Most of us are familiar with Star Trek, etc., where there was a Prime Directive, which prohibited Starfleet personnel from interfering with the internal development of alien civilizations. That was cool and entertaining. But on a more realistic view, we who claim to believe in Jesus Christ also have a Prime Directive. It’s pretty simple: Do good, avoid evil. Yet, hardly anyone seems to know, or is able to apply this, consistently. Now, as simple as it is, our Prime Directive is much harder to achieve in our day and time, because the vast majority of people, especially those in the youngest two generations, haven’t been given an effective education on what’s good and what’s evil, what’s right and what’s wrong. There is a lot of confusion.

The family is the first teacher of morals and values of course, but the body with the most responsibility for teaching morals and the truths of God is the Catholic Church, which was given the totality of Divine Revelation through the Apostles and their successors, the bishops, down through the 2000 years since Christ ascended to heaven. The Apostles and their successors were given their marching orders to go forth and teach all that Christ taught, to the far corners of the world. And, throughout the 2000 years they have more or less done this. There were certainly ebbs and flows in the effectiveness of the Church in teaching Christ’s truths, to be sure. And, historically, mankind has flourished in proportion to the degree and effectiveness that the Church has fulfilled its mission in teaching the faith effectively. But in our day and time, we have a challenge.

The Church has in many instances has dropped the ball. And the problem is now generational. We have generations of people who have not been taught the authentic faith. CCD in many parishes now stands for Color, Cut, and Draw. It’s become an art class. The children are considered insufficiently intellectual to grasp anything but the very basics of the faith. Yet, these same children can master the most complex, difficult video games known to man. I recall Bishop Robert Barron relating an encounter he had with this problem. He visited his brother, and was shown the text books his niece had on the table from the best Catholic school in the Chicago area. The top book was Hamlet. Not Hamlet for Dummies. Not the Cliff Notes for Hamlet. Hamlet, the real deal. Next, was Virgil’s Aeneid, in Latin, nonetheless. She was taking Latin, and had one of the most difficult Latin texts for her book. Next was a big, thick Physics book, bristling with equations, etc. Finally, at the bottom of the pile was her religion book. It was the equivalent of a comic book, with lots of pictures and big print. He pointed this out to his brother and said it bothered him, as it should anyone. So, for her next birthday, he bought her the intellectual equivalents of Hamlet, etc., in Catholic books. There was no reason to dummy down the faith if she could understand all those other intellectually challenging works. And I think this applies to most of our children. Most of them are very capable of understanding, to a very deep degree, the Catholic faith, if properly explained.

The moral demise of a nation always precedes its ultimate demise. This has been proven throughout history. There is a cycle that nations, cultures, and even families go through, that is more or less predictable.

First, there is struggle. We, as a nation, struggled to provide for our families before WWII. Then, there is success. After WWII, the military industrial complex provided many really good jobs for returning servicemen and women. Next, comes opulence. Everyone has everything they need, then they begin trying to “give their kids the things they never had” and in so doing, spoil them and create an attitude of entitlement. Finally, comes corruption of values, individuals, the culture, and the nation.

But there is a process that goes on when a nation self-implodes like ours is doing. It’s due to sin. Sin has more than just an invisible effect on our souls. It affects our physical lives and our culture, also. Sin blinds one to the truth, and weakens one’s will towards doing good, while strengthening one’s acceptance of evil. In other words, we become a mess! I cannot tell you how horrific it seems to me to see people who claim to be “good Catholics” in our government, supporting abortion, etc., as if these were inalienable rights and good things. These people have been absolutely blinded. In spite of being in very powerful positions, voted in by majorities of their constituents, they’re blind as bats to the truth. And they’re having a large hand in the wholesale destruction of our nation, from within.

So, how are we to fix the problem? How are we to convert/reconvert all these people back to the Truth, back to the Body of Christ? Easy. One soul at a time, just like they were lost. It is Christ that ultimately converts souls, but often because of our prayers, sacrifices, self-denial, suffering offered up, etc. It has been said that many souls will be lost because no one prays for them, or offers sacrifice for them. Those of us who are faithful Catholics, then, have a moral obligation to pray for those lost souls, and offer sacrifices for them, that they may not be lost. It’s not our job to sit on the sidelines and point fingers.We ARE our brother’s and sister’s keepers. Let there be no doubt about that. Jesus wants us to help them, because He loves them like He loves us! Finally, let’s tie all this back to our Prime Directive, to do good and avoid evil. The best good we can engage in is the salvation of souls. The thing we need to avoid at all costs is the loss of souls. As the late Ven. Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen said, if souls are not saved, then nothing is saved! Everybody matters!