181 CHRONICLESnWar Generationsnby Gavin EwartnYouth’s uniform was smartishnand tartish were our thoughts,nthere were too many Ought-nots;nwe hked instinctual Oughts.nThou shah not seemed quite boring,nlike snoring, irksome too —na thing that older peoplenseemed most inclined to do.nYet six years’ war came bubblingnand troubling all our lives,nas hot as hell and sharpernthan pointed butcher’s knives.nWe lost our early beauty,nso fruity and unlined,nthe brave and cowardly drowned innthose seas both deep and mined.nBack forty years or fifty,nonce nifty and unstained,nwe gaze with eyes so moral.nThe hypocrites.look painednto hear the young things singingnand clinging with a sighnto their so brief enjoymentnbefore they come to die.ngenerator of crisis. There is ultimately no way to keepnreligion out of politics — not when the Constitution itselfnprotects religious freedom; nor is there any reason to believenthat democracy would be better off if the barrier werenutterly impregnable. If it were, what Richard J. Neuhaus hasnaptly called the naked public square might soon become ansecular wasteland in which the most sinister crisis managersnwould be free to put into practice their conviction that evennthe small crises of democracy make politics a thoroughly badnthing.nProtestant Christianity has been a state of crisis since thenReformation, in the crisis conditions of which it was born.nIts genesis has a good deal to do with the multiplication ofnsects and with the intensification of the conviction, as wensee it expressed in 17th- and 18th-century Americannmillennialism, that religion is authentic in proportion as itnmakes possible here and now, not only in the hereafter, anlife beyond crisis. This is the assumption of that rousingnmillennialist war cry “The Battle Hymn of the Republic,”nwhich despite its anti-Catholic origins is now included innmany Catholic hymnals.nCatholics can be no less crisis-prone once they arenconvinced that the authenticity of the Church depends onnits capacity to enable the faithful to experience harmoniousnunity. In this view, crises are what happen when thennnindividual is not sufficiently Catholic — unless they arensimply the misidentifications of malevolent outsiders. Thisnattitude had a good deal to do with events in Church historynthat led up to Vatican II, before which the fear ofnharmony-disrupting crises made it easy to overlook ornmisinterpret the small crises from which the Church mightnhave learned how to avoid the big crises that made thenCouncil necessary. Certainly it might have learned that, asnPeter Steinfels puts it in “Vatican Wars” (The New Republic,nDecember 8, 1986), “a Church that makes large claimsnis sure to have large problems.” And the changes in Churchnpolicy made by Vatican II created more crises, not all ofnthem small, for those Catholics who remained attached tonthe old image of the harmonious Church universal — sonmuch so that some, in an attempt to get beyond crisis again,ncast their lot with such comforting imitations of the pre-nVatican II Church as the Tridentine Latin Rite Church.nBut even those who accepted the Council joyfully soonnlearned that the resolution of some crises caused new ones.nFor a generation now. Catholics have had to live with thencrises caused by birth control, abortion, the position ofnwomen in the Church, the celibacy of the clergy, situationnethics, the extent and nature of Papal authority, changes innthe liturgy, and liberation theology. Most recently, AmericannCatholics have had to adjust to what proved to bencontroversial positions of their bishops on nuclear arms andnthe option for the poor — to say nothing of the cases ofnArchbishop Raymond Hunthausen and Catholic Universityntheologian Father Charles E. Curran, which have causedntension between the bishops and Rome.nTo some American Catholics it is as disillusioning now tonfind differences of opinion among the bishops, and betweennthem and Rome, as it was to see differences of opinion atnwork during the Council. Differences of opinion are notnonly likely to result in crises, but the efforts in the Council tonmake particular opinions prevail also convinced manynCatholics that the Church had become corrupted by thatnsecular evil, politics. This scandalized, if naive, reaction wasnoften enough an indication that such Catholics had a lownopinion of democracy, which is nothing if not political, andnwere at heart as theocratic as the old Protestant millennialists.nThis attitude, potentially crippling to Catholics in thenfree world everywhere, not only in America, was vigorouslynattacked by people like Jesuit John Courtney Murray, whonhad Chapter 4 of The Pastoral Constitution on the Churchnin the Modern World for support.nIn any event, the use of terms native to politics andncultural criticism in an effort to understand conffict ofnopinion in the Church is by now commonplace. As PeternSteinfels points out, antinomies like liberal/conservative andndissent/authority make it easy to miss the subtieties of andialectic that is seeking not the triumph of one party overnanother but a viable center. Nothing could impede such annobjective more than a hounding apprehension of the crisesnthat might result if all does not go well. It is this apprehensionnin secular as well as religious deliberations that so oftenndictates the censorship, stonewalling, or electronic eavesdroppingnthat only lays the ground for unanticipated crises.nIt also prepares for the embarrassments institutions mostnsubsequenffy live with as best they can — for instance, thendistinguished philosopher Jacques Maritain not beingn