Absolute control by the state or a governing branch of a highly centralized institution is the basic definition of totalitarianism and, neo is a fancy way of saying ‘new’.
I mention this at the outset because the Allies fought a multi-year war against the Axis powers in WWII to overcome such horror and waged the cold war for the same reason and rail, rightly, against those governments which continue to oppress their people.
Yet here is what is truly an Alice through the looking glass experience of daily life, more and more in particular in the United States and Canada: national, state, provincial government policies which are truly totalitarian: for example in the US the Obama government imposition upon the hospitals of people of faith to insure contraceptive and abortion drugs; in Canada, one example, the Supreme Court upholding provincial legislation which denies parents the right to exempt their children from classes which impose anti-Christian teaching.
I am reminded of a word from the great Father of the Desert, Abba Anthony, who when asked by his monks what the future held said: “The day will come when the world will go mad. They will come to us and tell us WE must be mad because we are not like them.”
Western Europe, Russia, North, Central, South America in particular are rooted in what is commonly known as Christian civilization and, along with our brothers and sisters of the Jewish and Islamic faiths, share a common heritage rooted in faith in the one true God, the God of our fathers Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
We not only dishonour our ancestors in faith, but also the countless men and women who past and present have laid down their lives to retain our freedom from totalitarianism, when we abandon the clear command of God for our lives and society in favour of a totally disordered, evil and totalitarian assault on freedom of belief and practice.
Bl. Pope John Paul in his homily at St. Catherine’s Monastery on Mount Sinai during the Jubilee 2000 reminds us that “…our faith leads us to become pilgrims in the footsteps of God.”
Where does He lead us?
“…..He is indeed the God who does set His people free as He promised….God seals His love by making the Covenant that He will never renounce….The encounter of God and Moses…enshrines at the heart of our religion the mystery of liberating obedience, which finds its fulfilment in the perfect obedience of Christ in the Incarnation and on the Cross…We too shall be truly free if we learn to obey as Jesus did.”
If we allow governments to take away our freedom we have chosen to become slaves.
It is fundamental, as Bl. John Paul teaches that: “To keep the Commandments is to be faithful to God, but it is also to be faithful to ourselves, to our true nature, to our deepest aspirations.”
There are two ways of becoming an enslaved and oppressed people: 1] an individual or government by sheer force of military might conquer and enslaves a nation; 2] silent acquiescence in the face of totalitarian legislation.
Attributed to the German Christian Pastor Niemoller: “First they came for the Jews and I did not speak out because I was not a Jew. They came for the communists and I did not speak out because I was not a communist. Then they came for the trade unionists and I did not speak out because I was not a trade unionist. Then they came for me and there was no one left to speak out for me.”
They have come for the Catholics and all believers, they have come for parents: who will speak out?