The wonderful Anthony Esolen:
So the last two Popes have been saying, though always more politely than that. I have recently experienced, in a most dismaying way, what happens when an entire culture places faith under suspicion, and relies upon the weak reed of unassisted reason. For reason divorced from faith collapses in upon itself. In a few minds it becomes the ratiocinative faculty alone, that which compares quantities, or that which attempts to reduce all questions to the deduction of conclusions from faultless syllogisms, as if life were nothing but geometry. In most minds it collapses into the pseudointellectual fad of the moment, usually a fad that bows down to the available alternatives to faith, which alternatives have been, since the days of Baal and Molech, sex and the city. Meanwhile, faith itself (and also, though this is seldom seen, that more vibrant and fuller-blooded faculty of reason so championed by Benedict XVI in his speech a few years ago at Regensburg, and by John Paul II in Fides et Ratio) must slink in the alleyways, scorned as half drunk, poor, probably thieving.
Tomorrow a court in Canada may grant full custody of two small girls to the father who has been credibly accused of molesting one of them. This man, by his own testimony in court, is lazy and works only part of the time during the year. But who are we to judge laziness, and what difference do work habits make, so long as money comes into the household? For money will come into the household. He is seeking, by his own testimony, alimony and child support from his wife. What kind of man would do that? You might answer, “Not much of a man,” but we can’t accept that answer anymore, since we have ruled that masculinity and femininity are matters of indifference. He abused the laws of this country for many years while taking illegal drugs; but that can’t matter, not to our thin and debased version of reason, since he claims now to be clean, and since it is no blot on a man’s character to have gotten away with doing what provided him pleasure. He admits that he used to be an alcoholic; but we can’t hold that against him, either. He admits that he slept with other women while his second child was on the way. But we all know, now, that an oath taken before God and man is just a verbal formality; that cannot possibly weaken a man’s credibility, that he broke such a paltry thing as a matrimonial oath. He admits that, when the children were in his keeping, he forced one of them to sleep in the same bed with him and the woman he had over; but let’s not be prudes here, shall we?