Posts Tagged ‘culture of death’

In Hac Lacrimarum Valle: The Enduring Dark Age Revealed

Sunday, August 10th, 2014

The notion of the “Dark Age,” after its coinage by Petrarch at the dawn of the Renaissance, may well have been propelled by later Reformation retrojectors–those projecting their own current views into the past–to blow at the candles illuminating Medieval culture so that the Reformation might better shine.

Modernity, post-modernity, and other contemporary cultural forces have especially resisted the words of the Medieval hymn to Mary, the Salve Regina, “gementes et flentes in hac lacrimarum valle,” translated “mourning and weeping in this valley of tears,” which is thought to have its origins in St. Jerome’s rendering of Psalm 83:7 (84:7)–

6 Beatus vir cujus est auxilium abs te:
ascensiones in corde suo disposuit,
7 in valle lacrimarum, in loco quem posuit.

Vulgate Psalms, Chapter 83, accessed from on 8/10/14.

–and which is now in many contemporary translations rendered as the “valley of Baca” instead of the valley of tears.

Contemporary Christians and agnostics likewise often reject the term, “valley of tears.” Garry Wills omitted the Salve Regina ending from his book on the Rosary (Catholics normally end their praying of the Rosary with the Salve Regina). The “valley of tears,” like St. John Paul II’s term “culture of death” from Evangelium Vitae, appears to make the progressive mind uncomfortable.

But I challenge contemporary thinkers to find a better expression to describe the terrible circumstances of those suffering from war, persecution, or poverty, than the “valley of tears.”

Scripture scholars have puzzled over the meaning of the Hebrew word Baca for centuries. Is it a place in Palestine, or a figurative state of sorrow?

In Arabic, Bakkah has a more precise meaning, the place of the sacred Kaaba in Mecca.

So those who suffer around the world today are indeed cast into the valley of tears, and into the collision of words and cultures–Baca, Bakkah–between Christian, Jewish, and Muslim interpretations.

Slavery has returned: it never left, but now is visible to the contemporary eye.

Yet can the contemporary eye fathom the meaning of the Enduring Dark Age that has exploded in our faces? What difference do progressivism, modernity, atheism, theory, narrative, etc., matter to Isis and their ilk? Atheists preaching their advantages to such a world merely sow into the wind. Can these violent fanatical forces be defeated by armies shaped today more to generate social change at home than the proper protective mission of a military force?

Fueled by almost a century of first Nazi and then Soviet anti-Semitic propaganda, a militant Islam is at war with the United States and Israel. Russia, Iran, and China are ready to pounce on their first geopolitical opportunities, and have an interest in prolonging the conflict. This general situation may not change for centuries.

Welcome, therefore, to the Enduring Dark Age, or if you prefer, the uncovering of a Dark Age that never really ended, but in which “enlightened” technological society collides with genocide, forced conversion, summary execution, and slavery–now made painfully visible by global communications, and catalyzed by the global proliferation of weapons down to the mad and genocidal local bully.

As long as hearts are darkened by hatred and fear despite our sophistication, and as long as the guns are not silenced, our age will darken still.

Salve Regina, Mater Misericordiae. . .

Hail Holy Queen, Mother of Mercy. . .

Perhaps we can find hope and consolation in the words of the Psalmist beginning with–

How lovely your dwelling, O Lord of Hosts! (Psalm 84:1)

–and hear in the confluence of the contested words Baca and Bakkah the ending of tears and the presence of God.

O Clemens, O Pia, O Dulcis Virgo Maria!

© Copyright 2014, Albert J. Schorsch, III
All Rights Reserved


Aphorism XLIV

Saturday, January 14th, 2012

To embrace philosophies that support abortion, philosophies that assume life as merely random or episodic rather than also transcendent and continuous, is for the proponents of LGBTQ rights not only a moral and philosophical error but a strategic and political mistake.

The very respect for their own persons that LGBTQ people desire is more consistently affirmed by a philosophy of life, not a philosophy of death. Reported cases of selective abortion against LGBTQ tendencies show that abortion is not the friend of LGBTQ persons. Abortion can turn unpredictably against its sponsors.

Abortion, and the philosophies it calls forth to justify itself, together corrode both the very rights and the very dignity of those who support them.

For the sake of political expediency, LGBTQ leaders have allied with the forces of abortion, for abortion is supported by civil libertarians historically sympathetic to LGBTQ rights.

There is more than a mere paradox here, but a powerful contradiction.

The corrosive, chaotic, and self-contradicting philosophies supporting abortion inevitably undermine the rights and standing of persons. To claim that one human at the highest point of vulnerability in the womb has no rights is to claim that some vulnerable humans have no rights. To claim that some humans have no rights opens the door for other vulnerable humans to have no rights.

Current postmodern “theory,” subject to daily reinvention by any self-proclaimed poet’s or professor’s whims, has no ability to draw any such line for human life and human rights to begin and to end. To assume that human rights can be maintained by such a flimsy foundation as postmodern “theory” is naive stupidity.

LGBTQ persons stake a fundamental claim for a right to life and self-determination. The rights and interests of LGBTQ persons therefore lead ineluctably toward a philosophy of life, not a philosophy of death. But by supporting abortion, LGBTQ movements have set the very forces they think will benefit them instead against their very selves.

Human rights have an aspect of the absolute. The most absolute of these rights is the right to life.

To fight for abortion for others while simultaneously demanding human respect for one’s own self is therefore to live a lie. Living this lie about life is a much greater and more fundamental lie than a lie about one’s own sexual identity.

To speak the truth about one’s sexuality, but to deny life to others as a political expedient, sets a powerful and malicious force free to destroy even the innocent. Against this lie and this destruction, the very stones cry out.

© Copyright 2012, Albert J. Schorsch, III
All Rights Reserved