In college I took two semesters of honors Western Civ from an excellent and charismatic instructor who identified very strongly as a Catholic, but also as a dyed-in-the-wool and fairly doctrinaire progressive—not just egalitarian, internationalist, and socialist (which are consistent with Church teaching), but pro-abortion and pro-gay/trans (which aren’t).
On the last day of the second semester, an odd thing happened. By way of farewell, our instructor said some heartfelt words to the class, then recited WB Yeats’ “The Second Coming.” After he got done, he said, “This class is about the power of an idea whose time has come.”
Now, there’s no way to read “The Second Coming” as anything but cold-blooded reactionary, and stubbornly anti-Christian—so why should this man have given pride of place to a poem that goes directly against the twin prongs of his episteme? Was I missing something? I made a mental note. I happened to agree with Yeats, but I liked my professor so much that for years, the thought simply never occurred to me: everything Yeats regarded as evil, my professor thinks is good—so good that with full, shameless cognizance, he felt it not only appropriate but sage to press old William Butler’s prosecutorial brief, kicking and screaming, into the service of a criminal defense.
My wife is Russian Orthodox Christian—irreligious, but wants our youngest son baptized. For her, the sacrament is a tradition that harkens to her ancestral past. But when we went to the nearest Russian Orthodox church for Sunday services, it was the future that confronted us. None other than a dredlocked and tattooed negro cantor was struggling to chant through the liturgy, in English, with the vituperative cadence of rap music. He regarded us, smirking through those swivel eyes capable of registering only suspicion, incomprehension and conceit, as if to say this tradition belongs to him as much as anyone—and of course, he’s right. His woman, also dredlocked, was standing in the front with a gaggle of frog-faced spawn, all dressed in the rastafarian frocks and flip-flops of those batshit nigger separatist cults that never really want to separate.
Clearly pleased with this painfully awkward specimen, the priest introduced him to us after services. By his adopted, pseudo-African name, of course. For (I suppose) he has his reward.