May 2015 - Eternal Teenagers
Dear Friends and Benefactors,
At first sight, the defeat of Holofernes’ Assyrian army in its siege of the city of Bethulia is surprising. His army—far more powerful and well-organized than the Israelites—was withering the city’s denizens, who were on the verge of surrender. Israel, however, was the victor, inflicting upon the powerful Assyrians a crushing defeat. Let us render to Caesar what is Caesar’s, or, in this case, rather to Judith. This victory belongs not to the army of Israel, but to this woman who, killing Holofernes, decapitated not only one man, but a whole army, disabled as it was by the sudden death of its commander-in-chief. Deprived of authority, the Assyrians fled in chaos, falling easily in the Jewish attacks.
Such an example demonstrates the essential role authority plays in society. When authority disappears, society slowly drifts into anarchy, unable to overcome this mortal blow.
Revolutionaries know this so well that they have always firstly attacked authority, either by disparaging the authority figure to deprive him of any credibility, or by violent removal of the authority himself. This attack upon authority bears a tell-tale sign, recognizable to all as the work of the devil. Indeed, who cannot see in revolution Satan’s claw? Is it not he who has initiated every rebellion by first protesting against the supreme authority of God? Consequently, it is hardly shocking to hear a Communist official acknowledging, at the dawn of our century, that every effort had to be done so that the men of our day would not see behind every authority the sacred reality of divine paternity.
That this revolutionary spirit takes root with such disconcerting ease and universally so might also at first seem astonishing. This astonishment, understandable in itself, must face up to reality—that is, the facts. While the Devil’s non serviam was, for a long time, the rallying cry of revolutionaries alone, today it is a common refrain. The revolution needs no longer be advanced, it has taken universal hold. To deny this would be foolish.
Who could claim, for instance, to have never been irritated internally, on account of one’s own personal dignity, due to the decision of an authority?
Disobedience has been in the heart of man since original sin. Today, however, men justify it in the name of the diabolical ideals of the revolution. Before becoming so universal, disobedience was called by its name. No one tried to brand it a virtuous act. Nowadays, this revolt against authority has been elevated to the level of a virtue; and all in the name of the sacrosanct revolutionary principles—Liberty, Equality, Fraternity.
He who exercises authority has become the enemy to be distrusted, and whose power must be resisted and questioned.
It is well known, though—and history confirms it—that societies without a respected and venerated authority deteriorate fast, bringing man to a great danger of annihilation. To live in society is not a choice—a luxury of which man can dispense himself according to his moods or whims. It is a vital, natural need. The disappearance of authority is the nail in the coffin of society and, consequently, of man. Man, without guide and protection, falls prey to his passions and to predators who have neither faith nor law.
Today’s world presents authority as a suffocating power. Far from it, the first function of authority is to facilitate the full growth, development and potential of men. Is this not the first meaning of the word authority? Indeed, in the Latin, authority—auctoritas— is the supine of the verb augere—to grow, to increase. Guarantor of the common good, authority is the indispensable force to ensure the full liberty of men and to safeguard the submission of men’s intellect to the higher laws that govern the world.
The cruel absence of authority in our modern world—now groaning through the final sad and painful moments of an agony that began with the French Revolution—explains with certainty why the today’s men never really grow up. Instead, they remain eternal teenagers.
In Christo sacerdote et Maria,
Fr. Yves le Roux