Friday, May 15, 2009


"The Universal Church is today, more definitely set against the World than at any time since Pagan Rome. I do not mean that our times are particularly corrupt; all times are corrupt. In spite of certain local appearances, Christianity is not and cannot be within measurable time, ‘official’. The World is trying the experiment of attempting to form a civilized but non-Christian mentality. The experiment will fail; but we must be very patient in awaiting its collapse; meanwhile redeeming the time: so that the Faith may be preserved alive through the dark ages before us; to renew and rebuild civilization, and save the World from suicide."

- T. S. Eliot, Thoughts After Lambeth (1931)

Prior to the 1930 Lambeth Conference all Christian churches were opposed to artificial contraception, on the basis of two thousand years of teaching on sexuality, morals and the family, anchored firmly in Scripture. But once the Anglican Communion gave in to mounting secularist pressure - albeit in a fairly minimal way to begin with - most of the protestant world followed suit. In contrast, I believe that Pius XI's Casi Connubii (1930) and Paul VI's Humanae Vitae (1968) will turn out to have been truly heroic (and prophetic) documents, whether or not the majority of first world Catholics live according to their precepts.

All right thinking Christians support the "culture of life" over and against the "culture of death." I am sure that future historians will use the latter expression to characterise the twentieth century as a whole.

In so many ways we live in the dark age of which T.S. Eliot spoke. The challenge for us is not only to keep the Faith, but to work patiently and positively towards the next season of renewal.


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