Sunday, July 9, 2017

"We are inferior to many far less advanced cultures"

“ALL the great historic civilizations of the past recognized the existence of some spiritual principles or ends of this kind and made them the key of their interpretation of reality and their concepts of moral order. Hence a system of education like that of the modern secular state which almost totally ignores the spiritual component in human culture and in the human psyche is a blunder so enormous that no advance in scientific method or educational technique is sufficient to compensate for it. In this respect we are inferior to many far less advanced cultures which have retained their consciousness of a spiritual order, for wherever this consciousness exists the culture still possesses a principle of integration.”

~Christopher H. Dawson: The Crisis of Western Education, Part III, Chap. XV—Western Man and the Technological Order.

"Modern secularized culture has become a closed world"

“THE present situation is that modern secularized culture has become a closed world and has lost all contact with the higher world of spiritual reality. In the past this higher world was rendered intelligible and visible to Western man through the medium of Christian culture, which provided a whole series of ways of approach adapted to the different types of mind and the different forms of intellectual activity. Today all these avenues have become closed by ignorance, prejudice or neglect, and they have to be re-opened by the spiritual and intellectual action of Catholics, each working in his own field towards the common end, and it is here the work of the educated Catholic is of such importance. There is an apostolate of study as well as an apostolate of action and of prayer.”

~Christopher H. Dawson: The Crisis of Western Education, Part III, Chap. III—The Religious Vacuum in Modern Culture. (1961)

Sunday, June 4, 2017

"A completely secularized culture is a world of make believe"

“NOW it is not the business of Christianity to defend our secularized Western culture from the menace of social or political revolution. From the Christian point of view there is not much to choose between passive agnosticism or indifferentism and active materialism. In fact, both of them may be different symptoms or phases of the same spiritual disease. What is vital is to recover the moral and spiritual foundations on which the lives of both the individual and the culture depend: to bring home to the average man that religion is not a pious fiction which has nothing to do with the facts of life, but that it is concerned with realities, that it is in fact the pathway to reality and the law of life. This is no easy task, since a completely secularized culture is a world of make believe in which the figures of the cinema and the cartoon-strip appear more real than the figures of the Gospel; in which the artificial cycle of wage earning and spending has divorced men from their direct contact with the life of the earth and its natural cycle of labor and harvest; and in which, even birth and death and sickness and poverty no longer bring men face to face with ultimate realities, but only bring them into closer dependence on the state and its bureaucracy so that every human need can be met by filling in the appropriate form.”

~Christopher Dawson: The Crisis of Western Education, Chap. XIII—The Religious Vacuum in Modern Culture.

"Their good becomes indistinguishable from the evil"

“AS soon as men decide that all means are permitted to fight an evil, then their good becomes indistinguishable from the evil that they set out to destroy. The subordination of morals to politics, the reign of terror, the techniques of propaganda and psychological aggression can be used by any power or party that is bold enough to abandon moral scruples and plunge into the abyss.”

Religion and World History: A Selection from the Works of Christopher Dawson, Part III, Ch. 7.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

"The pathway to reality"

“NOW it is not the business of Christianity to defend our secularized Western culture from the menace of social or political revolution. From the Christian point of view there is not much to choose between passive agnosticism or indifferentism and active materialism. In fact, both of them may be different symptoms or phases of the same spiritual disease. What is vital is to recover the moral and spiritual foundations on which the lives of both the individual and the culture depend: to bring home to the average man that religion is not a pious fiction which has nothing to do with the facts of life, but that it is concerned with realities, that it is in fact the pathway to reality and the law of life. This is no easy task, since a completely secularized culture is a world of make believe in which the figures of the cinema and the cartoon-strip appear more real than the figures of the Gospel; in which the artificial cycle of wage earning and spending has divorced men from their direct contact with the life of the earth and its natural cycle of labor and harvest; and in which, even birth and death and sickness and poverty no longer bring men face to face with ultimate realities, but only bring them into closer dependence on the state and its bureaucracy so that every human need can be met by filling in the appropriate form.”

~Christopher Dawson: The Crisis of Western Education, Chap. XIII—The Religious Vacuum in Modern Culture. 

Saturday, November 19, 2016

"The forces of destruction"

“OUR generation has been forced to realize how fragile and unsubstantial are the barriers the separate civilization from the forces of destruction. We have learnt that barbarism is not a picturesque myth or a half-forgotten memory of a long-passed stage of history, but an ugly underlying reality which may erupt with shattering force whenever the moral authority of a civilization loses its control.”

~Christopher H. Dawson: Gifford Lectures, 1948: Religion and the Rise of Western Culture. 

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

"Christians have allowed civilization to become secular”

“IF the Christian faith contains such vast sources of spiritual energy and power, if the Church is the divine organ of world transformation and the seed of a new humanity, how has it come about that the world—above all the Christian world—has fallen into its present plight? From the Christian point of view it is easy to understand persecution and external adversity and failure, but it is far harder to face the failure of Christianity on the spiritual plane. For it is not simply that modern civilization has become secularized, it is that Christians have allowed civilization to become secular.”

~Christopher H. Dawson: The Judgment of the Nations, Part II, Chap. 4.—Return to Christian Unity.

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