As when in 2016 corporate globalist media and ruling liberal elites were dumbfounded by the Brexit referendum in the U.K. and election of Donald Trump in the U.S., so also at the close of 2019 when British parliamentary elections produced a huge Conservative Party victory at the same time polls were showing an increase in Trump’s popularity even as his opponents strove to remove him from office, or at least hamper his exercise of it, by means of impeachment proceedings. These and other developments that some would see as purely political are actually very important to Catholics not merely as citizens but as Catholics. Pope Benedict, no longer occupying the Chair of Peter but still with us at age 92, has explained:
“Praying fervently for the coming of the Kingdom means being constantly alert for the signs of its presence and working for its growth in every sector of society. It means…commitment to extending His reign…. It also means overcoming a false dichotomy between faith and political life.”
In other words, it should be recognized that Our Lord is King of society and not merely individual souls, and the nation’s laws should reflect it. Working toward that recognition and enactment of such laws is the task of all Catholics, but especially the laity. No single political development — no one referendum vote or election outcome — will achieve it, but every political action that is in accord with the will of God is a step in the right direction. All this considered, how may we view the developments of 2016 and what has happened in recent weeks?
Nothing is more natural to a person than to want to feel secure. I’m talking about the kind of security we feel when at home. Think of how good it feels when we return from a trip, however enjoyable or rewarding the time away. “There’s no place like home,” an old saying goes. For many years before 2016 a feeling of insecurity was growing among Americans and Brits (and other peoples of what was once called the Christian West). We can identify some of the things that contributed to this.
They observed around them an increasing number of aliens (euphemistically described by media as “refugees”). Steady employment at good-paying jobs was disappearing as companies shut down locally and moved operations overseas. The culture was changing, and not for the better. Minarets vied with steeples in local cityscapes. Condoms that used to be sold from under drugstore counters showed up next to the cash register in neighborhood markets. The f-word became commonplace in overheard conversation. Whereas the very word abortion was formerly never heard in polite talk, the horror itself was legalized. So, too, the practice of sodomy became socially acceptable and was even recognized as a basis for legal “marriage.” All this and so much more had an effect. The country in which people lived seemed no longer the one in which they were born and grew up. As a consequence, they no longer felt at home — no longer secure — in society as it had become.
The worst part was that they were constantly told that all of the change was good. Indeed, it was exalted in the rhetoric of politicians, in movies, songs, even by Churchmen as the Modernism once condemned by Pope St. Pius X became rampant in the Church in the decades after Vatican II. Anyway, “you can’t turn back the clock,” we were told.
That was the cliché mouthed by liberals. It is not true. The clock is a mechanical device. We can set its hands to any time we want. To deny this is to deny free will. The truth of this was demonstrated by Russia when it reversed seven decades of Communist rule. The Russian example was soon followed by other countries throughout Eastern and Central Europe.
Also in Western Europe, Britain and the U.S., places where secular-liberal democracy, not Communism, had replaced Christianity as the center point around which the life of society was organized, people began to realize that tighter control of their nations’ borders, limiting the number of jobs going overseas, and reinforcing religion-based moral standards and cultural norms were means for getting back home. Their longing to do so, at first inchoate, finally found expression in 2016 with the Brexit referendum and its promise of renewed national sovereignty and the election of Donald Trump with his promise to Make America Great Again. It amounted to a revolt, a nationalist populist revolt against leftist secular-liberal globalism with its open borders, Red socialism turned Green, and gross immorality in the name of freedom and equality.
The revolt has not petered out. In fact, it became clear in recent weeks that it is gathering momentum and will continue to do so. There will be some hiccups along the way, momentary set-backs, but we are definitely headed in the right direction: Up.
You want more evidence of it? I just saw on You Tube U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Christmas message to the British people. “Christmas Day is first and foremost a celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ,” he declares. No anodyne “Happy Holidays” for him! He also says (it nearly took my breath away): “Today, of all days, I want us to remember those Christians around the world who are facing persecution. For them, Christmas Day will be marked in private, in secret, perhaps even in a prison cell. As Prime Minister, that’s something I want to change. We stand with Christians everywhere, in solidarity, and will defend your right to practice your faith.”
Johnson’s message put me in mind of President Trump’s remarks at the televised annual lighting of a Christmas tree last month. During them he narrated what he called “the Bible story” of Our Lord’s nativity. If any other president has done that before now at the annual lighting, I can’t think of which it would be.
Neither Trump nor Johnson is a saint. That’s for sure. Still, let me repeat myself: Such leaders are emerging because we are definitely headed in the right direction and can thank God for it.