No citadels

No citadels

Arthur N. Ballingall

In history, citadels were frequently the difference between the survival of populations, or annihilation. Such places are still visible in the hill cities of northern Italy, the castles of Germany and its regions, the Iberian Peninsula, and even the Conqueror's Tower of London - later adapted to be a place of public execution.

Today, even invading armies seem out of date, as the lethal weapons of the modern era threaten instant annihilation to any point of the planet. Peace it seems, has a poor second place to a swift, retaliatory response.

By anybody's reckoning this does not seem to be good enough, at least in a civilised sense - quite apart from any spiritual dimension. With the rumbling and grumblings of ambitious nations, it's all rather like holding a hand-grenade - with the pin out! The achievement of peace seems to need another idea, and certainly a collective will.

The United Nations, in one form or another, was always thought to be a positive in the councils of the world; but the record of multiple wars, poverty and too many famines, reveals a failure of Promethean proportion. Divisions remain as numerous as there are seats in that ostensibly united assembly.

Obviously the United Nations was never going to be a citadel, any more than its defunct predecessor, the League of Nations, given the well-intentioned American President Woodrow Wilson's Fourteen Points that were needed to run the world. One wit was to say, 'God Himself only had ten!'

When the castles and citadels eventually de-populated, the Church herself remained the only recognisable citadel, and for all of a thousand years was herself a mighty bastion.

However the modern media attack of rationalism/humanism, and plain agnosticism, has taken its toll of a now discouraged and less numerous faithful - all of which has a somewhat satanic touch. The successful attack was not on the Magisterium of the Church, but on the underside.

In the same way that Napoleon launched his career with his 'whiff of grapeshot' against the rebels, the media has only had to use the 'whiff of doubt'.

ARTHUR N. BALLINGALL
Safety Beach, Vic

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