Sunday, December 30, 2012

Unholy Romanish Empire

Whenever the seal of the confessional comes up in a contemporary detective story, it is always cast as somehow immoral, keeping vital information from people who think they deserve to know it, in the interests of justice. Cops especially. Or other moral agents with an ax du jour to grind: abuse-identified feminists, child-sex survivors, etc. The overarching assumption is that the State is the owner of morality and that some non-State institution --especially the despised Christian/Catholic religion--asserting a prior claim is an outrage. It certainly would have been the obvious position of a Communist regime. And as recently noted, in formerly Catholic Ireland.

In a limited government by republic, with an intact culture, the role of the State would often be to protect prior institutions, like family, religion, all sorts of other private and voluntary connections. The modern Liberal State, therapeutic, enlightened and ultimate, --imagining itself the very incarnation of The Community-- knows no such boundary. It is transcended by nothing.

Despite my criticisms of the Church, I remain concerned for its inner coherence and existence as one of the few realms left where this omnivorous State meets resistance, imperfect though that be. In America, where there was no State Church, the idea was to free the government from particular denominational doctrines and to leave the Church, in all its varied forms, free of the State's direction and of any State restraint on the free exercise of religion...in all areas of life. The Liberal State, while feigning hysterical fear of encroaching churchly theocracy, developed into a secular one, arrogating to itself not only the rule of law but the role of ultimate teacher and enforcer of morality: anti-discriminatory equality being its secularist dogma. Increasingly, the State has become the Church, replaced it, while the Church is increasingly regulated and constrained --like the family, marriage and all those formerly free associations which make up culture and which it once protected. It is no accident that Obama speaks of freedom of worship rather than freedom of religion.

Reminds me a bit of the Roman imperial strategy, where you could keep your local cult ceremonies as long as you worshipped the Emperor.

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4 comments:

Turnip Ghost said...

The Czars of Russia (after Peter I)decided that they should be kept informed if anybody confessed anti-state activity to a priest; that enough priests did so may explain why Russian Orthodoxy was held in enough contempt to help make the 1917 revolutions possible.

Advocatus Diaboli said...

uhg, dude, why can I not stop reading your blog? Why are you so good at this? How are you so brilliant? If it were possible i'd sell and leave everything behind and become your apprentice, fight club style even (maybe).

Like take this article for example; i want to print it out, get a bull-horn, find a soap-box, and stand in the middle of Boston College's campus and read it emphatically like a town-cryier over, and over, and over, and over again.

There are so many of your articles that I want to print hundreds of copies of and dump all over the hallways and classrooms and streets of Boston. I want to print out your comments about Liberal nuns and bind them into a book and wrap it up like a christmas gift and put it on my feminist-nun advisor's desk; and print out your astute observations and understanding of Roman theology and give them to my intellectually vapid, tubigen-educated theology professor who can't tell the difference between authentic Roman theology and 20th century secular philosophy; and your comments about masculinity and priesthood I'd give to another gay jesuit professor (he advises me that its not a sin to go to gay clubs where they show porn on the TV because if I am having fun then it isnt wrong, which really bothered me, and once I saw him in a picture dressed as the chiquita-banana lady - seeing a priest like this degraded and humiliated my religious feelings); and I'd dump boxes of copies of your political and historical commentary on the desk of the professor who is head of 'Catholic For Obama'.

There is literally nothing I would not give or do to see you debate my professors in an open and formal forum. video taped.

I really can't explain why your blog makes me go "FUCKING YES. THANK YOU. FINALLY, SOMEONE WHO GETS IT" every 5 minutes. Admittedly, I may be prone to 'sapiosexualism' (metaphorically speaking), but I promise I am not some weird freak. I am just quite taken with your mind and friggen brilliance. I can't get enough of it really, I even told my 'spiritual director/psycho-therapist' that your blog is kind of like an addiction. Sometimes I will go a few weeks of not reading, but then I will binge-read for hours and hours on end.

DrAndroSF said...

Dear Advocatus. I am flattered. Thank you for your appreciation of my rantings. The vehemence of your admiration gives me pause, as you will understand. I take it partly as a measure of your own sense of isolation and frustration in your liberal BC environment. Living in the Castro, I think I can sympathize. But remember to keep your head, and try to posses your soul in patience, Advocatus..or actually, in the vocative, Advocate. :) Take care of yourself!

Advocatus Diaboli said...
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