January 2019-Moral Modernism
Father Salvany in his book, What Is Liberalism, describes the liberal: “He may even go to Church and, stranger still, sometimes approach the Sacraments; but his maxim is, in the Church to live as a Christian, outside of the Church to live as the world lives, according to the times in which one is born and not obstinately to swim against the stream. He dies with the priest on one side, his infidel literature on the other and imagines that his Creator will applaud his breadth of mind.”
We are worse than the liberal. Liberalism has become a part of the very fiber of our being, as a priest warned in the 1950's: “Look at your past and present life. Since childhood you have been brought up in this paganism from which you now suffer. You were taught to give God an hour a day (perhaps) and the remainder of the day to your studies and relaxation — in other words, to get along without Him. For you, God became some far-off, nebulous being, in some way unreal, outside of life, whereas visible things took on an ever more intense reality. Thus, there was implanted in your soul, almost unconsciously, the practical idea that the earth was much more interesting than heaven. When you consider that you have lived this way for twenty, forty, sixty years, giving your best thoughts and efforts to your business, to your projects, to your daily life, forgetting God, limiting your relationships with Him to a strict minimum; when you remember that repeated acts inevitably produce a more and more marked attitude of soul, that these pagan days have followed one another thousands of times and without interruption, you will understand that this mental twist must have necessarily assumed in you the strength and rigidity of a gnarled old oak tree.” (The Art of Prayer)
Another priest in the 1940's called this schizophrenia. Scripture tells us: “A double minded man is inconstant/unstable in all his ways.” (James 1:8)
And another book expands on this from the last century: “Hence even among Catholics the strange phenomenon of a double conscience often repeats itself-one conscience for private life, another for public life; religious at home and in church, unreligious (if not anti-religious) in public offices, and political and social life. The chief cause of this melancholy phenomenon was certainly liberal doctrine, which turned religion into a private affair, creating a double morality, and again, political and economic amoralism.” (A Manual of Catholic Action, pages 26-7)
This should be called moral modernism.
The worship of God has been relegated to an hour on Sunday and possibly a few minutes each other day, then we forget God and anything He has to say. How many of us spend an hour a day in prayer and spiritual pursuits? In fact several people, including a priest, have told me that asking people for an hour a day of prayer is asking too much. It may not be asking enough! But the only time we go to God in prayer is when we need something or are in trouble.
The liberal moral modernist lives a double life. On Sunday morning he can listen to a sermon about the six days of Creation and on Monday he can teach a class on evolution. (This is best pronounced evilution.) Or he might hear a sermon on the evils of usury, but go to manage a check cashing place that lends money at a hundred percent usury the next day. He wants to have one foot in the Church and the other in the world. He wants the best of both worlds, pleasures here but eternal happiness in the next.
Christianity is not a part time job, but a way of life that we live 24/7. We cannot set aside our Christianity and make any compromise with the world.
The holy Cure of Ars, Saint John Vianney described this in the mid 19th century: “It consists of three classes: the first is composed of those who are entirely for the world; the second are those who are entirely for God; and the last consists of those people who would like to belong to the world without ceasing to belong to God.” We must ask our self, which class are we in? Obviously those in the first class are not even good Catholics. The last class are also not even good Catholics, for they want to be as worldly as they can and avoid mortal sin. Walking this tightrope with the world is dangerous to say the least. The Cure of Ars says later: “No, my friend; you either belong wholly to God or wholly to the world.” 1
What has happened in moral modernism is that we compartmentalize our life. We have a compartment for God. We have another one for our own entertainments, to which we devote a notable amount of our time and are not careful to keep these within moral bounds. And then we have a compartment for our business affairs, which is ruled by the maxims of the modern world, not by Sacred Scripture. We relegate Scripture to God's compartment and give it no place elsewhere in our lives. There is a compartment for science and another for philosophy. God only is allowed to rule the compartment we have given Him and nothing else. Everything else is ruled by the maxims of the world and its beliefs.
We must ask God to come out of His compartment and take possession of our whole lives.
Master, which is the greatest commandment in the law? Jesus said to him: Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with thy whole heart, and with thy whole soul, and with thy whole mind. (Matthew 22:36-37)
Let us listen to Dom Gueranger, who warned: “But there is a second paganism, which has taken deep root among us. It is the source of that corruption which now pervades every rank of society, and its own two sources are indifference, which chills the heart, and sensuality, which induces cowardice.”
Let us consider these two sources, indifference and sensuality. Aren't we indifferent to others? Don't we act as if one religion is as good as another? We may claim not to believe this, but do we preach by the way we live that we believe that Christianity is the only true religion? Then let us consider our sensuality. In the past I recommended that we all keep track of how we use our time for a week. Analyzing that we will find out just how sensual we are. We find out that we spend most of our time indulging our pleasures after our work.
It is time for us to turn our lives completely over to God. To do this, we need to spend an hour a day in spiritual pursuits, prayer, meditation, reading Sacred Scripture and spiritual reading. We need to ask God in our prayer to help us make concrete resolutions to live our whole life as He wishes us to live it. Let us ask God to help us stop compromising with the world as we have been doing.
And let us consider the evil of indifference. In Apocalypse (3:16) we read: “But because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold, nor hot, I will begin to vomit thee out of my mouth.” It is easier for an actively evil person to convert than the lukewarm.
The lukewarm believe their tiny efforts for God are sufficient for salvation.
The Holy Ghost compares the lukewarm to vomit. It is indifference, which is keeping us from doing God's will fully and completely. We are happy with the name of Christian, while by our actions we deny the power thereof. (II Timothy 3:5)
Jesus prophesied of these times: “And because iniquity hath abounded, the charity of many shall grow cold.” (Matthew 24:12) When charity grows cold, it leaves us at best lukewarm and basically worthless. We are of no good to ourselves or to others. We are actually iniquitous, although, like the Pharisee, we believe we are quite religious. We are proud of being Traditional Catholics, when in actual fact, we are worse than those we so easily condemn.
We need to be on fire with the love of God and ready to make any sacrifice, no matter how difficult it is. The truth may be a hard saying. (John 6:61) In accepting the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, we may lose all of our 'friends', but a true friend will also want the whole truth. Saint John (I John 2:19) tells us: “They went out from us, but they were not of us. For if they had been of us, they would no doubt have remained with us; but that they may be manifest, that they are not all of us.”
My friends, it is time to make THE DECISION to be one hundred percent for Almighty God. There is a line that we must be on the right side of, and many of us are simply on the wrong side, compromising with the world. And so I ask you, will you join with us to bring the Gospel to all nations, or will you remain in your state of indifference and walk blindly into hell?
1 Sermons of the Cure of Ars page 14