This is from a year ago. It is horrifying to realize that things are even worse today. The Prince of the World is on his conquering march, and we pitifully few are the only ones offering resistance.
Deadly PolitenessOnce, as a tiny cub, the Bear was taken to the local grocery store, and placed into a cart. As the Bear's father investigated some bananas two steps away, a very large, tired, laboring man stretched his arm over the young Bear's head.
"P-U, you sure do stink!" I exclaimed, truthfully, to my still vivid recollection.
The man was not amused. He gave me a long look, then turned his smoldering gaze upon my father. Now dad was what you might call a bantamweight, but he did what any father in that situation would do. He disappeared down the aisle as if he had never seen the rude little creature before in his life.
At some early point in their training, however, children learn that people do not say everything just because it is true. Some true things are likely to injure another's feelings, so they are best left unsaid. We don't comment on fat people, or handicapped people, or smelly people. It's called "politeness," and used to be a small, private thing that lubricated society. To the extent that sort of politeness still exists it is a good thing.
But at some point in our lifetimes, nice little politeness grew into a massive shadow hanging over the West. The Bear says "the West" because it recently dawned upon him that we are seeing the same spirit at work in Washington, and the Vatican, and every Western state.
The Demons Possessing the West: "We Are Legion"
This shadow has many aspects, indeed, perhaps Legion. Some of its names are: "Political correctness;" "Diversity;" "Moral Relativism;" and "Tolerance." In religion, it is "Ecumenism" among Christians, and "interfaith" between Christians and non-Christians. It is "dialogue" with everybody. In some of its more narrow examples, it is called "The Spirit of Vatican II."
Paradoxically, it inverts Ephesians 2:14 and builds up dividing walls, rather than tearing them down, by spotlighting our differences. The brave new world of peace and justice turned out to be a seething mass of grievance and special pleading.
The West and all its leaders, in all its institutions, from the top to the bottom, has become possessed by these demons. Like all demons, they are accomplished liars. Let us not be too delicate, and name this diabolical phenomenon by its traditional name: The Prince of the World. One discerns a single intellect behind all these manifestations.
The West is possessed, and, barring a miracle, this possession will be the end of the world as we know it. It is the hour of the Prince of the World, and it is the rare knee that has not already bent.
How did it start? It started well, the Bear suggests, in the social upheaval of the sixties. Overnight, old, casually cruel words and attitudes had to change. It was unquestionably a change for the better, and a necessary change. Think about it. "Diversity" meant something positive when we were doing the laudable work of integrating society. "Tolerance" was a real virtue. These words were good and they were powerful.
The Prince of the World recognized their power, and always ready to corrupt what is right, he twisted their good. He had been preparing for this a long time. Incubated in academia and propagated in courts and popular media, the shadow became first a societal virus, then a cultural norm. Persons infected cannot recognize truth. Cultures corrupted will not let the truth be spoken.
Take the example of homosexuality. It has, practically overnight, gone from "the love that dare not speak its name," to "the vice that none dare criticize." From cardinals to the most humble parish priest, the Prince of the World will not permit criticism of his favorite vice. Remember: by now these are cultural norms. There are social penalties for violating them, especially for public figures.
The Prince and the Bride
The Prince and the Church What is ecumenism and interfaith dialogue, if not this same spirit? The Church used to produce men who argued. An argument has a goal, it seeks change. Ultimately, it was the salvation of souls. Now the best the Church can do is "dialogue." Dialogue is its own goal, a formal chat after which participants are exactly the same as they were when they began.
In other words, a showy waste of time. Argument believes something; dialogue believes nothing, or at least nothing worth arguing over. It is humorous to read the news releases after a bout of dialogue, however. Oh, how proud the talkers are, as if they had actually accomplished something! Yet dialogue is not only a waste of time. It brings the Church down to the level of schismatics and heretics and infidels. It sends the message that the Church no longer takes herself seriously, and has forgotten her mission. Worse, it tells those outside the Church to remain outside, rather than enter and be saved.
Pope Francis is reported to have dissuaded his friend Tony Palmer (now deceased) from converting to Catholicism because he needed "bridge builders" outside the Church. How to explain the current pope's frequent condemnation of proselytizing, and confirming non-Catholics in their errors? It is the same spirit that has settled over the West like a moral pestilence. The Prince of the World will not permit the Church to be held up as the ark of salvation, not even by the Pope.
Isn't it curious that so much destruction, both secular and Catholic, has occurred at the same time, beneath the same broad banners? Once you realize it is all the same offensive by the same spirit, it makes sense. There is a synod of bishops next [this] month. By now we have so little confidence in the Church that we dread it.
The truth is still there in the Church's rich history. The Church today could be shoveling truth from her treasuries like piles of gold, but the Prince of the World has locked the door to that treasury. You will listen in vain for word of sin or Hell in homilies. You will wait until the Crack of Doom for the Church to call for the conversion of Muslims, or the return of Protestants, or the repentance of homosexuals. The Prince of the World will not permit it, and his occupation is complete.
The trumpet that once sounded clearly to call the faithful to attention has been handed over to the Prince of the World. It will never again be sounded in our lifetimes.
Live Within the Wingspan of Your Guardian Angel
For our wrestling is not against flesh and blood; but against principalities and powers, against the rulers of the world of this darkness, against the spirits of wickedness in the high places. (Eph 6:12) Douay Rheims Bible.Things are different in our time. The Bear hesitates to say just how different he thinks things are and fears he may have said too much already. Yet, the moral plague that is killing the secular world looks like the very same illness in the Church, don't you think? The common points are intriguing, to say the least.
Is it possible that the West will somehow be forced to throw off its malaise and recover the concept of Christendom? Anything's possible, but it doesn't look likely, and it probably wouldn't be peaceful.
The Prince of the World has what he's always wanted. Every day the institutions of the West grow weaker, and people's hearts grow duller. We are probably beyond earthly remedies. The institutions we relied upon have failed us.
But miraculously, in light of so much else that has been destroyed, the Prince of the World has not been able to harm the sacraments. The Church remains to that extent, at least. We have our sacraments, and each of us claims a tiny piece of the world just the size of our Guardian Angel's wingspan. Within that circle, we do not bend the knee to the Prince of the World. That's where we'll live and die as rebels, and win our little victories for our King.
The Bear is older, but no more polite than he was when young. It stinks. It all stinks. It stinks at the bottom and it stinks at the top.