In 2010, in an attempt to convey to fellow priests the comprehensive secularisation of western society, Cardinal Francis George, Catholic Archbishop of Chicago, stated,
“I expect to die in bed, my successor will die in prison, and his successor will die a martyr in the public square.”
His point was how a world divorced from God will inevitably come to a harsh end. In reading his quote I was reminded of the statement by George Orwell in his 1940 Notes on the Way where he said,
“For two hundred years we had sawed and sawed and sawed at the branch we were sitting on. And in the end, much more suddenly than anyone had foreseen, our efforts were rewarded, and down we came. But unfortunately there had been a little mistake: The thing at the bottom was not a bed of roses after all; it was a cesspool full of barbed wire… So it appears that amputation of the soul isn’t just a simple surgical job, like having your appendix out. The wound has a tendency to go septic.”
In the past week I’ve sat with Karen refugees in a temporary and primitive village nestled in a valley near the Thai-Burmese border, and I’ve sat with over 300 leaders at the Tasmanian Parliamentary Prayer Breakfast. Despite the nearly overwhelming contrasts between the two I was struck by this sobering reality . . .