A vacuum has been created in the souls of the youth generation—whether in China or America—by an onslaught of propaganda which centers on self-fulfillment, rather than on God. Our hearts are made for Him, and when we do not have God—or we refuse Him entry—something else takes His place. This is why the Church must never cease to evangelize, to proclaim the Good News that the Lord wishes to enter our hearts, with all His Heart, to fill the vacuum.
Whoever loves me will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our dwelling with him. (John 14:23)
But this Gospel, if it is to have any credibility, must be preached with our lives.
CRISIS OF LEADERSHIP
However, a crisis of leadership has developed over the past 40 years or so, beginning with the sexual revolution. In nearly every facet of society, true heroes and role models have grown steadily fewer in number, indeed have become rare, creating a moral void, adding to this Great Vacuum. Politics is polluted with deception. Sports seems more about salaries than saves. Pop stars are increasingly pornographic or popping drugs. Peacekeepers have been unpeaceful. Televangelists have been untruthful. And some pastors and priests have been found to be pedophiles. When one looks across the horizon of humanity, it is harder and harder to find genuine role models—leaders who provide unwavering examples of moral courage and integrity.
This vacuum of leadership, then, prepares the way for someone to arrive on the scene, someone to provide an “ideal” for this generation.
Britain has suffered from a severe lack of solid religious leadership for decades… There, in North America and elsewhere, that same phenomena has left the door wide open for the entire culture of death… —Steve Jalsevac, editor of LifeSiteNews.com; May 21st, 2008
THE NOISY CANDY STORE
The motor of this Great Vacuum is materialism. Through the pursuit of temporal “success,” many leaders have lost their way… and thus youth have been deprived of spiritual substance to fill their souls. This materialism is a “noise”—an unceasing, blaring, deafening noise blocking out the voice of God who continually offers us Himself, but has been replaced by hedonism.
While the volume of this noise continues to be turned up, it is as though a diet of candy, a menu of sweet deceptions is being fed to our youth by the media and entertainment industries. The youth, like every soul, are hungering for Truth. But in this crisis of leadership, in which the light of truth is being eclipsed, cf. On the Eve the young are being served the lollipops of lies and sugar-coated sin. And yet, what kid, after spending a week in a candy store, wouldn’t die to have anything but sweets?
This vacuum of spiritual nutrition, then, prepares the way for someone to arrive on the scene, holding out a tray full of seemingly good foods…
THE GREAT ARMIES
As we continue to “watch and pray,” carefully examining the signs of the times, I believe we are seeing ripening conditions for a powerful charismatic leader to come on the scene. The youth in our world will eventually grow nauseated by the candy of materialism, and will long for the nutrition of spiritual vegetables and fruit. And they will long for a leader to lead them, to bring them this meal of integrity, peace, harmony, and worship.
The Antichrist will fool many people because he will be viewed as a humanitarian with a fascinating personality, who espouses vegetarianism, pacifism, human rights and environmentalism. —Cardinal Biffi, London Times, Friday, March 10, 2000, referring to a portrait of the Antichrist in Vladimir Soloviev’s book, War, Progress and the End of History
Such a leader will be nearly irresistible… and those who oppose him will seem irrational; they will be the new terrorists of “peace” and “harmony.” The souls who follow him will become de facto the army of Satan, a generation prepared to carry out a persecution of those who oppose this “New World Order,” which would be presented to them in the most idealistic terms. Today, we are witnessing before our eyes a widening gulf between traditional and liberal values. Numerous polls indicate that the current generation of youth (under thirty) have moral views and values greatly at odds with those of their parents…
A father will be divided against his son and a son against his father, a mother against her daughter and a daughter against her mother… You will be delivered up even by parents and brothers and kinsmen and friends… (Luke 12:53, 21:16)
THE NEW COLOSSEUM
Nazi Germany arose democratically at a time of high unemployment, low morale, and a crumbling infrastructure. Hitler repaired them all. He also prepared the people for a holocaust by dehumanizing the Jews through propaganda. Today, an entire generation of young people are being desensitized to violence through the powerful medium of video. Such websites as YouTube carry an endless stream of pictures, many of them glorifying violence either to oneself or others, or videos which expose macabre moments that happened to be caught on camera. Between “reality TV” shows such as Big Brother and Fear Factor that push the edge of decency and self-respect, the “Idol” shows that regularly mock the lesser talented, the real life violence portrayed on the Internet, and the endless stream of violent “entertainment” pouring out of Hollywood… this generation is being desensitized by regularly seeing human beings mocked, abused, denigrated, and even destroyed. The words “The New Colosseum” have been in my heart since this Internet medium has come about. Interestingly, a new movie called The Hunger Games depicts this very type of thing, and is fast becoming one of the most popular films in 2012. Could this generation eventually turn to live webcams showing the persecution of Christians for “entertainment”?
It is possible if the generation watching has first embraced a culture of death.
A TRAINED ARMY?
Just as disturbing is the billion dollar industry of video games with extremely bloody and violent offerings such as Grand Theft IV leading the way. It broke all entertainment records for sales in its first week. According to a description from an ABC News affiliate:
Full of graphic violence, packed with explicit sex and full of expletives, Grand Theft Auto 4 is the red-hot, just released video game kids are asking for. From killing cop after cop to mowing down a crowd of people in a stolen police car and even sex with hookers, Grand Theft 4 is definitely not for kids, but at the same time, it’s a must have for teens like 15-year-old Andrew Hall… Some of the violent acts include taking a baseball bat to a woman or assassinating a stripper. —ABC News 7, May 8th, 2008
Another game, America’s Army, though not as full of gratuitous violence, is equally disturbing. It is one of the most popular online games in the world with over 9 million registered users, as of June 1, 2007 taking players through real recruitment training and then on to actual U.S. Army battle scenarios such as operations in Iraq. The game provides as authentic an experience as possible, tracking the accuracy of your shooting, detailing even where on the body you hit the enemy with a bullet. What is strange is that the game, which is sponsored by the U.S. Army itself, apparently requires that you enter your address in order to play the full game. Why the Army needs this information is unclear. The point is this: the military actually uses video simulations such as these to train real soldiers.
Does it have an effect on gamers? According to a recent study—absolutely:
…the content of much entertainment media, and the marketing of those media combine to produce “a powerful desensitization intervention on a global level.” …the modern entertainment media landscape could accurately be described as an effective systematic violence desensitization tool. Whether modern societies want this to continue is largely a public policy question, not an exclusively scientific one. —Iowa State University study, The Effects of Video Game Violence on Physiological Desensitization to Real-Life Violence; Carnagey, Anderson, and Ferlazzo; article from ISU News Service; July 24th, 2006
In the Great Vacuum, this and other glorified violent “entertainment” is not only irresponsible, it is dangerous conditioning that is already turning on a portion of the populace as violent crime increases cf. http://www.ajpmonline.org/ and http://www.canada.com/ and bizarre acts of violence escalate across the globe. cf. Warnings in the Wind Is it coincidence that Norwegian mass-murderer, Andrew Breivik, played the violent video game World of Warcraft for seven hours a day prior to the real slaughter? cf. http://abcnews.go.com
He does not seem to be very successful at distinguishing between the virtual reality of ‘World of Warcraft’ and other video games and reality… —Norwegian anthropologist Thomas Hylland Eriksen, who was brought in as an expert witness for Breivik’s defense; June 6th, 2012, http://abcnews.go.com
One wonders if MTV (the music video channel that is shaping millions of young minds) is “doing their part” to prepare youth for a time when violence becomes a part of the neighborhood “routine”:
I believe Pope John Paul II traveled the globe to meet with young people in World Youth Day events for more than just a nice youth gathering. He was building God’s army—soldiers who would fight with faith, hope, and love, proclaiming the Gospel of Life. And his successor continues to build upon this foundation of young men and women who are countering the spirit of the world through their witness.
I wish to invite young people to open their hearts to the Gospel and become Christ’s witnesses; if necessary, His martyr-witnesses, at the threshold of the Third Millennium. —BLESSED JOHN PAUL II to youth, Spain, 1989
Christ is always being born again through all the generations, and so he takes up, he gathers humanity into himself. And this cosmic birth is realized in the cry of the Cross, in the suffering of the Passion. And the blood of the martyrs belongs to this cry. —POPE BENEDICT XVI, Reflection after the reading of the office for the Third Hour this morning in the Synod Aula, Vatican City, October 11, 2010
We must all take great courage that God is with us! He will never abandon us! He promised to remain with us until the end of the age. And this supernatural grace will be felt more and more by those who remain little and trusting in His infinite goodness. Jesus and our Mother hover over us like protective parents. Make no mistake about this.
Christ wants us to exercise our authority in Him now, more than ever… This is not the time for comfort, but the time for miracles!
This is no time to be ashamed of the Gospel! It is the time to preach it from the rooftops. Do not be afraid to break out of comfortable and routine modes of living in order to take up the challenge of making Christ known… The Gospel must not be kept hidden because of fear or indifference. —POPE JOHN PAUL II, World Youth Day, Denver, CO, 1993
First published June 1st, 2007. I have updated this article to reflect recent and disturbing trends in our culture.
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