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. 
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. 
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. 
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. 
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.”  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.” 
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. 
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. 
 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.
 FIRE of MERCY HEART of The WORD, Volume II, p.111 & p. 169; Erasmo Leiva-Merikakis, Ignatius Press, 2003
© 2019 Fr. Arthur Joseph
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