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This blog is maintained by the Ruth Institute. It provides a place for our Circle of Experts to express themselves. This is where the scholars, experts, students and followers of the Ruth Institute engage in constructive dialogue about the issues surrounding the Sexual Revolution. We discuss public policy, social practices, legal doctrines and much more.
by Jennifer Roback Morse
This article was first published January 7, 2019, at NCRegister.com.
Hermann Stilke, St. Joan of Arc in Battle1843
I have a New Year’s resolution for you to consider. My suggested resolution is doable. It will make a difference in the quality of your life. It will allow you to make a difference in the world around you, including the clergy sex-abuse crisis in the Catholic Church, and in the politics of your community.
Give up defeatism.
You know the sort of thing I mean. “Western Civilization is collapsing. The Church is collapsing. Everyone is corrupt. I can’t trust anyone.” Even worse, the defeatist thought pattern leads to the defeatist behavior pattern: “Nothing can be done. So I will do nothing.”
Sorry. No-go. None of us has the right to excuse ourselves from constructive action.
Don’t misunderstand me: I’m not saying everything is hunky-dory. Far from it. We are in the midst of a civilizational shift. The old structures and rules are not working as they once did. We are living in a time of deliberately created confusion, pathological selfishness and the calculated creation of divisions. The world is shaking itself apart. When the shaking stops, we will be in a different world.
For reasons that are not entirely clear to us, God has assigned us to live in this time and this place.
This very moment of crisis is actually an opportunity. In fact, the word “crisis” dates from the late Middle English and is based on a Greek word meaning “decision.” In medical usage, the term “crisis” means the turning point of a disease when an important change takes place, indicating either recovery or death.
In other words, we are in the process of deciding what kind of world we are going to become. “We” includes you and me, dear reader. What we do matters.
To be fair, not many people actually embrace full-on defeatism. “The end of the world is at hand. Nothing can be done about it. Head for the hills. Hunker down. Protect your own family. Poke your head up periodically to post comments on my internet site.”
But if the material you are reading makes you want to head for the hills and hunker down, you’ve got a problem.
The question isn’t whether or not things are bad. They are. The question is, “What is my responsibility in this situation? What is God asking of me, right here, right now?”
Here are some suggestions for implementing the “No-Defeatism Resolution.”
Besides, you will feel better if you are doing something constructive. The world sometimes tries to tell us that we need to feel better before we change our behavior. This counsel is especially destructive for parents of small children. “Make your children comfortable and happy. Then they will behave.” The opposite is closer to the truth. Kids feel better when they behave better. Focus on the behavior. The feelings will follow.
That same principle applies to us as adults. We can’t change the whole world, but we can change our little corner of it. And we’ll feel better when we know we’ve done something constructive.
We are living through some terrible times. Decades of theological dissent have taken their toll. Besides the inept catechesis and poorly formed consciences, we now know that dissent has provided cover for a lot of truly immoral behavior.
The revelations of corruption and abuse are a good thing. The corruption and abuse have been there for a long time. Now that we know, we can do something about it.
The sexual revolution, inside and outside the Church, is imploding. It is collapsing on its own insubstantial core. The sexual revolutionary ideology promised “fun” and “freedom.” Those things do not look so appealing anymore.
We have the opportunity to reclaim lost territory for Jesus Christ and his Church, but only if we don’t lose our heads. We have to keep our wits about us. We must stay on the playing field.
That is why I am resolved: No defeatism in 2019.