“Mother,” said the girl, “let me tell you again. Do you not understand that all which Jesus Christ promised has come true, though in another way? The reign of God has really begun; but we know now who God is. You said just now you wanted the Forgiveness of Sins; well, you have that; we all have it, because there is no such thing as sin. There is only Crime. And, then Communion. You used to believe that that made you a partaker of God; well, we are all partakers of God, because we are human beings.” – Lord of the World, Benson, R.H. (1907).
It will be but a footnote that the Court which delivered today’s decision concerning marriage also, in previous generations, declared that no Black person, whether slave or free, could ever be a citizen of the United States (Dred Scott), or that “separate but equal” discrimination was constitutional (Plessy v. Ferguson). We Catholics know that Roe v. Wade and its progeny also belongs in this category, while others view the Right to Abortion as part of the New Enlightenment.
Inasmuch as prior times were capable of bringing about flawed determinations of law, the cultural and social apex from which we now perch has deigned in its benevolence to deliver the Infallible. Humanity, we are told, is finally in its Wisdom.
Today’s decision will be lauded by the mainstream and the fliers of flags of rainbow-colored irony. Brilliantly uncatechized turncoat “catholics,” inhaling the same vapors and bedazzled by their millstones, will blush with embarrassment over the welcome given them. Meanwhile, the Faithful will be treated like the must caught in the wine press. The Church will speak of the rights and dignity of children, only to be pilloried with memes about pedophilia and hypocrisy.
Truly, as far as social secular order is concerned, there is no longer sin, only crime. And there is no longer morality, only legality. What follows is yet to be seen, although there is prophecy, and precedent. Rome fell when, for all its decadence and hedonism, it did not attempt to redefine the nature of marriage.
We have been outflanked. What could not be foreseen until a short while ago is demonstrable proof for the overwhelming Force at work. Benson saw only euthanasia but not abortion, and he left marriage and stable natural families intact at the End. Arguably it was assumed that these institutions were so sacrosanct that they required no active defense.
But now that such assumption is erased from the page, there is no need for further pretension. A crowd of voices demands a quickening of the movement to appease the craven. All need for patience is mooted. The careful gradualism that delivered us here has finally served its purpose:
These Justices [delivering the Majority Opinion of the Court] know that limiting marriage to one man and one woman is contrary to reason; they know that an institution as old as government itself, and accepted by every nation in history until 15 years ago, cannot possibly be supported by anything other than ignorance or bigotry. And they are willing to say that any citizen who does not agree with that, who adheres to what was, until 15 years ago, the unanimous judgment of all generations and all societies, stands against the Constitution. – Obergefell v. Hodges (2015), Scalia, J., dissenting.
Benson puts the meaning of this in perspective:
“Therefore, this new decree was as logical as [the antichrist] Himself — it was a judicial act on the part of an united world against a tiny majority that threatened the principle of life and faith: and it was to be carried out with supreme mercy; there was no revenge or passion or partisan spirit in it from the beginning to end; no more than a man is revengeful or passionate when he amputates a diseased limb…”
God help us, and dear friends, He will. He is doing so at this very moment, but we are called to be Faithful even if our suffering is in sight. As Benson would say, the time for self-regarding is passed. What will come at last to each of us who hold sight of God and His Commandments is “…that superb tranquility, possible only when the senses are physically awake, with which God, perhaps once in a lifetime, rewards the aspiring trustful soul — that point of complete rest in the heart of the Fount of all existence with which one day He will reward eternally the spirits of His children.”
As for intercession, let’s remember that St. Thomas More was martyred for his solidarity with us in this very same fight. It is our privilege to don this hair shirt with him. He continues to pray for us in Heaven and that God’s will be done. Let us follow his example, and pray as he did, pro rege, or rather pro res publica, even when king and country turn from the Truth. After all, we are all — in some fashion — converts, and no matter what “law” is enacted, Holy Church teaches that we are always free to choose the good.