To paraphrase Pope St. Paul VI, “From some fissure, the ‘woke’ of Satan has entered the temple of God.” A recent article from the Washington Examiner stated, “The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., has reportedly displayed a painting that depicts George Floyd as Jesus Christ in two locations on campus.” While the death of George Floyd while in police custody is a tragedy that was perhaps avoidable, to depict this criminal as a Christ-like victim in the arms of the Blessed Mother is almost too “woke” to bear. Additionally, it is being reported that the Salvation Army is instituting a program to reeducate its workers and donors to apologize for their whiteness and racism, declaring that America is inherently racist (although it has been shown that America is probably the least racist nation in the world today).
Recently students at a Catholic high school walked out on a lecture by a pro-life activist. Archbishop Cordileone (Archbishop of San Francisco) wrote an open letter to these students stating, “This action put on full display one of the blind spots of youth due to young people’s lack of extended life experience: gullibility.” He further explains and cautions them, “Do not be victims of the culture. There are powerful forces in our country that use slogans to co-opt you into being agents of their own self-serving agendas. You must see through the lies. Abortion “providers” are not for choice: Every birth for them is a lost sale.”
Today’s counterculture and the tyranny of moral relativism have twisted the development of today’s youth through indoctrination, peer pressure, and fear of thinking for oneself. Wherever they turn they are bombarded with messages telling them how to think, how to act and how to be part of the “reality” of the world today regardless of the fact that most of this reality is made up by those who wish to control everyone.
Professor Anthony Esolen calls this “physiophobia, fear and loathing of what is real.” However, as Catholics, Jesus called us to be in the world but not of the world. (see Jn 15:19) St. Paul admonishes us do not conform to this world (Rom 12:2), noting “For the wisdom of this world is folly with God (1 Cor 3:19).” Instead of taking the world as it is, these people are trying to make the world into something that is not real. Thus, they deny the reality of abortion as murder; they deny the integrity of human life; they deny the reality of there being only 2 sexes; they deny the reality (and necessity) of the family; and they deny the reality of God working in our world. They are encouraged to be triggered (offended) by anything and everything around them whether it’s a banana peel carelessly tossed on a tree branch or someone wearing a red hat. In fact, many of them feel that if they aren’t offended by something every day, they’re being denied some entitlement.
None of this is even remotely Christian. Many of these philosophies are based in socialism and communism; Marxist at the core. Aside from not ever being successful for governing people, these philosophies are contrary to Christianity, which is based on the integrity of each and every human being. Christianity is based on love – “God is love and he who abides in love abides in God and God abides in him.” (1 Jn 4:16) Regardless of the secular attempts to convince us that abortion is an act of love, the only love involved is self-love which inherently hates everything else. It is also a total denial of family, a basic element of God’s plan for mankind and society. The family is the basic societal unit. Similarly, transgenderism and the self-mutilation that it promotes is also a denial of God and God’s plan. Additionally, these attitudes are built on lies, such as the lie that the child in a mother’s womb is merely a blob of flesh. In reality it is a separate and unique human being, distinct from its mother and NOT just a blob of flesh growing inside the woman as if it were a tumor.
Today people are encouraged to “do their own thing,” like Sinatra’s “I Did It My Way.” This, too, is a denial of God and His plan. Furthermore, you can never really do it your way – you are being pushed and influenced by the culture and people around you. The only true freedom is to act within the natural law, God’s law; to do what is right and just.
“Social justice” is another place the cancel culture has co-opted society. Anything that runs contrary to “political correctness,” defined by whatever some group of elites deems it to be on any particular day, becomes a matter of social justice. Instead, there are basic guidelines of humanity and human integrity which can provide an unchangeable basis for true justice. For example, the Catholic Church has an extensive and comprehensive document, entitled the Compendium of Catholic Social Doctrine, outlining true social doctrine based on scripture and the natural law as revealed by God. This doctrine reflects 2000 years of consistent learning and faith and will not change on the whim of the populace.
Archbishop Cordileone acknowledges that living according to true justice will not be easy. “Advocating for justice in an unjust society is not glamorous. Indeed, it will make you social outcasts, not welcomed in the circles of polite society, much less of the socially elite. You will be scorned, mocked, and ridiculed. You will have to develop very thick skin.” This is exactly what Jesus told his disciples. “If the world hates you, know that it hated me before it hated you.” (Jn 15:18)
Jesus is “the way, and the truth and the life.” (Jn 14:6) The “woke” culture is not based in truth. If you are a Christian, you will endeavor to live in the truth. Consequently, again to paraphrase a former pope (Pope Pius XI), no one can be “woke” and be a true Christian. (Pius XI’s actual words are, “No one can be at the same time a sincere Catholic and a true socialist.”)