Recently, the text of a debate between Greg Johnson and Jonas De Geer appeared in these pages. Here following is my commentary on the thoughts expressed by both of the parties in the debate.
I find myself agreeing with points made by both men, and also disagreeing with both on some other issues raised here in this excellent and very civil discussion.
Both parties agree that present-day Christianity is in a sorry state. There is not much to debate here, and I find myself in full agreement with this position.
Mr. De Geer points out that the decay of culture in the 20th Century was triggered by the collapse of the Roman Church instigated by the 2nd Vatican Council.
Dr. Johnson points out correctly that problems in the Church predate the Council, and while this is certainly true, the point Mr. De Geer makes is still spot-on. This is true despite the fact noted in the debate that the Scandinavian countries must have absorbed relatively little from the Roman Rite. This does not really matter all that much, since the Roman Church continued to be the flagship of Western moral behavior even after the Reformation. As I once asked of a Protestant friend (who happened to be a Methodist): Who is the head of the Methodist Church? My friend was caught flat-footed by this question; he had no idea. To be sure, he was only a nominal Methodist–but even nominal Methodists (even atheists) know who the Pope is.
The plain fact is that Protestantism, taken as a whole is essentially irrelevant–not because of the particulars of their various theologies, or because they are right or wrong, but because they are less competent theologians that their Roman professional peers. This by definition since the Roman Rite ruled the West for many centuries unchallenged and united, whereas the Reformation began to splinter soon after it started and now has hundreds of different denominations.
Reaching back in time, we can assign the troubles in Christendom to any one of a number of dates preceding the Rogue Council of 1962–1965:
The Schism of 1054
Here the Orthodox Rite has the high ground in my estimation. By avoiding the central authority of the Pope in the Western Rite, the Orthodox Church lent itself to nationalism, particularism, and ethnocentrism rather than the West’s universalism and general indifference to race and culture. The Russian Orthodox Church survived the Communist era, and remains intact and seemingly more energetic than the rapidly disintegrating Roman Church.
Many of the Protestant denominations were more political movements than actual religions.
Age of Exploration
In the settling of the Americas the Protestants took the high ground. When the Catholic countries (Spain and Portugal) settled the New World they commonly sent sailors only, leaving their wives and children back home in Europe. When these sailors arrived, they generally hauled off everything that wasn’t bolted down and sent it back to Europe.
They fornicated shamelessly with the ambient natives, creating a very large subclass of mixed race peoples, condemning most of the Republics south of the Rio Grande to poverty, perpetual revolution, violence, and chaos.
The Protestants (at least the English who did the lion’s share of settling North America) mixed very little with the Indians, killed off many of them, then put the rest on reservations. In contrast to the aforementioned Spanish and Portuguese, they often brought their families with them, indicating more honest intentions–to settle the land and make it their home rather than simply loot it.
The French Revolution
World War II
Pius XII, now falsely billed as a pro-Nazi Pope, was in fact a pro-Marxist. He took the side of the United Nations forces during the Second World War. This became very hard to justify after the USSR entered the war on the side of the Allies as shown here in this remarkable article by Vatican Observer Mary Ball Martinez:
Pope Pius XII in the Second World War
The Soviet Factor
Papal preference for the Allied side became more difficult to defend after June 1941, when this became the Soviet side. By that time Hitler’s “Fortress Europe” was overwhelmingly Catholic. Germany itself then included the predominantly Catholic regions of Austria, the Saarland, and the Sudetenland, as well as Alsace-Lorraine and Luxembourg. Moreover, the German-allied countries of Italy, Slovenia, Slovakia and Croatia were entirely Catholic, and Hungary was mainly so. France — including both the German-occupied northern zone and the Vichy-run south — cooperated with Germany. Similarly, Catholic Spain and Portugal were sympathetic.
A Catholic priest, Josef Tiso, had been elected president of the German-backed Republic of Slovakia. In France, which adopted the Axis ban on Freemasonry, crucifixes went up on all public buildings, and on French coins the old official motto of the French Revolution, “Liberty, Equality, Fraternity,” was replaced with “Work, Family, Fatherland.”
Is Paganism a viable alternative to Christianity? In the sense normally used, I doubt it. As Mr. De Geer points out: “The attempts that have been made at creating new religions or recreat[ing] old ones in certain nationalist circles have been hopelessly futile, to put it mildly.”
My view on this, much to the horror of my fellow Roman Catholics, is that the Roman Church is itself a variant of paganism. Catholics reflexively deny this as though it was some sort of a slam, but the Protestants correctly point this out about the Catholic propensity for the veneration of Mary and all the innumerable Saints. In this the Protestants are exactly correct. Not until the Reformation did we get a widely accepted monotheism in the West.
National Socialist Era
Some ceremonies during the Third Reich strongly suggested pagan rituals, such as the midnight swearing in of SS members.
The late Reichskanzler discounted full-strength paganism of the sort delivered in Rosenberg’s The Myth of the 20th Century. Just the same, it seems that had the National Socialist experiment survived the war, both the Roman Rite and the Lutheran Church and some variant of each with a retro pagan admixture would likely have experienced a revival in Europe.
Indefectibility of the Church
I believe Dr. Johnson has the high ground here. Despite the persistent citation of this catch-phrase especially by Traditional Latin-Rite Catholics, the plain facts of the real world have forced even its advocates to hem and haw over this absolute statement, whittling it down from the whole Church as it was before 1962, now reducing its application to the Trad Cats in general, or one favored branch of the Traditional movement to the exclusion of others not favored.
This type of slicing and dicing is a bit too slick to pass inspection, especially when we consider that all the Popes (or anti-Popes if you prefer) from Pius XII forward have stood 180° opposed to the general thrust of their 259 predecessors.
With 266 Popes from St. Peter to the present Pope Francis, only the last seven (or eight if you want to throw in Pius XI) have been unorthodox in both belief and practice.
Doing the math: 7÷266 = .026, or about 2½ percent of the historical Pontiffs have consistently delivered heresy during their reigns.
This time argument frames this issue correctly. The fact that in space–the world we live in today–the Pope is in the majority amongst Catholics in terms of his political bias, is interesting, but basically irrelevant in terms of getting at what is the essence of any belief system that has the right to call itself Roman Catholic. Hence the modern traditional belief, popular in some circles, that the post- Conciliar Popes are frauds, and would (or should) be declared anti-Popes by a future reactionary occupant of the Holy See–assuming that any such appears.
Is it then possible to argue that the indefectibility of the Church is preserved by the existence of a few wildcat Trad orgs around the planet, or that the turncoat SSPX, which threw out its own Bishop in Buenos Aires to curry favor with the Jews, is now the Catholic Church?
No. A church, to have a legitimate existence in any society, must inform and be backed by the culture in which it subsists. Current Western society rejects both variants of the Roman Rite and all of the Protestant denominations as well. All varieties of Christians are pariahs in today’s Western culture. The politically correct mainstream versions of any of the Christian faiths are given polite notice in the press, but the contempt is palpable.
Can the Roman Rite in particular, or Christendom in general, expect that in time it will revive and take its former place in European civilization?
The chances seem slim. Though devout Christians like to think of Christianity as a permanent faith, history teaches us that very little if anything in this world is permanent given a long enough time frame. Religions have come and gone before, and nothing on earth remains in stasis indefinitely.
Change is in fact a law of life. Everything extant is subject to it, and even where change is subtle, given sufficient time even the most gradual rate of change can produce an end result that is so far removed from the original that it is barely recognizable.
Here I disagree with Dr. Johnson. Liberalism is not a religion of any sort. It is, if anything, perhaps a pseudo-religion, and at that not a very good one. Rather than a theology, liberalism is a sort of mental retardation akin to the poor cognitive development found in people that have suffered from childhood lead poisoning. I do not see a better way to explain the liberal failure to understand the obvious, even after numerous clear examples in life and history prove conclusively that many of their cherished dogmas are wrong. The notion that the races of man have equal potential, and that this potential is easily malleable and can therefore be modified and improved by training and education is just one example. Repeated studies and the evidence of experience and observation through long centuries tell us that the races differ in ability, behavior and intelligence, and that much of this is inbred and cannot be modified significantly by environmental factors.
As Groucho used to say, “Who you gonna believe–me or your eyes?”
I do agree however that there are parts of liberalism (or the left) that are salvageable, and even parts that are valuable, such as leftist opposition to Zionism. Also, though liberalism has a monopoly on the worst parts of culture and the arts, it also has a monopoly on the best of these, such as they are. When was the last time any of us have read a novel from the white nationalist right equivalent in caliber to American Tragedy or Sister Carrie?
The answer here, alas, is “not ever.”
A Civil Religion
I don’t know that this is going to work. The problem we face today is that our race and Western civ. along with it have come up against a global struggle between wildcat individualism (Whites and the West) vs. Tribalism (the jews). So far, the results seem to indicate that tribalism is a much more effective strategy with superior survival potential compared to poorly organized individualism.
Adding to our woes, there is little if any indication that tribal behavior can be taught. It seems to be an inborn trait. Either a race has it or it does not.
Much of today’s chatter on the white nationalist right exemplifies Spengler’s observation: “Those who talk too much about race no longer have it in them.”
Any way you look at it, we are in this for the long haul. If and when a new Faith is organically developed over time (it cannot be invented in committee) or an old Faith revived or rediscovered, all of us now living will likely be long dead. Even our children or grandchildren may not see the day.
We’ve been down this road before. When the great cathedrals of Europe were built, those starting them knew they’d never see them completed.
The Cologne Cathedral, begun in 1248 continued under construction until 1473 when work was stopped. Building resumed in the 19th century and the cathedral was completed in 1880.
The first phase of construction lasted 225 years. Total time to completion: 632 years.
We have a long road ahead of us. Our job is to lay the groundwork. Victory will be the work of the generations to come.
1. “Pope Pius XII in the Second Word War,” October 1993, http://www.ihr.org/jhr/v13/v13n5p26_Martinez.html