Catholic Transcript Magazine of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Hartford Connecticut

Monday, April 23, 2018

Is the moral condition of the world today one of hopelessness? Has Christ been finally driven out of most aspects of the contemporary scene? There are those who would be quick to respond affirmatively to such frightening questions – and gladly, so it seems.

Need we take valuable time to collect a list of the abysmally low moral deficits of the world gone astray today? Abortion and even infanticide have emerged anew. Abortion is even protected by legal fictions, and efforts are being made to justify forms of infanticide. Euthanasia has reappeared in practice, and physician-assisted suicide introduced in various lands. The absurd notion of "same-sex marriage" is in vogue everywhere, it seems; also, defense of adoptions within such "marriages." Sterilizations are widely viewed simply as ethically neutral options, and artificial contraception defended as a "right" for which society in general is expected to bear the costs. Moral standards for entertainment have largely been destroyed. Perjury is viewed as justifiable, depending on the reason. Homosexual behavior is deemed defensible; indeed, everything and anything can be labeled as permissible, so long as the "situation" warrants – a "situation" totally without God, hence devoid of key moral compass points.

There are also so many who must wrestle on the grand scale with various dehumanizing theories or movements, such as gross secularism, or socialism or moral relativism or the manipulation of currency, or resort to questionable business practices. (Furthermore, wars do not happen in vacuums.)

Again, is there any hope? Can the world be set right again, ever? Or is it too late? Is everything of truth and goodness lost, lost forever? One recalls the ominous prophetic warnings of the Nobel Laureate less than a century ago:

"Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;/ Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,/ The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere/ The ceremony of innocence is drowned…" (The Second Coming, W.B. Yeats, 1921)

But the poet was writing from a Christian perspective, and a Christian is never permanently trapped in pessimism. The present situation of the world can be turned around and illumined with the light of Christ again. The key is Christ’s Resurrection, the light and warmth of another Easter, the light and warmth of the Divine Mercy. Christ gives mankind another chance, as it were, regardless of the depths of degradation into which the contemporary world has penetrated. Granted that mankind has turned away from Christ, who is really the only goal worthy of mankind’s pilgrimage, and without whom everything shatters to the touch like so much cheap glass. Everything can be made new again, in Christ, and only in Christ. Indeed, as Pope Benedict XVI stressed in his encyclical, Caritas in Veritate, a "humanism without Christ is an inhuman humanism."

Easter, in other words, is the Solemnity of Hope. Hope is generated and secured by the Divine Mercy, which is defined as God’s love freely bestowed upon the sinner. The decaying moral climate in which we live can be overcome.