Charlottesville and Aftermath: Friends on the Left, Enemies on the Right?
By Father Kevin M. Cusick
“Wars and tumults fill the earth; men the fear of God despise; retribution, vengeance, wrath, brood upon the angry skies.” –Hymn to Saint Pius V, Pope and Confessor. The Raccolta
A young well-read and devout traditional Catholic, using the pseudonym Daniel Stephen, I recently interviewed believes it is a folly at this moment to “punch right.”
What are your thoughts on the Charlottesville protest and its tragic consequences?
“As public discourse has continued to deteriorate, two opposing factions are fighting over the expiring corpse of Western Civilization. The alt-Right, a loosely affiliated group of mostly young people who have become disaffected with the disastrous political, cultural, and economic results of the liberal globalist hegemony are opposed by the Antifas, who—lacking a truly coherent worldview or any semblance of philosophical nuance—view those holding any reactionary, traditionalist, or conservative positions as fascists who need to be ‘shut down.’”
Can you say something about the so-called “alt-Right”?
“While those in the alt-Right generally favor more authoritarian forms of government, they tend towards monarchist or constitutionalist sympathies and the defense of traditional values. De Maistre is certainly more of an influence in these circles than Mein Kampf. This is not to say that there are not any White Supremacists or even neo-Nazis who identify as alt-Right, but these are mostly hangers-on who have not had significant influence among the serious thinkers within the movement.”
Shouldn’t we condemn the KKK? Weren’t they part of the alt-Right group?
“The unfortunate events in Charlottesville were not, as it has been portrayed in the media, the result of vicious Klansmen spewing “hate” and terror, but a clash between elements of rightist and leftist political movements which are both outside of the increasingly irrelevant “mainstream” of American politics. If there were Klansmen in the crowd, they were either hangers-on or plants.”
Who are the good guys and who are the bad guys? Is President Trump right? Were their good and bad people on both sides?
“Leaving their respective ideologies aside, the circumstances of the day, objectively, were that the right-wing protesters, who had received a permit to assemble, were ordered to disperse by riot police who forced them into an angry crowd of counter-demonstrators of leftist sympathies, who verbally and physically attacked the retreating rightists. The fatalities late in the day seem to be the result of the flagrant mismanagement of a volatile situation by the Mayor of Charlottesville, or possibly even a planned event.”
So, should we be aware of the mainstream media slant on the news?
“While it was entirely predictable that the mainstream media accepted the narrative presented by the Antifas and their allies, it is perhaps slightly more surprising that, in their official statements responding to the Charlottesville incident, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops repeated uncritically the denunciation of the alt-Right protestors as White Supremacists and neo-Nazis, and even lauded the Antifa mob as “brave souls who sought to protect us from the violent ideology displayed yesterday.” A Jesuit publication, apparently referring to a group of women clad in polyester albs and stoles who joined in the fray, approvingly identified these people as ‘local clergy and people of faith.’ I withhold comment on the theological merits of this description.”
So, it’s easy to paint different elements of the “right” with the same brush?
“The alt-Right is generally denounced as “racist,” and while this may be interpreted as true according to the ever-shifting contemporary definition of the term, it would not be true according to authentic Catholic moral theology. It is entirely unhelpful to condemn those who are concerned with preserving their ethnic and cultural identity as being inherently “hateful.” Pope Pius XII, in his encyclical Humani generis unitas, which condemned genuine race-based hatred, states, ‘It is quite legitimate for nations to treat their differences as a sacred inheritance and guard them at all costs.’”
What is the context provided by Church history?
“The Roman Pontiffs have historically had no difficulty recognizing as threats to the Christian order and the good of souls, the imprecations of barbarous and dangerous peoples. They would see nothing contrary to the Gospel of Christ in opposing the contemporary bureaucratic imposition of massive Islamic “immigration” on the West. Pope Saint Pius V had no concerns for “welcoming the migrant” at Lepanto. “Thine it was, O Pontiff brave! Pontiff of eternal Rome! From barbaric yoke to save terror-stricken Christendom,” says the hymn to this Holy Pope recorded in The Raccolta. In the Bull of Indication for the Council of Trent, Pope Paul III experienced no scruplesin referring to the Turks as “our cruel and perpetual enemy,” who “sacked and ravaged” Italy while Christian princes engaged in domestic squabbles and infighting. The same Pope Paul might rightly observe, viewing our present circumstances, that there is nothing new under the sun.”
What can you say about the two sides present at Charlottesville?
“While the alt-Right, being a nascent and disorganized political movement, is hampered by discordant streams of thought including neo-Nazism and neo-Paganism, it is comprised largely of faithful Catholics of traditionalist sensibilities, adherents to Eastern Orthodoxy, and protestants and agnostics who are at least somewhat friendly to the true Faith. Catholics in positions of spiritual authority would do well to demonstrate that the Church has—and has always had—an answer to the genuine ills which plague modern society, and would find willing allies and loyal sons in the great work of restoring Christendom.
“The Antifa movement, on the other hand, is unabashedly communistic, and gleefully—if one could use the term in reference to such aggressively dowdy and unpleasant people—rejects the entirety of the Christian social order and would see that even among the ruins not one stone remains upon another. What common ground can we find with those who have openly declared war on God? Why give moral support to the same elements who are pushing gender theory on children and demanding that abortion be protected as an intrinsic human right?”
Give us some historic context.
“During the French Revolution, following the promulgation of the Civil Constitution of the Clergy, half of the French clergyapostatized and became abjuring priests, compelled by force to accept and promote the principles of the Enlightenment. Today,the official statements of the USCCB carry water for the leftist agenda—which is animated by precisely the same spirit as the Revolution of 1789—by unequivocally supporting Communist street-fighters and indiscriminately condemning those in the alt-Right as violent and dangerous ideologues. It is impossible to know if they are motivated by fear of violence of the mob, or out of concern for human respect, or simply because they have accepted the worldview of cultural Marxists as being compatible with—or even identical to—the principles of the Gospel of Our Lord.”
Where does all this leave us?
“As the rabid leftists who now are hell-bent on toppling Confederate monuments and “punching Nazis” continue their work to “deconstruct white privilege” their outbursts will, if nature runs its course unimpeded by Divine intervention, become more violent and less discriminating in target selection. Statues of Joan of Arc and the recently canonized Saint Junipero Serra have already been marked out for demolition by the mobin Louisiana and California. What will happen when the Revolution decides that Bishops’ Conferences are institutional apparatuses of oppression and privilege?
Do the Bishops believe that they will save their heads by blessing the guillotines?”
Thank you for reading and praised be Jesus Christ. @MCITLFrAphorism