|Ready for revolutionary liberalism as petty politics?|
GK Chesterton told us that in the topsy turvey world, the traditionalist is revolutionary. As usual he was way before his time.
All the main political parties are falling over themselves to legislate for 'gay marriage.' An oxymoron looks like it will become "law." A public consultation has just begun. One thing can be sure about public consultation is that the public will not be consulted. It would make GK Chesterton laugh! What this is all about is which pressure group can shout the loudest, what the media says, and who has the ear of the party leaders, party ideologues (if they still exist) and party spinmeisters (they sure do exist!).
In an hedonistic, ruptured world the politicos think the answer is to deliver up yet more hedonism, more rupture. The chaos, the relativism, the anarchy, the lawlessness will not change, because the politicians are not capable of grasping the nettle and solving the problems, rather it is set to worsen.
I almost choked on my toast (co-op bran - that should win my brownie points with the "right on" crowd) this morning when I read the Sunday Telegraph. The influential media Conservative, Matthew d'Ancona (who has worked for/edited the Spectator, Telegraph and Evening Standard) quotes Chesterton in his op-ed piece calling for gay marriage! He says that GKC says that if a thing is left alone "you are leaving it to wild and violent changes." What d'Ancona spins wildly out of control is that GKC is advocating the constant protection, guard and watchfulness over institutions (like the Church) because if we are blasé then people will gradually attack it, erode it or undermine it. GKC recognised that conservatism was fatally flawed because it assumes that leaving something alone (whether it be the Church, childbirth, marriage, family etc.) will leave it adequately protected against the wild and violent changes of liberalism (lessons we should have learnt since the 60s on all counts).
GKC knew that Pope Pius X did not leave the Church alone, he actively defended it against Modernism via his Syllabus of Errors. Pope Leo XIII did not leave society alone in the face of rampant exploitation and poverty, he actively defended the Common Good via Rerum Novarum. Pope Pius XI did not leave Europe alone in the face of Communism, he actively defended it with Divini Redemptoris.
It is never enough to leave a thing alone. If we love something, we guard it, we defend it, we protect it from error and evil influence.
We would never leave our young child(ren) alone in a busy town centre and hope for the best. We would be defensively pro-active. We would stay with them or leave them in the charge of a trustworthy adult, and even when they are older we would ensure they have a mobile phone, follow certain procedures etc. etc. so as to be assured that their safety is not left to whim or chance.
We Catholics, Christians and all 'men of goodwill' must do the same with marriage. Marriage is a beautiful institution. Our Lord chose a wedding to enact His first public miracle. This was no accident. Our Lord spoke forcefully (he was no liberal!) in defence of marriage. He condemned divorce and remarriage (unless adultery was committed) in absolute terms as breaking the Commandment against adultery.
Of course society can never be perfect, what can be this side of Heaven? Men are flawed. We are concupiscent, we are infected by Original Sin. Yet it should be the duty of public servants to work within the law (and enact good laws), to make society as stable and protected (for the Common Good) as possible. People will always cheat. People will always steal. People will always lie. The job of any government is to create a society where Christian values of duty, Common Good, right v wrong, family, patriotism etc. are instilled so that people feel they 'belong' and have a set of ideals that act as the cement that holds everything together and act as a bulwark against any inclination to do bad.
That is the duty of the government, the political leaders. It is a great burden because one day that will have to answer to God for the decisions they make for society. In the sense that leaders must lead, Matthew d'Ancona is right. Even if 51% of the population were to think that cannabis should be legalised (for example), a true leader has to assemble the facts, understand the Truth, look at everything through the prism of Christianity, the Common Good and common sense; and say no: because cannabis leads to sloth, more drug use, immorality and the break up of families. Legalising cannabis undermines the message that taking harder drugs is wrong, undermines the ethic of work as a duty, as a moral obligation, as an offering to God.
It is incumbent on leaders to point out that 'gay marriage' will also undermine marriage, just as divorce has done. It will lead to even less couples choosing to marry, with all the (well documented!) damage that does to the whole of society.
Matthew d'Ancona thinks the leaders have a duty to push through "gay marriage" despite what the people may say, to choose to lead, rather than follow. He is advocating an extreme liberalism that fits neither his Conservative politics nor his presumed Catholic heritage from his Maltese father. He does not believe in Christianity. He is seen as a "Neo Con" by some and his wife, Sarah Schaefer is (was?) an adviser to David Milliband. His ideals seem to be shared by those who think the Conservatives should be seen publicly to be "gay friendly" when the public see no need for "gay marriage" and certainly no need to push through such a law in these times of austerity.
By using GK Chesterton to justify "gay marriage" - an aberration that will undermine and erode marriage and not reinvigorate or refresh it - d'Ancona can be seen as the twisted spinmeister and liberal-Neo Con ideologue that he is.
Catholics will well remember the heady post-Vatican 2 days when a 'spirit of renewal' was promised, only for them to witness altars and alter rails ripped out, churches empty, and relativism and liberalism seep into the thinking of pew Catholics, resulting in a period of terrible and awful destruction: from the paedophile scandals to the declining number of vocations. By entering into a Faustian Pact with the modern world, the Church was not protected nor renewed, it was decimated. In fact a 1 in 10 loss would have been preferable.
What d'Ancona and the Tory spinmeisters are proposing with "gay marriage" will do exactly the same to the institution of marriage, purely so that can claim the Conservative Party has changed! They are playing politics with an institution that has always been between a man and a woman, and always should be.
In Catholic terms, marriage needs a Council of Trent. A fighting Council that takes on the enemies of marriage, the defends marriage, that codifies marriage as it exists, taking away some errors that have crept in. Marriage needs to be strengthened, just as GKC said the White Horse needs to be updated by being protected, repainted, defended from (political) erosion and the (liberal) winds that would change it.
To state otherwise, to (excuse the pun) paint GK Chesterton as arguing for liberalism rather than in active defence of Tradition and its institutions, shows that Matthew d'Ancona is being as disingenuous as when David Cameron says he backs "gay marriage" because he is a conservative.
As the winds of liberalism and political spin seek to erode the institution of marriage we Catholics (and all men of goodwill) must spring to its defence as surely as the men with the whitewash defend the Uffinton White Horse from the winds that erode it.
In his epic poem, The Ballad of the White Horse, G.K. Chesterton has King Alfred of the Saxons visited by the Virgin Mary before he faces the heathen Danes in battle. The Mother of God reveals to King Alfred of Wessex the essence of Christian life, part of which is the necessity of fighting against tremendous odds.
"Out of the mouth of the Mother of God
Like a little word come I;
For I go gathering Christian men
From sunken paving and ford and fen,
To die in battle, God knows when,
By God, but I know why."
King Alfred the Great of Wessex,
The Ballad of the White Horse by GK Chesterton
Let us then "go gathering Christian men" (Saxon, Roman and Celt, as in GKC's epic poem) to fight against the odds of the political parties wanting to overturn marriage. Our Catholic leaders have shown the way. The Pope has spoken out. There can be no reason for Catholics not to spread the word and take up our Rosaries.
For every miracle Our Lord insisted that man should do the donkey work before He worked His miracle. At the wedding feast at Cana He insisted the jars be filled with water. He didn't need to. He could have just created wine in the empty vessels, just as He could have put out and filled the disciples' nets, or could have created and fed the 5000 with food He obtained out of nothing (as when the world was created ex nihilo).
Yet Our Lord insisted that the jars be filled, the nets be cast out, and the fish and loaves be distributed. So it is our duty today to go out amidst the people and positively defend marriage. If we do the hard work, the manual labour, Our Lord can perform His miracle. If the 'men of goodwill' stay at home then nothing will come of nothing, and the battle will be lost.
If King Alfred stayed at home in Winchester the Danes would have overun all of England and the Churches would have been sacked and the altars and tabernacles overturned.
Whether we see ourselves as painting the White Horse or riding out past it like King Alfred to face the heathens, let us pick up the banner of Our Lady and Our Lord. There is much to be done, let us go about it cheerfully!
Liar liar pants on fire - d'Ancona says 'gay marriage' will strengthen social fabric