Monday, July 24, 2006

Interview with the Young Drummer Boy

Interviewer: I'm grateful to you for coming here on such short notice.

Young Drummer: I'm happy to come, and it wasn't that short.

Int: I need to talk to a pre-medieval man, a man without that modernist taint.

YD: Fairyland does pre-date the medieval era. I come from the era that your age calls the 'Dark Ages.'

Int: Please don't hold that against me. I think the 'Dark Ages' was an age of light and our age the dark one.

YD: I won't disagree with that.

Int: In this dark age, I've been groping toward the light, and I've been surprised by where it is to be found and where it is not to be found.

YD: Explain please.

Int: Well, in our age, parents do not teach their children, strangers do. I was brought up to believe in something called science, progress, and the American way. What I learned in Sunday School, also taught by strangers, couldn't stand up to what I was taught the rest of the week. By eighteen I was an indoctrinated member of the 'enlightened' masses. But life, real life, intervened. The Shakeaspearean-Dostoyevskian inferno pointed to a different reality. That was my first surprise. There was no light to be found in the self-proclaimed light bearers, only darkness. One man born in Bethlehem had the light that all the electricians of science and progress went about proclaiming they had, but in reality, could not produce.

The second surprise came, as I've talked about with you before, when I discovered the organization I thought was responsible for preserving the light was not only in darkness but was in fact a dark pit filled with poisonours vipers.

YD: I aprpeciate the passsion behind those words, but are you sure you don't overstate the case against the Catholic Church?

Int: No, I don't. Let's look at the Novus Ordo church first. They have faith all right; they have faith in everything, which translates to faith in nothing. You can't believe in Budda, Christ, Muhammed, Kwanzaa, and Sesame Street all at the same time. The Novus Ordo Catholics are worthless. And the traditionalists are worse. They believe that whatever is cruelest in thought, in word, in action is divine. Their God is Tash, the devil god depicted in C. S. Lewis's book, The Last Battle. Every time I see a traditionalist priest, I feel as if I'm in the presence of Satan.

YD: I can't disagree with that assessment, and I find it astonishing that the Church officials in the Novus Ordo and the traditionalist camps have managed to keep any adherents at all. I suppose it is another indication of the sickness of your age.

Int: But was the Church ever really anything but sick? Are the Protestants right? I find it hard when I see the organized Church of Faithlessness in front of me (in the Novus Ordo) and the organized Church of Satan next to it (in the traditionalist church) to believe there ever was a true church of Christ. One can believe in Christ but not know where He is to be found on this earth.

YD: "They have taken away my Lord and I know not where they have laid Him."

Int: Yes, that's it exactly.

YD: Well, it is difficult (and I realize how inadequate the term 'difficult' is) to see any light at all when facing the modern Catholic Church. but if one shifts one's persopective, as I notice you have started to do, one can see a different picture besides a mere tangle of poisonous vipers. If one stops looking at modernism as a 20th century development or even a 16th century development, one can get some sort of perspective on what your modern writers call the 'crisis of Faith.'

When the Church was at its strongest, which is always when an organization is most vulnerable, the shift was made, ever so slightly at first, toward reliance on the analytical eye of the experts rather than on the wise blood of the faithful. Stop thinking of Leo XIII, the collective Pius popes, and the Sheed/Belloc type of writer as antique Christians and regard them instead as carriers of the modernist disease, and you will be on your way to the true Church. The Devil did not try a frontal assault on the medieval citadel; he came in the back door, disguised as a well-meaning friend called "Theology." "Let us leave no stone unturned in our defense of the Faith," he lied, "and let us show that pure thought and pure religion are one and the same."

Int: I think I follow you. Let me give a mundane example. A fellow English major once told me, while we were both still at university, that he no longer read any of the literature in the courses. It wasn't necessary to read the literature, he claimed, because all one had to do was to read the literary criticism in order to find out what it was about. And from the standpoint of grades, he was quite right. One was better off reading the literary criticism of the works than the works themselves. But if you read the works without reference to the critics, you often found yourself tranpsorted to a different place, a place where academics never went and never knew about. It was kind of the spiritual equivalent of Br'er Rabbit's Laughing Place. But one had to read the works with the proper spirit to get to that place.

I think you can see where I'm going with this. If reason is our only pure and untainted faculty, then the Faith must be taught and passed on only through the reasoning process. And each successive genreation of the faithful becomes more and more isolated from the Faith. They know the theory of God, but they don't know God. They don't have that taste for God which Lubac wrote about, because they have never been allowed to know Him with their hearts.

YD: I don't think you need me anymore.

Int: Yes, I do, because the path is lonely and dark, and I'm afraid.

YD: We are all afraid.

Int: Except Him.

YD: Yes, except Him.

Int: Stay with me then?

YD: I will.

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