Conservative Group Blasts the Pope: "Paganism" Has "Entered the Church"
#11
Honestly, I think it'd be great if the Holy Father were bringing paganism back into the Church. Paganism, it seems to me, is quite open to baptism. Unfortunately, what many within the hierarchy want to introduce, at least as far as I can tell, is not paganism, but rather the unacknowledged theology of our "secular," post-Christian West.
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#12
The post-Christian West is pretty much a mixture between atheism and paganism anyway. Even most of the people who are Christians follow almost a paganized version of Christianity. The gods of money, power, sex, drugs (aka Satan), rule the western world.
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#13
I tend to disagree. I don't think you will find much of the paganism of the Homeric Hymns, Pindar, or the Poetic Edda in the modern West. Rather, what we have is a sort of bizarre Christian heresy that is Gnostic, moralistic, and rabidly egalitarian. Even many trads, it seems to me, share many of its core assumptions. 
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#14
You're simply lamenting the lack of the good things that were in ancient paganism that is not present in today's pagan/apostate religions. Of course, those good things properly belong to Christ, so to the Church, and after the Church takes it a rejection of the Church is also a rejection of the good elements (unless one is some sort of odd classicist professor).

Yes we have paganism today—the gods haven't changed, the only difference is technology. But its paganism divested from the ancient virtues.

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#15
(09-21-2015, 06:15 PM)Renatus Frater Wrote: You're simply lamenting the lack of the good things that were in ancient paganism that is not present in today's pagan/apostate religions. Of course, those good things properly belong to Christ, so to the Church, and after the Church takes it a rejection of the Church is also a rejection of the good elements (unless one is some sort of odd classicist professor).

Yes we have paganism today—the gods haven't changed, the only difference is technology. But its paganism divested from the ancient virtues.

I also used to be very much of this view, i.e. that idolatrous forms of pre-Christian religion have resurfaced under new 'secularised' names that disguise their supernatural element in material terms e.g. 'worship' of money, power, the self, etc. But now I'm really not so sure about this.

For a start I have become more wary of caricaturing pre-Christian religious forms as merely idolatrous or crypto-diabolical; the picture seems a lot more complex than that. Secondly, I suspect this narrative is a way for Christians to explain what is happening to Western culture in comfortingly familiar and understandable terms that don't fully acknowledge the profundity of the shift that has taken place.

I am not sure that the virtues a devout pagan would have developed in the exercise of his religion (e.g. existential humility, piety, reverence, etc.) can be so easily separated from the doctrinal content of his beliefs, as if somehow these proto-Christian instincts towards virtue were just haplessly misdirected towards idolatrous ends. Conversely, I don't think the contemporary hostility towards the very idea of such virtues can be explained without reference to the basic assumptions underpinning Western culture.

Is there not something quite unprecedented in the contemporary worldview? More disturbingly, is it not distinctly the product (albeit heretical and unintentional) of a Christian culture?
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#16
In a sense, yes, FleetingShadow, the contemporary ethos is somehow a product of Christianity, just like an apostate is a product of Christianity—someone who rejects his or her baptism. And this is far worse a state than not being baptized at all.

Now, what I said about the goods in pagan life is in no way something original, or even modern. Many of the Church Fathers held this view, that what was good in the pagan philosophy was proper to the Church (as it is the locus of the Good--and the fulness of him who is filled all in all), and it exists in the pagan religions only in a misdirected way. St. Augustine in the City of God also doesn't see any problem in calling out the pagan religion demonic (he has an extensive, sometimes even boring, analyses of paganism in the first few books). That old image of the Greeks mixing salty water with their wine is very apropos here.
Also, there is a grave problem when one says the pagan goods really belong to the pagan religion, because then we cannot use Greek philosophy as we have been doing since the beginning (since the preaching of St. Paul in Athens). We should then agree with the Protestants who say our view of God is a Hellenized God, with all the talk of Being, suprabeing, immutability, etc., our view of virtues a pagan view (virtue as habits, as opposed to the Lutheran or Calvinistic total depravity stuff).

Of course, not every pagan god was necessarily a demon (though David says so). Some were mere fantasy. But devils existed back then, and they reigned just like today. But now the contemporary religion doesn't have any masks—it is either perversely dull or outright evil. It is something altogether new because never has the world had civilizations that refused the infinite and transcendent love of the true God, now damned to live in a world without the old bravery and occasional joy, devoid of beauty—that in refusing it, to paraphrase von Balthasar, is exploring the depths of Satan.
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#17
(09-21-2015, 11:43 AM)DeoDuce Wrote:
(09-21-2015, 10:33 AM)GangGreen Wrote: There's this false Protestant type of notion that capitalism and certain other "conservative" political thoughts are as Christian as can be. Personally, while I do think capitalism can be the best market system, it's vastly abused in today's world. Capitalism requires people of good will to be at the top of the economic "food chain." When those in power are greedy and abuse those not in power, it becomes garbage.  Either way, both sides, Republican or Democrat are not Catholic parties. Both push evil into the world. Maybe one less so than other. Either way, they both stink.

The thing the bothers me the most about Capitalism and  Consumerism is the amount of stuff. I went to the store yesterday and they had 20 different variations of Bologna. It drives me insane. I'm all for some choice in products but when it reaches the point where they just make stuff to make stuff it get ridiculous. 


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I share your annoyance. Of course there is nothing wrong with variations within food types that develop regionally over time, but that isn't what is going on when you see 7 types of oreo cookies at the grocery store. A man I know who runs a regional chain of gas stations and teaches business classes at the local community college once pointed out to me that often when large companies create endless variations of the same product they are simply trying to smother their opponents and not necessarily make sales directly. After all who really buys the seasonal flavor of pop tarts? I certainly don't, but by having more products on the shelf it means that a competitor that actually makes sales with its flagship product has less shelf room to do so.
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#18
It's more properly referred to as mortadella, a traditional sausage of the area around the city of Balogna in Italy. In America, it is often corrupted to Bologna or completely vulgarized to baloney.
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#19
(09-21-2015, 06:15 PM)Renatus Frater Wrote: You're simply lamenting the lack of the good things that were in ancient paganism that is not present in today's pagan/apostate religions. Of course, those good things properly belong to Christ, so to the Church, and after the Church takes it a rejection of the Church is also a rejection of the good elements (unless one is some sort of odd classicist professor).

Yes we have paganism today—the gods haven't changed, the only difference is technology. But its paganism divested from the ancient virtues.

I don't know. It doesn't seem to me that our society's reigning ideology is simply paganism without the old virtues. The obsession with progress, for instance, does not appear to have its roots in ancient paganism, but rather in the secularization of a particular Christian reading of history. One could think of our modern fixation on "individual rights" and human dignity along similar lines.

Also, I agree that what is good in pagan religions belongs ultimately to the Church, but I wonder if it is really as simple as merely taking the good things "out" of paganism and using them for our own ends, as if paganism were nothing more than a container whose contents, once removed, retain no real connection to that which held them. Perhaps the Church must also deal more seriously with pagan religions in their entirety. I think here especially of certain of the Fathers (and later Bl. John Henry Newman) for whom Christianity was in some sense a restoration and fulfillment of a primordial revelation that continued to exist in a corrupt and incomplete form in Judaism and paganism. From this perspective, we might say, Catholicism is redeemed paganism. 
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#20
I suppose that when we use the term pagan to mean everything (usually around Italy and Greece) produced before the Advent we will naturally fall into confusion very quickly. Even the cult of the gods is regarded by some authors as already a decadence from the cult of the dead in one's family. Certainly we cannot say that every pagan religious sentiment was some innocently misguided “pure religion”, since all sorts of filth were found in some of them. And also, the more Socratic philosophical paganism was itself a innovation (for which he was condemned).
One of the distinction I find useful is that of St. Augustine between the theology of the plays, the theology of the city and natural theology. The first two, I dare say, have nothing redeemable about them (to quote St. Augustine, CD, VIII, “Natural theology is neither the faboulous nor the civic theology; that is, it is neither the theology of the theater nor the theology of the city, of which the one parades the crimes of the gods and the other displays their still more criminal desires (and so indicates that they are actually malignant demons rather than gods).”)
Now, to the extent that Natural theology was connected to pagan religions, say, in a sort of Proclean pistis that directs one to the One or that sort of stuff, we could say that there is a connection between the goods of philosophy and the pagan religion—just like we can say that Mohammedans worship the same God (at least the more sophisticated Mohammedan, like Hossein Nasr et al), in so far as they recognize the one God with reason. I mean, I don't know what would be to treat this form of paganism more seriously. Can you give an example?

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