Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Soloviev's Tale and B-16's Upcoming Retreat

Amy Welborn points us to Magister, who wrote a bit about Cdl. Biffi, who reminds us of a book written by Vladimir Sergeyevich Soloviev, a Russian thinker who wrote a book in the late 1890's, which was VERY interesting:

The Antichrist [mentioned by Cdl. Biffi] is the one described by Russian philosopher and theologian Vladimir Sergeyevich Soloviev in the last book he wrote before his death in 1900: "The Three Dialogues and the Story of the Antichrist."

Why does Cardinal Biffi want to bring this back to everyone's attention today? Because – he writes – "Soloviev announces with prophetic clarity the great crisis that afflicted Christianity during the last decade of the 20th century."

OK, so I dig around in Chiesa's site, find the article (linked here) and find the following:

In Soloviev's tale, the Antichrist is elected president of the United States of Europe, acclaimed as emperor in Rome, takes possession of the entire world, and finally imposes his command even over the life and organization of the Churches.

Now THAT was startling--because it is precisely the path taken by the Anti-Christ figure described by the author of Windswept House. It is fair to infer that Windswept's author had read the Soloviev book.

Getting back to Soloviev's book, we find that the Anti-Christ was "a convinced spiritualist." He believed in goodness, and even in God. He was an ascetic, a scholar, a philanthropist. He gave "the greatest possible demonstrations of moderation, disinterest, and active beneficence."

...the book that had gained for him universal fame and consensus bore the title: "The Open Road to Universal Peace and Prosperity," in which "a noble respect for ancient traditions and symbols was joined with a sweeping, audacious radicalism toward social and political needs and directives. Limitless freedom of thought was united with a profound comprehension of everything mystical; absolute individualism with an ardent dedication to the common good; the most elevated idealism toward guiding principles with the complete precision and viability of practical solutions."

All that was missing in that book was the Name of Christ. Not too surprising.

But where Soloviev's presentation shows itself to be particularly original and surprising – and merits greater reflection – is in the attribution to the Antichrist of the qualities of pacifist, environmentalist, ecumenist.

The days will come, Soloviev tells us – and are already here, we say – in which the salvific meaning of Christianity, which can be received only in a difficult, courageous, concrete, and rational act of faith, will be dissolved into a series of "values" easily sold on the world markets.

Soloviev specifically mentions Tolstoy's re- (de-?) formation of the Sermon on the Mount as the foundation for the Anti-Christ's weltaunschuung.

Even if a Tolstoian Christianity were to make us infinitely more acceptable in the living room, at social and political gatherings, and on television, we cannot and must not renounce the Christianity of Jesus Christ, the Christianity that has at its center the scandal of the cross and the astonishing reality of the Lord's resurrection.

The Cardinal who points us to Soloviev's work is retired--but will be the retreat-master for the entire Curia's (including the Pope) annual retreat from February 25th through March 3rd.

S'pose Benedict XVI has a point to make?

How about "The Problem of Relativism and the Disjunction of Faith and Reason in the Late 20th and Early 21st Centuries."



Anonymous said...

I have been a fan of Tom Roeser for some time. I am most happy to find your site which I will visit often. Your current article is indeed interesting.
Frank Nofsinger
North Haven, CT
P.S. I grew up in MN and had/have Wisconsin cousins. I never knew there was a conservative still existing in cheese heaven. Keep telling the Good News.

Dad29 said...

Thanks! You will be the 4th regular reader...

And I've identified several dozen actual Conservatives in Wisconsin, some of which are on the right-panel bloglist.