What age is this?


John Saward neatly divided the history of the West since the fall of Rome into three: Catholic, Protestant, Secular.

If you agree with these divisions, what would you as a Catholic wish to do to expand the Catholic dimension of this age, whatever the age?

Could we be living in an age where the Protestant is indistinguishable from the Secular?

Did the one cause the other?

Please give all due respect to our Protestant brothers and sisters, but please feel free to be clear and direct.


Neither caused the other because both have roots in the same thing - original sin: selfishness and disobedience.



Care to expand?

God bless you.



The West must thank GodAllahYHWH that they are living in a culture called SECULAR, they should keep Church and State separate as it is now, they are reaping benefits of the both. If they disturb this equilibrium, they would be excommunicated for this thing or that thing and would be centuries backward.



Sometimes the kindness, insight and loving nature of your posts moves me very much, paarsurrey – it gets past the language and cultural walls loud and clear. Thank you.


Not sure I can agree: 30 million abortions in some thirty years in the secular state of America is no example of equilibrium.

You have a faulty notion of excommunication, I think.

Also, you imply that the Muslim notion of God is to thank: nothing of the sort in the West.

Sorry, but very few Catholics now believe that Muslims worship the same God as we do.

Thanks for replying.

God bless you.


[quote=Palladio]Sorry, but very few Catholics now believe that Muslims worship the same God as we do.

Then more of them should be paying attention. The pope does. Either that, or plenty of Christians worship some other deity as well. Frankly I can’t make sense of any of it, but I do know that all devout Christians, Jews and Muslims have, in at least one obvious way, more in common with each other than they do with me and my kind (skeptics and unbelievers). There, doesn’t that make you feel warmer and snugglier?


Off topic.


No. It wasn’t off-topic. I didn’t give an answer to the OP, but neither did you. However, I am chiming in as a born and raised secular, and I am hoping to see a better phrasing of the question at hand, since I think it was asked without much consideration.

Perhaps a discussion of the formation of the church of Rome, the Reformation, and their complex relationship with the traditions of Western intellect and inquiry would be more fulfilling. Just a suggestion, and with that I defer for now.


I wrote the op.

I don’t need to give an answer.

Intelligent design.

You have a fortunate life to be a message board dictator, I think.

May God bless you.


I think it’s wishful thinking on the part of the secular humanist in that they believe history to be “progress” toward enlightened secular humanism, itself a bastardization of the true humanism fostered by Erasmus and other Catholic leaders.

There is precious little exaltation in secular man. Compare the works of Michelangelo to Andres Serranno, for example, to see how far beauty and the transcendental fall once Man stops adoring God.

That said, it is debatable whether the West is growing ever more secular. Is there a time where churches held less sway than during the Enlightenment?

It is also debatable what is meant by the West. Europe has been on a long march away from God throughout the 21st century; are the rump states of Christendom today still considered to be the West? Will they be as Muslim immigration transforms them, as it is the Netherlands, Britain, and France?

America, the leader of the Western world, is much less secular than Europe. Much greater majorities believe in God, go to church regularly, etc. In this model, does that mean America is in the Protestant Age, while Western Europe is in the secular?

What do we make of Eastern Europe’s religious resurgence now that secular Communism has receded?

What do we make of Africa, with religious revivals dwarfing anything seen for a long time in the West?

What do we make of Islam, which abhors secularism, and its renewed advance?

I think historians who build such simple models need to spend more time reading.


he may be accurate when speaking of Western Europe and countries colonized by Western imperialism, but he is ignoring huge parts of the world dominated by cycles of Orthodox/Eastern Christianity, Eastern pagan religions, and Islam. In an age of globalization and vast migration of peoples and cultures, such easy divisions are no longer possible or accurate.


Saward–only three of whose books I know–is a prolific and learned Oxford-trained RC priest converted from the C of E. He’s no believer in progress, I suspect.

American, I find the model, broad as it is, useful: Puritan-founded, America is still Protestant in the main, and Protestanism with its many sects has become, perhaps, hard to distinguish from the town hall or the playboy channel.

I know I am simplifying, but grandes lignes history is history, too, such as your example of sacred art suggests.

Saward’s view, you’ll be interested to know, appears early in The Beauty of Holiness and the Holiness of Beauty: Art, Sanctity, and the Truth of Catholicism.

I’d go farther to suggest that what goes by the name of humanism today is nothing like the Christian Humanism you mention: it is sub-minor in presence and influence, though the Brits seem to be clinging to it as a larger and larger refuge. But then they have Morris dancing.

I would think of the West as those countries most benefitting from Catholicism and the Classical Tradition.

As for the surges in Catholicism in the places you mention, that would be an example of the West making a proper inroad.

THANKS for your reply and

God bless


Saward isn’t ignoring the rest of the world: he reads Greek and quotations from Greek Fathers drop from his pen like snow in winter.

He is addressing a Western audience by defining history in the West.


In the bigger picture, if we ignore the Global South, which has had little to do with Christianity for most of history until now, there is a certain legitimacy.

But we need to be more specific. Indeed, since Constantine, the heart of history is the Catholic Church. But if we look at the bigger spiritual attacks on the Church, here would be a rough summary of the last 1700 years:

I. Initial Wave of Trinitarian and Incarnational Heresies
II. The Peak of these: Islam
III. The Great Schism (Orthodoxy)
IV. the Middle Ages (late part: scandal of Catholic clergy)
V. The Protestant Rebellion
VI. The Enlightenment
VII. The Modern [Minor] Secular Apostasy

Note, the ages follow a logical progression: the respective successions are attacking the sources of Divine Truth from top to bottom:

I. The Trinity and Incarnation
II. The Pope
III. The General Oral Tradition and Apostolic Succession
IV. Scripture
V. Reason

The modern crisis is really a renewal of the “beast” that was slain by Constantine. Sin is back. So where do we go from here? If secularism is here to stay and will overtake, we are nearing the end. Central Q is then, can all these be healed?

Simple answer by the mystics: YES! It’s called the minor chastisement. Otherwise known as a temporary apocalyptic ***-whipping.


I think I agree with your impressive reply, and wonder if you would be inclined to delve into the protestant aspect of contemporary, secular, history.

My example of where the two meet, greet, and conspire is the Carter Baptist Left…

Will give details later…


The promised details–with comments from me and from others–you will find at rightreason.ektopos.com/archives/2007/06/

No, I don’t think the chilling event typifies protestantism, but what typifies protestantism becomes a question when it contains so many sects.

Today, one "denomination’ of Lutheranism stopped short of punishing one of its gay priests.

Search me if I know what justice applies, if any, but the way the New York Times portrays it homosexuals have won some sort of victory within Christianity in general Lutheranism–I mean, one denomination of it–in specific.

Is not this sort of fragmentation both a symptom and a cause of modernity, the secular age?


I realize that, my point being that the West, if not now, may shortly cease to be defined by any factors traditionally accounted for as “Western Civilization”, so his distinctions will be mooted.


I think it is important the world be westernized, in the sense I think we may agree upon, and the RCC should be a major exponent of that culturally and ethically.

The world has more to learn from Rome than Rome has to learn from it.


Far out man, I thought we were living in the age of Aquarius.

(Edited :rolleyes:)

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