Chesterton, comparing and contrasting Sts. Francis of Assisi with St. Thomas Aquinas, said, “[I]t is the paradox of history that each generation is converted by the saint who contradicts it most.”
Chesterton was not a prophet, but a genius. As such, his observations of history serve as predictions of the future. Pope John Paul II became pope when detente was still in the air, when Jimmy Carter was urging the world to accept the perpetualism of Soviet communism, when Americans were told that our best days were behind us. Yet JPII contradicated all of these things. He was an anti-Communist, anti-fascist, life-embracing extrovert. He, more than Reagan, was Carter’s opposite. Where Carter saw futility, John Paul saw opportunity. Where Carter saw malaise, John Paul saw hope. Where Carter sought compromise, John Paul sought victory. Where Carter felt doubt, John Paul felt the courage of saints. It was a if St. Francis’s Prayer sought to replace all of Carter’s vices with all of John Paul’s virtues.
In 2005, the culture of death is the dominant culture in the upper circles of Western life. Moral relativism, the “sanctity” of death and murder pervade even conservative circles. (Apologies to Michelle in Texas and Dr. Taylor and James Joyner and my other good friends who find no death culture–you are simply wrong and narrow in your thinking.) This generation says the Catholic church needs a “liberal” pope who endorses homosexuality, sexual promiscuity, divorce, abortion, free sex, and general licentiousness.
The Holy Ghost thinks otherwise.
Last week, my 11-year-old asked, “Why are there so many girls getting raped and murdered?” What a question. The query so depressed me that I could not answer. Patrick understood my pained silence and turned around, leaving the room and me alone with his haunting question.
Why are so many little girls getting abducted, raped, and murdered?
My answer, after reflection, is that licentiousness has been winning for many years. Our culture has chosen to protect the child molester from the community instead of the innocent child from the molester. Not a single significant psychiatrist will argue with this statement: a child molester will remain a child molester until he his castrated, and possible after. But our laws protect the molester, offering our little boys and girls as sacrifices to this epitome of our depravity.
So at a time when the elites–MOST college professors, MOST writers, MOST philosphers, MOST artists, MOST journalists–believe we need less moral direction, the Catholic church elects a Pope who epitomizes the opposite.
The Catholic-hating left likes to call the new Pope “God’s Rottweiler,” after the deadliest dog in America–a breed that frequently turns on its master. In reality, he is our German Shepherd, a noble, beautiful breed that protects its family with ferociousness. German Shepherds, if you’ve ever owned one, know the rules and demand obedience. They love their families enough to keep them safe. The left disregards humanity enough to let it die in vain.
Chesterton’s quip describes our pontiff exactly: he’s the pope who most contradicts our generation. And I trust in Jesus that he will convert it.
UPDATE: I missed this great Chesterton piece on Donegal Express. But don’t you miss it.