The Breaking Of The Dams. Part II: The Education Revolution And The Religion Of Youth
I have already explained in Part I what I think was the main factor in the rapid advancement of the “Spirit of V II” within a Church so strong and self-assured only a few years before. I would now like to spend two words about what was, if you ask me, the second most important factor: the rapid changes in education and the connected giovanilismo, the exaltation of everything “young” typical of those years.
The unprecedented economic progress since the end of WWII had brought another huge social upheaval: the education revolution. In less than twenty years, the entire West had undergone a massive change: the son of the peasant was on its way to become an accountant, and the son of the accountant was listening to new (and often crappy) ideas at University. Never had such a transformation occurred so rapidly. Never had so many young people been so obviously better educated than their parents and grandparents.
This caused a rapid deterioration of a traditional hinge of the social fabric: the respect for the elder.
Once seen as the depositaries of wisdom, old people were suddenly seen as uneducated, ignorant, prejudiced, superstitious obstacles to progress. In parallel, the young men and women (better educated, optimistic, full of reformist zeal, and often able to speak without accent or dialect) were seen as the new frontier, and the pathfinders to the discovery of a new and better world. A new world which saw all the prejudices and limits of the old one (and they were there; they were clearly there) and thought that the old system of religious rules, piety, and rigid propriety was pretty much on the same level with the countless superstitions they saw in their old people. The young people might have loved, but they did not esteem their parents, and they did not think their parent had much to teach to them. They were grateful to the peasants who had, with their sacrifices, allowed them to become accountants or teachers or lawyers or civil servants. But they saw in their parents just that: peasants.
For their teaching and guidance in life, they started to look elsewhere. In all the wrong places.
It is apparent to me – and I have seen it very often in real life – that the old generation had, very often, an instinctive sense of what was right, and that they were right; but they were unable to defend themselves, to appropriately articulate their belief against the tide of opposition of their own children and grandchildren; children who spoke so well, better than they ever could, and were filling their parents and grandparents with pride and joy even as the latter were worried at what their children and nephews were actually saying.
These were the children for which the old generation had made so many sacrifices. Look at them now, speaking like lawyers and pharmacists! The son of the small tenant, or of the daily labourer; the daughter of the milliner, or of the domestic servant! They know so much more than their parents and grandparents! Yes, they are wrong. But how to explain it to them? They speak so well…
And the entire world, the entire planet told the older people that the future belonged to the young, who would make a better planet for everyone. Largo ai giovani, “make place for the young” – possibly the stupidest slogan of all times after “Liberte’, Egalite’, Fraternite’ ” – was not much questioned in those times. The “Springtime of the Church” is just the same madness in a different way. Guitars in the church are just another byproduct of the same stupidity that gave us the May 1968 in France.
And so, my dear readers, we have it, the explosive cocktail that gave us first Paul VI, then Assisi, then the rock mass concerts and mass media popes, then eventually the Evil Clown himself in all his wheelchair-embracing, Castro-cuddling, planet-“saving”, heresy-promoting, perversion-protecting, sacraments-desecrating debauchery. It was an explosive cocktail of growing welfare and growing, but secular, education; sadly not contrasted by a clergy too often tired of being party poopers when the party, which had been going on for a while, seemed to want to go on forever.
Too many were weak. Countless others were simply ill-equipped.
Satan was, as always, looking for those whom he may devour.