“In nothing is the power of the Dark Lord more clearly shown than in the estrangement that divides all those who still oppose him.”
One may well have noticed that this quote is a permanent feature of my blog. At least until I work out a way for WordPress.com to do scrolling quotes, then I will add more. But this particular quote has a deep truth to it. A deep truth which is not only vital to the Catholic Scout, but also to the forces that oppose the Dark Lord.
Of course, Our Lord Jesus Christ talked about the subject when people accused him of casting out devils by Beelzebub.
And the scribes who were come down from Jerusalem, said: He hath Beelzebub, and by the prince of devils he casteth out devils. And after he had called them together, he said to them in parables: How can Satan cast out Satan? And if a kingdom be divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. And if a house be divided against itself, that house cannot stand. And if Satan be risen up against himself, he is divided, and cannot stand, but hath an end.
Here the Divine Redeemer points out, Satan is not divided against himself. And yet, J R R Tolkien utters a Truth through the mouth of Haldir. “In nothing is the power of the Dark Lord more clearly shown than in the estrangement that divides all those who still oppose him.” How true is it, that estrangement, that divides all of us who oppose Satan.
Even within our respective liturgical and theological “sensibilities”. Take for instance, Catholic Traditionalism. How often is it easy to find estrangements dividing one from another. Petty reasons, serious reasons. But Christ said it “if a house be divided against itself, that house cannot stand“.
This is a serious issue, but it is compounded by Original Sin, which has fractured and continues to fracture humanity as a whole, and the human being as an individual. So it’s part of our fallen nature. Even after Baptism, we still suffer from the tendency, otherwise known as concupiscence. Christianity has always called the soul to strive towards perfection. But as I have noted elsewhere, Catholicism while calling the soul to strive towards perfection, calls the soul to do so in a particular way.
Catholicism is not Pelagianist. Pelagianism is a word which has now come back out of the closet with the current Supreme Pontiff. People have speculated that Pope Francis was referring to Traditionalists as suffering from Pelagianism. If it turns out that was what Pope Francis was referring to, well it may be the case in some instances, but certainly not for the vast, vast majority. God bless his soul!
Traditional Catholics draw upon solid Catechism. Only by using one’s Intellect and one’s Will to cooperate with Divine Grace can we advance towards perfection.
The key is;
- Having the knowledge of the two supreme faculties of the soul (Intellect and Will)
- Having understanding of Divine Grace
- Understanding that one can use the Intellect and Will in order to cooperate with Divine Grace.
- Doing so.
Traditional Catholics are a good place to start. While it is true, they (just as anyone else) suffer from the factionalism caused by the stain of Original Sin, the seduction of the World and the efforts of the Legions of Darkness, Traditionalists have certain inherent strengths. They;
- draw upon solid catechism (Catechism of Council of Trent, Baltimore Catechism, Penny Catechism)
- are homogeneous in their expression of liturgical Worship (Traditional Latin Mass)
and for these reasons, they tend to bunch together more readily. And at this point before I go further I think it’s time for an important…
Catholic History Lesson.
Prior to 1965 the Roman Rite of the Catholic Church was singular, sacred, universal and had developed organically almost two millennia.
Singular. There was one Roman Rite, one set of Roman Rite Rubrics.
Sacred. No-one thought for a moment that they could mess around with this bit or that bit.
Universal. There was one language, no matter where you went, it was the same.
Ancient. The Mass was truly ancient, passed from Pope to Pope down the generations.
But you knew that right? Well, what you probably didn’t know is that the people who were attached to this Rite, after the Second Vatican Council changes remained one homogeneous group. There was no distinction between those going to the SSPX or going to other “flying priests”.
You knew that too? When the SSPX had the carpet pulled from underneath their feet in 1975, they continued to function. But still the laity, more or less, formed a single homogeneous group.
That was the case until 1988 when “the Consecrations” happened. At that point there was a split. But here I wish to add a new precision to history. That formerly-homogeneous group, split into:
- SSPX-associated laity
- Ecclesia Dei-associated laity
Between these two groups an animosity grew, basically centred around the trauma of the split, and squabbles over who was right and who was wrong. It basically continues today. The lines are not absolutely cut and dry, black or white, but more or less it describes the situation.
Of course what does not help the situation is Extra Ecclesia Nulla Salus statements that are constantly fired from one side or the other, aimed at the laity of those two groups.
I think few people understand just how terribly painful that split was. Few people want to remember it. And few people want to now look back at it and analyse it. I think that needs to change.
Because as it stands, I suspect, that the Ecclesia Dei-associated laity in the UK may not have Critical Mass in order to avoid amalgamation. I’m not factoring in Divine Action here, but the numbers simply don’t add up. And that worries me.
–End of Catholic History Lesson–
So returning to the theme of the “Estrangement that divides us” and why it is bad…
While I consistently unite myself with the Divine Redeemers rejection of violence and enmity, there are great lessons to be learnt from the military – why? Because the world’s military’s are not in the business of loosing, they must have the best strategies, or they learn the very hard way, but from those they do learn (unlike us Catholics often times)… Anyway, we have much to learn especially from the Principles of war:
Selection and Maintenance of the Aim
A single, unambiguous aim is the keystone of successful military operations. Selection and maintenance of the aim is regarded as the master principle of war.
Maintenance of Morale
Morale is a positive state of mind derived from inspired political and military leadership, a shared sense of purpose and values, well-being, perceptions of worth and group cohesion.
Offensive action is the practical way in which a commander seeks to gain advantage, sustain momentum and seize the initiative.
Security is the provision and maintenance of an operating environment that affords the necessary freedom of action, when and where required, to achieve objectives.
Surprise is the consequence of shock and confusion induced by the deliberate or incidental introduction of the unexpected.
Concentration of Force
Concentration of force involves the decisive, synchronized application of superior fighting power (conceptual, physical, and moral) to realize intended effects, when and where required.
Economy of Effort
Economy of effort is the judicious exploitation of manpower, materiel and time in relation to the achievement of objectives.
Flexibility – the ability to change readily to meet new circumstances – comprises agility, responsiveness, resilience, acuity and adaptability.
Cooperation entails the incorporation of teamwork and a sharing of dangers, burdens, risks and opportunities in every aspect of warfare.
To sustain a force is to generate the means by which its fighting power and freedom of action are maintained.
The Catholic Scout, needs to understand these principles and, to practice them in the understanding that we are at war, with principalities and powers (meaning the legions of hell). We Catholics need to understand these principles, and pay particular attention to Concentration of Force, Economy of Effort and Cooperation.
We have much to remember, and to implement. Time to get back to work!