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Monday 13 February 2012

The Ruling Class as the Societal Norm is the Class of Subjectivity and Utilitarianism

Gramsci noted in his prison notebooks, a new edition which came out last year, and in other earlier editions, that the ruling class will create the norms which society itself creates subjectively and in various groupings, after the quiet overthrow of religion and other class distinctions. As I have noted before, Gramsci benefited in his life, outside of his prison days, of course, from the Western life-style of an intellectual. However, he did not see his own inconsistencies, as his own well-being depended largely on the capitalism of Western Europe and the music, art, and literature of that culture. His idea of hegemony, which merely means ruling class, is that the ideas of the dominant culture, or political will becomes the lords and masters of the masses. History will see this momentum.  He foresaw the failure of a violent Marxist take-over, and therefore came up with this mode of revolution in changing the education and then cultural mores to move along Marxist principles. A slow removal of the norms of Western civilization, especially in areas of morals and religious thought, can be removed from the public life merely by the agreement of the culture itself, having various groupings coming into agreement through common goals.

I must correct myself, as I made an error in an earlier posting that Gramsci created the phrase "the long march through the institutions", a phrase of Rudy Dutschke, a liberation theology-type revolutionary, who coined the phrase. The ideals of Gramsci inspired this phrase, however, and I am happy to retract the error. 

The point of all of this is that we are now seeing in America the result of these revolutionary ideals and the hegemony of society, which now dictates, through Washington and other means, such as the media, a culture which denies natural law philosophy and the normal Western moral norms for the godless, relativistic and subjective pursuit of power and complete autonomy. Of course, the great enemy of the ruling class, which basically is the same as de Tocqueville's Tyranny of the Majority, is the Catholic Church.

Follow up on Marriage Post...

Once a King or Queen in Narnia, always a King or Queen.

This post comes out of a response to the one on marriage below. In my years working in RCIA, I recognized that the catechesis on the Sacraments of Baptism and Confirmation had been woefully inadequate for years, both in America and in England. One of the misunderstandings among people is that one can "undo" the Sacraments of Baptism and Confirmation. No, once a Catholic, always a Catholic. One can chose to be lapsed, an apostate. But, the theology of the Sacraments is clear. One receives an indelible mark, lasting forever, on the soul. Now, we physical beings have a hard time understanding spiritual concepts outside of lame, material metaphors or images. However, this indelible mark, as mysterious and invisible as it may seem, signs us for life and for eternity. It is a real efficacious sign, not an metaphor. All the Sacraments are efficacious. These actions from Christ Himself do something, not merely represent something. 

Eternity is a very long time. In the Catholic Encyclopedia, the term character is used to describe this mark.  If any one shall say that in three sacraments, viz. BaptismConfirmation, and Holy orders, there is not a character impressed upon the soul, that is a certain spiritual and ineffaceable mark [signum] whence these sacraments cannot be iterated, let him be anathema (Concil. Trid. Sess. ult., can. vii). (and see the motu proprio listed below in the post on marriage).

And, if one denies it, one is, as seen above from the Council of Trent, excommunicated. The apostate, as I indicated below a few days ago, no longer has to make a formal, public declaration of apostasy. The "ineffaceable" sign changes us in the eyes of God, and should, change how we see ourselves. 

If we truly believe in the doctrines concerning the Sacraments, we can understand the ramifications in the denial of our Baptismal character, not to mention that of Confirmation.

Baptism changes us forever, giving us God's Life, Sanctifying Grace and taking away Original Sin. We become Children of God, then, as seen in the CCC. I have provided the links.

We are irrevocably changed, forever, in Baptism. To state otherwise is heresy. To live otherwise is to chance giving up Eternal Life for Eternal Death. We should thank God for our parents who saw fit to have us baptized and cooperate with grace. What a gift!

In addition, to think that the Sacraments are not doing anything spiritual is to fall into subjectivity and relativism. Father James V. Schall wrote on the Pope's visit to England in an excellent article here.

Part of the article dealt with false sincerity, which covers up, denies Truth. Father wrote,  We all become isolated in our own subjectivity. No one has to or can agree with anyone else on any grounds but sympathy or compassion. In such a world, "equality of opportunity" becomes the equality of doing whatever we want. We insist that the public order has no other purpose but to support us to do what we want. Since there is no truth, this latter "what we want" becomes the only truth. The only sin is to affirm that this view is false and destructive to everyone concerned, even those who rejoice in doing whatever is it that they want.

Benedict concludes his remarks to the English bishops by saying that "Fidelity to the Gospel in no way restricts the freedom of others—on the contrary is serves their freedom by offering them the truth." We are not free if we do not live in truth. The slavery to sin is much worse than political slavery, which is bad enough. We cannot be what we are except in the truth of what we are. When we exercise our "right" to do what we want, when we sympathize with lives of disorder, we lock ourselves and others into a world of self-centeredness in which the only law that counts is the one we give ourselves, whatever it is. 

Bless the Lord all birds of the air...The little Benedictine bird, in her black feathers, has just sung one of the Hours.

This morning I was awakened by the song of the Thrush commonly called the Blackbird. Like the American Robin, Turdus migratorius, this Turdus merula is a harbinger of Spring, and both birds are among my favorites for their early morning choral melodies. The songs of the Blackbirds and American Robins, to me, are part of Vigils, the early morning Hours or, technically, Night Hours, before Lauds, said in monastic settings much earlier than the 6:30 hour at which I heard the singing. The Blackbird sings in the dark, before dawn, whereas the American Robin sings just as Dawn arrives. When I lived in Missouri, I heard hundreds of Robins in the Dawn. This morning, the moon was shining while the Blackbird sang.

This bird reminds me in turn of one of Shakespeare's craziest and most humorous play, A Midsummer Night's Dream in which the Blackbird is mentioned. As I have aged, I have warmed up to this play more and more, as it shows the "battle of the sexes" as well as the unity of love which crosses and crisscrosses our paths in a multiple of manners. The entire story is framed in the harmony of marriage, as opposed to the disharmony of courtship and carnal love. As Valentine's Day approaches, (and I started this little series of meditations on love, and included chickens below), I now acknowledge the small, but growing Morning Chorus as sign of our love and all creation's love for God, our prayers going "up like incense before the Lord" in the darkness just before dawn, rather than in the evening, as the psalmist states. Vigils takes the place of Matins in the more traditional orders, whereas in some breviaries, Matins and Lauds are combined. Here is a quotation from St. Benedict: As the Prophet saith: "Seven times a day I have given praise to Thee,"this sacred seven fold number will be fulfilled by us in this wise if we perform the duties of our service at the time of Lauds, Prime, Terce, Sext, None, Vespers, and Compline; because it was of these day hours that he hath said: "Seven times a day I have given praise to Thee." For the same Prophet saith of the night watches: "At midnight I arose to confess to Thee." At these times, therefore, let us offer praise to our Creator "for the judgments of His justice;" namely, at Lauds, Prime, Terce, Sext, None, Vespers, and Compline; and let us rise at night to praise Him.

The little Benedictine bird, in her black feathers, has just sung one of the Hours.