Volume IV, No. 7                                         November 1998

IN THIS ISSUE:  a)  Eric Voegelin's unpublished typescript "Cleri-
                    calism" (c. 1946), introduced and transcribed by
                    David Beam.


             Introduction to Eric Voegelin's "Clericalism"

                             by David Beam

Briefly, let me try to situate Voegelin's unpublished article "Cleri-
calism" in the context of his thought as it developed over the twenty
year period from 1937-57.  This twenty year period is significant be-
cause it's during this period that we can see three major themes in
Voegelin's thought begin to emerge and take shape:

(1) What began in the mid 1930s with his reading of the Papal encycli-
cals and neo-Thomism, developed into a much deeper Augustinian outlook by
the time he wrote the first three volumes of _Order and History_ in the
early 1950s.  Voegelin was never a Thomistic philosopher, but like
Augustine, he was both eschatologically-oriented and anti-apocalyptic. 
It is therefore not without significance that he chose a quote from
Augustine's _De Vera Religione_ as the motto for _Order and History_
(1956-57):  "In the study of creature one should not exercise a vain and
perishing curiosity, but ascend toward what is immortal and everlasting."

(2) What began in 1940 with an attempt to correct the treatment (or lack
of it!) of the Church and the Middle Ages in the standard histories of
political ideas, ended with his abandonment of the history of political
ideas and his turn to consciousness.  The result of this turn to con-
sciousness was _Order and History_, "a philosophical inquiry concerning
the principal types of order of human existence in society and history as
well as the corresponding symbolic forms," i.e. myth, revelation, and

(3) From his first discovery of the problem of gnosticism in his reading
of von Balthasar's _Apokalypse der deutschen Seele_ (1937) to his de-
livery of the Walgreen Lectures and their subsequent publication as _The
New Science of Politics_ (1952), Voegelin came to identify gnosticism 
as the principal disordering force in history.  However, he later quali-
fied the decisive role that gnosticism had played when he began to dif-
ferentiate the deformations of differentiations.  As he said at the
Thomas More Institute, in Montreal, on March 12, 1976:

   I paid perhaps undue attention to gnosticism in the first book 
   I published in English, _The New Science of Politics_.  That was 
   the time when the historic explosion of knowledge started which 
   we are living today.  I happened to run into the problem of gnos-
   ticism in my reading of von Balthasar.  But in the meanwhile we 
   have found that the apoca- lyptic is of equal importance, and the
   Neo-Platonic tradition, and hermeticism, and magic, and so on.  
   If you read Frances Yates' book on Giordano Bruno, you will find
   that the gnostic mysticism of Ficino is a constant ever since the
   end of the fifteenth century, going on to the ideologies of the
   nineteenth century.  So there are five or six such items -- not 
   only  gnosticism -- with which we have to deal.  If all new types
   have to be brought in, the simple doctrine is no longer very use-
   ful. [_Conversation with Eric Voegelin_ IV: "Myth as Environment,"

The unpublished essay "Clericalism" fits into Voegelin's encounter with
the papal encyclicals and their background in Thomistic philosophy.  In
his _Autobiographical Reflections_, Voegelin recounted how:

   After 1933 Austrian resistence to National Socialism led to the 
   civil war situation of 1934 and to the establishment of the so-
   called authoritarian state.  Since the conception of the authori-
   tarian con- stitution was closely related to the ideas of the
   _Quadragesimo Anno_, as well as of earlier papal encyclicals on 
   social questions, I had to go into these materials; and I could 
   not get very deeply into them without acquiring some understand-
   ing of their background in Tho- mistic philosophy.  In the years
   1933-36, my interests in neo-Thomism began to develop.  I read 
   the works of A.D. Sertillanges, Jacques Maritain, Etienne Gilson,
   and then got even more fascinated by the not so Thomistic but 
   rather Augustinian Jesuits like Hans Urs von Balthasar and Henri
   de Lubac.  To this study, extending over many years, I owe my
   knowledge of medieval philosophy and its problems (25).

Although he doesn't mention the Augustinian Jesuit, Erich Przywara, in
his _Autobiographical Reflections_, it is "the religious-scientific
assumptions in general" of Przywara's _ Religionsphilosophie katholicher
Theologie_ (Handbuch de Philosophie.  Edited by A. Baumler and M.
Schroter.  Abteilung II. Natur-Geist-Gott).  Munich and Berlin: Verlag R.
Oldenbourg, 1927. [English translation: _Polarity:  A German Catholic's
Interpretation of Religion._ Translated by A.C. Bousquet. London: Oxford
University Press, 1937.] that Voegelin followed in writing _Political
Religions_ in 1938.  For the importance of Przywara in relation to Max
Scheler, Hans Urs von Balthasar, Aurel Kolnai and Christian von
Ehrenfels, Cf. Francesca Murphy, _The Sound of the _Analogia Entis_,
_New Blackfriars_ 74 (November-December 1993): 508-521; 557-565.

So here, I will claim that it was his exposure to the the papal ency-
clicals and neo-Thomism, during the 1930s, that decisively shaped
Voegelin's own approach to the history of political ideas.  In 1944, the
_American Political Science Review_ published Voegelin's "Political
Theory and the Pattern of General History" which was a summary of his
work to date on the history of political ideas.  In this essay, Voegelin
dealt with the deficiencies of the existing histories of political ideas,
such as Sabine, 1937, and indicated what he believed needed to be cor-
rected, namely, that the Middle Ages and the Church were usually passed
over in such histories.  It was also Voegelin's great insight to see the
decisive role that the early Christological controversies in the Church
played in shaping political ideas in the West.

For Voegelin, Christianity is to be taken seriously, but not literally,
for, as he rightly characterized it, "literalism is the materialism of
the spirit."  What it means to take Christianity seriously, but not
literally really came home to me, several years ago, while I was reading
David Cayley's _Conversations with Ivan Illich_.  Let me quote at some
length from what Illich says to Cayley because I believe that it has a
direct bearing on our understanding of Voegelin's relationship to

   Illich:  Powerful and unprecedented ideas, brought through
   Christianity and through the Gospel into Western history, have 
   been perverted into normative notions of a cruelty, of a _hor-
   rifying_ darkness, which no other culture has ever known.  The
   Latin _adagium, corruptio optimi pessima_ -- there's nothing 
   worse then the corruption of the best -- became a theme in my
   reading and reflection.  Most of my concern with the Middle 
   Ages is precisely to observe the process of flipping by which 
   a notion which goes beyond what I find in any other culture in
   bringing out the glory of being you and me is then institution-
   alized by the Church and becomes something more destructive and
   worse than anything I can find anywhere else. . . .  Yes, my 
   work is an attempt to accept with great sadness the fact that
   Western culture . . . [t]hrough the attempt to insure, to gua-
   rantee, to regulate Revelation, the best becomes the worst. . . .
   I live also with a sense of profound ambiguity.  I can't do 
   without tradition, but I have to recognize its institutiona-
   lization is the root of an evil deeper than any evil I could 
   have known with my unaided eyes and mind.  _This is what I call
   the West.  By studying and accepting the West as the perversion
   of Revelation, I become increasingly tentative, but also more 
   curious and totally engaged in searching for its origin, which 
   is the voice of him who speaks._  [my emphasis D.B.]  It's as
   simple as that . . . childish, if you want,   childlike, I hope.

   Cayley:  You're saying, I think, that the perversion and the 
   preservation of Revelation are bound together in the history of 
   the West.

   Illich:  Absolutely.  That is what the human condition is after 
   the crucifixion.  You can't take the crucifixion away if you want
   to understand where we have arrived at.  [_Conversations with 
   Ivan Illich_, 213-214; 242-243.]

Was Voegelin a normative Christian?  (For a discussion of this question
which is beyond the scope of this Introduction, I refer the reader to
Gerhart Niemeyer's essay "Christian Faith and Religion in Eric
Voegelin's Work," in _Within and Above Ourselves: Essays in Political
Analysis_, Wilmington, De: ISI, 1996, 126-142.)  Although Voegelin was
critical of all attempts to categorize him "ideologically" (Cf. _Auto-
biographical Reflections_ p. 46), he did often refer to himself as
a "mystic philosopher" and according to Gerhart Niemeyer, he sometimes
also referred to himself as a "pre-Reformation," or "Pre-Nicene"
Christian.  In doing so, Voegelin wanted to signify that he felt an
attachment for something that existed before the fourteenth century
split between fideism and mysticism.

All these qualifications aside, let me now turn to the essay "Clerical-
ism" itself.  Here Voegelin rightly observes that:

   Christianity is not a system of social ethics, but a religion.  
   It is a faith concerned with the destiny of the soul; and this
   faith as such has no direct bearing on the formation of the so-
   cial environment; it can have a bearing only indirectly insofar
   as the conduct required of the Christian is not compatible with
   the exigencies of _every_ social order.  Hence the Church cannot
   develop a positive social program; it can only deal with con- 
   crete social questions as they arise, and try, by counsel, to 
   guide the conduct of individuals in such a manner that it will 
   become Christian conduct.

If Voegelin is very clear about the impossibility of a Christian politi-
cal programme, he is also equally clear about the dangers "of the poli-
tico-religious movements which [would] achieve the reunion of Church and
State" and which would attempt to fill the space vacated by the Church.

   As soon as the public representation of the spirit is removed 
   by law, or even if it is only seriously weakened in fact, new
   spiritual forces pour into the vacuum and give sacramental sanc-
   tion to the Western national societies.

When Voegelin wrote this piece [i.e., "Clericalism], the world was still
living in the afterglow of the Allied victory and the Cold War still lay
ahead.  He ends the essay on a note of hope, rather than optimism, for
the future.


[Editor's note:  The original manuscript (Box 62, Folder 18 in the
Voegelin Archives, the Hoover Institution, Stanford, California)
consists of an eleven page typescript with Voegelin's own handwritten
corrections.  There is also a letter from Frederic A. Ogg, Managing
Editor of the _American Political Science Review_, to Eric Voegelin
dated April 4, 1947.  Professor Ogg wrote:  "The enclosed manuscript
came into my hands some time ago from Professor Colegrove.  He did 
not particularly recommend its publication, and I do not see any way
clear to use it within any reasonable time.  Believing that you can 
use it elsewhere, I have decided that I shall not hold it longer."  
Based on what little evidence we have, "Clericalism" was probably 
written sometime in 1946.]




                              Eric Voegelin

We are supposed today to talk about three worlds of ideas which are in
conflict with each other on the contemporary scene, that is about
Clericalism, Nationalism and Communism; and we are supposed to talk
about them with special regard to this conflict.  Obviously, this topic
includes the whole intellectual and political structure of Western
Civilization; and it does include not only the present phase of dis-
integration of the old Western order which is marked by this conflict
but a good deal of its history as well.  We have to focus the topic
through vast eliminations.  In talking about Clericalism, we shall
concentrate on its most important manifestation, that is on Catholic
Clericalism -- though incidentally a Protestant problem may be touched;
we shall, furthermore, concentrate on the European aspects of the
question -- though, again, incidentally an American problem may be
touched; and, finally, we must eliminate the vast field of variants and
details, in particular Clericalism in the pejorative sense of episcopal
directives in politics, and concentrate on the fundamental causes of the
conflict.  These fundamental causes we may characterize as (1) the
failure of the Church to master certain intellectual and social problems
of the modern world in proper time; and (2) the success of the Church in
preserving certain parts of the Western spiritual and intellectual
heritage which have been not too well preserved by the secular political
movements.  Both causes determine the present situation of conflict.  If
the Church (not as a divine but as a social institution) had not failed,
it would not find itself today in a position which to some will appear
as a last-ditch defense; if the Church had not succeeded, it could not
be the rallying point and shelter -- which it is -- for the many who
have taken a good look into the abyss of evil in the secular movements.

Both failure and success are not of yesterday; a long history has
sedimented in the present situation.  We have to reflect for a moment 
on this history in order to understand the weight of the various fac-
tors in the present conflict.  A specifically clerical position in
politics presupposes the existence of opposing secular forces.  The
emergence of secular forces, as well as the corresponding formation of
a clerical position is a long-drawn process; and historians may dis-
agree in fixing the point at which the position is definitely formed. 
Some will find that the first great conflict of this nature occurred
around 1300, in the clash between the Church and the French national
monarchy.  Others may consider this episode as too ephemeral, and will
rather accept the appearance of the new legal form of the concordat as
the formal, institutional recognition of the dissociation of Western
Civilization into clerical and secular political forces.  Others again
will accept as decisive the year 1648 when, on the occasion of the
Treaties of Westphalia, the Papacy was removed definitely as a publicly
representative power from the international scene.  These would be the
principal dates and events which mark the formation of an autonomous
sphere of secular politics, in opposition to which the Church is pressed
into the clerical position.

The second great line of events which has determined this position
originates in the schisms of the Church.  The appearance of Protestant
rival Churches and sects has brought a further diminuation of public
status, not for the Catholic Church only but also for the Protestant
foundations.  Whether it be a national establishment as in England, or
the public recognition of a plurality of religious societies as in
Central Europe, or the complete separation of Church and State as in the
American and French Republics -- the net result is, in any case, the
relativization of the ecclesiastic position, not only with regard the
autonomous sphere of secular politics, but also with regard to the
schismatic religious establishments.

In the era of constitutionalism and democracy, this relativization leads
to the necessity for the Church to make its influence in politics felt
in those forms which today we consider specifically clerical: that is
through its influence on, or support of, groupings of Catholic layman
who participate, in due constitutional form, in the political life of
their country.  We cannot go into variants and details; it will be
sufficient to mention such groupings as the former German Zentrum's
party, the Austrian Christian-Socialists, the post-War parties of a
Catholic complexion in contemporary France and Italy, and so forth.

We have characterized the Clerical position in its external aspect, 
that is with regard to the institutional form in which the substantial
struggle itself is carried on.  This conflict of ideas, however, has an
extremely complicated structure.  Above all we have to realize, what
today so frequently is forgotten, that Christianity is not a system of
social ethics, but a religion.  It is a faith concerned with the destiny
of the soul; and this faith as such has no direct bearing on the forma-
tion of the social environment; it can have a bearing only indirectly
insofar as the conduct required of the Christian is not compatible with
the exigencies of _every_ social order.  Hence the Church cannot develop
a positive social program; it can only deal with concrete social ques-
tions as they arise, and try, by counsel, to guide the conduct of indi-
viduals in such a manner that it will become Christian conduct.  This
casuistry extends from comparatively simple questions like the payment of
taxes to such grave questions as murder under governmental orders in war;
it extends to a recognition of trade-unions because they express human
initiative in self-government, and to the rejection of Fascist corpora-
tions because they violate this initiative. Obviously, there is ample
room for conflict with the powers that be; but precisely because these
conflicts must arise casuistically, on concrete occasions, they can
hardly be the source of the great conflict in which Christianity and the
Church find themselves today with the general course of Western secular
civilization.  Let us glance now at the great sources of conflict.

The first of these causes is by now largely, though not quite, a matter
of history.  It is the adjustment of the economic basis of the Church to
the rational organization of the national state to the economy.  The
economic basis of the Church in landed property had to lead to conflicts
with the state organization when a considerable part of the national
area was withdrawn from state jurisdiction and taxation.  Ever since 
the medieval clash with the realm of England over this question, the
retrenchment and confiscation of church lands has remained a richly
flowing source of conflict with the secular state -- down to its last
major case in the Spanish Civil War.  This long story of too little and
too late by way of concessions, the first great failure of the Church
which has led to a tension with secular government that never again
could be dissolved harmoniously.

The second great cause of conflict was the failure of the Church to
adjust itself in proper time to the rise and advancement of critical
science in the sixteenth century and after.  Again, the lack of
adjustment is a matter of the past.  The Church has accepted science,
even in the delicate field of higher criticism of the Bible.  The
Encyclical _Divino Afflante Spiritu_, of 1943, on Biblical studies,
summarizes and sanctions the long course of adjustment; the most careful
scrutiny of this Encyclical will hardly discover a sentence that could
be understood as a curb on the freedom of science.  But while the
adjustment is complete, it comes too late -- or so it seems to the
ordinary eye; the de-Christianization of broad sectors Western society,
which was caused by the maladjustment of the Church, can hardly be
reversed -- at least not in our time.

The third cause of the conflict comes closer to the present.  It is the
failure of the Church to grasp intellectually the problems of industri-
alized society and of the position of the worker in it.  We have to be
brief; and we shall refer, therefore, only to the Encyclical _Rerum
Novarum_, of 1891, as symptomatic of the situation.  The Encyclical is
in many respects a laudable document, particularly in its analysis of 
the ideology of class-war, but it fails in the crucial point, that is
in the discussion of private property.  It restates the position of the
Church with regard to the justness and necessity of private property for
the building of an integral human existence, and insofar it it is on safe
ground.  The ground becomes less safe, however, when the Encyclical
proceeds to berate Marxism flatly for demanding the abolition of private
property, without entering into the distinction between property of
objects of consumption and long range personal use on the one side, and
property in the instruments of large-scale industrial production on the
other side.  Even if we take a charitable view and consider that in the
1880's the discussion of these questions in the Marxist literature was
more inspired then precise, and that the Curia could hardly be blamed for
understanding Marxism not better than its more vociferous advocates of
the time, we might at least expect of the Papal counsellors that they
would offer a more palatable substitute of their own for the condemned
solution.  But what do we find instead?  A concentration of the argument
on the property in land.  The idea of a Communist society is against
natural law because it deprives the individual of the possibility to own
his piece of land as the basis of his personal existence.  Under a Com-
munist society the industrial worker would not be able to invest his
savings in land.  Well, our attitudes towards the merits of a Communist
society may differ, but, I think, we can all agree that it is not the
primary sorrow of the industrial worker in our society to invest his
savings in landed property and that a few other factors determine the
drive towards a nationalization of industries and planned economy.  The
later Encyclicals, in particular the _Quadragesimo Anno_ of 1931, have
become more cautious in their formulations, but the posiiton is not yet
surrendered in principle.  The Church is still today seriously handi-
capped in dealing with the burning problems of industrial society by 
what we may call its rural hangover.

These failures of the past are responsible for most of the strange
political associations in which the Church finds itself today.  History
does not wait for those who do not catch on; to the failures of the
Church correspond the secular movements which try to solve the problems
of the moment as best they can, without guidance from the Church and
even in opposition to it.  The failure of adjustment to the adminis-
trative and economic necessities of the national state has compelled 
the differentiation of a secular, autonomous public order in which the
Church is ultimately reduced to the rank of a private organization.  The
dangerous consequence of this development is the abolition of public
representation for the authority of the spirit.  The development is
dangerous because the life of the spirit is an essential part of human
existence, and a public order in which this essential part of human
existence, and a public order in which this essential part is not
represented, is unbearably defective.  As soon as the public repre-
sentation of the spirit is removed in law, or even if it is only
seriously weakened in fact, new spiritual forces pour into the vacuum
and give sacramental sanction to the existence of the community.  With
the progress of de-Christianization in the Western national societies,
we can observe, indeeed, the parallel rise of new religions which are
compatible with the secular order and thus can become representative in
public.  The socially most comprehensive, and today still the strongest
of these new religions, is nationalism.  The eighteenth is the critical
century in which the nations begin to assume the form of schismatic
religious bodies.  The first to understand this new development and to
grasp its full significance was Auguste Comte.  He raised the demand for
a new _pouvoir spirituel_, that would succeeed the moribund Christian
spiritual power as the companion of the temporal power in an industrial
society; he even went beyond the demand, and became himself the
_fondateur de la religion universelle_ with its somewhat grotesque rites
and paraphernalia.  Comte's intellectual counter-church has remained an
abortive attempt; but he had diagnosed the situtation correctly.  With
the increaing de-Christianization of our time, we witness the rise of
the politico-religious movements which achieve the reunion of Church and
State in such foundations as National Socialist Germany and Communist

The Church -- now speaking again of the Catholic Church -- has under-
stood the problem quite as well as Comte.  As a consequence, the Church
finds itself in a desperate position.  The failures are a matter of the
past; the adjustments are made, or on the point of being made.  And now
that the Church can turn actively towards the solution of contemporary
problems, it finds the place of a spiritual guide preempted by the
counter-religions which have grown in the course of the last two cen-
turies.  The destruction of Christianity and of Western Civilization
through the new counter-churches looms as a problem much larger than any
social or economic policy.  Today the Church might be willing even to
assist in the construction of a socialist order -- the attitude towards
the French Popular-Republican Movement seems to indicate this possi-
bility.  But the field of socialism is largely preempted by the
anti-Christian religious movements, and a cooperation between the Church
and these movements is impossible.  The Church cannot cooperate with a
political movement, however acceptable its social policy might be, if
the price is the destruction of the souls.  The social order is a means
to an end; it is not an end in itself; the salvation of the soul takes
precedence over all problems of the world.  The position of the Church in
contemporary politics must remain unintelligible as long as we pretend
that the differences between the great movements are differences of
political opinion which can be deliberated and compromised, as long as
we insist on disregarding the religious character of the contemporary
conflicts.  Faced by the necessity of a decision, the Church will have to
throw its support not to a social policy of its preference but to the
political group which, at the moment, seems to be less bent on the
destruction of Christianity than the other.  Since the groups in whom the
forces of Christian tradition are more alive than in others, are
frequently those who by the standards of worldly politics are the more
backward, the Church will find itself frequently in what may justly be
called the reactionary camp.  This situation is inescapable; and however
regrettable it may be, no regret and no indignation can change it.

We have drawn the gloomy picture of failure, ending in a desperate
situation.  Let us now look, in conclusion, at the success of the Church
which opens a hope for the future.  The period from the middle of the
eighteenth century to the present, that is the modern age which now
draws to its bloody close, has to be characterized in retrospect as an
age of spiritual obscurantism, of moral confusion and of intellectual
disorder.  The great Christian-humanist substance of Western Civilization
was gradually dissolved.  The transcendental orientation of man through
the _bios theoretikos_  in the Aristotelian sense, were abandoned; the
Christian image of man was replaced in succession by the images of
rational man, of utilitarian-pragmatic man, of economic man, of libidi-
nous man and of racially determined man.  Since the middle of the
eighteenth century, when the darkness of Enlightenment descended on th
Western World, the work of destruction was carried on by the intra-
mundane religious movements, -- in approximately chronological order --,
of Utilitarianism, of Progressivism, of Positivism, of Scientism, of
Liberalism, of gnostic Romanticism, of Marxism, of Evolutionism and of
National Socialism.  In this progress of destruction the Church has stood
firm; it has not made a single concession  to the spirit of the age, not
the slightest concession.  Not only has it stood firm; in the mid-nine-
teenth century it has administered to exubrant progressive civilization
the slap in the face, the _Syllabus Errorum_; and in our time it has put
forth the magnificent summaries if the position of the Church with regard
to comtemporary politics, the Encyclicals against National Socialism and
Communism of March 1937.  Now that the disaster has run the course which
was sensed with apprehension by more imaginative minds, like those of
Pascal, or of Hobbes, or of Vico, even before the Age of Enlightenment
proper had begun, this firmness of the Church has become its great asset.

From the general disaster, the Church emerges today as the one major
social institution which has kept alive the flame of the spirit, which
has preserved intact the order of the soul, and which at the same time,
has continued to cultivate the critical instruments of the philosophizing

By virtue of this success, the Church may regain, at least, in part, a
position which it has all but lost.  For the spirit of Christ and the
humanist tradition do not live in the Church alone.  From the anarchy of
the age, we see emerging all over the Western World individuals and
groups in whom the same spirit and the same tradition are alive.  The
survival of the great tradition has a broader basis than the Church, and
it has a considerable vitality and quality.  Here is the substance which,
at least potentially, might solidify into the nucleus for a Western
regeneration.  In this situation the Church may find the hope of meeting
civilizational forces with whom it does not have to lie in mortal com-
bat; while those outside the Church may find in the spectacle of the
success and survival the hope that sometime the spirit will be released
from the prison of its solitude and again live in community.

It is worthwhile to survey the field of the representative of the great
tradition, within the Church and outside the Church, because the result,
as you will see, is somewhat surprising.  We find in these ranks two
great Jesuits like Przywara and de Lubac; Catholic thinkers like
Maritain, Guardini, and Scheler; and a Greek-Orthodox like Berdyaev; a
respresentative of Protestant orthodoxy like Karl Barth, and of the
Protestant idealist tradition like Karl Jaspers; here we find the
English Christian-humanist historians Tawney and Toynbee, and the Dutch
historian Huizinga; a Spaniard like Unamuno; and the American thinker
whose spiritualism is lilting in its mood of fatigue towards a Lucretian
materialism, but who in his stronger moments betrays an experience of
the _noche oscura_ of San Juan de la Cruz, George Santayana; we may
include Bergson by virtue of his last work, _Les deux sources de la
morale et de la religion_; and finally, we should mention one of the
most interesting figures on the contemporary scene, a man who even now
can look back on a magnificent achievement as a historian of ideas, and
who is still young enough to develop into one of the leading figures of
this generation, the Swiss Jesuit Hans-Urs von Balthasar.

The list might be prolonged, but even so it will convey to you what I
meant by the surprise.  If we look over this list of distinguished
thinkers and historians, of interpreters of politics and the spirit of
the age, we find that not only are they representatives of the great
Western tradition, but that this list practically exhausts what can be
considered a notable achievement in the last twenty-five years.  If we
would try to form a counter-list of utilitarians, progressives, liber-
als, nationalists, positivists, and so on, I am afraid the list would
be short and the achievement would lag far behind.  This comparative
show of strength and atrophy is perhaps a symptom that the orgy of
destruction has passed its climax, by far not, of course, that it is
over.  There is no reason for glowing enthusiasm, and those who inter-
pret such ephemeral phenomena as the current rush of the bewildered
towards the Church as a sort of prosperity around the corner, are
heading for a disappointment.  The centuries of formidable effort that
have gone into the work of destruction will have to be balanced by
centuries of equal effort in rebuilding.  But at least there is a spark
of hope that future generations will arrive _au bout de la nuit_; and
the smallness of this hope will not drive into despair those who live in
the faith that is the substance of things hoped for, and the proof of
things unseen.

---------   Archive Address:  vax2.concordia.ca/~vorenews   ----------
Dr. M.W. Poirier                  | Dr. Geoffrey L. Price
Dept. of Political Science        | Dept. of Religions and Theology
Concordia University              | University of Manchester
Loyola Campus                     | MANCHESTER M13 9PL
7141 Sherbrooke Street W.         | United Kingdom
MONTREAL, Quebec                  |
H4B 1R6                           |
E-Mail: poirmw@Vax2.Concordia.Ca  | E-Mail: g.price@manchester.ac.uk