It happened on our watch – as seen on TV

When I saw the commercial below, I was somehow struck by a twinge of guilt. And the words of a poem by William Butler Yeats came to mind:

Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed,
and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

Yes, something struck me. In the commercial, anarchy, destruction, injustice, violence, and pure chaos are shown. And yet, all the while our super hero, with the “Bat Phone” screeching in the background calling for help, is wholly distracted, flipping through the channels, unaware that the world around him is descending right into hell. He is turned inward, wholly focused on his own little world.

Is this us? Are we the super hero slouching on the couch as the world and western culture descended into a maelstrom: innocence lost, the blood-dimmed tide of the 20th Century, perhaps more 100 million put to death in war and for ideological purposes, moral anarchy swept in on the four horsemen of the apocalypse: relativism, secularism, individualism and the sexual revolution.

And all the while, with the wicked, marching with passionate intensity, the good were largely asleep, and lacking any intensity for the battle. All around us, divorce, abortion, teenage pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases skyrocketing, broken families, increasing lack of self control and discipline, school testing scores and graduation rates declining, the inability to live within our means, poverty rates for children climbing, drug and alcohol addiction rates on the rise, Church attendance plummeting, and the list could go on.

And where have we been as a Church, as Christians in a world gone mad? Where, for example was the Church in 1969, when the “no-fault divorce” laws began to be passed? It would seem we were inwardly focused, moving furniture in our sanctuaries, tuning up guitars, and having endless debates about liturgy, Church authority, why women can’t be ordained, etc. Not unimportant issues, but, being rather wholly focused on them and obsessed by them, we lost the culture.

Yes, it happened on our watch. I am now 50 and I cannot say it is all the fault of the previous generation. In my short span of a mere 50 years, the world as I knew it, has largely been swept away, especially in terms of family life. And now it is up to me to try and make a difference.

How about you? It will take courage, and an increasing conviction to live the Catholic faith, openly. No more of this undercover Catholic stuff, no more of the desire to fit in and be liked. It is long past midnight for our culture, for our families, for our children.

In the commercial, there is something very wrong with the picture, a superhero, ignoring the cries for help as the phone screeches.Time for our superhero to get off the couch, pick up the phone, re-engage, and get to work. It is interesting in that the movie he watches shows a wolf being set loose. Jesus says, Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves (Matt 7:15). Indeed many wolves talking (false) tolerance and other pleasantries have badly misled and spread error, calling sin good and misrepresenting the Biblical tradition.

Well, fellow superheroes, the last time I checked, we are supposed to be salt and light for this world. It’s time, long past time, to bring Christ’s power back to this world. Time to get off the couch, pick up the phone, re-engage and get to work.

Don’t just watch culture, direct culture.

24 Replies to “It happened on our watch – as seen on TV”

  1. One would think a SUPER HERO might have more sense and know what to do!

  2. i just thougth of something else, i see the “O” on his chest ! life imitating art or what? and not to mention i think you r on target Fr. with your line of thinking too. PAX~ Chris

  3. All Christians have the responsibility to…
    1) know your faith
    2) live your faith
    3) share your faith
    …and the average Catholic I know fails to do this adequately on all three fronts of this action plan.

    It’s hard to be the salt and light of the earth when you’re poorly catechized and fairly ignorant of Scripture.

    One of the great benefits of living in the deep South Bible belt is that Faith is so prominent here and interactions between Protestant Christians and Catholic Christians occurs frequently. However, I’ve noticed that when Faith becomes the topic of discussion, it’s the Catholics that look uncomfortable and tend to avoid the conversation. Conversely, It’s the Protestants that usually engage me in discussion…and most of the time they are ex Catholics.

    A common theme among these ex Catholics is how alive Scripture has become in their daily lives. Invariably, this comes about because one of their Protestant neighbors, friends or co workers has shared their faith with them and demonstrated how encountering Christ through Scripture has brought peace and happiness into their lives.

    A common theme among these ex Catholics is summed up by the same statement they always make to me…”The Catholic Church told us not to read the Bible.” This fallacy is accepted as truth by the ex and current Catholics I know…despite the fact that our faith is founded on Scripture as well as Tradition.

    They don’t realize that acknowledging the Truth that the church, through the Magisterium, has the authority to interpret Sacred Scripture does NOT relieve them of their responsibility to know Scripture.
    They don’t realize that they have an obligation to learn the doctrines of the Catholic Church as expressed in the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

    Most orthodox Catholics that I know like to blame the Bishops for this since it is their duty to pray, rule and teach…but I always say: ” Next time you look at yourself in the mirror when you’re brushing your teeth, ask yourself, honestly, if you’ve lived up to your personal responsibility of knowing your Faith, living your Faith and sharing your Faith.”

    It’s not just the Bishops, whom we tend to blame…WE’RE supposed to be the salt and light of the earth…as part of the true Church, the Body of Christ.

    And we should remember that next time we say “Amen” when we hear the words “Through Him, with Him, and in Him. In the unity of the Holy Spirit, all honor and glory is Yours, now and forever.”

    1. Yes, there is today a large group of Catholics who are really deepening their faith, and becoming great defenders of the faith. EWTN Radio and Catholic Answers are a big part of this movement helping to equip the laity.

      1. If you get into Apologetics by Father Frank Chacon and Jim Burnham it will make perfect sense as why become and/or defend our Catholic Faith. I agree with Msgr. Charles Pope; there has been a deepening of faith with the Catholics. As our Mother Immaculate states over and over again; pray, pray, pray! This can be for anything i.e. mitigation of war, famine, conversion of sinners, family, friends, as well as a deepening of faith and discernment.

        1. Prayer gives us life. One fourth of the Catechism of the Catholic Church deals with prayer…and it makes several very important points in the beginning of that section.

          1) prayer is conversation with God
          2) God always starts this conversation. We may think we do, but we don’t.

          It uses the example of God initiating the conversation after the fall. “Where are you? What have you done?” God knew exactly what they had done and where they were, but He began the dialogue of prayer with us in the very beginning.

          3) God speaks to us indirectly in many ways, but He also speaks to us directly, individually…we have to listen carefully.

          He speaks to us directly sometimes as he spoke to Moses and at Christ’s baptism by John. He speaks to us by putting feelings into our hearts and ideas into our heads, He speaks to us through others, but mainly He speaks to us through His Son…the word…in scripture.

          So how can we even begin to think we are praying, when we don’t read Sacred Scripture. Whenever we read Scripture or hear it read to us, our lives, with all our experience and “baggage” are intersecting with Christ’s life.

          He’s speaking to us, but are we hearing?…even just a little bit? And are we responding to Him?

    2. You are of course abuotslely correct. But let’s for a minute not blame the towel heads for all the brutality and violence in the world today. It’s this writers opinion that the masses are manipulated by the elite few who’s aim it is to maintain a certain amount of chaos on our beautiful planet regardless of race, creed or religion. Has anyone ever done the sums on weapon sales lately. I tried but I ran out of zero’s. I’m not a conspiricy theorist but it amazes me how and why people blame religion and religious differeces for the crap which goes on today. If one stops and thinks of the economic advantages to the select few on this planet from having armed conflict the answer would be so damn clear. Let’s put things into perspective. Muslims, Christians, Buddists, whatever. We all have lives to lead, children to raise and old folk to care for. Nobody really want’s to start a war or to blow up a school bus. Unless of course there is a big wad of money somewhere which pays a person to influence another person to to brainwash another person to raise another person to get on that damn bus and kill inocent people in the name of a superior being who by definition would be disgusted by such actions. Religion doesn’t kill people, people kill people and people need weapons to kill people and weapons arn’t cheap. So, where does the poor person get the money to buy these weapons? Maybe the Pope, the Mufti or the head Shiek can answer that one.

  4. I think that we, when we are at work, need to show by example that we have integrity – meaning that we do not leave our belief in God nor our Tradition at the door. We are who we are. “Separation of church and state” does NOT mean that we divide our persons when we step into the secular world. We must preach through our individual integrity – our refusal to stop being a catholic Christian when seen in public.

    While some of our government authorities are setting a very poor example – showing the depth of their ignorance and spiritual blindness – we must step up and teach what is right through our good example. In force, our good example can become more present to children than those poor examples set by persons in “positions of trust.”

    God Is. Therefore, we must be. And in this way, we are truly children of God.

  5. We are the Church militant not the Church crybabies 🙂 like I’ve told my fellow Knights “time to be Catholic, dust off those rusted swords”

  6. In a slightly ironic twist the ‘wolf’ is one of the werewolves from the Twilight series … where the wolves are the ‘superheroes’ of the Native American Tribe, protecting them from vampires & other dark forces … the ‘superhero’ of the ad is watching another superhero in action & still her is not reminded of where his duty lies!

  7. I think we should be musical, at least a little bit, in everything we do.

  8. I disagree with the supposition that Christians/Catholics have been asleep while our world devolves. Were it not for Christians battling the culture of death, abortion would be universally accepted. The same can be said about embryonic stem-cell research, of homosexuality, of pornography, of the secular world’s efforts to silence the Christian message in the public square and on and on. The onslaught is furious and unending and many, many people are involved in trying to push back the tide with their efforts and resources. I suppose these periodic attempts to admonish the faithful are necessary but I find the suggestion that we’ve all been sitting on our thumbs to be somewhat offensive.

    1. Well I can agree with you on the micro level, but on the macro level it is undeniable that the world is in a hellacious condition and that it has happened on our watch. It’s not all or nothing, but we do share a responsibility for the horrible state of the world, especially since, in the West we Christians are the vast majority.

      Also Steve, don’t be so thin-skinned. This is not about “the laity” it is about the Church, clergy and laity together. That’s why I deleted a line you wrote that does not help advance the discussion which attempts to drive a wedge between clergy and laity that is not in this post.

  9. This Allstate commercial also illustrates your point:

    (eek…wasn’t expecting a url a mile long…)

    In this commercial, the “dog” that is supposed to be protecting his household is distracted by a large, julcy bone provided by a group of burglars intent on carrying out everything of value. The implication is that the dog’s family has misplaced its faith.

  10. dear Father,
    How much of this is due to the Church changing from condemning errors in the pre Vatican 2 days to now just suggesting the truth?

  11. The other well worn argument is that we cannot hide our heads in the sand like ostriches. So then, we are seeing the world clearly, we are well-informed, well-instructed, strengthened in our faith, by watching TV? No, we would be far better informed, more in tune with reality, by turning it OFF and throwing it out, and the sooner the better. Without it we would not be the hyper-distracted, tempted, slothful action heroes that we are. Just that one deed would do more to propel Catholics and their families into deeper sanctity than any other one (non-sacramental) deed they could do. With deeper sanctity would come victory, for the Lord would fight for us. But if we are not going to do ALL, neither is He.

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