The New Paganism – Part I

 

WHAT kid doesn’t like candy? But let the same child loose in a candy store to gorge on whatever he wants… and pretty soon he’ll be craving vegetables.

 

THE GREAT VACUUM

When Archbishop Chaput of Philadelphia visited Canada a decade ago, he made a surprising admission:

…there’s no easy way to say it. The Church in the United States has done a poor job of forming the faith and conscience of Catholics for more than 40 years. And now we’re harvesting the results—in the public square, in our families and in the confusion of our personal lives. —Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap., Rendering Unto Caesar: The Catholic Political Vocation, February 23rd, 2009, Toronto, Canada

But it’s not just the United States:

The spiritual crisis involves the entire world. But its source is in Europe. People in the West are guilty of rejecting God… The spiritual collapse thus has a very Western character. —Cardinal Robert Sarah, Catholic HeraldApril 5th, 2019

For many decades, much of the preaching and teaching from the pulpit, with exceptions to be certain, has been “candy”—the empty calories of modernist novelties that have drained the richness of Sacred Tradition of all things mystical and supernatural. The miracles of Christ? They’re just stories. The apparitions of Our Lady? Pious hallucinations. The Eucharist? Just a symbol. The Mass? A celebration, not a Sacrifice. The charisms of the Holy Spirit? Emotional hype.

 

RELIGIOUS BY NATURE

But man, by nature, is a spiritual being. We were made for the mystical and destined for the supernatural. “You have made us for Yourself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it finds its rest in You,” said Augustine. This is key to understanding the near future of the Church and the world at the end of this era.

The desire for God is written in the human heart, because man is created by God and for God… In many ways, throughout history down to the present day, men have given expression to their quest for God in their religious beliefs and behavior: in their prayers, sacrifices, rituals, meditations, and so forth. These forms of religious expression, despite the ambiguities they often bring with them, are so universal that one may well call man a religious being. Catechism of the Catholic Church, n. 27-28

I’m always amazed at how people who aren’t church-goers are able to engage a spiritual conversation. Indeed, from the dawn of creation, man has searched for the transcendent: we want to see God.

 

THE FULFILLMENT

The fulfillment of this desire came by way of the Incarnation and revelation of Jesus Christ. When the early Church exited the Upper Room, filled with the Holy Spirit, Christianity literally exploded overnight. Thousands converted from Judaism and paganism to Catholicism—a religion of signs and wonders, of beautiful symbols and anointed songs, of sound philosophy and deep theology that ultimately transformed the Roman Empire. In the following centuries, this mystical reality became encased in sacred art, towering cathedrals, sublime hymns and holy liturgies that transported the soul through rising incense, blazing candles, and glorious sacred theatre. How many souls encountered the Divine Spark simply by entering a Catholic Church!

But now, a Great Vacuum has been created. The dry intellectualism and hyper-rationalism of the Western Church has emptied Catholicism of the supernatural. Our love has grown cold; our devotion has smoldered; the flame of faith is all but a flicker in many parts of the globe. Thus, what does the Church have to offer the world if she hardly knows It herself? Without the connection of the supernatural (ie. the living, flowing power of the Holy Spirit), even our finest cathedrals are becoming nothing more than museums. 

 

SATAN’S CANDY

At the very same time, the “errors of Russia,” as Our Lady of Fatima called them, have been spreading throughout the world: atheism, Darwinism, materialism, Marxism, socialism, communism, relativism, radical feminism, etc. These are Satan’s candies—sophistries that have titillated man’s pride and falsely promised the sweetness of a temporal utopia. Like the gleaming fruit on the Tree of Knowledge of good and evil, that serpent has promised a bin full of irresistible goodies: “you will be like gods.” [1]Gen 3:5 Thus, he has led humanity slowly, decade by decade, toward the seemingly most delicious candy of all: individualism whereby we can become lords who not only redefine our natures but alter the very elements of the cosmos, including our DNA. The new “man” in this anthropological revolution is not a man at all:

The New Age which is dawning will be peopled by perfect, androgynous  beings who are totally in command of the cosmic laws of nature. In this scenario, Christianity has to be eliminated and give way to a global religion and a new world order.  —Jesus Christ, The Bearer of the Water of Life, n. 4, Pontifical Councils for Culture and Inter-religious Dialogue

The problem is worldwide!… We are experiencing a moment of the annihilation of man as the image of God. —POPE FRANCIS, Meeting with Polish Bishops for World Youth Day, July 27th, 2016; vatican.va

This assertion of the ego as supreme, however, is being accompanied by tell-tale signs that the gleaming fruit is poisonous inside. Suicide rates are soaring; drug use is spiralling out of control; pornography, video gaming and mindless “entertainment” are numbing countless souls as many reach for antidepressants to offset the nausea of empty saccharine promises. Why? Because postmodern man is fundamentally the same: he is “by nature and vocation a religious being,”[2]CCC, n. 44 and thus, senses he’s been fed a lie—even as he drinks the Koolaid and reaches for another dopamine hit. Something, deep within, longs for the supernatural; his spirit thirsts for the transcendent; his mind hungers for purpose and meaning that only the spiritual dimension can provide.

Yes, souls today are awakening. The “woke” have begun a revolt against the status quo. The Great Revolution I have been warning you about is now unfurling at an exponential rate toward an epic “final confrontation.” This generation of Greta Thunbergs, David Hoggs, and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortezs have begun pounding down the doors of the Candy Store.

They’re ready for vegetables again.

But where are they going? To a Church that, according to the media they watch, is a pedophile ring? To a Church that, if they do go there, appears as though a funeral is taking place? To a Church that, increasingly, sounds like little more than an echo chamber of the spiritus mundi — the spirit of the world?

No, they are turning elsewhere. And that has been Satan’s plan all along…

 

TO BE CONTINUED…

 

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1. Gen 3:5
2. CCC, n. 44
Posted in HOME, THE NEW PAGANISM.