by Marco Tosatti
Authorized English translation by FromRome.Info
January 19, 2020
Dear Friends of Stilum curiali, Mr. Big Shot went to Mass, and has returned. Imagine him with ears still ringing … he eats a quick light lunch, and sets to writing. Thus, he sends us this commentary, hot and spicy like an American hot-dog (you will understand the reference, shortly) … Have a good read and ponder what he is saying:
In his homily this morning at Mass, the priest gave a long description of the divisions which exist among religions (which according to him have the same god), among monotheistic religions (even worse), among Christians (worst of all) and finally among Catholics, where there are sects of Traditionalists which oppose the Roman Pontiff (the unforgivable sin).
Finally, he concluded, that we ought to understand and act accordingly. Not by converting, but by going forth, listening, understanding and opening up to others.
And so, I propose to you a simile, which I hope is able to make you understand, appreciate and put what he says into practice.
At Harvard University, they tell this tale to first year students studying for a M.B.A., to not act like know-it-alls as soon as they master the concept of strategic business planning.
So that they wake up to the fact that by erring in a strategic diagnosis and acting on that basis, they can provoke exactly the mistakes which they intended to avoid in the decision making process.
The lesson (spoiler alert!) for us Catholics is that, in erring about the moral diagnosis of how the world imagines itself to have evolved thanks to science and technology; in thinking that we should, therefore, relativize our own Faith so that it is no longer contradicted by the world or discords with other beliefs: we risk well not only to lose the Faith itself, but also to become worthless for anything, and not even serve a purpose for our fellow man.
With a greater risk, in consequence, of being despised even more by other religions which are presently conquering us. The tale to be reflected upon is this (I will give the shortest possible version):
We are back in the U.S.A. in the Fifties, and a smart European immigrant, with a great sense of entrepreneurship, having understood how to satisfy those in need of a lunch on Wall Street, starts a food service (on a moveable cart) which sells hot dogs.
He furnishes himself with the best quality products (sausage, bread and mustard), sets a more than adequate price and is courteous and kind to his clientel.
After about ten years he is the undisputed leader on Wall Street, with the longest lines of customers (though served quickly) at his already numerous food carts in the quarter.
One of his employes, who argued with him (over pay) begins a rival business to compete with him, but at low cost.
Another 10 years pass by, and our businessman has sent his own son to Harvard with the intention of developing a plan to grow the business and go public on the Stock Exchange (notwithstanding his low cost competitor).
His son having graduated from Harvard, the father asks him to make a strategic analysis and formulate a strategic plan for the family business, including how to deal with competitors and assure a future success. His son, six months later, calls his father and explains to him that their business will be unsustainable in the future, destined to failure. Wall Street has grown and changed. Their traditional clientele, according to the son’s diagnosis (mistaken), will have less money to spend, have lower expectations, and are presently receiving a quality way above the price they are paying. And not only that. The first low-cost competitor will continue to maintain his market share and will grow it into other lines by offering products which are increasingly edgy in quality. Other competitors, even at a lower cost will appear on every street corner.
According to the son, now is the time to change the business model and to adapt to the market, instead of leading it: lower quality ingredients and products, less service and hence lower prices, more competitive with competitors.
Having heeded his son’s advice, the conclusion becomes obvious six months later: the father is forced to close the business. And the son has the last word: “Dad, I told you that this business was unsustainable…”
I hope I have illustrated by this simile what will happen to our Church, which already endured the competition of the Protestant Reformation and yet never understood the challenges of the modern world, by adapting Herself instead of taking a leadership position by teaching that Catholic morality is the best, the truest and the one which is valid and indispensable in every time and circumstance. To adapt Herself to the supposed pretensions of the world means to admit that She is unable to form man to live in the world without becoming attached to the world; that She has not been able to convert him. But the present reality is only the consequence of bad doctrine and false teaching. To recognize that all the religions of the world are equal, means that one has not only lost the Faith and wants to lose mankind, but also that he wants broker at a discount with belief in a god of relativism, with beliefs without God, and with superstitions. This is why the present world, disillusioned with a Church which is thinking like this, looks with hope to a Ratzinger, who has woken from slumber, in his declaration of Faith with Cardinal Sarah, and in Viganò’s denunciations of corruption. And is exulting in them.
(This is an authorized English translation of)