by Justin Soutar
The long-anticipated visit of Pope Francis to the United States takes place at a critical juncture in the history of our nation. America is in profound crisis in many respects, and the symptoms of this crisis are painfully evident throughout our society and culture.
We have a crisis of leadership in Washington, where corrupt politicians continue to sacrifice the common good to the interests of a greedy few while threatening and bullying their principled colleagues into submission. We have a crisis of personal responsibility, in which people make excuses for their faults, rationalize away their sins and evil habits, and blame other people and circumstances for their problems. We have a socioeconomic crisis characterized by a yawning gap between rich and poor Americans, a high poverty rate and the near-total disappearance of a healthy middle class. We have a fiscal crisis with ever-increasing government spending fueling a runaway national debt, aided and abetted by a highly secretive and largely unaccountable Federal Reserve. We have a crisis of education, in which growing numbers of American citizens know little or nothing about the early history and development of our nation, the religious and moral values of the Founders, or the principles and philosophy undergirding our Constitution. We have a crisis of human life, in which abortion remains legal and subsidized by federal tax dollars while assisted suicide and euthanasia are being pushed at the state level. We have a crisis of religious liberty and moral conscience rights, in which millions of Americans are being forbidden to publicly practice their religion and compelled by federal mandate or judicial fiat to do what they know is wrong under penalty of heavy fines or jail time. We have a crisis of marriage and family life characterized by low marriage and birth rates and high divorce rates, widespread addiction to pornography, millions of out-of-wedlock pregnancies and single-parent households, and immoral homosexual relationships legally glorified as "marriages". We have a crisis of truth in which the public is deliberately misinformed about critical domestic, foreign, and environmental issues by a consumerist-driven mainstream media in order to advance the private interests of a handful of Fortune 500 business executives, while personal opinion and virtual reality have become substitutes for objective truth. And we have a crisis of love, in which many people relentlessly pursue their own interests and follow their own selfish desires in the name of "love" with little or no concern for the good of the other person or the wider community.
All of these various crises our nation is experiencing can be said to flow from two in particular: a crisis of faith in God and a crisis of moral values. America is losing her way because she has tossed her religious and moral compass overboard, recklessly abandoning faith and trust in God and foolishly refusing the sure guidance of His Law. She is being gradually transformed from a Christian country into a radically secularist one, with moral relativism replacing traditional Judeo-Christian moral norms grounded in natural law. Religion and morality, the two great pillars of the foundation on which our nation was built, are crumbling. Thanks to her own insanity and stupidity, America is now drifting into dangerous waters and risking the possibility of shipwreck.
It is in this dark and uncertain time in our nation's history that God, in His infinite mercy, sends us the brilliant light of His humble servant Pope Francis with the challenging and prophetic message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ--a message of truth and love, a message of faith and hope, a message of repentance and conversion, a message of mercy and forgiveness, a message of personal responsibility, of respect for human rights, of peace and justice, of care for the common good, of the beauty of marriage and family life according to God's plan. The word of this Gospel message, conveyed by both word and example, will carry within it the power to revive our dying nation and restore our former greatness--but this power will only be activated if we the people of the United States listen carefully to the message, accept it in its fullness, take it to heart, and follow it faithfully in our daily lives. Let us pray that America will be receptive to this powerful, life-giving message and take it to heart so that it can rescue her from the path of self-destruction and lead her on towards a better future.
Copyright 2015 Justin D. Soutar. All rights reserved.