Emmitsburg Council of Churches

Acceptable Absurdity

Father John J. Lombardi

"Credo quia absurdum est.-I believe because it is absurd . " -Tertullian

Absurdities detract from God's Natural Order, and are the introduction to anarchy, and further the aim of the AntiChrist-Devil (see Jn. 10:10). Perhaps you don't want to believe it, but we are living in an increasingly crazed world! St Paul said: "There will come a time when people will stop listening to the truth and divert themselves with clever myths" (II Tim 4:3). Amidst the amazing crazy morality of a flip-flopped world, just remember: the curriculum of Catholicism is opposite the world's insanity-and its solution.

What are these absurdities?-you ask. Things like: "Same sex unions" are now promoted in our country , and, further, certain persons promote Bible interpretation to say "that-the Bible never really meant that" (i.e. Sodom and Gomorrah wasn't about immoral sexuality but was really about hospitality withheld; or the Bible didn't actually condemn homosexuality in (Rm. 1:26;ICor 6:9).   Sex-ed programs are promoted, teaching children, supposedly, to deter promiscuity-or to "be prepared", even though this has increased alarmingly in recent decades. Causal sex is common as well as condom programs. Then, further absurdity abounds in legalized abortion, which is an industry feeding upon all this-a disposable society. Further absurdity: when one proposes abstinence programs (see Mt. 5:8), like President Bush, they are ridiculed.

The Abortion-sex-contraceptive-education industry is an interlocking-directorate intimidating challengers. A "culture of death" prevails where abortions are rampant and partial birth abortion is, now, re-acceptable.  Elderly, handicapped and vulnerable persons are being euthanized, killed, and sometimes murdered in a disguise of "death with dignity" (see Dt. 30:19 ).  Catholic politicians supporting, publicly, legalized abortion and "same-sex marriage" are receiving Holy Communion, and-- further absurdity--people who question this are labeled "politicizing-intolerants" (see I Cor 11:28-29).  Scientists are harvesting body parts of babies, thru stem cell research, and then disposing the body parts as if they were trash.   More people are driving truck-like vehicles as never before. These "truculent transporters" do not seem practical in our oil-weary days. And then: people complain about gas prices and, further, have the gall to accuse President Bush for going to war over oil!

The author George Orwell intimated (in his novel, "1984") there will come a time when life will get so absurd and people will call "white" "black," and "black" "white." We have reached a time when we are exchanging morality for anarchy. Originally, there was order in the Garden of Eden (Gn. 1-2), a supernatural plan and state of affairs made by God. But then the Devil/serpent subverted this by introducing alternative, serpentine knowledge to lure Adam and Eve away, into disorder: this is the Devils Ultimate aim-anarchy. Godly Order was rebelled against under the revolutionary rubric of the serpent's promise: "your eyes will be opened and you will be like gods and will know what is good and evil" (Gn. 3:4). A translation: Now, you humans, freed from oppression and delivered from mystery, will able to re-create knowledge and power, as you think best.

Bottom line: It's o.k. for Catholics to say-"The world without God is absurd." Tertullians' quip is just that-faith is the only response to our absurdist world where the above problems are increasingly mainstreamed. Perhaps one of the main tasks of a preacher today is to remind people of this. One of the main tactics of the Devil and secularism is to make Christians think we are crazy to believe such problems are absurd. After all, in today's progressivist, technologically-advanced world, who wants to be an extremist? Here's a description of how we got to where we are: Absurd things are cleared by a gradual promotion thru culture and people. The new idea or lifestyle of absurdity gradually becomes protected by legal, social and public groups. It then gets promoted, then mainstreamed; and then it is pushed on others.

Absurd, according to the American Heritage Dictionary, means: "ridiculously incongruous, or unreasonable." That is exactly what some people don't want you to think of their agendas or ideas but, rather, what they want you to appear as-unreasonable, ridiculously incongruous, intolerant of, say, opposing abortion, or "death with dignity" or condom programs.

One of the philosophies of current progressivists is that we, today, are enlightened, our forbearers were living in a "stone age" (or were Puritans). A common mantra for new morals is: "That-was-then-this-is-now" mentality. What they believed in was good for them but not for us. Besides, we can change the rules and laws of nature and God to suit our enlightened purposes.

Stop and ask: Are you, as a Catholic, really aware of what's really going on? Remember: attractive-though-dangerous ideas are like mental straightjackets which imprison mind and soul-and even cultures. The alternative for us Catholics, is promotion of Catholic Truth, which comes from God's Natural Law, the Bible and Holy Spirit. Jesus says, aware of this sinful situation: "The Advocate will teach you everything and remind you of all I taught you" (Jn. 14:26). Look: Believing what the world teaches will only bring troubles and harm-to yourself , your soul and loved ones.

What are some of the causes of "Acceptable Absurdity"?:

  • Relativism-the loss of objective truth: this pervasive and pernicious philosophy teaches there are no absolutes (in morality, for instance), or way of proving truth, so all is up grabs; and, so, all is changeable according to what is currently politically or immorally correct. The prophet Amos similarly warns: "And they abhor the one who speaks the truth" (Am 5:10).
  • Post-Christian world: Christendom once pervaded peoples with a unified system of truths; this is now divided, almost devastated. Where a vacuum exists, relativism filters in. The prophet Isaiah describes a similar situation: "Truth is lacking and the man who turns from evil is despoiled" (Isa. 59:15).
  • Chaos perpetuates: unless relativism and absurdist moralities are challenged, they will grow and will spread and engender more absurdity as when God viewed mankind once before: "In the eyes of God the earth was corrupt and full of lawlessness, all mortals led depraved lives on earth" (Gn 6:11).

Opposite all this is our Faith, with which is absurd to the world, but include just-as-interesting-claims. Consider: "The cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to those who are saved it is the power of God" (I Cor. 1:18 ). "Those who lose their life for My sake will find it" (Mt.16:25). "Anyone who wants to be my follower must deny himself and pick up his cross daily (Lk. 9:23).

Now, which Program are you choosing-the World's or Wisdom's?

The Bible and Christianity teach us: If you want to make sense of the senselessness, you must learn from Him, the Lord. The ego, the world, Satan will never give you Ultimate Answers, but only fictions and illusions. God's Way, though difficult at times, and seemingly beguiling, will bring liberation. You are called to perfect Union with the Creator Who creates harmony, not division

We get some bad teachers along the way. You know the usual suspects--self, Satan, and the sensuality of the world. They are totally confusing and befuddling, yet so many souls are learning from them. Oppositely, the Holy Spirit wants to extend the Kingdom to you. Satan, however, wants to cut you off thru the falsity of an "attractive anarchy".

Catholics have the treasured tradition of truth-we should not take it for granted in today's world. Seek the Light and Spread it like these sagely, saintly people. 

St Maximillion Kolbe defended the family to the point of death-will you?...St Margaret of Cortona gave up a life of wrongful sexuality and marriage for penance-she can help people using contraception and sexuality.  St John Hospitaler, who mistakenly killed his own parents, but then dedicated his life to the poor and elderly infirm: so he can help us turn tide of euthanasia.  Ven Matt Talbot was a drunk, and then reformed by heroic holiness to help others, so he can help people on drugs.  St Patrick of Ireland helped preached the Commandments to Ireland, so he can help us restore the Commandments with your help.   Elijah the prophet (I Kg 21) gives heavy-duty advice and warning to King Ahab--using words like" repentance"-so he can help pro-abortion politicians today. Tough love is just that--it is tough, because the stakes, and sin, are deep and real (i.e., don't forget: absurd). And tough love is also a form of love, as when Jesus turned over, in righteous anger, the moneychangers tables in the Temple (Jn.2:13ff )

What to Do:

  • Stay rooted in the Truth thru the Holy Bible, Catechism and Church Teachings. You diet on food so why not diet on Truth? Study your Faith, know and learn it, defend it. Remind yourself, because we are all forgetful, and under siege
  • Ask the Holy Spirit's guidance-He is Divine and will lead you to all Truth. The Holy Spirit moves souls in one direction, helping them slice thru falsity and discord and will teach you the difference between death and life, shackles and joy. His direction is God and God-likeness for you
  • Read about the saints and how heroic they were in seeking, defending and loving the liberating Truth.
  • Talk to other holy people and keep rooted in your Relgion: Truth-like minds produce likeness of the divine
  • Preach the truth-and, as St Francis of Assisi says: "Use words if necessary". "Be persistent whether it is convenient or inconvenient" (II Tim. 4:2). Others are looking to you and depending upon you to manifest the truth in this increasingly absurdist world. Today we need leaders, in bishops and priests, and in laypersons living and working in the world. Will you lead?!
  • Continual conversion: by your recognition of Truth you will help others recognize God's Plan and Way as it encompasses all things
  • Meditate upon Truth: meditation means cracking the kernels of doctrines with a keen intellect to the inner core of realization of experiential truth which convicts and liberates

And, remember, like the saints: "Fight to the death for Truth" (Sir 4:28).

Read other reflections by Father John J. Lombardi