Skip to main content

Modernity & Morality

The Cultural Revolution changed what constitutes the good by suppressing the established social constructs. This breakdown of the natural boundaries of civilized society allowed the implementation of a wholesale redesign of the culture. This new thinking supplanted time-honored behaviors and discarded any moral or spiritual perspective—now thought to be excess baggage. It was time to collapse the walls of propriety and dispense with the rules.

The perpetrators quickly and quietly amassed their powers to effect this change confident in success. They correctly surmised the average individual would not stand up for what is right if it meant being exposed to ridicule or taking direct action. Besides, most were simply convinced it was time to change antiquated mores to free appetites from any attending guilt. However, Fulton Sheen warned, “There has been no single influence which…has done more to lower the moral tone of society than the denial of personal guilt.”

Regrettably, the proliferation of lifestyle experimentation sent a message of a less rigid life and promoted a reason to dismantle traditional attitudes towards work, family, morality and civility. This was done at the cost of subordinating the pursuit of excellence and focusing on mediocrity as a standard sufficient to all tasks. Coupled with lowered standards was the willingness to endorse deviance as an acceptable form of behavior.

Turning hearts and minds away from those ingrained habits of faith, reason and common sense undermined the cohesiveness of societal thought. The major change was the disassembling the sanctity of life and personal responsibility. The moral consensus towards sex, substance abuse, hard work and honesty were consigned to the past altering our view of each other and the world in which we live.

To attract the masses necessary to effect such a change, the gospel of group rights was directed to minorities. The Civil Rights Movement impacted civil society by providing a blueprint for every group with a cause who wanted to impose their agenda or supposed victim hood on the public’s collective conscience.

Emotion, hormones or political agendas do not determine proper behavior. Right reason and common sense promote the common good. This process is indispensable to sustain cultural values and moral ties that bind a nation. Yet the most important determinant of appropriate behavior is the moral courage to accept only rational standards as social norms.

When a culture abandons its duty of transferring its collective wisdom and moral heritage to the next generation it finds itself poised on the brink of decay—a decay created by placing group rights over those of the individual. Anglican convert and priest, Ronald Knox, understood, “Disobedience to conscience on the part of a large multitude is apt to produce an erroneous conscience in society at large.”

Sadly, society by its lack of condemnation provides the balm for those who are fugitives from the demands of conscience. The acceptance of license is fatal to liberty. Deviance for the Hell of it, may indeed, be a self-fulfilling prophecy.


Dan Shea  FL, US
Dan Shea - Retired, 661 869-1000




Rate This Article

Very Helpful Somewhat Helpful Not Helpful at All

Yes, I am Interested No, I am not Interested

Rate Article

1 - 5 of 5 Comments

  1. AI
    6 years ago

    The point wasn't that the civil rights movement in itself needs to take responsibility for our moral woes. The fact is that people who pushed immoral lifestyles piggybacked the movement to the extent that people who support the rights of the ostracized (which is right) are called hypocrites if they don't support other agendas even if the people involved don't necessarily support those lifestyles. We all know that Susan B Anthony was a defender of life and I'm sure MLK was as well but if someone who tries to uphold their legacy mentions that defending life is important, then they are looked upon as bigots. That's where the problem lies. What is right doesn't change because of the times. The truth sets free as it did in Jesus' time.

  2. ZEE
    6 years ago

    I agree that blaming the civil rights movement thing needs to be better explained. You make it sound like racism was okay and those who stood up against it were wrong. Don't make your articles so short if you can't complete your thoughts.

  3. AMIT
    6 years ago

    i do agree that today we have moved away from good things.But then can we bring morals by showing people down(while they might be guilt or otherwise) or build up enthusiasm by sharing goodwill and sacrifice.Plz lets remember St.Paul's warning to Timothy,:dont get into things which will lead to quarells & fights,dont follow that which for some is "knowledge".

  4. Amber
    6 years ago

    I agree with concerned catholic. Some changes needed to be made. The old world was not a spiritually good and pure place. It was a corrupt time full of impure morals carefully hidden from the light of day. Humans haven't changed. They've just become more open about their depravities.

    And would you please post some of my comments? I am neither abusive, aggressive or a troll. I am ontopic always, and yet because I do not agree with the standard patriarchal church despite being a good Catholic female my comments do not get posted

  5. ConcernedCatholic
    6 years ago

    Do you really think the Civil Rights Movement is responsible for the decay of morality in this country?

    Should the Rev. Martin Luther King have stayed at home instead of leading the march in Washington, D.C.? Was he not a "victim" of the horrible racism that engulfed this country at that time? I don't understand.

Leave a Comment

Comments submitted must be civil, remain on-topic and not violate any laws including copyright. We reserve the right to delete any comments which are abusive, inappropriate or not constructive to the discussion.

Though we invite robust discussion, we reserve the right to not publish any comment which denigrates the human person, undermines marriage and the family, or advocates for positions which openly oppose the teaching of the Catholic Church.

This is a supervised forum and the Editors of Catholic Online retain the right to direct it.

We also reserve the right to block any commenter for repeated violations. Your email address is required to post, but it will not be published on the site.

We ask that you NOT post your comment more than once. Catholic Online is growing and our ability to review all comments sometimes results in a delay in their publication.

Send me important information from Catholic Online and it's partners. See Sample

Post Comment

Newsletter Sign Up

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Jonah 3:1-10
The word of Yahweh was addressed to Jonah a second time. 'Up!' ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 130:1-2, 3-4, 7-8
[Song of Ascents] From the depths I call to you, Yahweh: Lord, ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 10:38-42
In the course of their journey he came to a village, and a ... Read More

Saint of the Day

October 6 Saint of the Day

St. Bruno
October 6: Bruno was born in Cologne of the prominent Hartenfaust family. ... Read More