is the same as not to see

Areader recently took me to task for not delivering on a promise to complete recently took me to task for not delivering on a promise to complete the discussion concerning the conquest of Nature and C. S. Lewis’ prophetic warning of the dangers such conquests will inevitably bring. To that reader I must offer my sincere gratitude for reminding me of that promise for I confess it had slipped my mind.

What God intends man amends

What God intends man amends

In his reply to a letter writer concerning an opinion piece on Marquette University1, Mickey Mattox wrote:

Without doubt the retreat from Catholic realism as reflected in the natural-law tradition has wreaked havoc in Western, Catholic universities. If nothing is given, not even ourselves, then nature itself becomes merely the inchoate ‘matter’ we shape to serve ends determined solely by desire and techne2. The logic that undergirds the movement for ‘marriage equality’ is itself post-natural in this sense. It leads inevitably toward the unreason of transgender ‘rights,’ and from there to a trans-humanist movement that promises self-transcendence without the transcendent God.”3

What Mattox says serves to support and validate exactly what Lewis so prophetically wrote nearly three-quarters of a century ago:

“The real objection is that if man chooses to treat himself as raw material, raw material he will be: not raw material to be manipulated, as he fondly imagined, by himself, but by mere appetite, that is, mere Nature, in the person of his de-humanized Conditioners.

We have been trying, like Lear, to have it both ways: to lay down our human prerogative and yet at the same time to retain it. It is impossible.

Traditional values are to be ‘debunked’ and mankind to be cut out into some fresh shape at the will (which must, by hypothesis, be an arbitrary will) of some lucky few people in one lucky generation which has learned how to do it. The belief that we can invent ‘ideologies’ at pleasure, and the consequent treatment of mankind as mere … specimens, preparations, begins to affect our very language. Once we killed bad men: now we liquidate unsocial elements. Virtue has become integration and diligence dynamism…. Most wonderful of all, the virtues of thrift and temperance, and even of ordinary intelligence, are sales-resistance.”4

What Lewis prophesied and what Mattox has confirmed ought to be alarming to us all, but tragically it barely gets a ho-hum response or even a ‘whatever.’ Perhaps it is too late to halt the progress, to stop the madness that lives by the credo, “What God intends man amends.” Let us hope that is not the case.

Lewis concludes:

“…you cannot go on ‘explaining away’ forever: you will find that you have explained explanation itself away. You cannot go on ‘seeing through things forever. The whole point of seeing through something is to see something through it. It is good that the window should be transparent, because the street or garden beyond it is opaque. How if you saw through the garden too? It is no use trying to ‘see through’ first principles. If you see through everything, then everything is transparent. But a wholly transparent world is an invisible world. To ‘see through’ all things is the same as not to see.”

1 Mickey L. Mattox, Professor of Theology at Marquette University; Marquette’s Gender Regime, First Things, April 2016.
2 Philosophical term often translated as craftsmanship, craft, or art.
3 Letters: Marquette, First Things, June/July 2016.
4 C. S. Lewis, The Abolition of Man, 1943.

About the author: Deacon Chuck

Deacon Chuck was ordained into the permanent diaconate on September 17, 2011, in the ministry of service to the Diocese of Reno and assigned to St. Albert the Great Catholic Community. He currently serves as the parish bulletin editor and website administrator. Deacon Chuck continues to serve the parish of Saint Albert the Great Catholic Community of the Diocese of Reno, Nevada. He is the Director of Adult Faith Formation and Homebound Ministries for the parish, conducts frequent adult faith formation workshops, and is a regular homilist. He currently serves as the bulletin editor for the parish bulletin. He writes a weekly column intended to encompass a broad landscape of thoughts and ideas on matters of theology, faith, morals, teachings of the magisterium and the Catholic Church; they are meant to illuminate, illustrate, and catechize the readers and now number more than 230 articles. His latest endeavor is "Colloqui: A journal for restless minds", a weekly journal of about 8 pages similar in content to bulletin reflections. All his reflections, homilies, commentaries, and Colloqui are posted and can be found on his website: Comments are always welcome and appreciated. He is the author of two books: "The Voices of God: hearing God in the silence" which offers the reader insights into how to hear God’s voice through all of the noise that surrounds us; and "Echoes of Love: Effervescent Memories" which through a combination of prose and verse provides the reader with a wonderful journey on the way to discovering forever love. He regularly speaks to groups of all ages and size and would welcome the opportunity to speak to your group.

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