In 1949 the Englishman George Orwell wrote a book titled 1984. It was about life in a totalitarian state; life under a government that held total control over peoples’ lives.
Orwell invented terms used in the book that resonate today: Big Brother, doublethink, thought-crime, Newspeak. The main character in the book worked for the Ministry of Truth, a government office which mission was to falsify history. Orwellian is a term which describes official deception, secret surveillance, and manipulation of the past. One famous quote from the book reads: “He who controls the past controls the future. He who controls the present controls the past.”
In 1968 some students in the city of Krakow, Poland organized an unofficial lecture titled “Orwell’s 1984 and Poland Today.” It was broken up by the police at the behest of Poland’s communist government. A few days later there was a meeting in a Catholic church titled “Orwell’s 1984 and Poland Today.” It was not broken up. The Archbishop of Krakow had ordered Orwell’s 1984 to be read in all churches. That Archbishop’s name was Karol Wojtyla.
Karol (that’s Charles or Karl in Polish) was born in 1920 in the very Catholic country of Poland. In 1939, when Karol was 19, World War II erupted. Nazi Germany invaded his country from the west, and the Marxist Soviet Union from Russia invaded from the east. Poland, where Christianity was introduced in 966 AD, was then crucified between two thieves. Both the pagan Nazis and godless communist invaders sought to stamp out from the peoples’ memory Poland’s intrinsically Catholic culture.
In an effort to keep that culture and history alive the young Karol took part in an underground theater that performed Polish plays, poetry and music. Karol also, at great risk to his life, secretly studied for the priesthood.
When World War II ended in 1945, Poland became a puppet state of the communists from Russia. In 1953 the Polish government implemented a law by which it, and not the Church, would appoint and remove pastors and bishops. The Church would become a de facto subsidiary of the Polish government. The primate of Poland, Cardinal Wyszynski stated:
“We teach that it is proper to render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s and to God that which is God’s. But when Caesar sits himself on the altar, we respond curtly: he may not” (cf. The End and the Beginning by George Weigel, 40).
For his trouble, Cardinal Wyszynski was charged with treason and went to prison. By the end of 1953 eight Polish bishops and 900 priests joined him. Over the next two years 2000 priests were imprisoned. By 1954 one out of three Polish persons were on Poland’s “register of suspicious and criminal elements” (Weigel, 36). Each Polish parish had a communist informer. Fr. Karol Wojtyla’s residence was completely bugged and his closest friends were spied on to discredit him.
In 1958 Wojtyla became Poland’s youngest bishop at age 38, and in 1964 he was made Archbishop of Krakow. During these years Wojtyla was bravely at odds with communist ideology. He taught that the demand for religious freedom be respected. He preached that parents should have complete liberty to raise their children in the truths of the faith, and that no one should suffer or lose their job for religious beliefs. Spying on Wojtyla then intensified. By 1967 there were an estimated 270 active priests and lay communist informants in his diocese.
In 1978, the unthinkable happened. Cardinal Karol Wojtyla was elected Pope, taking the name John Paul II. The next year, 1979, he went home to Poland. A man who lived under a brutal soul-destroying tyrannical state for most of his life was returning there as the Supreme Pontiff of the Roman Catholic Church. The mortified communists sent a secret directive to Polish schoolteachers explaining how they should understand and explain the Pope’s visit:
“The pope is our enemy … Due to his uncommon skills and great sense of humor he is dangerous, because he charms everyone, especially journalists… he shakes all hands, kisses children … It is modeled on American presidential campaigns …Because of the activation of the Church in Poland our activities designed to atheize the youth not only cannot diminish but must intensely develop… In this respect, all means are allowed and we cannot afford any sentiments” (cf. Witness to Hope by George Weigel).
None of that mattered. Eleven million people, one out of three Polish persons, saw the Pope during a visit that was political and religious dynamite. People in the huge crowds looked around and gained confidence. The Poles watching on TV had to laugh at the state-controlled media coverage. Thousands lined the streets and shouted, “We want God. We want God,” but the TV kept showing close-ups of old ladies dressed as babushkas. A writer said it was like watching a soccer game where the camera follows everything but the ball. (Weigel)
“Wojtyla showed himself the true master of Polish hearts and minds, by giving back to his people their authentic history and culture; their true identity … By restoring their identity to a people who had been oppressed for forty years; by giving Poland back to the Poles, and giving the Poles back to themselves he created new tools of resistance that communism simply could not match” (cf. The End and the Beginning by George Weigel, 111).
Wojtyla always had a small smile on his face. It exuded a “Be not afraid” attitude. He sort of gave the impression with that smile that he had a secret; that he knew something his enemies did not.
Wojtyla did know something, but he wanted to share it. He wanted to share with the world God’s Divine Mercy. This is what his fellow Pole, the nun St Faustina Kowalska was told by Christ himself in the 1930’s, shortly before Poland received a real taste of hell during World War II; a war in which twenty-percent of Poland’s population perished.
Speaking of hell, St Faustina, who died in 1938, recorded how Christ had an angel escort her to hell. It’s in paragraph 741 of her now famous diary, The Diary of St Faustina:
“I, Sister Faustina Kowalska, by the order of God, have visited the Abysses of Hell so that I might tell souls about it and testify to its existence…the devils were full of hatred for me, but they had to obey me at the command of God, What I have written is but a pale shadow of the things I saw. But I noticed one thing: That most of the souls there are those who disbelieved that there is a hell.”
And here we are today, living on the abyss of hell. For example, look at the present-situation in our government schools, which in so many ways are designed to atheize our youth. Recently I saw a video clip of then-Illinois Senator Barak Obama in 2007 speaking to Planned Parenthood, the company that makes billions of dollars murdering babies and selling their parts. A smiling Obama told the very pleased crowd that teaching sex education to kindergarten children was “the right thing to do.”
Yes, in classic Marxist fashion, where the state is the primary teacher and parent, innocent children need to learn about the mechanics of sex before learning to read or write. But the mere mechanics of it all was not enough, was it? No, the “right thing to do” now includes indoctrinating children into believing they can change their God-given sex. I’ve read reports of first graders now identifying as animals. I read where a substitute teacher was fired last year for refusing to meow back to a first-grade girl who identifies as a cat.
What is going on? What is happening? What is happening is that we are at war. We are at war with agents of the devil who are full of hatred for God and mankind. Unfortunately, in many ways some of the Church leadership in Rome appears to have become a de facto accomplice and in some ways subsidiary of an anti-Christian world government; one that is inviting Caesar to sit himself on the altar. Powerful bishops, some who have intimated that hell does not exist, are fixated with changes in the weather and “sexual diversity.” At the same time they appear mortified of serious Catholics, which include young families who want their authentic history, culture and identity back. Thus the assault from Rome on things traditional; things it deems “rigid” and “backwards.”
Friends, Jesus Christ started a Church. He breathed on His Apostles, giving them the power to forgive sins and offer the Eternal Sacrifice of Mass that saves us from hell. And so – when Caesar sits himself on the altar, we respond curtly: “You may not.” Will that get us placed on the “register of suspicious and criminal elements”? Probably. But so what? Peter, the first Pope said it was a good thing to suffer for Christ’s name.
In the silence at Mass, picture Christ with a small confident smile fixed on you. Listen to him say to you:
“I know something, and I want to share it with you. It is this: I am the Alpha and Omega, the First and the Last. I am the Lord of history. It is I who control the past, present and future. I am your Ministry of Truth. So be not afraid of the world. Trust in my mercy and I will create in you tools of resistance that hell can simply not match.”