North, South, and In-Between
Part Eight of
CATHOLIC IDENTITY CRISIS IN THE USA
Modern American Catholicism is embroiled in an uncivil war between North and South mentality that has taken its toll in souls. Both sides claim they are right, but the evidence proves otherwise because they have veered from the true teachings of the Church. The North-South is not a blue and gray issue when it comes to the Faith. It should be as clear as Black and White because the absolute truths and traditions Christ imparted leave no room for doubt or twisting or altering. Only total adherence to these truths will lead to true union with Christ and His Church.
"How absurd would it have been for the South to seek to break away from the North yet take the name The United States? Even the rebellious South knew enough to know that one cannot break away yet call oneself the same name as that which one is breaking away from. Despite this common sense, how is it that the defiant dissidents who seek to break away from true Catholic teaching and doctrine nevertheless demand to still call themselves Catholic? How absurd would it have been for the South to seek to break away philosophically but not politically from the North? Either you break completely away or you don't. You cannot claim that your views are true and superior yet seek to only partially break away from those who hold opposing views. If their views are inferior or wrong, why would you want to maintain any association with their name?"
I have been a Civil War buff for most of my life, marveling in historical accounts, eye-witness anecdotes, battle plans, and enough melodrama to satisfy Ken Burns or Bruce Catton themselves.
Like many people, I see that conflict as a coalescence of a myriad of variables, forces, and issues thrown together by the winds of time and space, bursting forth in passion, violence, tragedy, heroism, and a rebirth of sorts at the end. An institution faced with being torn apart shook back and forth as if recoiling at such a prospect and, through the grace of The Almighty, arose from the dust a wounded, but surviving nation. As I have watched our Catholic faith over the past years and into the recent Papal events, I cannot help but see eerie parallels between the nation faced with that threat a century and a half ago and the Church faced with its present situation today.
Any good melodrama contains intriguing players, and this parallel is no different. Thus, the players:
What used to be the industrial, more urban North is now the technological, modernist, secular influence of North America and Europe. New York, Toronto, Los Angeles, San Francisco, London, Paris, Milan are just some of the so-called sleek and modern centers of secular, modernist thought. Not only do these areas act as if their way of life and their culture, society, and laws are the epitome of human enlightenment, wisdom, and progress, but they also patronize and mock other areas as simple, foolish, backward, misguided, and ancient. How many times have we heard the imbeciles in modern media, politics, and entertainment speak of religious people as mindless, gullible, backward fools? The arrogance of these Northern forces knows no bounds, nor does their smug perception that their opinions, views, and comments are in any way needed, viable, significant, or cared for by anyone else. I know that I am now more comfortable knowing what ABC newswoman Cokie Roberts thinks about the new pope or why many American Catholics are unhappy with his election! Do we even need to discuss Europe's own arrogant approach to religion and determination to shed her profoundly spiritual background and debt to Catholicism? Does anyone feel uneasy perceiving France as "patronizing, arrogant, and ungrateful" in its approach to its Catholic roots?
What used to be the more rural South is now the Third World social justice influence of the underdeveloped areas of Latin America, Africa, and other parts of the world. Suffering from problems of poverty, economic imbalances, political unrest and a host of other social problems, these areas dress their faith as the champion of justice, social cure, and defense of the voiceless and powerless. Not only do these areas act as if faith is only about helping the poor, feeding the hungry, and curing the sick, but they also criticize anyone who even attempts to point to other concerns and duties of true faith. These people cry that opposition to condoms is insensitivity to Aids, that social injustice trumps abortion, and that playing God is acceptable as long as the poor and sick are somehow helped. Although one often finds greater traditional faith here than in the North, there is also a great deal of fixation upon mostly social, economic, and political injustices and concerns sometimes to the exclusion of absolute truth and natural and rational law. Humanism rules. One sees this in contraception efforts directed at reducing large family size and its related problems and in the fiendish UN ploy of appearing to be about social justice and peace while promoting abortion, contraception, and New Age environmentalism. While there are many devout, true Catholics in these areas, the leaders in particular tend to ask the rhetorical question of when did prayer or devotion ever feed anyone.
Evil Dressed As Good versus Evil Dressed As Good
The standard melodrama is often a battle between good and evil, with the good guys ultimately defeating the bad guys and everybody riding into the sunset. Certainly many historians paint the American Civil War as the battle between the moral North fighting the sin of slavery and the immoral South seeking to stubbornly maintain its sin. By this time we should all know, however, that history is never as clean-cut as depicted in texts and that good and evil are usually not so clearly separated by flags, borders, or causes.
Neither the North nor its motives were as completely moral, just, and selfless as often depicted. While preserving the Union and stopping slavery were certainly true and worthy motives for the North, it was likewise also seeking to maintain, preserve, spread, and favor its way of life, culture, and grasp on America life. Corruption and vice did not simply dwell in the South! Likewise, the South may have been seeking to protect and preserve an immoral state of affairs with regard to slavery, but not all of its motives and people were immoral monsters. Virtue and heroism were not limited to the North!
Like its Civil War parallel, the moral North and moral South cannot be painted as simply "good" or "evil". Only a fool would argue that everything about North America and Europe is evil or that everything about South America and Africa is virtuous! What one finds is that both sides claim to hold the morally right ground while espousing and spinning inherent evil as good. Both sides believe that they are, in fact, the good guys when in fact both sides, although having many positive traits, leave much to be desired morally.
Two Faces of Evil
It is plain evil to see the Catholic faith as in any way compatible with the murder of the innocent in a womb or a hospital bed, with playing God in the name of medical progress, with the whimsical twisting of doctrine and truth for the sake of perverted, selfish, arrogant or selfish vice, and with praying at the altar of technology, feminism, sodomy, modernism, relativism, proportionalism, secularism, or Masonic beliefs in the name of so-called progress and enlightenment. It is plain ignorance and demonic arrogance to see no authority beyond the point of one's nose, to see no absolutes in a sea of subjective morality, to defiantly demand validation for vice while ignoring tradition, history, The Word of God, and natural or rational law. This is the kind of despicable arrogance and insolence that believes that the Vatican should consult with American Catholics or American and European media before taking a step. This is the Northern thinking that seeks the opinion of imbeciles, idiots, ignorant fools, and pompous liberals on issues and questions far beyond their qualification or knowledge. All of the above is the true evil of the North. It is a North that epitomizes the notion that when trivial morons dare to question, debate, alter, or interpret The Almighty, therein lies the hand of the devil. The next time you see some feminist, sodomite, liberal, atheistic or New Age imbecile spewing forth his or her dribble on the validity or justice of some Church teaching, you are witnessing the evil trash that is the morality of the North.
It is likewise plain evil to wave poverty, injustice, abuse, corruption, and all manner of social or economic vice as some noble cause that trumps basic absolute truths based on rational and natural law. How hypocritical is it for someone to protest the abuse of the poor or economic injustice while ignoring abortion or stem cell research? Although St. Francis was about helping the poor, the last time I checked he obeyed natural and rational law and subjugated himself to the Will of God and example of Christ. How often do we hear rants about how liberals defend the poor and assist the down-trodden even as they murder the unborn or pull the plug on the helpless? I personally do not know which is more despicable...waving science and learning in the face of faith as the North does or so-called social justice and world concerns in the face of faith as the South does!
It is bad enough that the North and South each have their own twisted moral views, but now we see how each borrows from the other in crafting an even more hypocritical and deadly moral mix. This is evident when liberal politicians wave evil technology like stem cell research ( North thinking) as the cure to social and health problems ( South thinking) or when radical feminists and sodomites wave cries of social injustice ( South thinking) to deal with twisted notions of equality and justice ( Northern thinking). Did we not see how the Democrats tried to paint Bush as a radical who claimed to be influenced by faith while ignoring the poor? How about protesting the abuse of children while promoting the murder of unborn infants? Unlike the American Civil War in which the North and South were fighting against each other to impose their agenda, the Catholic Church's Moral Civil War sees Northern thinking and Southern thinking not fighting each other but rather attacking the true faith from two fronts in their hope of obliterating that true faith as the greatest obstacle to furthering their vile agendas.
Where is the True Faith?
Just as the slaves were the third party to the Northern and Southern forces in the Civil War, so too the True Faith is both the slave and third party to Northern and Southern thinking in the Moral Civil War of The Catholic Church. It is attacked by both sides which threaten to enslave it in their brand of morality. Many historians argue that the American Civil War was not about freeing the slaves forever but more about deciding if the slaves should be officially slaves ( South) or economic and social slaves ( North ). Since the North won the war, former slaves were officially freed only to become economic and social slaves, especially in the South where they learned that paper freedom does not always translate to actual freedom. The horrors of Reconstruction and prejudice that allowed the KKK and made the Civil Rights movement necessary should be enough to prove that the resolution of The Civil War was not some magical cure to the problems that led to it. Likewise, only a fool would believe that either the Northern or Southern view of morality is the cure to saving the true Catholic faith. Both views are cesspools of deception, political spin, and immorality dressed as noble causes.
At this moment the true Catholic Faith is both a third party and a slave to the convergence of the Northern and Southern views of morality. It is a third party because it is clearly distinct yet obviously impacted by both views and it is a slave because the betrayal of its leadership has allowed it to become beholden to both twisted views of morality. What many now call the Catholic Faith is simply a watered-down, diluted, corrupt, twisted version of the true faith, which is presently enslaved in chains of its own making in the prison of popular winds. Only when Christ returns will this true faith be freed of its chains, but if we claim to be true Catholics we must fight these chains and speak out from the prison of evil that presently embraces our sacred, true, and eternal faith!
We have all looked on in disgust over the past years, the past American election, and even the most recent Papal election as rows of so-called pundits, experts, thinkers, celebrities, prophets, journalists, and observers rail on about what the Catholic faith should be and should not be about.
One side waves test tubes, choice signs, constitutional interpretations, lawsuits, and tons of arrogance in claiming that it has the key to progress and enlightenment. This side, the Northern side represented by North America and Europe, thinks that morality is a relative thing and that God loves us all no matter what we do. As I have said in other pieces, this kind of thinking equates ideas with people and concludes that since Christ told us to love all people that includes loving and respecting all ideas and beliefs. This side also argues that since God said that we are all children of God, then that divine equality translates to moral equality such that charity demands that we embrace all people no matter what sin they practice or promote.
In fact, these fools tell us that there is no sin since to ascribe sin is to judge and value and that cannot be Christ-like. These imbeciles tell us that God oversees the abortion, the act of Euthanasia, the stem cell experiment, the defiance of radical feminism, and the act of sodomy since they are all the expressions of His created creatures and all that He has created is good. The God of the North is either a myth or a smiling joke who buys everything we sell Him because He is just about love. The so-called sin of the North is not allowing people to express their individual morality, choice, and freedom. The so-called virtue of The North is tolerating everything under the guise of peace, love, and acceptance. The so-called divinity of The North is not found in a Christ that it either denies or demotes nor in a God that it either banishes or mocks, but in the mind and person of each person whom the North declares divine. Humanism to the enth degree. Therefore, the Northern mentality says why worry about something like converting people to the True Catholic Faith since every one is going to Heaven anyway?
On the other side, the Southern mentality argues that being a Catholic is all about hugging, kissing, curing, helping, and feeding everyone. This side is so fixated on social, economic, and political justice that it is blind to the preeminence of absolute truth, divine justice, natural and rational law, and above all The Word and Will of God and the example of Christ.
Its intoxication with social concerns is so great that it stumbles into hypocrisy as it ignores or condones the murder of innocents while claiming to speak for the innocent, as it allows the abuse of women even as it protests against inequality against women, and as it pleads in the name of God even as it ignores that God's authority over life. The God of The South is either a Good Samaritan who goes around helping people or a welfare server who applies social bandages to injustice. The so-called sin of The South is daring to protect life instead of fighting injustice, poverty, and hunger. The so-called virtue of the South is feeding the hungry and curing the sick no matter what truths or doctrine one ignores while doing these deeds. The so-called divinity of The South is not found in Christ Himself, but in His acts of charity, love, and service. This side makes a deity out of that service rather than focus on the whole message and Person of the Christ who performed that service. Here, too, humanism reigns supreme.
The true Catholic Faith has no problem with technology, freedom, choice, privacy, personal morality, fighting social, economic or political injustice, or any other concern as long as those ventures and pursuits are undertaken consistently with the Will and Word of God and the example of Christ. It rejects any views that place anything else above those sacred and divine standards. It has often been said that a house divided cannot stand, and that is precisely what the devil hopes to do with The Catholic Church. While it is clear that the present Church is quite divided and in a moral civil war, we know that it will not fall because our God has told us so and He will never fail us if we merely obey, adore, and stand witness for Him.
How absurd would it have been for the South to seek to break away from the North yet take the name The United States? Even the rebellious South knew enough to know that one cannot break away yet call oneself the same name as that which one is breaking away from. Despite this common sense, how is it that the defiant dissidents who seek to break away from true Catholic teaching and doctrine nevertheless demand to still call themselves Catholic? How absurd would it have been for the South to seek to break away philosophically but not politically from the North? Either you break completely away or you don't. You cannot claim that your views are true and superior yet seek to only partially break away from those who hold opposing views. If their views are inferior or wrong, why would you want to maintain any association with their name?
If you seek to break away from something but keep that name, then you are simply seeking not to break away but to hijack, to usurp, to overturn that which you are seeking to break away from. It would be as if someone claimed to be seeking a divorce but actually wanted to take over the body or name of their spouse. The first notion may be misguided or wrong, but the latter is clearly evil and demonic. Let us pray that Our Lord will soon stop this demonic battle and restore the order, peace, love, and harmony that only He can bring!
NEXT: PART NINE: Left Their Souls in San Francisco
Columns in this series thus far:
Editor's Note: Heaven is once again under attack by those who would seek to ignore and overthrow God's majesty and authority. Gabriel Garnica, educator and attorney, submits regular insights and commentaries to remind and help guide readers toward a deeper and more assertive faith. Touching on topics and issues ranging from personal faith, doctrine, education, scripture, the media, family life, morality, and values, Gabriel's notes are music to traditional ears but unpleasant tones to those who have bought into the misguided notions so prevalent and spreading in today's Catholic world.