Saturday, July 4, 2015


Here is one definition of paganism:

It is perhaps misleading even to say that there was such a religion as “paganism” at the beginning of [the Common Era] ... It might be less confusing to say that the pagans, before their competition with Christianity, had no religion at all in the sense in which that word is normally used today. They had no tradition of discourse about ritual or religious matters (apart from philosophical debate or antiquarian treatise), no organized system of beliefs to which they were asked to commit themselves, no authority-structure peculiar to the religious area, above all no commitment to a particular group of people or set of ideas other than their family and political context. If this is the right view of pagan life, it follows that we should look on paganism quite simply as a religion invented in the course of the second to third centuries AD, in competition and interaction with Christians, Jews and others.

Yesterday I read somewhere that most Americans no longer consider America to be a Christian nation. I'm not sure I ever considered America to be a Christian nation in the classic definition of Christianity being Catholic. After all America had separation of Church and state. I did consider our government and civil founding to be WASP, meaning, White, Anglo-Saxon Protestant.  Thus inscribed in the Declaration of Independence and the US Constitution were the principles of our Judeo-Christian heritage, albeit Protestant.

That has changed and rapidly beginning with the 1960's social revolution culminating in the Supreme Court's Decision to allow abortion on demand and continuing today in an uncanny sort of way with the 2010's social revolution culminating in the Supreme Court's edict mandating same sex marriage and immediately.

Thus, unlike the classic definition of paganism which I quote above, the new Paganism does now have an "organized systems of beliefs to which they are asked to commit themselves" with an authoritarian-structure synonymous with the secular governments and a commitment to family and politics as dictated by the secular governments in which they live.  We really can't call them "nones" because they have a religion a new or neo-pagan religion to which they profess!

The ultimate magisterium of the Pagan religion in America is the Supreme Court, aptly named. 

The Bible of American Paganism is fierce godless individualism unless it has a Christian bias. 

The two sacraments of American Paganism are abortion and same sex marriage.

The sexual morality of American Paganism is heathenism or anything goes to the point of the glorification of S&M in movies such as 50 Shades of Gray.

The general morality of American Paganism is simply to include everyone in a non-judgmental way and to see amorality and immorality as classically taught by Christianity as obsolete, harsh and bigoted. 

In the Diocese of Savannah where I grew up, we Catholics were a minority. We learned to defend our Faith from Protestant Christians who tried to proselytize and denigrate us (more so prior to Vatican II but still today in pockets). We knew how to live with our Protestant brothers and sisters who wanted to convert us and kind of liked the challenge of dealing with them. It helped us to hone up on our own faith in order to debate.

However, we are not prepared as practicing Catholic, who actually believe everything the Church teaches, to do the same with new Pagans that often say they are Christians, maybe even Catholics.

Like the Jews of old who God chastised for bringing Paganism of their day into the purity of Judaism, we are at a similar crossroads with pagan cyncretism (blending) with Catholicism in particular and Christianity in general.

We must learn to debate with our pagan friends and in a non-threatening way.

Any suggestions?


Anonymous said...

They say all the time "Judge not," and "God is Love." We as faithful need to be taught in sermons and bulletins about how to deal with this. We can judge what is wrong for us and tell people what is wrong but can't condemn them. And God is Love but there is tough love too. They don't hear the "go and sin no more," it just roles off them. Then they anecdotal evidence like, "Oh I am friends with a gay couple with kids, and they're the best." Try saying studies prove otherwise and they don't care. It's not a debate. They say, "you have your truth and I have mine. we're not going to change. Let's leave it at that."

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

It is absurd to say Christians can't judge morality. What we can't judge is someone's salvation, no matter how immoral they might be--only God does that. The Church has no "canonization" declaration of anyone being in hell, not even Judas.

Christians are allowed to be lawyers and judges and to make severe judgements and imposed prison time and even the death penalty on criminals. Why the disconnect for morality? It is absurb, I say it again, to say Christians can't judge behavior and call it moral, amoral or immoral!

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

The pope who says "who am I to judge" makes this judgmental statement:

"When those who hate Jesus Christ kill a Christian, before killing him, they don't ask, 'Are you Lutheran, or Orthodox, or Evangelical or Baptist or Methodist?'" the pope said. Francis added that these killers say "'You are Christian' and they cut off their heads."

Anonymous said...

It's Liberty and the Libertarians and The goddess Liberty. Their motto is not "In God We Trust," but "Live and Let Live," or "To Each Their Own." So there is no self control only whims and indulgences. "As long as it doesn't hurt others," that's another one of their favorites. Their theme song is "If it makes you happy then it can't be that bad..." Sheryl Crowe. All this dating back to Life, Liberty and Pursuit of Happiness.

Supertradmum said...

Idolatry of the State was ever a religion, culminating in the worship of emperors, or the worship of leaders like Stalin, which we call the "cult of personality" now. Everyone should read Lord of the World....the prophetic book about these times.

rcg said...

Better catechism for ourselves is important. Develop a mindset, a view , of the pagans and people following other religions that is charitable but clear on their error. Do not be judgmental, but expect to be challenged on that point. I believe the most enthusiastic antagonists, not enemies, of the Church are actually very close to conversion. They are are loudly and persistently crying out faults and accusations the same way a toddler cries for its mother in both need and anger. It makes compassion easier when we see this.

Victor said...

Of course you are right in suggesting that America was never a Christian nation, particularly in the Catholic sense of Christian. One pillar of America is the idea of freedom which is an outcrop of Protestantism, and which has led to the super-individualism that each American is his own universe. Related to this is the American idea of democracy, in which mob rule is perfectly fine. Even the doctrines of American Protestantism evolve through democracy.
But I disagree with you when you talk about social "revolution". There is not so much a revolution as a devolution, a going back to the Paganism of pre-Christian society, particularly regarding sexual morals.

Jdj said...

RCG, as usual you make so much sense...thanks!

Paul said...

The pagans are organizing: through Facebook, Meetup and the Universalist Unitarian Church.

The pagans try to use the words of The Holy Bible against Christians in an attempt to prove that some sort of "hypocrisy" is present, as if hypocrisy negates everything -- reason, judgment, morality, etc.. These are the ones who are trying to pull people back into the cesspool. If one continues then "holier-than-thou" comes out, again, trying to pull people back into the cesspool. Then as one goes along the "Judge not" gets played as if making a judgement of any kind is evil and hypocritical. If a person awakens and gets up in the morning then a judgement has been made to continue the day's activity. Actions can and must be judged and, sometimes, in case of extreme danger, for example, one must judge actions for someone else. Ask any firefighter or EMT.

Eventually, when all runs out and they tire, the name-calling, vulgarity and mockery begins in a attempt to label the opponent "stupid" and "bigoted".

When they turn into a screaming wretch, that's it: Debate over as thinking has left the stage.

I suspect that debate is quickly going away and the "dialogue" is turning into "trench warfare". Any student of WWI history can describe the horrors of that kind of battle and how out of touch the commanding leaders (away from the lines) were. Not fully experiencing the battle, the commanders (on both sides) tried the same tactics over and over again, throwing hundreds of thousands of bodies against bullets and shells. Same outcome. "The war to end all wars" secured a peace that lasted less than twenty years. In 1940 the French were again thinking defense and trench with the infamous, "impenetrable" Maginot Line. For all the concrete and artillery, a mechanized Hitler just ran around it and swept France.

Kind of like what happens with Supreme Court opinions. The pagans are moving swiftly.

John Nolan said...


The French believed that a defensive mentality had cost them the war of 1870 and so opted for an offensive strategy in 1914 with disastrous results in the short term. This in turn led to an over-reliance on a defensive strategy in 1940.

Contrary to popular myth, the 1914-18 war on the Western Front saw considerable innovations both in tactics and technology. The first tanks (which were used at Flers-Courcelette on the Somme in 1916) were crude and unreliable but that didn't stop Haig ordering a thousand of them (he never got anything like that number).

Without voice radio it was difficult to exercise command and control. The instinct of commanders is to go forward and at the Battle of Loos in 1915 the British lost five general officers, a loss they could ill-afford. All the same, in the course of the war on the Western Front 65 British officers of the rank of Brigadier General and above were killed. So much for 'out-of-touch' commanders.

Although it is a truism that in the conditions obtaining in France and Belgium the defence had an advantage over the offence, 3rd Ypres in 1917 showed that the carefully prepared 'impregnable' German defence-in-depth didn't work against determined assault using improved tactics and technology (especially as regards artillery). The Battle of Amiens (8 August 1918) was an integrated all-arms battle which was a forerunner of the Blitzkrieg used in 1940. The difference was that the Germans in 1918 were on the receiving end.