Monday, March 13, 2006

"Ave Maria Town": It's All About The Culture

Last week, there was a bit of a hullabaloo surrounding pizza mogul Tom Monaghan's efforts to create "Ave Maria Town", next to Ave Maria University in Naples, Florida. This would be a semi-officially "Catholic" village, and as such, would eschew the more destructive aspects of American culture, such as pornography and abortion clinics.

The desire to form a community embracing traditional values has provoked bitter denunciation from arbiters of Mainstream Culture (aka The Culture of DeathTM) such as Katie Couric, who attacked Monaghan on her "Today" show, saying:
“Some people,” she claimed, think Catholic values might be “deemed wholesome, but in other ways, I think people will see this community as eschewing diversity and promoting intolerance.”

When Monaghan's spokesman calmly explained that this town was open to all people of all faiths with a “traditional family value perspective.” Couric responded by hinting at anti-Semitism: “Does that mean you would welcome Jewish residents?”

Then she implied that the enterprise was racist:
“But do you think the tenets of the community might result in de facto segregation as a result of some of the beliefs that are being espoused by the majority of residents there?”

Then she upheld the basic tenet of our nation to be swamped in pornography, saying:
“At the same time you can understand how people would hear some of these things and be, like, wow, this is really infringing on civil liberties and freedom of speech and right to privacy and all sorts of basic tenets this country was founded on? Right?"

Quite apart from her blinding stupidity, what we are seeing here is the reaction of the elite Arbiters of Culture to what they see as a threat to its hegemony. I noticed this in the reactions last December to the Vatican's Instruction on homosexuals and the seminaries, as I was researching my article "The Vatican Instruction: Reactions", which appeared in the January issue of Catholic World Report (sorry, it's not yet available online). There was a visceral reaction from many on the Left to the Instruction, which was out of all proportion to a statement that, for anyone with a scintilla of understanding, said nothing new about Church teaching and adopted a common-sense approach to the issue.

But the exponents of our diseased culture clearly saw that the Vatican's Instruction was a challenge, both implicit and explicit, to the received opinion of our day. One of the seminary professors I interviewed for the article, Dr. Mark Latkovic of Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit, cogently observed:
Our culture tolerates the Church teaching about acts", he said, "but reacts vehemently when the Church tries to speak about nature." A document like this, he added "is a reminder to the culture that not everyone is on board with it."

Indeed, the Catholic Church is most definitely not on board with the culture. As for now, the culture does barely tolerate the Church teaching about acts, but the firestorm of reaction to Monaghan's project shows that even that tolerance may be waning. The "Ave Maria Town" concept, if it comes off, will be a visible, palpable presence of a substantial group of people who aren't "on board" with the culture. The elites cannot countenance such a thing, so their mouthpieces, such as Ms. Couric, will do everything possible to destroy it.

Remember: it's all about the culture. The Dominant Culture of our day is built on sterility, ugliness, and, above all, on deception. It cannot tolerate anything in its midst that amounts to a coherent, organized resistance, because then its rotten structure and destructive influence are exposed. The Arbiters of Culture oppose school choice because it weakens their dominance of one of the chief indoctrinators of the culture. They oppose parental consent laws for abortion because they strengthen the family, which weakens their grip on the culture. They promote consumerist materialism because a population with low sales-resistance is one easily manipulated. They push sexual license because besotted people are also readily manipulable. And they will do everything they can to stop an "Ave Maria Town" because a community that isn't "on board" with the dominant culture will be a sign that there is an alternative way to live. And such uppityness might give other people ideas. And where might that lead?