Peter Kreeft’s recent lecture ‘How to Win the Culture War: A Christian Battle Plan for a Culture in Crisis’ outlines his thoughts on how the Devil plans to win the culture war by making Catholics, particularly bishops and theologians, phoneys.
Peter Kreeft uses the seven-letter acronym, PHONEYS, to highlight the greatest threats to Catholics – Politicization, Happy talk, Organizationalism, Neoworship, Egalitarianism, Yuppiedom, and Spirituality.
Kreeft delivered his talk in the person of Screwtape, C.S. Lewis’ advisorial senior demon, who instructs Wormwood on how they (i.e., the powers of hell) can win the culture war through particular and deadly temptations:
- Politicization – the tendency Americans have to confuse politics for religion. He drew awareness to the trend of defining oneself by politics instead of religion, saying, ‘We have persuaded many of them to judge their faith by the standard of ‘political correctness’ rather than vice versa.’
- Happy Talk – the principle of happy talk raised the ante on the average ignorance-is-bliss mentality. He pointed out that Catholics must first return to being Catholic, and correct their own practices before projecting to non-Catholics. “Catholics abort, contracept, sodomize, fornicate, divorce, and sexually abuse,” he said, “at almost exactly the same rate as non-Catholics. Amid this devastation, keep them happy talking. Keep them saying ‘Peace, Peace,’ when there is no peace.” He wants Catholics to take responsibility for their behavior, make a conscious effort to change it, and to acknowledge that blame can’t be placed entirely on the secular world.
- Organizationalism - Catholics suffer from organizationalism, causing them to regard everything—including the Church—as business ventures. This is especially bad, he noted, because people have lost sight of the role of the Church, and instead focused on the goals of business. “They must worship success, not sanctity,” he said, “and fear failure, not sin.”
- Neo-worship - or worship of things new at the expense of the old, in particular the rejection of things “pre-Vatican II”.
- Egalitarianism – Describing society’s misguided translation of egalitarianism, Kreeft pointed out that “sexism” has persuaded men and women to perceive each other as equal, when they should instead be considered beautifully inferior to each other. He believes in the importance of regarding men and women as separate and unequal, and in acknowledging the positive impact of the differences that define each. According to Kreeft, society’s deterioration of egalitarianism fosters “the difference between the beauty of black and the beauty of white reduced to a boring grey.”
- Yuppydom - which is essentially selling out to the fads of the times rather than holding God as God. Yuppydom is a generation that prides itself on not being prideful, saying, “Let them feel superior about not feeling superior, judgmental about not being judgmental.”
- Spirituality - in which Christians seek salvation, or at least affirmation, while recoiling at the thought of suffering—they want Christ without the cross.
Ending his lecture with a short phrase that holds the potential to defeat the culture war, Kreeft said, “Simply put, be real. Don’t be a PHONEY. Be a saint.”
To see and hear Peter Kreeft’s marvelous lecture go to:
Protect the Pope comment: A phoney Catholic is another way of saying a liberal Catholic. The archetypal phoney Catholic is Fr Hans Kung, who recently admitted that he has been seeking since the Second Vatican Council to turn the Catholic Church protestant. This is the game plan of all liberal Catholics to abandon the apostolic tradition of the Church by replacing it with their own will to power.
Having said this, the temptation to be PHONEY threatens us all because we are embedded in this phoney culture which is battering us down 24/7.