January 8, 2010

God & Religion

Note: This entry is designed to gather into one place the aphorisms in which Gómez Dávila mentions God and religion. Other aphorisms relevant to these topics might be found under the heading of virtue and vice. Finally, as a word of caution, I should add that while many of these aphorisms are quite profound, many betray a significant fideistic trend in Gómez Dávila's thought.

To speak about God is presumptuous; not to speak of God is idiotic. (#2,738)

What is important is not that man believe in the existence of God; what is important is that God exist. (#2,984)

God is the substance of what we love. (#105)

God is not the object of my reason, nor of my sensibility, but of my being.
God exists for me in the same act in which I exist. (#559)

Only God and the central point of my consciousness are not accidental to me. (#2,428)

God is that inscrutable feeling of protection at our back. (#1,577)

I would not live for even a fraction of second if I stopped feeling the protection of God’s existence. (#2,799)

To be a Christian is to not be alone, no matter the solitude that surrounds us. (#2,213)

The perfect serenity of the moment in which it appears as if we were bound to God by an incomprehensible complicity. (#2,313)

We can resist the trivialization that is invading the world by resurrecting God as our rearguard. (#2,115)

Modern drudgery does not make it more difficult to believe in God, but it does make it impossible to feel Him. (#821)

To love is to understand the reason God had for creating what we love. (#371)

The religious life begins when we discover that God is not a postulate of ethics, but the only adventure in which it is worth the trouble to risk ourselves. (#843)

Man tries so hard to demonstrate in order to avoid the risk that he ultimately cannot avoid assuming. (#2,863)

God ends up being a parasite in souls where ethics predominates. (#1,709)

Religious austerity fascinates; ethical severity repels. (#1,776)

Our last hope lies in the injustice of God. (#12)

The Christian knows that he can claim nothing, but can hope for everything. (#1,714)

Believe in God, trust in Christ, look with suspicion. (#2,215)

For God there are only individuals. (#13)

Because we know that God cares about the individual, let us not forget that He seems to care little about humanity. (#1,739)

The importance it attributes to man is the enigma of Christianity. (#2,118)

Only for God are we irreplaceable. (#1,388)

The irreplaceability of the individual is the teaching of Christianity and the postulate of historiography. (#1,206)

By overcoming the notion of cyclical history, Christianity did not discover the meaning of history; it merely emphasized the irreplaceable importance of the irreplaceable individual. (#2,075)

For the man who believes in Providence the notion of providence explains nothing, since he believes that everything depends on it. (#2,281)

Even for Buddhist compassion, the individual is only a shadow that vanishes.
The dignity of the individual is a Christian cast made out of Greek clay. (#2,005)

When he is stripped of the Christian tunic and the classical toga, there is nothing left of the European but a pale-skinned barbarian. (#2,571)

If we believe in God we should not say, “I believe in God,” but rather, “God believes in me.” (#1,128)

I believe more in the smile than in the wrath of God. (#1,797)

Every end other than God dishonors us. (#17)

Religion did not arise out of the need to assure social solidarity, nor were cathedrals built to encourage tourism. (#48)

When economic and social revolutions are not simply ideological pretexts for religious crises, after a few years of disorder everything continues as before. (#1,018)

Modern man imagines that it is sufficient to open the windows in order to cure the soul’s infection, that it is not necessary to clear out the trash. (#2,077)

He who does not search for God at the bottom of his soul finds there nothing but muck. (#2,708)

The soul grows inwards. (#79)

My faith fills my solitude with its hushed whisper of invisible life. (#472)

The most dispiriting [kind of] solitude is not one lacking in neighbors, but one deserted by God. (#2,514)

Wisdom comes down to not showing God how things should be done. (#108)

The solutions man finds always end up being less interesting than the problems.
The only interesting solutions are those which God reserves to Himself. (#1,155)

Modern man does not expel God in order to assume responsibility for the world.
But rather in order not to have to assume responsibility. (#848)

To depend solely on God’s will is our true autonomy. (#124)

To depend on God is the being’s being. (#1,204)

We do not invoke God as defendants, but as parched lands. (#1,409)

I listen to every homily with involuntary irony.
My religion, just like my philosophy, comes down to trusting in God. (#511)

Serenity is the state of mind of one who has entrusted God, once and for all, with everything. (#2,344)

Every burden soon oppresses us, if we do not have Jesus as our Cyrenean. (#2,388)

If we trust in God, not even our own triumph should frighten us. (#1,186)

What is difficult is not to believe in God, but to believe that we matter to Him. (#1,711)

Whoever wants to know what the serious objections to Christianity are should ask us.
The unbeliever makes only stupid objections. (#2,017)

The Catholic apologist rarely distinguishes between what must be rejected with respect and what must be crushed with contempt. (#2,084)

Apologetics should mix skepticism and poetry.
Skepticism to strangle idols, poetry to seduce souls. (#545)

There is some collusion between skepticism and faith: both undermine human presumptuousness. (#2,672)

Skepticism does not mutilate faith; it prunes it. (#1,799)

Souls that Christianity does not prune never mature. (#2,704)

The Church used to educate; the pedagogy of the modern world only instructs. (#2,933)

In the ocean of faith one fishes with a net of doubts. (#1,816)

Nothing is more comical than to adduce names of famous believers like a certificate proving God’s existence. (#1,231)

The Christian has nothing to lose in a catastrophe. (#504)

Christianity is the religion of one who lives as if an earthquake were possible at any moment. (#2,277)

True talent consists in not making oneself independent from God. (#412)

Freedom intoxicates man as a symbol of independence from God. (#2,652)

Subjectivism is the guarantee that man invents for himself when he stops believing in God. (#2,643)

Man does not create his gods in his image and likeness, but rather conceives himself in the image and likeness of the gods in which he believes. (#128)

Historical events stop being interesting the more accustomed their participants become to judging everything in purely secular categories.
Without the intervention of gods everything becomes boring. (#2,953)

If God were the conclusion of a syllogism, I would not feel compelled to adore Him. But God is not merely the substance of what I hope for, but the substance of what I live. (#130)

It is not so much that the modern mentality denies the existence of God as that it does not succeed in giving meaning to the term. (#728)

An irreligious society cannot endure the truth of the human condition.
It prefers a lie, no matter how idiotic it may be. (#1,139)

A philosophy’s atheism consists less in denying God than in not finding a place for Him. (#1,144)

God is the term with which we notify the universe that it is not everything. (#853)

Between man and nothingness passes the shadow of God. (#1,951)

Despair is the dark valley through which the soul ascends toward a universe no longer sullied by greed. (#135)

Even if humility did not save us from hell, in any event it saves us from ridicule. (#154)

God does not ask for our “cooperation,” but for our humility. (#771)

If we believe in God we should not say, “I believe in God,” but rather, “God believes in me.” (#1,128)

Our ability to love something other than God proves our indelible mediocrity. (#155)

Man does not find himself thrown only among objects.
He is also immersed in religious experiences. (#1,405)

The growing difficulty of recruiting priests should embarrass humanity, not disquiet the Church. (#2,484)

It is not the origin of religions, or their cause, which requires explanation, but rather the cause and origin of their eclipse and neglect. (#160)

The gods are peasants who accompany man only up to the gates of large cities. (#1,212)

I do not know whether, in another world, the devil punishes an irreligious society.
But I see that it is soon punished here by aesthetics. (#1,106)

The religious sensibility oppressed by the Church takes refuge in strange catacombs. (#2,137)

The simplistic ideas in which the unbeliever ends up believing are his punishment. (#1,195)

Because he heard it said that religious propositions are metaphors, the fool thinks they are fictions. (#1,859)

What some call religion barely astonishes us more than what others call science. (#1,187)

Far from establishing God as certain, ethics does not have sufficient autonomy to establish even itself as certain. (#182)

How can anyone live who does not hope for miracles? (#183)

Intelligent optimism is never faith in progress, but hope in a miracle. (#1,041)

Why not imagine the possibility, after several centuries of Soviet hegemony, of the conversion of a new Constantine? (#2,950)

In the intelligent man faith is the only remedy for anguish.
The fool is cured by “reason,” “progress,” alcohol, work. (#2,813)

Faith is part intuition and part wager. (#2,916)

We lack more solid reasons to anticipate that there will be a tomorrow than to believe that there will be another life. (#1,720)

Faith is not an explanation, but rather confidence that the explication ultimately exists. (#2,827)

God is the truth of all illusions. (#961)

We should not conclude that everything is permitted, if God does not exist, but that nothing matters.
Permission ends up being laughable when what is permitted loses its meaning. (#200)

Sex and violence do not replace transcendence after it has been banished.
Not even the devil remains for the man who loses God. (#1,377)

Let us be careful not to return from an encounter with the gods of the netherworld as madmen. (#1,919)

The eagerness with which an explanation for everything is sought in the psychology of the unconscious is a reflection of modern anxiety in the presence of transcendence. (#1,617)

Without a certain religious childishness, a certain intellectual profundity is unattainable. (#1,414)

What is difficult is not to believe or to doubt—at any time—but to measure the exact proportion of our authentic faith or our authentic doubt. (#2,604)

Faith is what allows us to wander astray into any idea without losing the way out. (#322)

Faith is not a conviction we ought to defend, but a conviction we do not succeed in defending ourselves against. (#2,036)

Faith is not a conviction we possess, but a conviction that possesses us. (#2,818)

Reason is no substitute for faith, just as color is no substitute for sound. (#1,334)

It is upon the antinomies of reason, upon the scandals of the spirit, upon the ruptures in the universe, that I base my hope and my faith. (#2,783)

Believing is more akin to groping than to hearing. (#1,234)

Faith is not knowledge of the object.
But communication with it. (#1,109)

Nothing is more dangerous for faith than to frequent the company of believers.
The unbeliever restores our faith. (#1,045)

Faith that does not know how to make fun of itself should doubt its authenticity.
The smile is the solvent of the simulacrum. (#203)

Scholasticism sinned by seeking to turn the Christian into a know-it-all.
The Christian is a skeptic who trusts in Christ. (#1,283)

Without canon law the Church would not have had her admirable institutional presence in history.
But the vices of Catholic theology stem from its propensity to treat theological problems with the mentality of a canon lawyer. (#2,272)

If we could demonstrate the existence of God, everything would eventually be subjected to the sovereignty of man. (#1,748)

It is as stupid to “have faith” (without knowing in whom) as to yearn for “a faith” (without knowing which one). (#2,027)

No principle is convincing and every conviction is uncertain. Faith is not a conviction, nor a principle, but naked existence. (#2,274)

Faith in God does not solve problems, but makes them laughable.
The serenity of the believer is not a presumption of knowledge, but a fullness of confidence. (#907)

Christianity completes paganism by adding confidence in God to fear of the divine. (#2,555)

The best palliative for anguish is the conviction that God has a sense of humor. (#1,020)

The believer is not a possessor of inherited property recorded in a land registry, but an admiral looking upon the shores of an unexplored continent. (#323)

Reasons, arguments, proofs appear each day less evident to the believer.
And what he believes more evident. (#543)

Catholicism does not solve all problems but it is the only doctrine that raises them all. (#385)

The Christian does not pretend that the problems posed by religion have been solved; instead, he transcends them. (#2,887)

Christianity does not solve “problems”; it merely obliges us to live them at a higher level.
Those who claim that it does solve them entangle it in the irony of every solution. (#1,716)

What happens in periods of unbelief is not that religious problems appear absurd, but that they do not appear to be problems. (#555)

Human problems are neither exactly definable, nor remotely solvable.
He who expects Christianity to solve them has ceased to be a Christian. (#796)

That Christianity cures social diseases, as some say, or that, on the contrary, it poisons the society that adopts it, as others assert, are theses that interest the sociologist but are of no interest for a Christian.
A convert to Christianity has converted because he believes it is true. (#445)

That Christianity may not solve social problems is no reason to commit apostasy except for those who forget that it never promised to solve them. (#1,080)

The modern clergy declare that Christianity seeks to solve earthly problems—thereby confusing it with utopia. (#2,712)

Christianity does not teach that the problem is solved, but that the prayer is answered. (#1,707)

Prayer is the only act in whose effectiveness I trust. (#1,583)

The true Christian should not resign himself to the inevitable: he should trust in the impertinence of a repeated prayer. (#2,910)

One can only support the weight of this world while on one’s knees. (#2,625)

Mankind does not need Christianity so it can construct the future, but so it can confront it. (#1,023)

The preacher of the kingdom of God, when it is not Christ who preaches, ends up preaching the kingdom of man. (#982)

May God preserve us from purity, in all fields.
From the mother of political terrorism, from religious sectarianism, from ethical severity, from aesthetic sterility, from philosophical stupidity. (#1,246)

The people does not convert to the religion preached by a militant minority, but to the one imposed by a militant minority. Christianity and Islam knew it; Communism knows it. (#2,037)

The contemporary Church prefers to practice an electoral Catholicism.
It prefers the enthusiasm of great crowds to individual conversions. (#2,977)

The separation of Church and State can suit the Church, but it is disastrous for the State because it delivers it over to pure Machiavellianism. (#2,497)

Modern man does not love, but takes refuge in love; does not hope, but takes refuge in hope; does not believe, but takes refuge in a dogma. (#408)

Nobody is innocent of what he does, nor of what he believes. (#206)

Societal salvation is near when each person admits that he can save only himself.
Society is saved when its supposed saviors despair. (#217)

The greatest modern error is not to proclaim that God died, but to believe that the devil has died. (#220)

Let us not accuse modern man of having killed God. That crime is not within his reach.
But of having killed the gods.
God survives untouched, but the universe withers and decays because the subordinate gods have passed away. (#869)

The absence of God does not clear the way for the tragic but for the sordid. (#1,584)

God does not die, but unfortunately for man the subordinate gods like modesty, honor, dignity, decency, have perished. (#2,852)

The death of God is an interesting opinion, but one that does not affect God. (#741)

Man is important only if it is true that a God has died for him. (#2,753)

There are two kinds of men: those who believe in original sin and idiots. (#265)

Just as evil was the first betrayal, betrayal is the only sin. (#1,562)

Christianity did not invent the notion of sin, but that of forgiveness. (#994)

Nobody will ever induce me to absolve human nature because I know myself. (#566)

Whoever makes his confession outside the confessional only intends to avoid repenting. (#1,063)

Sincerity, unless it is in a sacramental confession, is a factor leading to demoralization. (#2,697)

The modern Christian does not ask God to forgive him, but to admit that sin does not exist. (#698)

Today they are trying to make “to pardon” mean to deny that an offense was committed. (#1,991)

The Church was able to baptize medieval society because it was a society of sinners, but her future is not promising in modern society, where everyone believes they are innocent. (#873)

Catholics have lost even the endearing ability to sin without arguing that sin does not exist. (#773)

Nobody, nothing, in the end forgives.
Except Christ. (#1,404)

To condemn oneself is no less pretentious than to absolve oneself. (#1,892)

Having promulgated the dogma of original innocence, democracy concludes that the man guilty of the crime is not the envious murderer but the victim who aroused his envy. (#797)

Where Christianity disappears, greed, envy, and lust invent a thousand ideologies to justify themselves. (#2,976)

Nobody who knows himself can absolve himself. (#686)

Radical sin relegates the sinner to a silent, gray universe, drifting on the surface of the water, a lifeless shipwreck, toward inexorable insignificance. (#1,914)

I do not know of a sin which is not, for the noble soul, its own punishment. (#333)

Sin ceases to seem like a fiction when we have been slapped in the face by its aesthetic vulgarity. (#1,772)

Sins that appear “splendid” from afar are from close up nothing more than small sordid episodes. (#2,155)

Nothing makes more evident the reality of sin than the stench of souls that deny its existence. (#1,907)

Those sins that scandalize the public are less grave than those it tolerates. (#918)

The ancient who denied pain, the modern who denies sin—they entangle themselves in identical sophisms. (#300)

Pain, evil, sin, are certainties we can lean on without fear that they will break. (#1,889)

It has taken Christian philosophers work to take sin seriously, that is to say: to see that it transcends ethical phenomena. (#2,033)

To be Christian, in accordance with the latest fashion, consists less in repenting of our sins than in repenting of our Christianity. (#710)

Economic claims, hostility between social classes, religious differences, tend to be mere pretexts for an instinctive appetite for conflict. (#2,680)

That the history of the Church contains sinister chapters and idiotic chapters is obvious, but a manly Catholicism should not make its contrite confession by exalting the modern world. (#2,442)

There are many who believe they are God’s enemies but only manage to become the sacristan’s enemies. (#2,612)

All earthly splendor is the labor of astounded hands, because no splendor depends on the human will.
Because all splendor refutes the radical assertion of sin. (#1,910)

The secular importance of religion lies less in its influence on our conduct than on the noble sonority with which it enriches the soul. (#1,390)

Without religious routines souls unlearn subtle and polished sentiments. (#1,929)

Cultures dry out when their religious ingredients evaporate. (#1,811)

“Religious instruction” appears at times to have been invented in order to counteract the religious effectiveness of the liturgy. (#2,136)

When he repudiates rites, man reduces himself to an animal that copulates and eats. (#2,742)

A ceremony is a technical procedure for teaching indemonstrable truths.
Ritual and pomp overcome man’s blindness before what is not material and coarse. (#221)

By suppressing certain liturgies we suppress particular certainties.
To fell sacred groves is to erase divine footprints. (#1,803)

To innovate in liturgical matters is not sacrilege, but stupidity.
Man only venerates immemorial routines. (#1,220)

To restore an old liturgical gesture in a new context can amount to heresy.
To receive communion standing today, for example, becomes a gesture of pride. (#2,505)

Liturgical incense is the oxygen of the soul. (#1,213)

A cloud of incense is worth a thousand sermons. (#2,551)

Ritualism is the discreet guardian of spirituality. (#2,550)

The liturgy can definitely only speak in Latin.
In the vernacular it is vulgar. (#1,465)

Christianity, when it abolishes its ancient liturgical languages, degenerates into strange, uncouth sects.
Once contact is broken with Greek and Latin antiquity, once its medieval and patristic inheritance is lost, any simpleton turns into its exegete. (#1,289)

The current liturgy makes official the secular divorce between the clergy and the arts. (#1,536)

The sacrifice of the Mass today is the torturing of the liturgy. (#1,774)

Rites preserve, sermons undermine faith. (#2,835)

It is not primitive cults that discredit religion, but American sects. (#2,945)

In order to challenge God, man puffs up his emptiness. (#224)

God does not ask for our “cooperation,” but for our humility. (#771)

The historian of religions should learn that the gods do not resemble the forces of nature, but rather the forces of nature resemble the gods. (#243)

History seems to come down to two alternating periods: a sudden religious experience that propagates a new human type, [and] the slow process of dismantling that type. (#2,594)

The Bible was not inspired by a ventriloquist God.
The divine voice passes through the sacred text like a stormy wind through the foliage of the forest. (#244)

The Bible is not the voice of God, but of the man who encounters Him. (#491)

The prophet is not God’s confidant, but a rag blown about by sacred squalls. (#1,906)

The biblical prophet is not an augur of the future, but a witness to the presence of God in history. (#517)

That the gospels are a reflection of the primitive Church is an acceptable thesis for the Catholic.
But lethal for Protestantism. (#1,359)

Whereas the Protestant depends on a text, we Catholics are the process where the text was born. (#1,360)

When he died, Christ did not leave behind documents, but disciples. (#1,361)

It is not because criticisms of Christianity appear valid that people stop believing; rather, it is because people stop believing that they appear valid. (#1,886)

The unbeliever is dumbfounded that his arguments do not alarm the Catholic, forgetting that the Catholic is a vanquished unbeliever.
His objections are the foundations of our faith. (#285)

The atheist devotes himself less to proving that God does not exist than to forbidding Him to exist. (#2,065)

The two poles are the individual and God; the two antagonists are God and Man. (#2,646)

In religious matters the triviality of the objections tends to be more obvious than the fragility of the proofs. (#2,745)

One must carefully examine the types of apologetics the unbeliever mocks the most: they might be those which disquiet him the most. (#2,256)

Nothing is more disquieting to an intelligent unbeliever more than an intelligent Catholic. (#2,734)

Nothing upsets the unbeliever as much as defenses of Christianity based on intellectual skepticism and internal experience. (#2,961)

The unbeliever does not forgive the apostate who confirms him in his unbelief. (#896)

Every Christian has been directly responsible for the hardening of some unbeliever’s heart. (#1,813)

So great is the distance between God and human intelligence that only a child-like theology is not puerile. (#946)

When the theologian explains the reason for some act of God, the listener wavers between indignation and laughter. (#2,092)

The heart does not rebel against the will of God, but against the “reasons” they dare attribute to it. (#2,205)

The impertinent attempt to justify “the ways of God to man” transforms God into a frustrated schoolmaster who invents educational games that are both cruel and childish. (#2,415)

The theologian corrupts theology by wanting to turn it into a science.
By looking for rules for grace. (#1,710)

The psychological study of conversions only produces flowers of rhetoric.
God’s ways are secret. (#2,504)

We should not believe in the theologian’s God except when He resembles the God called on in distress. (#2,260)

The temptation for the churchman is to carry the waters of religion in the sieve of theology. (#2,674)

More than one presumed “theological problem” comes only from the lack of respect with which God treats our prejudices. (#1,463)

The believer knows how to doubt; the unbeliever does not know how to believe. (#587)

Faith does not confound unbelief, but rather consumes it. (#508)

Catholicism teaches what man would like to believe yet does not dare to. (#458)

Faith is not assent to concepts, but a sudden splendor that knocks us down. (#1,815)

In the dark shadows of evil, intelligence is the reflection of God behind us, the reflection which obstinately pursues us, the reflection which is not extinguished except on the last frontier. (#290)

Man lives himself as anguish or as a creature. (#311)

God is a nuisance for modern man. (#625)

What is thought against the Church, unless it is thought from within the Church, lacks interest. (#318)

There is no stupid idea which modern man is not capable of believing, as long as he avoids believing in Christ. (#646)

The basic problem of every former colony—the problem of intellectual servitude, of impoverished tradition, of subaltern spirituality, of inauthentic civilization, of obligatory and shameful imitation—has been resolved for me with supreme simplicity: Catholicism is my native land. (#337)

A Catholic should simplify his life and complicate his thought. (#320)

The obedience of the Catholic has been distorted into an unlimited docility to all the winds of the world. (#754)

What is philosophy for the Catholic but the way intelligence lives its faith? (#471)

The Christian faith in the last centuries has lacked intelligence, and Christian intelligence has lacked faith.
Either it has not known how to be bold, or it has feared to be so. (#2,447)

To believe is to penetrate into the heart of what we merely knew. (#507)

The explanation for religious experience is not to be found in psychology manuals.
It is in the Church’s dogmas. (#613)

As stupid as a catechism may be, it is always less so than a personal confession of faith. (#487)

My convictions are the same as those of an old woman praying in the corner of a church. (#2,794)

A Catholic thought does not rest until it puts the chorus of the heroes and the gods in order around Christ. (#454)

The beauty of the figure of the Virgin comes at once from the sacred retinue of vanquished goddesses she evokes or replaces, and from the way in which she transcends them. (Assumption)

After experiencing what an age practically without religion consists of, Christianity is learning to write the history of paganism with respect and sympathy. (#2,801)

Rather than a Christian, perhaps I am a pagan who believes in Christ. (#607)

Modern “Eastern spirituality,” like the Eastern art of the last centuries, is merchandise from a bazaar (#1,449)

Only religion can be popular without being vulgar. (#2,780)

There is no spiritual victory which need not be won anew each day. (#347)

The soul should open itself up to foreign invasion, refuse to defend itself, favor the enemy, so that our authentic being appears and arises, not like a fragile structure protected by our timidity, but like our rock, our incorruptible granite. (#418)

To be Christians is to find ourselves before one from whom we cannot hide, before whom it is impossible to disguise ourselves.
It is to assume the burden of the truth, no matter whom it injures. (#422)

The soul that climbs to perfection often abandons the lands conquered down below, where subordinate demons install themselves, ridiculing and dirtying that soul. (#348)

Christianity does not deny the splendor of the world, but rather invites us to search for its origin, to climb towards its pure snow. (#342)

At certain moments of abundance God overflows into the world, like a sudden, unexpected spring gushing into the peace of midday. (#524)

The particular creature we love is never God’s rival. What ends in apostasy is the worship of man, the cult of humanity. (#2,986)

What draws us away from God is not sensuality but abstraction. (#343)

When the object loses its sensual fullness and becomes an instrument or a sign, reality evaporates and God vanishes. (#1,384)

When their religious depth disappears, things are reduced to a surface without density where nothingness shows through. (#738)

The true religion is monastic, ascetic, authoritarian, hierarchical. (#962)

Only the soul of the contemplative does not die before the body. (#1,275)

An atheist is respectable as long as he does not teach that the dignity of man is the basis of ethics and that love for humanity is the true religion. (#1,049)

If one does not believe in God, the only honest alternative is vulgar utilitarianism.
The rest is rhetoric. (#2,965)

Modern history is the dialogue between two men: one who believes in God, another who believes he is a god. (#1,386)

Democratic atheism does not dispute the existence of God, but rather His identity. (#2,089)

Dialogue between Communists and Catholics has become possible ever since Communists started to falsify Marx and Catholics Christ. (#440)

The Gospels and the Communist Manifesto are on the wane; the world’s future lies in the power of Coca-Cola and pornography. (#2,983)

In order to ally himself with the Communist, the leftist Catholic asserts that Marxism merely criticizes Christianity’s compromises with the bourgeoisie, when it is Christianity’s essence which Marxism condemns. (#699)

The leftist Catholic is correct in discovering in the bourgeois the rich man of the parable, but is mistaken in identifying the militant proletariat with the poor of the Gospel. (#717)

What concerns the Christ of the Gospels is not the economic situation of the poor man, but the moral condition of the rich man. (#2,839)

The progressive Christian’s error lies in believing that Christianity’s perennial polemic against the rich is an implicit defense of socialist programs. (#2,971)

Love of poverty is Christian, but adulation of the poor is a mere electioneering tactic. (#719)

In their childish and vain attempt to attract the people, the modern clergy give socialist programs the function of being schemes for putting the Beatitudes into effect.
The trick behind it consists in reducing to a collective structure external to the individual an ethical behavior that, unless it is individual and internal, is nothing.
The modern clergy preach, in other words, that there is a social reform capable of wiping out the consequences of sin.
From which one can deduce the pointlessness of redemption through Christ. (#2,982)

The Christian knows with certainty what his personal behavior should be, but he can never state for certain that he is not making a mistake by adopting this or that social reform. (#2,923)

Religion is socially effective not when it adopts socio-political solutions, but when it succeeds in having society be spontaneously influenced by purely religious attitudes. (#2,931)

Jesus Christ would not attract listeners today by preaching as the Son of God, but as the son of a carpenter. (#1,029)

The modern clergy believe they can bring man closer to Christ by insisting on Christ’s humanity.
Thus forgetting that we do not trust in Christ because He is man, but because He is God. (#2,956)

In its desire to gain the upper hand over democratic humanitarianism, modern Catholicism summarizes the two great commandments of the Gospel thus: You shall love your neighbor above all things. (#586)

To love one’s neighbor is without doubt a commandment, but the gospel is the love that awaits us. (#1,883)

Even though they are full of threats, I fail to see anything in the Gospels but promises. (#2,808)

Only because He commanded us to love men does the modern cleric resign himself to believing in the divinity of Jesus; whereas, in truth, it is only because we believe in the divinity of Jesus that we resign ourselves to loving men. (#684)

To democratize Christianity they have to falsify the texts, reading “equal” where they say “brother.” (#783)

Many people love man only so they can forget God with an easy conscience. (#700)

Concerning himself intensely with his neighbor’s condition allows the Christian to dissimulate to himself his doubts about the divinity of Christ and the existence of God.
Charity can be the most subtle form of apostasy. (#2,987)

Religious individualism forgets the neighbor; communitarianism forgets God.
The more serious error is always the latter. (#944)

The Church avoided sclerosing into a sect by demanding that the Christian demand perfection of himself, not that he demand it of his neighbor. (#1,933)

Those who replace the “letter” of Christianity with its “spirit” generally turn it into a load of socio-economic nonsense. (#2,732)

The modern theologian longs to transform Christian doctrine into a simple ideology of community behavior. (#948)

The contemporary Christian is not sorry that nobody else agrees with him, but that he does not agree with everybody else. (#597)

Not having gotten men to practice what she teaches, the contemporary Church has resolved to teach what they practice. (#757)

The new liturgists have gotten rid of the sacred pulpits so that no villain will assert that the Church aspires to compete with the secular professors’ bully pulpits. (#877)

The Church will need centuries of prayer and silence to forge anew its flabby soul. (#1,524)

When a Catholic defends himself better against vices than against heresy, already there is only a little Christianity left in his head. (#813)

When it comes to knowledge of man, there is no Christian (provided he is not a progressive Christian) whom anybody has anything to teach. (#2,867)

The modern Christian feels professionally obligated to act jovially and jokingly, to show his teeth in a cheerful grin, to profess a slavering friendliness, in order to prove to the unbeliever that Christianity is not a “somber” religion, a “pessimistic” doctrine, an “ascetic” morality.
The progressive Christian shakes our hand with the wide grin of a politician running for office. (#711)

Atop the bell tower of the modern church the progressive clergyman, instead of a cross, places a weathervane. (#898)

The contemporary Catholic looks upon “scientific ideas” with a stupid reverence. (#1,972)

The Church, since the clergy became plebeian, curses all the conquered and applauds all the conquerors. (#1,510)

The Gospels, in the hands of a progressive clergyman, degenerate into a compilation of trivial ethical teachings. (#1,688)

Progressive Christians painstakingly search through sociology manuals for material with which to fill lacunae in the Gospel. (#1,455)

Catholics do not suspect that the world feels swindled by every concession that Catholicism makes to it. (#897)

The Church’s function is not to adapt Christianity to the world, nor even to adapt the world to Christianity; her function is to maintain a counterworld in the world. (#2,843)

The heresy that threatens the Church, in our time, is “worldliness.” (#2,913)

It is not the heavenly city of the Apocalypse which keeps the progressive Catholic awake, but the garden-city. (#648)

The new catechists profess that Progress is the modern incarnation of hope.
But Progress is not hope emerging, but the dying echo of hope already vanished. (#657)

“The Kingdom of God” is not the Christian name for a futuristic paradise. (#2,283)

Whoever dares to ask that the moment stop and time suspend its flight surrenders himself to God; whoever celebrates future harmonies sells himself to the devil. (#2,066)

Unless circumstances constrain him, there is no radically leftist Jew.
The people that discovered divine absolutism does not make deals with the absolutism of man. (#2,653)

The progressive clergyman excoriates the “ghetto mentality” of the old Christian today.
Those clergy prefer the commercial and financial activity of the modern Jew to the ghetto where Israel’s faithfulness flourished. (#682)

Man bears persecution more easily than indifference.
What has the modern clergyman not done to attract a little attention? (#2,211)

Indignant with the bourgeois who “eases his conscience” by giving alms from his own private wealth, the leftist Catholic proposes to do it through self-sacrifice by distributing the private wealth of others. (#858)

Three persons in our age make it their profession to detest the bourgeoisie:
the intellectual—that typical representative of the bourgeoisie;
the communist—that faithful executor of bourgeois intentions and ideals;
the progressive clergyman—that final triumph of the bourgeois mind over the Christian soul. (#706)

The progressive clergyman never disappoints an aficionado of the ridiculous. (#934)

At the thought of the current Church (clergy, liturgy, theology), an old Catholic first becomes indignant, then astonished, and finally he just bursts out in laughter. (#1,996)

More than a breeze of betrayal, there howls around the modern clergyman a hurricane of stupidity. (#2,394)

What is most disquieting about the attitude of the contemporary clergyman is that his good intentions often appear to be unimpeachable. (#1,807)

The progressive clergyman, in revolutionary periods, ends up dead, but not as a martyr. (#1,251)

It is not impossible that the battalions of clergy at the service of man have nonetheless been infiltrated by a few of God's fifth-columnists. (#1,010)

In the bosom of the Church today, “integralists” are those who do not understand that Christianity needs a new theology, and “progressives” are those who do not understand that the new theology must be Christian. (#692)

The Church in recent times has not known how to distinguish between the new truths that call for the rebuilding of the theological structure and the new errors that aim at its demolition.
New Testament criticism, for example, and the “biographies” of Jesus. (#2,178)

The religious problem grows worse each day because the faithful are not theologians and the theologians are not faithful. (#1,265)

The modern theologian’s pirouettes have not gained him one conversion more, nor one apostasy less. (#2,399)

Modern theologies tend to be the contortions of a theologian who is trying to avoid admitting his unbelief to himself. (#2,201)

The evolution of Christian dogma is less evident than the evolution of Christian theology.
We Catholics with little theology believe, in the end, the same thing as the first slave who converted in Ephesus or Corinth. (#2,446)

The Catholic theologian fulfills his duty only by disrespecting the letter of the vespers and the spirit of the day. (#1,486)

The modern clergy, in order to save the institution, try to rid themselves of the message. (#2,936)

To lighten the load of the Christian ship foundering in modern waters, liberal theology yesterday jettisoned the divinity of Christ, and radical theology today jettisons the existence of God. (#817)

Those who ask the Church to adapt herself to modern thinking are in the habit of confusing the urgent need to respect certain methodological rules with the obligation to adopt a repertory of idiotic postulates. (#808)

Fools used to attack the Church; now they reform her. (#714)

To proclaim Christianity the “cradle of the modern world” is a grave accusation or a grave calumny. (#1,792)

The history of Christianity would be suspiciously human, if it were not the adventure of an incarnate god.
Christianity assumes the misery of history, as Christ assumes the misery of man. (#1,840)

The history of Christianity reveals to the Christian what kind of presence Christ wanted to have in history.
To seek to erase that history, to return to the lone Christ of the gospels, is not a gesture of devotion but of pride. (#936)

The Christian knows that Christianity will limp until the end of the world. (#2,203)

We cannot find shelter in the Gospel alone, as we also cannot take refuge in the seed of the oak tree, but rather next to the twisted trunk and under the disorder of the branches. (#1,446)

The post-conciliar Church seeks to draw people into the “fold” by translating the commonplaces of contemporary journalism into the insipid jargon of the Vatican chancery. (#701)

The Church, when she pushed the doors wide open, wished to make it easier for those outside to enter, without thinking that she actually made it easier for those inside to leave. (#743)

By embracing the “modern mentality,” Christianity became a doctrine which it is not easy to respect, nor interesting to do so. (#829)

Rationalizing dogma, relaxing morality, simplifying the rite, do not make it easier for the unbeliever to approach [the Church], but rather [for the Church] to approach the unbeliever. (#2,552)

Error does not seed well except in the shadow of the truth.
Even the devil becomes bored and excuses himself from where Christianity is being extinguished. (#1,876)

To discover the countenance of Christ in the face of modern man requires more than an act of faith—an act of credulity. (#956)

The crisis of Christianity today has been provoked not by science, nor by history, but by the new means of communication.
Religious progressivism is the task of adapting Christian doctrines to the opinions sponsored by news agencies and publicity agents. (#753)

Clergymen and journalists have smeared the term “love” with so much sentimentality that even its echo stinks. (#804)

Where there are no vestiges of old Christian charity, even the purest courtesy is somewhat cold, hypocritical, hard. (#2,596)

The ineptitude and folly of the bishops’ and popes’ chatter would disturb us, if we old Christians had not fortunately learned as little children to sleep during the sermon. (#851)

Let the priest leave stupid occupations to the stupid, for he is not responsible for doubtful progress, but for inexorable agony. (#2,226)

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