I've been reading a few posts about the infinitly depressing US Supreme Court decision that, contrary to what anyone would have thought until five minutes ago, the US Constitution guarantees the right of men to pretend to marry other men, and women women.
A couple of them (Rod Dreher and Steve Skojec) mention the 'Benedict Option': as Dreher expresses it, this takes inspiration from St Benedict of Nursia's monastic vision.
'learning how to resist, in community, in a culture that sees us orthodox Christians as enemies.'
Skojek talks moving out of the cities and about living off the land.
I can understand the reaction, but we need to remember the differences between our situation and St Benedict's. St Benedict lived at a time when the power of the state was at an extremely low ebb. We live our lives during a time in which the reverse is the case. Moving to the countryside is going to make no difference at all. If social services are going to enforce gender theory onto homeschoolers, they'll do it in the countryside just as much as the towns.
In any case, St Benedict wasn't running away from an oppressive state. Had there been a state wanting to stamp out monasticism, he would have been a sitting duck. The Protestant rulers of Ireland found it extremely difficult to impose Anglicanism on the hearts of the people, but childishly simple to burn down the monasteries. Later there were secret seminaries, but even this had to wait for the persecution to move into a less militant phase.
St Benedict is the wrong model; his was a capital-intensive approach to preserving learning and Catholic orthodoxy. We are going to need to be lighter on our feet. St Edmund Campion and St Oliver Plunket are the people to study. The exiled institutions, the secret printing presses, the underground Cathedrals, the network of trusted Catholics, and a resistance to torture.
A ghetto has a lot to say for it, for a beleagured cultural minority, but it requires at least a degree of cooperation with the civil authorities. The original 'geto' was the Jewish quarter in Venice: half protected space, half prison camp.
We also need to come to terms with what is at stake here. Skojec - I'm criticising him, but I should say that I like most of his stuff a lot - says the Church will lose 'tax exempt' (UK: charitable) status. Very likely. But that won't be the end of it. As a non-charitable institution, it will still be subject to the law of the land, and may indeed be subject to more of the laws of the land than before.
Again, he says the Church should get out of marriage. I honestly have no idea what he means, but the more usual explanations of this idea are confused, illegal, or pointless; I've discussed them here.
This is what we are going to face, on both sides of the Atlantic. Gay couples will demand to be 'married' in Church. Some priests will give them some kind of ceremony: some priests will refuse. The latter will be prosecuted for discrimination. It will be no protection to them to say they are not acting as agents of the state. It is not only agents of the state who are under the law. They are offering a service to the public: they should not discrimate. The difference between making a reasoned distinction between real and pseudo marriage, on the one hand, and homophobia, on the other, has already been collapsed by the courts in England.
There are presently some legal hurdles to a successful prosecution, at least in the UK, but those hurdles will come under intense pressure and, if the success of the so-called progressive agenda continues, they will disapear. Faithful priests will go to prison. On present trends, this will happen in the next few years.
Something might happen to stop the trend, before or after we get to this. That thing will be political, because the only people who can do anything about this are politicians. If enough pressure comes to bear on them, they will step in. Faithful Catholics burying their heads in the sand in the countryside are really not going to help.
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