Tuesday, October 01, 2013

To Defeat Caesar Requires the Armor of Christ

Crisis - To Defeat Caesar Requires the Armor of Christ by Regis Martin
Professor John Crosby, describing his great teacher, Dietrich von Hildebrand, whose brave personal witness against the madness of Hitler’s Third Reich, reminds us that "All of Western Christian Civilization stands or falls with the words of Genesis, ‘God made man in his image.’” It is, after all, the cornerstone of everything we believe about the human person. If we are to take a stand against the depredations of Caesar, therefore, and of all those in power who defile the image of divinity we possess, we need finally to do so on grounds the Church herself recommends, which is Christ, who bore that image from womb to tomb...
FTs - The Witness of Dietrich von Hildebrand by John F. Crosby
The Enlightenment had thought that one could eliminate the Christian God, and indeed eliminate God altogether, and still have morality, the same morality that Christians had upheld. Nietzsche was one of the first to see through this incoherence of thought. He pointed out that even so elementary a moral norm as respect for truth can no longer hold its ground once God is dead. What Nietzsche said about morality, Hildebrand says about man: Cut off from God and debunked by the reductionist philosophies of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, man no longer occupies any special place in the world. For a time, man might retain a sense of some special dignity, but this is the last light cast by a setting sun. If God is dead, then the Hitlers and Stalins of the world are just treating human beings according to what they really are. It follows for Hildebrand that if we are going to take a principled stand against the totalitarians, we should not waste our time trying to restore Enlightenment civility, which is an ideal lacking in inner coherence; we have to go further back and do a much more radical work of retrieval and renewal in our thinking about man. "All of Western Christian civilization," Hildebrand wrote in his review, "stands and falls with the words of Genesis, 'God made man in His image.'"

So Hildebrand opposed his Christian personalism to the anti-personalism of the time. And it was on the basis of this personalism that he resisted anti-Semitism; he was in fact one of the most resolute voices in all of Europe on the evil of anti-Semitism...

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