Jesus Christ, the Great Divider

crucifixionThe Gospel reading for the Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time contains an important teaching that is fundamental to the faith:

“Do you think that I came to give peace upon the earth?  No, I tell you, but division.  For henceforth in one house five will be divided, three against two, and two against three.  They will be divided, father against son and son against his father; mother against daughter and daughter against the mother; mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law” (Lk. 12:51053).

This teaching is so important that Jesus dwells on it for a moment, explaining and emphasizing it almost to the point of being redundant.  Simply, following Him will produce all types and degrees of division between people, even between members of the same family.

This is not the message we hear from the world, or from the world in the Church.  Rather, Christ is allegedly the great harmonizer Who “heals” all divisions.  If we follow His Gospel of unity, then we will find ourselves generally at peace with the world and with those around us.  In fact, the mark of the true Christian who “gets it” is that they are relaxed and open to others and to the life styles and beliefs of others.  They are peacemakers in the sense that they object to nothing and accept everything.  They simply live and let live.

It is a lie.  The worldling’s notion of peace and harmony is, in fact, the sin of religious indifference  and the vice of cowardice.  And these common moral failures are far more popular than the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  Hence, you will hear this indifference and cowardice preached far and wide, from both pulpit and podium, from both Church and State.

Jesus did not come in order to bring division.  Dividing people was not His immediate purpose.  But because He has come and called all of us to accept Him, His teaching, and His Church, there will be divisions even between the closest of persons – between spouses, parents and children, and best friends.  Why?  Because some will accept Him while others will reject Him.  Some will embrace His teachings and others will denounce them.

Let’s not be subjective about “accepting” Jesus.  In using the term, I don’t in any way refer to a vague and sentimental sort of acceptance, so that we merely have warm feelings towards Christ.  For genuine faith ultimately is theological; it is specific and holds with undying certainty to clear defined ideas about God, man, the world, and the future.  And this is the reason that true faith brings hardship and division: it holds uncompromisingly to certain defined truths which concern all human persons.

In the last Beatitude, Jesus said,

“Blessed are you when men reproach you, and persecute you, and speaking falsely, say all manner of evil against you, for my sake.  Rejoice and exult, because your reward is great in heaven; for so did they persecute the prophets who were before you” (Mt. 5:11-12).

This passage refers to unjust persecution for the sake of Christ.  In other words, one is mistreated and mocked by others specifically because one is faithful in some matter to Christ.  This is the division that the faithful cannot, and must not, avoid.  As the world and its adherents increasingly immerse themselves in the most depraved forms of immorality and irreligiosity, and as they continue to promote these – first as an enlightened way, and then as the only permissible way – as a result, standing firm in the truths proclaimed by Christ and His Church will increasingly identify us as “different,” and therefore, as divisive.  Fidelity to the Gospel will separate us from those around us.  Loyalty to the God of revelation will divide us from those who overtly or covertly reject that revelation.  This concerns both doctrines and morals, for to accept one thing as true requires that we accept the contrary thing as false, and this is precisely what Christ asks of us: to adhere to the light and renounce the darkness.  But it’s also the consequence of being creatures endowed with reason.  Hence, it is only logical and consistent that, to believe in one body of beliefs is to disbelieve in all contrary bodies of beliefs.  Of course, the modern knee-jerk reaction to this view is to say that one should remain open to all beliefs.  But this is ultimately to say that nothing is true; therefore, belief is irrelevant.  It is doctrinal and moral relativism and the vice of indifference parading as the virtue of tolerance.

To accept as true the teachings of Christ and His Church, and to strive to practice them and teach them to others that they, too, may accept them, is to be divisive.  Sorry, but truth divides, as do love, goodness, and beauty.  Hence, when considering the religion of Islam, one is faced with two  very different Gabriels.   In the Gospel of St. Luke, the angel Gabriel announced to the Virgin Mary that she would bear a Son who would be called the “Son of the Most High” and the “Son of God” (Lk. 1:32, 35).  (Incidentally, at Jesus’ trial before the Sanhedrin Council, the high priest asked Him if he was the Son of God, and Jesus answered, using a Jewish mode of affirmation, “Yes.”)  And yet, the Quran – allegedly revealed to Mohammad by the angel Gabriel – asserts that it is below the majesty of Allah to have a son.  Therefore, it flatly denies the divine Sonship of Christ.

This presents the faithful with a dilemma: we cannot accept both Gabriels, for one denied what the other affirmed.  Both revelations cannot logically be true, for they are opposites.   In addition, at #67 the Catechism says,

“Christian faith cannot accept ‘revelations’ that claim to surpass or correct the Revelation of which Christ is the fulfillment, as is the case in certain non-Christian religions and also in certain recent sects which base themselves on such ‘revelations.'”

This passage certainly refers to Islam, since Muslims claim that wherever the Bible and the Quran disagree, the Quran is to be followed since it corrects the corrupted biblical text.

To accept the Christian revelation as true requires that we reject the veracity of the alleged revelations of Mohammad.  This will cause division between Christians and Muslims (though there need not be violence), but there is no other way except the way of indifference, of feigning agreement by avoiding the facts of our respective religions.

Notice that I referred above to the “veracity” of Mohammad’s revelations, and not to their historicity.  It is entirely possible that Mohammad received the contents of the Quran through a real angelic revelation.  I don’t dispute that.  The question is, however, What was the nature of that angel?  And here I’m obviously suggesting the possibility of a demonic event.

Would you like to avoid all division with others?  Would you like to be thought of as an easy-going laid-back and peaceable sort of character who gets along with everyone at all times?  Would you like to escape those tense disagreements about morality with others, those agonizing discussions with your homosexual son, lesbian daughter, cohabitating friends, or transvestite co-worker?  Are you tired of being called “judgmental” purely for mentioning the idea of right and wrong conduct?  It’s very simple and the approach is sure to work: simply be a lukewarm Christian, a cafeteria Catholic, a closet Catholic, a fair-weather friend of God.  Pick and choose from the Deposit of Faith only the happier and easier items.  Follow the spirit of the times and hold only the popular opinions.  Simply omit from the ancient faith whatever the world deems inappropriate, and therefore, divisive.  Let the campaigning politicians, the Hollywood whores, and today’s most militant special interest groups be your savior and redeemer, your Mater et Magistra (Mother and Teacher).  If you follow the world, then the world will let you be.  It will let you be its slave, that is, and permit you to think and act only as it thinks and acts – minute by minute and trend by trend.

The disciples of Christ are not called to be mundane slaves, but free men and women who follow their Lord wherever He leads.  And to the degree that we do follow Him – yes, we will often be divisive in the opinion of the world, dividing truth from error, good from evil, and light from darkness.

“You are the light of the world.  A city set on a mountain cannot be hidden.  Neither do men light a lamp and put it under a measure, but upon the lamp-stand, so as to give light to all in the house” (Mt. 5:14-15).





The Progressive Nature of Liberalism

Sodom and GomorrahPerhaps the most outstanding and dangerous aspect of liberalism is its perpetual progressivism.  Put simply, liberalism is never happy, never finished with its agenda, never content with the “progress” thus far made, and never will be.  There will always be the next liberal step.  And after taking that next step, there will always be another and another and another, all in the same direction.  This relentless progressivism can only be stopped by an unforeseen and dramatic event – a great awakening, a divine intervention, a war, or societal collapse.  Civilization cannot and will not survive the extremes of liberalism.

The liberal politician cannot be known or trusted.  Whatever he or she presents to the public as an agenda is only a portion of a much larger scheme.  And possibly even that politician is unaware of the larger scheme, because liberalism is endless and bottomless.  As a radical social experiment that presses into unknown moral territory, it is by nature ever on the move, always pressing for one objective, achieving it, and then pressing on to the next thus far unmentionable objective.  Can even a devotee keep up?

The most grotesque demonstration of these truths is seen in the sexual revolution.  In the mid-twentieth century, this revolution presented itself as a cause of justice.  Women needed to be liberated from the cruel consequences of intercourse and marriage.  Hence, the liberalization of contraception and divorce.  When these were not sufficient, the next step was abortion. Additional steps included infanticide and the sanitization of pre-marital sex, cohabitation, and homosexuality.  Step, step, step, and liberalism finally arrived at the great cause of same-sex “marriage”.  Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy redefined marriage to include same-sex couples, and yet another giant step was taken.

Are we there yet?  Have we arrived at the magnanimous liberal utopia?  Has the entire agenda been revealed and completed?  Absolutely not.  What are the next steps?  They are polygamy, polyandry, legalized prostitution and pedophilia, incest, bestiality, necrophilia, and the total elimination of the idea of gender.

Now what in the world makes me think I can foresee what’s coming?  Simply, reason.  If a Supreme Court Justice can redefine marriage to include same-sex couples, and if that definition can become legally binding on all citizens, such that wedding cake makers and wedding photographers can be sued for objecting to it, county clerks can be jailed for refusing to issue marriage licenses to homosexual couples, and priests, ministers, and rabbis find themselves performing their ministries in fear of the government, then what reason is there to believe that the same will not happen regarding these other extreme forms of perversity?  Such steps are only a mass of propaganda and the stroke of a pen away.

I remember hearing a certain lesbian comedian once joke, when the same-sex “marriage” debate was only just beginning, that the standard Christian lunatic response was, “Oh sure, once you get gay marriage, then you’ll want to marry your pets as well!”  She and her audience burst out laughing.  Sorry, but it’s the truth and it’s only logical.  Step, step, step.  After all, a Massachusetts justice re-defined marriage as an “evolving paradigm”.  How’s that for a purposefully open-ended all-inclusive notion?  What sort of relationship could not fit into that definition?  Actually, it’s not a definition at all; it’s an anti-definition.

Now let’s follow the reasoning to its natural conclusions.  If marriage is not a pre-defined, concrete, objective reality, if, on the contrary, it is a malleable abstraction that can be re-defined by whatever potentate rules the day and in accord with the spirit of the times, then why should anyone believe that it will not be re-defined again and again to include each of the above-mentioned sexual aberrations?  Again, all it takes is a mass of propaganda by a special-interest group and the stroke of a politician’s pen.  All it takes is another liberal step.

If marriage can be re-defined from a life-long covenant between one man and one woman to that of a life-long covenant between two men or two women, then why can it not be re-defined again to that of a life-long covenant between a man and two women or a woman and two men, or between three women or three men?  What could prevent this from happening – the current definition of Justice Kennedy that doesn’t recognize such relationships as marital?  But wait!  Hey-hey, ho-ho!  Injustice!  Intolerance!  Narrow-mindedness!  Judgmentalism!  Bigotry!  Polygaphobia!  Following the identical tactics that the same-sex “marriage” crusade used against traditional marriage, the next group could just as legitimately ask, what right does anybody else have of imposing their restrictive definition of marriage on us?  What sort of fundamentalist mentality holds that two homosexuals can marry, but not three or more heterosexuals, or a cowboy and his horse, or a brother and his sister, or an adult and a child, or the living and the dead?  Would homosexuals be so narrow-minded, self-righteous, and exclusivist as to withhold from such persons a “civil right” that they now enjoy?  What would be the difference between a Christian who says homosexuals cannot marry, and a homosexual who says polygamists cannot marry?  If the Christian is intolerant, then isn’t the homosexual intolerant as well?  This is the inevitable chaos that will follow from same-sex “marriage”.  It’s only logical in a sick sort of way.

If homosexual relationships can be called marriage, then any relationship can be called marriage.  The logical and inevitable result of re-defining marriage is the ultimate meaningless of marriage.

At this point in the moral collapse of our civilization, the great question is no longer, what is marriage, but rather, what is not marriage?  Is there any consensual relationship on the face of earth that, by its very nature, could not ever be called marriage?  Tragedy of tragedies, we can no longer answer this simple fundamental question, so essential to our happiness, dignity, and survival.  Perhaps a Neanderthal could help us out?