Tuesday, October 22, 2019

THE SIXTIES HAVE OVERCOME US~PART 11


                                            

In some respects, 1969, the last year of the Sixties, was a year like any other of that turbulent decade.

While the struggles which hallmarked the Sixties were still grabbing headlines,  much was beginning to change just below the surface, to the extent, by way of examples: in the 1970’s, disco, ego-pleasure-centric, replaced the dominance of folk songs and the urging a communal re-boot of society; the sexual variations and promiscuity of the sixties became, in the 1980’s, HIV/AIDS. Little understood or even recognized in the Sixties, AIDS would turn into a pandemic; the 1980’s was the decade when Wall Street seemed to churn out an endless succession of millionaires, highlighting what has become known as the 1%, i.e. the one percenters, a term which originated in the 1960’s when the American Motorcycle Association asserted 99% of motorcycle riders were law abiding citizens. Criminal biker gangs seized upon that and declared themselves the ‘one percenters’!: no irony here!; then the 1990’s arrived, when the reach of terrorism spread far afield from the Middle East; the 2000’s to date witnesses the evil of Islamic and homegrown terrorism spread, from 9/11 forwards to this day, and the culture of death now appears unstoppable, which it will be unless there is a profound conversion of every human heart and Christians abandoning all forms of compromise with the surrounding culture, choosing instead to uncompromisingly living out the Gospel of Life.

Precisely because much was happening below the surface 1969 was a year surfeit of mega-drama, yet persistent in unrest, unease, further casting off of any sexual mores and of faith, particularly, but not exclusively, among Christians, and Catholics most of all, with an increasing compromise with the surrounding culture, leading throughout the following decades in so-called Catholic countries, notably in Latin America, to the spreading of American Evangelicalism, often of the ‘God wants you to be rich’ kind.

One of the best descriptive words on what was happening then, though written about the current era, when it comes to our relationship with the One True God, is this: Our age seems to have specialized in God-management – the absurd endeavour both to keep functional some respectable notion of “God” and yet at each step to neutralize any divine reality that interferes with the way in which we have constructed the world. The domestication of the Almighty. The relativizing of the Absolute. The taming of the Fire of divinity into a porcelain cup of lukewarm tea. [1]

Spain, still ruled by the dictator Generalissimo Franco, indeed he would continue to do so until his death in 1975, saw major student riots in Madrid, which was put under martial law with 300 students being arrested. The great irony is Franco made sure his succession saw to the restoration of the monarchy with today Spain being a constitutional monarchy with a democratic government. “The Troubles”, as they were called, intensified in Northern Ireland, with Britain sending in the army who, in the battle, often used methods which, post 9/11, would become known as ‘enhanced interrogation’, contributing to ‘the Troubles’ lasting for another two decades. A major oil spill in Santa Barbara harbour in California would move an American Senator to organize the following year the first Earth Day, which over the coming decades would spread globally, along with a general environmental movement, itself intensifying with what was originally called “global warming”, becoming a cause celebre, but as the ‘science’ behind that has been challenged the term now is the didactic and disingenuous: “climate change”! Climate change is a perpetual serial event which, on the micro level, occurs with the passage of the seasons and on the macro, occurs over the millennia. While part of our human, indeed baptized vocation, is both to care for and use the resources of the earth, yet there is a dark, indeed evil irony when environmental extremists insist they will not have children, because everything will be over in a decade or so. It is the distorted logic of the abortion culture and the all too human arrogance which thinks we can control completely what we have not created. True, we can do harm to creation and we should take better care of creation, starting with human life. A culture which is in bondage to the contraceptive, abortion, euthanasia, anti-family mentality, has no credibility when it claims to care about creation as it blithely usurps what is God’s: He alone is the Lord and Giver of Life.

Unless we strive to be saints, to be holy disciples and allow the holiness of Christ flowing from within us to touch and heal the earth, the earth will remain sick. Just how sick it is, will be, is directly connected to our holiness or lack thereof.

In 1969, Yasser Arafat would be elected leader of the Palestinian Liberation Organization {PLO}; Muammar Gaddafi would, through a coup d’├ętat, seize power in Libya, both events, in fact, becoming the lighting of fuses which, a half century later, continue to explode in acts of terror and war within the Middle East and globally; in Canada the Front de Liberation du Quebec {FLQ} continued its bombing campaign which in 1970 would lead to a major crisis with the kidnapping and murder of a Quebec politician, the kidnapping of a British diplomat. The ongoing aftermath, which many see as constant tension between Quebec and the rest of Canada, is more to be found among a Quebec populace, once considered to be 98% practising Catholic, becoming a virtually total secular society, to the point where, through legislation, the province is now officially secularist, even more so than France itself!

As the year unfolded race riots, civil rights battles, an ever increasing resistance to the war in Vietnam continued, with wars within and between nations continuing apace. The implication of some events, as mentioned at the outset, being below the surface, would not emerge immediately but would have ongoing consequences, such as the general strike in Argentina in May of 1969, the consequence only becoming apparent during the so-called dirty war of the military junta against its own people.

1969 was the year, in June, of the Stonewall riots, leading to within the US, and since in virtually every country on earth, the never satisfied demands for ‘gay-rights’, in some countries resulting in the legalization of so-called ‘gay-marriage’, variations on the theme such as ‘transgender’, ‘two-spirit’, with some human beings wanting the legal right to declare they are ‘non-gender’!  It was also the year, in Canada, when homosexual activity between consenting adults, at the time pegged at 21 years of age, subsequently lowered to 18, was decriminalized. Now, with the prevailing mentality pushed in schools in Canada through so-called ‘gay/straight alliances’, it really is anybody’s guess as at what age ‘consent’ is accepted.

Parallel to the above, a fifteen year old boy died in the United States and it was noted he had scabs on his body, later identified as caused by a form of cancer, which in the eighties would be associated with HIV/AIDS. Indeed in 1984 lab tests on tissue from the boy’s body confirmed he had had HIV/AIDS. The suspicion was that he had been a male prostitute. However official recognition of the disease would only begin in mid 1981, by then it had reached pandemic proportions. While the first case, globally, dates back officially to the late 1950’s in Africa, it would be well into the late 1990’s before scientists would figure out the origin of the disease was indeed in Africa, through transmission from the original simian hosts to humans via the mishandling of bushmeat. While the teenager mentioned is referred to by some scientists as patient Zero, a Canadian adult male flight attendant is also sometimes given that dubious moniker. Other than the probability that in both cases the infection came from an unknown male, part of the ongoing origins mystery of the disease itself is believed to be thousands of years old. Its lack of ‘discovery’ boils down to colonial arrogance which would not have paid much attention to deaths among Africans until the disease emerged outside Africa and became a threat to the rest of the world.

Such is the tragic legacy of the Sixties that to this day, regarding sexually transmitted diseases, abortion, euthanasia, the incessant demands for ‘my rights’, all is rooted in the poisoned soil of abandonment of natural law, Divine Law, and, frankly, common sense, hallmarks of the so-called ‘free-love’ generation.

Within the Catholic Church Herself, [it being noted the ‘church in our own image and likeness’ mentality was spreading – infecting really – the Anglican/Episcopal communion and liberal leaning Protestant denominations], the exodus from priesthood and religious life had grown  from a raging torrent to a tsunami, as well as laity abandoning the faith, yet self-appointed-smarter-than-the-Church, theologians, liturgists, parish priests, nuns, laity, persisted in mucking around with the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, articles of faith, morality, indeed many of those who did/do remain, physically, within the priesthood and religious life were/are actual internal enemies of the Body of Christ the Church and continue to wreck havoc to this day.

Obviously, his intention was not to compound problems, in the post Vatican II confusion, but when Pope Paul VI issued his moto proprio, Mysterii Paschalis, on reforms to the liturgy, the calendar of Saints, many laity and clergy reacted negatively.

It was just another shock to system of people still trying to adjust to the already major changes, within the liturgy, flowing from the so-called suppression of what was previously known as the Tridentine Rite.

Pope Paul the VI began by reminding us that: The Paschal Mystery and its celebration constitutes the essence of Christian worship in its daily, weekly and yearly unfolding. [2]

However, the nub of the problem for many came with: It cannot be denied, however, that in the course of centuries the feasts of the saints have become more and more numerous. The Sacred Synod has therefore decreed: "Lest the feasts of the saints take precedence over the feasts which commemorate the very mysteries of salvation…… the names of some saints have been removed from the universal Calendar, and the faculty has been given of re-establishing in regions concerned, if it is desired, the commemorations and cult of other saints. The suppression of reference to a certain number of saints who are not universally known has permitted the insertion, within the Roman Calendar, of names of some martyrs of regions where the proclaiming of the Gospel arrived at a later date. Thus, as representatives of their countries, those who have won renown by the shedding of their blood for Christ or by their outstanding virtues enjoy the same dignity in this same catalogue. [ibid]

These decades later it is obvious the importance of the reform for the focus to be primarily on the centrality of Christ and our redemption.

Interestingly, at the time already Pope Emeritus, Benedict XVI, replied to a letter from Elio Guerriero on questions about the reforms: ……..As for the liturgical question, I can understand Pope Montini’s decision very well. It seems to me, nevertheless, that greater patience in implementing the reform would have promoted peace in the Church…….The sudden break with the old missal caused resistance that perhaps could have been avoided. In any case, it would have been good to make clearer the continuity between the two missals. But to do that, the liturgists, too, had to help, and instead they proved unavailable. The real problem resulted, not from the pope’s decision, but from the intransigence of the liturgists. [3]      

1969 did not end with anything as dramatic as the 70’s year of the three Popes, or the 80’s with the collapse of the USSR, rather the Sixties ended with a profound sense of exhaustion, politically, spiritually, almost as if the entire decade was partially slinking away to hide, or running with insane abandon over the edge of a cliff.

Remaking God, self, the Church, the world into one’s own image had proven a dismal failure, as governments, both democratic and non, became ever more powerful, and continue so; the chasm between the obscenely rich and dehumanized poor relentlessly deepened, and continues; the rock foundation of faith in the One True God, in Jesus sent to love and save us, began to be replaced, and continues to be, by an idolatrous obsession with ideology of one type or another. People for whom an ideology is their raison d’etre tend to be inflexible, refuting any counter point: racists are ideologues, so are abortionists. Bondage to ideology leads to hatred, violence, revolutions, divisions, the fracturing of society and, for there are ideologues, sadly, within the Church, whose goal is to prevail and that results in one thing only: schism.  

There are still those, for example in the USA and Canada, other leftist democracies, seeking political power, who spout the bromides of care for the workers, the poor, the disenfranchised, the discriminated against – but since they consistently fail abysmally to bring about real change – other than legislating more and more immorality and anti-life laws – the numbers of the homeless continue to grow, tensions expand between and within nations, family life remains under assault, terrorism continues and it may seem at times the very Church Herself will soon be little more than a tiny remnant.

With politics today so tainted by money, lacking a moral foundation and common sense, and politicians of all stripes saying and doing anything that panders to the loudest screamers, like those saying climate change means the world will end in ten to twelve years, no wonder the electorate is so angry and cynical.

Politics without the Gospel, without the Beatitudes, has become a mere simulacrum of democracy and is doomed. Eventually we could all find ourselves trapped under the jackboot of some form of totalitarianism.

All this ignores the real emergency: the millions of human beings on a daily basis being trafficked, enslaved, put in labour and concentration camps, being victims of terrorism, war, domestic and sexual abuse, used as child labourers and soldiers, the millions of our brothers and sister aborted, euthanized, living homeless, hungry, fleeing across deserts, through jungles, across turbulent seas, with all the attendant risks and thus with thousands dying along the way, reminding us of the man in the ditch cared for by the Samaritan. This is the real climate emergency, the paucity of seeing each other as, loving one another as, brothers and sisters.

Current ideologies are a form of collective lust, lust being all that is left to human beings who willfully choose to abandon belief in, trust in, obedience to God who is love, in a word who toss aside the holiness of a love relationship with the Holy Trinity in favour of being a plaything of self and others and worst of all, playthings of satan.

Lust is not merely, not even primarily, a sexual vice.

Lust is surrendering ourselves to the distorted thinking and choice making which comes from that powerful emotion itself, an emotion that is ego-centric, whereas authentic love is other-centric and shown by God Himself and intimately manifested in His Beloved Son Jesus Christ who is God-with-us.

The lust of the Sixties was for a new world order, a new sexual order, a new way of thinking, believing – believing only in what our minds came up with as worthy of belief – to the extent that after those ten years of experiment we, the human family, have been left with a pandora’s box of fears, which once opened spews forth ideologies which imprison, angers which devour, divisions which harden, hearts which are broken, and don’t even know it, and millions of souls wandering the face of the earth wondering “who am I, why am I, where am I going”, stumbling past the man seated at the well awaiting for them.

Such is the legacy of the Sixties.

However, we need not remain in bondage to this legacy.

Christ is the Way, the Truth, the Life and meditating upon Jesus our Eucharist Pope Benedict XVI re-teaches the truth: By making the bread into his Body and the wine into his Blood, he anticipates his death, he accepts it in his heart, and he transforms it into an action of love. What on the outside is simply brutal violence - the Crucifixion - from within becomes an act of total self-giving love. This is the substantial transformation which was accomplished at the Last Supper and was destined to set in motion a series of transformations leading ultimately to the transformation of the world when God will be all in all (cf. I Cor 15: 28).

In their hearts, people always and everywhere have somehow expected a change, a transformation of the world. Here now is the central act of transformation that alone can truly renew the world:  violence is transformed into love, and death into life…..To use an image well known to us today, this is like inducing nuclear fission in the very heart of being - the victory of love over hatred, the victory of love over death. Only this intimate explosion of good conquering evil can then trigger off the series of transformations that little by little will change the world….. All other changes remain superficial and cannot save……together with forgetfulness of God there is a kind of new explosion of religion…..But to tell the truth, religion often becomes almost a consumer product. People choose what they like, and some are even able to make a profit from it. But religion sought on a "do-it-yourself" basis cannot ultimately help us. It may be comfortable, but at times of crisis we are left to ourselves.

Help people to discover the true star which points out the way to us:  Jesus Christ! Let us seek to know him better and better, so as to be able to guide others to him with conviction… Let us go forward with Christ and let us live our lives as true worshippers of God! Amen. [4]

[1] FIRE OF MERCY HEART OF THE WORLD, volume II, Meditations on the Gospel According to St. Matthew, p. 315; Erasmo Leiva-Merikakis, 2003, Ignatius Press

[2] http://w2.vatican.va/content/paul-vi/en/motu_proprio/documents/hf_p-vi_motu-proprio_19690214_mysterii-paschalis.html

[3] BENEDICIT VI His Life and Thought, Elio Guerriero, p. 513; Ignatius Press 2018

[4] http://w2.vatican.va/content/benedict-xvi/en/homilies/2005/documents/hf_ben-xvi_hom_20050821_20th-world-youth-day.html

© 2019 Fr. Arthur Joseph




Thursday, September 26, 2019

THE SIXTIES HAVE OVERCOME US~PART 10~B


                               

One of the most vital, on the sacredness of human life, papal teachings preceding the great encyclical of St. John Paul: Evangelium Vitae [1], is Humane Vitae of St. Paul VI [2]. As Pope Pius XI did more than forty years earlier with his Encyclical MIT BRENNENDER SORGE, shining a light to expose fully the evil of Nazism, so Pope Paul VI shined a light on the evil of the emerging contraceptive-abortive-hedonistic culture of death.

Humane Vitae is the unambiguous teaching of the Church on the sacredness of human life. Every human being is a, and has the dignity of being person, created in the image and likeness of God, the Divine Person. All this is rooted in Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition, and the transmission of this gift, the creating by God of a new person occurs in cooperation with Him, as a sacred act in the Sacrament of Holy Marriage, between the spouses. Yet so lavish is God, who is Love, with His gift of life, that He does not refuse to breath an immortal soul, that is to create a human person in His image and likeness, even if the man and woman are by some other fashion, engaging in a natural law act outside of the sacredness of the sacrament.

Here is not that place for a protracted dissertation on Humane Vitae, rather it is to point in the direction of both the irreducible treasury of wisdom and compassion therein, and as well to consider briefly one of the major acts of dissent, albeit coached in episcopal bureaucratic lingo.

Humane Vitae caused an uproar not simply by defining artificial contraception as evil but in an unwritten between-the-lines subtext exposes the reality of the Antichrist: The Antichrist's deception already begins to take shape in the world every time the claim is made to realize within history that messianic hope which can only be realized beyond history through the eschatological judgement….. the Church has rejected even modified forms of this falsification of the kingdom to come under the name of millenarianism… especially the "intrinsically perverse" political form of a secular messianism. [3]

Children, it is the last hour; and just as you heard that the antichrist was coming, so now many antichrists have appeared. Thus we know this is the last hour. They went out from us, but they were not really of our number; if they had been, they would have remained with us. Their desertion shows that none of them was of our number. [1 Jn. 2:18,19]

Remembering the ‘last hour’ does not mean a specific sixty minute period, but rather is in fact every moment of every day since the Ascension of Our Lord, hence its apparent millennial slowness to arrive is perhaps excruciatingly frustrating for some Christians who focus on the hour, rather than the merciful magnanimity of the Holy Trinity both giving time for more brothers and sisters to be born, to come to know Christ and be His and for us already alive to be converted anew every day until we no longer live but Christ lives in us.

 One day the Antichrist will come: a human being who introduces an order of things in which rebellion against God will attain its ultimate power….. Then it will be clear what the Christian essence really is: that which stems not from the world, but from the heart of God; victory of grace over the world; redemption of the world, for her true essence is not to be found in herself, but in God from Whom she has received it. When God becomes all in all, the world will burst into flower. [4]

The distortions regarding human life, freedom, faith, etc., etc., spawned by the dark forces of the culture of death in the Sixties, continue to poison the souls, hearts, minds, choices of humanity today, a poison which infects even bishops and priests. This from Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, is particularly germane:  Among the freedoms that the Revolution of 1968 sought to fight for was this all-out sexual freedom, one which no longer conceded any norms…… At the same time, independently of this development, Catholic moral theology suffered a collapse that rendered the Church defenseless against these changes in society……..There are values which must never be abandoned for a greater value and even surpass the preservation of physical life. There is martyrdom. God is about more than mere physical survival. A life that would be bought by the denial of God, a life that is based on a final lie, is a non-life. Martyrdom is a basic category of Christian existence….there is a minimum set of morals which is indissolubly linked to the foundational principle of faith and which must be defended if faith is not to be reduced to a theory but rather to be recognized in its claim to concrete life…..Faith is a journey and a way of life. [5]

Humane Vitae begins with a simple, clear, powerful statement which encapsulates the entire truth about human life and the gifting of life by the Holy Trinity: The transmission of human life is a most serious role in which married people collaborate freely and responsibly with God the Creator. It has always been a source of great joy to them, even though it sometimes entails many difficulties and hardships. The fulfillment of this duty has always posed problems to the conscience of married people, but the recent course of human society and the concomitant changes have provoked new questions. The Church cannot ignore these questions, for they concern matters intimately connected with the life and happiness of human beings. [6]

At the end of September, 1968, as a prime example of the reaction within the Church itself, aided and abetted by a cacophony of dissenters in various fields from theology to rights movements, the Canadian Conference of Bishops issued their response to Pope Paul’s encyclical, which has evermore been known as the ‘Winnipeg Statement’:  It is a fact that a certain number of Catholics, although admittedly subject to the teaching of the encyclical, find it either extremely difficult or even impossible to make their own all elements of this doctrine. In particular, the argumentation and rational foundation of the encyclical, which are only briefly indicated, have failed in some cases to win the assent of men of science, or indeed of some men of culture and education who share in the contemporary empirical and scientific mode of thought. We must appreciate the difficulty experienced by contemporary man in understanding and appropriating some of the points of this encyclical, and we must make every effort to learn from the insights of Catholic scientists and intellectuals, who are of undoubted loyalty to Christian truth, to the Church and to the authority of the Holy See. Since they are not denying any point of divine and Catholic faith nor rejecting the teaching authority of the Church, these Catholics should not be considered or consider themselves, shut off from the body of the faithful. But they should remember that their good faith will be dependent on a sincere self-examination to determine the true motives and grounds for such suspension of assent and on continued effort to understand and deepen their knowledge of the teaching of the Church. [ 7]

The continuing tragedy and danger in the above is twofold: 1] it opens the door to the misuse of ‘conscience’ by people then and now to excuse actions which no fully matured and informed conscience would allow and 2] it implies a parallelism between science, the notions of intellectuals, indeed almost a superiority to Catholic teaching, in clear opposition to the primacy of revealed truth and orthodox theology.

Furthermore, it contradicts this teaching from Humane Vitae: Therefore We base Our words on the first principles of a human and Christian doctrine of marriage when We are obliged once more to declare that the direct interruption of the generative process already begun and, above all, all direct abortion, even for therapeutic reasons, are to be absolutely excluded as lawful means of regulating the number of children. …..Equally to be condemned, as the magisterium of the Church has affirmed on many occasions, is direct sterilization, whether of the man or of the woman, whether permanent or temporary…..Similarly excluded is any action which either before, at the moment of, or after sexual intercourse, is specifically intended to prevent procreation—whether as an end or as a means. ….Neither is it valid to argue, as a justification for sexual intercourse which is deliberately contraceptive, that a lesser evil is to be preferred to a greater one, or that such intercourse would merge with procreative acts of past and future to form a single entity, and so be qualified by exactly the same moral goodness as these.  [ 2 -op. cit. para. 14]

So messed up are Catholics, Christians in general, about ‘conscience’, that when, in 2002, a Catholic student sues his Catholic High School to bring his boyfriend as his prom date, it was the Catholic teachers themselves, who as ‘friends of the court’, argued in support of the young man; currently in Canada there is NO abortion law, unlike other countries who legalized abortion and have time limits as to when in the pregnancy abortions cannot be done, Canada has no such limitations; Canada has a limitless contraceptive mentality expressed most egregiously through its legalization of so-called gay ‘marriage’, a totally sterile divergent simulacrum of the real thing, and, not satisfied with legalizing murder at the beginning a of a human person’s life Canada now legalizes so called ‘assisted dying’, an ambiguous way of avoiding stating the obvious: assisted self murder.

St. John Paul, in his encyclical on the Holy Spirit, reminds us that: The Second Vatican Council mentioned the Catholic teaching on conscience when it spoke about man's vocation and in particular about the dignity of the human person. It is precisely the conscience in particular which determines this dignity. For the conscience is "the most secret core and sanctuary of a man, where he is alone with God, whose voice echoes in his depths." It "can ...speak to his heart more specifically: do this, shun that." ….The conscience therefore is not an independent and exclusive capacity to decide what is good and what is evil…. the conscience is the "secret sanctuary" in which "God's voice echoes." The conscience is "the voice of God," even when man recognizes in it nothing more than the principle of the moral order which it is not humanly possible to doubt, even without any direct reference to the Creator. It is precisely in reference to this that the conscience always finds its foundation and justification. The Gospel's "convincing concerning sin" under the influence of the Spirit of truth can be accomplished in man in no other way except through the conscience. If the conscience is upright, it serves "to resolve according to truth the moral problems which arise both in the life of individuals and from social relationships"; then "persons and groups turn aside from blind choice and try to be guided by the objective standards of moral conduct."…..A result of an upright conscience is, first of all, to call good and evil by their proper name…….[8]

While it may appear that the chaos, disorder, nihilism, relativism, hedonism of the Sixties, is even more expansive in our own day, found primarily in the angers, divisions, within nations and between nations – [without ignoring that some aspects of the Sixties, such as the spread of civil and human rights, continue to benefit the human family], the real battlefield, the real place of damage done, and where metanoia must occur if we are to live the fullness of human dignity and the fullness of our Baptismal vocation, is the human heart.

So vital is Humane Vitae as a gift to the treasury of the Church’s teaching on human dignity,  St. John Paul, through a series of General Audiences between 1979 and 1984, including reflections on Humane Vitae,  his 1988 Apostolic Letter on The Dignity and Vocation of Women, his 1995 encyclical The Gospel of Life, developed in depth what has become known as “the theology of the body”:  The heart has become a battlefield between love and lust. The more lust dominates the heart, the less the heart experiences the nuptial meaning of the body. It becomes less sensitive to the gift of the person…The truth and power of love are shown in the ability to place oneself between the forces of good and evil which are fighting in man and around him, because love is confident in the victory of good and is ready to do everything so that good may conquer. [9]

The 1968 uproar and dissent around Humanae Vitae, the ever deepening and darkening of the culture of death as more powerful than the Light of Christ and the Gospel of Life is mere illusion, a satanic trick to confuse and discourage. Our best protection with the help of the Most Holy Spirit, Our Blessed Mother, the Angels and Saints, from such confusion and discouragement is, the mutual strengthening love we have for one another, to be faithful to our vocation as disciples of and witnesses to Christ.

We, with Christ, are sowers of seeds of the Gospel of life through our living the Gospel with our lives without compromise. We have no control over where the seeds land: on rock, on sand, in good earth. We sow, we water with our tears and prayers, and He, who loves every human being is the One who will – who does – give life in abundance, and therein lies true hope and joy.

Because we the Baptized are alive at this precise time in history, at this precise period of intense spiritual warfare, while feeling the weight of the culture of darkness and death, the pain, of seeing so many of our brothers and sisters lead lives not simply antithetical to the very existence of Christians as the leaven of society, of culture, of the broader human family, but who are persecutorial in numerous ways, and not just by attitude and words, for many of our Catholic and Christian brothers and sisters it is also martyrdom by blood, all this is for us a way of sharing in the pain of Christ for souls, sharing in His Cross, in His redemptive suffering for all humanity.

We should not be discouraged, no matter the intensity of the pain and weariness experienced and embraced as we are striving to be light in the darkness and salt of the earth for: I consider that the sufferings of this present time are as nothing compared with the glory to be revealed for us….We know that all creation is groaning in labor pains even until now; and not only that, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, we also groan within ourselves as we wait for adoption, the redemption of our bodies. For in hope we were saved. Now hope that sees for itself is not hope. For who hopes for what one sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait with endurance. In the same way, the Spirit too comes to the aid of our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but the Spirit itself intercedes with inexpressible groanings…….Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and God of all encouragement, who encourages us in our every affliction, so that we may be able to encourage those who are in any affliction with the encouragement with which we ourselves are encouraged by God. For as Christ’s sufferings overflow to us, so through Christ does our encouragement also overflow. [from Romans 8:18-39 & 2 Corinthians 1:3-5]



[1] http://w2.vatican.va/content/john-paul-ii/en/encyclicals/documents/hf_jp-ii_enc_25031995_evangelium-vitae.html

[2] http://w2.vatican.va/content/paul-vi/en/encyclicals/documents/hf_p-vi_enc_25071968_humanae-vitae.html

[3]  Catechism of the Catholic Church, para.676  http://www.vatican.va/archive/ENG0015/__P1V.HTM

[4] THE LORD; Fr. Romano Guardini; p. 513; Henry Regnery Company, 1954

[5] https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/full-text-of-benedict-xvi-the-church-and-the-scandal-of-sexual-abuse-59639

[6] http://w2.vatican.va/content/paul-vi/en/encyclicals/documents/hf_p-vi_enc_25071968_humanae-vitae.html

[7] http://www.u.arizona.edu/~aversa/modernism/winnipeg.html       cf.para.17

[8] http://w2.vatican.va/content/john-paul-ii/en/encyclicals/documents/hf_jp-ii_enc_18051986_dominum-et-vivificantem.html

[9] The Theology of the Body, Human Love in the Divine Plan; John Paul II; pp. 126 & 376; Pauline Media 1997





© 2019 Fr. Arthur Joseph


Thursday, September 05, 2019

THE SIXTIES HAVE OVERCOME US ~ PART 10~A


                                

It is said, that long before the start of WWI, St. Pius X would be seen walking about the Vatican corridors, praying, and be heard to say under his breath: “I see so much blood and can to nothing to stop it.” The carnage in Europe was already under way when he died on August 20, 1914.

In October of 1958, Edward R. Morrow gave a speech to American radio and television executives in which he stated: ……..our history will be what we make it. If we go on as we are, then history will take its revenge, and retribution will not limp in catching up with us. [1]

Commissioned by the Anglican Church of Canada to look into the issues impacting loss of membership, Pierre Berton, by his own admission a non-believer, did his due diligence and later published the report as a book: The Comfortable Pew, which he ended with: “But there seem to be two ways in which a truly Christian reformation could come about. It could come about through some terrifying persecution of the Christian Church – a persecution that would rid the Church of those of little faith, of the status-seekers and respectability-hunters, of the deadwood who enjoy the club atmosphere, of the ecclesiastical hangers-on and the comfort-searchers. Once the Church becomes the most uncomfortable institution in the community, only those who really matter will stick with it. At this point, one would expect the Church to come back to those basic principles of love, faith, and hope that have made martyrs out of men.” (142-3) [2]

In 1951, Hannah Arendt published her book: The Origins of Totalitarianism, from which these words are applicable not only to the 1960’s but perhaps even more so in 2019:  “Never has our future been more unpredictable, never have we depended so much on political forces that cannot be trusted to follow the rules of common sense and self-interest—forces that look like sheer insanity, if judged by the standards of other centuries. It is as though mankind had divided itself between those who believe in human omnipotence (who think that everything is possible if one knows how to organize masses for it) and those for whom powerlessness has become the major experience of their lives.”  [3]

By 1968 the post Vatican II experimentation with liturgy, outside the clear norms laid down by the Church, was creating chaos, driving people still in shock just from the authentic liturgical changes away from these experimental ersatz events, for that was all they were, while at the same time priests, religious brothers and sisters, monks and nuns, seeking to define commitment in their own image and likeness continued to leave in droves.

At the beginning of the Sixties President Kennedy had famously challenged people not to demand everything from country, aka government, but to ask of themselves what they could do for their country. By 1968, as all the various protest and rights movements became engrained not just in the American, but in Western culture, that was turned on its head and remains so today: citizens of democratic countries have become insatiable as they demand more and more from government and politicians of all stripes, since then and in 2019, know if you want to be elected to the power you salivate over then pander NOT to ordinary people but to the screamers demanding more, more, more.

The quotations cited above are because, as Morrow indicated, we are the makers of our history, wittingly or not, and it is critical to be informed and to note when some speaker, writer, preacher even, utters words which are prescient awareness of where things are headed.

It is to choose to be educated and act on what is learned, as opposed to being a self-mesmerizing, go with the flow person. Not all information educates, indeed in these days of the internet much of it dumbs down God given intelligence. Urgently we need daily to ask the Holy Spirit for His gifts of wisdom and discernment so we, the electorate, return to voting based upon actual issues and not emotional or ‘what’s-in-it-for-me’ self-centredness.

So, it is no surprise that much of Western society and even the most addleheaded stoners, the pie-in-the-sky leftists, by the end of 1968 [in 2019?] could not accept that, no matter how the masses are organized, there is no such thing as human omnipotence.

Granted that illusion of such a possibility lingers among extremists of the left and right to our day for, flowing from the Sixties, what little faith in anything is left in the lives of millions is in science, technology, relativism, nihilism, unbridled consumption and obsession with self – though tragically there are not enough lithium batteries now, nor will there ever be, to power cell phone cameras long enough to take enough pictures of the self for anyone thereby to actually come to know the person whose image they have taken.

At first blush, in early January 1968, it did appear, with the advent of the ‘Prague Spring’, that just maybe before the decade was over some vital changes were going to happen in the lives of oppressed peoples, at least in one country: Czechoslovakia.

A certain measure of reform and freedom did last until August but fearing such a contagion might spread the Soviets, and some Warsaw Pact countries, invaded and crushed the ‘spring’. Shades of the Warsaw uprising and aftermath of WWII. Thousands managed to flee the country for Western Europe and Canada. Those left behind would be under the Soviet boot until the Velvet Revolution of 1989. By 1993 what had been one country became two, the Czech Republic and Slovakia.

In Vietnam the battle of Khe Shan began and would drag on until late April. The infamous Tet offensive started as well. This would also be the year of the My Lai massacre of innocent Vietnamese by American troops, showing how the prolonged, brutal conflict was totally out of control. Indeed, those two battles, the My Lai and other massacres by the US troops, were harbingers of what was to come, the eventual take over of the south by the Viet Cong.

The emotional and moral toll, on both American troops and anti-war protestors, was bringing, combined with the ongoing violence in the civil rights struggle, an entire nation to the breaking point, so much so President Johnson announced he would not seek re-election, opening the door to a year of pollical violence and uncertainty, ending with Nixon, of Watergate infamy, eventually becoming president.

Countries as diverse as Mexico, Brazil, Poland, Yugoslavia, were in turmoil with civil unrest, revolutions, while in France, where student unrest was so widespread and violent it led to De Gaulle fleeing the country as his government feared outright civil war. The so-called ‘May 68’ turmoil continues to impact France to this day, and other Western countries share the French secularist obsession, which explains much about continued unrest by the Muslim community in France, and other countries, and has much to do with Islamic terrorism for the secularist, science, technology, sexual-identity, etc. moral turpitude of so many post-Christian countries infecting Islamic youth terrifies the Mullahs and angers the extremists, justifying in their warped minds, terrorism. Another haunting outcome of the Sixties relentless pursuit of rejection of all Christian truth and morals.

The United States, the wounds of the Civil War clearly still gaping, was slipping into greater internal confusion and chaos, exemplified dramatically by first the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, then of Robert Kennedy, and all the ensuing riots, including during the Democratic Convention in Chicago.

Meanwhile Mao Zedong, another example of if only the masses can be controlled, was forcing millions of urban youth away from universities and the cities out into the countryside to be re-educated.

In October police overreaction in Derry to a civil rights march began the inexorable trek of the Northern Ireland events known as “The Troubles”. This violent struggle would eventually subside with the Good Friday Agreement in 1998 but with the Brexit chaos currently unfolding in Great Britain, could unravel if the now non-border between the North and the Republic becomes an actually hard border again when, and if, Britain leaves the EU, cutting of the Republic which itself is an EU member country.

There is an illusion, particularly among hard core so-called ‘populists’ in many countries, among human beings in general, that, there was some period in human history when everything was in right order regarding faith, morals, family, male and female identity, etc., etc.

Reality is that since original sin, while there have been brief periods when a coalescing of ‘faith, family, country’ gave a modicum of peace within and among disparate kingdoms, latterly nation states, they are rare. Mostly human beings are in a greater or lessor degree of conflict with the self and among each other.

The Sixties shows us that attempts to reimage self, other, nation, God into what agrees with, frankly, our impulsive need or want of the moment, triggers waves of disorientation within self and the larger community, waves which like a tsunami sweep through cultures, religions, nations, people’s lives, leaving nothing but destruction in their wake and stunned survivors having to pick themselves up out of the rubble and strive to begin anew.

Unless this beginning, for Christians who are called to be salt of the earth and light of the world, {cf. Mt. 5:13-16}, is Christocentric then, as we see in our own day, with the secularization of virtually every aspect of society in the Western world in particular, we will continue to blithely live on the quicksand of loss of moral foundations.

The very solid ground we need to build nation, family, faith, indeed self upon is Jesus Christ and His Gospel of Life.

As St. Paul urges: …..we earnestly ask and exhort you in the Lord Jesus that, as you received from us how you should conduct yourselves to please God—and as you are conducting yourselves—you do so even more. For you know what instructions we gave you through the Lord Jesus. This is the will of God, your holiness: that you refrain from immorality………For God did not call us to impurity but to holiness…….Therefore, whoever disregards this, disregards not a human being but God, who also gives  His Holy Spirit to you. [1Thess.1-3 &8]

The following hymn, found in many hymnals, is used as the opening hymn for Vespers of the  22nd week of Ordinary Time. Given the heaviness of looking into the Sixties it is important to have words of hope:  Now fades all earthly splendor, the shades of night descend; the dying of the daylight foretells creation's end. Though noon gives place to sunset, yet dark gives place to light: The promise of tomorrow with dawn's new hope is bright. The silver notes of morning will greet the rising sun, as once the Easter glory shone round the Risen One. So will the night of dying give peace to heaven's day and hope of heaven's vision will light our pilgrim way. So will the new creation rise from the old reborn to splendour in Christ's glory and everlasting morn. All darkness will be ended as faith gives place to sight of Father, Son and Spirit, One God, in heaven's light. [4]



[1] https://www.billdownscbs.com/2014/08/1958-murrows-speech-before-rtnda.html

[2] citation from: https://yapdates.blogspot.com/2010/07/book-comfortable-pew-pierre-berton.html

[3] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Origins_of_Totalitarianism

[4] http://www.selahpub.com/SelahPeople/Quinn.html



© 2019 Fr. Arthur Joseph




Wednesday, August 21, 2019

THE SISXTIES HAVE OVERCOME US ~ PART 9


                                       THE SIXTIES HAVE OVERCOME US ~ PART 9

“Life's a forge! Yes, and hammer and anvil, too! You'll be roasted, smelted, and pounded, and you'll scarce know what's happening to you. But stand boldly to it! Metal's worthless till it's shaped and tempered! More labour than luck. Face the pounding, don't fear the proving; and you'll stand well against any hammer and anvil.”: from Lloyd Alexander’s 1967 novel, Taran Wander.

Throughout 1967 human beings in vast numbers, our brothers and sisters, would find themselves
experiencing immense horrors and pain: in the Russian gulag, [1967 year of the 50th anniversary of the October Revolution], Chinese and North Korean labour camps, in race riots, anti-war riots, civil wars, revolutions, outright wars resulting in tens of thousands wounded or killed in the US, throughout Asia, Latin America, Africa.


In January, in San Francisco, occurred an event called  a “Human Be-In”, a gathering of militants and pacifists, many of the hippie culture, to solidify a determination to push forward an end to segregation, the Vietnam war, and anything perceived as limiting personal freedom, a counter-cultural attitude which was taking root in most Western countries, and would be further manifested later in the year through the so-called “Summer of Love”, when over 100,000 hippies/flower children, converged on the Haight-Ashbury district of San Francisco, and a parallel event occurred in England. Again, the basic purpose, fueled by drugs and raucous music, was rejecting of everything deemed restrictive such as fundamental morality, but also government, consumerism, traditional Christianity.


The ‘be-in’ and ‘summer of love’ would be supplanted both by sheer numbers and cultural impact by Woodstock in 1969.

Started in 1985, by Pope John Paul II, World Youth Day[s] would offer, and continue to, a holy alternative.

Also coming out of the ‘be-in’ were so-called underground newspapers as an alternative to established media, but their influence would be minimal until the global spread of the internet which muddies the waters. Some ‘news’ found there is true, much of it not, plus the web has become a cesspool in which deeply disturbed people wallow with others of their ilk to spread scams, hatred, extreme nationalism, terrorism, pornography of all types.

Not just American society but most Western societies would experience the revolutionary upheavals spawned by a generation rejecting everything that had preceded them. The influence of the US culturally, religiously, philosophically, morally, as well as economically and militarily, was the catalyst influencing Western Europe, Great Britain, Canada, as they too headed ever more blindly down the rabbit-hole of the culture of death and darkness, prevalent globally in our own day.

Two major events occurred in 1967 that cost countless lives and, due to the paltry response of the rest of the world, set the stage for innumerable conflicts: for example the Rwandan genocide which began in 1994 and the ongoing civil war in Syria, the persistent, often violent, tensions between Israel, the Palestinians and the wider Arab world in the Middle East, the rise of Islamic terror groups, the displacement of millions of people who rush, from mainly the southern hemisphere to, Europe and North America seeking a more humane life.

In June it was the Six Day War between Israel and Egypt, Jordan and Syria. Thousands of combatants were killed and injured on both sides and the map of the area changed dramatically with the capture of Jerusalem, by Israel, home to the world’s three major monotheistic religions. The continued control by Israel of the so-called West Bank and the Golan heights remains a simmering cauldron that could boil over instantly and drag not just the region but perhaps the world’s major powers into the conflict. The best summation of those six days: “Employ hindsight but humbly, remembering that life and death decisions are made by leaders in real-time, and not by historians in retrospect.” [1]

In July it was the Biafran War which dragged on until 1970. Fundamentally a dangerous mix of ethnic, tribal, religious animosities and outright hatreds led to the Nigerian area known as Biafra seeking to establish itself as its own nation. Some 100,000 military casualties are recorded but this pales in comparison to the 500,000 to 2,500,000 civilians who died from starvation in the two and a half year conflict which in the end would see Biafra as an independent country cease to exist. “There is a moral obligation, I think, not to ally oneself with power against the powerless.” [2]

However, it would not be until well into 1968, with images of starving children on the nightly news shaming the West, that there would be any response to the plight of the Biafran people.

It would be a Canadian Broadcasting anchor of the nightly news, Stanley Burke, who would startle the world by resigning to devout himself to the plight of the starving children, an impact not unlike that Walter Cronkite of CBS news would have in the following year with his stance regarding the war in Vietnam.

Briefly, as it would take a series of books to outline the tragedy, ever since the League of Nations humiliated Haile Selassie, once Italy had invaded Ethiopia in 1935, through to the civil war and drought which triggered the 1983-1985 famine costing millions of lives, Ethiopia serves as a cautionary tale about half-hearted efforts of the West in particular when it comes to the plight of our brothers and sisters suffering famine, war, dictatorships etc., for while things like Geldof’s “Band Aid” [no irony there] raised awareness and money, much of which ended up in the hands of the dictatorship to be used against the Ethiopian people – Peter Gill noting: “No country in the world confronts the threat of famine more painfully and more frequently.” [3], we still fail to address the root causes of disorder or famine or epidemics in other countries as, much as we fail to address homelessness, drug epidemics in our own.

Post-Biafra to our own day, in Africa in particular, religious, tribal, ethnic violence continues to cost millions of lives, impedes attempts to deal with things like the Ebola outbreaks, allows for murderous dictatorships, while the rest of the world blithely saunters along scooping up the natural resources of Africa while barely lifting a finger to help the millions of innocents who suffer day in and day out.

For all the blather of the ‘be-in’ and leftist radicals of the sixties, many of whom, albeit elderly now, or their offspring fed on the pablum of the left, when they are in power, keep their backs turned on those who suffer and avoid taking on the murderous and repressive regimes which out number democracies across the globe.

In March of 1967: a year which from every angle was a Bacchanalian year of hedonist, selfish excess, and dystopian efforts which only revealed non-Gospel rooted arguments for an utopian life without fidelity to Christ, Pope Paul the VI published a critical teaching on how to address the real problems of humanity in his encyclical Populorum Progressio: On The Development Of Peoples: The progressive development of peoples is an object of deep interest and concern to the Church. This is particularly true in the case of those peoples who are trying to escape the ravages of hunger, poverty, endemic disease and ignorance; of those who are seeking a larger share in the benefits of civilization and a more active improvement of their human qualities; of those who are consciously striving for fuller growth……The injustice of certain situations cries out for God's attention. Lacking the bare necessities of life, whole nations are under the thumb of others; they cannot act on their own initiative; they cannot exercise personal responsibility; they cannot work toward a higher degree of cultural refinement or a greater participation in social and public life. They are sorely tempted to redress these insults to their human nature by violent means…… Every form of social action involves some doctrine; and the Christian rejects that which is based on a materialistic and atheistic philosophy, namely one which shows no respect for a religious outlook on life, for freedom or human dignity….It must be admitted that men very often find themselves in a sad state because they do not give enough thought and consideration to these things. So We call upon men of deep thought and wisdom—Catholics and Christians, believers in God and devotees of truth and justice, all men of good will—to take as their own Christ's injunction, "Seek and you shall find." Blaze the trails to mutual cooperation among men, to deeper knowledge and more widespread charity, to a way of life marked by true brotherhood, to a human society based on mutual harmony.  [4]

1967 was also the year Great Britain legalized abortion. Two years later Canada would follow suit and it would be 1973 when the US Supreme Court would find in favour of abortion in the Roe vs. Wade case. While 1967 may be remembered through rose coloured glasses by some, in fact it was high tide for the illusion drugs, sex, rock and roll, protests and rejection of Christianity and embracing unlimited secularism would assure the utopia dreamed of.

It is said about Abba Anthony, the friend of God, that when his monks came to him and asked about the future he told them: “The day is coming when they will come to us and tell us we must be mad because we are not like them.”

1967 was the year when there could no longer be any doubt that the anti-Christian tsunami of the culture of death was heading towards us.



1] https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/124784/six-days-of-war-by-michael-b-oren/9780345461926

2] https://www.bing.com/search?q=There+was+a+Country%3A+A+Personal+History+of+Biafra+by+Chinua+Achebe&qs=n&form=QBLHVN&sp=-1&pq=there+was+a+country%3A+a+personal+history+of+biafra+by+chinua+achebe&sc=0-66&sk=&cvid=EF8C5829C3E14A81816BF64A866CF42F

3] https://www.bing.com/search?q=books+on+the+ethiopian+famine&qs=n&form=QBRE&sp=-1&pq=books+on+the+ethiopian+famine&sc=0-29&sk=&cvid=9B247561F5704A84B3F04F38E7B524BC

4] all citations in italics are from: http://w2.vatican.va/content/paul-vi/en/encyclicals/documents/hf_p-vi_enc_26031967_populorum.html



© 2019 Fr. Arthur Joseph




Friday, August 02, 2019

THE SIXTIES HAVE OVERCOME US ~ PART 8


                                            

1966 reveals shifts in religion in general that continue to deepen in this 21st Century. Indeed, as an example of the continued impact, within Christianity in particular, the Vatican News Service recently reported that, in 2018, 200,000 Roman Catholics and 230,000 Protestants de-registered with the German government. [1]


The Church, who draws from Her treasury that which is ever ancient and ever new, counter-balances, with powerful examples of renewal, as found with a new religious community within the Church which has a place for those normally not considered for admission into consecrated life, the mentally challenged. [2]


By 1966 ‘spirituality’ was coming into vogue, referring not to an actual relationship with the One True God, the Most Holy Trinity, but of deeply personalized notions of often vague aspects of relationship with the undefined ‘sacred’, mostly an esoteric approach to the self as a rather flexibly defined ‘spiritual experience.’


It is important to accept that the hunger for ‘god’, for the ‘sacred’, however one might define those terms, is not a subjective but an objective truth, rooted in the depths of our being by the very fact of our being created: The desire for God is written in the human heart, because man is created by God and for God; and God never ceases to draw man to himself. Only in God will he find the truth and happiness he never stops searching for: The dignity of man rests above all on the fact that he is called to communion with God. [3]


Among the destructive substitutes pushed in 1966 to replace an authentic response to the gift of hunger for communion of love with the Most Holy Trinity, was increased use of chemical stimulants, some less a risk of long term, even permanent brain, psychological, spiritual damage, some, like LSD [lysergic acid diethylamide], among the most destructive and a precursor to the opioid crisis of today.

Among the more outrageous claims made about LSD, were that this drug would stimulate an experience of God, when in fact frequently the hallucinations triggered were so intense people engaged in behaviours that sometimes resulted in death, other times in permanent psychosis.

As if seeking to establish the societies presented in the dystopian novels of Aldous Huxley’s, Brave New World and George Orwell’s, Nineteen Eighty-Four, [ a great counterpoint to both is Myles Connelly’s Mr. Blue] many contemporary governments, keeping in mind the ‘grass’/marijuana of the Sixties was somewhat a mild-organic substance compared to the toxic hybrids of the 21st century, the ‘free-love’ mentality of the Sixties has morphed into an ever expanding series of deviations from the God created in His image male and female genders, fracturing both the family and society, leftist governments complicit in this by legalizing immorality, while accusing the right of trying to impose ‘their’ morality. We find ourselves deep in the darkness of the culture of death whose proximate origins is the Sixties. [4]


There is no short cut to communion of love with the Holy Trinity. The way is Jesus Himself and our willingness to take up our cross each day and follow Him: Jesus said to him, “I am the Way and the Truth and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” [Jn. 14:6]; Then Jesus said to His disciples, “Whoever wishes to come after Me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow Me.” [Mt.16:24]


1966 also gave us: a] the pouring of tens of thousands of more troops into Vietnam, b] the growing dissident movement in the Soviet Union, c] the April Time magazine cover posing the question: “Is God Dead?”, d] the start of the cultural revolution in China under Mao, e] the founding of the church of satan in the US, f] the founding of the League for Spiritual Discovery, g] the founding of the NOW women’s movement.


All would have unforeseen consequences that impact life in the 21st century: 


a] As the United States kept sending tens of thousands of Americans to Vietnam, with draft dodgers heading north to Canada, and thousands of Canadians heading south to join the US military specifically to go fight in Vietnam, the quagmire became a vile place where villages were destroyed to save them, troops became increasingly damaged by the war itself, the horrors involved, drug use, fragging with M26 grenades, usually of officers, and decades after the war, joined subsequently by veterans of subsequent wars, thousands of ptsd afflicted, drug addicted Veterans are homeless. In a 2003 documentary, The Fog Of War, Robert McNamara, declared: “Recognize at times we have to engage in evil, but minimize it.” [5] Such insanity informs much of what motivates oppressive regimes and terrorists.


b] eventually the dissident movement in the Soviet Union would lead to the collapse of the Soviet Empire, however with no experience in their history of non-authoritarian rule the democracy sought by the people would, post 1989, eventually be crushed as the Russian elites, and oligarchs, turned to a former KGB officer, Putin, and today, as throughout their history, the people remain under the jackboot of totalitarianism. c] God certainly is not dead, because He IS, and life is something He bestows, not something bestowed upon Him. The efforts of human beings to kill Him within each other, to deaden an awareness of Him within ourselves, continue apace and to date none of the various replacements devised by human beings to replace Him within our lives have proven successful. One alone is Love, Lord and Giver of Life and we have been created to be His beloved.


d] by the time Mao was dead, and his successors appeared to end the cultural revolution, thousands had been murdered, sent to labour camps, and while it appeared for a few years things might shift, with the explosion of China into an economic and military super-power, these days the current regime has returned to the murderous ways of previous regimes and has become an economic and military threat. e] since time immemorial, without necessarily knowing satan was the one being worshipped and surrendered to, human beings have formed relationships, cultic often in nature, with satan and his minions. Adjunct to this are occult practices, and in the end the blasphemous use of the term ecclesia/church should surprise no one, for everything about evil is a distortion of good, of truth and an attempted replacement of the One True Good One with the darkness of the culture of death. f] the so-called ‘spirituality of the League’, is simply the same distortion in another costume.


g] NOW, the National Organization of Women, set it motion tremendous waves of angry pressure which has foisted upon society abortion, gender confusion, a manipulation of human and civil rights to the extent that it appears today there is no conceivable limit to what becomes declared as a ‘right’, nor to leftist governments supporting such deviations in law.


A phenomena of the Sixties, in democratic countries, was the morphing of the various groups arguing, protesting for changes in the culture, in society in general, in morality, for free speech, social justice. Civil and human rights activists increasingly became extreme in their demands, resulting in such pushback, now in the 21st century, that divisions within countries between the left and the right, hostility against people of Christian faith, nations of all types simply do not understand each other, populations within nations experience such divisions it is as if we are all trapped on a plethora of islands, like abandoned adolescents accompanied by younger and ever more immature, frightened, children. It is the Lord Of The Flies revisited! “Maybe there is a beast… maybe it's only us.” [6]

While wars, revolutions, student protests, civil rights struggles continued apace there was another ominous event which occurred in 1966, the murderous repercussions of which continue to this day: resurgence of the Ba’ath Party which led to coups and other acts of violence leading to the murderous regimes in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Libya, triggering innumerable wars, civil wars, Islamist terrorism. [7]


Perhaps the most sagacious words applicable to the global chaos in the hearts and minds, the denials and aspirations of the influencers of the Sixties, and those who went along with the axial shifts, are these from Erasmo Leiva-Merikakis: We human beings do indeed tend to construct such impossible mazes of logic, and live quite comfortably in the face of our own absurdity, if only we can have our way and at the same time assuage our consciences…….The human soul is made for essential relationship, and so it will necessarily be “indwelt” by either alien forces of destruction or the life-giving energy of the Blessed Trinity. We are made to be resplendent temples of God’s Spirit, and yet we are quite capable of turning ourselves into pigsties. [8]



[1] https://www.vaticannews.va/en/church/news/2019-07/germany-catholic-protestant-churches-decline-membership.html

[2] https://www.vaticannews.va/en/world/news/2019-07/stories-religious-sisters-with-down-syndrome.html

[3] http://www.vatican.va/archive/ENG0015/__P9.HTM

[4] Good resources for anyone struggling with addictions or, in common parlance, sexual identity: Romans Chapter 6; Addiction And Grace by Gerald G. May; Broken Image by Leanne Payne.

[5] https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0317910/

[6] https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/7624.Lord_of_the_Flies

[7] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ba%27ath_Party

[8] FIRE of MERCY HEART of The WORD, Volume II, p.111 & p. 169; Erasmo Leiva-Merikakis, Ignatius Press, 2003

© 2019 Fr. Arthur Joseph