The solution to our nation's ills lies in building a Eucharistic polity.
In a little under a year we will find ourselves at the opening of the National Eucharistic Congress in Indianapolis. This event, with more than 80,000 Catholics in attendance, will serve as the culmination of the Eucharistic revival being undertaken in the United States. If one has any sense of optimism at all, it is hard not to be excited by such an idea. Tens of thousands of Catholics gathered to worship the source and summit of all creation, placing this beautiful mystery at the heart of our life as a Church and a nation. Not in any of our lifetimes has the Church in the United States had such n opportunity to make a strong showing on what we have to offer a confused and weary nation. What better an answer to our culture of death than the Eucharist? That being said, what does the Eucharistic Congress have to do with politics and the political order?
“You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman, “for God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” (Genesis 3:4-5) Man’s greatest and most enduring dream is the one with which he was presented in the garden: divinity. From the garden to the Tower of Babel, the ideology at the root of our modern predicament is this perverted dream: man’s desire to become like god. This ideology, “technocracy,” is the belief that man must make himself god through his own action or teche in Greek. It is from this technocracy that we arrive at the false liberty so latent in our political order. The infamous occultist Aleister Crowley summarized it as the ideology of Lucifer: “Do what thou wilt, that shall be the whole of the law.”
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The “freedom” of technocracy is a freedom of self creation and power. This is the freedom which transgender activists claim when they march under the banner of pride, the greatest of all sins. This is the freedom which has caused our family law to systematically reject the objective needs of children in favor of the emotional desires of adults. This is the freedom for which the advocates of abortion clamor when they mock the Eucharist with their chief slogan, this is my body. Like the freedom promised in the garden, this freedom only leads to death and suffering.
This is not the freedom that we find in the Eucharist. The Eucharist reminds us of the greatest act of freedom to ever take place. On the cross, God-made-man proclaimed liberty to the captives and set us free from the bonds of sin. On the cross, Jesus showed us the essence of true liberty. His sacrifice showed us that in order to be truly free we must live in accordance with truth and with love.
Pope St. John Paul II said, “Freedom consists not in doing what we like, but in having the right to do what we ought.” Such a vision of freedom is expressed through the twin metaphysical categories of meaning and purpose. When a person orders his life in a way that affirms the dignity of human nature, he gives his life meaning, and when that same life is ordered toward the good for which his human nature is made, he gives his life purpose. This expression of freedom, one which understands living in accordance with the truth, is what we have to offer our broken culture.
Since man is by nature a social and political animal, this freedom cannot be lived individually. In the political and social order this freedom is lived as a politics of the Eucharist. Our modern politics have become obsessed with a technocratic view of freedom focused only on desire and power. However, the Eucharist offers us a vision of politics focused on truth. A Eucharistic politics offers a vision which is truly sacramental in that it sees images of the divine in man. In a Eucharistic polity, laws will promote true freedom by defending the common good and curbing evils, while promoting goods which enhance true freedom.
Such a Eucharistic political order is one which mirrors the sacrament in two primary ways. First, the Eucharistic politics is sacramental in that it images the divine in the human. Pope St. John Paul II taught that man’s social natures mirrors the divine life. Our political order, based upon the best natural expression of the divine life, the family, stems from that social nature and must also mirror the divine life. Just as personal relationships can become corrupted, so too can the political order. Thus, a rightly ordered polity is a reflection of the divine life through the mutual love of neighbor. Secondly, a Eucharistic politics mirrors the sacrament because it is teleological. Through the sacrifice of Our Lord, the Eucharist points to man’s final end: union with God. The political order seeks to lead man to that final end through laws and culture. When the political order becomes disordered it becomes so because it has lost sight of that final end and instead chooses to promote false ends.
There are hundreds of ways the false freedom of technocracy destroys the family, but three of the most important are abortion, divorce, and pornography. In abortion, it is claimed, under the guise of freedom, that one’s own bodily autonomy is being honored and respected. But this practice, eerily reminiscent of the child sacrifice of biblical pagans, destroys the very bond of procreative love upon which the family is built. In a Eucharistic polity, those who wish to deceive in order to profit from abortion will be curbed and the full personhood of the unborn will be acknowledged. The political order will systematically help families both form and thrive through both tangible assistance and through intangible economic and social forms which encourage family life.
In a regime of no-fault divorce, the sacred bond of marriage is broken in order to satisfy the emotional desires of the spouses. When a couple says “we just grew apart” and subject their children to the host of consequences which a divorce causes, they reinforce a contagious social disease which rots society from the inside out. In a Eucharistic polity, family law will serve to build a culture of marriage by aiding couples when they are young to strengthen marriages and prioritizing the needs of children.
Finally, the widespread use of pornography creates a generation of sexual dysfunction. Such a society will, along with facing serious demographic problems, be faced with the variety of individual and social evils we now see. All the while, billions of dollars are made in the production of pornography through the sexual exploitation of vulnerable women, many of whom are still children when they are brought into the industry. Since the Eucharistic polity is one which is rooted in authentic meaning and purpose, the laws of that society will punish those who deny the dignity of the human person in the production of pornography.
A Eucharistic polity will also follow the sacrament in other ways. For example, our education system today teaches a worldview in which moral truth is unknowable. In lieu of the great liberal arts tradition students are either fed exclusively “STEM” education or a vision of critical theory that seeks to divide us. A Eucharistic polity would educate students with a full and flourishing vision of truth animated by such figures as Aristotle, Plato, Homer, Shakespeare, and Dante. As another example, our world has replaced beauty with oppressive ugliness. The Eucharist and the liturgy has spawned the greatest works of beauty mankind has ever created. The magnificent basilicas of Europe, the masterpieces of art which adorn them, and the great works of music which illuminate them were made for the singular purpose of surrounding the sacrament with the beauty it deserves. Whereas technocracy seeks to destroy beauty, a Eucharistic polity will surround itself with beautiful buildings, artwork, and the beauty of nature.
Our modern politics and the false freedom which animates it has caused untold death and despair. We should recall St. Paul’s exhortation that the wages of sin is death. We have the opportunity offer something more. The meaning and purpose found in the Eucharist offers the antidote to our national misery. So let us go forth, under the banner of the monstrance, with the Tantum Ergo as our battle hymn. Let us go toward a Eucharistic politics.
If you liked this article by Vincent Schiffiano, consider subscribing to his Substack, The Ranting Raven.