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These days the gulfs that already yawn between different parties in the secular world as well as within the Church are becoming wider still.
If there is any sort of controversy or disagreement, someone demands that someone else’s head be lopped off. A good example of this came yesterday from the shrill needle of the tricoteuse of the catholic Left, MSW, who shrieked for the elimination of Fr. Dwight Longenecker from ministry. What was Longenecker’s crime? In a tweet he made a connection between the homosexualist agenda and clerical sexual abuse. Whether it is Chad Pecknold or Fr. Longenecker, for Madame Defarge there is only one response.
I hope that the Catholic Right doesn’t fall into the soul-annihilating trap of such shrill and bloody tactics.
More and more I have a sense of menace surrounding all that is good, true and beautiful in the Church.
The Enemy is at work.
It is also as if we have, in secular life and ecclesial life, almost reached the tipping point.
It is hard to explain what I mean. By way of a historical example, in post-war Italy, when Christian Democrats were struggling with Communists for power, the Communist philosopher Antonio Gramsci recommended to his comrades that they let the CD’s take parliament. The Commies would focus on the schools, with the result that, in a few decades, people would ask the Communists to take everything over. It’s a long and patient game of creeping incrementalism, cooking frogs in pots, etc.
In the secular world, decades and decades of control of academia by leftists and liberals have finally sufficiently reduced the percentage of the population who think, rather than merely emote, or who know history, rather than only what was on their Snapchat screen a moment ago, or … well, you know what I mean. It feels as if they are just about ready to make their definitive moves to seize greater control. You can find hints of this in what is going on in US public discourse – if it can be dignified with the term – from the Democrats. They have swerved sharply to the Left and their responses are, in effect, lots of shouting and screaming and accusing and demanding. They offer even more free stuff and, if I am right about the lowered percentage of the population who can think, they might just succeed with their seductions in the not too distant future.
If you want to know what that world would look like, try the amusingly scary short novels of Kurt Schlichter.
The secular Left is becoming a self-righteous, virtue-signalling mob. If they stay in this course, there will be violence in the streets. Sorry.. even more violence in the streets.
These days we have been treated to more head-hunt howling in the Church. Card. McCarrick’s misdeeds, and the de facto cover up by the powers that be, have sparked rage and calls for action.
My concern is that the calls for action will drive a whole other group of people into a mob, also driven by self-righteousness and virtue-signalling.
By this post, I in no way suggest that no one should be called to account for misdeeds. I do, however, see a trend in the way people deal with each other in conflict: they want their opponents, or the objects of their disappointment or opprobrium not just to be called to account, but to be ruined. They want the opposition not to be persuaded, but to be crushed. Not converted, but obliterated.
I thank God every day that I belong to a Church which was established for sinners, and not for the perfect. Even though I am confident that God is forgiving, and the the Sacrament of Penance has its promised effects, with each passing year I feel more heavily the burden of the sins I have committed and confessed. I trust in God’s mercy, if not that of my neighbor. I would hope for compassion from my neighbor, but I don’t realistically expect it… anymore. Not today. Not in the present environment.
We should tread carefully. I don’t doubt that there will soon be more violence in rhetoric and even physical violence in the streets. I don’t doubt that past misdeeds and also completely false and invented accusations will become the modus operandi of the Left.
I can’t shake the feeling that this beast is coming, and it is slouching just around the corner. Horrors have happened in history. With every other kind of disaster, man made or natural, when we are comfortable we think that bad stuff happens to other people, in other places, not to us. Until it does.
People were behind the Reign of Terror, the Russian Revolution, the rise of Nazism, the Cultural Revolution, the Khmer Rouge Killing Fields, the Rwandan Genocide, Boko Haram and Islamic terrorism. People are behind slavery, torture, human trafficking, drug culture, big-business abortion.
We are people too. If you think bad things can’t happen where you are, just watch people in a grocery store before the hurricane hits or at the department store the day after Thanksgiving. Just watch a four-way stop intersection for a while if you want proof of actual sin, or into the eyes of a testing 2 year old for proof of Original Sin.
Let us not close ourselves off to compassion to each other. Also, a serious individual examination of conscience is needed. Then…
GO TO CONFESSION!