“The frequency and power of crime have blunted Christian sensibility, even alas! among Christians. Not only as men, but as Christians, they do not react, do not leap to their feet. How can they feel themselves to be Christians if they are insensitive to the wounds which are being inflicted on Christianity? Life shows its existence by the sensation of pain, by the vivacity by which it reacts to a wound, by the promptness and vigor of the reaction. In the midst of rottenness and decomposition there is no reaction.”

– Cardinal Ottaviani, as quoted in “Action: A Manual for the Reconstruction of Christendom” by Jean Ousset.

2 thoughts on “Reaction

  1. [My first comment in this new blog, incidentally.]

    What is being lamented here is nonetheless understandable. If we so sensitized ourselves as to react “properly” to every last evil thing going on in the world today, particularly as we are totally powerless to do anything to counter them even at the person-to-person level (let alone the grand scale), we would drive ourselves at the very least to the brink of insanity on account of the perpetual state of anger we’d be in, a frame of mind clearly unsustainable. (I speak from experience.)

    So some people just tune out what’s going on “out there” that doesn’t directly impact them, and still others are asking themselves what is really worth getting upset about anymore, as “spilled milk can’t go back in the bottle,” or something like that. I’ve done a bit of both these last couple of years. There’s no point in being a “crusader” when one’s peace of soul gets destroyed in the process.


  2. “… particularly as we are totally powerless to do anything to counter them even at the person-to-person level (let alone the grand scale) …”

    Yes, that is the crux of the problem. How do we overcome this feeling of powerlessness?

    Yesterday, at an otherwise decent county fair, I wanted to leap to my feet at a dozen things. The horribly immoral music at one location, the hypnotist at another, the clothing (or lack thereof) of fair-goers, etc. But what would I have accomplished? Nothing. I would have been written off as a crank. I could probably find a hundred people who agree with me about these things, but not one in a hundred would protest to the fair administrators, and even if they did, fair attendance is up 22% this year, the money is rolling in, nothing would change. We are impotent, even in the best of available circumstances.

    It seems there are only three realistic courses of action for Catholics who want to change the culture:

    1. Forget social change and focus on evangelization and conversions. First things first: we live among savages in pure mission territory.

    2. Concentrate our numbers in one geographical area. The Mormons have Utah, let the orthodox Catholics have – I don’t know – the Diocese of Lincoln?

    3. Pray and wait for the apocalypse.


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