Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Randy Sly

6/30/2011 (3 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 (3 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'


© 2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for December 2014
Christmas, hope for humanity:
That the birth of the Redeemer may bring peace and hope to all people of good will.
Parents: That parents may be true evangelizers, passing on to their children the precious gift of faith.



Comments


More Living Faith

No one should be hungry during the Christmas season

Image of

By Tony Magliano

In early December, the United Nations World Food Program (WFP) stopped feeding 1.7 million Syrian refugees. For two weeks these poor, battered fellow human beings who had fled the misery of civil war, and the barbarism of the "Islamic State," were told there is no ... continue reading


HAPPY BIRTHDAY POPE FRANCIS! Beloved Pontiff turns 78 today Watch

Image of Happy Birthday, Pope Francis!

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

HAPPY BIRTHDAY POPE FRANCIS! Today is Pope Francis' 78th birthday and well-wishers celebrated the day singing and dancing for the Holy Father in St. Peter's Square. VATICAN CITY (Catholic Online) - Born on December 17, 1936, the man who would become Pope Francis has ... continue reading


Turned into the wild, Pope Francis offers hope to displaced faithful in Middle East Watch

Image of Patriarch Younan said a major focus of their synod was on priestly formation since their communities have faced so much upheaval.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Times are hard and arduous for those who practice their Catholic faith in the Middle East. In a special audience with Patriarch Ignatius Ephrem Joseph III Younan, along with about 350 of his faithful from the Syriac Catholic Church, Pope Francis offered words ... continue reading


Mary hailed as 'great missionary' who brought Gospel to Americas by Pope Francis Watch

Image of Pope Francis and the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Pope Francis along with thousands of Catholics from across the Atlantic celebrated the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe at the Vatican. The Pope celebrated Mass to the sounds and rhythms of many of South America's indigenous peoples. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - ... continue reading


Your Friday Feel Good Story: Watch what happens when the mic goes out during the American National Anthem at a hockey game in Canada! Watch

Image of Ina  heartwarming gesture of respect, Canadians sing the Star Spangled Banner when the microphone game out before a game featuring a team from the USA.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Here's your Friday Feel Good story! Enjoy your Friday and don't forget to share! During a hockey game in Canada between American and Canadian players, the microphone failed, silencing the singer. Without audio, the Americans would be without their national anthem, but ... continue reading


Irenaeus of Lyon on Eve and Mary

Image of An Icon of Ireneaus of Lyon

By Ireneaus of Lyon

The Lord, coming into his own creation in visible form, was sustained by his own creation which he himself sustains in being. His obedience on the tree of the cross reversed the disobedience at the tree in Eden; the good news of the truth announced by an angel to ... continue reading


Taking the Kingdom by Force: Learning from John the Baptizer Watch

Image of The choice is ours. Just as it was with John the Baptizer. He shows us the way to give away our freedom in love - and then find it anew in the One who truly sets us free. (John 8:36). The kingdom of heaven is still being taken by force. The force of love. The Lord is seeking men and women in this hour who will take the kingdom by force like John the Baptizer.

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

John the Baptizer was a man of Joy because he was a man of true humility! Humility is a powerful weapon when wielded by a soldier of love like John. He was a man who understood that life wasn't all about him. He emptied himself willingly and was thus able to ... continue reading


Faith restored in humanity! A random act of kindness changes a woman's life forever during the Christmas season Watch

Image of

By Abigail James (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

While protests are wreaking havoc all around the world, wars are being fought, and people are being brutally killed, the warm sensation and fuzzy feeling of Christmas gets overshadowed. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Although good deeds and random acts of kindness ... continue reading


Do We Really Believe in the Resurrection of the Body and the Life of the World to Come? Watch

Image of Seated at the right hand of the Father, he works unceasingly in the world, to draw men into the Church and through it to join them more closely to himself.

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

Jesus Christ is Savior and Lord. His salvation is offered extended to all men and women. That salvation is not only about our souls, but about the whole human person. It will only be complete when we are raised from the dead and dwell in the kingdom to come. He ... continue reading


A Christmas gift for suffering South Sudan

Image of The people of South Sudan have the same feeling and love for one another we do. Now is the time for us to extend our arms in compassion.

By Tony Magliano

The world's newest nation is in big trouble. After more than 20 years of civil war between the southern and northern areas of Sudan, the southern part of that country on July 9, 2011, became the independent nation of the Republic of South Sudan.But the situation on the ... continue reading


All Living Faith News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

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

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Judges 13:2-7, 24-25
2 There was a man of Zorah of the tribe of Dan, ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 71:3-4, 5-6, 16-17
3 Be a sheltering rock for me, always accessible; you ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 1:5-25
5 In the days of King Herod of Judaea there lived a ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for December 19th, 2014 Image

St. Nemesius
December 19: Martyr of Egypt. He was burned alive in Alexandria, Egypt, ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter