Technical problems with Google indexing have made it desirable to re-post all of our material. I hope you will find interest in reflecting with me, on the history of the Church over the centuries and during the life of the Blog which began on 14th December 2009. This post first appeared on 8thNovember 2010.

Serving with the Angels

“Barbarians at the Gate”- images of Attila the Hun advancing on Rome at the head of his barbarian hordes in A.D. 452 and being dissuaded by Pope Saint Leo the Great (A.D. 440-461) are conjured up by these words. They are powerful and eloquent.

1,600 Years ago, and 42 years before Attila, Rome HAD been sacked by Alaric and the Visigoth hordes he led – something that had not happened in the preceding 800 years. The overrunning and sacking of cities was not uncommon in the ancient world. But not Rome – this was the great trauma of Civilisation! “The city that had conquered the world, was itself conquered….” says Roman citizen St.Jerome 

As the shock waves and consequences spread around the civilized world, St. Augustine recalled seeing the weekly pay parade of the Roman soldiers from his residence. With casual interest at first, his attention became more compelled as he noticed they became restless in their ranks and in time broke up in a disorderly fashion when their pay did not arrive.

Rome was no longer the Capital of the Empire. The seat of the Imperial Government had been moved to Ravenna. But make no mistake, Alaric had shocked and sickened the civilized world. The long, slow descent into the so-called Dark Ages was underway

How different is our situation today! There is no modern equivalent of the Rome of those days. No, not Washington, not London, Paris, Berlin, Moscow, Tokyo, let alone Beijing has the status Rome then held. But , just as the military onslaughts of the barbarians and even more so , their assimilation as citizens undermined and finally toppled the Empire, first in the West and 1,000 years later in the East when Constantinople fell to the pagan Mohammedans, so our Western civilization, is suffering not only “Barbarians at the Gate” but its own peculiar enemies within. But who are they, that they could undermine and topple our civilization?

Even secularists now recognize that the end of Christendom began with the Protestant Deformation of the Church founded by Christ. In the wake of that process came the now faltering idea of human Progress and the spread of Doubt. The perverse working out of the psychological and practical effects of the Terror in the French Revolution, the horrors of the Buonaparte military madness, the Franco-Prussian War, the American Civil War, the Great War, the Great Depression and World War II, have brutalized the sensitivities and consciences of hundreds of millions of people and taken the lives of tens of millions of people. All of these factors have worked to horribly distort and deform the moral sense of many nations and peoples. And the social fabric of so many countries, including our own, has been forever scarred. The search for escape in hedonistic materialism has been abetted by and has given purpose to modern media and technology.”The phenomenon of estrangement from the Faith, which has manifested itself progressively in societies and cultures that for centuries, seemed permeated by the Gospel” (“Ubicumque et Semper” Pope Benedict XVI) is the appalling result.

By relentless and subtle subversion, very many hearts and minds have absorbed the ideas and unspoken beliefs which constitute Relativism. They have come to accept in fact the denial of Absolute Truth. This is convenient for the avoidance of moral absolutes – right and wrong – enabling them to break free from any constraint and indulge their inclinations however perverse they might be, Before they know it, they find themselves effectively echoing the words of the one who formerly shone in Paradise, the Bearer of Light, and cry “Non Serviam “- I will not serve.

But most folk do not want to even acknowledge what is going on about them. Like the later Romans after the Sack of Rome, they just want to keep on keeping on. We all know good people who "do not want to get involved", who do not want to hear the readily demonstrable truth in case they might have to act.

To-day’s barbarians are those busy and ever more boldly so, tearing down the remains of Christian society: abortion and euthanasia advocates, homosexual advocates, same-sex "marriage" and adoption advocates, drug culture advocates, devotees of “Green” pantheism, politically-correct holders and pursuers of Government Grants and pagan fundamentalists.

They are not only “at the gate” but have subverted our Governments, institutions and media. Like Pontius Pilate, they ask with bitter irony: “What is Truth?”

Like his predecessor Pope Saint Leo the Great heroically confronting Attila and his barbarian hordes, Pope Benedict XVI goes out to meet the latter-day barbarians. Bravely he announces the answer: Jesus Christ – the Way, the Truth and the Life – the Light of the world. Pope Benedict has identified the heart of the problem – Relativism. He sounds the Alarm Bell, and urges the universal Church to stop just “keep on keeping on but to see the problem clearly and confront it with the Truth – God made man – Jesus Christ and to defend Truth, Love and Beauty. He calls the Church to urgent action.


Copyright Tony Dixon - This item first appeared in the October, 2010 Issue of FOUNDATION.


Popular posts from this blog



WHY I LOVE BEING A PRIEST by the Late Father Gregory JORDAN S.J