This article was written by Bishop Fulton Sheen in Time Magazine, dated April 14th, 1952 and was reprinted in this week’s magazine. It is both brilliant and timely; had I not looked at the date, I would have assumed it was written yesterday concerning the current status quo.
America, it is said, is suffering from intolerance. It is not. It is suffering from tolerance: tolerance of right and wrong, truth and error, virtue and evil, Christ and chaos . . . The man who can make up his mind in an orderly way, as a man might make up his bed, is called a bigot; but a man who cannot make up his mind, any more than he can make up for lost time, is called tolerant and broadminded. Much of the business of philosophy at the present time seems to be to give high-sounding names to cover the sins of man. Cows have no psychoses, and pigs have no neuroses, and chickens are not frustrated . . .
Neither would man be frustrated . . . if he were an animal made only for this world. It takes eternity to make a man despair. Paraphrasing the story of the Pharisee (who was a very nice man), we can imagine him praying in the front of the temple as follows: “I thank Thee, O Lord, that my Freudian adviser has told me that there is no such thing as guilt, that sin is a myth, and that Thou, O Father, art only a projection of my father complex … I contribute 10 per cent of my income to the Society for the Elimination of Religious Superstitions, and I diet for my figure three times a week. Oh, I thank Thee that I am not like the rest of men, those nasty people, such as the Christian there in the back of the temple who thinks that he is a sinner … I may have an Oedipus complex but I have no sin.” Liberty has become doing as you please, and that is not freedom. Freedom is the right to do what you ought to do.
Why can’t the modern mind see there is nothing new in Communism? It is a groan of despair, not the revolution that starts a new age. It is the logical development of a civilization which for the last 400 years has been forgetting God. I’m beginning to believe there are only two classes of people : those who believe and those who want to believe. The new era into which we are entering is what might be called the religious phase of human history. But do not misunderstand: by religious we do not mean that men will turn to God, but rather that the indifference to the absolute which characterized the liberal phase of civilization will be succeeded by a passion for an absolute. From now on the struggle will be not for colonies and national rights, but for the souls of men . . . The conflict of the future is between the absolute who is the God-man and the absolute which is the man-God . . . The anti-Christ will not be so called, otherwise he would have no followers. He will wear no red tights, nor vomit sulphur … He will come disguised as the Great Humanitarian; he will talk peace, prosperity and plenty … He will foster science, but only to have armament makers use one marvel of science to destroy another . . . He will even speak of Christ and say that he was the greatest man who ever lived … In the midst of all his seeming love for humanity and his glib talk of freedom and equality he will have one great secret which he will tell to no one: he will not believe in God . . . Jews, Protestants and Catholics should unite against a common foe . . . We may not be able to meet in the same pew—would to God we did—but we can meet on our knees.