We are having a parish retreat with Father Simeon Gallagher this week.
He is using as the basis of the retreat Mathew 2: 1-11 – the story of the Magi.
Last night he talked about evil – Herod in the story. He pointed out that Herod/evil is with us still, putting on a pious, positive face to conceal his true actions and intentions.
Fr. Gallagher said we can’t/won’t confront evil because of what he called the three “P’s” – Passivity, Privacy and Peace (at all coasts).
Good stuff, all. Lots to think about. I’ve been thinking of the privacy problem.
We have made a false god of privacy. Whatever you do in the privacy of your home is your own business – drugs, sex, porn, etc.
But by allowing privacy to become such a sacred value we have allowed the degradation of other values.
And it did not take a frontal assault by evil (ala Lord of the Rings). It has crept in disguised as being progressive, open, nonjudgmental, and so on.
Take sex. Sex, once at least ideally reserved for marriage - I’m not naïve enough to say that was the practice in many cases, but it was at least the ideal – is now accepted as a part of dating. So are living together. My wife commented on a co-worker who is a “devout” churchgoer with God forever on her lips, yet she is living with her boyfriend and sees no conflict.
But while some of us might dismiss sex as just a small thing, and not really evil if we love each other or we’re “engaged,” it is one of the tools used by evil to open us to greater evils and to ultimate corruption (think Screwtape).
Sexual immorality begets broken families, dysfunction, crime, and violence – even terrorism (would Osama Bin Laden be able to argue about the corruption of Western Society if there weren’t some truth in his claims?).
G. K. Chesterton (as usual) foresaw this.
In a 1926 essay called “The Next Heresy” he wrote:
For the next great heresy in going to be simply an attack on morality; and especially on sexual morality. And it is coming, not from a few Socialists surviving from the Fabian Society, but from the living exultant energy of the rich resolved to enjoy themselves at last, with neither Popery nor Puritanism nor Socialism to hold them back … The madness of tomorrow is not in Moscow, but much more in Manhattan.
It’s not coming, G. K. It’s here.