Tuesday, May 23, 2017
My friend and former student Conor Dugan has this review up, at Catholic World Report, of Rod Dreher's The Benedict Option. It's worth a read. I think Conor's does a better job than most reviews of "getting" what (it seems to me) Dreher is proposing. In keeping with what many of us here at MOJ have been writing for years, Conor hones in on the centrality of anthropology:
The first chapters of The Benedict Option are largely diagnostic, an assessment of where we are and how we got here. Contrary to critics of the book, Dreher’s diagnosis is not overly pessimistic or declinist (nor is it, as one virtue-signaling academic claimed, a lament for a white-Christianity that is no longer), but realistic. Indeed, while I can understand criticisms of Dreher’s proposal for how we ought to respond to the barbarism that we face, for the life of me, I cannot understand how people can reject his assessment of the world as it is now. We might not like it, but the portrait Dreher paints seems largely accurate. ...
We've forgotten what nature is—the sheer givenness of nature and its intrinsic meaning and intelligibility. As Pope Benedict stated beautifully in his last Christmas address to the Curia as Pope:
[T]he attack we are currently experiencing on the true structure of the family, made up of father, mother, and child, goes much deeper. While up to now we regarded a false understanding of the nature of human freedom as one cause of the crisis of the family, it is now becoming clear that the very notion of being – of what being human really means – is being called into question. . . . [S]ex is no longer a given element of nature, that man has to accept and personally make sense of: it is a social role that we choose for ourselves, while in the past it was chosen for us by society. The profound falsehood of this theory and of the anthropological revolution contained within it is obvious. People dispute the idea that they have a nature, given by their bodily identity, that serves as a defining element of the human being. They deny their nature and decide that it is not something previously given to them, but that they make it for themselves.