1968 – A Fateful and Terrible Year Where Many in the Church Drank the Poison of this World

By: Msgr. Charles Pope There was something awful about the year 1968.

I was but a lad at the time, merely seven or eight years of age, but almost everything on the T.V. terrified me. Terrible reports from Viet Nam, (where my father was at the time), the Tet Offensive nightly reports of death and casualties (was my daddy one of the ones killed?). Riots and anti-war demonstrations in America’s cities and college campuses. The first stirrings of militant feminism. A second hideous year of hippies with their “summer of love” nonsense, which was just an excuse for selfish, spoiled college kids to get high, fornicate and think they were some how doing a noble thing. There was the murder of Dr. Martin Luther King, later that year also of Robert Kennedy, the riots and burning cities that followed King’s assassination. I remember my mother who was teaching on the South Side of Chicago have to flee for her life and finally be rescued by and escorted out by police. There was the ramp up to the yet more hideous Woodstock festival that would happen the following year. 1968 was a terrible year, a year that I do not think we ever recovered from. It popularized the sexual revolution, drug use and lots of just plain bad behavior. In the Church sweeping changes were underway and this added to the uncertainty of those times. Even if one will argue they were necessary changes they came at a terrible times and fed into the notions of revolution. And then the whole revolt against the magnificent and prophetic Humane Vitae, thus ushering a spirit of open dissent that still devastates the Church.

1968 was a terrible year. When I mention that year and shake my head, I often get puzzled looks. But I stand by my claim, 1968 was a cultural tsunami from which we have not yet recovered.

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