classical and Christian history. The admirable aim of these two books is the bringing of the wisdom of Aristotle, Augustine, and Aquinas, to note just a few, into touch with the social, political and personal life of the modern citizens of Western civilisation.

In his moving introduction to the Restoration volume, Seniors son Andrew remarks:

The printing of this new edition is the cause of great delight and renewed hope that all is not yet lost. The fact that there has been so much interest in and finally a demand for it is itself a sign of the efficacious nature of this work. It is hoped that this book will provide a vision of Christian culture, and light the way for yet another generation.

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The Family & Social Engineering

1 Aibreán, 2008
Author: Rita Moore Daly
Issue: 24 – April 2008

The Family & Social Engineering
In the war against the family the struggle against the ravages of divorce demands lifetime engagement.

Addressing a gathering in Madrid calling for the protection of the traditional family, the Holy Father noted that �the happiness of the individual and of society (is) strictly connected with the health of the family�.

A family dismembered and scattered thousands of miles apart needs no reminder of the life and death issues. Linking the health of the family with the health of society, however, should be heard far and wide. Bravo Your Holiness! It should be told because too many people, including professionals and religious people, apparently unable to see beyond their own comfort zone, do not see family destruction for what it is. Add poverty and the family problems harmonise with external ones. Bring in a crudely engineered subculture and hear it all transposed into a social dirge of sorts.
Poverty, never a simple matter, of course, is not what it used to be. It is brought up to date by the crude artificial culture that fosters it. Injected into the void of unmet human needs and wants, this is the culture that has supplanted the customs and traditions of family, and the learning and affections that flow naturally from faith and family and civilised human interrelations. This is what makes poverty a new kind of killer. You�ll find it on the outskirts of civilisation. Disseminated among those least equipped to resist its downward pull, it aims at easy prey, the lonely and the isolated, those harmed by loss and deprivation and psychiatric labels. It closes around its target like an adjustable wrench to pigeon-hole him into its comprehensive agenda.

Operating under cover of helping �the disabled�, its real business is alteration of human lives. In an all-out makeover, lives are distorted in an aggregate of disabling, dumbing down, behaviour-modifying methods. Needs are fabricated to accommodate counterfeit remedies. This is the cultural extension of outcome-based education.
Conditioning for subsistence is a major objective in this stultifying culture. From the outside in and inside out, a draftee is in for degradation beyond recognition. Alcohol and the other drugs, said to �reduce defences�, expedite the meltdown in what could easily be described as the psychosocial equivalent of plastic surgery. This attack upon the family and its members is not in view of the people. It is hidden in the secret and open manipulation of our lives. It is observable only in its consequences which are then exploited as causes. A glance at a few distinguishable elements in the brutish agenda may give some sense of its impact on its unwitting victims.

The adage about clothes making the man is not lost on the architects of �social change�. Clothing is the first thing to go. Dress and demeanour in keeping with family and peer group custom is replaced with the burlesque costume of the interlopers. Identity-coded garments, grooming and accessories signalling sexual and social status mark the wearer as a pawn of the cadres of change. Clothing decorated with morbid graphics produced by lit up minds make him the unwitting poster boy for the promoters and profiteers of the �new order�. A certain earring or cryptic tattoo brands him as an outlaw.
Social activities designed to distract, to stimulate or to suppress are substituted for education, productive work, religious observance and true recreation. Family functions and activities are aggressively crowded out. Mindless group meetings, video-watching, bonding sessions, rock concerts, exhausting spectator events, overnight gatherings and parties take over. Looking and listening are all it takes. Groupies call each other �Bro� and real biological brothers and sisters are pushed aside. In the pretence of equality, however, some have freer rein than do others. The guileless give way to the crafty and the well-connected.

Despite the rhetoric of career training, jobs don�t require much in the way of skills. A few large muscle functions are all that is needed for the drudgery that is sometimes available. Jobs cannot be counted on. They come and go, and the hard won earnings go into the costly lifestyle. On again off again employment, broken down cars or no cars, costly repairs, traffic tickets and auto insurance in an amount high enough to be a down payment on a house-complications churned up by arrogance and interference- present a running mess that no human being has the capacity to untangle. A man cannot succeed but achieve enough, just enough, to make him keep trying over and over and over again. He picks away at the wreckage of his life.

The risk of incapacitation is never far away. On the job injuries (combined with false income tax bills), punishment beatings, assaults with motor vehicles, surgical injuries leaving speech or hearing disorders, dental violence, are a few of the highlights.
Habitual networking perpetuates the chaos. Its pernicious effects are continuously propagated in an interlocking jumble of music. Junk food, appetite boosting or inhibiting substances, matchmaking, seduction or loneliness. The compulsions support or trigger one another in this headshop of sensations, juvenilia and group think, and the pounding beat and the spellbinding effect of mobile phones and beeping devices holding it all together. One gets hooked on the dope and everything associated with it.

There is only the present. The past is a broken dream. Memories are destroyed. Future prospects are extinguished. There is only the present, the unmitigated reality of it and the unquenchable hunger. It grows on one, this mockery, until it no longer distracts or stimulates. It grows until only more will do. In a life devoid of human satisfactions, isolated from one�s family, one comes to depend on it for the animal gratifications and analgesics it offers. It grows on the people until the outrageous becomes the ordinary and the scandalous no longer shocks.

�Substance abuse� gets one coerced into treatment (if not into prison) as millions are each year. The treatment, with mind-numbing drugs, at the rate of over a thousand dollars a day, is almost sure to be a program of recovery based on the pseudo-religious Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). Attendance at AA meetings is required.

He has a disease, the now �client� is told, an incurable disease that makes him powerless over alcohol (or other drug). It�s in the genes, he is likely to hear. One drink could lead to another and sooner or later to disastrous consequences. If he doesn�t keep going to the meetings-for the rest of his life- he is at risk of death or insanity. And so it goes this cruel and costly culture of poverty, spawning ground of human misery. Decades long, as martyr witnesses can say, in its attack on the family, it threatens the foundations of society.

Invoking the doctrine of free will against the victims of this cultural concentration camp, while the powers that be keep silent, does nothing to protect the family or individuals. In the extreme frustration of it all, the never ending disappointment, youth slips away and family, faith and ethnic identity. Health is ruined. Lives tremble in the balance…and then one begins to see…as the family goes so goes the society.