Society Needs a Catholic Soul

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“The Church, and only the Church, safeguards all and preserves all”. (Lactantius, [c.250-c.325], Roman writer and convert to the Catholic Faith)
“A wall and a bulwark to save human society from falling back into its former superstition and barbarism” (Pope Leo XIII, Inscrutabili Dei Consilio)

Sin is therefore the Great Enemy of Man and consequently of all efforts to build a better world.

Since every man and woman is a victim of original sin, all of merely human thought and action although still capable of goodness, is inherently flawed.

Therefore, since culture is the fruit of man’s creativity and society is the totality of its individual members, both culture and society are also endarkened and with hideous evil tendencies always lurking beneath the surface, that which Saint Paul calls the “dominion of darkness” (Colossians 1:13). In his Letter to the Romans, the apostle reveals God’s judgement on godless society:

“For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and wickedness of men who by their wickedness suppress the truth.

“For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them….although they knew God they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking and their senseless minds were darkened.

“Claiming to be wise, they became fools…in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator….dishonorable passions….men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men….a base mind and to improper conduct.

“They were filled with all manner of wickedness, evil, ….haters of God….Though they know God’s decree that those who do such things deserve to die, they not only do them but approve those who practice them.” (Romans 1:18-32)

This is why Catholics must imbue society with a Catholic soul: the utter deficency of society without the spirit of Christ.

This is the society that Our Lord calls ‘the world’: “For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world” (1 John 2:16), a world from which He came to liberate us, He “who gave himself for our sins to deliver us from the present evil age (Galatians 1: 4), a world that is polarized by its rejection of God to the extent that it is in turn rejected by Him, “I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine.” (John 17:9)

Consequently, this raw world ‒ society without its structures imbued by the truths and sanctifying strength of Christ ‒ is utterly hostile in its innermost spirit to the spirit of Christ.

It is the “secular” city, the “City of Man” (St. Augustine), the godless society that in Christ’s teaching is in perennial opposition to the Kingdom of God and Christian culture.

Two types of love divide these two world orders. Godly love, as revealed by Christ, which entails sacrifice of self for others and the world’s understanding of love as self-aggrandizement, in pursuit of others’ sacrifice to self.

“Two cities have been formed by two loves: the earthly city by the love of self, even to the contempt of God; the heavenly by the love of God, even to the contempt of self…The former, in a word, glories in itself, the latter in the Lord.” (St. Augustine, The City of God, Bk 14, section 28).

Thus, Catholics and “the world” are in perennial conflict: such is the clear teaching of Our Lord.

Indeed, Christ places Himself and His followers in uncompromising opposition to “the world”: “I have given them Your word and the world has hated them; for they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world.” (John 17:14).

Elsewhere He repeats the truth: “If the world hates you, understand that it hated Me first. If you were of the world, it would love you as its own. Instead, the world hates you, because you are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world.”(John 15:18-19).

Hence “the world’s perspective” (1 John 4:5) is opposed to the Christians.

One of the apostles, Saint James, reminded Christians that it is a matter of “either/or”, either Christ or the world. Writing to some of the first Christians, he stated: “You adulterers! Do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore, whoever chooses to be a friend of the world renders himself an enemy of God.” (James 4:4)