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Perhaps the least understood and mangled of the virtues is prudence. Most people seem to view prudence as slamming on the brakes and not doing anything lest you get overly aggressive or make a mistake. So an appeal to prudence inevitably reduces to a do-nothing approach.
Nothing could be farther from the truth.
Prudence means responding in a manner that suits the situation. So yes, if certain charges are being made against someone, the veracity of which are yet to be determined, then of course you should proceed with caution in your judgment or action.
But — and this is where most people lose it — if a situation is unfolding that demands your urgent attention (your house is on fire, for example, or a loved one is about to plunge into darkness of some sort) caution is the last thing you want to exercise. The entire premise of the old television show Intervention was built around the proper exercise of prudence.
Family members and close friends would see their loved one "losing it" (often due to abuse of drugs or alcohol, but not exclusively), and they would intervene, usually in a dramatic fashion, to save the person from himself.
That is being prudent. The situation has escalated to a dangerous point, and therefore it needs urgent attention. That's prudence — matching the level of response to the situation. So turning to the current collapse of Western civilization, how does one exercise "prudence"? What does that even mean?
Well, consider what is playing out: Massive fraud has stolen an election. Half the country recognizes that in poll after poll. There is not an honest person who can look at the sum total of all that has happened and not reach this conclusion. We won't rehash all the evidence here, but yes, thousands of sworn affidavits under penalty of perjury do constitute evidence. Suffice it to say, if a Biden administration comes into existence, it will be completely illegitimate.
But even more importantly, intelligent and, yes, prudent people — especially Catholics — have got to step back and do a real deep dive in assessing how we, as a people, have turned into what amounts to little other than a banana republic. Moreover, we have to assess in very serious terms what can we do, what we should do, in the face of this.
Unfortunately, for most Catholics, this is not even on the radar. They are driving off the cliff and are completely unaware. But why? And I don't mean to ask why are they driving off the cliff. Rather, why are they unaware of it? America is a manmade construct and will go the way it goes.
Enough men and women (and that is the key word: enough) will endeavor to reverse course and save the republic, or they will not and the United States will join the rest of history as just another nation or civilization that gave it a try and failed. But why did it fail (if indeed it does)? These are the prudential questions to ask, and they demand a truly prudential response.
Perhaps more than any other individual nation, America had baked into its charter an understanding on at least some dim level of the importance of the spiritual, of the divine, and that a certain order of life flows from that. Yes, it was certainly imperfectly followed or even understood, but it was at least present, which provided the opportunity to make the correct moral choices that would continue to keep the nation, as a people, chugging along.
Yet, baked into the founding was the Achilles heel of unclear, sufficiently vague language as to what "liberty" meant, what was meant by the often-repeated maxim "It's a free country." Free to do what? Free to say what, precisely?
Looking at that maxim through an authentic spiritual lens means free to live out your life in a properly ordered relationship with your Creator. But when freedom or liberty is looked at through the secular lens of "I can do whatever the hell I want, it's a free country," then you have set foot on the path of a disordered society, one that will eventually come tumbling down.
Disorder always devolves into chaos, and from chaos, virtually anything can emerge. But societal chaos is always preceded by moral chaos, as is true in a person's personal life as well. Before a man's life falls apart and he drinks himself to death, or a Hollywood starlet is found in her bathtub drugged up and her wrists slit, there was moral chaos.
The same is true of nations: For what is a nation, or a people, other than a large collection of persons generally agreeing on some important points (until they don't)? Through a series of small steps and incidents at first, the U.S. hierarchy began going off course nearly a century ago.
As waves of Catholic immigrants poured into America and our numbers began to swell, the Church began to become wealthier and exert more influence. That was the reason for the backlash from the anti-Catholic know-nothing party of the 1920s in the Northeast as well as the KKK.
They saw the numbers shifting and wanted to stop it. They failed. But also, the U.S. hierarchy, gradually over time (yet increasingly) also failed. So important was being American to them, having a seat at the table, that they surrendered their Catholicity. In the tension to be both American and Catholic, as it was expressed, the bishops took the easy road and chose to be American.
This opened up avenues to them to the halls of power and personal enrichment — the Judas path — and now they have firmly entrenched themselves on that road. Surveying the ecclesiastical landscape, it appears nothing on earth will change this. Too much time has passed. Too many generations of mitered men have embraced the spirit of the age.
Yet what most seem oblivious to, or indifferent to, is that the age is changing. As Abp. Sheen used to say, whoever marries himself to the spirit of the age finds himself a widower in the next. The bishops exchanged Church teaching for the vagaries of "liberty" and "freedom."
They did not (when they still could have) exercise authentic prudence and denounce divorce and remarriage, which of course gave way to contraception, which gave way to abortion, which gave way to open homosexuality and so forth. Societal disorder is always preceded by moral chaos. But moral chaos is always preceded by ignoring the truth — not necessarily out and out rejecting it, at least not at first, just casually sidestepping it: Being imprudent.
It is the U.S. hierarchy that opened the pandora's box of evil that has been set loose on the nation. Why? Because only they enjoy the distinction of being guardians of the truth (which leads to right order). The teachings that they are commanded by the Son of God to teach the world are His teachings: "Teach them to observe everything I have commanded you."
As such, they are immutable and absolute truth. To eschew them, to sidestep around them under a completely misguided notion of prudence, is immoral and wicked because of the set of events you place in motion. On anything other than a clear restatement of Church teaching, the bishops of this country should be completely ignored by faithful Catholics.
Not their office, but the men temporarily in those offices. They have led the Church down the road to ruin, all in the name of prudence and tolerance. There is not the slightest hint anywhere that these men will change course. True, miracles do happen. But to depend on a miracle as you do nothing is imprudent.
You must turn from these men in your financial support as well as your acceptance of them as truly caring for your souls. They don't, and in the face of massive evidence of spiritual fraud, to do otherwise would be imprudent. Just as sidestepping the truth of the overwhelming evidence of voter fraud in the election is wrong, so too is it wrong to take that approach in the Church.
The bishops have become the CNN of religion. And to view it any other way is imprudent.