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Nothing has so typified mankind since his fall from Paradise as his irrational yet constant urge for self-destruction. It is this urge, which originally lost him the Garden of Eden, which causes him to make plenty into famine, virtue into vice, peace into war, life into death, heaven into hell, causing the demons to triumph for a brief time.

We have no better contemporary example than that of Iraq. This, once the site of Eden, then became the site of Babylon. Today it is the site of a living hell, as tens of thousands of Iraqis, men, women and children, are either blown to pieces or else maimed for life, by fanatical suicide bombers: the very images of the human urge for self-destruction.

Suicide is now almost an innate characteristic of many human-beings. This tendency is particularly tragic in Church life. The Church is supposed to be heaven on earth. And yet we know that the Church is also the place of crucifixion. Opposed to the Church, like a solid wall, is today’s religious indifference of the masses. Whether nominally Christian or not, it changes little. Their lukewarmness, or only ever so slightly masked contempt and hostility, reduces the Church to a minority activity, making Her influence minimal.

Their indifference, if not indifferentism, is often ‘justified’ by scandals in Church life. They say: ‘I cannot go to church, because this layman is an ignoramus, because that deacon is an alcoholic, because this priest is a money-grubber, because that bishop is incompetent’. Their worldly way of thinking, which is actually only the pride of self-justification, does not stand up to criticism.

Firstly, if indeed the people in Church are so awful and they are so wonderful, why do they not contribute their talents, thus raising the general level?

Secondly, do they not understand that in the Church we cannot only receive grace because of the clergy, but also in spite of them? Christ gives the grace of his sacraments freely through the instruments of the clergy, whatever their personal weaknesses.

Thirdly, do they not understand the usefulness of suffering? God sends rain on the just and the unjust alike (Matt. 5, 45). In this way, the bad may yet become good. And as for the good, they too can benefit; the wheat will go stronger because of the competition from the weeds.

Of course, it is true that sometime situations are allowed to go on for so long that it seems as if the wheat will be choked and the weeds will altogether triumph. However, we should not despair. In such cases where men propose, God will dispose. Disaster will overtake those who do evil. Earthquake, wind, flood and fire will come. Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap (Gal. 6, 7). For: It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God (Hebrews 10, 31).


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