Monday, March 10, 2008

Forgetting what it means to remember

Anthony Esolen, Dante translator and professor of English at Providence College, on the Catholic Church's crisis of confidence:

"For the fathers of the [Second Vatican] Council did not see that they could not have undertaken their task in a less promising time. They mistook the signs of that time. They thought that they had to scale again the promontory of wisdom, to renew for the people of their day the insights into a truth that is everlasting. But they could not see that those same people were rapidly forgetting what it means to remember; theage was not replacing one culture with another, but culture itself with nothing, with the anarchy of individual choice, which becomes little more than the managed chaos of mass entertainment and humanly pointless work. For we were finally rich enough to afford the ceaseless idleness of a hamster on his wheel.

"In such a time, the task was not to enculturate the Church, because there would in fact be no culture for the Church to leaven. It was to preserve, by and in the Church, the precious memory of culture itself."

If we were in a new Dark Age, would we notice? Does a barbarian recognise his barbarism?

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