Saturday, September 13, 2003

Somehow, though history books may record it slightly differently, I think one of the few genuinely saving graces of the late 20th Century may have been the truly and consistently pro-life writings of Pope John Paul II. While he wasn’t the first man to notice Western society’s death instinct, the breadth and depth of his writings on our Culture of Death have done more to demystify, and combat, that death instinct than any other single individual’s efforts.

I’d like to think that history will remember JPII well. And it may be that the course of history itself has been altered in the positive for his sake alone. But the history books will probably not remember him well. History is often written by the nastiest of souls; and, insofar as to the victors go the spoils, and insofar as I really doubt the Catholic Church will be able to stem the ever growing Culture of Death, the written legacy of Pope John Paul II will probably never equal the living legacy forged through the man’s life.

But the Culture of Death still waxes strong. Our more advanced and sophisticated neighbors in Switzerland recently ruled, for instance, that forced sterilization is acceptable in "extreme" cases. Remember that Switzerland is a majority Catholic nation. Of course, that doesn't mean much in Western Europe today.

The church today is in such a state. The Protestant Reformation was all about replacing Holy Tradition with a new reading of Scripture. But the Liberal Revolution of the modern Western Church makes no such pretensions. It's best summed up by this quote from newly-elected gay Episcopal Bishop Gene Robinson: "Just simply to say that it goes against tradition and the teaching of the Church and Scripture does not necessarily make it wrong." Well then, my dear bishop, what in the hell does it mean?

It’s a hard thing for an American to place their hope in the third world! But therein lies our hope. It's perhaps not so surprising in the end. Our Lord wasn't born in Jerusalem in her glory. He was born in humble Bethlehem, in an Israel brought low. As St. Paul wrote: "But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty" (1 Corinthians 1:27).