Fr. Perricone: Heaven Is Only in Heaven

No morning passes these days when a Catholic does not wake up to the unsettling presence of that two-headed beast that roams about our society: secularism. One of its heads is atheism—modern man’s passion to be god, and the other is utopianism—man’s other obsession to turn this world into some kind of heaven. These are twin evils, feeding off one another. Seldom can a culture survive their terrors. Christ’s grace alone can slay them.

Christ’s grace alone lets us even see them, for their greatest triumph is to convince men that they are his greatest triumph. Thus, Walt Whitman in Leaves of Grass: “Nothing, not God, /Is greater to one/Than one’s self is.” Percy Bysshe Shelley is even more chilling in Prometheus Unbound, when he shrieks at an image of Christ Crucified, “O Horrible! Thy name/I will not speak/it has become a curse.” Indeed, this is nothing less than a beast in our midst.

Today, atheism appears with two faces. More familiar is the face of man emancipating himself from all manner of authority save the authority of the Self. Whittaker Chambers called this the cult of Almighty Man. Not only does God fall before Almighty Man, but morality, religion, law, the family, and even gender itself. The second face of atheism is more insidious, as it is camouflaged in the smarmy vanities so beloved to secular man.

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