Source: Mark Mallet
What does this have to do with the word “Persecution“? The past three years, as I have traveled North America on concert tours, the image of a wave has continually come to mind…
Just as the Asian tsunami began with an earthquake, so did what I call a “moral tsunami”. This spiritual earthquake struck just over two hundred years ago, when the Church lost its powerful influence in society during the French Revolution. Liberalism and democracy became the dominant forces.
This generated a powerful wave of secular thinking which began to disturb the sea of Christian morality, once pervasive in Europe and the West. This wave at last crested in the early 1960’s as a small white pill: contraception.
There was one man who saw the signs of this coming moral tsunami, and he invited the entire world to follow him to the safety of high ground: Pope Paul VI. In his encyclical, Humanae Vitae, he affirmed that contraception was not in God’s plan for married love. He warned that embracing contraception would result in a break down of marriage and the family, an increase in infidelity, degradation of human dignity, particularly of women, and an increase in abortions and state controlled forms of birth control.
Only a few followed the pontiff, even among clergy.
The summer of 1968 is a record of God’s hottest hour … The memories are not forgotten; they are painful … They inhabit the whirlwind where God’s wrath dwells. —James Francis Cardinal Stafford, Major Penitentiary of the Apostolic Penitentiary of the Holy See, http://www.LifeSiteNews.com, November 17, 2008
And so, the wave neared shore.
Its first victims were those boats anchored at sea, that is, families. As the illusion of sex “without consequences” became possible, a sexual revolution began. “Free Love” became the new motto. Just as those Asian tourists began to wander down onto the exposed beaches to pick shells, thinking it safe and harmless, so too did society begin to engage in free and varied forms of sexual experimentation, thinking it benign. Sex became divorced from marriage while “no-fault” divorce made it easier for couples to end their marriages. Families began to be tossed and torn apart as this moral tsunami raced through them.
Then the wave hit shore in the early 1970’s, destroying not only families, but individual persons. The proliferation of casual sex resulted in a swell of “unwanted babies.” Laws were struck down making access to abortion a “right.” Contrary to politician’s caveats that abortion would only be used “rarely,” it became the new “birth control” producing a death toll in the tens of millions.
Then a second, merciless wave thundered ashore in the 1980’s. Incurable STDS such as genital herpes and AIDS proliferated. Rather than run for high ground, society continued to grasp at the crumbling pillars and falling trees of secularism. Music, movies, and the media excused and promoted immoral behaviors, seeking ways to make love safely, rather than make love safe.
By the 1990’s, the first two waves had disintegrated so much of the moral foundations of cities and villages, that every kind of filth, waste, and debris washed over society. The death toll from old and new STDS had become so staggering, that measures were being taken on an international scale to combat them. But instead of running to the safety of solid high ground, condoms were tossed like life buoys into the rancid waters—a futile measure to save a generation drowning in “free love.”
By the turn of the millennium, a third powerful wave hit: pornography. The advent of high-speed internet brought sewage into every office, home, school, and rectory. Many marriages that withstood the first two waves were devastated by this silent surge which produced a deluge of addictions and broken hearts. Soon, nearly every television show, most advertising, the music industry, and even mainstream news outlets were dripping with immodesty and lust to sell their product. Sexuality became a soiled and twisted wreck, unrecognizable from its intended beauty.
Human life had now lost its inherent dignity, so much so, that persons at all stages of life began to be viewed as dispensable. Embryos were frozen, discarded, or experimented upon; scientists pushed for cloning humans and creating animal/human hybrids; the sick, elderly, and depressed were euthanized and the brain damaged starved to death—all easy targets of the last violent thrusts of this moral tsunami.
But its onslaught seemed to reach its pinnacle in 2005. By now, the moral foundations had been nearly completely washed away in Europe and the West. Everything was floating—a kind of swamp of moral relativism—where morality was no longer founded on natural law and God, but on whatever ideologies of the ruling government (or lobby group) that floated by. Science, medicine, politics, even history lost its footings such that intrinsic values and ethics dislodged from reason and logic, and past wisdom became muddied and forgotten.
In the summer of 2005—the halting point of the waves—Canada and Spain began leading the modern world in laying down a new pseudo-foundation. That is, redefining marriage, the building block of civilization. Now, the very image of the Trinity: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, had been redefined. The very root of who we are, people made in the “image of God,” had become inverted. The moral tsunami not only destroyed the foundations of society, but also the fundamental dignity of the human person itself. Pope Benedict warned that the recognition of these new unions would lead to:
…a dissolution of the image of man, with extremely grave consequences. —May, 14, 2005, Rome; Cardinal Ratzinger in a speech on European identity.
For the destruction of the waves is not over! They are now heading back to sea with “extremely grave consequences” for a world caught in their undercurrent. For these waves are directionless, and yet forceful; they appear harmless on the surface, but contain a powerful undertow. They leave a foundation which is now a shapeless, shifting floor of sand. It has led this same Pope to warn about a growing…
“…dictatorship of relativism” —Cardinal Ratzinger, Opening Homily at Conclave, April 18th, 2004.
Indeed, these seemingly innocuous waves have as their…
…final measure of all things, nothing but the self and its appetites. (Ibid.)
THE UNDERTOW: TOWARD TOTALITARIANISM
The powerful undercurrent beneath the surface is a new totalitarianism—an intellectual dictatorship that uses the state’s coercive powers to control those who disagree by accusing them of “intolerance” and “discrimination,” of “hate speech” and “hate crime.”
Who are those being accused of such things? Primarily those who have run to high ground—to the Rock, which is the Church. They have the vantage of seeing the dangers that are present and near and the ones yet to come. They are extending words of hope and safety to those in the waters… but for many, they are unwelcome words, even regarded as hateful words.
But make no mistake: the Rock has not been untouched. Breakers have crashed upon it, soiled it with debris, and eroded much of its beauty, as waves have swelled near the summit, pulling into the mirky waters many theologians and even clergy.
In the intervening 40 years since Humanae Vitae, the United States has been thrown upon ruins. —James Francis Cardinal Stafford, Major Penitentiary of the Apostolic Penitentiary of the Holy See, http://www.LifeSiteNews.com, November 17, 2008
Scandal after scandal and abuse after abuse have beaten against the Church, caving in portions of the Rock. Instead of shouting warnings to their flocks of the coming tsunami, too many shepherds seemed to join, if not lead their flocks down to dangerous beaches. Pope Benedict recognized this when he described the Church as…
…a boat about to sink, a boat taking in water on every side. —Cardinal Ratzinger, March 24, 2005, Good Friday meditation on the Third Fall of Christ
As the waters of the “culture of death” begin to pull back into the ocean, they are sucking not only vast portions of society with them, but large chunks of the Church as well—people who claim to be Catholic, but live and vote quite differently. This is leaving a “remnant” of faithful upon the Rock—a remnant increasingly forced to crawl higher up the Rock… or quietly slip into the waters below. A separation is occurring. The sheep are being divided from the goats. Light from darkness. Truth from falsehood.
Given such a grave situation, we need now more than ever to have the courage to look the truth in the eye and to call things by their proper name, without yielding to convenient compromises or to the temptation of self-deception. In this regard, the reproach of the Prophet is extremely straightforward: “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness” (Is 5:20). —POPE JOHN PAUL II, Evangelium Vitae “The Gospel of Life”, n. 58
With the Catholic Church’s recent document banning gays from the priesthood, and her immovable position on marriage and gay sexual practice, the final stage has been set. The truth will be silenced or received. It is the final showdown between the “culture of life” and the “culture of death.” These were the shadows foreseen by a Polish cardinal in an address in 1976:
We are now standing in the face of the greatest historical confrontation humanity has gone through. I do not think that wide circles of the American society or wide circles of the Christian community realize this fully. We are now facing the final confrontation between the Church and the anti-Church, of the Gospel and the anti-Gospel. This confrontation lies within the plans of divine providence. It is a trial which the whole Church . . . must take up. —reprinted November 9, 1978, issue of The Wall Street Journal
Two years later, he became Pope John Paul II.
The Asian tsunami actually took place on December 25th—North American time. This is the day we celebrate the birth of Jesus. It is also the beginning of the first persecution against Christians when Herod sent the Magi to disclose baby Jesus’ whereabouts.
Just as God guided Joseph, Mary, and their newborn Son to safety, so too will God guide us—even in the midst of persecution! Hence the same Pope who warned of the final confrontation also exclaimed “Be not afraid!” But we must “watch and pray,” particularly for the courage to remain on the Rock, to remain in the Flock as the voices of rejection and persecution become louder and more aggressive. Cling to Jesus who said,
“Blessed are you when people hate you, and when they exclude you and insult you, and denounce your name as evil on account of the Son of Man. Rejoice and leap for joy on that day! Behold, your reward will be great in heaven.” (Luke 6:22-23)
Upon his installation as the 265th pope, Benedict XVI said,
God, who became a lamb, tells us that the world is saved by the Crucified One, not by those who crucified him… Pray for me, that I may not flee for fear of the wolves. —Inaugural Homily, POPE BENEDICT XVI, April 24, 2005, St. Peter’s Square).
—The Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe
December 12th, 2005