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"...public opinion deserves to be respected as well as despised" G.W.F. Hegel, 'Philosophy of Right'

conservatism in the Christian Church « Previous | |Next »
July 14, 2010

I've always been puzzled by the way that the Catholic and Anglican Church sets its face against modernity even though, as an institution, it is a part of the process of modernity. One could even talk in terms of Catholicism's "cold war with modernity" --a Catholic anti-modernism.

By modernity I mean the objective transformation of the social fabric unleashed by the advent of the capitalist world market which tears down feudal and ancestral limitations on a global scale, and psychologically the enlargement of life chances through the gradual freeing from fixed status hierarchies. Chronologically, this covers the period from the mid nineteenth century accelerating to the present and it gives rise to T a social order in which religion is no longer fully integrated into and identified with a particular cultural life-form.

RowsonMChurchconservatives.jpg Martin Rowson

Most welcome this process as it means greater individual freedom. Not so the Christian Church. I should say that the Christian Church (Catholic and Anglican) tears itself into halves over the way that the movement of history in modernity challenges its fixed status hierarchies over secularism, freedom and the declining influence of Christianity in the West.

Nowhere is this resistance more evident in the way that it continues to cover up the sexual abuse of children by its priests. This is part of the wider sexual abuse scandal in the Catholic Church.

I realize that the power of the Church has been eroded by a growing sense of individual worth. Neither Protestantism nor Catholicism fare well when it comes to championing equality and human rights - especially for women and non-whites. The churches' record on supporting women's political enfranchisement is dismal. They sanctified a model that set men free to be active wage-earning heads of households while confining women to the unpaid labours of love, charity and domestic service.

It gives rise to the powerful and effective criticism of Christianity in the 20th century that it has been too closely identified with the rich and powerful, and too ready to legitimate the status quo. Christianity retains its commitment to a male God and priesthood, and the late 20th century has seen a renewed emphasis on male headship and female domestic submission, particularly in conservative Protestantism, along with a conservatism about sex and gender roles and campaigns against homosexuality.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 4:57 PM | | Comments (6)


Not that I am a practising Catholic... but it seems to me that Jesus could be described as a radical, soicalist, rabble-rousing, do-gooder. Not to mention that he was (gasp) "middle-eastern" in appearance!

But that image isn't going to go over very well in today's world, is it?

Christ's teaching is pretty much universally ignored by most self-proclaimed Christians. In any event it's such a simple message that it needs no intervention by clergy. True Christianity could not possibly require the elaborate bureaucracy of the established churches, so they have to concentrate on peripheral issues to justify their existence.

I wonder if it all relates back to man having the penis. The thing that needs to be thrust in and out whereas the virgina can remain still and that all that we are as far as gender is concerned has evolved from that basic thing.

The most corrosive aspects of modernity for Christianity is not science and philosophical atheism but commitment to equality + freedom.

equality + freedom implies the belief that all of us have the right, duty and the ability to make the most important decisions in life for ourselves, as well as a distrust of authority, certainty and absolutism.

Catholic liberalism, or the assimilation to modernity, was represented by Vatican II . Since then, there has been a return to an opposition to secularism and liberalism. Liberalism is seen as a social pathology and the Left is seen as anti-Christian. By a social pathology they use the metaphor of the penetration of harmful bacteria or other pathogenic organisms into the body. Western society has become riddled with pathogens.

More specifically, modern Left liberalism is seen as a universal totalitarian ideology and it has an absolute intolerance for dissent, even for discussion, along with a conviction of perfect certainty in all things.

Leftists live in a dream world and when the Utopian equality project to restructure existence collides with reality and begins to falter, as it inevitably does, the Left regime goes into panic-mode; it hardens into a totalitarian rigidity attempts to conceal failure under the jargon of social justice that is coupled with an extreme intolerance for dissent.

Anon (is your name Thadeus?)-- as a response to your posting please find some references for you to contemplate.

On the origins of the Bible as an essentially political document--and how the spirit-breathing Spiritual Way of life taught and demonstrated by Saint Jesus of Galilee while he was alive was turned into a power and control religion about Jesus. There was no "resurrection".

Plus references on Real God, as distinct from the entirely cultic power-seeking tribalistic "God" of conventional religiosity, whether conservative or liberal/progressive.

Meanwhile most "conservative" religion is essentially a form of individual and collective psychosis.
Check out any right-wing Christian blog as proof of this--especially for instance the several blogs associated with First Things (and almost everyone who links in to these blogs).

Unmitigated intolerant self-righteous awfulness!