Tuesday, May 23, 2006

In for the long haul

The other day, I was listening to a talk about The Da Vinci Code by Fr. Euteneuer of Human Life International. It's good, though a bit over the top at times. It's aimed at committed Catholics who are already convinced of the perversity of radical feminism and the Culture of Death. It won't appeal to many non-Christians.

But it wasn't his comments about DVC that made me sit up. He recalls, at one point, how the Church has faced similar threats from the popular press in the recent past: A Course in Miracles in the 70's, The Celestine Prophecy in the 90's, and so on.

I stopped right there. Yes, those books came out back then -- and they're still on bookshelves everywhere, continuing to deceive and mislead. And where is the Church's response to their lies? Out of print. Scattered here and there on the Web. No longer available.

Oh, the Church may have responded with some vigor when these books were new. But as the buzz died down, so did the Church's countermeasures. And today, those books still sit quietly on home bookshelves, waiting to entice new generations; they show up at used book sales, and get donated to libraries; they're for sale at Amazon. But the opposition -- the truth -- sleeps.

The Church has kept no thorough, devastating responses ready and waiting. The attitude seems to have been: just ignore the books, and they'll go away. Don't draw attention to them. Let them slide slowly toward oblivion.

Fine, as far as it goes. Which is not far enough. Their slide toward oblivion make take decades or centuries, and while they're sliding, they're dragging a lot of souls with them. We can't follow Christ and just let those souls go without a fight.

We need a way to keep the defenses fresh and available -- not just for a few weeks or months while a new pack of lies is on the Times' bestseller list, but for decades to come. Once error is in print, it becomes a permanent enemy, and needs a permanent defense. And we need to do it in a way that doesn't burn out the few who step onto the front lines in the first weeks of battle.

Web, print, and DVD: those are the weapons for the new defenses.

I remember the words of a youth hymn we sang back at my Catholic elementary school in the early 60's:

On earth's battlefield, ne'er a vantage we'll yield...
I'm tired of the long defeat. Anyone else?