For many years now the chief shepherds of the flock of the Lord have been speaking boldly about the "culture of death" and the "dictatorship of moral relativism." They remind us that the tasks ahead are not easy ones, and that the consequences of ignoring them are grave. Our fathers in Faith have taught us that the spirit of murder and the spirit of falsehood are always in partnership, that the culture of death is necessarily a culture of lies. This present age ("this present darkness," St. Paul calls it) tells lies to us all the time. Whenever the lie is not a boldfaced inversion of truth it is a distortion of truth, often manifesting itself as a vast cloud of impressions that weaken our understanding of the ultimate real. The overwhelming forces that spread such falsehood in our times are the communications and entertainment industries, which by and large have become the dominant form of culture, with a subsidiary assist from state-funded arts and mammon-motivated newspapers.I particularly appreciate the phrase that we live in a "vast cloud of impressions that weaken our understanding of the ultimate" reality. It reminds me of C.S. Lewis' Space Trilogy, where the demon undermined the understanding of the new Eve by repeatedly telling her different stories. No one story was particularly bad, but there was something small wrong with each of them. Taken as a whole, they had a very powerful effect.
Thursday, May 05, 2005
In a recent newsletter, Michael O'Brien described the state of moral confusion in our culture this way (emphasis mine):