The Language of Critical Theorists: Distortion from Christianity
By Un soldat de Notre Seigneur Jésus-Christ
“Diversity”, “Inclusion”, “Equity”. Take “diversity”. The Christian concept of diversity does not focus on the surface characteristics of individual persons (racial or ethnic) but focuses instead on how Divine Providence assigns to each person gifts, including temporal (worldly material), with a certain intentional diversity, while each still enjoys the same dignity inclined toward the same destiny. [Catechism of the Catholic Church, ¶1934: Created in the image of the one God and equally endowed with rational souls, all men have the same nature and the same origin. Redeemed by the sacrifice of Christ, all are called to participate in the same divine beatitude: all, therefore, enjoy an equal dignity.”]
Neo–Marxist adherents of “Critical Theory”, on the contrary, criticize even a normal diversity in the uneven provision of natural and man-made gifts and insist, instead, that each identifiable group consists of a wide range of persons classified on more or less arbitrary and accidental characteristics (e.g., race, sex, sexual orientation, etc., even religion).
From The Eternal Father, an important revelation to Saint Catherine of Siena: “I have given many gifts and graces, both spiritual and temporal, with such diversity that I have not given everything to one single person, so that you may be constrained to practice charity towards one another.” [Saint Catherine of Siena, Dialogue 1, 7 as quoted in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, ¶1937]
From Our Lord Jesus Christ, speaking to thousands of disciples: “Everyone to whom much is given, of him will much be required; and of him to whom men commit much they will demand the more.” [Gospel of Saint Luke 12:48b (R.S.V.)]
God, Who is Love (Charity), does not grant gifts and graces in an equal manner. While The Church decries certain “sinful inequalities that affect millions of men and women” those who advocate absolute equality of gifts and graces between and among every human being oppose the plan of Almighty God—God intends differences in how he grants these “talents”:
“These differences belong to God’s plan, who wills that each receive what he needs from others, and that those endowed with particular ‘talents’ share the benefits with those who need them. These differences encourage and often oblige persons to practice generosity, kindness, and sharing of goods; they foster the mutual enrichment of cultures.” [Catechism of the Catholic Church, ¶1937]
One obvious example of this disparity between certain humans is that God made the human race “male and female”. [Genesis 1:27; 5:2 (R.S.V.)] Males cannot bear children; that is a gift that God reserves for the human female. God does not create humans with the same eye color or hair color. God does not provide each family, let alone each person, with the same material resources or abilities, or education. Yet there is a certain equal treatment of mankind by God, a certain true equity:
“But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.” [Gospel of St Matthew 5:44–45 (R.S.V.)]
Critical theorists, certain academics, intellectuals, and social reformers associated with the “Frankfurt School”, use “diversity” with a meaning having an entirely different significance than that used in the Dialogue of Saint Catherine (above). As part of their “Critical Theory”, they exaggerate and distort terminology about what was in Western society settled ideas or concepts:
“The Frankfurt School sought to define traditional attitudes on every issue as ‘prejudice’ in a series of academic studies that culminated in Adorno’s immensely influential book, ‘The Authoritarian Personality,’ published in 1950. They invented a bogus ‘F-scale’ that purported to tie traditional beliefs on sexual morals, relations between men and women and questions touching on the family to support for fascism. Today, the favorite term the politically correct use for anyone who disagrees with them is ‘fascist’.
“The Frankfurt School again departed from orthodox Marxism, which argued that all of history was determined by who owned the means of production. Instead, they said history was determined by which groups, defined as men, women, races, religions, etc., had power or ‘dominance’ over other groups. Certain groups, especially white males, were labeled ‘oppressors,’ while other groups were defined as ‘victims’. [William S. Lind, Cultural Marxism, the Frankfurt School and Critical Theory]
Of course, economics as a science entails how scarce resources can satisfy human needs and wants. Considering needs and wants broadly, not simply power over the means of material production, the Frankfurt School still deals with economics more than culture in its application of Marxism, although it uses cultural terminology to do so. At the beginning and the end, Critical Theory is about Marxist acquiring power by pandering to the “wants” of anyone who seeks society to satisfy a desire about some difference in access or conduct, notwithstanding how abnormal or dissonant that difference may be.
This novel, if not bizarre, fabrication of pseudo–offenses impresses onto its fallacious accusation of “oppressors” an utterly counterfeit concept of “enslavement”:
“ ‘Critical Theory’ in the narrow sense designates several generations of German philosophers and social theorists in the Western European Marxist tradition known as the Frankfurt School. According to these theorists, a ‘critical’ theory may be distinguished from a “traditional” theory according to a specific practical purpose: a theory is critical to the extent that it seeks human emancipation, ‘to liberate human beings from the circumstances that enslave them’ (Horkheimer 1982, 244). Because such theories aim to explain and transform all the circumstances that enslave human beings, many “critical theories” in the broader sense have been developed.” [Online Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Fall 2008 Edition, downloaded on April 30, 2022]
Enslavement, or slavery, has a different significance for the Critical Theorists. Its meaning is not normal. It is not “enslavement”, or “slavery”, understood as the practice by which one human being owns and possesses as his or her personal physical property another human being. That kind of slavery is evil and is also “an evil”! Instead, these Neo–Marxists have projected several “critical theories” in which they postulate novel (fallacious) concepts of victimhood, ideas incompatible with “right reason” and the Natural Law. We can read that traditional marriage between a man and a woman constitutes a form of “identity oppression” against those individuals who oppose the practice of committed lifelong heterosexual unions. Or, that such traditional marriage causes the unnecessary enslavement of either spouse or both spouses, denying them the freedom to have other “experiences”.
Some neo-Marxists carry this further. These critical theorists would claim that Matrimony (permanent Christian heterosexual union) because of its exclusive nature is a form of enslavement or victimhood, advocating instead for “LGBTQ+” and similar abnormal conduct. Being dependent on the mistaken idea that licentiousness is true human freedom, these Neo-Marxists seek to criticize, undermine, and destroy normal, God-given, human sexuality at every turn. They seek to enshrine an evil that Tradition teaches is a perversion of that sacred and intimate human capacity for conjugal genital sexual relations, (a natural gift which Our Lord Jesus Christ in His New Covenant elevated and confined within the Sacrament of Matrimony). Thus, these intellectual elites theorize some desirability in abominable vices totally discordant with the truth of God’s Creation, i.e., that work of The Eternal Father, done through His Son (“through Whom all things were made”). Knowingly or unknowingly, these Neo–Marxists falsely attempt to make creatures equivalent to God [Romans 1:26–27 (R.S.V.)], and in so doing instead become children of the Father of Lies. [Gospel of St John 8:44 (R.S.V.)]
Whether it is the Frankfurt School critical theorists or the Bolsheviks, what Pope Pius XI declared in His Encyclical of March 19, 1937, Divini Redemptoris, about Marxism remains true:
“Insisting on the dialectical aspect of their materialism, the Communists claim that the conflict which carries the world towards its final synthesis can be accelerated by man. Hence they endeavor to sharpen the antagonisms which arise between the various classes of society. Thus the class struggle with its consequent violent hate and destruction takes on the aspects of a crusade for the progress of humanity. On the other hand, all other forces whatever, as long as they resist such systematic violence, must be annihilated as hostile to the human race.” [Divini Redemptoris, ¶9]
The fact that The Eternal Father has given gifts and graces with such diversity is essential to the Mystical Body of Christ, to Mystici Corporis Christi:
“But a body calls also for a multiplicity of members, which are linked together in such a way as to help one another. And as in the body when one member suffers, all the other members share its pain, and the healthy members come to the assistance of the ailing, so in the Church the individual members do not live for themselves alone, but also help their fellows, and all work in mutual collaboration for the common comfort and for the more perfect building up of the whole Body. While Our heart overflows with the sweetness of the teaching of the Apostle of the Gentiles, We extol with him the length, and the breadth, and the height, and the depth of the charity of Christ, which neither diversity of race nor customs can diminish.” [Pope Pius XII, Encyclical of June 29, 1943, Mystici Corporis Christi, ¶15 & ¶96]
How should we show our fellow members this “depth of charity” of the Mystical Body of Christ? We do so by being inclusive, by a kind of inclusion that Christianity originated in this World:
“Above all hold unfailing your love for one another, since love covers a multitude of sins. Practice hospitality ungrudgingly to one another. As each has received a gift, employ it for one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace.” [1 Peter 4:8–10 (R.S.V.)]
As a specific example, consider how the sensitive sex-related affliction known as “gender dysphoria” [described in this article “Gender ideology run amok” has been addressed by one bishop of the Catholic Church:
“Every individual experiencing this condition should be treated with respect, justice, and charity. In this sensitive area of identity, however, there is a great danger of a misguided charity and false compassion.” Arlington Diocese message: A Catechesis on the Human Person and Gender Ideology
So in the Church, the overarching virtue of Charity orients us toward love and regard for all people, with the ever-present evangelization imperative, aiming toward conversion, formation, and actual membership in The Church through The Sacraments of Initiation. The neo-Marxists are big on a kind of random and arbitrary “inclusion”. But, is “inclusion” always required? No! Saint Paul would say not:
“I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with immoral men; not at all meaning the immoral of this world, or the greedy and robbers, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world. But rather I wrote to you not to associate with any one who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or robber — not even to eat with such a one. For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the Church whom you are to judge? God judges those outside. ‘Drive out the wicked person from among you.’” [1 Corinthians 5:9–13 (R.S.V.)]
What about “equity” and “structural sin”, supposed sin by an entire group or society? Do evil structures require blaming well-behaving individuals and diminishing how the members of an entire group (for example, white males) are treated supposedly to remedy some supposed or actual offense to another identifiable group of human persons?
Pope John Paul II answers it this way in His encyclical on the Sacrament of Penance:
“Sin, in the proper sense, is always a personal act, since it is an act of freedom on the part of an individual person and not properly of a group or community. This individual may be conditioned, incited and influenced by numerous and powerful external factors. He may also be subjected to tendencies, defects and habits linked with his personal condition. In not a few cases such external and internal factors may attenuate, to a greater or lesser degree, the person’s freedom and therefore his responsibility and guilt. But it is a truth of faith, also confirmed by our experience and reason, that the human person is free. This truth cannot be disregarded in order to place the blame for individuals’ sins on external factors such as structures, systems or other people. Above all, this would be to deny the person’s dignity and freedom, which are manifested–even though in a negative and disastrous way–also in this responsibility for sin committed. Hence there is nothing so personal and untransferable in each individual as merit for virtue or responsibility for sin. . . .
“Whenever the church speaks of situations of sin or when she condemns as social sins certain situations or the collective behavior of certain social groups, big or small, or even of whole nations and blocs of nations, she knows and she proclaims that such cases of social sin are the result of the accumulation and concentration of many personal sins. It is a case of the very personal sins of those who cause or support evil or who exploit it; of those who are in a position to avoid, eliminate or at least limit certain social evils but who fail to do so out of laziness, fear or the conspiracy of silence, through secret complicity or indifference; of those who take refuge in the supposed impossibility of changing the world and also of those who sidestep the effort and sacrifice required, producing specious reasons of higher order. The real responsibility, then, lies with individuals.
“A situation–or likewise an institution, a structure, society itself–is not in itself the subject of moral acts. Hence a situation cannot in itself be good or bad.
“At the heart of every situation of sin are always to be found sinful people. So true is this that even when such a situation can be changed in its structural and institutional aspects by the force of law or–as unfortunately more often happens by the law of force, the change in fact proves to be incomplete, of short duration and ultimately vain and ineffective–not to say counterproductive if the people directly or indirectly responsible for that situation are not converted.”
[Pope John Paul II, Encyclical of December 2, 1984, Reconciliatio et Paenitentia, #16 ]