The temptations of Christ. A political reading (I)


The temptations of Christ. High Altarpiece of the Cathedral of Oviedo.

The usual and priority reading of the Gospel texts is, logically, that which refers to Christian perfection. However, this does not prevent us from denying possible – and necessary – reflections of a different nature. As our objective is political, I will try to articulate, in a modest way, some political conclusions derived from the life of Our Lord and, in particular, from the temptations He chose to suffer for our salvation.

In the first of the temptations, Lucifer appears before Our Lord, taking advantage of the hunger caused by His severe fast. The devil showed Him some stones and suggested that He turn them into loaves of bread to satiate himself. Christ’s reply is clear: “Non in solo pane vivit homo, sed in omni verbo quod procedit de ore Dei” (Matthew 4:3-4).

The Catholic City is thus haunted by the Luciferian seduction of carnality; it seems that the Judaizing shadow of the carnality of the Kingdom, whose macabre culmination led to the death of the Son of God, has never left the Church. A logical reality, however, since it has its origin in Satan, who actively works for the damnation of souls. This seduction was refuted by the Divine Master when he reminded us: “Regnum meum non est de hoc mundo” (John 28:36).

Nevertheless, carnalization, or extreme incarnationism, as Francisco Canals would say, has lurked on many occasions in the history of the Church. After the effective triumph of the Revolution and the apostasy of Catholics who became liberals, extreme incarnationism was stirred up by the modernist conception of faith, understood as the religious self-knowledge of the subject, where every effective reality, whether stable or transgressive, is a manifestation of the Spirit in the history of man. History, now written with a capital letter, becomes the temporal manifestation of God in the world, leading to the deification of revolution and the adoption of the myth of enlightened progress.

The Catholic City would thus be a stage in history whose condition of being in the past condemns it to illegitimacy. The role of Catholics in the world would be centered on their participation in political, social, cultural, etc., changes inspired by the Spirit, no longer recognizable through Revelation, but through the famous “sense of history”.

It might seem that extreme incarnationism has fallen into disrepute, being more typical of figures of the past such as “Christians for Socialism” or Liberation Theology. And this would be true, secundum quid. It is clear that the hegemony of contemporary liberal Catholicism has discarded such formulas as a general rule, although it depends on the region. But it is no less true that behind many maneuvers inspired by the ill-fated aggiornamento looms the shadow of incarnationism. I am thinking of examples such as Maritain, who condemned medieval Christendom and admired – or rather was seduced by – post-World War II Americanism, or Pope Benedict XVI, who pointed to the evolution of modernity, which left behind the Papal doctrine on Liberalism, which did not produce “any area open to positive and fruitful understanding”.

Today, as in the days of severe penance that Our Lord suffered in the desert for our example, Lucifer presents himself to us with the supposed remedy for our problems, with earthly models to satisfy the hunger for peace that we Catholics are experiencing after the triumph of the Revolution, at the price of abandoning the arduous fulfillment of our duty. Nothing new.

(To be continued)

Miguel Quesada Círculo Hispalense

Translation by the Gremio San Jerónimo

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