Thursday, March 15, 2007
Spengler, Europe and Orthodoxy
Spengler, in “Europe is not the sum of its parts,” makes some interesting observations regarding Europe’s continuing quest for a constitution. Basically, he sees no way forward for a constitution or a European government, as Europe is increasingly divorced from what made it Europe in the first place--the Church. He notes that it was the “unified Europe of Church and Empire [that] created the nations along with the languages and cultures,” and believes “as individual nations, Europe's constituent countries will die on the vine.”
Spengler concurs with Belloc's quip - "Europe is the faith, the faith is Europe," and finds Voltaire to be only half right, for the "Holy Roman Empire was neither Roman nor an empire, but it was holy. European monarchs donned the robes of ancient Rome like small children playing dress-up...but the unifying concept of Christendom is what made it possible to create nations out of the detritus of Rome and the rabble of invading barbarians."
What really caught my eye, however, was Spengler's closing:
To recapture Europe means re-creating the faith. It is hard to imagine that the Roman Catholic Church might re-emerge as Europe's defining institution. The European Church is enervated. But I do not think that is the end of the matter. As I argued last month, Russia has become the frontier between Europe and the Islamic world and, unlike Europe, is not prepared to dissolve quietly into the ummah. Pope Benedict's recent pilgrimage to Turkey, it must be remembered, only incidentally dealt with Catholic relations with Islam; first of all it was a gesture to Orthodoxy in the form of a visit to the former Byzantium, its spiritual home.
Franz Rosenzweig, that most Jewish connoisseur of Christianity, believed that the Church of Peter (Rome) and the Church of Paul (Protestantism) would yield place to the Church of John (Orthodoxy) - that the churches of works and faith would be transcended by the church of love. If Europe has a future, it lies in an ecumenical alliance of Catholicism, Orthodoxy, and at least some elements of Anglicanism.
For the time being, Europe's constitution will be stillborn. But Europe is not yet dead. Russia is the place to watch, and the quiet conversation of Catholicism is the still, small voice to listen for.
I recommend this article.