The Decline and Fall of the Roman Catholic West

by Emmet Scott (August 2016)

Recent events have forcefully highlighted, to all but the most wilfully ignorant, that Western Civilization is – especially in Europe – in the midst of an existential crisis. The tides of humanity now pouring into Europe from the Middle East, southern Asia and northern as well as sub-Saharan Africa, will, if the process continues even for another year or so, make the continent virtually unrecognizable in a generation.  more>>>


10 Responses

  1. I have found your Mohammed and Charlemagne a very enlightening read to which I often return and now I look forward to finding new articles by you. I think the abandonment of Catholic principles by the hierarchy of the Church to be the most grievous sin imaginable. For a while several years ago I tried to to back to the Church but could not stand the vernacular mass or the silly music or the women at the altar. When Benedict became pope I had hopes that things would change. That hope was nipped in the bud when he was usurped. I do not believe Francis is a legitimate pope. 

    But what I would like to ask you about is Manicheeanism- or Gnosticism, catharism according to your preferences. I don't pretend to be a scholar but I have taken a lot of interest in the various strains of neo Platonism in recent years and detect in many of the isms in recent history to be very congruent with Manicheean tenets. I would really appreciate your thoughts on the subject.

  2. Hi Barry, glad you enjoyed the article, as well as Mohammed and Charlemagne Revisited. 

    There has been a lot written recently, especially in Catholic circles, about Gnosticism and its influence (or supposed influence) on the modern world. Gnosticism was a sect or a 'heresy' of Christianity which essentially died out in the fourth and fifth centuries, though it undoubtedly influenced the Paulicians as well as the Bogomils and Cathars of the Middle Ages.

    It has been claimed that the Masonic movement is essentially Gnostic, though I regard this as questionable. The Gnostics, as well as the Cathars, certainly believed in a form of 'Progress', and for this reason many Catholic commentators see their influence behind modern atheistic secularism, which has essentially made a religion out of 'Science" and 'Progress'. However, the Cathar/Gnostic Progress was entirely a spiritual concept. For them, each individual lived many lives until he or she attained enlightenment. In this regard it shared much in common with Hinduism and Buddhism. But this kind of individual spiritual progress has nothing in common with the civilizational and scientific progress which modern materialists place their hopes in.

    So, to answer your question: No, I do not see Gnosticism/Catharism as in any way influential in modern secular materialism, which is a purely modern phenomenon; one that rejects all spiritual realities and places its hopes entirely in a future utopia built by science and technology. In this modern age the Hindus and Buddhists, and those who espouse similar ideas, are not our enemies but our allies.

  3. Thank you for your thought provoking article.

    I have been living in Ireland for the past fifteen years and might claim to know something about the state of the Catholic Church in Ireland.

    Ireland today is not "possibly the most Catholic country in the world ". From a European perspective I would say that Poland is by far the most Catholic country in Europe.

    Additional factors contributing to the decline of the Catholic Church in Ireland have been the physical & sexual abuse of minors by the clergy and subsequent attempts at cover-ups. The quality of leadership in the Church is poor both spiritually and  intellectually. Most of the mainstream media are implaccably opposed to any form of Church influence in Irish society. The current "war " being fought is over the role of the Catholic Church in education and management of schools. The current mantra is that schools and education must reflect the new multicultural realities of Irish society.

    The referendum campaign that approved same-sex marriage was ineptly handled by the leadership of the Church . Several letters from  individual priests stating that they would be voting in favour of change were published in mainstream media further contributing to the confusion  in the minds of the laity. The area in which I live ( a mainly rural area) was the only area to vote in favour of the status quo.

    To conclude, I regret to say that the outlook for the Church in Ireland is not promising.

  4. Hi Emmet

    I agree with you about the decline of Catholic faith, but I don't think you have fully explored the causes for the decline.

    I don't believe there was any great explosion of faith in Christ after WWII, the rising birth rate and post war prosperity as well as a natural conservatism in governments which were intent on rebuilding, as well as the support of Hollywood and the media might have made it seem that way.  In reality faith in Christ had been failing for 100's of years; amongst the intelligensia it had been replaced by "isms", socialism, communist, capitalism, nationalism, etc. 

    For the educated and progressive in the churches, government and universities Christianity was reduced to a social gospel, it was good because people were nice to one and other, not because it was true. Christianity was a means of social control.

    The onset of the 60's was marked by more than just the 2nd Vatican Council, it was marked by birth control, Kinsey, Feminism and TV. The last brought spectacle into the living room, and with it a new morality unleashing the sexual revolution.

    It is all very well to place all the blame for Christian decline on the 2nd Vatican Council, but is this accurate. It may very well be that the council ameliorated the damage to the church, it could be in far worse shape than it already is.

    If I understand Augustine correctly he said that faith should reflect the reality of the world around it lest it become open to mockery. Mockery! Think of the Pentecostals and their belief in the literal 7 day creation or literal flood. They are mocked relentlessly. Now think of how powerful this mockery is on TV, on social media, facebook, YouTube. If the Catholic Church had not softened it's message it would be open to the most horrendous mockery and ridicule, far greater than it suffers at present. I really believe the Catholic Church could be in a far worse postition than it is now. It after all still contains enormous political and diplomatic influence. It was not long ago that John Paul captured the world's imagination.

    Perhaps you don't credit those who formed the 2nd Vatican council, they may have seen the writing on the wall and changed the church as a means to survive. They may even have preached a gospel of forgiveness to reach out to those who had been lured into sin by the turmoil in the west unleased by the sexual revolution.

    Personally I think Catholics were very vunerable to the sexual revolution and the new media landscape. Catholics have always been very open to imagery, music, spectacle and emotion. They have no suspicion of pictures, they have always accepted images of Christ, the Virgin Mary and the Saints. They were vulnerable, they accepted the new images and all the emotional charge they held and they gave themselves to the new spirit of the times, drugs, pleasure and sex. It was true of all religions, but maybe Catholics were a little more vulnerable.

    I hope the church recovers, although that hope looks slim. But as I understand it those who most fully believe in the Catholic faith believe it will echo Christ's own Passion and so the faith will be persecuted and will then rise again. I have come back to the faith, but I am one of those sinners who was greatly affected by the 60's and 70's.

  5. "When the Frankfurt School of Marxist ideologues suggested a march through the institutions of the West they did not mention the church, but in the end they did not have to infiltrate the latter institution, its own theologians embraced Marxism voluntarily."

    Bella Dodd, a former communist agent and eventual "revert" to Catholicism: "In the 1930s, we put eleven hundred men into the priesthood [in the United States] in order to destroy the Church from within." Another former communist, Manning Johnson, testified to Congress: "In the earliest stages it was determined that with only small forces available to them, it would be necessary to concentrate Communist agents in the seminaries…. This policy of infiltrating seminaries was successful beyond even our communist expectations.”

    But a great read.  Thank you!!
  6. i realize that this comment is quite late, but i feel that it is worthwhile trying to discuss issues with others, even when the issues are encountered very late.
    Patrick seems to feel that Vatican 2 was necessary for the church to remain relevant. if that is correct, were the clergy correct to do so? take a look at the mainstream protestant denominations; there, U see universally declining attendance, and saw it in the 1960s as well. if the clergy were trying to be

  7. Hi Emmet:
    regarding your words, which anticipate, in Europe,”the perpetration of atrocities unheard-of since the end of World War II” … what about the UNSPEAKABLE atrocities committed by the “old” Catholic Church … the one to which you are so attached … d’you think it might be “judgment time” then? Sorta like “PAYBACK” ?

  8. Hi Emmet:
    regarding your words, which anticipate, in Europe,”the perpetration of atrocities unheard-of since the end of World War II” … what about the UNSPEAKABLE atrocities committed by the “old” Catholic Church … the one to which you are so attached … d’you think it might be “judgment time” then? Sorta like “PAYBACK” ?

  9. I am Orthodox ( Greek) Christian now living in Bulgaria. Growing up in Uk from Greece at age 12 we attended the Catholic church just as it was changing, before there was a local greek church established. Now there are three Orthodox churches in that english city of Southampton.

    I saw much of this with my own eyes to the extent that local anglicans now appear more Catholic than the Catholics.
    But this is not a little discourse over ritual but over belief and an understanding of life.
    The Orthodox church is now under attack but has so far stood it’s ground,although the patrarchate of Constantinople is suspect.
    As regards Europe, one cannot blame islam, nature abhors a vacuum and islam will fill it in the west. This is why at present the new atheists attack Russia and the Church.
    One is not allowed to ask the questions relating to the burnt ground and emptyness the ultra feminist Movement and rest have left.But events will bring their own results to be seen by all as now.

  10. Maree, I feel I need to respond to your comment about the ‘unspeakable’ atrocities committed by the Catholic Church in the past. Your comment is based upon centuries of anti-Catholic propaganda promulgated by Protestant and anti-Christian ‘Englightenment’ writers and finally by secular atheists in the 20th century. The Catholic Christian faith abolished slavery, as well as torture such as crucifixion and gladiator contests in the Roman Empire. During the Middle Ages, from the tenth century, the Church sponsored the greatest expansion of civilization and learning Europe had ever seen. But don’t take my word for it. Read Rodney Stark, “Bearing False Witness: Counteracting Centuries of Anti-Catholic Propaganda”.

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