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The Battle for the World´s Soul, Part 3
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A reflection by Fr Luis Garza, LC, on how Catholics can take an effective stand in the culture war today.

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"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 21st century.

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.

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2. Operational tactics

The third tactic is operational and consists of action in the field.  The operational tactics are the following:

- 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.
- Conduct 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.

A particular 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.

Another 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:

- The 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 and education).

- 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 Group Discussion

1. How does the paradigm of “sustainable development” use ambiguous terminology in order to advance agendas that are against respect for life? 
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?


PUBLICATION DATE: 2011-09-05


The Battle for the World’s Soul, Part I - Article
The Battle for the World’s Soul, Part 2 - Article
The Battle for the World´s Soul, Part 3 - Article
The Battle for the World´s Soul, Part 4 - Article
The Battle for the World´s Soul, Part 5 - Article
The Battle for the World´s Soul, Part 6 - Article
The Battle for the World´s Soul, Part 7 - Article
The Battle for the World´s Soul, Part 8 - Article
The Battle for the World´s Soul, Part 9 - Article
The Battle for the World´s Soul, Part 10 - Article
 

Related articles
- The Battle for the World’s Soul, Part I
- The Battle for the World’s Soul, Part 2
- The Battle for the World´s Soul, Part 3
- The Battle for the World´s Soul, Part 4
- The Battle for the World´s Soul, Part 5
- The Battle for the World´s Soul, Part 6
- The Battle for the World´s Soul, Part 7
- The Battle for the World´s Soul, Part 8
- The Battle for the World´s Soul, Part 9
- The Battle for the World´s Soul, Part 10
 


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