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Letters by a modern St. Ferdinand III about cults

Gab@StFerdinandIII -

Plenty of cults exist - every cult has its 'religious dogma', its idols, its 'prophets', its 'science', its 'proof' and its intolerant liturgy of demands.  Cults everywhere:  Corona, 'The Science' or Scientism, Islam, the State, the cult of Gender Fascism, Marxism, Darwin and Evolution, Globaloneywarming, Changing Climate, Abortion...

Tempus Fugit Memento Mori - Time Flies Remember Death 

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Monday, July 18, 2011

Steve Ozment, 'The Legacy of the Reformation', 1980.

Not everything was good.

by StFerdIII

One of the glories of Western civilization was the incessant turmoil and competition to develop something new and better. This was true in religion as well as markets. Islam and other Oriental mysticism's have never experienced the fruits of a Reformation revolution, or the merger of rational scholasticism with faith. That is one reason amongst many why they are failures.

Ozment's historical account of the Reformation outlines the important social and cultural changes which emanated from the outburst against the Papist Church. On the one hand in many parishes most people were probably no more religious than many of us are today. However it is undoubtedly true that the cultural-social ethos was religious in the sense that Christian ideals and attitudes pervaded every aspect of daily life. The Catholic Church was the richest, most politically potent empire within Europe. The Reformation was a protest against many of the Roman church's abuses and extravagance, not to mention the rise of political nationalism against what was perceived to be a despotic center. When change came therefore, it was almost total:

In the first half of the sixteenth century cities and territories passed laws and ordinances that progressively ended or severely limited a host of traditional beliefs, practices, and institutions that touched directly the daily life of large numbers of people:...the veneration of saints, relics, and images; the buying and selling of indulgences; pilgrimages and shrines...the doctrine of purgatory....traditional ceremonies, festivals,....mendicant orders...extreme unction, confirmation, holy orders, and penance, clerical immunity from taxation and criminal law...”

Ozment's list is much longer but the core issues are obvious. The Papacy was involved with all manner of social, economic, political, legal and cultural life. Part of this is from the dissolution of the Roman empire, when the Church became the only organising force throughout much of Italy, responsible for the public systems such as water, sewage, road maintenance, garbage removal, criminal prosecution, fire fighting, policing and the like; once performed by various bureaucracies during Roman rule. Post 500 AD it was the Church which saved the apparati of Roman rule; and it was the Church which found itself in a de-facto political-theological role. This argument would indicate that in the post Roman era – which was not a Dark Age but an era of change, war, unrest, and the rewriting of the political map ad nauseum – the Church was rationally viewed as a surety of safety, peace and moral order. This was certainly not a Dark Age superstition, but a rational belief based on the facts at that time.

Ozment argues that the Reformation's chief contribution to historical development was its cultural change. If you take for granted that much of common life was owned or occupied by the Papacy in some way, whether it was a general church tax, canon law, or the rituals around Church observance, this makes sense:

The larger social impact of the Reformation lay rather in its effectively displacing so many of the beliefs, practices and institutions that had organized daily life and given it security and meaning for the greater part of a millenium. Here the reformers continued late medieval efforts to simplify religious, and enhance secular, life.”

All true, but what of the darker side. The so-called Enlightenment was in many ways, an era of superstition, witch burning, irrationality, ignorance and conjecture without proof in for example the labeling of the medieval period as a 'Dark Age' [a term which started in the 14th century with Plutarch]. The Protesting revolutionaries were not all rational, secular heroes:

If scholars of popular religion in Reformation England are correct, Protestant success against medieval religion actually brought new and more terrible superstitions to the surface. By destroying the traditional ritual framework for dealing with daily misfortune and worry, the Reformation left those who could not find solace in its message – and there were many – more anxious than before, and especially after its leaders sought by coercion what they discovered could not be gained by persuasion alone.”

All true. Ozment is right. Not everything with the Papist society was as terrible as the revisionists claim. Medieval Europe was a dynamic entity in many ways, not a moribund darkness of stupidity. Likewise the Protesting revolt was not all reason and common sense. It spawned the Enlightenment which gave us rather directly the destructive forces of Hegelian gibberish, political Marxism, German and Russian fascism and paganism/atheism, cultural Marxism, post-modern irrationality, and the Green cult. The Protestant irruption was important as it had many beneficial impacts. But it also threw off some terrible derivatives and we should not be blind to that fact.


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