If anything is a common denominator in events of public and private life in so many nations nowadays, it is chaos. Chaotic prospects seem to come one right after the other, and, increasingly, things follow the ways of chaos to an extent hardly fathomed by anyone.
The enigmatic forces of chaos produce explosions and eruptions, giving one the impression that the world will be split asunder.
The optimists, the idiots (forgive the pleonasm) became only a little bit frightened, thinking that everything will soon return to normal. Those who consider themselves clear-sighted become worried, thinking that the world will turn topsy-turvy. But they, too, are fooled because, as the French would say, “plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose” — the more things change, the more they remain the same.
Indeed, the chaotic process all of us are witnesses to and suffer from, moves along, so to speak, in immobility. Here and there arise discord and situations so tense and critical that one would say that a world war might break out somewhere at any moment. Nevertheless, in the swirl of chaos, volatile scenarios end up remaining immobile.
Now, the stable immobility of continual mobility — and of situations that neither improve nor worsen — is precisely the drama that a growing number of countries are entering into.
This is a psycho-social AIDS of sorts, spreading throughout the world; it does not kill, but weakens everything sound and organic in the bosom of nations.
Frightened with the multiplication of moral and material catastrophes and ruins, contemporary man crouching down laments: “Ruin is the norm in life, and everyone has to be subject to it. Everything goes to ruin, and nothing has any meaning. Things do not mean anything anymore!”
The background of this picture seems to convey the following message: “Get used to this and understand that nothing will have any reason for being anymore! Human reason has ceased to be, and nothing will ever happen rationally anymore! But you will not be told this explicitly. The development of world events will be ever more absurd and irrational, and everyone will get used to the idea that absurdity has seized the scepter of the world!”
This seems to be the current message of events: “Human reason, depart! Human thought, die out! Man, do not reflect any more, rather let yourself be carried away by events like an animal!”
But Catholics have the possibility to discern, in the lower depths of this abyss, the deceitful flashes and the song, at once sinister, luring, soothing, and delirious, of that abject being who is tantamount to a personification of illogicality, absurdity, and the preposterous and hateful revolt against the Most Wise and Almighty. It is the Devil, the father of evil, error, and falsehood. Desperately, he moans and shudders, shouting his everlasting and infamous cry of rebellion: “Non serviam!” — I will not serve!
These are perspectives that theologians can and ought to discuss. I mean true theologians, of course; that is, the few among them who still believe that the Devil and Hell exist.
The preceding article written by Professor Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira has been translated and adapted for publication without his revision. –Ed.