The Flying Buttress: What Inquisitors' Minds Want to Know

An archive for issues of The Flying Buttress newswire, whose purpose is to comment satirically on dissent within and relating to the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Cincinnati. Disclaimer: These publications are works of satirical fiction. Any similarity to persons living or dead is purely coincidental, but it all depends on what you mean by the word "is." May the Lord bless you and keep you!

Saturday, January 05, 2008

The End of Progress

+A visitor to the Carousel of Progress at Walt Disney World will find himself entertained with a song as his seat revolves through decades of domestic technological wonders. The song begins as follows:

“There's a great, big, beautiful tomorrow, Shining at the end of every day; There's a great, big, beautiful tomorrow, and tomorrow’s just a dream away…”

+This Disney exhibit and its soundtrack exemplify and enshrine the once-irrepressible optimism of modern Western man as he created his paradise on earth: the pursuit of the limitless possibilities of his inventiveness, resourcefulness, intelligence, imagination, and power.

+Born in the Age of Reason and fed the steroids of the Protestant Ethic, the Industrial Revolution, the mastery of fractional reserve banking (“capital”) and the American and French Revolutions, “progress” has been the de facto religion of modern times, pursued with an unflagging messianic zeal that has swept aside everything in its path.

+The Church was one of many institutions, and by far the most important, to be overwhelmed by this display of man’s power and self-confidence. Progress, in fact, has overshadowed the Church for more than 200 years, diminished its light (as seen through the eyes of men), and pushed it to the sidelines of civilization, where it could only watch and protest as the human race drove itself from one pinnacle of earthly achievement to the next.

+The Church protested because man, invincibly convinced of the goodness and inevitability of his utopian visions, dismissed God and anointed himself the sole and undisputed master of his own destiny and designer of his own salvation. Here in America, more than any other the land of boundless progress and opportunity, we were told by one of our more popular novelists of the 20th century that we believed in “the green light.”

+But the light we see before us is no longer green: it is whatever terrorist threat level is issued by the Department of Homeland Security. In other words, out confidence in our worldly religion has been stopped dead in its tracks.

+What stopped it? A progressive decay since the 1960s: the assassinations of our leaders, the disgrace of Vietnam and Watergate, the disappearance of our manufacturing base, massive waves of illegal immigration, energy prices spiraling out of control, religious beliefs and customs pushed out of the public square, terrorism and radical Islam, new and strange epidemics sweeping across the landscape, declining birth rates, the narcissism of moral decadence…a universal sense that we have lost control of our lives to a comprehensive, inescapable and shrill juggernaut of quickening insanity.

+The West – in particular, its champion, America - no longer looks forward; it now looks over its shoulder in fear and apprehension. Incremental erosion has crossed the subliminal threshold into consciousness of a full-bore crumbling. Strange foreboding slogans and warnings bombard us daily: we live in a world where everything is scarce and will rapidly become more so. Our standard of living is much too high, and since investors are more important than employees, our jobs are outsourced to the Third World. We have been negligent stewards of the earth: now we must pay for having created “climate change.” Not only has our progress religion disappeared, but we are now asked to feel guilty for having had so much progress in the first place! Progress has run its course, and has turned to self-destruction and self-recrimination. Tomorrow can no longer be better than today – only worse.

+The greatest popes of the 19th and 20th centuries issued warning after warning about this, about where mankind would end if it abandoned Christ and the Christian social order. They were correct, but they were ignored or pushed aside.

+Our Lady issued warning after warning about these errors. She was correct, but she was ignored or pushed aside.

+Why do we bring these gloomy thoughts before you? Because when man no longer believes in himself or in his creations, when all his proud powers have deflated into delusions, when science and technology can no longer save him and in fact are used to debase him, there are two places he will turn: either to self-indulgence and depravity (which might be described as satiating oneself on the fruits of progress, without contributing to further progress), or back to God.

+The vast majority are ready to turn back to God. This turning creates a unique and decisive opportunity for the Roman Catholic Church, who once built and nurtured the most extraordinary civilization the world has ever seen, a civilization that glorified God.

+Is the Church aware that Her time has come once again to meet the barbarians at the gates, and wield the truth of the social kingship of Christ? Or are Her leaders still groping blindly in the fog which has been cast over them since 1960 – the fog of a buried Third Secret, the fog of aggiornamento, the fog of Vatican II, the fog of the errors of Russia?

For a CHILD IS BORN to us, and a son is given to us,

and the government is upon his shoulder…


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