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Optimism may be extinguished, pessimism may oppress, but hope will survive.

Three years ago, I was stunned by the level of corruption in the state of Kansas. (See "Kansas Court Indefinitely Suspends Former Attorney General Kline’s Law License Over Abortion Investigations.") I didn't realize then that it was the canary in the mineshaft.

The disease of corruption has infected nearly every institution in society. One form of that corruption is cronyism. Another is the delusion of socialism. The most virulent form, however, is the mistaken belief that the ends (often thought of in Edenic terms) justify the means. Like the lowly elm tree that was nearly wiped out in the 20th century, our social structures could suffer a similar fate in the 21st century.

The Catholic Church in the U.S. has adopted desperate measures to resist two or three species of infection, while leaving more virulent forms to flourish. More than one 20th century prophet of major standing has predicted a near collapse of faith, yet offered hope that a faithful remnant will bring about a Catholic spring. Like the lowly elm tree that was revived in altered form (a form resistant to the disease through hybrid breeding techniques) in recent decades, perhaps the Catholic Church in the U.S. and Europe will regenerate in the late 21st or early 22nd century. Revelation, chapter 12, and Matthew, chapter 16, offer hope in that regard.

The suffering of human populations in the 21st century, however, is likely to be beyond current reckoning. The aggressiveness of the population control and eugenics movements, and the wild ambitions of the various human potential movements (biological, sociological, cybernetic and quasi-spiritual), will wreak havoc on human fertility and social stability.

Biblical history, and subsequent human history, make it clear that God permits terrible, decades long, suffering to cleans us of our tendency to sin. Pray that our young people learn quickly of the folly of our profligate ways and the decades of grievous suffering may not become centuries.

There seems to be no question that evil is flourishing in the world. Jesus advised "offer no resistance to one who is evil" [Matthew 5:39a], referring to the temptation to retaliation. Do not retaliate. The Nazi mindset flourishes in an atmosphere where the victim populations retaliate, especially when the instrumentality of the oppressive state is great. Rather, adopt the measures adopted and advocated by the apostles, nearly all of whom (John being the one faithful exception, Judas Iscariot the unfaithful exception) died violent deaths giving powerful witness to faith. Living the faith in humility, understanding, fortitude, hope and charity will ultimately win out, God willing.

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