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'


Copywriter 2015 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for July 2015
Universal:
That political responsibility may be lived at all levels as a high form of charity.
Evangelization: That, amid social inequalities, Latin American Christians may bear witness to love for the poor and contribute to a more fraternal society.



Comments


More Living Faith

Atheists force portrait of Jesus out of Kansas public school Watch

Image of The portrait of Jesus that has been on display at the school since the 1950s.

By Nikky Andres (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Local residents in Chanute, Kansas expressed anger after the atheist group Freedom From Religion Foundation successfully filed a petition for the removal of a portrait of Jesus Christ, which had been hanging for over 60 years in a Kansas public school.   ... continue reading


Pilgrimage with Pope Francis - SECOND STATION - St. Francis patron saint of animals and ecology

Image of Welcome to the virtual shrine to St. Francis.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Welcome to the second station on our virtual pilgrimage to Philadelphia with Pope Francis ahead of the World Meeting of Families. Let us pray! About St. FrancisSaint Francis was born to a wealthy cloth merchant in Assisi, Italy. Raised in a wealthy home, the young ... continue reading


Philadelphia prison inmates design chair for Pope Francis, and hope he will pray with them - Victims want their voices heard too Watch

Image of An inmate proudly shares the seal made for Pope Francis' seat.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Pope Francis will meet with prison inmates during his visit to Philadelphia. In anticipation of this arrival, inmates have built him a special chair to use. His visit will bring hope to inmates and their families as he shares the restorative message of Christ with ... continue reading


Pope Francis declares parents tasked with teaching their children how to pray Watch

Image of

By Ann Schneible, CNA/EWTN News

On Wednesday, Pope Francis continued his weekly catechesis on the family, saying that parents have the responsibility to teach their children to pray. Vatican City (CNA/EWTN News) - Delivering his address to pilgrims and visitors, gathered under the hot sun for ... continue reading


Before TWO MILLION pilgrims arrive, Philly vendors plan to cash in with kistch Watch

Image of Enterprising vendors are hoping to earn some toasty profits when Pope Francis arrives in Philadelphia.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The arrival of Pope Francis and some two million pilgrims in Philadelphia next month is expected to bring a windfall to most of the businesses in the city which can remain open during the visit. Businesses will have a single weekend to entice pilgrims to visit their ... continue reading


No school days for working children

Image of

By Tony Magliano

It's that time again when adults take off to celebrate Labor Day, and kids head back to the adventures a new school year. But for millions of children worldwide the adventures of a new school year remain but a dream. Sadly, these children will never learn to read or ... continue reading


PRIDE is the sin the devil likes the most Watch

Image of It has been nine years since Fr. Gallego was appointed as exorcist. In an interview conducted by the Spanish daily El Mundo, the priest said that in his experience, pride is the sin the devil likes the most.

By CNA/EWTN News

Is an exorcist afraid? What is the devil's favorite sin? These and other questions were tackled in a recent interview with the Dominican priest, Father Juan Jose Gallego, an exorcist from the Archdiocese of Barcelona in Catalonia, Spain. (CAN/EWTN) - It has ... continue reading


Former President Jimmy Carter stays close to God during difficult times Watch

Image of Jimmy Carter holds on to his faith as he battles cancer.

By Linky C. (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Former president Jimmy Carter holds on to his faith while undergoing radiation treatment for the spread of brain cancer. MUNTINLUPA CITY, PHILIPPINES (Catholic Online) - In a recent appearance at Maranatha Baptist Church, former U.S. President Jimmy Carter shared the ... 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


Pilgrimage with Pope Francis - FIRST STATION - St. Raphael, patron of travelers and singles

Image of St. Raphael, patron of travelers and singles, pray for us!

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Welcome to the first station on our virtual pilgrimage to Philadelphia with Pope Francis, ahead of the World Meeting of Families. Let us pray! About St. Raphael:St. Raphael is one of seven Archangels who stand before the throne of the Lord. He was sent by God to help ... 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, First Thessalonians 4:1-8
1 Finally, brothers, we urge you and appeal to you in ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 97:1, 2, 5-6, 10, 11-12
1 Yahweh is king! Let earth rejoice, the many isles ... Read More

Gospel, Matthew 25:1-13
1 'Then the kingdom of Heaven will be like this: Ten ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for August 28th, 2015 Image

St. Augustine of Hippo
August 28: St. Augustine of Hippo is the patron of brewers because of his ... 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