By Judie Brown
When a man walks through the desert, he becomes parched and thirsts for water. But if he is searching for wisdom, he may encounter a different type of thirst that only the Truth—Christ Himself—can satisfy. This second scenario reminded me of these words of Alexander Solzhenitsyn, as he reflected on his time in prison: “Since then I have come to understand the truth of all the religions of the world: They struggle with the evil inside a human being (inside every human being). It is impossible to expel evil from the world in its entirety, but it is possible to constrict it within each person.”
The brilliant writer Hilaire Belloc was more than aware of this as well, writing,
We sit by and watch the barbarian. We tolerate him in the long stretches of peace, we are not afraid. We are tickled by his irreverence; his comic inversion of our old certitudes and our fixed creed refreshes us; we laugh. But as we laugh we are watched by large and awful faces from beyond, and on these faces there are no smiles.
In an era of mass confusion, Catholics in particular can detect those “awful faces.” They are reflections of the evil in our midst. As a people of faith, we could be set adrift by the ramblings of those who claim to speak for Christ and His Bride the Church but are woefully incapable of doing so. This is where discernment comes in, lest we lose our way.
A very good example of this gobbledygook parading as fact is the denial that contraception leads to abortion which then leads to infanticide, euthanasia, and all manner of assaults on the human person. While the Church has made this as clear as the nose on your face, far too few accept this, let alone teach it to the flock.
Analyzing this situation, one writer tells us, “The mentality behind artificial contraception and abortion is one that assumes a separation of the sexual act from its natural intended consequences. The use of artificial contraception satisfies and perpetuates a desire for total autonomy and control. Inevitably, this mentality fosters a distorted view of children as a right and a product rather than a gift.”
That very same distortion spills over into every aspect of respect for the dignity of every person from her creation to death. We witness this perhaps most painfully in the reception of the body of Christ by the very people who publicly advocate for these crimes against the innocent.
Perhaps the Church’s priests and bishops have forgotten their primary mission, which is the preaching of truth in the hopes of saving souls for the Lord. It does not take a genius to figure this out. The fact is that “Church opposition to abortion, homosexuality, and transgenderism derive not from popular opinion but from a Catholic anthropology informed by theological and anthropological premises, which, as far as they can be attributed to the natural law, are binding on all persons, regardless of religious affiliation.”
Without this Christian anthropology—the theory or philosophy about humankind and human nature—chaos is assured. Today this is precisely what we are living through. When simple truths are avoided, the craving for wisdom gnaws at the soul until ultimately man is unable to pursue his spiritual goals.
The resultant scandal resides at the doorstep of those men within the Church who have not fed their sheep. We pray that they will call to mind these words of St. John Chrysostom and ponder them: “The unseemly pleasures of this life no-wise differ from shadows and dreams; for before the deed of sin is completed, the conditions of pleasure are extinguished; and the punishments for these have no limit. And the sweetness lasts for a little while but the pain is everlasting.”
By abandoning the truths of the faith, such ordained men of God have committed a grave disservice—that evil spoken of by Solzhenitsyn—that is done to souls.
Instead feeding their sheep, such men have created the thirst for eternal wisdom that results in spiritual death—the “pain that is everlasting.”