`Culture' may have different meanings for different people, but it all comes down to this: Culture is the enlightenment and refinement of taste acquired by intellectual and aesthetic training.
Culture always has to do with the intellectual advancement of civilization. As such, culture is susceptible to degrees.
Culture and civilization are closely related terms. Civilization is a state of social culture characterized by relative progress in the arts, science, and statecraft. Civilization is the opposite of barbarism or savagery.
It is worth pondering the meaning of these terms that describe certain trends and peoples.
`Barbarian' was the term used by the ancient Greeks and Romans for those outside the pale of their civilization. A `barbarian' is conceived of as an individual of a rude, uncivilized state, or a civilized person without, or out of sympathy with culture.
`Savage' generally implies cruelty, fierceness, and ferociousness. A `savage' is a person living in a state little removed from that of animals; one completely uncivilized. To portray the American Indian as if he were a kind, benevolent and God-fearing inhabitant of this land, noble and yet always oppressed by the "white man" is the most outrageous lie the Hollywood falsifiers of history have dreamt up.
The vast majority of people throughout the world were cultured because most of them had the blessing of dedicated missionaries teaching them not only natural sciences, but also the highest and noblest of all intellectual pursuits: the study of God and sound morality.
Any `culture' of genuine value has come to the world through the dedicated efforts of Catholic missionaries. And, conversely, whenever the salutary moral doctrines of the Church were ignored, that civilization became corrupt and died of its own degenerate promiscuity. The history of mankind testifies to this simple truth.
Culture requires discipline. Culture is conditioned by training.. And the degree of culture is in direct proportion to the faithful implementation of divine revelation as taught by the Roman Catholic Church.
Jesus Christ is the only genuine measure of true culture. Anything that does not reach that high level is far from being a viable and lasting culture. Every culture of the past of whatever land has fallen into primitive barbarism and savagery because it turned its back upon Christ and His Church.
Certainly, honesty demands that no excuse be made for the human frailty to be found even among members of the Church. Nevertheless, despite Her members' weaknesses, the Church has brought far greater blessings of peace and justice to every society wherever She was able to grow.
Today, we live in an era of unprecedented barbarism and savagery. The only difference between the crude and rude barbarism of the past and today is that now we have finely-tuned means of delivering death and destruction all over the world. Now we have refined methods of murdering the unwanted infants in their mother's womb. China still practices the ancient murder of infant girls. What can be said of this country of supposedly `ancient culture'?
The best judge of cultural values in any country is the foreign missionary who comes to bring the culture of Jesus Christ to free the people from the enslaving control of sorcerers, witch-doctors and Shamanists.
The neo-paganism wherein Satan rules is laying waste every country by destroying the moral values of its people. The most vulnerable are the children and young adults. The need to `belong' is exploited by the unscrupulous money-changers who control the entire amusement industry.
It is time for all Christians to rise up against the outrages committed against our Christian culture. When our Christian tax money is given to `artists' and `art' of doubtful value, it is time to say "Enough!"
One such heroic effort was recently made by Mayor Giuliani of New York City. He protested the insult to Roman Catholics by some obscure `wannabe' whose blasphemous depiction of the Blessed Virgin Mary embellished with elephant dung is displayed in the New York Museum of Art.
The `artist's' excuse for smearing the Mother of God with elephant feces was that the dung reminded him of his home in Africa. Great! Let us ask this `artist' whether he smears his mother and father with elephant dung just so that he would feel `close to the earth.'
This kind of garbage passes for `creativity' and commands a high price! Well, if that is some indication of the level to which this country's `culture' has sunk, then it is time that anyone with the smallest self-respect as an American strongly protested against such a collective suicide of our high cultural achievements.
Anyone who would pay for blotches of elephant excrement decorating a prestigious art gallery must eat the stuff for breakfast. On the other hand, it is not beyond suspicion that those who pay for this dung do so with the deliberate intention of insulting the fifty-six plus million Roman Catholics of the United States.
Our hat is off to Mayor Giuliani of New York! May his courageous example inspire more Catholics of New York City to protest the insults heaped upon them by a single savage who has not yet learned how to appreciate a culture far superior to his own.
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