From time to time I read, with interest, a traditionalist Roman Catholic blog. Both the posts (by the almost unbelievably erudite Fr John Hunwicke) and the comments are an enlightening and fascinating glimpse into the theologies of Roman Catholicism and the issues plaguing the RC Church today.
This afternoon, I perused a few posts, as a little break from thesis writing, and part of one of them struck me deeply. I have been considering, in spare moments, recently the deeply questionable (in fact, I would say deeply harmful) agenda of the Churches in the West to be ‘relevant’. It has, inevitably, hit Protestantism the hardest and Orthodoxy as yet by far the least, but it is something of concern to every western Christian. And it is certainly cutting through Roman Catholicism at a galloping, frightening speed.
It was these sentences from Fr Hunwicke that made me pause and reflect: ‘It is clear … well, to me, at least … that the contentious issues at stake at the moment in the Western Church centre around the claim that Christ is Lord; in other terms, the truth of the Social Reign of Christ the King. Or, to chase the same rabbit from the other end of the warren, the relationship between Zeitgeist and Faith. This was the truth that Archbishop Lefebvre saw with great and luminous clarity. “They have uncrowned Him.” ‘ Fr Hunwicke was talking about the particular context of traditionalist Catholicism and the Tridentine Rite; but, I think these sentences apply to the larger context of the desire for ‘relevance’ (the medium of approaching the Zeitgeist).
It is the last sentence that hits me hardest. ‘They have uncrowned Him’. Is that what modernist Christianity’s striving for ‘relevance’ is doing, and has done? I think so. In seeking to bring the world to Christ, rather than Christ to the world, it has stripped away from worship and doctrine alike so much of the majesty, awe, and kingliness that is intrinsic to our Lord. And in doing so, it has brought us further away from Him. The Churches are getting every closer to the world, yes; they are ever more apparently relevant. But, they are getting ever further from God.