Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Randy Sly

6/30/2011 (4 years ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

A lot of the future described in George Orwell's novel is with us today - it's just arrived few years late

I'm not going to belabor all the parallels we could find in current society regarding "Big Brother," the thought police, the various government agencies, revisionist history and language (which Orwell called "Newspeak"), not to mention sexuality gone out-of-control. Dwelling on all this could put some of us in the same place as the protagonist in the novel, Winston Smith, who at the end of the novel awaits what he expects will be his execution but remains at peace because he realizes he "had won a victory over himself. He loved Big Brother."

Highlights

By Randy Sly

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

6/30/2011 (4 years ago)

Published in Living Faith

Keywords: George Orwell, 1984, newspeak, culture, Catholic, Church militant, Randy Sly


WASHINGTON, DC (Catholic Online) - As a high school student I remember my first encounter with George Orwell's classic novel "Nineteen Eighty Four." Since this was quite a few years earlier than that date, the story of life in fictional Oceania under the strict rule of The Party seemed far-fetched at the very least.

I remember thinking, when the year 1984 actually arrived, how inaccurate this dark novel really was. Life was good.

In 1947-1948, when Orwell - who was a strong proponent of democratic socialism - wrote the book, he obviously felt that society was in a staggering trajectory toward all privacy being lost to the state. Orwell, however, was not writing a prophetic novel of what the world would look like in 1984, but where he saw society heading.

The novel portrayed a world where the meaning of words was easily changed, brainwashing was normative for any initiative deemed right by the government and contradiction was not allowed.

The majority of people in Oceania, called "proles," were seen as property and not persons. They were controlled by the government giving license to their lust and other vices. They were fed a steady diet of yellow journalism, sensuality-filled films and pornography.

In Orwell's new world, the battlefield was the mind and their weapons were media. Big Brother was watching and communicating through "telescreens" and the most serious offenses were "thoughtcrimes." He powerfully transported the reader into a world of revisionist history, mind manipulation and alternate reality. In the realm of "1984," propaganda was king.

I'm not going to belabor all the parallels we could find in current society regarding "Big Brother," the thought police, the various government agencies, revisionist history and language (which Orwell called "Newspeak"), not to mention sexuality gone out-of-control.

However, one particular aspect of our current Orwellian culture involves what I would call "Hatespeak." It would seem, for example, that Catholics and other Christians are no longer allowed to express personal conviction or Catholic teaching about moral issues such as same-sex marriage or abortion. To do so is considered a personal attack on individuals and relegated as a hate crime when we are addressing a principle even though no people are targeted.

At the same time proponents of these practices have no problem or restraint in vicious verbal assaults using the vilest language against those who are offering a contradictory opinion.  I find it interesting that hating Christians and Christianity is not a hate crime but something noble and progressive. Truly this shows how well propaganda can work.

Dwelling on all this could put some of us in the same place as the protagonist in the novel, Winston Smith, who at the end of the novel awaits what he expects will be his execution but remains at peace because he realizes he "had won a victory over himself. He loved Big Brother."

As Catholic Christians we cannot buy into Orwell's fatalism concerning the times and circumstances in which we live. The key rests in one fatal flaw (pun intended) in his assumption.

Coles Notes (which is similar to the more familiar Cliffs Notes) describes it this way in commenting on the perception of religion in Orwell's novel. "Religion is not so dangerous because it tends to be ideological and can be undermined by propaganda."

And there's the key. Religion - albeit Christianity - is not ideology but theology and more!  God has revealed Himself to mankind incarnationally through Jesus Christ at a point in time.

St. John wrote, "What was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we looked upon and touched with our hands concerns the Word of life - for the life was made visible; we have seen it and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life that was with the Father and was made visible to us." (I John 1:1-2)

In 1953, Pope Pius XII stated, "We belong to the Church militant; and She is militant because on earth the powers of darkness are ever restless to encompass Her destruction."

We are the Church militant. We are called to war against the culture of darkness and death. As Christians, however, we don't go into the battle with weapons that the world offers but those provided through the grace of Christ.

St. Paul gives us an interesting description of the soldier for Christ after reminding us that the real enemy is unseen. "For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood," he states, "but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places." (Eph. 6:11,12)

We must never forget that here lies the root of rebellion in the world, an invisible world that wields real and actual power and influence regarding what goes on around us.

Humanity has received a lot of help in becoming morally blind and bankrupt. Sadly, they don't even know that it has happened. As in Oceania, when you are told that 2 + 2 = 5 enough times, you just begin accepting it.

The apostle goes on, "Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one."

"And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints...." (Eph. 6:13-18)

That exhortation from St. Paul begins with the reminder of where our real strength is found, "Be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might." (Eph. 6:10]

So what orders does this soldier all dressed for battle receive? Pray. Pray at every opportunity. Pray, calling upon the Holy Spirit who took up residence in you at your baptism to guide and anoint your prayers.

And the enemy would love nothing more than to convince us that prayer and the grace poured out are of no use.

Of course, we need to continue to herald the truth of the faith at all times, in all places everywhere. The Church is not just the conscience of the world, but the true home of the whole human race. We are simply sharing messages from that home.

We also need to continue to actively lobby and work for those causes that are right and true and honoring to our Lord and His Church.

Yet we must also pray - or should I say foremost, we must pray. Here are some practical ways you can become more involved in the Church militant.
1.    Set aside a prayer time each day - The church has many prayer resources including the Liturgy of the Hours, Christian Prayer and others.
2.    When you have a free moment, simply offer a prayer from your heart for our nation, our leaders, the unborn, or other needs.
3.     Spend time before the Blessed Sacrament, especially during periods of adoration.
4.    Pray the Rosary and the Chaplet of Divine Mercy regularly.

In the months to come, Catholic Online will begin launching renewed initiatives and new venues that will help bring together a virtual network of prayer. But the time to start is now.

One blogger I read today shared a quote that I will modify to encompass our entire readership. I leave this as our challenge.

"Be the kind of Catholic men and women who, when your feet hit the floor each morning, the devil says, "Oh, no, they're up!!" (With thanks to justacatholicgirl.wordpress.com)

-----

Randy Sly is the Associate Editor of Catholic Online and the CEO/Associate Publisher for the Northern Virginia Local Edition of Catholic Online (http://virginia.catholic.org). He is a former Archbishop of the Charismatic Episcopal Church who laid aside that ministry to enter into the full communion of the Catholic Church.

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


Copyright 2016 - Distributed by THE CALIFORNIA NETWORK

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for May 2016
Universal:
Respect for Women: That in every country of the world, women may be honored and respected and that their essential contribution to society may be highly esteemed.
Evangelization: Holy Rosary: That families, communities, and groups may pray the Holy Rosary for evangelization and peace.



Comments


More Living Faith

Religious freedoms endangered around the world Watch

Image of Religious freedoms started their rapid decline in 2015 (Pinterest).

By Matt Hadro (CNA/EWTN News)

The right to exercise religion came under sustained assault around the world in 2015, according to a new report from a bipartisan United States commission, affecting Christians, Muslims, Jews, among others. Washington D.C. (CNA/EWTN News) - "By any measure, religious ... continue reading


HAPPENING NOW: Incredible 90-hour Bible Reading Marathon outside U.S. Capitol Watch

Image of The 90-hour Bible Reading Marathon started May 1, 2016 (Faith & Action).

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

The 27th annual 90-hour Bible Reading Marathon at the U.S. Capitol began Sunday evening and will continue through May fifth. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The event was launched with a hymn and prayer, then Reverend Rob Schenck, the president of the National ... continue reading


Catholic Bishop abducted, attacked and assaulted before release Watch

Image of Bishop Prasad Gallela was abducted on his way home from mass (CNS).

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Catholic bishop Prasad Gallela was on his way home from Mass on April 25, when two vehicles pulled up to him. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Bishop Gallela concluded Mass at Karunagiri Shrine in southern India then headed home.When the vehicles stopped, ... continue reading


Quick! What is the most quoted book of the Bible? This celeb knows! Watch

Image of Bono with Eugene Peterson have teamed up to make a short documentary about the Psalms.

By Marshall Connolly, Catholic Online (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

What is the most popular book of the Bible? There's one book that people enjoy more than any other and it's also the most frequently referenced in our culture. Now, Fuller Theological Seminary has asked two very famous people to help spread the word about this ... continue reading


Pope Francis spreads words of love Watch

Image of Pope Francis speaks of reconciling with God (Pinterest).

By Elise Harris (CNA/EWTN News)

Reconciliation is an essential aspect of God's mercy, Pope Francis said Saturday, explaining that when we distance ourselves from the Lord through sin, it takes much more than our own effort to get back to him. Vatican City, Rome (CNA/EWTN News) - Referencing St. ... continue reading


5 tips for Catholics to stay positive Watch

Image of Stay positive by following five simple tips (WikiMedia Commons).

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Do you - or someone you know - struggle with maintaining a positive attitude? Are people less inclined to spend time with you due to your poor attitude? Are you tired of wallowing in negativity? Try these simple tips to change the course of your life forever! LOS ... continue reading


Why are these transparent wires being put up in cities around the world? Watch

Image of Eruv lines are set up in cities around the world to make life easier for Orthodox Jews.

By Marshall Connolly (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Members of an ultra-conservative religious denomination are stringing transparent wires around many urban neighborhoods, all for religious reasons. These nearly invisible wires form webs in cities such as New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles. What are these wires and ... continue reading


'[D]on't ignore us:' Pope Francis explains the difference between knowledge and real love Watch

Image of Knowing about God is not the same as loving Him (Vanvick/Wordpress).

By Elise Harris (CNA/EWTN News)

On Wednesday Pope Francis said that just because someone is an expert in God's law and a strict adherent to the rules doesn't necessarily mean they know how to love and serve others. Vatican City, Rome (CNA/EWTN News) - "It's not automatic that whoever frequents the ... continue reading


Miracle in the Philippines: Tribe converted to Christianity after hearing Gospel and watching 'Passion of the Christ' Watch

Image of Manobo tribe embraces Jesus (tikbo).

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

The Manobo tribe of the Philippines were taught the Gospel and viewed Mel Gibson's "Passion of the Christ" film, which led several to convert to Christianity. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - According to missionaries from Christian Aid Mission, nearly the entire ... continue reading


'I just couldn't believe it:' Oklahoma officers seize Christian charity money Watch

Image of Christian rocker stripped of charity money after being accused of engaging in drug activities.

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Christian rock band Klo & Kweh was driving through Oklahoma when they were pulled over for a broken headlight. What happened next was a shock that rippled throughout the Christian community. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - According to <a ... continue reading


All Living Faith News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Subscribe to Catholic OnlineYouTube Channel

the FEED
by Catholic Online

  • Daily Reading for Thursday, May 5th, 2016 HD Video
  • St. Florian: Saint of the Day for Wednesday, May 04, 2016
  • St. Matthew HD Video
  • 'Our warriors are everywhere': ISIS uses CHILDREN to threaten Europe
  • Your Daily Inspirational Meme: I fear no evil!
  • Captain James Cook wreckage discovered!
  • Daily Readings for Wednesday, May 04, 2016

Daily Readings

Reading 1, First Corinthians 15:1-8
1 I want to make quite clear to you, brothers, what the message of the ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 19:2-3, 4-5
2 day discourses of it to day, night to night hands on the ... Read More

Gospel, John 14:6-14
6 Jesus said: I am the Way; I am Truth and Life. No one can come to the ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for May 3rd, 2016 Image

St. James the Lesser
May 3: St. James the Less, the author of the first ... Read More