In the introduction to this blog, I mentioned a French radical-progressive organ called Golias. I emphasised that this blog, in spite of its title, has nothing to do with this highly ideologically-loaded tendency which is to be found not only in France, but in many other countries like the German-speaking countries and the USA.
The issue is in the article Rome-Ecône : retour au bercail – Enquête sur les dessous d’un accord scandaleux by a person using the pseudonym Golias. This is not the first article of its kind, and not the last. In France, the whole conflict has festered for centuries, firstly between the refractaires and the concordataires at the Revolution, then the liberals -> Ultramontanists and the Gallican remnant, then those for and against Dreyfus, those who collaborated under the Nazi Occupation of 1940-44 against the Résistance and finally radical progressive and radical traditionalist groups fighting it out from the end of World War II and unable to see that their intestine battles are less and less noticed by ordinary people here in France.
Fear is one cause of wanting to put the brakes on true and multilateral diversity. On the side of the intégristes, fear causes people to seek certitude and protection.
In the beginning was fear. It pushes man to imagine protecting and reassuring gods. But also to construct interior prisons, stiff and prickly, those of closed and reducing dogmatisms, but of course reassuring faces with .
What are the exterior threats and interior temptations? Golias seems a little transparent to me. The “exterior threats” are Muslim immigrants entering France in large numbers and the “interior temptation” is to vote extreme-right – for Le Pen’s party!
The trouble is that Golias too is afraid for the future of his essentially secular humanist ideology against the encroachments of the extreme right. He complains that intégrisme is the enemy of diversity and the future, that Rome is going this way. The words are lifted straight out of nineteenth-century polemics: intransigence and defensive positions. Benedict XVI is put into opposition against Vatican II (the traditionalists say exactly the opposite). The Pope is welcoming the traditionalists and silencing the dissidents. The traditionalists have been saying the opposite over the past more than forty years.
What is characteristic here is to find the opposition and convergence of two intolerant extremes, intolerant of each other and also of “moderate” positions. I dwelt on the presence of evil in the form of intrinsically bad persons infecting the rest of society. There is a threshold of evil beyond which ordinary people cease to relate to the infected entity. Going back to the nineteenth century as described in Umberto Eco’s The Prague Cemetery would not bring back the masses to the churches, but nor would Golias’ vision of destruction and nothingness.
I suspect the SSPX will break into about two-thirds for going back to Rome and a position similar to that of various traditionalist communities admitted from about 1988, and a third led by Bishop Williamson and tendencies bordering on sedevacantism. The future of the minority will depend on its cohesion and sense of interior discipline. It could last as the Raskol Old Believers in Russia and the Petite Eglise in France did. It all depends on the initial leadership and unity within the group.
I still believe in the good faith of the Pope and his desire to unite in diversity between those who will accept the diversity of others. That seems an altogether decent attitude characterised by Christian charity and the desire for the unity of the Church for the sake of its continuing witness of the Gospel.
The French scene is ideologically loaded and heavily into politics. The political prognostic presently for this country is the prospect of five years of socialism and a cause of a radical reaction to the extreme-right as a result. It is quite frightening. The threshold of evil is being exceeded as happened every time people like Stalin and Hitler got into power. The horror is not now but in five years time!
And so it goes on…
Tweedledum and Tweedledee