viernes, 18 de septiembre de 2015

How the world would fill the spiritual vacuum left by the nearly complete destruction and secularization of Christendom?

The Movement of World Revolution: Christopher Dawson
by Bradley J. Birzer

The Movement of World Revolutionby Christopher Dawson (from the introduction, published by The Catholic University of America Press)

Having witnessed the loss of an idyllic Edwardian world to the deadening trenches of the first world war, the rise of communism and the gulag state in Slavic Europe and China, and the advent of national socialism and the holocaust camps in Germanic Europe, Christopher Dawson found the ideologies that spawned such twentieth-cdaentury atrocities profoundly disturbing.[1] Could a more gentle, Christian world ever arise again? Possessing a subtle and acute mind, Dawson never held out any real hope that a true Christendom might reemerge after the vast bloodshed observed in his life time.[2] He did, however, rightly note that past ages had seen horrors as well. We moderns, he thought, might do well to pattern our own behavior after the Christian exemplars of the past.

The only remedy is to be found in that spiritual force by which the humility of God conquers the pride of the evil one. Hence the spiritual reformer cannot expect to have the majority on his side. He must be prepared to stand alone like Ezekiael and Jeremy. He must take as his example St. Augustine besieged by the Vandals at Hippo, or St. Gregory preaching at Rome with the Lombards at the gates. For the true helpers of the world are the poor in spirit, the men who bear the sign of the cross on their foreheads, who refuse to be overcome by the triumph of injustice and put their sole trust in the salvation of God.[3]

By considering such men as role models, Dawson thought, the world might prosper under a new Christian Republic of Letters, transcending the materialist ideologies and spiritually-excessive nationalism of modernity.

One of his last books published during his life time, Dawson’s 1959Movement of World Revolution, not surprisingly, explored almost all of the themes he had considered most important in his own time: nationalism, ideology, and Christian Humanism. Dawson preferred to write on non-political subjects, but he believed the necessities of the moment required solid political analysis. He wrote extensively on political issues in the 1930s and early 1940s, and he returned to the topic in this 1959 book. InMovement of World Revolution, Dawson employed the Augustinian concept of two simultaneous histories in this world: a history of the shadow of the City of God, a sojourning group of pilgrims, leavening this world, reaching for the best within man; and a history of the City of Man, a world of pride and vast achievements and falls. The two, as St. Augustine and Dawson understood it, intermingled extensively, the former calling would-be citizens from the latter. Armed with such a theory of history, Dawson believed the world could be redeemed and brought back to right order. But, this seemed unlikely. As always, men and women sought hope, but the world offered them mostly material pleasures and substantial—not trans-substantial—ecstasies. “This is not a metaphysical age, and in the East no less than in the West men are more interested in subsistence and coexistence,” Dawson lamented, “than in essence and existence.”[4] The middle of the twentieth century, Dawson concluded, seemed much more the “age of the plough and the harrow, not the time of harvest.”[5]


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