Conrad Black: Catholicism, and the Oceans, Will Survive.

Conrad Black posted a column on three major events, or themes, of 2010. He looks at the media circus surrounding the truly despicable revelations of clerical sex abuse from the early part of the year, which was effectively countered by Pope Benedict’s pastoral visit to Britain, and then crowded out of the news cycle by the oil spill in fhte Gulf of Mexico. He says, in essence, these things shall pass. But he says it with panache and a vocabulary.

I’m frankly not sure which is my favorite passage but I’ll share a couple of them.

There this one:

To the litigators, the editorial mudslingers, the deep, thick, serried ranks of militant skepticism, Rome is a Satanic bumblebee which infests the brave, aging secular world of utilitarian progress and the methodical human march toward a plenitude of knowledge. Earlier this year, they thought they saw the end, at last, of Rome’s ghastly, tenebrous, saturnine magisterium that defies all laws of nature and reason by not simply crashing to the ground as the endlessly proclaimed laws of rational aerodynamics require. They were, as always, mistaken.

Much like disagreeable teens who have taken for themselves a measure of feaux-liberation in alcohol, sex, drugs, and the latest Marxist cause celebre wearing a Che or Mumia t-shirt who wishes their own parents away, only to be sorely disappointed when the earth does not, in fact, open up and swallow the annoying aged ones.

And then, later, to their secret relief but public horror, mom and dad come through once more to un-mess the mess they’ve managed to make of themselves. “I can do it on my own! but thanks.”

Or this passage:

The Church’s enemies forgot that it does not have adherents because of its personnel, but because it is an ark of faith. The atheists, though often articulate and courageous and knowledgeable, and heavy-laden with the ammunition provided by the fatuity and hypocrisy of much Christian history, can never deal with the insuperable evidence of spiritual forces, miracles, and any ecclesiastical concept of grace. Nor can they surmount the challenge of man’s inability to grasp the infinite, the absence of an end and beginning of space or time. In these vast areas, notions of the supernatural and the deity will always circulate, no matter how great dissent may be. And no one, and certainly not a rag-tag of sacerdotal perverts, will displace Rome from its 2,000-year primacy in this sphere.

No single institution in history has done as much for the advance of science, the arts, human rights, healthcare, education, philosophy, and every other good and noble pursuit as the Catholic Church.

Reminds me of another paragraph I found many years ago:

If twelve men without influence, without knowledge, inexperienced in the ways of the world, but loving Christ profoundly, have succeeded by aid of some poor Jews in spreading the Christian Faith throughout the Roman Empire; if they have accomplished what Greece with all its eloquence, and Rome with its military power have failed to achieve; if they have succeeded in founding an institution which has lasted nineteen centuries – an institution which has regenerated the world, emancipated the slave, rehabilitated women, dignified family life, comforted the afflicted, uprooted vices, taught sublime truths, pure morality and heroic virtue, an institution which has resisted long-continued and dangerous destructive tendencies, undergone centuries of persecution, witnessed the passing away of kingdoms and peoples, remaining itself erect and immovable upon the ruins of time – an institution which has opposed human interests and passions – surely we have here the greatest of miracles. Unless the principle of causality be denied or the cogency of evidence called in question, it is necessary to recognize that this institution is Divine. Digitus Dei est hic. [The finger of God is here.]

– Francois de Lamy, Vérité évidente de la Religion chrétienne




  • Greg

    Wonderful post! The last passage, especially, was capable of setting off leaps of joy punctuated with fists punching the air to cries of “Yes, yes, hallelujah.”

  • Teep

    Black speaks like a convert, knowing the emptiness of the atheist option, which is refreshing. It is worth noting, however, that attacking the secular culture and its media in this fashion can be interpreted as a bit vindictive, considering Black’s own current state of affairs.

    • Mik

      I might see Black’s comments as vindictive if his alleged retaliation were offered on his own behalf; but, he is defending the interests of the Church, not himself. So, on the contrary, when the man might be tempted to hit back at those who have so gleefully spilled so much ink over his misfortune, I find his words all the more persuasive for his willingness to say nothing in his own defense.

      • teep

        I happen to agree with you. I only brought it up as a possibility that might arise from those who want to quickly dismiss his comments without, you know, thinking too hard.



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