The Abecedarian Revolution

In the end—as in the beginning—every rational precept, every logical connection, every possible system of human or angelic thought, is predicated on a single truth: A is A. This ultimate and absolute equivalency is not merely inspired or revealed by the Divine Reason; it is the actual Name of God Himself. When He proclaimed to Moses, “I Am Who Am” (Exodus 3:14), He stated the axiom that is the cornerstone of all Creation. Because sin darkens the intellect, however, those who say with Milton’s Satan, “Evil, be thou my good”—the very ones who most desperately need the Alpha and Omega—have begun their search for meaning by blinding themselves to the bedrock principle that God is God. From this sandy foundation rises the inverted ziggurat that is our present Babel. It can, by its nature, only destroy—which leaves us to consider how much ruin it can perpetrate before it finally destroys itself.

The Venerable Fulton J. Sheen once outlined four stages in the history of the Church, roughly broken into 500-year chunks and defined by the distortions and depravities that assailed her in each period. The first three crises were (in brief) the Christological heresies, the Eastern schism, and the Reformation. The calamity he decried in 1974—now swollen to nightmare proportions—was, simply, the world. The spirit of the world, seeping into our every pore. Hyper-sexualized YouTube ads aimed at three-year-olds. Genders left blank on birth certificates. The growing, clamoring movement to render free citizens literally faceless, and minutely regulate the manner in which they are permitted to breathe.

Because A is, in fact, A, consequences do in fact follow choices, even if we don’t want them to. The logic whereby the selfsame city councilors can defund the Minneapolis police and also excoriate the Minneapolis police for a mysterious rise in crime, is the logic that burns a great American city—the logic that, claiming to champion minorities, predominantly lays waste to small, minority-owned businesses that will never be able to recover. The logic whereby man is not man, nor woman woman, is the intellectual sinkhole whereby the radical left is compelled to applaud a being like Fallon Fox, the mixed martial artist who “switched genders” and went on to pummel female MMA fighters by virtue of his greater strength. And, speaking of MMA—the lunatic rationale that led Disney, implacable shaper of our children’s dreams, to systematically depopularize the character of Luke Skywalker in service to an ideology, even at the cost of losing millions (Get Woke, Go Broke), also led them to uphold the ideal of the strong, independent woman by firing Gina Carano for having the strength and independence to formulate an opinion that differed from their own. Examples of this moral insanity proliferate too swiftly for enumeration, and rare is the day when some news item does not evoke C.S. Lewis’ “sure mark of evil: only by being terrible do they avoid being comic.”

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Lent: A Time for Repentance, Forgiveness, and Turning Away from Idols

I have spent the last seven weeks mostly away from media of all forms, thanks to Exodus 90, a 90-day ascetic exercise for Catholic men in which participants join together in fraternity to pray and fast. Like the Israelites, we partakers in this spiritual exercise leave our own, albeit lesser, forms of bondage—ours chosen by way of worldly attachments—and venture into the wilderness, where we must rely on God’s providence alone to set us free. There are 13 ascetic “disciplines” including cold showers, two fasting days per week, a daily holy hour, and internet and computer abstinence (other than for necessary tasks, like work).

Going in, I knew that giving up media would be the most difficult. I’ve always been a religion and politics junkie. Until January 4th (the first day of Exodus), I spent much of my free time reading commentaries—on the Church, on culture, on politics. So, when I committed to going without for three months, I knew I would miss the daily buzz, particularly my favorite commentators whom I could always trust to confirm my biases, good and bad. Even though I dreaded giving up my favorite pastime, I anticipated that it would be at least somewhat good for me to take a break. I knew that media could make me distracted and somewhat irritable. What I didn’t know is that my time away from the fray would lead me to repent of idolatry.

Like many Americans (and surely many Christians, at least the ones I know), I became absorbed in the 2020 election cycle. I consumed political commentary at an alarming rate, even for a stalwart like me. I was on edge, irritable, anxious. I was argumentative with family members who didn’t share my views. Far too often I let my mood be dictated by the ever-changing polling numbers. I worried incessantly about what would become of the Church in America if “we” lost our political sway. Although at the time I convinced myself that this was a normal—even healthy— part of an election cycle, the months since the election have shown me just how much I had erred.

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