I look at the headlines, our candidates, our political parties, our civic life, and mostly what occurs to me is that God has given us over to ourselves in this election, and he lets us make fools of ourselves with it. And not just this election. All the signs of God’s judgment of a nation, or a civilization, seem to be on us. In the Biblical accounts of Chronicles, you see the pattern. Faithful kings “seek” after God and ensure that a faithful liturgy is celebrated in Solomon’s Temple. Unfaithful kings make alliances with wicked nations, and cement these alliances with idolatrous worship in “the high places” or even the Temple itself. This lack of faithfulness is generalized, and the priests become wicked and oppressive. The life of God’s people becomes marked by violence, dislocation, and oppression. They lose the blessings of the Lord: good harvests, healthy children. They stop winning wars. They are conquered.

The Catholic Church, which I belong to, is rotten with wicked priests and mediocre leadership, ruined by pathetic attempts to make an alliance with the spirit of the age it lives in. It debauched its own liturgy to effect this alliance. Our sister churches of the Middle East are being put on the wrack of martyrdom by Sunni extremists, and the Western Church — fat with German money — is obsessed about how it might come to bless adultery. Last week, I read that the pope is seeking to come to some kind of understanding with a murderous regime in China. How pitiful. And then I look closer to home. Many civilizations have disgraced themselves with the murder of their enemies. But my own is one of few so debauched that we kill our own children and call it good.

Everywhere in the last decade, the leadership class of the Western World has been exposed for its avarice, its greed, its stupid clubbiness, its shallowness. The well-paid executives of our banks crash the economy while defrauding poor and working families. They get bailed out by the government, their bonus checks clear at the end of the year, and their banks’ name are put on our Coliseums. Our leaders fecklessly start wars in the Middle East, and then throw up their hands in surprise when the result is chaos, death, and fury unleashed upon the whole world.