Monday, June 4, 2007
Is Rome Burning?
Ronnie Knox, preaching the panygeric at Belloc's funeral, described Belloc's particular gift as a prophet. He was, he said, such a man as saw what he "took to be the evils of our time in a clear light." Obviously, as we go back through the mists of Church history, the great figures who emerge, or who have survived, are also men - and women, who saw the evil of their times in "a clear light." Just like Belloc, they usually had to endure ridicule, hostility or even persecution for this clarity of vision. The darkness abhors the light. Just this very evening, I happened, by some sad error of judgment, to turn on CNN for a few brief moments. A presidential hopeful, I forget the name of the nonentity, apparently a 'Catholic,' was being quizzed by the toothy Paula Zahn about his 'faith.' How could he reconcile support for civil unions and abortion? Well, the political dwarf said, there are differing views - even the Pope doesn't really speak for the Church - my first duty is to my constituents. When the dreadful Day of Judgement comes, which may be soon, these men (and women) will stand together with Eichmann, Himmler, Stalin and Mao. Violent and intolerant rhetoric? No - clarity of vision. Anyone with even a modicum of historical knowledge can see that we are in the dying days of a decadent culture. Yet, many will think that statement insane - the darkeness abhors the light. It is time for Bishops, priests and lay people to cast the light of Christ on the evils of our time. The "culture of death," as John Paul the Great said, is now the dominant force in our culture. It is now the absolute duty of the hierarchy, clergy and laity, to exercise their prophetic role - to see, and name, these evils - for that, they may well receive, as Knox said of Belloc, a prophet's reward. Perhaps a lion is emerging in Scotland?