Modernism Versus Beauty

One of the greatest disasters that the heresy of Modernism –the compendium of all heresies, according to Saint Pius X— has inflicted on Catholicism is the elimination of beauty.

Modernism has done away with the beauty of Scripture –which is, after all, the only book whose Author is the Holy Spirit—by negating at every turn its historical veracity. By the same reason, Modernism has also destroyed the beauty of the Words of Christ as well as His Person and His sublime teachings, the beauty of the Liturgy bysimplifying its ceremonies and, above all, eradicating the splendor of Sacred Music, which has been replaced by the strident noise of pop music and the hammering sound of modern percussion instruments; all of which has been accompanied sometimes, as if one were present at a street theater, by ridiculous contortions of artists specialized in desecrating Art and irritating Terpsichore, the pagan goddess of dance. As for the Mass, which is the highest and most sublime act of Christian Worship, whose greatness consists of being the most appropriate bridge ever known between Heaven and Earth, Modernism has replaced it with a different one recognized as legitimate by the Church, but one which cannot help but evoke the figure of a skeleton without a soul.

Since beauty is the transcendental closest to love (beauty intentionally precedes love) the battle of Modernism against the latter is becoming fierce. Let  us take into account that Christianity elevates love to heights unknown to Man until then. Not even the Old Testament had elaborated the notion of love to its utmost perfection. Perfect loveappears only with Jesus Christ.

Two were the ways through which Jesus Christ raised love to a state of perfection hitherto unreached by man. First, through His Incarnation; He took a Human Nature as His own, making thus possible for man to love God in ahuman way although deified by grace. In other words, man can now feel true love for the Man Jesus Christ in Whose Divine Person man reaches His Divine Nature and recognizes him as his God. In effect, man can love God, but he cannot fall in love with what is Completely Invisible, with a God Who, being Pure Spirit, cannot even be imagined.

Secondly, Jesus Christ transformed merely human love into divine love: divine-human love. In this regard, His words are forceful: A new commandment I give unto you: That you love one another, as I have loved you, that you also love one another.[1] Two things, therefore, must be taken into account: this commandment is new, and the disciples must love one another as I have loved you, which is tantamount to saying in the same way and with the same sentiment that He has loved them. The corollary is, therefore, evident and obvious: merely human love has become now divine.

Let us not forget that Love is identical to God, as Saint John affirms (1 Jn 4:8); God also is infinite Beauty; it is, then, impossible to deny the bond linking the three: God, love, and beauty. In this sense one can say that beauty brings us near to God and that love is, after all, the most beautiful entity of God’s entire Creation.

Thus, given that love is the feeling closest to beauty, and that, thanks to Jesus Christ, merely human love has become divine-human love, love is the target about to be destroyed by Modernism, which has endeavored to replace the beauty and majesty of love for its opposite, namely the horrible ugliness of hatred, this time spread through the Marxist ideologies of Liberation Theology.

Since nature does not tolerate emptiness, it was absolutely essential that beauty be replaced by ugliness. Lucifer was the brightest Angel of Heaven, but because of his rebellious pride he became an Entity whose hideous ugliness cannot be imagined by anyone of this world (the seriousness of mortal sin is an abyss of evil whose depth even in Hell will not be understood by the creature). Satan has been consumed in his anger ever since, and that is why hatred is supremely ugly (or supremely horrific), because to its own natural malice hatred adds the awful ridicule of the greatest of all failures: Hatred is but the rancor of failed Pride. Created being needs to spread something: if it cannot spread love, it spreads hatred. In this sense, Liberation Theology is but the expression of a love that wanted to be Love by itself and failed, becoming nothing more than the sum of rancor. The splendorous Light of the greatest created beauty became the abysmal and unimaginable darkness of the greatest ugliness of Creation.

It is not surprising that Modernism, due to its origin, has tried to destroy all that is supremely beautiful in Catholicism. Thus, it has attacked language.

Language is a sublime gift bestowed by God upon man for two purposes: to be a vehicle of communication among men (therefore language is a necessary instrument to communicate love, for man was created to love), and to be an instrument of Poetry as a means of expressing and communicating beauty through words.

Language is the essential tool used by Poetry to express and convey beauty through the word. This is why the Church has been throughout the centuries extremely watchful, taking good care of it and using it in all its grandeur both in her Liturgy and in the formulas that encapsulate her Magisterium. The secular gravity, the mysterious depths used in the formulas used to explain the mystery revealed, the greatness of the expressions of liturgical ceremonies and the Spartan and measured language used by the Magisterium, are but the expression of the sublime beauty of the Language of the Church.

In this context it was necessary to end the use of the wonderful, universal, and beautiful Latin language. The introduction of vernacular languages has meant replacing the elegance of an artistic language, prodigy of mental structure and clever use of words, wonder not yet achieved by another human language, with so-called vulgarlanguages, which, as happened in Babel, managed to split the linguistic unity of the Church and along with it the universal feeling, widespread among the faithful, of belonging to a single Body. Now the Church speaks peasant languages each one of them limited to each of the many villages that populate her: Divide and conquer.

For the same reason Modernism has introduced, as the most natural thing, vulgarity and the typical sloppiness of profane and vulgar speech in the language of the Magisterium, of course, and even in the official documents of today’s Church; but mainly and above all in Preaching and normal ways of communication of most of the Hierarchy (language that sometimes they try to give the status of Ordinary Magisterium). And yet, this is not surprising when you consider that a doctrine that remains at ground level, devoid of the supernatural elements that belonged to it as its own, cannot express itself but through the ordinariness used by vile and scurrilous speech (as the adage goes, The corruption of what is best is the worst tragedy). Cicero in Ancient times and Saint John Chrysostom in the fourth century would speak now the language of the bartender.

One of the greatest monuments erected by Modernism to the ugliness and to the ridicule within the Church is the grotesque show of dancing priests wearing sacred vestments during or sometimes outside Mass. To which we must add the no less bizarre event of performing friars and nuns dancing with their habits, accompanied sometimes by priests in their sacred vestments. Nevertheless, we must admit that all these ugly examples are far exceeded, as far as ridicule is concerned, by the image of those bishops, wearing all their distinguishing emblems, dancing in chorus on the beaches of Copacabana and led by a homosexual director.

Should one try to find good intentions, as Christian charity would demand, it is difficult to guess what exactly those worshipers of dance would try to accomplish. The hypothesis maintaining that they were intending a pastoral action of testimony, as is now said (although so far no one has explained the content of this word so widely used in Chancelleries), it is difficult to admit, unless it is presumed that the rest of the faithful are imbeciles. On the other hand, to think always positively, as the Manual of Christian Charity for the naïve people demands, does not square well with Jesus Christ commanding us to be simple as doves but wise as serpents.

It is easier to accept the explanation that the mentioned dancers (does anyone remember the Bacchantes of Bacchus?) are simply suffering from a painful inferiority complex motivated in turn by a gigantic lack of faith.

Modernism, by eliminating every single vestige of supernatural elements from Catholicism, has brought man down to the level of pure animalism and has deprived him of any possibility of going deeper into the world of fantasy and thrills; of looking for what is lofty and unknown, what is above man, the adventure of introducing himself in the intricate world of the mysteries of love, the very thing for which he has been created. Now, thanks to Modernism, man is a being without hope, not capable of dreaming.

Saint Francis of Assisi is an iconic character who, throughout the history of Christianity, knew, as nobody else has, how to combine the hardness of the terrible Mystery of the Cross with poetry and beauty emerging from the creatures. His Canticle of  Brother Sun and his Canticle of all Creatures enshrine him as a divine poet and minstrel who captured the Supreme Beauty that he saw reflected in the beauty of created things around him. The grandeur and beauty of the Poverello derive, ultimately, from the fact that he was also the sublime lover of the beauty of things that led him to the Beauty of the Creator of all of them.

That is why Modernism quickly reduced him to the level of an ecological character. Never before had what is sublime been so foully reduced to the condition of the vulgar. Never before had the supernal beauty of holiness been changed into the ordinariness of a task whose horizon is none other than to care for the environment.

In the small chapel of the Portiuncula, still in ruins, Saint Francis one day heard choirs of angels singing and a voice commanding him to lift the church (or the Church, as tradition has always understood). Now the tiny temple has become the Basilica of Saint Mary of the Angels, and in her, after so many centuries, the images of Buddha and of other idols have been enthroned on its altar.

But this metamorphosis, introduced over time, is more than a mere symbol expressing a change of situation. When the songs of angels are replaced by cults and hymns to idols, something extremely serious has happened in the Church. The Seraph of Assisi has been the saint of the sublime singing  of Poverty and Poetry intoning the beauty of Creation; and also, in the brightness of his divine-human love, the singer of the possibility of man’s dialogue with brother fire or with the ferocious Wolf  of Gubbio, both tamed by the strength and beauty of love.

Modernism has undoubtedly achieved its great victory: reduce the incomparable beauty of the Church of Jesus Christ to the status of an Institution that has lowered herself to the condition of the world. Sainthood has given way to mediocrity, the sublime to the vulgar, and ultimately, what was beautiful to contemplate has given way to what, when closely considered, one chooses to quicken his pace and not look at it.

Fr. Alfonso Gálvez

[1] Jn 13:34.

Padre Alfonso Gálvezhttp://www.alfonsogalvez.org/
Nació en 1932. Licenciado en Derecho. Se ordenó de sacerdote en Murcia en 1956. Entre otros destinos ha estado en Cuenca (Ecuador), Barquisimeto (Venezuela) y Murcia. Es Fundador de la Sociedad de Jesucristo Sacerdote, aprobada en 1980. Desde 1982 reside en El Pedregal (Mazarrón-Murcia). A lo largo de su vida ha alternado las labores pastorales con un importante trabajo redaccional. Ha publicado Comentarios al Cantar de los Cantares (dos volúmenes), La Fiesta del hombre y la Fiesta de Dios, La oración, El Amigo Inoportuno, Apuntes sobre la espiritualidad de la Sociedad de Jesucristo Sacerdote, Esperando a Don Quijote, Homilías, Siete Cartas a Siete Obispos, El Invierno Eclesial, Los Cantos Perdidos y El Misterio de la Oración. Para información adicional visite su web http://www.alfonsogalvez.com

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