TRUE freedom is living each moment in the fullest reality of who you are.
And who are you? That is the aching, over-arching question that mostly eludes this present generation in a world where the elderly have misplaced the answer, the Church has fumbled it, and the media has ignored it. But here it is:
You are made in the image of God.
It is this reality which draws all other realities, including the very existence of the universe, of beauty, of love, and even the Church, into focus: everything God has done from “the beginning” is to help mankind to rediscover this ultimate reality: we are immortal souls capable of receiving, through grace, the divine.
But without this clearly enunciated answer today, obscured as it is by what Pope Benedict calls an “anthropological revolution,”  we see the fruits of this painful vacuum: the elimination of the differences between the sexes, the redefinition of gender, the dissolution of fatherhood and motherhood, the mutilation of our bodies through surgery, enhancements, tattoos, and jewelry, and now—in logical sequence and conclusion—the utter loss of the value of life itself. Hence, abortion, assisted-suicide, euthanasia, and mass sterilizations have become “values” in contemporary society. Because really, if God is love, and we are made in His image, then ultimately we are speaking of a crisis of authentic love today.
Whoever wants to eliminate love is preparing to eliminate man as such. —POPE BENEDICT XVI, Encyclical Letter, Deus Caritas Est (God is Love), n. 28b
St. John Paul II described this crisis as essentially a “conspiracy against life” that has been “unleashed”.  And thus, it is no surprise to see that our human sexuality, “male and female”, which is an immediate reflection of the “image of God”, is central to this crisis. You have in Australia, for example, the Human Rights Commission moving to defend some twenty-three “gender” definitions—and counting.
In the beginning there was male and female. Soon there was homosexuality. Later there were lesbians, and much later gays, bisexuals, transgenders and queers… To date (by the time you read this, the… family of sexualities may have increased and multiplied) these are: transgender, trans, transsexual, intersex, androgynous, agender, cross dresser, drag king, drag queen, gender-fluid, genderqueer, intergender, neutrois, pansexual, pan-gendered, third gender, third sex, sistergirl
and brotherboy… —from “Pope Benedict XVI Exposes the Profound Falsehood of the Philosophy of the Gender Identity Movement”, December 29th, 2012, http://www.catholiconline.com/
As of this writing, Facebook now offers users some fifty-six gender options to choose from.  In essence, the single nature of body and soul of the human person is being shattered, literally, into pieces. And it is precisely because we have lost sight of our origin.
The soul, the “seed of eternity we bear in ourselves, irreducible to the merely material,” can have its origin only in God. —Catechism of the Catholic Church, n. 33
The crisis in human sexuality that we have arrived at today is essentially a crisis of faith.
…it becomes clear that when God is denied, human dignity also disappears. —POPE BENEDICT XVI, December 21st, 2012
THE BATTLE OF THE AGES
The root of the threshold that we have arrived at today, what John Paul II called “the final confrontation between the Church and the anti-church, the Gospel and the anti-gospel,”  is essentially a lie, a lie that gave birth to that historic period we call “the Enlightenment.” And the lie came in the form of a sophistry called Deism that goes something like this:
God was the Supreme Being who designed the universe and then left it to its own laws. —Fr. Frank Chacon and Jim Burnham, Beginning Apologetics 4, p. 12
This lie set into motion a chain of “isms” that would redefine mankind’s worldview—materialism, rationalism, Darwinism, utilitarianism, scientism, Marxism, communism, atheism, etc.—a world that would, over the course of the next four centuries, slowly push God out and place man at the center of the universe through science, psychology, and ultimately technology. 
The Enlightenment was a comprehensive, well-organized, and brilliantly led movement to eliminate Christianity from modern society. It began with Deism as its religious creed, but eventually rejected all transcendent notions of God. It finally became a religion of “human progress” and the “Goddess of Reason.” —Fr. Frank Chacon and Jim Burnham, Beginning Apologetics Volume 4: How to Answer Atheists and New Agers, p.16
Indeed, today we have reached the pinnacle of the Enlightenment, and this is to literally re-create man in his own image by divorcing his biological sex from gender, and merging his flesh with micro-technology. We are further into this experiment than many people realize.
The New Age which is dawning will be peopled by perfect, androgynous beings who are totally in command of the cosmic laws of nature. In this scenario, Christianity has to be eliminated and give way to a global religion and a new world order. —Jesus Christ, The Bearer of the Water of Life, n. 4, Pontifical Councils for Culture and Inter-religious Dialogue
THE IMAGE OF THE BEAST
If the courts today are making it possible for implementation of this anthropological revolution of man, it is only because the court of “public opinion” has already paved the way. And by this, I mean the slow and deliberate desensitization of the population through the media. Pope Pius XI foresaw the dangers that technology could bring, particularly the emergence of images projected through artificial light.
Now all may easily discern that the more wonderful the increase of the technique of the cinema, the more dangerous it has become to the hindrance of morals, to religion, and to social intercourse itself… as affecting not only individual citizens, but the whole community of mankind. —POPE PIUS XI, Encyclical Letter Vigilant Cura, n. 7, 8; June 29, 1936
St. Paul wrote that “Satan masquerades as an angel of light.”  Indeed, the fallen angel’s very name was Lucifer, which means “light-bearer.” There is a connection between Satan’s theological origins and the development and prevalence, at this hour in the world, of technology that uses artificial light, which is becoming more and more necessary to function in society. Every smart phone, every iPad, every computer, etc. involves the use of this light.
In journalism schools throughout North America, the theories of communications philosopher, Marshall McLuhan, were widely taught—“the medium is the message”—being one of his more famous statements. But perhaps more widely unknown was the fact that McLuhan was a devout Catholic whose faith shaped his philosophies. McLuhan, in fact, had strong concerns over the direction of technology—and this before the age of the computer. He died one year before the first personal computer emerged in 1981.
When electricity allows for the simultaneity of all information for every human being, it is Lucifer’s moment. He is the greatest electrical engineer. Technically speaking, the age in which we live is certainly favourable to an Antichrist. —Marshall McLuhan, Medium and the Light, n. 209
What does this have to do with human sexuality? Well, what has been more undermined, more denigrated, more influenced by the media than our sexuality? A distorted view of sex is now woven, in one way or another, through nearly every commercial, every program, every music video, every film. The media has become a powerful propaganda machine to increasingly disintegrate the dignity and truth of our human sexuality and promote a counterfeit.  Pop singer and teenage idol, Miley Cyrus, is but one of the many “poster-childs” of this machine:
I am literally open to every single thing that is consenting and doesn’t involve an animal and everyone is of age. Everything that’s legal, I’m down with. Yo, I’m down with any adult – anyone over the age of 18 who is down to love me. I don’t relate to being boy or girl, and I don’t have to have my partner relate to boy or girl. —Miley Cyrus, June 10th, 2015; theguardian.com
And of course, Miley has the images to go with her philosophy, which is really the by-line of this era: as long as it’s not illegal, just do it. The problem with that worldview is twofold: not everything that is harmful is illegal; second, the courts are now redefining that which has been considered unlawful and contrary to the natural law for millenia, as now being lawful. Hiding behind it all, projecting his image upon man invisibly as it were through “light”, is the Prince of this world, “the greatest electrical engineer.”
There is no need to be afraid to call the first agent of evil by his name: the Evil One. The strategy which he used and continues to use is that of not revealing himself, so that the evil implanted by him from the beginning may receive its development from man himself, from systems and from relationships between individuals, from classes and nations—so as also to become ever more a “structural” sin, ever less identifiable as “personal” sin. In other words, so that man may feel in a certain sense “freed” from sin but at the same time be ever more deeply immersed in it. —POPE JOHN PAUL II, Apostolic Letter, Dilecti Amici, To The Youth of the World, n. 15
That is, mankind is becoming rapidly enslaved by and to the image of the beast, and few are those who recognize it because we have convinced ourselves that we are the “enlightened”, when in fact our reason has become utterly darkened. Significantly, twice in Scripture, St. Paul relates that this darkening of human reason ultimately manifests itself in sexual impurity.
…darkened in understanding, alienated from the life of God because of their ignorance, because of their hardness of heart, they have become callous and have handed themselves over to licentiousness for the practice of every kind of impurity to excess… (Eph 4:18-19)
And again to the Romans, he wrote:
…they became vain in their reasoning, and their senseless minds were darkened. While claiming to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for the likeness of an image of mortal man… Therefore, God handed them over to impurity through the lusts of their hearts for the mutual degradation of their bodies. (Rom 1:21-24)
Why does “vain reasoning” necessarily lead to impurity and ultimately the loss of human freedom? Because our sexuality is directly tied to God in whose image we are made.
…in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. (Gen 1:27)
The fruit of agnosticism and atheism is ultimately the loss of our sexual identity because one no longer believes that we are created by God “in his image,” and this in turn leads to the destruction of all that flows from our sexuality, namely marriage and the family.
In the fight for the family, the very notion of being – of what being human really means – is being called into question… The question of the family … is the question of what it means to be a man, and what it is necessary to do to be true men… —POPE BENEDICT XVI, December 21st, 2012
Brothers and sisters, what we are speaking of, here, at the end of this age, is akin to watching a train-wreck in slow-motion. We can have one of two responses: stand on the hillside and watch it unfold, or run down to the tracks and begin to help the wounded. Maybe there was a time when it was enough to simply stand on the hillside and shout to the passengers of the dangers ahead. But we live in a different time today. There is so much noise, so much speed to the train, that the voice of truth is difficult to hear. What is needed is our direct engagement with others.
Gender confusion is only one of the rail-cars in this train. There are the cars of pornographic addictions,  sexually transmitted diseases, mutilation, infidelity, and sexual abuse. How do we, as bearers of the light of Christ, help others who are suffering in our times?
The light of Christ is like a flame with two dimensions. The flame brings both light and warmth. The light is truth. The warmth is charity. Together, charity in truth can attract others to us, to our message, and set their hearts aflame.
A reader wrote me recently about her son with same-sex attraction. She suddenly found out that the Church, which she loves, is not as ready to journey with her as she thought:
Where we have been very weak as Church is in the area of accompaniment, the ability to accompany and to be maternally present to the gay population. We say we are compassionate. We say that they must be treated with love and understanding. Where is the concrete expression of that?
To be certain, Pope Francis feels this is sorely lacking as well. In one interview, he said:
I see clearly that the thing the Church needs most today is the ability to heal wounds and to warm the hearts of the faithful; it needs nearness, proximity. —POPE FRANCIS, interview with AmericaMagazine.com, September 30th, 2013
The Holy Father elaborated what he meant by “proximity” in his Apostolic Exhortation, Evangelii Gaudium, which is really a blueprint for evangelization in the post-modern world. The idea that the Church can simply sit behind closed gates and make pronouncements is antithetical to the spirit of the Gospel.
An evangelizing community gets involved by word and deed in people’s daily lives; it bridges distances, it is willing to abase itself if necessary, and it embraces human life, touching the suffering flesh of Christ in others. Evangelizers thus take on the “smell of the sheep” and the sheep are willing to hear their voice. —POPE FRANCIS, Evangelii Gaudium, n. 24
We are being called, like Jesus, to journey with others, to “dine with tax collectors and sinners.” This in no way implies that the truth is to be discarded or distorted so as to appear more “tolerant.” Rather, without the warmth of charity, the truth risks becoming a sterile light that repels more than it draws souls to our message. And thus, Pope Francis is calling the Church to become bold, courageous, and to fearlessly journey with others:
Even if the life of a person has been a disaster, even if it is destroyed by vices, drugs or anything else—God is in this person’s life. You can, you must try to seek God in every human life. Although the life of a person is a land full of thorns and weeds, there is always a space in which the good seed can grow. You have to trust God. —POPE FRANCIS, America Magazine, September, 2013
As I wrote in Part III, we have to look beyond the sins of our brothers and sisters (beyond the speck in their eye), and recognize His image in them in order to help them find Christ’s mercy so they can take the next step, which is repentance—the beginning of letting God restore that image. God is present in every person’s life, not only by His paternal care for their wellbeing, but also because He is the author and source of life. In that sense, every human being alive “has God” as his or her “life-breath.” But this is to be differentiated from also having grace.
God is ever in the soul, giving it, and through his presence conserving within it, its natural being, yet he does not always communicate supernatural being to it. For this is communicated only by love and grace, which not all souls possess; and all those that possess it have it not in the same degree… —St. John of the Cross, Ascent of Mount Carmel, Book 2, Chapter 5
God communicates himself mostly to those, says St. John, who progress farthest in love, namely, those whose will is closest in conformity with the will of God. That is the essence of journeying with others: to help them enter into the harmony and order of creation that the Creator has designed in their natures that is both soul and body, spirit and sexuality. And this means a giving of ourselves that demands patience, mercy, and sometimes great suffering, if not martyrdom.
TRUTH AND LOVE, TO THE END
And here, we must acknowledge that as Christians, we are truly facing “the final confrontation.”  Because practically every day now, the courts are advancing an anti-gospel that is rapidly ebbing away at religious freedom. That, and it is putting “the very future of the world at stake.” 
Consequently, policies which undermine the family threaten human dignity and the future of humanity itself. —POPE BENEDICT XVI, Address to the Diplomatic Corps, January 19th, 2012; Reuters
In Ontario, Canada last week, a bill was passed similar to one in California that makes it illegal to counsel anyone under the age of 18 with unwanted homosexual or transgendered feelings.  It is not only an infringement on freedom of speech and religion, but perhaps most shockingly, the destruction of the rights of those seeking counsel. I mean, here we have the courts passing laws to acknowledge dozens of “gender identities” and then, on the other hand, banning anyone from seeking help who wants to “change” their gender. Yes, as Pope Benedict said, we have entered into an “eclipse of reason.”
Nonetheless, we cannot let the schizophrenia of either the courts or our politicians to deter us from speaking the truth in love.
We must obey God rather than men. (Acts 5:29)
Christians must prepare themselves for persecution, if not martyrdom. Already, Christians all over the Western World are losing jobs, businesses, and personal rights for upholding the natural moral law. The persecution is no longer coming: it is here.
But so is the enslavement of mankind in ways that are just beginning to manifest in all their tragic facets. And thus, more than ever, we need to be prophets of the intrinsic connection between human sexuality and freedom.
THESE are not normal times. Ask the average passerby if “something strange” is going on in the world, and the answer will almost always be “yes.” But what?
There will be a thousand answers, many of them conflicting, several speculating, often adding more confusion to the growing fear and despair beginning to grip a planet reeling from economic collapse, terrorism, and the upheaval of nature. Could there be a clear answer?
Mark Mallett unfolds a stunning picture of our times built not upon flimsy arguments or questionable prophecies, but the solid words of the Church Fathers, modern Popes, and approved apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The end result is unequivocal: we are facing The Final Confrontation.