Tower of St. Ruprecht, the oldest church in Vienna: Out with the Holy Ghost, in with the Zeitgeist
Today was the big Pride Parade in Vienna. I have never seen a pride parade. The most striking things were all the kids there, especially the middle schoolers and teenage girls, all decked out in their rainbow gear. Everyone seemed to be really into it and having a good time.
It was really like a big religious holiday. A Christian friend I drove through town with today said, “Imagine being a pagan in 4th century Rome and seeing Christians gathering for a procession honoring the Virgin, or something like that. You might think that’s a weird thing, but let them parade, what does it hurt. Thirty years later, they destroy your temples. Isn’t it the same feeling?
Yes. Can you imagine telling any previous generation who worshiped in St. Ruprecht, founded in the 8th century, and the oldest church in Vienna, that one day a banner would fly from their tower celebrating a sodomy festival? It happened today. The priest is — surprise! — a Jesuit.
The Pride festival is the most vivid expression of the repaganization of the West via the overthrow of the Christian order. What my friend meant by his comment was a reference to Edward Watts’ great book The last pagan generation, that I talked about here a few years ago.
Watts writes about the Roman pagan elites of the fourth century, who did not fully understand how drastic the threat of Christians was to the pagan order that had ruled Rome from time immemorial. They thought traditional paganism would last forever, but in fact the passion and understanding of the old religion was exhausted as the new faith challenged it. The book is incredibly relevant to our times. At the time, I wrote of his lessons:
What lessons do I draw from all this for Christians of our time? Note that the world of 21st century Europe and North America is obviously very different from that of 4th century Rome. But there are parallels.
- Today’s Christianity resembles the traditional religion of the fourth century. We are at the end of the Christian age, not at its beginning. Christianity at the time had muscle. It is now decrepit as a social force. The fact that we Christians believe our faith to be true can blind us to the fact that what is obvious to us is in no way obvious to others.
- It’s unclear what the Roman pagans could have done to slow or stop Christianity, but it’s quite clear, in retrospect, that they didn’t take it seriously enough as a threat. It was a lack of imagination on their part. They assumed the world would always be what it was, because it had always been.
- Material power matters. If Constantine had not been converted, the future of Christianity in the West would have been different.
- Yet worldly power is limited. Julian the Apostate failed miserably. You cannot legislate belief.
- Talented elites who train and are trained by a counterculture can have an outsized effect. Bishops and priests who saw their office as serving the imperial system were not as inspiring to young people as those who rejected it and its promises.
- The old ways of resisting anti-religious forces – fighting within the system – don’t work. This makes me doubt the strategy that people like me have generally adopted: fighting within liberalism for liberal goals, such as religious freedom. The asymmetrical strategies of opponents, such as LGBT rights groups, overwhelm us. But what can we do?
All in all, the story of the last pagan generation should serve as a stark warning to us complacent 21st century Christians. Ours is also a time of “stores filled with gold coins, elaborate dinners in honor of postmen, public orations before emperors, and ceremonies commemorating office holders”. Christians are complicit in all of this. But the deeper shifts in culture are clear to those with eyes to see. The old religion – Christianity – is rapidly fading. Young people believe in a new religion of self-worship, hedonism and materialism. The laws are not yet anti-Christian, but the culture at large tends to push Christianity rapidly to the margins. This is unlikely to change. Christians must prepare for this.
By “prepare for this”, I mean several things, all of which can be boiled down to: Stop complacency. Details:
Stop thinking it’s always gonna be like this, and that anything short of radical action is enough. The mindset of older Christians can actually be a hindrance because they don’t understand how radically different the world is today.
Do not confuse the presence of churches and Christian symbols in public life with the true condition of Christianity in people’s hearts and minds. Remember, pagan temples and statues of gods remained long after paganism had died out.
Clean our own churches. Stop tolerating corruption within the church – especially corruption that benefits the ruling class, at the expense of the authority and integrity of the church. Watts presents no evidence that the pagan temples were corrupt. I bring this up simply to emphasize that Christians are in an existential struggle and cannot afford to have our own positions weakened by internal corruption.
Train ourselves and our children to stay away from the promises of the world and cultivate asceticism, as did the elite Christians of the mid-fourth century. Only then will we develop the heart and mind to resist.
Understand that we, like the last heathen generation, might think we are fighting for tolerance, but our adversaries are fighting for victory. We need to change tactics. We are bad at asymmetric warfare. Frankly, as an old pagan of the fourth century, I would rather fight for tolerance — but that is not the fight that awaits us.
Neither abandon politics completely, nor believe too much in princes. Elites cultivated relationships within the imperial power structure and served that power structure. But the real work of conversion took place among the people, through the works and examples of holy ascetics and charismatics.
How far did he go? Fox News is now celebrating children in transition:
(Thread) I’ve appeared on Fox News several times. I appreciate the platform they gave me. If what I’m about to say ruins this relationship, so be it. We must call this madness evil wherever we see it. Especially on our side.
— Best-selling LGBT children’s author, Matt Walsh (@MattWalshBlog) June 10, 2022
And here’s something really gross, but the fact that it’s done by Woke Capitalism is telling. It’s a Pride Month promotion from a Los Angeles food delivery company, which has come up with a menu for “asses”: people who like to receive anal sex; the menu prevents them from being constipated and therefore having less fun through the back door:
You don’t have to miss a good meal to have a good time. That’s why this pride, we’ve teamed up with @DrEvanGoldstein and @smartthrob to create the world’s first Bottom-Friendly menu (yup, it’s real). #EatWithPridepic.twitter.com/03Fm8YJlAP
— @postmates (@postmates) June 9, 2022
Give the US Armed Forces three years, and they’ll hand out Pride Month MREs for butts, and Jesuit soup kitchens will have special Pride Month menus. What a great and glorious civilization is building the post-Christian West! Someone asked me at a meeting the other night if I should write The Benedict option again, what would I change. I told him that while I don’t believe you can ever fully escape this crisis, I would take the idea of literally heading for the hills more seriously. The day is coming when churches that do not fly the banner of Pride to signify submission to the New Faith will be at risk of attack.