Ave Maria U is about as far away as you can get from me and still be in the Continental US. I periodically hear rumbling and complaints from there or a stray survivor of some purge or shakeup or mass murder or whatever it is they do down there will ocassionally wander through my mailbox (or on to the headlines), but then things quiet down again. Given that my interest in Ave Maria is almost undetectable on the Richter Scale, that suits me fine, so Ave Maria ebbs away from my consciousness….
…until things like this happen.
Then I wonder again: what the heck are those guys *doing* down there? The whole thing tends to confirm me again in my general sense that there’s something dangerous about trusting rich entrepeneurs with spiritual apostolates. There seems to be a tendency for the rich to not realize that humans are not commodities.
Yes, I realize that’s just a general impression and I don’t have all the facts. I’m quit willing to acknowledge I could be wrong. But the general impression that one gets from the Adventures of Ave Maria, is that the University and the town is the hobby of a rich man who doesn’t really grok the collegiality required of a university or a religious community. There seem to be an inordinate number of killed and wounded (spiritually speaking) coming out of that place. What gives?
The Prophet Chesterton sez:
I know that the most modern manufacture has been really occupied in trying to produce an abnormally large needle. I know that the most recent biologists have been chiefly anxious to discover a very small camel. But if we diminish the camel to his smallest, or open the eye of the needle to its largest —if, in short, we assume the words of Christ to have meant the very least that they could mean, His words must at the very least mean this—that rich men are not very likely to be morally trustworthy. Christianity even when watered down is hot enough to boil all modern society to rags. The mere minimum of the Church would be a deadly ultimatum to the world. For the whole modern world is absolutely based on the assumption, not that the rich are necessary (which is tenable), but that the rich are trustworthy, which (for a Christian) is not tenable. You will hear everlastingly, in all discussions about newspapers, companies, aristocracies, or party politics, this argument that the rich man cannot be bribed. The fact is, of course, that the rich man is bribed; he has been bribed already. That is why he is a rich man. The whole case for Christianity is that a man who is dependent upon the luxuries of this life is a corrupt man, spiritually corrupt, politically corrupt, financially corrupt. There is one thing that Christ and all the Christian saints have said with a sort of savage monotony. They have said simply that to be rich is to be in peculiar danger of moral wreck. It is not demonstrably un-Christian to kill the rich as violators of definable justice. It is not demonstrably un-Christian to crown the rich as convenient rulers of society. It is not certainly un-Christian to rebel against the rich or to submit to the rich. But it is quite certainly un-Christian to trust the rich, to regard the rich as more morally safe than the poor.