|"Against the spirit of the world, the Church takes up anew each day a struggle that is none other than the struggle for the world’s soul" (John Paul II, Crossing the Threshold of Hope).|
September 5, 2011. The Catholic Church has been a builder
of culture for over two millennia, and has faced different
forms of “culture war” throughout its long and battle-scarred history.
But perhaps never has the Church faced a challenge like
the “battle for the soul of the world” in the
For those with an interest in understanding the roots
and consequences of the cultural battle underway in today’s world,
we present The Battle for the Soul of the World,
by Fr Luis Garza, LC. Originally presented as a series
of lectures for university students attending a leadership conference, it
is offered here as a formation resource for teams and
individuals who will find the lecture notes to be thought-provoking
material for reflection and discussion.
The complete text with study guide
questions can be downloaded in PDF format here. Part 3
of the 10-part series is presented below, and the following
parts will be published on the web site on Mondays.
2. Operational tactics
The third tactic is operational and consists
of action in the field. The operational tactics are the
- Infiltrate organizations of influence and change things from
within, as was the case of some large American foundations.
- Create pressure groups and campaigns across civil society.
Create umbrella organizations to exert more influence.
joint ventures and cooperate with those inside a certain radius
of action in order to later discredit the leaders of
the other group and so completely control the association.
case study to better understand everything mentioned so far is
the new paradigm of the UN and the way it
is promoted. There are several aspects of this paradigm, but
I will only mention a few.
Sustainable development (cf. Brundtland Commission
of the UN). It is said that we cannot simply
keep growing and, therefore, we must achieve balance between development
and the depletion of resources. The elements of sustainable development
are the following:
- Setting growth and support in opposition.
Until now, the world economy has been based on continued
growth. This antagonism throws us into a real economic problem
with unforeseen consequences. Despite the magnitude of this claim, situated
at the base of the new paradigm, it was accepted
without studying or measuring its consequences.
- Quality of life.
This includes a variety of factors, such as access to
information, hygiene, etc., but can also lead to accepting eugenic
practices and euthanasia since, according to them, the life of
a deformed child or an elderly person has no value
and should be ended.
- Human rights. Although it does
not have much to do with the opposition between growth
and support, in order to have true world development, human
rights must, of course, be respected. However, there is an
attempt to pass off the special rights of a group—rather
than the rights of the individual inasmuch as a human
person—as human rights. Thus, minority rights are established for the
dark-skinned and indigenous peoples, and their rights are supposed to
be different from those of others. (To accomplish this, a
guilt complex is created in the majority, thereby demanding preferential
treatment.) Furthermore, this thinking then extends to minorities established not
by race but by psychological factors, such as homosexuals.
aspect of this paradigm is holism, which claims that we
cannot make analyses isolated from the relationship with everything else.
The driving principles are the following:
- The whole is
greater than the individual parts. This opens the door to
the subjugation of people or indifference to the local culture.
- There is no hierarchy of values. All values
are equal, as if one could assign the same importance
to children’s privacy as to the parents’ right and duty
to educate them.
In the UN paradigm there is a
lot of talk about the individual. This, in itself, can
be something positive, as is the affirmation of the person,
his responsibility and the respect which is his due. However,
in reality, great importance is attached to the self-centeredness of
the person, to the point that everyone has to be
satisfied. We are led to ignore others and the fact
that people live in community.
The UN achieves its goals
of cultural transformation by controlling the real powers:
UN was founded with the mission to serve as a
conflict mediator between nations. Over time its mission was extended
to help solve family and social issues (providing food, health
- When these ideas were proposed so that
each country might take them into account, the so-called “soft
law,” which is not binding, was created. However, a soft
law can be binding if accepted by a large group
of nations or if major international agencies like the World
Bank, IMF, etc., accept and use it.
- Eventually the
NGOs were created so that they could be accredited and
disseminate the new paradigm of the UN. They supposedly represent
the earth’s entire population. At present, the voice of the
NGOs has become law in the UN. (They have a
certain representation influencing the drafting of laws, and it is
being examined whether their votes are to be regarded with
the same weight as the votes of the representatives of
governments.) Consequently, many activist groups have replaced democratically elected governments,
since they end up dictating laws.
- “The Business Compact”
is a set of rules drafted by the UN which
are being assimilated into companies’ business affairs. This strategy closes
the loop because, on top of civil society, national laws,
and media presence, they are adding the power of money
and the penetration into companies where most people spend most
of their time. This last link shows that the final
strategy can change tactics. The ideas of the UN are
strongly anti-market and, in fact, in the first decades of
the UN’s life, there was a certain rejection of large
companies, especially multinational ones. However, UN strategists, in their zeal
to enforce the new paradigm, have seen that they have
to include companies if they want this new paradigm to
spread and become a reality. So they are working to
convince corporations of their “ethical-social” responsibilities in relation to sustainable
development and the new paradigm.
Questions for Personal Reflection or
1. How does the paradigm of “sustainable development” use ambiguous
terminology in order to advance agendas that are against respect
2. How have you seen the phrase “human
rights” manipulated and expanded to encompass pseudo-rights? What recent developments
in current events seem to fit this pattern?
3. How would
you argue that growth and sustainable development are not in
opposition? What research or information would you cite?
4. Holism flattens
and relativizes the hierarchy of values. What other examples of
this approach come to mind and what are their effects?
5. How can Catholics counteract the disproportionate influence of NGOs in
the UN? Is there a way the Catholic voice can
sway public opinion?
6. If UN-based groups are infiltrating corporations with
skewed views of their “ethical-social” responsibilities, then the Church needs
to evangelize businessmen more effectively. What suggestions or ideas do
you have for the evangelization of the corporate world?