THIS IS NOT A DRILL
39 minutes ago
The archbishop said “Christian equality” understands “the reality of the differences and mutual dependencies of real men and women.”
“As men, we’re hardwired by nature and confirmed by the Word of God to do three main things: to provide, to protect, and to lead – not for our own sake, not for our own empty vanities and appetites, but in service to others.”
We men – all of us, both clergy and lay — bear a special responsibility because the Gospel tasks us as leaders. That doesn’t make us better than anyone else. It takes nothing away from the genius of women or the equality of women and men. But human beings are not identical units. We’re not interchangeable pieces of social machinery. Christian equality is based not in political ideology but in the reality of the differences and mutual dependencies of real men and women. As creatures we’re designed to need each other, not replicate each other. And this, by the way, is a key reason why modern culture is so conflicted about the body.
Those are some of the don’ts. The dos are equally obvious. Do love the women in your life with the encouragement, affection, support and reverence they deserve by right. Do be faithful to your wife in mind and body. Do show courtesy and respect to the women you meet, even when they don’t return it. Chivalry is dead only if we men cooperate in killing it – and given the vulgarity of our current national environment and its leaders, we certainly need some kind of new code of dignity between the sexes.
Let us agree that the nation-state, in whatever configuration it happened or happens to be (Federalist or Anti-federalist level of centralization, libertarian-market or welfare state, Republican- or Democrat-controlled, lower or higher taxes, Tea-Party or Occupy Wall St. ethos, George Bush or Barack Obama, is what it is, that is, an alliance, not a common-good institution, suitable for and capable only of providing goods and services to those polis organizations that can (but only with the Alliance’s instrumental help, as the instrumentlist insists) embody and keep common goods. Thus, it is just good philosophy to recognize what is and must be the case, and to act upon it. This, to me, is where Prof. George and the instrumentalists are coming from. Whether he would prefer to live under a state that could indeed keep a common good, such as a medieval French city or an ancient Greek polis, it doesn’t matter; for, the nation-state is here, and here to stay, and we must accept its exigencies and limitations so that we can work with it to uphold the mediating institutions that alone can secure those common goods that we need to flourish and get to heaven.
In short, for the intrinsicist, the nation-state, absent any polises in which the political good is more than instrumental, will cease being a mere alliance, if it ever were a pure one, and turn into a monstrous anti-polis, pursuing anti-goods to the detriment and eventual eradication of the common good as well as individual goods.
What if the ability of smaller intrinsic-good-embodying-and-enabling communities to survive and flourish requires the larger society in which they exist to itself be embodied politically in a more-than-instrumental way? What if the sine qua non of the solution to a government out of control and at odds with basic human goods is a radical alternative to the alliance-nation-state of America? What if we desperately need a newly revamped and reconfigured and workable Aristotelian polis, one subordinate to the Divine-polis of the Roman Catholic Church, and one workable in a contemporary context? What if the political order by nature, and ineradicably so, even the American one, is all about intrinsic goods?