I continue to be amazed by how this secular society tries to twist Divine Mercy into blinking, happy-go-lucky acceptance of every behavior one can imagine. This warped and sinister reasoning follows a three-way distortion of logic, Church teaching, and Divine Mercy.
First, we are told that, since we are all created in God’s image, it therefore follows that we must be inherently good and, by extension, that everything we do is, at some point, inherently good. This twisted logic, of course, pretends that just because we are initially created in God’s image that, therefore, it follows that we are as infallible as God is. It is the height of logical absurdity to say, for example, that since we are created in God’s image our actions are created in the image of God’s actions. God is all good, loving, merciful, just, and wise. Is anyone who has not been drinking heavily lately willing to argue that we are all good, loving, merciful, just, and wise? Since we were initially created in God’s image, but somehow, along the way, have managed to mess that up to some degree, then it follows that we must be very capable of sin, distortion, confusion, and many other taints and stains on that initial beauty. In short, we may be created in God’s image, but that does not therefore mean that everything we do is inherently good, wise, or acceptable, as our distorted secular modernists would have us believe.
Following the above logic, if God is perfect and we are not and therefore fully capable of imperfection, then how can it be that such a God would then accept, embrace, and respect our imperfection? If perfection accepts imperfection, does not that perfection therefore become imperfect in the process which, in the case of God, is impossible?
Second, in order to cover up the twists and turns of the first distortion, a second distortion is put forth. Namely, that God accepts people as they are but that the Church is the one which has it all wrong, and has excluded, rejected, bullied, and abused anyone it deems different through the ages. Under this fable, we are supposed to believe that the Church is this evil institution whose main conduct over the ages has been to judge, reject, and persecute anyone who does not conform to its twisted view of what is right and wrong. This argument will focus on the clerical sexual abuse of children, the Spanish Inquisition, and anything else it can drag up to prove that the Church has been wrong a lot, and has hurt people a lot, simply because it has failed to protect and embrace the voiceless and marginalized in our society.
The problem with this second fable is that true history shows that, while the Church is imperfect because humans are imperfect, it has, by and large, done much more good than evil, and helped many more people than it has harmed, over the course of history. Also, Church positions are grounded in clear core Church teaching, and not fanciful notions created a few years ago. The argument contends that Church teaching which contradicts modern societal views is simply outdated, ancient, and narrow minded. Such contentions, of course, assume that current practices and values are somehow more enlightened, wise, and true to God’s original intent. Again, we go back to the distortion that modern thinking and practices are somehow better than anything believed or practiced in the past and that anyone contradicting modern thinking should be excluded, marginalized, rejected, and the like. It does not take a genius to see the absurdity of arguing that the Church has been guilty of excluding those who are different while at the same time having no problem with excluding, rejecting, mocking, and ignoring those who are different from that very same proposition. If there is one trait which modernist secular thinking is fully versed in, it is hypocristy!
Lastly, modern secular society confuses, either unintentionally or not, compassion with acceptance. According to this logical pretzel, the Good Samaritan’s actions mean that he was to fully accept, embrace, and welcome everything the injured man he helped practiced or believed! In other words, if the Good Samaritan happened to rescue a a thief, rapist, selfish lout, or atheist then, according to our learned secular modernists, the Good Samaritan would not really be “good” unless he “compassionately” embraced and accepted the theft, rape, selfishness, or disbelief in God exhibited by the man he rescued! One can only hope that these people do not seriously believe that, because one is compassionate, that means that one must therefore accept and embrace everything about the one assisted in one’s compassion! I can feed the hungry man who is a wife beater, for example, without embracing, accepting, promoting, and defending his abuse of his wife! Helping a dying thief does not mean that I embrace theft. Jesus loved the sinner without accepting the sin, as He so clearly demonstrated by telling the woman caught in adultery to “sin no more”. The modern distorters would have us believe that true love ultimately equates with total acceptance and welcoming of everything about the one loved, lest we be practicing exclusion and not “welcoming” the “different” one.
Christ’s beautiful promise of Divine Mercy comes to those who turn reject their wrong and sincerely seek forgiveness in a spirit of genuine, trusting humility, obedience, and conformity to God’s Word and Will. Ultimately, Divine Mercy is an open invitation to humbly conform, not a get-out-of-jail card!
It is eerie and ironic that modern secularism’s twisted view of Divine Mercy is reflected in the typical public school classroom, where administrators and faculty are either afraid to point out incorrect behavior or attitudes or have actually bought into the lie that wisdom and tolerance demand acceptance and even embracing dissident behavior. Modern secularism spews the fraud that differences are automatically to be celebrated, defended, embraced, accepted, and even promoted as opportunities for tolerance and rejection of intolerance and narrow-mindedness.
Modern educational theory, for example, increasingly mirrors this trend toward seeing compassion in diluted, blurred, all-embracing tolerance, acceptance, embracing, and even promotion of rebellion, insolence, ignorant arrogance, and victimization. Consequently, we see schools paralyzed at the whim of bullying, cheating, disrespectful, ignorant, and arrogant rebels who believe that the institution has a duty to cater to individual whim and agendas no matter what.
Christ embodies loving compassion and mercy in the face of sincere contrition, genuine humility, and a true desire to change. This Divine Mercy, so profoundly exhibited in the writings of St. Faustina, is the true example of Heavenly tough love. In contrast, modern secularism’s version of such mercy, labeled as “compassion”, “tolerance”, “acceptance”, and a “welcoming” open-mindedness, is nothing but diluted rationalization wrapped in the false garb of compassion.
Anyone who sees an eerie similarity between such a diluted, feel good morality and Common Core education, for example, is not far off the mark. Many years ago, students were rewarded for getting correct answers, taught about absolute truths and principles which did not waver, and given tools for finding precision and clarity. Today, 2 + 2 can be 5 if you can explain why you feel that way, tell us the process you followed to get to that answer, or will be deeply offended or scarred for life should any teacher dare to point out your error.
At the end of the day, modern, secularist society is not so much looking for absolute, correct answers as for absolutely acceptable answers which avoid the sort of precision, accountability, personal responsibility, and clarity that can put the spotlight on incompetence, inconsistency, hypocrisy, or personal agendas. Ultimately, this society defines mercy as being at the mercy of the individual, not as the caring, firm, compassion of a loving God.
2015 Gabriel Garnica