Thus Milton, and what a chilling passage it is! It came to mind when I saw that today we commemorate Blessed Titus Brandsma, the Dutch Carmelite who saw clearly the evil tendencies within Nazism and was responsible not only for trying to get the press to refuse to publish Nazi propaganda but also for the famous Pastoral Letter of the Dutch bishops which condemned anti-semitism and the deportation of the Jews. He paid for his clear-sightedness at Dachau.
With the benefit of hindsight, most of us can see well enough; but one of the problems of fashionable ideologies is that, at the time that they are making huge numbers of converts, we don’t see them for what they are. Evil has the appearance of good. We can even embrace evil because it appears to counter something we think is wrong, not realising that we have fallen even further away from truth and charity.
There are a number of subjects on which I find myself holding very different views from others, and I am sure you do, too. It can be very lonely and uncomfortable. Few of us have to pay for our beliefs with our lives, but some do — and they do not always make the headlines. Today I would like to pray for those whose determination to live truthfully has won them no friends, secured them no advantages, left them uncomfortably on the margin of what society approves or endorses, but whose integrity is as a shining light for humanity, being filled, as it is, with God.