What do Studebaker, Tucker, and DeLorean Motor Company have in common? If you guessed correctly, you would have ascertained that each of these companies once manufactured automobiles. But after a time, market forces rendered their products unnecessary. In short, consumers stopped purchasing them. To use baseball jargon, we might say that they once were, but are now…
Gone, long gone.
In transitioning from automobiles and baseball to current events, I must admit my sadness during the past several weeks at the media elite’s “outrage” over Senator Rick Santorum’s positions on hot-button moral issues such as contraception, marriage, and abortion. If we lived in a charitable era, which we don’t, their whispers could be heard.
Wow, that guy is really out of touch.
But of course, night after night, it is not whispers that we hear. Rather, we are treated to the anger, outrage, and vitriol directed at anyone who dares to speak a truth that contradicts our present cultural milieu. For these modern-day prophets, certain words are meant especially for them, starting with bigot and then followed by religious, anti-choice, and right-wing extremist.
But would that be true? Just prior to his election to the papacy, His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI, spoke eloquently of evil forces that seek to re-image society. Calling this a dictatorship of relativism, he noted that:
We are building a dictatorship of relativism that does not recognize anything as definitive and whose ultimate goal consists solely of one’s ego and desires.
Following this warped philosophy, we throw off the Commandments and the revelation of Christ for our heart’s desires. If we desire to have sexual relations with another, then we take a pill. If a baby is conceived from those relations, then we take another pill. And if that doesn’t work, we seek out our community’s nearest medical professional, who for some reason, desires not to be be known for who he is: the local abortionist. In the end, some might say that these are the byproducts of the good life. But in reality, they represent the outcome of modern society’s sorrowful downward twist. And with these byproducts, we come to realize that which we have become: a society that uses human persons in the same way that we use consumer products. To the extent that they provide satisfaction, they remain in our driveways. When they fail, we move on to something new that will satisfy.
In his book, Love and Responsibility, Blessed John Paul II provides a radically different outlook on love. He notes that:
Feelings arise spontaneously — the attraction which one person feels towards another often begins suddenly and unexpectedly — but this reaction is in effect ‘blind’. (p. 77)
The value of any attraction…depends on whether the good to which it is directed is really what it is thought to be. (p. 78)
There must be a direct attraction to the person: in other words, response to particular qualities inherent in a person must go with a simultaneous response to the qualities of the person as such, an awareness that a person as such is a value, and not merely attractive because of certain qualities which he or she possesses. (p. 79)
And although the mood out there is gloomy, we Christians must remember that Christ has won the war. As for the battles, however, He is counting on each one of us to speak the truth. And where might we find the truth? Well, I’ll let you fathom that one. But, I’ll give you my interpretation of our present predicament. Despite the reality that the baseball appears headed for the seats, there is still room for winds of reason to slow its rapid ascent. Regarding how much room? That answer, my friend, is above my pay grade.