By: Msgr. Charles Pope
As we have discussed on this blog before, the Western World seems to have embarked on a (failed) experiment, testing whether a culture can exist without a shared cultus. That, is to say whether a true and unifying vision that we call culture can really exist at all without something above and beyond it, which unifies it and to which it must answer.
Unfortunately the word “cult” has strongly negative connotations in English, referring to extremist forms of religious association. But the Latin word cultus refers to devotion and/or religious adoration to God or to a body of religious beliefs and vision. As such, it serves as the basis for culture and makes up the very heart of that word.
In America, and to some extent parts Europe, the cultus did not have to be so specific that it admitted only of a strict sectarian quality. It was enough that we had a basic agreement on the biblical vision of God and a general assent to what has been called the Judeo-Christian vision.
But having largely shed this premise, our culture has broken down into a series of increasingly isolated and warring sectors which have no real basis even for simple discussion, let alone some significant agreement.
In fact, many now refer to our culture as an “anti-culture” given the iconclastic shredding of most of what was once considered sacred and inviolable. Almost nothing in our “culture” has withstood the efforts of those who recklessly tear down and exultantly destroy any vestige of anything they consider to limit their freedom or raise doubts about their behavior. In a way, to the cultural iconoclasts, everything must go. And while it is true that individuals may possess this iconoclasm to a greater or lesser degree, collectively, the devastation is vast, and shows no signs of stopping.
I would like to comments on excerpts of an article recently published over at the American Conservative by Rod Dreher entitled: Sex After Christianity. In that article he details some of demise of culture that we have discussed here as well. He focuses especially on how and why the recasting of sex has been the pulling of the linchpin in culture. And while he focuses on the issue of same sex unions and how we have gotten here, since we have discussed that issue a lot already, I will here excerpt the sections of his article on the wider question of culture. But I do encourage you to read the whole article as it sheds a lot of light on the bizarre celebration of same-sex attraction in our culture and where it has come from and where it will lead.