The Canadian journalist David Warren, a Catholic, recently delivered this address to the Catholic Civil Rights League in his country. In it, he discusses the state of the Catholic Church in Canada, with special reference to the Justin Trudeau government’s policy change to deny state funds for summer job programs involving religious organizations that (incidentally) oppose abortion or LGBT rights. If you run a faith-based soup kitchen, but your church is pro-life, too bad for you. David Warren talks about the militant secularization that swept almost overnight over Canada. Excerpts:
I have inserted this historical aside to suggest that while our world has outwardly changed in quite spectacular ways, in the course of the last generation or two, the changes have deep historical antecedents. For while the Protestant Reformation is no longer in vogue, the tyranny of the State has outlived it. The State appropriating the functions of the Church, is not something new.
Rather it is a theme of history, through all generations, times and places. The pagan Romans took the same attitude towards the early Christians; the Muslim conquerors of our Byzantine Christian East imposed their Shariah; and we ourselves have sometimes forced our own Catholic religion on subjects of another one, through the medium of State power. In this sense, what seems very new is rather very old.
I would not even call this a lapse of “tolerance” — an old word redefined to its opposite, like so many others in the Newspeak of today, bent to serve the purposes of “progress.” No State really cares what its people believe, so long as they keep it to themselves, and salute the State’s gods on all State occasions. The State’s gods today may be Abortion and Sodomy and Gender Metamorphosis. We might want to laugh at the idiocy of it. But they are gods, State gods, and every citizen must salute, as we see in this form-ticking exercise. Those who refuse must confront the State’s high opinion of itself.
This does not mean you can’t be a Catholic — so long as you keep it in the privacy of your own mind. It is only when you act as a Catholic, that you deliver yourself into the State’s hands.
Thus, “freedom of conscience” does not really come into this, either. The State has its religion, we have ours. So long as we remain meek and obedient, to anything we are required to sign, the Antichrist himself wouldn’t care less what we think. The trouble arises only when we fail to sign, salute, or check the right boxes. That is, from the Antichrist’s point of view, a form of defiance that requires punishment — a punishment that we have brought upon ourselves, as will be condescendingly explained.
The ancient Christian position was, “bring it on.” That’s how we made converts, even among our executioners, who saw the face of the Crucified Christ in our sufferings, and became Christian martyrs in their turn. Our liturgy is filled with saints and martyrs.
But another truth is that most apostatize under pressure, and I think this has always been so. God bestows such Grace that we could all be martyrs, but in practice we don’t want to receive it. The courage that we don’t have is not something we’re inclined to pray for — and when I say “we” I do not only mean people at the present day. The history of earthly tyranny corresponds to the human search for the path of least resistance. As Alexander Solzhnitsyn used to say, if everyone in Soviet Russia would get up one morning, resolved to speak only the truth, the Communist Party would collapse by noon. Yet through seventy-five years, that never happened.
I don’t expect it to happen today, even though the tyranny we now face is minor in comparison, and still fairly early in its development. It is growing fast, however.
Warren calls the Canadian state “Twisted Nanny.” More:
I am saying that we must accommodate reality; which requires real toughness of spirit. And we have not been doing a good job of that. If there is one thing I might hope, arising from the present controversy, it is that more faithful Catholics will realize that Twisted Nanny is not their friend.
Though I think we are right to state our grievances plainly, I do not think it will do much good. Nor, as I’ve hinted, do I seriously believe the majority of nominal Catholics in this country will rise to the banner. Polls indicate they much prefer Mammon.
This is from many causes, originating ultimately in failures within the Church herself — which was already retreating before Vatican II. The majority of Catholics now go with the flow. How, anyway, can they defend Catholic principles they were never taught? They more or less accept Twisted Nanny’s moral instruction, even when it directly violates that of their Church.
Pray for their souls, but don’t worry about them, on the practical level: for they will disappear. They have no foundations, no real opinions, and they don’t breed. The generation that follows “nominal Catholics” are not even nominal. The generation after that does not even get born. Over time, only the faithful remain.
Focus on what is within our power, which starts not with “outreach” and “dialogue” but with rebuilding our Church. For she is very weak, and we must make her strong.
Warren didn’t say “Benedict Option,” but clearly that’s what he means. Don’t be deceived: there are and will be plenty of childlike shepherds who shelter under Twisted Nanny’s capacious skirt. A Catholic reader angry over progressive Catholic griping about the Ben Op — in particular Cardinal Cupich’s — wrote this morning to me:
And a ‘consistent ethic of solidarity’? I mean, solidarity with what? The army of the enemy? What? Do they not believe in actual forces of malevolence that are actively seeking the ruination of souls? Do they believe in the immortality of the sou? Or is it all, in the end, warmed-over materialism?
How do you engage the world if the world is trying to destroy you. This nonsense needs to stop. I think it is telling that your book is being attended to by very powerful voices in the progressive camp. They presume good will on the part of their enemies, but not on the part of their actual allies … or maybe, just maybe, they know more about which side they are on than they care to actually admit.
Oh yes, they know. Catholics who actually believe in what their religion teaches (as well as other Christians whose beliefs also stand in the way of the progressive juggernaut) are, to many of these progressive Christians, the enemy. Do not expect that that sort of Catholic would have any problem, say, shaking hands and smiling with representatives of a persecuting regime, even if it means throwing Catholic resisters under the bus.
What’s almost funny is that in Canada, Caesar is Pajama Boy. Watch this:
Comedy gold, I know. But beneath that bubblegum exterior, he means business. Do Canada’s resisters? Do you?