As a psychosis, "self-mutilation syndrome" is rooted in self-loathing and obsessive-compulsive behavior.
Whole cultures can be afflicted with a similar compulsion to injure themselves. Nowadays it is called a "cancel culture." To topple statues and burn churches is a metaphor for self-loathing rather than reason.
In their modern aesthetic recklessness, nations begin to disdain what Matthew Arnold called "the best which has been thought and said." Even people who do not read much still can see much, and they can see that destruction of great buildings is the grammar of self-mutilation. There was a sigh of relief when the French government announced that the cathedral of Paris would be restored exactly as it had been. But you need only look at some recent architectural horrors, like the Centre Pompidou, to appreciate that the preservation of Notre Dame was a close call. Consider the 1925 Plan Voisin of Le Corbusier for replacing central Paris with buildings that looked like refrigerators, to see the fabric of a society without a soul.
The burning of the cathedral of Nantes was reported with practically no mention of the winter of 1793-1794, when over 14,000 Catholic counterrevolutionaries were slaughtered in that region. Jean-Baptiste Carrier, the sadistic officer of the Revolution, mocked his own name by drowning more than four thousand priests, nuns, mothers and infants in boats designed for what he called "Revolutionary Baptisms." At the same time, another Jean-Baptiste, Gobel, was made Archbishop of Paris in place of Antoine de Juigné, provided he "take the knee" to the Revolution. All atheistic revolutionaries kill their fomenters: Just as the architect of the Terror, Robespierre, was guillotined by his Terror, so were Carrier and Gobel. In a kind of cultural doppelganger today, writers for our most "liberal" periodicals are being fired for not being pure enough for the anarchists who have made their moral impurity into a religion.
Since the late 1960s, disciples of Le Corbusier among the liturgical "wreckovaters" denuded churches as arrogantly as the cults of the anthropy in the French Revolution. Convents subscribing to ephemeral "renewal" have now become nursing homes for women who once thought that labyrinths could be stairways to Heaven.
We are now in a spiritual combat as monumental as World II. In 1944, when the Nazis demanded that the Americans surrender during the Battle of the Bulge, Brigadier General Anthony McAuliffe replied, "Nuts!" The vernacularism was unfamiliar to the Germans, and so another message was sent: "Du kannst zum Teufel gehen." — You can go to the Devil. No victory is secured by kneeling to the Enemy. Those who do, will be the next in line for the guillotine. The Holy Church has the best translation for "Nuts" when proclaimed in defiance of the Anti-Christ: "I believe in God, the Father Almighty..."
Faithfully yours in Christ,
Father George W. Rutler
Father George W. Rutler. "The fabric of a society without a soul." From the Pastor (July 26, 2020).
Reprinted with permission of Father George W. Rutler.
Father George W. Rutler is the pastor of St. Michael's church in New York City. He has written many books, including: The Wit and Wisdom of Father George Rutler, The Stories of Hymns, Hints of Heaven: The Parables of Christ and What They Mean for You, Principalities and Powers: Spiritual Combat 1942-1943, Cloud of Witnesses — Dead People I Knew When They Were Alive, Coincidentally: Unserious Reflections on Trivial Connections, A Crisis of Saints: Essays on People and Principles, Brightest and Best, and Adam Danced: The Cross and the Seven Deadly Sins.Copyright © 2020 Father George W. Rutler
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