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The Crisis of Civilization

Item Number: 1534

Catalog Code: 9780895554628

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In The Crisis of Civilization the great Catholic historian, Hilaire Belloc shows that ever since the disaster of the Protestant Reformation our civilization has been falling into an ever deepening crisis, the solution to which, he says, "does not permit of indefinite delay." In panoramic fashion, he reviews the main outline of the history of the West, showing shat Catholicism built the Western World-from Roman times through the Dark Ages to the High Middle Ages-but that the false social



philosophy of the Protestant Reformation, based on Calvinism, has been causing an ever deepening breakdown of that world.
In particular, he shows the Reformation's evil results in the economic sphere, through the dissolving of Catholic restraints on usury and unbridled competition. He states that "Calvin opened the door to the domination of the mind by money." (P. 116). Thus the Protestant Reformation has led to our present disastrous economic situation, where there are, on the one hand, a few wealthy men, and on the other,
multitudes of "wage slaves" who have neither a secure "status" nor a place in society nor any property-except their labor-upon which to rely for their daily bread. He shows how this situation contrasts sharply with that of the Middle Ages, where security of status, wish a sufficiency of material goods, was the rule, which thus supported the Catholic goal of frugal comfort and family security in this life and
salvation in the next as opposed to she Calvinist ideal of acquiring material wealth, even at the expense of the welfare of one's neighbor.
Belloc concludes by stating that only a return to Catholicism will remedy the crisis of our crumbling world. The remedy or reform which he sees is threefold:  "First, the better distribution of property; secondly, the public control of monopolies: thirdly, the re-establishment of those principles and that organization which underlay the conception of a guild." But institutions such as these do not rise of themselves nor are they preserved "by mere verbal regulations." They come, he says, from the
spirit of which they are the product, namely, in this case, Catholicism.
A return to the Faith, therefore, on the part of both individuals and society is the only answer to our present "crisis." "Briefly," he states, "we must begin by aiming at the conversion of' Society, failing which, no scheme of stable economic freedom will stand. We came, remember, out of slavery; our society [the old Roman world] was once wholly based on slavery, and to slavery it is returning. As a defense against such a decline, there is none but the general counter-action of Catholicism."
The Crisis of Civilization is a book of sobering historical and social analysis; it is one that sheds fresh new light on the ever deepening grip of economic slavery descending upon the average man; and it is a book that no educated person can intelligently ignore.


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