Monday, August 09, 2004

More from Katolik Shinja
A Traditionalist movement
Including but not limited to Christianity - fascinating. (Which shares its name only with good RCs who defend the Roman Mass, generally favour monarchy and oppose indifferentism but also with an obscure heresy condemned decades ago by the Holy Office. I think the mistake was it said one couldn't use reason to defend the faith.) ISTM 'soft Traditionalism' is acceptable to the Catholic faith. The writer mentions T.S. Eliot here - it seems that particular version might include the general mediævalism, the hankering after a wholeness compromised by the 'Enlightenment' and before that the 'Reformation', that made Eliot and, before him, my hero A.W. Pugin (of the Gothic Revival in architecture) and the second-generation Anglo-Catholics try to restore Catholic Europe in England. The architecture of the Victorian era, the novels of Sir Walter Scott, all part of the same longing described here.

(And the Slavophile movement in Russia at the time and before that the Old Believer movement there.)

The writer mentions René Guenon, who as is mentioned ended up a Sufi and posthumously was a formative influence on Eugene Rose, later the Orthodox monk Fr Seraphim.

Like Rose it has a lot of good things to say but may have its shortcomings particularly in its other-than-soft form.

The fad of Far Eastern religions 30 years ago - Buddhism, Hinduism and the Westernized Hindu offshoot Hare Krishna, for example - is part of the same craving.

As is the phenom as mentioned in the article of Western converts to Islam - in its extreme form people like John Walker Lindh or, more respectably, the former singer Yusuf Islam (better known as Cat Stevens) and the many American blacks who after Elijah Muhammad's death in the 1970s followed EM's son (and Malcolm X 10 years after the NOI shot him for it) out of the bogus reverse-racist Nation of Islam and became real, admirably observant Sunni Muslims. (The NOI, nothing to do with real Islam, then ceased to exist but Louis Farrakhan revived it.) I see them particularly in one city neighbourhood I cycle through every week.

And of course the convert boomlet to Eastern Orthodoxy that Eugene Rose anticipated by about 25 years is part of all this too.

But with all these new movements, with all their good points, one also sees the same problems: that of 'Orientalism', projecting one's utopianism onto a foreign, exotic culture, throwing out the intellectual tradition of the West in 'to hell with the West' hysteria, etc. John Walker Lindh, the Hare Krishnas at the airport 30 years ago, the annoying whitebread boys who discover the Orthodox churches and then become nuisances online... so similar.

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