In a recent interview with Al Kresta, Archbishop Chaput offered the following take on our post-Christian society, discussed in his latest book:
“I think there are a lot of clever people in the world who have values and a plan or program different from the Gospel who very actively trying to promote a different worldview. I think if we just look at basic causes…”
One of his causes he sees as
“….the contraceptive birth control pill. It separated procreation from love as a possibility in the sexual act. Once you separate procreation from the other aspects of sexual encounter, all kinds of things happen. The nature of the family changes. What it means to be a father and what it means to be a mother changes. It is what has opened so much of the Western world to much more premarital sex — much more divorce, homosexual marriage, transgenderism that we are talking about these days. Those changes all have a root I think in a practical sense in the contraceptive pill. It also has its root in the intellectual trends that have been a part of our culture — since the 1930s really….”
At last, I can read in the social media a devout Churchman who puts his finger on exactly the force Paul VI had in mind when, at the close of Vatican II, he remarked that Christianity, the religion of God-Incarnate, had encountered the religion of man-made God, Chaput’s “trends that have been a part of our culture.” On June 29, 1972, Paul delivered an assessment of the state of the Church. As I noted in my book, Cardinal Silvio Oddi recalled it, the Holy Father told a congregation:
We have the impression that through some cracks in the wall the smoke of Satan has entered the temple of God: it is doubt, uncertainty, questioning, dissatisfaction, confrontation. And how did this come about? We will confide to you the thought that may be, we ourselves admit in free discussion, that may be unfounded, and that is that there has been a power, an adversary power. Let us call him by his name: the devil. We thought that after the Council a day of sunshine would have dawned for the history of the Church. What dawned instead was a day of clouds and storms, of darkness, of searching and uncertainties.
The Pope then reminded his listeners of references in Scripture and the Mass to the aggressive and oppressive “power of darkness,” adding:
So we know that this dark disturbing being exists and that he is still at work with his treacherous cunning; he is the hidden enemy who sows errors and misfortunes in human history. It is worth recalling the revealing Gospel parable of the good seed and the cockle, for it synthesizes and explains the lack of logic that seems to preside over our contradictory experiences: "An enemy has done this." He is "a murderer from the beginning . . . and the father of lies,"[Jn 8:44] as Christ defines him. He undermines man's moral equilibrium with his sophistry. He is the malign, clever seducer who knows how to make his way into us through the senses, the imagination and the libido, through utopian logic, or through disordered social contacts in the give and take of our activities, so that he can bring about in us deviations that are all the more harmful because they seem to conform to our physical or mental makeup, or to our profound, instinctive aspirations.
This matter of the Devil and of the influence he can exert on individuals as well as on communities, entire societies or events, is a very important chapter of Catholic doctrine which should be studied again, although it is given little attention today.
Archbisop Chaput’s new book gives the matter the attention it requires. Read it.