Why Are We So Divided Today?

by Fr Richard Heilman | October 1, 2016 12:51 AM

“Compromise is a word found only in the vocabulary of those who have no will to fight” -St. Josemaria Escriva

Jesus warns us to not let our guard down and to remain absolutely loyal to Him:

“When a strong man fully armed guards his palace, his possessions are safe. But when one stronger than he attacks and overcomes him, he takes away the armor on which he relied and distributes the spoils. Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters” (Luke 11:21-23).

St. Jude is the Patron Saint of Lost Causes. With rampant division in the world, our Church and in our homes, maybe it’s time we lean on St. Jude a bit more today.

“But you must remember, beloved, the predictions of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ; they said to you, ‘In the last time there will be scoffers, following their own ungodly passions.’ It is these who set up divisions, worldly people, devoid of the Spirit. But you, beloved, build yourselves up on your most holy faith; pray in the Holy Spirit; keep yourselves in the love of God; wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life. And convince some, who doubt; save some, by snatching them out of the fire; on some have mercy with fear, hating even the garment spotted by the flesh” (Letter of St. Jude 1:17-23).

 

We Are a Threat to the Worldly

St. John’s Gospel has Jesus exhorting us to be united and to remain in the truth, even when the world will hate us for it:

“Holy Father, keep them in your name that you have given me, so that they may be one just as we are one …I gave them your word, and the world hated them, because they do not belong to the world any more than I belong to the world. I do not ask that you take them out of the world but that you keep them from the Evil One. They do not belong to the world any more than I belong to the world. Consecrate them in the truth. Your word is truth” (John 17:11, 14-17).

In an earlier passage, Jesus says,

“If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you” (John 15:18-19).

The great tactic of the devil is actually the very ancient military strategy of “divide and conquer.” This strategy is defined as one that separates a force that would be stronger if united. Large, coordinated forces are difficult to defeat. If the enemy can separate us into small units or individuals, he can more easily defeat each one.

In 1957, just two years before the call for the Second Vatican Council and the crisis of faith that followed, and just before the revolutionary decade of the 1960s, Sister Lucia (the primary seer at Fatima) said:

“The devil is in the mood for engaging in a decisive battle against the Blessed Virgin, as he knows what it is that offends God the most, and in a short space of time will gain for him(self) the greatest number of souls. Thus the devil does everything to overcome the souls consecrated to God, because in this way he will succeed in leaving the souls of the faithful abandoned by their leaders, thereby the more easily will he seize them.”

Strike the shepherd and the sheep scatter” (Zec 13:7). There’s no doubt that the devil has focused his assault on the religious leaders of our day. While these leaders may have had noble intentions of charity and pastoral sensitivity, the results have been devastating. Decades of lenient, non-confrontational leadership have left the faithful feeble and prone to be “conformed to the pattern of this world” (Rom 12:2). St. Augustine once said, “Charity is no substitute for justice withheld.”

The unfortunate laxity of discipline has permitted confusion and strife where there should be clarity and harmony, an authentic unity based on the truth. As a result, the modern trend among those who believe and teach falsehoods that directly contradict the Church’s teaching is to consider these pockets of dissent as merely “differing tribes” within the Catholic Church.

Today, instead of breaking off into a new Protestant (protesting) sect, many Catholics simply remain in the Church, while they believe whatever they want, and go about their merry way with no challenge to their distorted beliefs. In fact, some say that a “middle of the road” Catholic is simply one that believes roughly half of what the Church teaches. In this deceptive tribal system, those who believe in and adhere to all that the Church teaches are then considered extreme or fanatical among these tribes.

Right or wrong, religious leadership seemed to calculate that it is better to refrain from “charged issues” for fear of offending some or even losing members. However, St. Peter Canisius cautioned: “Better that only a few Catholics should be left, staunch and sincere in their religion, than that they should, remaining many, desire as it were to be in collusion with the Church’s enemies and in conformity with the open foes of our faith.”

 

Why is there so much division today?

Because we live in an information age, and the vast majority of those who “control the message” seem to either ignore, or even have disdain for, traditional values. In other words, we are being “programmed by the worldly.” Those who live on a steady diet of television and movies that herald such things as fornication, sodomy and adultery, are especially prone to this indoctrination.

The rate of speed as to how fast our culture has turned its back on God and His truths, as revealed through scripture and tradition, seems to run concurrent with the advance of communication technology[1]. While the government held strict moral decency laws early on, efforts to “push the envelope” have been relentless over the years. Now, any child who can work a cell phone can access the most egregious pornography imaginable.

A recent Pew Reseach study[2] shows that Christianity has seen a dramatic drop from their ranks. The most significant drop is among Millennials, who happen to be the most “tuned in” to pop culture. As more and more people fall prey to this indoctrination, “traditional” folks become fewer and fewer and, therefore, seen as “out of touch with the times.” We truly are becoming a “remnant.”

But, I am particularly concerned with the accelerated rate of this indoctrination in just the past few years. With the advent of high speed internet, the indoctrination is in hyperdrive.

Consider the change of attitude of our country toward gay marriage. In just 2008 – and the presidential election – both Democrats (including Obama) and Republicans ran “in favor” of DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act). Just 7 short years later, the Democrats see their support of Gay Marriage to be a make or break issue that could win them the 2016 election. Republicans, and even most leaders within the Catholic Church, are choosing to remain mostly silent on the issue. Why? According to a Pew Research study[3], in 2001 Americans overwhelmingly opposed same-sex marriage by a 57% to 35% margin. Just a few short years later, we now see a majority of Americans (52%) supporting same-sex marriage, compared with 40% who oppose it. Literally overnight, the country has flipped on this issue and Americans are now willing to allow the redefinition of marriage … something that has not occurred since the dawn of civilization.

Listen, in spite of the increasing ridicule we receive as our numbers grow smaller, what does it really mean to be “traditional?” It simply means we are “staying home” while others are “moving away.” We are remaining in God’s truth, as revealed through Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition. Many believe the “same page” that will bring unity is to “go with the majority.”

Venerable Fulton Sheen once said, “Moral principles do not depend on a majority vote. Wrong is wrong, even if everybody is wrong. Right is right, even if nobody is right.”

Remain strong, remnant! We are in for a rough ride!

Endnotes:
  1. communication technology: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timeline_of_communication_technology
  2. Pew Reseach study: http://www.pewforum.org
  3. Pew Research study: http://www.pewforum.org/2014/09/24/graphics-slideshow-changing-attitudes-on-gay-marriage/

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