Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed,
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.
Yes, something struck me. In this commercial, anarchy, destruction, injustice, violence, and pure chaos are shown. And yet all the while our superhero, 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 what we’re doing? Are we the superhero slouching on the couch as the world and Western culture descend into a maelstrom? Innocence lost, the blood-dimmed tide of the 20th century with 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 while the wicked have been marching with passionate intensity, the good have largely been asleep, lacking any intensity for the battle. All around us are divorce, abortion, teenage pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases, broken families, increasing lack of self-control and discipline, declining school test scores and graduation rates, the inability to live within our means, climbing poverty rates for children, drug and alcohol addiction, plummeting Church attendance … the list could go on and 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 “no-fault divorce” laws began to be passed? It would seem we were inwardly focused: moving furniture around in our sanctuaries, tuning our guitars, having debates about liturgy, Church authority, and why women can’t be ordained. These are not unimportant issues, but in being so focused on them, we lost the culture.
Yes, it happened on our watch. I am now past fifty, and I cannot say that it is all the fault of the previous generation. Even in my relatively short span on this earth, 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 to 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 trying to fit in and be liked. It is long past midnight for our culture, our families, and our children.
In the commercial there is something very wrong with the scenario: the superhero ignores the cries for help as the phone screeches. It’s time for our superhero to get off the couch, pick up the phone, re-engage, and get to work. It is interesting to note that the movie he is watching 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 preaching (false) tolerance and spouting other pleasantries have badly misled people and spread error, calling what is sin “good” and misrepresenting biblical tradition.
Well, fellow superheroes, the last time I checked, we are supposed to be the salt of the earth and the light of the world. It’s time—long past time—to bring Christ’s power back to this world. It’s time for us to get off the couch, pick up the phone, re-engage, and get to work.
Don’t just watch culture, direct it.