Vox Day draws our attention to a pair of wolves in sheep’s clothing, by which I mean humanitarian goops who pretend to be Catholic defenders of the faith (here). The first wolf is one Christopher Hale, executive director of Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good. We are not told with whom Mr. Hale’s Catholics are allied, but one suspects their allies include the long-suffering and maligned denizens of Hell. The second wolf is one Michael Sean Winters, a fellow at Catholic University’s Institute for Policy Research and Catholic Studies. This Institute studies Catholics in the same spirit that the National Cancer Institute studies Cancer.
Hale and Winter are exercised over the rise of the Alt Right, and are angling to “engage” with “people drawn to this movement.” Since nothing breaks the ice like an insult, their novel strategy involves “denouncing the extremism and bigotry central to white nationalism.” Hale and Winter propose to win me over by calling me a vile and loathsome racist. Let’s see where this goes.
Winter does not see his own towering condescension and arrogance as a barrier to engaging with the Alt Right. No, he believes “the main difficulty in engaging the alt-right” is its “anti-democratic stance.” You see, when Catholics aren’t down at the parish hall voting for a new bishop, or canvasing the neighborhood with yard signs for the new Pope, they are out in the world spreading democracy. Two thousand years of Catholic teachings affirm that one man is just as good as another, shriven or unshriven, justified or unjustified, orthodox or heretic, Christian or infidel, wolf or sheep.
Well, actually, that isn’t quite right. In the past, when the Catholic Church wasn’t really Catholic, it harbored shameful and unchristian prejudices against the damned, against heretics, against infidels, and against wolves. Some even espoused the absurd superstition that Heaven is “superior” to Hell.
Winter proposes to combat “white nationalism” with “Catholic Social Doctrine,” which he describes as “the best kept secret in the Church.” Let me suggest that this doctrine is kept secret because it is not Catholic, it is not social, and it is not a doctrine. It is the rancid carcass of nineteenth-century humanitarianism so much beloved by wolves. As Day observes, there is nothing that betrays the wolf more surely than an affection for Catholic Social Doctrine.
According to Winter, Catholic Social Doctrine is a “leaven” that will ameliorate every “problem facing the political life of this country.” Indeed it is. It is “the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees” (Matthew 16: 6, 11, 12, etc.). Apparently the study of Catholic Social Doctrine has left Winter no time to learn that, in Biblical symbolism, leaven is mostly a bad thing.
Islamophobia is one of the problems that Winter proposes to ameliorate with this “leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees.” To this end he has organized a group called Apologies and Reparations for Lepanto, and describes the 1571 naval battle as “a low point in our sad history of Islamophobia.” Another Winter initiative is Never Again!, an educational program aimed at Catholic youth that seeks to ensure that the Gates of Vienna are left open next time. “We should not fear Islam in our nation,” Winter said. “Indeed we should not fear it in our Church, in our families, or in our hearts. Catholic Social Doctrine teaches that Jesus Christ was a self-effacing man who said nothing more often than ‘follow him.’ Follow the other guy. That’s really what it means to be Catholic.”
Winter goes on to claim that the Alt Right is “built on an edifice of racism, social sin, and exclusion,” and that it therefore “must never be tolerated.” Well, Winter, I retort, not only does not know the meaning of the word edifice, but has also built his house on a sinking (and stinking) morass of slander and lies.
Anyone with the slightest grasp of the theological meaning of sin can see that there cannot be a “social sin” because society is not a moral being. That it is composed of moral beings does not make it a moral being. A stone cannot sin; nor can a car, a dog, or a mathematical equation. Sin for such beings is ontologically impossible. And the same is true for “society.”
Anyone with the slightest grasp of philosophy knows that self-preservation is a property of being, since the absence of this property leads to speedy annihilation of being. And self-preservation means exclusion by the self of that which is inimical to the self. To be against exclusion, to put it rather bluntly, to be on the side of corruption and disease. Nothing hates exclusion like corruption and disease.
Anyone with the slightest grasp of the Bible is aware that “nations” play a very large part in the story. Not just one Nation, but many. And they play a part right up to the end. The opponent of Nations is, as I previously explained, the Great Whore Babylon, a beguiling hag with a tell-a-tale fondness for something that looks a good deal like Catholic Social Doctrine (here). Anyone who has plowed through the tedious genealogical tables with which the Bible is so copiously supplied will also perceive that these are not propositional nations, but nations sustained by begetting and being begotten. They are nations of biological descent.
I would be delighted to “engage” with Hale and Winter, but I cannot assure them that they would find the engagement in any way delightful. And the main source of discomfort will not be my “anti-democratic stance.” It will my obnoxious refusal to believe that they are sheep, or to pretend that their ugly snarling sounds like “baaaah”.