It is kings and princes who bow before the Messiah, as prophesied by Isaiah. It is not the bureaucrats or the professors. Perhaps this is as well: for during the conversion of Europe to Christianity and the later conversion of the Antipodes it was kings and chiefs who converted, and their people followed.
The first of these was Constantine.
The incarnation of Christ, and this is Epiphany, the last day of that season, was not merely for the Jews. They were as hated and despised then as they are now. Nor was it that the Jews would be collectively a saviour of the world. The messiah was knitted in a womb. He was an individual.
And Herod wanted him killed.
It is to our shame that we no longer have Prime Ministers and Presidents who acknowledge Christ and bow down to him. Her Majesty does: her faith has sustained her. But the Crown no longer has power. Parliament does.
And Parliament is run by pagans.
Tim Farron has resigned as leader of the Liberal Democrats following repeated questions over his Christian faith.
In a statement Wednesday evening, Mr Farron said: “To be a political leader, especially of a progressive liberal party in 2017, and to live as a committed Christian, to hold faithfully to the Bible’s teaching has felt impossible.”
He said he had found himself “torn” between being “living as a faithful Christian and serving as a political leader”.
“I seem to be the subject of what I believe and who my faith in is,” Mr Farron added in his resignation statement.
But know this: at the return all will bow to Christ. Not all will enjoy it.
1Listen to me, O coastlands,
pay attention, you peoples from far away!
The LORD called me before I was born,
while I was in my mother’s womb he named me.
2He made my mouth like a sharp sword,
in the shadow of his hand he hid me;
he made me a polished arrow,
in his quiver he hid me away.
3And he said to me, “You are my servant,
Israel, in whom I will be glorified.”
4But I said, “I have labored in vain,
I have spent my strength for nothing and vanity;
yet surely my cause is with the LORD,
and my reward with my God.”
5And now the LORD says,
who formed me in the womb to be his servant,
to bring Jacob back to him,
and that Israel might be gathered to him,
for I am honoured in the sight of the LORD,
and my God has become my strength ?
“It is too light a thing that you should be my servant
to raise up the tribes of Jacob
and to restore the survivors of Israel;
I will give you as a light to the nations,
that my salvation may reach to the end of the earth.”
7Thus says the LORD,
the Redeemer of Israel and his Holy One,
to one deeply despised, abhorred by the nations,
the slave of rulers,
“Kings shall see and stand up,
princes, and they shall prostrate themselves,
because of the LORD, who is faithful,
the Holy One of Israel, who has chosen you.”
1In the time of King Herod, after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, 2asking, “Where is the child who has been born king of the Jews? For we observed his star at its rising, and have come to pay him homage.” 3When King Herod heard this, he was frightened, and all Jerusalem with him; 4and calling together all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Messiah was to be born. 5They told him, “In Bethlehem of Judea; for so it has been written by the prophet:
6 ‘And you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
for from you shall come a ruler
who is to shepherd my people Israel.’”
7Then Herod secretly called for the wise men and learned from them the exact time when the star had appeared. 8Then he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, “Go and search diligently for the child; and when you have found him, bring me word so that I may also go and pay him homage.” 9When they had heard the king, they set out; and there, ahead of them, went the star that they had seen at its rising, until it stopped over the place where the child was. 10When they saw that the star had stopped, they were overwhelmed with joy. 11On entering the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother; and they knelt down and paid him homage. Then, opening their treasure chests, they offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. 12And having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they left for their own country by another road.
What then can we do? Our leaders are faithless. They are to be trusted less than one would a used car salesman. But these are those who would regulate all our lives, and use the apparatus of the court to silence us.
For the process is the punishment. We have to deal with the government we have, and as they have fallen, so have we. It is no use appealing to them.
In my view, these views all rest upon wishful thinking. There is no reason to think that a stable, long-term rapprochement between Catholicism and the liberal state is realistically feasible, whether or not it would be desirable; nor should Catholics allow themselves to become ultimately attached to any particular time, place or human political order.
To begin with, liberalism cannot ultimately tolerate the accommodation in principle while remaining true to itself, whatever Catholics might hope. Reno’s distinction between creedal and traditional liberalism illustrates the problem. In Episcopalian institutions, it is common to hear the Creed downplayed in favour of tradition and liturgy (“lex orandi, lex credendi”). The problem is that the liturgy itself includes a solemn affirmation of the Creed. There is then no escape from taking a stand on the truth or falsity of the Creed’s substantive commitments. Reno, like me a former Episcopalian, falls into a version of this same problem, mutatis mutandis. Liberalism, too, of course has robust substantive commitments, much as it might pretend otherwise. The “tradition” of liberalism, really an anti-tradition, is founded on that substantive creed and cannot coherently even be identified, let alone followed, without entering into those anti-traditionalist ideas and sympathetically interpreting and applying them. Doing so will inevitably amount to a reaffirmation of the liberal creed. Put differently, as I have argued elsewhere, the main “tradition” of liberalism is in fact a liturgy, centred on a sacramental celebration of the progressive overcoming of the darkness of bigotry and unreason. To participate in that tradition, that liturgy, is necessarily and inescapably to commune with and be caught up into a particular substantive view of time, history, world and the sacred – the liberal view.
To be sure, even if liberalism cannot accept the accommodation in principle, perhaps there can be an indefinite truce, a pragmatic equilibrium of political and social forces. It takes two to make a truce, however, or else a higher third power who restrains unilateral aggression – a katechon for the liberal state. In our actual situation, neither condition obtains. The forces of secular progressive liberalism – which span both major political parties – make no secret of what they would like to do to believing Catholics. One Harvard law professor urged his fellow-liberals to reject wide-ranging “religious liberty” protections over LGBT issues because “taking a hard line (‘You lost, live with it’) is better than trying to accommodate the losers … [a]nd taking a hard line seemed to work reasonably well in Germany and Japan after 1945.”
We need to recall that the wise men of ancient times knew a king when they saw one. The generations of the past do have a vote (and yes, it is often called tradition), and when most societies organise themselves into families than there is generally utility in this.
The traditions of this world will save us not. Neither will wisdom. But there is truth within them.
But Herod the tyrant was more honest than modern politicians, or the elite of this fallen time.
Do not be them, Do not be like them.
For they are false, and we wait the return of the true King.