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Herod’s orgies and our national shame
I am a Girl Scouts’ leader and I am concerned about the values that are being handed on to the youth. Examples are more important than words. The TV is full of vacuity and the political parties in power have unleashed every type of lewdness and immorality. Italy celebrates 150 years of independence but it gives the impression to the world of a foolish teenager. The only thing of value seems to be power, money and the attitude of getting away with everything beyond every human and divine law that can be twisted to one’s whim and pleasure. Why is it that the Church doesn’t shout with John the Baptist: ‘You are not allowed to do that?’ What to do?
Kate Cotta

“What shall we do?” was the first question directed to Saint Peter. The answer is clear: “Be converted”. Every sensible person is worried. The mass media have substituted the family’s educational role. Their ideal is “Herod’s orgy” (Mark 6:14-29). Power and freedom, wealth and beauty, pleasure and seduction are a crazy dance on behalf of the final dish: the platter with the prophet’s head, the man of the truth, a nightmare for the powerful. Also when dead!

The prophet is always critical of the powerful: he speaks the truth and pays the cost. Jesus did the same: He paid our salvation with the cross. Nowadays, however, those who use words (and images!) spread and defend the bad behavior of those in power. Those who accuse the powerful still put their head at risk.

God loves sinners. But to love the sinner means to hate sin. We must disentangle our sense of legality and justice: what is evil is evil and we must denounce whoever does it. Especially if they are in high position, because they scandalize and induce others to imitate them (Mark 9:42-49). Politicians don’t have the passport to slip through the customs any dirty deed with impunity as if it were “personal effect.” It stinks to high heaven over the whole country.

There is forgiveness but only for those who acknowledge their sins and stop doing them. Forgiveness becomes conversion to a new lifestyle. Woe to the Church if it sells itself with a lousy way of forgiving in exchange for favors. We must not make a fool of God (even if we mean well), taking advantage of His forgiveness in order not to change our bad behavior (Romans 2:4): “For admission has been secretly gained by some… who pervert the grace of our God into licentiousness” (Jude 4). “They use their freedom as a pretext for evil” (1 Peter 2:16). “By their wickedness, they suppress the truth” (Romans 1:18).

Truly, “dark clouds are gathering at the horizon”; we are called to responsibility. Politics are not dirty if they search for the common good and not favoritism. They are the highest form of charity. We are in need of politicians who are above (not under) suspicion. Let this proclivity that makes the whole world laugh at us come to an end! Why not to celebrate “National Shame Day”? In order to come out of what is bad, we have to experience shame and confusion (Saint Ignatius of Loyola). We must get angry at those who take all this for granted and discredit them.
No more connivance with these “liturgies” worthy of the Satyricon; enough of making confusion in order to fish in troubled waters! It is up to us believers and all those who have self-respect and respect for others to wake up from this nightmare to a new wisdom. Even if we love both good and bad people – we are all sinners – we must call evil what is evil and good what is good, without minding people or personal interests. More prophecy and less compromise.

To our patron saints Catherine and Francis, who lived during times that were not better than ours, we ask that our bishops may be less “yes-men” and more “yes-Lord” (Acts 5:29). Christians have the possibility, even the duty, of converting and changing the situation. Since we have hit the bottom, the future cannot be but better for our beloved, poor Italy!

© FCSF – Popoli, 1 marzo 2011