I find it disturbing, yet have some thankfulness, that more and more Catholic writers are using the word, kulturkmapf, which those of us who had real Catholic education learned in Catholic World History over 50 years ago. The Popes of the 19th century fought against the Bismarck movement to change social and political life, partly by emphasizing Thomism in the face of the other isms which grew up after the Reformation: godless republicanism a la the French Revolution, socialism, communism, relativism, secularism, and so on. I remember studying the great year of revolution, 1848, as a disaster for the Church, not something to celebrate. That the uprisings petered out is a lie, as the movements, in a mercurial manner, just changed and went, in some cases, underground, until a mere decade or so later. One only needs to remember when Marx' work was published, February 21, 1848, to realize how quickly the Church responded through the Popes. de Tocqueville, who we all studied in the old days of Classical Education based on Christianity, wrote of those times. That there was a certain respite for Catholicism in some countries did not change the movement away from Faith and Reason to one of relativism and secularism.
That we Catholics have seen at least one-hundred and fifty years of systematic erosion of a Catholic political and societal philosophy from which to work is dawning on more and more writers.
Those of us who saw this, primarily educators, in the 1970s, created the homeschooling movement and the movement of Classical Education, lost in kulturkampf in the States and sadly, in Europe, including Great Britain. One must be honest and state that the earliest Republicanism in Ireland was not Catholic in philosophy, but secular and liberal. When one weeps at the demise of religion in Ireland, one has to be honest and state that this is not a new thing, at least in the approach to politics.
Americanism was highly supported as a heresy by the Irish clergy, including bishops, in the States. That republicanism was associated with some Modernist heresies cannot be denied.
Kulturkampf is being discussed because it has succeeded. Catholics no longer think like Catholics nor can they criticize intellectual and political discussions which are not Catholic, such as the separation of Church and State position of the Church which is not the same as that believed by most American Catholics.
One writes and talks about problems when the time to change is long gone. We have had almost 200 years to create leaders in the Church who see clearly the dangers of materialism, pragmatism, even the pantheism of our times. That the educational systems and especially the history books ignore these issues indicates that the enemy has won the day in kulturkampf.
I have been looking at the GCSE history books which hardly touch on such issues, and ignore religion entirely, including barely a reference to the Holocaust. Without a religious viewpoint or a Western philosophy based on Christianity, anything goes, all ideas are equal and the socialist and communist agendas are considered as plausible alternatives to any other economic and societal systems. The great Popes of the 19th century warned us but who was paying attention?
Social engineering has worked in Europe and I am sure in most places in America. We only write and discuss what is obvious unless we are either philosophers, intellectuals, or revolutionaries.
I pray that it is not too late to create an intellectual class of Catholics who understand politics from the viewpoint of Catholic social teaching and not either communism or socialism.
The pastoral experts in the Church began to talk about community after it had disappeared. Now we are discussing the destruction of Western culture in the wake of its demise.
Catholicism became more and more anti-intellectual in the last sixty years. I partly blame the charismatic movement and other movements which have underestimated the need for a Faith corresponding to Reason. That our present Pope has stressed this is still being ignored. Too many of the faithful simply do not want to bother to learn how to think.....one of the themes of this blog.
Catholics have ignore and now lost the great intellectual tradition which the Church created.