Last week we learned, or re-learned, the Church's teaching on homosexuality. I want to come back to this topic on the blog sometime next week. Now, however, I'd like to touch on a couple of items I read yesterday.
While perusing the CNN site, I found an article about states placing new restrictions on abortion and on Planned Parenthood funding.
Read: "More states restrict abortions; group says trend 'unparalleled'"
Yes, it was a nice change of pace to read about a few pieces of legislation taking steps toward protection of the unborn. But, a quick scroll through the comments in response to the article clearly shows the chasm of thinking that reveals the nature of the issue - one that is much bigger than the political arena.
Upon reading the comments, it looks like any traditional understanding of freedom, truth and reason has been lost in secular society. I would also point out that this is the case even among Catholics regarding essential issues surrounding what it is to be human.
Does this leave us hopeless for the future? Is it even worth continuing to stand for any sort of truth or standard? Does anything have substantial meaning or worth? Is it all relative? Should I scream with the masses, "I create myself, and my happiness"?
Pope Benedict's first volume of Jesus of Nazareth provides insight into the "common mentality" adopted by society over the last couple hundred years.
In commenting upon Jesus' temptation in the desert, Benedict points out Jesus' inner struggle surrounding his own mission, and addresses "the question as to what truly matters in human life." He goes on, "At the heart of all temptations, as we see here [Jesus' temptation in the desert], is the act of pushing God aside because we perceive him as secondary, if not actually superfluous and annoying, in comparison with all the apparently far more urgent matters that fill our lives. Constructing a world by our own lights, without reference to God, building on our own foundation; refusing to acknowledge the reality of anything beyond the political and material, while setting God aside as an illusion."
This is the fundamental moral problem so apparent today. God is secondary to my life, to my happiness, to my problems. A lack of recognition that I did not create myself, therefore I have been given this life. Everything is given to me. I cannot create a happiness for myself that satisfies the infinite longings of my heart.
Even "holy people" are not immune to the effects of such a culture.
"God is the issue: Is he real, reality itself, or isn't he? Is he good, or do we have to invent the good ourselves? The God question is the fundamental question, and it sets us down right at the crossroads of human existence." These are the questions Pope Benedict leaves us with, and, I feel, they are necessary questions to ask ourselves if we are to engage with the dominant societal mentality. Understanding life as gift and approaching every situation from that stance puts us in proper moral standing with God. Standing before, and being strengthened by Being itself is the only way to move forward in the midst of so frightening an opposition.