Yes, we are living in apocalyptic times. But this needs qualification. The Church, the sacred scriptures, the saints, the approved mystical apparitions, all speak about the end times within the context I would like to lay before you.
See the young people scattered throughout this crowd tonight. They are genuine heroes and heroines. They are the Church, they are the future,and we must feed them good food. They are the Body of Christ coming alive again in this dead zone, and if we neglect to nurture them we will be accountable for it on Judgment Day. We choose now. Not to choose is a choice. The kind of Church we will soon have in this country depends very much on how we choose. Unless we begin to see the nature of the problem accurately,and truly repent of our part in it, the Church is finished here. Unless there is an extraordinary change of heart, it is over. Throughout its long history the Church has died out in many regions of the world. Think of North Africa, which was once the glory of Christendom, think of other particular churches—they are gone! Why do we suppose that Our Lord has a huge investment in preserving a culture such as ours, in making this deathly civilization last a bit longer? He may do so, if there are “ten just men” still among us. And he may do so, if there is a widespread return to his holy will. Or he may not. It is not our task to weigh this matter, which is comprehensible only to God alone. Our task is to be faithful.
In this anthology you will find many such stories, written by men and women who have sought to live the fullness of our Catholic faith, often against great odds, with courage and with love. There is a self-honesty here, a constant humility heard between the lines, which points to the widespread awareness that we have been to some extent deprived of our sacramental “birthright”, if you will, and that nothing less than Truth can heal and restore us. “The Truth spoken in Love” was the constant guidepost for our writers and editorial choices. Thus, the authors you will meet through these pages are people who, like you, know that much is at stake, primarily the spiritual health of our children and the strengthening of our marriages. Moreover, that we live in what John Paul II called a “culture of death” has escaped no one’s notice, for anyone who strives for openness to life, to live according to Natural Law and illumined by sanctifying grace, cannot fail to enter a world of struggle. It is also, it should be noted, a world of great and unexpected joys—joys that are united to the path of sacrifice and trust exemplified by the Holy Family of Nazareth. In short, the “ordinary” life of faithful Catholic marriage and family is one that leads to the Cross—and thus, it is also one of Resurrection.
Once utilitarianism, in theory, is defined and exposed, every Catholic would say, “Oh, yes, that’s evil.” Yet, all too often there is a disconnect between theory and practice, as if we feel that such evils are regrettable but unavoidable; and that it is impossible for us personally to bridge the great chasm between what we conceive as a Christian “ideal” and practical reality, what we feel are our sad but necessary compromises with evil. To the degree that we think this way, that is the measure of how badly we have become infected by utilitarianism. The objective reality here is that other human beings, who are as beloved by God as we are, will pay for our disconnect with their suffering and/or their deaths. We will continue to vote for the utilitarian who seems less evil to us or who offers us an apparent good, such as security or economic stability (which we have, consciously or subconsciously, decided is a higher good than the sacredness of human life). A problem deeper still is the inability to even see the disjunct. What is the cause of this? Is it utilitarianism alone, even the worst kind, religious, or is there something else that needs pondering here?