We have turned the corner. We have jumped the shark. We have crossed the Rubicon. We have passed the point of no return.
And we have finally realized it.
I have been hesitant to draw conclusions from the recent election. Yes, Obama is a horrific president, combining Republican zest for big business and contempt for civilian casualties with the Democratic Party's zeal for abortion, perversion and the dismantling of the family. But Romney was really almost as bad, favoring abortion and washing his hands of same sex "marriage", with a track record of contempt for religious liberty as governor of Massachusetts. How we can, as many of my Facebook friends do, claim that America is dead because our citizens refused to elect their scoundrel of choice and instead elected their neighbor's scoundrel of choice is beyond me.
So the defeat of Romney is not an indication of the Death of America. Romney was a false choice to begin with, and only better than Obama by contrast with Obama.
But all the same, the hysterical conservatives are on to something. Even, perhaps, the secessionists are on to something.
What they're on to is this.
America as a land of virtue and individual liberty is no more. That's simply true. It's been true for a while.
And it's because our culture is dead. It's not only a Culture of Death, it's a Culture of Decay, and that Rot is spreading.
It's spreading even to the Church.
Polls tell us that 42% of weekly Mass-going Catholics voted for the most anti-Catholic president in history. And only perhaps 25% of Catholics are weekly Mass-goers. Since weekly Mass attendance is required of all practising Catholics, then we know this much about the Church-by-numbers in the U.S. ...
42% of the "cream of the crop" (25%) voted for a man that their faith and any modicum of prudence would preclude them from voting for. (Granted, their faith would preclude them from voting for Romney as well, except in so far as they were voting against the worse of the two candidates; but the point remains - a serious Catholic simply can not vote for Obama; while a serious Catholic can make a case for voting for Romney, bad as he was). This means that 14.5 % of U.S. Catholics take their faith seriously enough to do the bare minimum - go to Mass and attempt to live a Catholic life, at least in the voting booth. And since I know most of those 14.5% personally, I can tell you that at least half of them are despicable people who would jettison the Catechism if it suits them and who are Catholic so that they can feel superior to everybody else that's going to hell. I would venture to guess that half of that 14.5% adamantly supports torture, lying, and the general philosophy of the day, which is I-want-what-I-want-when-I-want-it.
This leaves us with maybe 7% of all Catholics who give a crap - Catholics who care about their faith enough to make an imperfect attempt to
- Go to Mass on Sundays
- Not vote for a pro-abortion zealot whose administration is attempting to dismantle the Catholic church
- Try to follow the teachings of their Church and love their neighbors, even when they don't much feel like it.
Catholics-who-give-a-Crap is my demographic phrase that, unscientific though it may be, does in fact capture the numbers we're dealing with.
If you, as a reader, are a Catholic-who-gives-a-Crap, or an Evangelical-who-Cares, or even an Atheist-who-Thinks (there are a few of those out there), even when you add up all of our numbers combined, we are a statistical blip. We are insignificant, politically speaking. More people believe in space aliens than believe in the divinity of Jesus Christ, if "by their fruits ye shall know them" is any indication.
Now, I'm not saying all this to judge people. I'm not saying that the 1.75% of us have a better chance at heaven than the 98.25% remaining.
Indeed, I know a lapsed Catholic or two who sleep around, like Obama, love contraception, and even get a kick out of the whole gay thing, and I would rather spend a weekend with most of them than with my Devout Catholic pew-mates - not because they're more fun and more real about life (both of which they are), but because they are true to their vision of the world ("god as they understand him"), and their general good nature and imperfect love recommends them highly to me, if not to God (and He's the One Who judges, not me). They are, at best, Happy Pagans. And there's much to be said for Happy Pagans.
So my point is not to judge, and not to say who's good enough and who's not. My point is not that at all. My point is not a theological point.
My point is a political and cultural point.
Jeff Mirus makes the political point here ("The End of Pro-Life Politics"), where he says the political pro-life movement is dead, and where he argues that we need to abandon the political arena as our main battleground for ending abortion, contraception and euthanasia.
Fr. C. J. McCloskey makes the cultural point here ("The Recent Unpleasantness") where he points out that this is simply an anti-Christian culture. It has happened under our eyes; it is the fruit of centuries of rebellion against Christ; and it's simply a done deal.
I know of a young Catholic teen who does not know who Pontius Pilate is, who has never heard of the Beatitudes or the Sermon on the Mount. She didn't learn these things from her parents or from her parish. I know of a very devout pro-life Catholic couple who refuse to have children until late middle-age, so that they can establish their careers, which, they tell me, is much more important a thing than babies. I know of a host of commenters on this and on other blogs who prove that if the choice is between the World and Jesus Christ, the World wins hands down.
And I know of my own dark heart and darker deeds.
As a rule (as a statistically very significant rule), Catholics are no different from the rest of the secular world - except we tend to be worse.
The Rot has corrupted even the cream of the crop.
We have turned the corner.
We are not post-Christian (I hate that phrase), since nothing comes after Christ. But we are once again fully Pagan, and like the Pagans of old, we love Bread and Circuses, unrestrained perversion, sacrifice and brutality.
On the surface, the election told us very little.
Beneath the surface, the waters are dark and swirling.