Saturday, 9 March 2013

'Catholics and the Bourgeois Mind'

Thanks to the Christopher Dawson Internet Archive for highlighting this article by Thomas Storck
Interestingly its arguments also gel with a certain quite influential strand of early twentieth century Anglo-Catholicism, lost alas as modernism completed its suicide mission later in the century. Now, of course, as one internet troll has pontificated here today, we are all just 'Protestant ministers.' [ironic - or not - as the mood takes one]
We may not wholly agree with either Dawson or Storck's  conclusions, but there's a large element of truth in what is being said here. The fragmentation of our culture and the separation by the twists and turns of history of those who should be one is an aching tragedy for the Body of Christ.  
Here's an excerpt:

"Dawson begins by stating that bourgeois civilization and Catholic civilization are fundamentally opposed to each other. Today, though, our entire culture is permeated by bourgeois ideals, yet if we look back at an earlier age when the bourgeoisie were merely one element within society, we can discern the particular characteristics of the bourgeois mind, and see why that mind is so opposed to Catholicism.

"The first feature of the bourgeois mind that Dawson notes is its urbanism.

It involves the divorce of man from nature and from the life of the earth. It turns the peasant into a minder of machines and the yeoman into a shopkeeper, until ultimately rural life becomes impossible and the very face of nature is changed by the destruction of the countryside and the pollution of the earth and the air and the waters.

Secondly, the bourgeois spirit is characterized by a peculiar attitude toward economic life. Instead of having the love of the artist or the craftsman toward his work, the bourgeois regards the things he deals in as

external and impersonal. He sees in them only objects of exchange, the value of which is to be measured exclusively in terms of money. It makes no difference whether he is dealing in works of art or cheap ready-made suits: all that matters is the volume of the transactions and the amount of profit to be derived from them."

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