Let’s face it, politics isn’t working. The massive wealth and power of the global elite combined with the cupidity of politicians and jurists have proved too much for reformers.
Utopians of every stripe have been beaten back. Money rules as never before.
In the long, and often misguided, struggle for justice, the most extreme measures have come to naught. Bolshevists, Marxists and Maoists are quaint historical footnotes. Popular movements in the Mideast and elsewhere have quickly degenerated into petty partisan squabbles, shedding oceans of innocent blood to no avail.
In America, protests like Occupy Wall Street have fizzled. A confused Tea Party uprising has become the cat’s paw of the very power brokers responsible for the rebels’ rage. Relentless far-right propaganda has made “liberal” a pejorative word.
The elite has maintained its grip on the government through such tactics as rigged voting systems, gerrymandered political districts, voter suppression laws, bribery of elected representatives and “dirty tricks” of all kinds… Democracy is in disarray.
Where jackboots and tanks failed to keep the world’s people in servitude, the deployment of cunning strategies and massive resources seems to be succeeding.
But there may yet be reason to hope.
The still, small voice of conscience seems to be stirring in the global psyche. And it is finding expression from an unexpected source (unexpected by me, anyway), the new Pope.
To me, the Catholic Church has been the guardian of rigid dogma, the spiritual defender of the established order, the rationalizer of a global hierarchy in which justice and liberty are conspicuously absent.
And, through the years, Mother Church’s dirty laundry has been exposed, providing shocking glimpses of hypocrisy, cynicism and avarice. At times, the Catholic Church has seemed to be a refuge for the worst in human nature, while professing to be a beacon of the best.
When Pope John Paul I abandoned the Vatican’s traditional path, he didn’t last long (just over a month, in fact).
But – amazingly – Pope Francis has now emerged as the voice of Catholicism, and his message seems to echo the words of Christ, not the thoughts of the money changers in the temple. His is a message of love, peace, justice and tolerance, not oppressive dogma.
It remains to be seen whether this brave messenger will be silenced.
Could his voice resonate so strongly in the hearts of the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics that evil forces dare not do him harm?
Could non-Catholics swarm to his side and create a global crusade for peace and justice too overwhelming for even the wealthiest and most mighty oppponents to resist?
Is this the dawning of the Age of Aquarius after all?
Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven, Lord.