The almost-blessed Archbishop Fulton J Sheen gave us in 1947 a paradox. He said then “that we are definitely at the end of a non-religious era of civilization”.
This was still when politicians made a show of going to church on Sunday. The signs of a fading away of (little-o) orthodox Christianity had already begun. Surely he meant the end of a religious era?
Not so. He said the non-religious era which was passing was “one which regarded religion as an addendum to life, a pious extra, a morale-builder for the individual but of no social relevance, and God is a silent partner whose name was used by the firm to give respectability but who had nothing to say about how the business should be run.”
Instead, we were just then, already by the 1940s, entering a great new religious age. He said (my emphasis):
…we do not mean that men will turn to God, but rather that the indifference to the absolute which characterized the liberal phase of civilization will be succeeded by a passion for an absolute. From now on the struggle will be not for the colonies and national rights, but for the souls of men. The battle lines are being clearly drawn and the basic issues are no longer in doubt. From now on men will divide themselves into two religions understood again as surrender to an absolute. The conflict of the future is between an absolute who is the God-Man and an absolute which is the man-god; between the God Who became man and the man who makes himself god; between brothers in Christ and comrades in anti-Christ.
The surrender is complete. I repeat: the surrender is complete. Man has made himself a god. There is a remnant, yes, of those who acknowledge the God-Man. But it is just that: a remnant. The numbers of this remnant grow smaller, especially at the levers of power and all over the West, with each passing year.
The remnant fades not only in the West, but elsewhere, too. African birthrates increase the worldwide share of the remnant, for now. But these will slow. Missionaries from the religion of Man will see to that. Right, Mr Gates? Christianity increases somewhat in China, but the missionaries of the religion of Man in that country’s government is onto these tricks and is working against them. Perhaps there is some hope of increase in Russia. We shall see.
Anyway, what the God-Man said now makes sense. “When the Son of man comes, will he find faith on the earth?”
He will, but it will not be faith in Him, but in Man.
Man, and not the God-Man, is now the measure of all things. Sometimes we call Man the law, sometimes science, sometimes medicine, sometimes a vote. But it is all Man.
There has to be a reason for right and wrong. Even if this reason is might makes right, even if this reason is majority rules, even if this reason is science. The reason has to have an ultimate justification—in every instance. If mankind does not look to the God-Man to supply this reason, he must, and has, looked somewhere else. To another god, or to himself.
Man almost everywhere has discovered the ultimate reason for everything that is, and it is himself. This is so even when Man says that nothing has any meaning. For to say that still requires Man to put his judgement atop all things.
Sheen was astonishingly accurate in his assessment. We now have “Pride” parades coursing through every city. Pride. What the God-Man called a sin, Man calls it a virtue. We have science insisting a man who believes he is a woman is a woman, and must be called so by all. Religious tests are being invented to enforce this dogma. And many similar like it.
It is good to honor your father and mother not because the God-Man said you should, out of respect and sense of filial piety, but because an equation derived by Man has said so. Man instead insists that the forces he discovered and categorized are responsible for his existence. Indeed, for the existence of all things. Gone is the word of the God-Man, and his Father and Divine Messenger, who said He did it. Just don’t ask Man where those equations came from.
The smaller this remnant grows, the louder rise the shrieks from the Cult of Man. For Man is a jealous god. This explains what his priests mean when preaching about “Tolerance”. All other gods, even the God-Man, must be silenced.
Still, Man retains a trace of humility. He knows he does not know all. But he believes that it is only from himself that all new knowledge will derive. This is why, as Sheen also tells us, he will one day welcome a super man, a man who will represent himself as the ultimate Man.
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