As noted in my last post, I have taken time to take a step away from our immediate concerns at St. Peter’s. The rapidity and depth of the changes unfolding within our Parish can cause one to become mired in the details and minutia of the present and lose sight of the larger picture. With that in mind I listened to the CD Winning the Culture War by Dr. Peter Kreeft and also took some time to review my old high school Western Civilization history book . The two ventures were helpful in re-establishing mental and spiritual equilibrium.
The CD and Youtube video of Dr. Kreeft’s talk are lengthy. If you don’t take notes, you can miss some of the high points and their interrelationships. Fortunately, there are several commentaries on the talk that provide a type CliffsNotes guide. The following excerpt from The Devil plans to with the culture war by making Catholics phoneys – Peter Kreeft summarizes the seven concepts represented by the acronym P-H-O-N-E-Y-S:
- Politicization – the tendency Americans have to confuse politics for religion. He drew awareness to the trend of defining oneself by politics instead of religion, saying, ‘We have persuaded many of them to judge their faith by the standard of ‘political correctness’ rather than vice versa.’
- Happy Talk – the principle of happy talk raised the ante on the average ignorance-is-bliss mentality. He pointed out that Catholics must first return to being Catholic, and correct their own practices before projecting to non-Catholics. “Catholics abort, contracept, sodomize, fornicate, divorce, and sexually abuse,” he said, “at almost exactly the same rate as non-Catholics. Amid this devastation, keep them happy talking. Keep them saying ‘Peace, Peace,’ when there is no peace.” He wants Catholics to take responsibility for their behavior, make a conscious effort to change it, and to acknowledge that blame can’t be placed entirely on the secular world.
- Organizationalism – Catholics suffer from organizationalism, causing them to regard everything—including the Church—as business ventures. This is especially bad, he noted, because people have lost sight of the role of the Church, and instead focused on the goals of business. “They must worship success, not sanctity,” he said, “and fear failure, not sin.”
- Neo-worship – or worship of things new at the expense of the old, in particular the rejection of things “pre-Vatican II”.
- Egalitarianism – Describing society’s misguided translation of egalitarianism, Kreeft pointed out that “sexism” has persuaded men and women to perceive each other as equal, when they should instead be considered beautifully inferior to each other. He believes in the importance of regarding men and women as separate and unequal, and in acknowledging the positive impact of the differences that define each. According to Kreeft, society’s deterioration of egalitarianism fosters “the difference between the beauty of black and the beauty of white reduced to a boring grey.”
- Yuppydom – which is essentially selling out to the fads of the times rather than holding God as God. Yuppydom is a generation that prides itself on not being prideful, saying, “Let them feel superior about not feeling superior, judgmental about not being judgmental.”
- Spirituality – in which Christians seek salvation, or at least affirmation, while recoiling at the thought of suffering—they want Christ without the cross.