The Infidelity of the Future: The Great Apostasy Michael D. O’Brien “When the Son of Man returns, will he find any faith left on earth?” (Luke 18: 18) As in every generation, the “near future” approaches, never quite materializing in … Continue reading
the Apocalypse foretold by Old and New Testament prophets and by Christ must not be viewed as a purely symbolic mega-drama enacted as high theatre sometime in the safely distant future. When the foretold events actually occur, they will be experienced at ground level by all kinds of people, in a variety of subjective ways. If our times prove to be the ones prophesied, we too will experience it in our particular personal ways. The book asks, “Am I awake? Am I spiritually ready?”
This article appeared in the April, 1988, issue of The Canadian Catholic Review. Following it is an update on subsequent events concerning Matthew Fox, and some recent questions by the author. An Original Theology: Creation and Matthew Fox by Michael … Continue reading
This is not the time to hide in the catacombs.
1. You had some trouble getting your books published. What is the general reaction to them in the secularized West. Are Catholics the only people who read your books?
O’Brien: I receive many letters from believers and non-believers, telling me how much my books have meant to them. It is always a deep consolation, because for many years I could not get my books published in Canada, my homeland. My country is extremely secular, socio-politically similar to Germany and Holland. I wrote manuscripts from 1977 until 1995, and always the publishers told me they would publish my books if I deleted the Catholicism, or warped it. I always refused, and thus remained unpublished in my own native land. Even now, none of my novels have been published in Canada. When in 1995 I finally sent my manuscripts to a publisher in the USA, they were immediately accepted. Since then, during the past 15 years more than 12 of my books have been published. It was a good lesson for me about many things. For one, the true nature of secular culture, which is always tending toward the neo-totalitarian suppression of cultural freedom (as well as political freedoms); it is ever willing to lock Catholic culture into a ghetto. As Orwell once wrote: “Some of us are more equal than others.”
Yes, we are living in apocalyptic times. But this needs qualification. The Church, the sacred scriptures, the saints, the approved mystical apparitions, all speak about the end times within the context I would like to lay before you.
See the young people scattered throughout this crowd tonight. They are genuine heroes and heroines. They are the Church, they are the future,and we must feed them good food. They are the Body of Christ coming alive again in this dead zone, and if we neglect to nurture them we will be accountable for it on Judgment Day. We choose now. Not to choose is a choice. The kind of Church we will soon have in this country depends very much on how we choose. Unless we begin to see the nature of the problem accurately,and truly repent of our part in it, the Church is finished here. Unless there is an extraordinary change of heart, it is over. Throughout its long history the Church has died out in many regions of the world. Think of North Africa, which was once the glory of Christendom, think of other particular churches—they are gone! Why do we suppose that Our Lord has a huge investment in preserving a culture such as ours, in making this deathly civilization last a bit longer? He may do so, if there are “ten just men” still among us. And he may do so, if there is a widespread return to his holy will. Or he may not. It is not our task to weigh this matter, which is comprehensible only to God alone. Our task is to be faithful.
INSIDIOUS THREAT TO SENSE OF FATHERHOOD—Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger Warns against Dangers of Biotechnology
“In our days, we should not forget that they [Nazi extermination camps] prefigured the destiny of a world that runs the risk of adopting the same structure of the concentration camps, if the universal law of the machine is accepted. The machines that have been constructed impose the same law. According to this logic, man must be interpreted by a computer and this is only possible if translated into numbers. The Beast [of Revelation] is a number and transforms into numbers. God, however, has a name and calls by name. He is a person and looks for the person.”
The astonishing career of the Canadian Catholic painter William Kurelek is an anomaly in the history of modern religious art. His paintings hang in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Hirschhorn Museum of the Smithsonian Institute, the collection of Queen Elizabeth II, the National Gallery of Canada, the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, and several other museums in North America and Europe. During his lifetime he was honoured with more than thirty national and international awards, no less than six documentary films have been made of his life and work to date, and at least sixteen books of his stories and paintings have been published, including his great project, The Passion of Christ, a series of 160 illustrations of the Gospel of Matthew. Kurelek became increasingly well-known as his work was published and as he attracted more and more attention in international magazines. The New York Times called him “the North American Breughel.” Memories of his childhood surfaced in award-winning books such as A Prairie Boy’s Summer and A Prairie Boy’s Winter. His imaginative Northern Nativity, a redepiction of the birth of Christ in Canadian scenes, became a modern children’s classic. In later years he concentrated on several volumes which illustrated the life of the ethnic peoples of Canada: the Inuit, the Irish, the Jews, the Poles and the Ukrainians. At his death he left an estimated ten thousand works of art (a figure which includes major drawings), two thousand of which were paintings completed during the seventeen years between his first exhibition and his death in 1977. The fame which came to him during those public years was in stark contrast to the desolation of his early life as an artist, during which he labored under chronic depression and almost universal indifference to his message.
“It is a complex situation and a volatile one,” O’Brien said. “Pope Benedict has said very clearly that what is needed in the Middle East is a just solution for the three major parties, Israel, Lebanon and the Palestinian people.”
“This will take much prayer and sacrifice because the spirit of hatred and murder is at work,” he said.
O’Brien rejects either/or solutions that resemble choices between the devil and the deep blue sea. He said there is a third, God-given alternative that must be sought.
“Hezbollah are clearly the bad guys in the present situation,” he said, but Israel and Western nations must be extremely careful about resorting to a lesser evil to stamp out a bigger evil.