Monday, August 27, 2007

Dark Ages Follow-Up

Looks like I was not the first one to put forward the idea that modern America resembles Europe in the Dark Ages! (see article "Are We Living in a New Dark Ages?") Here is a blurb from the New Mexico periodical "Los Pequenos Pepper", which is linked on our sidebar, in which a comparison is made between modern times and the Dark Ages. The article goes a little further in its comparison than I did and says that the little enclaves of orthodoxy (monasteries in the Dark Ages) are comparable to homeschooling households in modern times. It also has some interesting stats regarding Europe and America. Here is an excerpt:

The Catholic home schooling movement is one of the great movements in history. Father Joseph Fessio, the founder of Ignatius Press, has likened the Catholic home schooling movement to the monasteries of Europe during the Middle Ages. The so-called Dark Ages following the fifth century were very similar to the age we are in now. The Roman Empire was invaded from without, and corrupted from within. From the outside, the barbarians destroyed much of the civilization that had been built up by Rome. From within, the Arian heresy, which denied the Divinity of Jesus, had damaged the Church beginning in the fourth century.

However, in the first half of the sixth century, God raised up St. Benedict, who established the first Benedictine monastery, followed by many more monasteries. These monasteries quickly spread throughout Europe, restoring the culture and making it Catholic.At the height of the Middle Ages, there were 37,000 monasteries in Europe. The population of Europe at that time was about 25 million people, approximately one-tenth the current population of the United States. If the United States had the same proportionate number of monasteries, we would have 370,000 monasteries in this country, or about 1,000 monasteries in every American diocese.
We do not have that number of monasteries in our country today, but we do have the home schooling families who are preserving our Catholic Faith and our Catholic culture. One thousand Catholic home schooling families in each diocese would surely cause a cultural revolution in this country.
The monasteries grew throughout Europe because the people were attracted to what the monks had to offer. Those who saw how the monks lived, wanted to live that way themselves. Those who saw the faith and joy of the monks, wanted that faith and joy themselves.

Today, more and more people see Catholic home schooling families and realize that they want what those families have. They want that type of committed family and home life. They want that type of active faith. They want to know where to go and what to do with their lives.

What they see are Catholic home schooling families regularly receiving the sacraments of the Holy Eucharist and Penance, saying the daily Rosary, revolving their family life around the feasts of the liturgical year. They see Catholic home schooling families active in pro-life activities. Catholic home schooling is not superficial to the life of the family, Catholic home schooling is not superficial to the life of the Church, it is not superficial to the life of the nation. It is central. Catholic home schooling is a principal cause for hope to overcome the secular values of our society. Catholic home schooling is an important key to authentic Catholic renewal.

I like the connection between homeschooling families and monasteries; it is a pretty pertinent one, I think. The point is is that it is up to us to preserve the faith. What the Church needs is saints and scholars willing to completely reject the current system of the world in order to pursue the faith with singular purpose and devotion. This is what the made the Dark Ages (particularly in Ireland) one of the brightest times in Church history.

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