…look no further than the incredulity, horror, and mockery that greets a Salon reprint of a piece by Mahatma Gandhi opposing artificial contraception. The notion that the West is, in any serious way, “multicultural” is a complete, smug, self-congratulating fiction. We are a culture that is not only profoundly intolerant of ideas outside a narrow bandwidth and ready, at the drop of a hat, to sneer at those ignorant primitives who think differently from our middle class suburban enlightened selves, but we are also a people ready, willing, and able to go to war to impose our “values” on backward peoples in the name of spreading hedonistic democratic capitalism. And if that means the extermination or exile of, say, the Chaldean Christians in our quest for Enduring Freedom, well hey! You have to break a few eggs to make an omelette.
Gandhi is hip and cool as a picture on a T shirt or a Barnes and Noble bag for our cultured despisers. But *listen* to him when he says things that would not play on “All Things Considered”? Fuggedaboudit.
Exactly the same thing will happen with a Pope from a developing nation. When we get one (as I presume we will sooner or later, though I think not this time) there will be a few days of wonder that an African or Asian is doing the job, and then the hand-wringing will start about the Pope suffering from post-colonial false consciousness (meaning “he believes the Catholic faith”), outdated “tribal” sexism (and by “tribal” we think you catch our drift, hint, hint), “backward” superstitions and so forth. This will come far more from racists on the Left than on the Right. Because the racism of the Left will be played out by pop atheists and similar shallow pundits who make no distinctions between the Catholic faith and the natives of Skull Island doing the Kong Dance. It’s all just primitive savagery and mystical mumbo jumbo, as we are constantly assured. A Pope who says, well, what the Church says and what Gandhi says will not be received like some new Nelson Mandela by the Western press. He will be derided as an emissary from backward lands who need enlightened Westerners to teach them shallow atheism and cull their numbers with the blessings of birth control.
Here’s the deal: the world will always hate the gospel. Always. Nothing the Church does will ever change that. And certainly not the election of a Pope from a developing country. We are dealing with forces far beyond the merely cultural or political. We’re talking principalities and powers. The devil will hate a faithful African, Brazilian, or Chinese as much as he hated a faithful Pole who was also from an oppressed people. Our task is to pray for a faithful Pope, not a popular one. Seek first the Kingdom and all else we need will be added as well.
Kevin O’Brien, who sent me the link, has some further remarks on Gandhi’s piece.