I wonder if today we have really emerged from the Industrial Revolution. Yes, the depressing landscape of dark mills has, for most people, disappeared; our cities have been largely refurbished and we speak about a post-industrial age. Yet, the vital signs today, in my estimation, show that we have not emerged properly, or at all, from that era in which our humanity became obscured by technology and in which hope in God was exchanged for hope in human production.
Today human production no longer refers to what our factories can turn out, but rather a new embracing of the Enlightenment's claim that all things, even our knowledge of the things of God, are dependent upon ourselves.
Having recovered not just from one World War, but two, what we have seen take place in the West has not been a real nurturing of human life, but rather an embracing of the hopelessness that is a consequence of the Industrial Revolution; that we are on our own, that there is no God, and that darkness is at hand. The name we give to this is "secularisation", a phenomenon which represents an inability on the part of society, to emerge from the Industrial Revolution.
We experience this today, as I have said before, in the fundamental benchmark of humanity - that is, can we, or can we not, decide who dies? We have taken this decision to ourselves in Abortion and Euthanasia.
We experience it in choosing human autonomy above and beyond what we are given by God. We see this especially in our false, dehumanising, national and international economies.
We experience it in choosing a loss of human dignity and identity rather than by building that dignity and identity through openness to God. We see this in the way we dress and in the confusion of roles.
We experience it in the way we hand over our children to the new mills of state education systems, relinquishing essential and organic elements of human life, that is to say, childhood and parenthood.
You will, no doubt, be able to add to this list. But my question is, why? Why have we not been able to emerge from a dark era in human history? Why have we not been able to place our hope in Christ? And, perhaps most worrying of all, why has the Church been so slow to respond to the call to a new evangelisation - she who is called to be and give light?