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The Power of Love versus the Love of Power
“If we let him alone so, all will believe in him; and the Romans will come, and take away our place and nation.” –John 11:48
To the elite class of ancient Israel, the people were an ignorant mass to be controlled by force or persuasion. Jesus represented a threat to their rule as He appeared to be undermining their control of the people — the “accursed” multitude (John 7:49). If the influence of the Nazarene was seen to be greater than theirs, the members of the Sanhedrin would lose their usefulness to the Romans along with their privileged position. They decided Jesus must be discredited, condemned and destroyed for the sake of their political survival.
One might say that the Sanhedrin was intent on preventing an outbreak of populism, which Jesus represented to them. Most of these men could not imagine a motivation that was not political in nature, so committed were they to the love of power. In this respect, they had much more in common with the Romans than with the spiritual aspirations of their own people. The ruling class, despite internal differences, will always close ranks against outsiders.
Christianity, though not a political ideology, has at its core a sense of universal human dignity that does not sit well with the ruling class. The teaching that each man is equally loved by God and each soul has an infinite value, regardless of social status, strikes the privileged as revolutionary rhetoric. Jesus, the carpenter’s son from the hill country, seemed to the Jewish rulers to be a dangerous upstart leading a popular uprising among the rabble. He had to be stopped.
The Sanhedrin failed to understand the nature of Jesus’ teaching and the purpose of His mission. In their orbit, sincerity was something reserved for private conversation, for whispers among fellow conspirators; anything said openly to the masses was for the purpose of manipulation and control. Duplicity was taken for granted as a necessary adjunct to power. That Jesus actually loved the people and told them the truth was beyond their comprehension. Pontius Pilate neatly expressed the agnostic attitude of the ruling class in three words that have resonated through the centuries: “What is truth?”
Curiously, the recasting of Jesus in a political role has arisen again, but this time His supposed social activism is being praised rather than derided. The present pontiff repeatedly represents the Gospel message as a condemnation of economic inequality and a call for the redistribution of goods, open borders and the surrender of our cultural identities to Muslim “refugees” who cling tenaciously, even violently, to their own. The Pope, so preoccupied with politics, appears to view his own office as that of a change agent and power broker. (See: “How Pope Francis allows politics to distort the Christian faith”.) The Gospel is being pressed into service as a manifesto for the leftist agenda.
This accounts for the media’s warm words about the Pope: he appears to be fully on board with the expansion of state power for the enforcement of “social justice.”
That the Gospel message is essentially spiritual; that Jesus came to save souls, not foment social change or economic equality, enforced by the state, is a position held these days by those “conservative” Catholics derided by the Clinton campaign as “severely backwards” (see: “Clinton Campaign Official Denounces Catholics as ‘Severely Backwards,’ Calls for Left-Wing Infiltration of Church”) and by Pope Francis as, well, every pejorative he can think of: rigorists, neo-Pelagians, legalists, doctors of the law, hypocrites, holier-than-thou, etc. (See: Big C Catholics: “The Pope Francis Little Book of Insults”.)
And the so-called Catholic vote in the U.S. will likely go to the candidate whose disdain for Catholics and Catholic teaching is abundantly evident. The Pope has already criticized Trump as un-Christian for proposing a border wall (see: “Trump and Pope Francis clash over immigration, another extraordinary campaign twist”), while remaining silent on the egregious corruption and anti-Catholic platform of Clinton and the Democrats (see: “US Bishops Mum on Clinton Campaign’s Anti-Catholicism”). Catholics are left to believe that a vote for the anti-Catholic candidate is permissible, even encouraged. After all, so long as open borders and unvetted Muslim immigration are defended, what do abortion, euthanasia, and gay “marriage” matter? The Pope, along with most bishops, has set the priorities to be followed.
The Church’s moral teaching remains largely unproclaimed by a mute, and sometimes openly dissenting, hierarchy, which appears more comfortable with “social justice” issues. Few bishops will say anything that might jeopardize their humble and tenuous place at the table of power, protected by a careful and obsequious political correctness. (See: “Bishop Conley vs. Bishop Conley: What Is Going on Here?”.)
The silence of the U.S. bishops in the presidential election in the U.S. has been conspicuous and nearly universal; so much so that it became news, of a minor sort, when two archbishops stood up for Catholic moral teaching in the public square and pointed out the obvious fact that the Democrats and Hillary Clinton oppose Church teaching as a matter of principle and policy (see: “Catholic Archbishops of Philly, Denver Tell the Truth of Hillary, Democrats”). But will many Catholics care, or even know, what these two defenders of the Faith say?
The fact is that most people get their information — and political opinions — from entertainers, which is why the Left’s most effective indoctrination is done by Hollywood and late-night comics and talk-show hosts. Those who do pay attention to the mainstream news media hear and read relentless propaganda by hacks determined to elect the Democrat candidate, by hook or crook. The media select the “news” to be reported, frame it according to their bias, and feed it to a gullible public as objective fact.
So we now have a political system that is nominally democratic, but in which the people receive guidance, not from religious leaders or serious thinkers, but from actors, comedians and journalists shilling for the leftwing candidate who stands opposed to the values that have shaped Western civilization and that rest, ultimately, on the Catholic Faith. We may have reached the point at which the machinery of government and media as well as the hierarchy of the Catholic Church has lost all credibility. What can be saved from this wreckage?
In the long view of history, democracy must be seen as the most short-lived and unsuccessful form of government. The Greeks are sometimes eulogized as singularly enlightened among ancient peoples for having tried the experiment of democracy in Athens. But one of the city’s greatest men, Plato, was a harsh critic of democracy, which he believed was the precursor to tyranny.
Plato argued that rule based on consensus of the governed would necessarily create politicians who pandered to popular sentiment and flattered the masses; once such men succeeded in seizing power, they would then use it for self-enrichment and nepotism, always proclaiming their actions to be motivated by their (pretended) love of the people. This “love” would be expressed by catering to popular desires based, not on the common good, but on the lower passions. Political life would then become a riot of self-interest, jealousies and contention; anarchy would eventually ensue. Democracy, in Plato’s mind, would elevate the basest men to public office and ensure the eventual plunder and ruin of the state. It would end in tyranny. (See: “Another Election in Flatland”.)
In what is perhaps the best known analogy in his critique of democracy, Plato aimed to illustrate that proper governing requires knowledge and skill that democratic electors and their chosen representatives notoriously lack. He compares the state to a ship:
The people are the crew, each of which claims a right to steer the ship, despite his ignorance and unfitness. The infirm captain who knows nothing of navigation is the elected official whose knowledge of statecraft is no better than that of the masses whose passions he has flattered for the sake of achieving office. The democratic ship of state cannot long survive without foundering.
Other political thinkers, including Machiavelli, are agreed that democracy tends to degenerate into anarchy followed by tyranny. Such critics note that democracy has no intrinsic guiding principles that unite the electorate, which becomes merely a group of self-seeking individuals occupying the same territory, with everyone contending with everyone else to satisfy his desires. It becomes a war of all against all, until a tyrant emerges from the chaos, and the people, exhausted and morally bankrupt, welcome his imposition of social order. Freedom, without moral character, is too heavy a burden to be borne for long. (See: “That Fraud Called ‘Liberty’”.)
But every critique of democracy might equally apply to other forms of government, as such critiques are ultimately rooted in an appraisal of the human character, rather than in any superficial political structure. Plato’s ideal solution — philosopher kings — was never tried, and one might argue that it, too, would not be exempt from baser human motives, given the truism that power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.
So, where does this leave us? Few want to admit that no structural solution for human problems can succeed for very long, for our problems are not rooted in external social and political arrangements; rather, they are rooted in our values — or lack thereof. So long as a society has not been converted from selfishness (I’ve got mine — all else be damned!), every ideal arrangement can only be superficial and subject to rapid corruption. The love of power must yield to the power of love; individual good must be subordinated to the common good. In short, we must love each other as Jesus loves us if we are to live in a sane and civilized world. Politics, like everything else, must have as its highest value the love of God and the love of neighbor.
But Jesus was not a political leader, and the Gospel is not the founding document for Liberation Theology. Socialism is not the expression of fraternal charity. The conflation of Catholicism and Marxism, however, still appeals to the aging Vatican II revolutionaries who cling to the notion that the Church must become relevant by aligning itself with what they deem to be the progressive political agenda. Pope Francis seems intent upon spending his last years purging from the Church all those who believe its mission to be essentially supernatural: the salvation of souls.
When Our Lady of Fatima warned that if She were not obeyed, Russia would spread its errors, was She not predicting, among other things, the rise of Liberation Theology? And now, the powers of Church and state appear to have reached an accord: both are preaching a worldly utopia. Catholics are to be subsumed into an electorate manipulated by an elite cabal promising them economic equality (a free lunch) in exchange for ever-increasing power. Diabolical disorientation may be nearing its completion. Can tyranny be far off?
What we so desperately need is a recognition and proclamation that government is only as good as the society that has given shape to it. So long as Catholicism is derided and banished from the public square, or misrepresented as the “social justice” gospel of the Left, society will lack a moral foundation and continue to sink into the chaos of contending self-interests. When will the world awake to its only hope?
As we near the 100th anniversary of the Fatima apparitions in 2017, confusion such as we have never known grips the Church and the world. We are witnessing outrage after outrage, so much so that we are nearly numb. One recalls MacBeth’s lament: “I have supped full with horrors.” We have almost forgotten what it is to be shocked. On the 99th anniversary of the Miracle of the Sun, October 13, we saw the Pope honoring, not Our Lady of Fatima, but arch-heretic Martin Luther (see: “’Saint’ Martin Luther Appears at the Vatican.”). How long will Our Lord tolerate this madness!
The chastisements Our Lady warned us about cannot be far off. We who know the Fatima Message must pray and do all we can to see that Our Lady is obeyed NOW! Please, support this apostolate in every way you can — by your prayers and sacrifices and by your donations — so that we can continue to make known the world’s only hope.
We must work and pray ever more fervently that the Holy Father and the bishops will heed the requests of Our Lady of Fatima. (See: Petition to Our Holy Father — The Consecration of Russia and Petition to Our Holy Father — The Release of the full Third Secret.)
We must also keep informed. Read the recent “Fatima Perspectives” (view here) and “Fatima News & Views” articles listed below.
Latest Fatima News & Views
Clinton Campaign Official Denounces Catholics as "Severely Backwards," Calls for Left-Wing Infiltration of Church — “Conservative Catholics” are the latest Americans to be smeared by members of Democrat presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s campaign, leaked emails revealed on October 11 show. Catholic beliefs are bashed as “backwards” and conservative Catholics are termed responsible for “an amazing bastardization of the faith” ...
Father Gabriel Amorth, RIP — Father Gabriel Amorth, good friend of Father Gruner and of The Fatima Center, died on September 16, 2016. Ordained in 1954, he was a chief exorcist in Rome for 36 years. He was a consistent witness to the fact that the Consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary as requested by Our Lady of Fatima has yet to be accomplished.
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