In his prophetic novel, "1984," George Orwell predicted the eventual evolution of society into a tyrannical state controlled by Big Brother. One of the keys to maintaining control over the thoughts of the people was the development of Newspeak, whereby a governmental lie is defined as "truth," vice as "virtue" and perpetual war as "peace." Sadly, the ever-evolving tyranny of political correctness and political obfuscation is making Newspeak a reality in our lifetime, thus confirming the validity of Orwell's predictions.
But this Newspeak is not only decisively dominating secular society, over the past half century it has also become lethally entrenched in the language of the Church, which was established by Christ to be the pillar and foundation of truth (I Tim 3:15). For example, translations of the Sacred Scriptures have been distorted from the original meaning to less "offensive" and more "inclusive" terminology, so as to appease the demands of radical feminists. Bishops quickly changed the words of institution over the chalice from "for all men" to "for all" in order to appease the demands of radical pro-abortion feminists. But when faithful Catholics pointed out that the proper words of institution at Mass, as clearly taught in the Roman Catechism, are not "for all" but "for many," Church leaders insisted that it was a non-issue, since "all" and "many" both mean the same thing - the teaching of the Roman Catechism notwithstanding.
As a result of these and numerous other capitulations to the demands of political correctness to value relevance over the clear teachings of Divine Revelation, catechesis has degenerated to the point where it merely conveys religious information, while discouraging the formation of serious religious convictions. As Michael Voris of churchmilitant.com has pointed out, such faithful Catholics are accused as being strong on clarity, but weak on charity.
All this has come to a devastating climax with the ecclesial Newspeak having de facto banned both the word and the concept of "sacrilege" from the active vocabulary of the Church. The insidious and diabolical reason for this is that the elimination of the term, sacrilege, leads souls to trivialize the seriousness of sin, the sacredness of our humanity and the sacredness of our relationship, both personally and communally, with God. This leads people to believe that, if nothing is really serious or sacred, sin is not an act of desecration nor a personal offense against God, but only a technical violation of some rule or commandment that is not that important anyway. Note how the word and concept of sacrilege has been carefully excised from our consciousness as Catholics. Instead of sacrileges, we now have liturgical abuses or aberrations.
Instead of sacrileges, we merely refer to inappropriate attire or behavior in church. Instead of sacrilege, we now refer to the desecration of our bodies as sexual misconduct. This tragedy is compounded by the fact that so many, under the banner "All are welcome", are actually given the impression that the sacrilege of receiving the Eucharistic Christ in a state of serious sin is a non-issue. They are urged to presume upon God's mercy, rather than humbly, gratefully and contritely receive that mercy through the ministry of a priest in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. The insidious dimension of this presumptuous assumption, though, is that, if nothing is really sacred, the only options for dealing with the disfiguring power of sin would be to abide either in the alienated arrogance of a pseudo-righteous indignation or in an ever-festering and metastasizing regret or guilt, which cripple the soul's ability to receive the gift of life-saving repentance. If nothing really is sacred, there is no real escape from the vicious cycles of addiction, resentment, self-deprecation and disorientation.
And if nothing is really sacred, none of us has any real value beyond our usefulness for fulfilling short-sighted agendas, which are so often based on perverted premises. As the melancholic theme song of our secularized society proclaims, "Sweet dreams are made of these . . . .".
As indicated above, this whole amoral conundrum is complicated by the popular trend to compound serious sin by attempting to enter sacramental communion with the Eucharistic Christ without first having that sin absolved in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. In this way, the soul, wittingly or unwittingly, abuses the Eucharistic Christ, so as to ratify and eternally seal it in the blindness of its sin-seared conscience and in the virulent infections of evil, which tend to destroy its ability to appreciate its true identity and dignity as a sacred creature, whom God wills to lovingly form in His image and likeness.
As strange as it may seem, the humble and contrite recognition of the real danger of sacrilege in our lives is the only way to access the gracious love and salvation offered to the world in the midst of the greatest of all sacrileges, the sadistic and brutal crucifixion of the Son of God. In His profound mercy, God offers those willing to admit and repent of the sacrilege of their sins not only pardon, but also the pure gift of eternal life. Those, however, who seek salvation by excuses, resentments and desecration of the Eucharistic Christ, will end in a bitterness of soul, mind and body for all eternity. Thus it is that whoever exalts himself will be humbled, but whoever humbles himself through sincere contrition based on the truth of God, will be exalted.
Spero columnist Rev. Thomas Collins is a Catholic priest in the service of the people of Virginia.