There is a war happening, a culture war, right in our backyards and all Christians are called to fight in it, says a prominent Catholic author and academic.
"It is the war between Christ and anti-Christ," said Peter Kreeft. "Spiritual warfare is a necessity, not an option for all Christians. Christ came to our world to make war, war against the world of flesh and the devil, war against greed and lust and pride, and thus to make peace with neighbour, self and God."
Kreeft, a philosophy professor at Boston College, has published numerous books including the Handbook of Christian Apologetics, Christianity of Modern Pagans and the Fundamentals of the Faith. He gave a Toronto lecture June 8 sponsored by Catholic Chapter House.
He will also be a featured speaker at the annual Catholic Family Life conference at Lac Ste. Anne, northwest of Edmonton, June 28 to July 1.
Kreeft said the culture war, raging most heavily in Western society, is like the struggle Christ faced 2,000 years ago. Following Christ, great gains were made on the Christian front as branches of the faith spread and became integrated into culture. This progression, however, had a tipping point about 1,000 years ago, he said.
"After the Church won the world in the first millennium, she got fat and corrupt and divided and weak in the second and lost the world - by the world I mean culture (of) Western civilization," said Kreeft.
"The progress of progressivism has lowered Mass attendance from 75 per cent to 25 per cent, use of the confessional even more and belief in the real presence from nearly 100 per cent to 30 per cent.
"But Catholics attend all sacraments of the sexual revolution as faithfully as pagans, including pornography, contraception, fornication, adultery, abortion, sodomy, pedophilia and divorce. That is why the Church has lost its power to arrest (this) process of dying at exactly a time that such power is most desperately needed."
While the 1960s sexual revolution was the equivalent of mustard gas in this culture war, according to Kreeft, the university campus now functions as a primary battle ground for the anti-Christ to continue to make gains.
"The university is now the primary battle ground in the war between Christ and anti-Christ because university professors now have the power that priests, prophets and kings used to have," he said.
"Our young people are not educated by saints or sages or heroes anymore - often they are not even educated by their parents anymore."
When asked how youth could avoid this anti-Christian influence, Kreeft offered two pieces of advice, one ideal and one practical.
The ideal solution would be that students attend only private Christian schools, preferably Catholic, from kindergarten through post-secondary graduation. But acknowledging this solution as costly, he suggested that students be encouraged to enrich their Christian education by reading the words of the saints.
Kreeft said all Christians must allow Christ to work through them.
"We may be entering a literally apocalyptic age if the process goes on in the same direction unchecked," he said. "To join Christ's campaign for spiritual peace we must join Christ's campaign of spiritual war."