Sunday, December 8, 2013

Secularization: Like Cold and Flu!

Florebit in diebus eius iustitia, et abundantia pacis in aeternum. (Justice shall flourish in his time, and fullness of peace forever.)

As the days pass here in Ukraine, the world is being treated to an ongoing and hopefully ever more profound acquaintance with what is at stake in or on "Euromaidan". Facile or dismissive assessments of what is happening are out of place, disrespectful of the reality that is there for all to see. Nonetheless, for much the same reason, whatever you say you are bound to sell someone short; we are dealing with an hour in the life of a people, an opportunity which has true potential for greatness. It is all too evident that what is going on here could be stifled, it could end in tragedy, but it won't fizzle. A historic passage has taken place and all the world must take account of the great Ukrainian people as they stand now before the world. Stereotypes or reductive classifications from the past must finally be abandoned.

If you will "Euromaidan" embodies what is ailing in the world today, while not failing to shine forth as light and promise in a people's quest for dignity and the right to self-determination. We stand by all these men and women of good will and pray for their nation, its integrity and progress.

Excuse me though if on this Second Sunday of Advent I look beyond this particular process of discernment and treat it as a piece in the greater mosaic and a much more generalized struggle. Of late, in this 1700th anniversary year of the Edict of Milan, much of what I have been reading is a rejection of the so-called "Enlightenment" and its fruits as witnessed in the sad reality of post-modern secularist society. The hope would be for a new Constantine, if you will, for a revival of Catholic Christian Culture, a new Christendom. If I were to write my own book contribution to the discussion, it would have to be a pretty hefty tome, but forget it. Let me just affirm that nothing could contribute more to furthering the cause than an interiorization in the hearts and minds of all Christians of that which is our Advent hope: Maranatha, Come O Christ the Lord!

The verse from today's responsorial psalm says it well: Florebit in diebus eius iustitia, et abundantia pacis in aeternum. We cannot want more or better for our world than that it and we be subject to Christ, true God and true Man, our Savior, Redeemer and Friend.

My cold for this winter is dragging into it's almost fourth week already and beginning to seem normal. Sadly, the way people live without God in Christ Jesus is much the same way, such that we don't, despite our profession of faith, give Him priority, not so much as deference but as hope for that which is all in all.

Let us let the Baptist's cry in the wilderness shake us up and help us cast off so much, such that we might live in the light of day!



  1. Your Grace,

    It is clearly difficult for you in your present situation to comment frankly, but it looks like Ukrainians are in a rather awkward spot. On the one hand there is an European Union that is explicitly secular and anti-Christian, and that is pushing a corrupt and decadent moral structure that spells doom for any country that embraces it - but an especially quick doom for Ukrainians in the present fragile condition of their country; on the other there is Russia, explicitly favourable to Christianity, but historically hostile to the country and an exemplar of a form of government and political approach that Ukrainians are trying to get away from. I don't see that being 'pro-Europe' can be a simply desirable or positive thing, while joining the Russian sphere of influence instead has obvious disadvantages. What are the driving forces behind being 'pro-Europe' in Ukraine? How much of it is a desire for better legal structures, better economic conditions, less corruption, affiliation to the historical civilisation of Europe, hostility to Russia and the Soviet past - and how much is affection for European secularism and consumerism? How much thinking is going on in the Ukrainian Catholic Church and in Ukraine generally about this dilemma?

    1. Thank you, John!
      Very insightful on your part and understanding of my role. How does a people sort out a Soviet/Communist past? No country in Europe which is about this business has done so without trauma. Ukraine cannot be spared trauma either. While for many here they are clearly motivated by the same material considerations which brought down the Berlin Wall in 1989 and following, others and in great number see Europe as a lever for breaking with past oppression.

      Decadent moral structure? Almost 2 years ago the Catholic bishops published a joint pro-life pastoral and touched many hearts. Although no one attacked them much for doing so, the Orthodox kept an embarrassed silence, insisting they could not come out generally against abortion, etc. We, as in East and West, need to evangelize culture and since the days of Christendom (high Middle Ages) there hasn't really been a working model anywhere for doing that.

      The process here is ineluctable and though ambiguous, ultimately well-intentioned, if not healthy. We accompany Ukraine and Russia and Europe with our prayers, that our Savior and King might reign in the hearts of all!


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