By: Rev. William Patrick Casey, C.P.M.
Pope St. John Paul II said many times during the 26 years of his pontificate that we are living at the time of the greatest battle between good and evil that the world has ever seen. He would often make the observation that one of the worst things about this spiritual battle is that relatively few people even seemed to know that it is even taking place, precisely because the spiritual blindness so characteristic of this age is so pervasive, growing wider and deeper with every passing year.
The late Father John A. Hardon, S.J., whose cause for canonization has now been introduced in Rome, was probably the greatest dogmatic theologian this country has ever produced. Shortly before his death in December of 2000, Fr. Hardon said that we are now truly living in an age of apostasy, and we are seeing the greatest crisis of faith in the 2000 year history of the Catholic Church.
I have spent the better part of the last 20 years on the road, living out of my suitcase, preaching the Gospel. I am sorry to tell you that everywhere we go today, we see the terrible effects of the great loss of faith in our time. It seems as though every Catholic family has been wounded in this great abandonment of faith in our day. It seems that almost every American family has been wounded in one way or another. Wounded by addiction in one form or another. Wounded by drug abuse. Wounded by alcohol abuse. Wounded by pornography- poisoning souls, minds and marriages, more with every passing day. Pornography has now become, spiritually speaking, America’s most deadly addiction. It is surely one of Satan’s most devastating weapons for the ruin of souls. Multitudes are wounded by infidelity, bad marriages, family breakup and all the psychological, emotional and social devastation that is consequent to it. We all seem to know families that are wounded by suicides, crime, violence, and so many other afflictions that impact upon all of us to the point at which it has all become a threat to the very life and future of this country.
The great historian and writer George Santayana once stated that “Those who fail to learn the lessons of history are doomed to repeat it.” History has proven time and time again that no great nation, no great civilization has survived a moral collapse of the magnitude of the one we are now witnessing in our time. A recent nationwide survey showed that 80% of Americans interviewed around the country believe that America is a nation in moral decline. We know it is true but, as a people, we lack the moral will to do anything about it.
One must be spiritually blind not to be able to see that there is going on all around us today the constant public attack on Christianity, the constant assault on Christian values and morality, the unprecedented attack on religious liberty and our most basic and essential Constitutional rights, the relentless attack on marriage and human sexuality, and the never-ending attack on the sanctity of human life itself There is no end to any of this in sight, and the spiritual battle of our time is now quickly becoming the spiritual massacre of our time.
Why is all of this happening? It is happening precisely because we, as a people have turned away from God. This is the inevitable outcome when a people lose their sense of God and lose their sense of sin. I would suggest to you that this is why so many of our politicians and judges are attempting to redefine the so-called principle of the separation of Church and state to mean the separation of God from life. This nation has now embarked upon a suicidal quest to completely banish God from public life and to build an atheistic state.
What kind of a world do you think your kids and your grandkids are going to live in if we go on the way that we are, and events continue to develop the way that they have in recent years? History will clearly show that whenever and wherever the true God is driven out, all hell will break loose, and it won’t be long in coming. St. John Vianney, the Cure’ of Ars, once said, “Without God, men will revert to barbarism in three generations.” I would say that we are working on a third generation of essentially faithless and uncatechized Americans right now.
My friends, you should know as well as I that there has got to be a spiritual renewal in this country. There must be a spiritual revival in this land if we are to avert the impending social, moral, economic and political disaster we are rapidly headed toward. It must begin with us. There is only one way to change to world. We must begin by changing one heart, one soul at a time. We must try to change the world by changing that little part of the world that God has placed us in. To the extent to which we answer the call to holiness of life, to the extent to which it is the Holy Spirit living the life of Christ in us, we will transform the world around us and save the life and soul of this nation as God wills.