October 12, 2018

Editorial

Prayer to St. Michael needed more than ever in our fractured world

“St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle. Be our defense against the wickedness and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him, we humbly pray, and do thou, O Prince of heavenly hosts, by the power of God, thrust into hell Satan, and all evil spirits, who prowl about the world seeking the ruin of souls.”
—Prayer to St. Michael the Archangel

Pope Francis recently asked members of the Catholic Church to pray for the protection of the Church from attacks by the devil.

He understands—as many of us do—that the Church is facing a serious crisis because of sins committed through clergy sexual abuse, and the Holy Father asked Catholics to pray the rosary each day in October, seeking Mary’s intercession in protecting the Church. He also asked that each recitation of the rosary conclude “with the prayer to

St. Michael the Archangel, who protects us in the battle against evil.”

Sadly, the book being written by the devil continues to add to its history of evil in society, and we can partly blame technology for its role in at least one recent chapter.

We only need look at the confirmation proceedings involving new Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh to witness how some individuals brought anything but civil discourse into a very passionate and spirited discussion.

Stories have surfaced in recent weeks of how women who accused Justice Kavanaugh of sexual assault were threatened via social media. So were the new Supreme Court justice and his wife and family.

Sen. Cory Gardner, who represents the state of Colorado, revealed his wife received a graphic text of a beheading after the Kavanaugh vote (he voted to confirm the new justice), and that someone had publicly posted the names and addresses of his family members. And a female Georgetown University associate professor shared a tweet, saying that white Republican men should die “miserable deaths” for supporting Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court.

Twitter. Facebook. Instagram. While many use social media for noble purposes, this latest chapter of unhealthy and dangerous discourse again reveals the perils of this technology. And thanks to the uncharitable, unchristian, and dare we say, even evil behavior of some, the days of civil discourse may indeed be history.

Has social media eliminated the opportunities for conversation and fruitful dialogue, where people of differing views could listen to each other, make their points, but in the end, still respectfully disagree?

We hope and pray that something positive will come from this turmoil occurring during Respect Life Month, which the Church observes each October. The Church calls us “to cherish, defend and protect those who are most vulnerable, from the beginning of life to its end, and at every point in between,” said Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan of New York, chairman of the bishops’ pro-life committee. The theme for this year is “Every Life: Cherished, Chosen, Sent,” which highlights “our call to build a culture of life as missionary disciples,” the cardinal noted.

For this year’s pro-life observance “we become even more aware of the need for messengers of God’s love and instruments of his healing” due to the clergy sex abuse crisis and other assaults on human dignity, Cardinal Dolan added.

We believe the chaos that led to the uncharitable social media outreach by some in the Justice Kavanaugh saga was indeed an assault on human dignity, and we pray for the individuals who thought that disparaging and even threatening others were appropriate responses.

As Catholics, we believe each of us is made in the image and likeness of God. And as Cardinal Dolan said: “We are called and sent to be messengers of God’s love, treating one another as cherished and chosen by him. In doing so, we help build a culture that respects all human life. The body of Christ needs you. The world needs you.”

So today and each day, as we battle evil, let us pray: “St. Michael the Archangel … .”

—Mike Krokos

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