Tag Archives: John Zmirak

The Idol of Our Age: A User’s Guide to the End Times?

The Idol of Our Age: A User’s Guide to the End Times?

 

By John Zmirak Published on January 30, 2019

A few days ago, I wrote about the Antichrist. No, I don’t name any names. I’ve zero confidence that I’m so spiritually savvy I could spot him, even were he actually walking the earth.

But I’ve read enough to know what we should look for. Right now I’m finishing a powerful, brilliant book by Daniel Mahoney called The Idol of Our Age. In it, he argues that the liberal, secular “Religion of Humanity” is serving as a kind of Antichrist. That’s not just because it’s luring people overtly away from Christianity, as its inventor, August Comte, hoped it would. Even more, it’s because that soft, suburban creed is infecting the actual churches, transforming them from within. It’s The Invasion of the Body of Snatchers, Mahoney shows. But the Body in question is Christ’s.

The “New Jesus”

The Religion of Humanity doesn’t repulse us with its cruelty, as Mein Kampf does (or should). It doesn’t make the blood run hot with resentment and hunger for power, like The Communist Manifesto. It doesn’t even feed our vanity and isolation, like Atlas Shrugged.

This new, desiccated Jesus is not the God-man. He’s something much more like Nietzsche’s “Last Man,” a simpering, judgmental weakling. Like one of the cardboard villains out of an Ayn Rand novel.

Instead, it does something far worse. It highjacks the noblest aspiration any person can have: to be more like Jesus. But the Jesus it offers is a patched-together mannequin. It’s a “New Jesus,” like the one Hazel Motes tries to make in Flannery O’Connor’s Wise Blood, out of a mummified ape from a Darwinist diorama.

This new, desiccated Jesus is not the God-man. He’s something much more like Nietzsche’s “Last Man,” a simpering, judgmental weakling. Like one of the cardboard villains out of an Ayn Rand novel.

His claims of His own divinity? The modernist scripture scholars have snipped off all of those. His warnings of Hell and judgment? They go in the dustbin, too. His utter disinterest in politics, and demands for mystical sacraments? No, none of that proves convenient. So that gets carved off too. All that remains of the figure of Christ in the Religion of Humanity? Some phrases from the Sermon on the Mount, and conveniently edited scenes where He offers forgiveness to sinners. (The parts where He warns them to sin no more? They fall to the cutting room floor.)

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The Prophets Who Saw This Coming

Mahoney proves his case from a wide array of intellectual sources:

  • The balanced embrace of American freedom in the light of Natural Law in the works of neglected political philosopher Orestes Brownson. Brownson came to that sober, sane synthesis after plumbing the depths of Utopia as a post-Christian radical. Then discovering it’s really Hell. His work is crucial today since many Christian conservatives are despairing of freedom as toxic “liberalism,” and falling back into fantasies of “throne and altar” theocracy.  Or daydreams of escape.
  • The prophetic fiction and theological writings of Vladimir Solovyov. His “A Short Tale of the Antichrist” predicted that the Church’s greatest enemy wouldn’t be “hard” atheism but “soft” humanitarianism. You know, the creeds that serve as pretexts in the European Union and the United Nations.
  • The deeply perceptive writings of Pope Benedict XVI on the dangers of splitting off Reason from Faith. When you do that, Reason becomes a cold and cruel utilitarian instrument. Faith either hardens into stupid fanaticism, or melts into damp-eyed sentimentality. Of course what we see on the Christian left is a creepy hybrid of both: Gay Jesuits wielding power like old-time inquisitors on behalf of squishy, vapid misguided compassion. 
  • The undisciplined thought of Pope Francis. Despite some flashes of insight mostly borrowed from his predecessors, Francis seems beguiled by the fashionable liberalism of post-Christian elites. Like Theoden bewitched in The Lord of the Rings, he lets the realm he’s ruling crumble and fall to its foes.
  • The novels of Alexander Solzhenitsyn. In his vast, unjustly ignored historical panorama The Red Wheel, Solzhenitsyn shows the deadly price the Russian nation paid for replacing Christian statesmanship with the meandering, self-indulgent religiosity of Tolstoy. Those Christians who could have prevented the catastrophe of Communism were paralyzed by a fear of using force. That was partly because those Christians themselves were tipsy with the prospect of Utopia, the Kingdom of God on earth built by humans. Too late, it always turns out to be instead the Tower of Babel.

The Apocalypse in Narnia

Mahoney’s book is deep and well-researched. But it’s highly readable. I’m finishing it slowly because each chapter sparks so much thought. And entices further reading. I’ve already decided to re-read The Red Wheel for Instance, and dive into Brownson and Solovyov.

If all that sounds too heady for troubled times like these, I’d recommend a starting point. (Though Mahoney doesn’t mention it.) Every one of us, of any age, could benefit by re-reading C.S. Lewis’s own apocalypse, The Last Battle. It paints the end-times in Narnia, complete with an Antichrist that must have tickled Flannery O’Connor’s heart: An ape who wears the skin and claims the authority of Aslan.

New York State Downgrades from “Nineveh” to “Sodom” with New Abortion Law

 ….Evil grows when good men do nothing………..   We must pray for the souls of the unborn, the women aborting their children, and those killing the unborn. May God forgive us all. Then we must stand up and say NO MORE to our elected officials.

New York State Downgrades From ‘Nineveh’ to ‘Sodom’ With New Abortion Law

Lucas van Leyden, “Lot and his Daughters,” detail.

By John Zmirak Published on January 24, 2019

Congratulations, New York! You’ve now reverted back to the norms of pagan Rome. As The Daily Wire reports:

On Tuesday, New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo, delighted that the New York legislature passed the Reproductive Health Act which would allow mothers to kill (pardon me, abort) their babies up until birth, celebrated this legalized murder by ordering that the spire at One World Trade Center, the Governor Mario M. Cuomo Bridge, the Kosciuszko Bridge and the Alfred E. Smith Building in Albany all be lit in pink on Tuesday night.

So the bridge named for a Catholic Revolutionary war hero, and the building named for the first Catholic presidential candidate lit up to celebrate infanticide. And the Freedom Tower, which stands on the graves of 3,000 New Yorkers, glowed pink to welcome the deaths of thousands more.

The bridge named for Gov. Mario Cuomo? There’s no irony there. The father of the current abortion fanatic governor of my home state, old Mario did indeed serve as a bridge. He provided the bad arguments and phony lofty rhetoric that gave Catholics permission to endorse the death of children. He had the sheer gall to make such a speech at the University of Notre Dame, and even quote St. Thomas More. (A statesman who died rather than put Caesar’s power over God’s.)

And Democrat Catholic intellectuals, how they praised Mario for his “nuance.”

Abortion Right Up Till Birth, in the State Constitution

There’s nothing nuanced about the bill his son shoved through the NY legislature. How bad is this law? LifeNews explains:

The so-called Reproductive Health Act goes beyond Roe v. Wade, allowing unborn babies to be aborted even when the U.S. Supreme Court has said states may restrict abortions. Late-term abortions, which currently are illegal in New York, would be allowed, and non-doctors would be allowed to perform them. …

The law appears to restrict late-term abortions, but it adds a broad “health” exception for abortions after 24 weeks. The exception would allow women to abort unborn babies up to nine months of pregnancy for basically any reason, including “age, economic, social and emotional factors,” according to New York Right to Life.

It also redefines a “person” as “a human being who has been born and is alive,” and describes abortion as a “fundamental right.”

The legislation poses serious dangers to women’s lives and rights as well. By removing protections from illegal abortions, the law will open the door for abuses. According to New York RTL, back alley abortionists, abusive partners or parents and others no longer will face charges for illegally killing an unborn baby – even if the mother wants her child.

“In early December, a resident of Saratoga County was arrested for punching the stomach of a woman who was 26 weeks pregnant in an attempt to cause a miscarriage. The man was charged with abortion in the second degree, but under the RHA, the attacker would not have been charged with a felony,” according to the Catholic News Service.

Here’s how the New York legislature greeted the passage of the bill:

Now all this legal and medical talk can be quite abstract. I think we need to see and hear exactly what we’re talking about. Please watch the Live Action video below, which illustrates what a late-term abortion entails. Its narrator? A penitent former abortionist.

Seriously. Stop reading and watch the video. But have a rag or a box of tissues ready. Because if you’re not a sociopath, you’re going to weep.

A Return to Pagan Cruelty

I’ll give you time to recover. Now think of the Freedom Tower, the office building, the bridges, all burning with pussyhat pink to celebrate that happening.

That is what the Democratic party stands for.

We have indeed returned to the ways of pagan Rome. In Rome, a child was not considered human unless he was wanted. By his father, who had to pick up the child and acknowledge it. Otherwise it got sold into slavery or left outside to die. The only difference now is that it’s the mother who must want the child. And the Romans were too squeamish to outright murder the child. They left that to the elements. Often, Christians or Jews would come and rescue the kids.

We can’t do that now. Such progress, in 2,000 years.

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New York’s Catholic bishops are rightly condemning this evil law. But they did little to stop it. For decades, they’ve let “Catholics” like the Cuomos pose as faithful members of our church. Even let them receive Holy Communion.

When I grew up, pro-life politicians had a fighting chance. The Right to Life Party (I was a member) even had a slot on the ballot. That was before a massive wave of low-skill immigration flooded the state with new pro-choice voters. The bishops welcomed that flood, trotting out phony moralistic complaints about any enforcement of borders. Their coffers fattened with federal contracts to serve those immigrants, who also filled their otherwise emptying pews. Did the bishops make any effort to convince these new Catholic Americans to vote in defense of life, instead of more government giveaways? Not that I ever heard from the pulpit.

This tragedy is theirs, too. They should own it. They should light their cathedrals in pink.

How Can Catholics Fight Back? With the Power of the Purse.

How do we the laity deal with this issue in our faith…read on, here is one solution.

How Can Catholics Fight Back? With the Power of the Purse.

By John Zmirak Published on July 24, 201825 Comments

I once tried to explain the problems faced by faithful Catholics to my good friend Eric Metaxas. “Imagine you felt your salvation depended on staying inside a Church with apostolic doctrines, which is run by liberal Protestants.”

We Catholics have faced some version of that for most of my lifetime. In theory, the bishop is meant as the heir of the apostles to be the main teacher of doctrine. And a model of holiness.

The Cardinal Who Molested the Boy He’d Baptized

Now we learn that more and more of them were either implicated in sex abuse, or helped to cover it up. The former archbishop of our nation’s capital, Theodore McCarrick, was groping seminarians, and even molesting children.

The mainstream news source Catholic News Agency notes that several prominent churchmen were in a position to know about his actions. The Church settled legal claims against him in 2005 and 2007, yet he remained in office, even attending the Conclave that elected Pope Francis. McCarrick played a key role in the 2002 “Charter” meant to end sexual abuse, and may have influenced its decision to exempt bishops from consequences for sex abuse cases.

The worst accusation against McCarrick? That he molested a young man whom as a child he’d personally baptized.

How many of McCarrick’s glad-handing colleagues knew, and when did they know it?

Pope Francis’ closest advisor, Cardinal Oscar Maradiaga, vouched and covered up for years for his right hand man, Juan José Pineda Fasquelle.  Fasquelle just resigned, when his own sex abuse of seminarians could no longer be waved away.

No wonder the bishops who covered for one of their colleagues aren’t willing to face down today’s fashionable evils. To confront the LGBT attack on Christianity itself. Who wants to risk a revolt on that kind of scale, when you have parishes to run? Nor are we talking mostly about pedophiles, who are no more common among the priesthood than in any other profession. The vast majority of sex abuse cases that occurred in the Church were of post-pubescent boys by gay men, not pedophiles.

Each week or month write your pastor a personal check. Make it out to him, not the parish.

No surprise that bishops find allies in pro-choice labor unions. And in money-sluicing Democrats who promise to keep the Church’s “charities” on life-support as government contractors. Remember when one brave bishop, Thomas Paprocki, ordered his local Catholic U.S. senator, Dick Durbin, to stop receiving Communion? That was after Durbin voted to keep on killing pain-capable, almost viable unborn babies. The very next week, the cardinal in Chicago, Blaise Cupich, did a Skype call thanking Durbin for his help on immigration. Just to make sure that Durbin suffered no political damage. And to slap Paprocki publicly in the face.

Imagine you felt your salvation depended on staying inside a Church with apostolic doctrines, which is run by liberal Protestants.

Cut Off the Supply of Canon Fodder

The only reason these Mainline liberal Protestants serving as Catholic bishops aren’t facing empty churches like their Episcopalian colleagues? That would be immigration. Some 40% of native born Catholics leave the Church. But Catholic numbers stay flat, instead of declining, thanks to Latin American immigration. One in four Catholic adults in the U.S. was born in another country. When many bishops tell us that immigration is the “future of the church,” they never say why. It’s because they’ve given up on the rest of us — the people who grew up here in their churches. Whose ancestors built the parishes they wreckovate. Who are still paying their bills with our donations.

Many of those bishops have virtually ceased to preach, teach, or evangelize the faith. They’ve decided to simply import people, who (wouldn’t you know!) just happen to join up en masse as liberal Democrats. So the Democrats are the allies. Nasty, “harsh” Republicans (so what if they’re pro-life and pro-marriage?) want to shut down the blood transfusion. Then everyone would see just how ghastly sick the patient really is.

Don’t Wait for a Pope to Fix Things

Lay Catholics have very little power to influence our pastors. Or our bishops. We used to wait for the papacy to fix things. To send letters to Rome, in the hope that the Vatican would rein in local abuses. We imagined that faithful orders and solid dioceses would simply outproduce the dying liberal religious orders and lavender seminaries.

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But the orthodox popes who reigned from 1978 through 2013 only managed to slow down the slide.

It’s likely that they were naïve about a fundamental fact: if you’re willing to be a heretic, you’re probably game to lie. Hence ambitious ex-believers who wanted to rise in the ranks, to become say, Archbishop of Washington, D.C., were perfectly happy to mouth orthodox slogans while John Paul or Benedict was pope. They consolidated power, and when they saw their chance they struck by electing Pope Francis in 2013. (McCarrick was one of Francis’s longtime boosters, along with pedophile enabler extraordinaire, the far-left Cardinal Godfried Danneels.)

The Power of the Purse

One leverage, other than prayer, which faithful laymen have is financial. As much as they draw from the taxpayer, the bishops’ main source of income is Sunday collections. (They get 8%, every week, from every parish.)

How much will these bishops get? That is in our hands. Quite literally, in the checkbooks we hold. And there are things we can do. On a grand scale, I’d like to see faithful Catholics of means set up formal escrow accounts. (For the national initiative, we could lightheartedly take the name “St. Escrow’s.”) Those accounts will receive the monies those Catholics would otherwise have given to their bishops. Annually, a board of faithful laymen will review each bishops’ decisions, and pay him what he deserves.

For ordinary Catholics? Well, a very faithful priest in an appallingly liberal diocese once offered this suggestion. If you have a good pastor and parish, but don’t want to fund your bishops’ open-borders or big government activism — or his gay-dominated seminary — do this: Each week or month write your pastor a personal check. Make it out to him, not the parish. He can do it with it what he wills, and you’ll trust him to spend it wisely. The bishop’s not entitled by any law, canon or civil, to one red cent.

Time for a General Council, Like Nicaea?

On the macro scale, of course, I don’t know how to fix things. That’s in God’s hands. Based on my long study of Church history, I’d say that we’re in a crisis on the order of the fourth-century Arian heresy. That wasn’t solved by electing hardline popes and expecting them to pursue successful purges. It was addressed by repeated universal Councils of Church bishops. Those used to gather bishops, orthodox and heretical alike, and force them to hash out fundamental differences of doctrine. When they taught dogmatically, they trusted the Holy Spirit to guard their conclusions from error. Councils like that affirmed the divinity of Christ, for instance.

Such councils proved long, protracted, painful and divisive. But they gave us the clear tenets of the orthodox faith shared by faithful Christians. Christ told us that He would guard the Church from error in such instances. It’s time to take Him at His word.