I was sitting in a downtown bar, knocking back a few cold ones after another tough week of agitating for oligarchical collectivism. Suddenly Candace de Russy tottered in, looking downright incendiary in a red silk brocade gown replete with a poi de soie bodice and an overskirt trimmed with gold-thread jacquard ribbon.
She collapsed onto the stool next to me and gave me a goggle-eyed leer. "Mind if I ask you something, mister?"
She leaned over conspiratorially and put her lips against my ear; my head swam with the heady aroma of butterscotch and toluene. "What does 'nuptial mysticism,' as opposed to neo-scholasticism, have to do with winning the war against Islamic terror?"
I thought about it for a while and drew a blank. "You tell me," I said.
She laughed unpleasantly, her eyes as hard as jujubes. "Learn about this from a most interesting review by 'Spengler' of a theological text by a Scots Dominican, Fergus Kerr," she snapped.
I had plenty more questions for her, but it was too late: She was already halfway to the floor, singing "Mairzy Doats" in a small, dreamy voice. I stabilized her as best I could, and went home to track down this "Spengler" fellow.
And I'm glad I did. His argument is sprawling, to say the least, but I'll try to boil it down to the essentials:
To win a gunfight, first you have to bring a gun, and to win a religious war, you had better know something about religion.This analogy is unbalanced in several senses of the word, but we'll overlook that for now. The thing to remember is that we're in a religious war, and this makes the Pope "the leader not only of the Catholics but - by default - of the West."
Radical Islam threatens the West only because secular Europe, including the sad remnants of the former Soviet Union, is so desiccated by secular anomie that it no longer cares enough about its future to produce children.Or as Heinrich Himmler put it, "A people of good race which has too few children has a one-way ticket to the grave.”
So far, so good. Religious war, check. Pope leads the West by default, check. The Muslims are outfucking us, check.
So what does nuptial mysticism have to do with winning the war against Islamic terror? Well, to shorten an extraordinarily convoluted argument, modern secular thought (i.e., Heidegger and Strauss!) has ignored divine self-revelation in favor of "the metaphysics of Being." As it happens, this is a metaphysics "that the Church of Vatican II consigned to the dustbin," while embracing certain congenial currents of Protestantism (Barth) and Judaism (Rosenzweig and Buber). Which just goes to show you that:
All of the really important issues were fought out over generations in the one Western institution with a long enough memory. That is why the Catholic Church remains the world's indispensable institution.The current Pope's dim view of Islam signifies that he comes down on the correct side of this philosophical divide; his belief in "God's self-revelation through love," as opposed to "the irreligious deism of the 18th century," allows him to grasp that "one cannot simply teach political systems, or as Immanuel Kant put it, devise a constitution for devils."
To put it another way, when a good old-fashioned Holy War is in order, Pope Ratzo's your only man:
Benedict is the first pope in the past century to draw a bright line between Islam on one hand and Judeo-Christian revealed religion on the other, and that may destine him "not to send peace, but a sword."And that, as far as I can tell, is what "nuptial mysticism" has to do with winning the war against Islamic terror.
Please do make a note of it.
(Illustration: "Entrance of the Crusaders into Constantinople," by Gustave Dore.)