Anthony T. Massimini, Ph. D.
I was in high school during World War II. After D-Day, June 6, 1944, I bravely fantasized running onto the beach at Normandy with the invading Americans. I would have proudly done everything I could for my beloved America. Today I mourn for it.
I fear that an ever increasing number of us have lost respect for our unalienable right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness for all Americans, and for the rule of law contained in our Constitution.
our nation is experiencing an historical change. The predominate color of our population is changing from White to Black and Brown. In strong reaction, a frightened and frightening portion of White Americans, deeply committed to the notion of White privilege, have fallen into mindless, soul-sapping, aggressive social and political anger, and even violence against our fellow Americans of color. Such behavior is not only immoral, but in its intensity it has it has fallen to the depth of our losing our God-given human dignity and integrity. The result is that America is losing its soul and is falling beyond moral collapse into spiritual collapse.
We are losing touch with our deepest selves–with our humanity itself and with God. If we continue on this path we will lose not only ourselves but our democracy and our country.
This spiritual collapse has been a long time coming. I can think back to the 1960’s when our World War II and 1950’s culture fell apart and was followed by the naive immaturity of the Hippies, Woodstock and the “Coming of the Age of Aquarius,” with its naive vision of “peace and understanding.” Unhappily, what followed was the 1970’s and the “Me Generation.”
We are choking in the ashes of an educational, religious and cultural collapse. What we have left is a society in which people are murdered on the streets and in places of employment almost every day. Today a former employee murdered eight of his former co-workers. Then, in a symbol of our times, he killed himself. Our culture is killing itself.
Too many of us have forgotten who we are as humans, Americans and the People of God. We are living a lie. St. John tells us that Satan is the Father of Lies. (Jn. 8:44) And perhaps the worst lies are the lies that we tell to ourselves. Many corporate executives lie to themselves and believe that they deserve to be paid hundreds of times more than the employees. Lies flood the Internet. The self-deluded Evangelical preachers lie about their “messages” from God.
We are drowning in political lies. President Trump told 30,000 lies during his tenure in office. There is a reason for his behavior: he is the victim of the emotionally and spiritually brutal treatment inflicted on him by his father. But as president, he found a vast number of Americans who, in their own way, had begun to lose their sense of truth and humanity. Together, they formed a perfect storm.
The storm particularly showed itself on January 6th when a mob of demented Trump followers attacked our Capitol, causing five deaths and coming horrifically close to harming and maybe causing the death of members of Congress and even of Vice President Pence.
And yet, the storm continues. A politician appeared on TV and calmly stated that the lethal attack was no different from an ordinary day when tourists visit the Capitol. In Arizona, Trump’s followers are conducting a recount of votes, idiotically looking for bamboo in the ballots. The House of Representatives removed a member from her duties because she told the truth, while, as above, it permits other members to tell truly insane lies. Such human emptiness is beyond immorality. It is a fall into evil!
So, what are the People of Christ called to do in this present spiritual collapse? Well, the Catholic bishops have one answer: denying Communion to President Biden because he is “pro choice” regarding abortion. And then what?
What are the Catholic laity (ever decreasing in number) being trained and commissioned to do in their everyday lives to help bring our society back to life? They are the Church in today’s broken society. The Spirit of Christ fills the world, giving them the grace of enlightenment , strength and vocations to get actively involved in our society to help make it ever more clearly the Kingdom of God on Earth.
They are personally engaged in society every day. And they enjoy the grace of Christ to give them insight into the worlds of the family, education, work, politics, etc. They are the ones called by God to physically, morally and spiritual care for and elevate our society to make it more Christ-like in justice, order, peace, respect, etc., etc., all of which are expressions of love.
So I suggest that the bishops put down the Book book of Canon Law and pick up the Gospels, the Acts of the Apostles and see how the Church really should operate. Of course, I recommend as absolutely necessary, that they read the teachings of Vatican II, for which they have never shown a real understanding or will to implement.
In the meantime, may God give the laity the insight and will to implement their faith to help bring our everyday society one little step closer to being the Kingdom of God on Earth that Jesus prayed for.
(Tony was a professor at the seminary when I was there 1964-1971. He is a good friend, mentor and spiritual advisor.) HIs is blog is: https://the21stcenturyamericancatholic.blogspot.com/