The Catholic faith and Western Civilization

Fr. Brandon O’Brien has a thoughtful piece about Europe over at Crisis Magazine that is well worth reading.

The question is, how do we revive the roots of Western Civilization?   What is my responsibility?   Yours?

Right worship is one key, I believe.  Lex orandi, lex credendi, lex vivendi   

As we worship, so do we believe and so do we live.

Here’s an excerpt from Fr. O’Brien’s piece.


It should come as no surprise that the decay of Europe has coincided with the decline of the Christian faith among its citizens. Just as Europe attempted to throw out what was perceived as a colonialist and extremist past in the wake of the Second World War, it seemed as if any other institutions linked to the past were just as easily discarded. It was argued that postwar Europe’s past is what had given birth to history’s most horrific events, and only a rejection of this past identity would allow for the world to be forged anew.

The hubris of such a concept is staggering. Writing between the two World Wars, Hilaire Belloc, that great man of letters, recognized Europe’s only hope for a future: “Europe will return to the Faith, or she will perish. The Faith is Europe. And Europe is the Faith.” For Belloc, Europe’s history, culture, and scholarship were intertwined with the Christian faith. In his 2003 Apostolic Exhortation Ecclesia in Europa Pope John Paul II presented the same argument: “The Christian faith has shaped the culture of the Continent and is inextricably bound up with its history, to the extent that Europe’s history would be incomprehensible without reference to the events which marked first the great period of evangelization and then the long centuries when Christianity . . . came to be the religion of the European peoples.” It was Christianity that fostered Europe’s greatest philosophers, artists, composers, and architects; and it was only when Europe began to reject its Christian roots that it became capable of the most heinous crimes in human history.

At the heart of Europe’s attempt to reject its Christian roots is the false idea of multiculturalism that it has propagated since the end of the Second World War. According to Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, this multiculturalism “is sometimes little more than the abandonment and denial of what is one’s own, flight from one’s own heritage.” It is this idea that has apologized for the colonialism of the past and been so welcoming to foreign migrants.

Europe and all the western countries face a quandary.  Without confidence in our own civilization, how can  we hope migrants, most of whom are desperately seeking a better life, will become assimilated to our culture, to accept western notions of tolerance, (the old fashioned-kind, not the tolerance masquerading as the new totalitarianism, the dictatorship of relativism) and freedom?  What can be done to prevent colonization if our culture is so weak it cannot persuade newcomers to accommodate themselves to our way of life, and instead they insist we submit to theirs?


This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to The Catholic faith and Western Civilization

  1. Classical education ie, reading classic literature etc

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s