Goodbye to all that


Woytjla is dead, but Woytjlism lives.

Whatever your views of his politics and theology, there can be no doubt that Karol Woytjla was one of the titans of our time. With immense strategic insight, and formidable political skill, Woytjla forged the Polish people into an anvil on which he hammered and broke both the Soviet empire, and the political philosophy upon which it was founded.

Marxism was a toxic outgrowth of the secular humanism of the Enlightenment and the democratic spirit of the French and American revolutions. But in destroying political Communism, Woytjla may also have succeeded in delivering a mortal blow to western secular liberalism.

Many commentators thought that the greater part of Woytjla’s life’s work was accomplished when the Berlin Wall was torn down in 1989 — ironically the 200th anniversary of the demolition of the Bastille and the French Revolution. But Woytjla envisaged his world-historical role as not just liberating his homeland and destroying a tyrannical, ossified Empire, but in rolling back the Enlightenment itself.

Thanks to Bill Leak

Thanks to Bill Leak

As the unprecedented attendance at his funeral of three American Presidents so graphically demonstrated, it was the Vatican’s alliance with the United States of America that lay at the heart of the final destruction of the Soviet Union. The Americans provided the money, while the Pope supplied the moral purpose and the insurrectionary masses. Against this lethal combination, the ever-vacillating Europeans, and the sclerotic Soviet leadership stood no chance.

But, as successful as it was, the 1980s alliance with the United States was only one of convenience and cooperation in the pursuit of a shared interest — the peaceful, final defeat of the Soviet Union. Once the Soviet Union disintegrated, America was not interested in the worldwide export of Woytjlist Catholicism, or global moral crusading.

So while Clinton’s America wallowed in consumption, hedonism and indulgence, Woytjla applied himself to the creation of a broad, global coalition opposed to modernism, secular humanism and liberalism.

With a purged, united Catholic hierarchy at its heart, Woytjla turned his back on the historical European home of Catholicism, and refounded the Church in Africa, Asia and Latin America. Added to his conquest of Poland, and the East, Woytjla’s new conservative Church is now invulnerable to any internal threat from European liberal heresy.

Aligned now with the wave of the demographic future, Woytjlism is well-placed to one day reclaim Europe from the ethical swamp into which Woytjla believed it fell in the 1960s. But beyond the renewal of the Church militant, the crowning achievement of Woytjla’s final decade was the creation of a profound political concordat with American evangelical Protestantism.

The 62 million votes that re-elected George W Bush in 2004 were almost entirely comprised of evangelical Protestants and Woytjlist Catholics. Under Woytjla’s direction, the American Catholic hierarchy detached the Catholic vote from the Democrats. In 2004, Bush won 52 per cent of the Catholic vote, up 5 per cent from the 47 per cent he received in 2000. The President benefited from an increase in the turnout of Catholic voters from 57 per cent in 2000 to 63 per cent in 2004.

These new Catholics for Bush were overwhelmingly Woytjlist Catholics motivated to vote by their strident opposition to gay marriage, abortion, stem cell research and euthanasia. Catholic bishops pronounced the hapless, pro-choice John Kerry as unfit to receive Communion and therefore unelectable to the Presidency. Bush’s 2004 victory in the key swing state of Ohio was delivered by Woytjlist Catholics motivated to vote both for Bush and against gay marriage in an Ohio state referendum also held on the same election day.

Under the banner of supporting the ‘culture of life’, this alliance of Protestant and Catholic religious extremists has firmly secured its hold on the government of the United States. By the admission of its leading lights, the ‘culture of life’ aims at a cultural revolution based on religious revival. It rejects the notion of two secular parties alternating in power within the Constitutional framework of the separation of powers, and the partition of church and state. Having been secured, the commanding heights of American government will not be surrendered easily, if at all, by this coalition of cultural revolutionaries.

Woytjla’s immense achievement was to assemble at his funeral in Rome the acolytes and torchbearers of anti-modernism — from the President and leaders of American political conservatism, to the President of Iran, to Robert Mugabe, Catholic monarchs and, more endearingly, the grumpiest of grumpy old men, Prince Charles. The aged, exhausted and depleted leaders of world liberalism — Chirac, Schroder, Clinton and Blair — looked understandably uneasy and uncomfortable in this sea of religious revivalism.

Perhaps it dawned on them that those who created this vast machine to crush secular humanism and liberalism are neither cynics nor hypocrites. Woytjlism poses a mortal threat to the Enlightenment precisely because the moral clarity and evident goodness of its creator, Woytjla, so deeply influenced the dispossessed and young around the world.
He mobilised hundreds of millions to political action and the seizure of the highest levels of power by calling for a religious, cultural and, inevitably, a political revolution.

Last week in Rome, Woytjla bequeathed this stupendously powerful machine both to his Papal successor, and to his temporal co-revolutionary President Bush. As Emperor Constantine did, so too did President Bush seek to secure his political power by embracing militant religion and the seamless theocratic integration of church and state. Secular humanism, and the ideal of states based on true freedom and real democracy are everywhere in retreat.

In his life, Woytjla sawed off a diseased branch of the Enlightenment oak. After his death, Woytjla’s disciples may well destroy the tree itself.

Launched in 2004, New Matilda is one of Australia's oldest online independent publications. It's focus is on investigative journalism and analysis, with occasional smart arsery thrown in for reasons of sanity. New Matilda is owned and edited by Walkley Award and Human Rights Award winning journalist Chris Graham.