“When mystery no longer counts,” then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger said in a 1996 speech, “politics must be converted into religion.”
When the Christian mysteries are lost — the loss measured most accurately by the decay into ritual triviality of the Eucharistic mystery — then politics becomes religion. Politics is no longer satisfied to be just politics, and it aspires to be everything, that is, totalitarian: Bolshevism, German National Socialism, Maoism, Islamism, and assorted fanatical and murderous ideologies.
When these fail — the year 1989 is a convenient marker for the failure of most (but not all) of them — many of those who cling to the underlying delusions on which they were premised turned to “nature.” Like political absolutism, however, the “New Age” mentality that glorifies “nature” morphed in a heartbeat into an ideology that declared that the very idea of nature was too confining. Nature was to become whatever the autonomous individual decides it is.
The flight from Christianity — and from Judeo-Christian morality — inevitably progresses (regresses) toward moral and cultural incoherence, leaving the culture vulnerable to whatever predatory forces — within or without — retain (however perversely and ominously) a conviction that they are right and that the future belongs to them.
NOTE: this was initially posted on our ‘old’ blog site in June 2007