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Questions and Answers

Wait a minute. Christ never told us not to smoke or not to drink our diet colas. What does giving up these things have to do with a spiritual life?

Outline of the Answer
• Lack of Trust in God
• Unconscious Infection with Subversive Desires
• Projecting Personal Failures onto Others
• Sweetness to Fill Emotional Emptiness
• Lead Us Not Into Temptation

Quite a lot, actually.

Lack of Trust in God

Many of these things are symbolic of our turning to material satisfactions in difficult times rather than turning to God. How can someone even claim to trust in God if, at the first hint of vulnerability, he or she immediately reaches for a cigarette or a beer?

So, despite what is written on our money, hardly anyone in this country really trusts in God. In fact, it may only be a matter of time before the courts declare that printing “In God We Trust” on money violates the constitutional rights of atheists. 

Realize, therefore, that we live in a culture as morally depraved as ancient Rome. In the context of a government that is fundamentally anti-Catholic,[1] the news media and the entertainment industries are all fundamentally anti-Christian, and their underlying “progressive” liberal agenda is to reduce the moral sensibilities of this country to the lowest common denominator of secular hedonism. In the language of atheistic politicobabble, this is called “diversity.”


We live in a world that has so forsaken the divine that most individuals now extol trivialities so as to provide an illusion that their lives have some meaning.

Well, Jesus criticized the Pharisees and Herodians for following the illusions of their own time. But when He warned the disciples to beware “leaven” of the Pharisees and the “leaven” of Herod (Mark 8:15), they didn’t understand.

And so it is today. Most Christians today just don’t get it when they are warned—even on this very website—to guard against the leaven of popular culture.

If you loved the world and despised Christ, you would be on the path to hell.
If you loved Christ as much as you loved the world, you would be at the crossroads of a conversion.
If you loved Christ and despised the world, you would be a Christian.


Unconscious Infection with Subversive Desires

We are always in danger of being unconsciously “infected” by the subversive social desires around us that eat away at religious values like a malignant cancer. First it was endorsement of divorce, “free sex,” and abortion; now the agenda centers on lifestyles defiant of chastity, and soon—if not already, in some places—there will be the legalization of assisted suicide, infanticide, prostitution, recreational drugs, and public nudity.

. . . each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire.

—James 1:14

If you were to look at sin epidemiologically—that is, as if it were an epidemic—you would have to consider the vectors of its transmission. And it should be perfectly obvious that the cultural desires which lead to sin—desires such as pride, greed, blame, competition, and self-indulgence—are spread rampantly by popular entertainment and sports.


. . . I see that God is ever ready to give us all the interior and exterior aids necessary for our salvation, and that He observes our deeds solely for our own good . . . on the other hand, I see man continually occupied in useless things, contrary to himself and of no value; and that at the hour of death God will say to him: What is there, O man, that I could have done for thee which I have not done? . . . and I am amazed and cannot understand how man can be so mad as to neglect a thing of such vast and extreme importance.


—Saint Catherine of Genoa
The Life and Doctrine of St. Catherine of Genoa
Chapter XX

Even though many persons may have the tacit acceptance of Christ on their lips, in their hearts they are scooping up all the subversive anti-Christian satisfactions and amusements that our culture offers us in its veiled hope of seducing us to our own destruction.

Moreover, when parents surrender their moral authority to the popular culture around them, they allow their children to be brainwashed with popular ideology, and families disintegrate into moral indifference and corruption—and the children are left with gaping emotional wounds of unconscious confusion and anger, social disobedience, and a crippling lack of faith.


Have no love for the world,
nor the things that the world affords.
If anyone loves the world,
the Father’s love has no place in him,
for nothing that the world affords
comes from the Father.
Carnal allurements,
enticements for the eye,
the life of empty show—
all these are from the world.
And the world with its seductions is passing away
but the man who does God’s will
endures forever.


—from the First Letter of the Apostle John

Note, however, that when Saint John speaks of the “world” he refers to the social world of human construction, not the beautiful physical world of God’s creation. The social world defiles God’s beauty by infecting us with unconscious desires that lure and entice us into sin. As Saint James said, “Then desire conceives and brings forth sin, and when sin reaches maturity it gives birth to death” (James 1:15). 

Read an excerpt about the Christian in the world 
from an ancient letter to Diognetus

Projecting Personal Failures onto Others

One way—a dysfunctional and dishonest way—to cope with personal failures and emotional wounds is to project them onto others in anger or prejudice. If you want to live a genuinely holy life, however, it is important to seek truth—beginning with personal and psychological truth—above all else. Therefore, avoiding the gossip and the lust for revenge spread by popular entertainment focuses your attention where it should be (and where you don’t want it to be): on your own deficiencies and wretchedness.


Why were James Bond movies, The Godfather, and others that followed in their path so successful in popular culture? Well, they offered us the spectacular glamor of violence and revenge—and lust. They satisfied our secret craving for the dark joy of unlimited power that can humiliate and destroy anyone who insults or injures us. Most viewers would never do such corrupt things themselves, so they see the movies as “harmless.” Yet the mere desire to derive pleasure from sin, even vicariously, is a sin in itself, and a deep wound to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Revenge and lust are just another stroke of the whip on Christ’s back, more spittle on His face, another kick in His stomach.


Sweetness to Fill Emotional Emptiness

Cultural frivolities, whether soda pop or sex—that is, other than chaste marital sex—are nothing but “sweetness” to fill the emotional emptiness left by Original Sin. In fact, much that calls itself “Christianity” today is just an imitation of the world, and, like soda pop, is just sugar water of universal appeal and no substance. So, rather than seek “sweet and satisfying paths,” learn to quench your thirst for truth and holiness with the living water from Christ’s merciful heart.


How were some of the saints so perfect and contemplative? They strove to subordinate all their earthly desires to heavenly ones, and by doing so they could cling to God from the very depths of their hearts and freely attend to him. . . . If we were not so absorbed in ourselves and if we were less confused in our own hearts, then we might savor divine things and experience something of heavenly contemplation. The greatest hindrance to our spiritual development—indeed, the whole hindrance—is that we allow our passions and desires to control us . . . When we meet the least adversity, we are too quickly dejected and we turn to other people for comfort, instead of to God.


—Thomas à Kempis
The Imitation of Christ, 1. 11
(Trans. by William Creasy)

Lead Us Not Into Temptation

So, will bodily pleasures, entertainments, sports, politics, and militarism send you right to hell? Well, who can say but God, the only one who knows all the secrets hidden deep in your heart? But I can say with certainty not only that none of these things will lead you to the Kingdom of Heaven, but also that all of them will lead you into temptation.

Neither shall you allege the example of the many
as an excuse for doing wrong.

—Exodus 23:2


Who wrote this web page?


1. During WW2, President Roosevelt privately said to Treasury Secretary Henry Morgenthau, Jr., and a Catholic appointee, Leo Crowley, “You know this is a Protestant country, and the Catholics and Jews are here under sufferance.” See The Conquerors: Roosevelt, Truman and the Destruction of Hitler’s Germany 1941-1945 (Simon & Schuster) by Michael Beschloss. An excerpt can be found at “FDR’s Auschwitz Secret,” by Michael Beschloss, Newsweek, October 14, 2002.

Read an opinion of dissent 

 Back to the list of questions


The text of this webpage, integrated with other material from my websites, has been conveniently organized into a paperback book of 350 pages, including a comprehensive index.


Though Demons Gloat: They Shall Not Prevail
by Raymond Lloyd Richmond, Ph.D.

Though we are attacked by liberal activists from without and by apostasy from within, the true Church—that is, the body of those who remain faithful to Church tradition—weeps, and she prays, because she knows the fate of those who oppose God.
     Our enemies might fear love, and they can push love away, but they can’t kill it. And so the battle against them cannot be fought with politics; it requires a pro­found personal struggle against the immorality of popular culture. The battle must be fought in the service of God with pure and chaste lifestyles lived from the depths of our hearts in every moment.

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