Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Rot! - an Analysis

We have finally realized it.

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.

It's over.

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
  1. Go to Mass on Sundays
  2. Not vote for a pro-abortion zealot whose administration is attempting to dismantle the Catholic church
  3. Try to follow the teachings of their Church and love their neighbors, even when they don't much feel like it.
And this is 7% of U.S. Catholics - who themselves are about 25% of the U.S. population.  This means about 1.75 % of the U.S. are Catholics-who-give-a-Crap

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.

7 comments:

Therese said...

Like Fr. McCloskey, I'm exhilarated. The truth is preferable to the mere appearance of it, right? But now what? We do what we have always done best: love our neighbor. Let the day come swiftly, when Planned Parenthood opens its doors and nobody walks in!

Anonymous said...

At the height of Counter-Reformation Spain, HM Teresa of Avila said something similar, that she sometimes thought there were only one or two real Catholics in the world, but, she said, God only needs two Saints to have a Church.

Todd Doom said...

Oh, those good old days!!! When catholics fully lived the beatitudes and practiced all the preachings and teachings of Jesus Christ. That was the '50's, right? Oh wait, maybe the late 1800's? No, it must have been earlier. Post inquisition days, maybe? Middle Ages? Late crustaceous period? Need some help here...

Kevin O'Brien said...

Todd, the point is not how Catholics live the "preachings and teachings of Jesus Christ" - for the Churc itself teaches we never will get that quite right. The point is who is Jesus Christ, are His teachings worthy of being followed, and does the Church accurately represent them? The answers are - God, yes and yes, respectively. So your fall back argument that Catholics are sinners gets you nowhere. That fall back argument is, in fact, Catholic Doctrine.

ck said...

I agree and have had my moments of fear and depression about the state of things. I remember as a child in the 70's hearing a priest say in a homily that none of us in America need worry about dying a martyr and I thought, man, you're not paying attention.

When I get down I watch YouTube videos about St. Josemaria Escriva. Just looking at the angelic smile on that man's face gives me hope. He lived during the Spanish Civil war when churches were being burned and thousands of priests and nuns were shot in the street. And yet success and sainthood were right around the corner for him. Don't get discouraged!

Google "Marian Consecration" and do it, if you haven't already. Pope Benedict prayed that the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart would occur by 2017. St. Maximillian Kolbe said only she can crush the culture of death. I think we will live to see that day. Let's help her!

In my personal experience, people are just as hungry for God as they have ever been, especially young people. We need to keep our inner peace to reach them. All the saints I've been reading lately are echoing the same message: there is trouble enough for today. The past is dead and the future is yet to be born. Seek God's will in the moment. It will keep you for wasting your energy and hope.

Sorry if that sounded preachy. I have just emerged from one of the most crushing depressions of my life because of a disaster that struck some friends. The end result of this disaster looks like the entire family may enter the Church. Don't lose your trust in God when all looks lost. You're one of the few people online with sense in your head and I'd hate to see you lose steam because life and human beings are behaving just like Jesus said they would.

Kevin O'Brien said...

Thank you, CK.

jimf said...

I try to be hopeful, but this election really knocked me for a loop. I think and feel that your analysis is spot on. I work for a religious order and I can tell you that huge numbers of priests and sisters voted for the darkness. I can't understand how they can live with the cognitive dissonance, and I am having a tough time consciously applying myself to work as a result.

jdf