O tempora, O mores!

Flickr photographer siliconchaos / Robert Wallace, CC BY-SA 2.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The world seduces us with the show of its vanities and pleasures. Most worldly gatherings cater to curiosity, to sensuality, and even to lust. Vice is made attractive by being concealed beneath the guise of what are called “innocent fashions and amusements,” but which are none the less fraught with danger. Such are, for instance, immodest dress and immodest dances, especially such as seem to have no other purpose than to occasion wanton looks and gestures. What must be said of most theatrical performances, of public entertainments, of the lewd literature one encounters at every turn?

The world seduces us with its evil examples. At the sight of so many youths living solely for pleasure, of so many men and women who make light of their marriage vows, of so many business-men who do not scruple to enrich themselves by questionable means, the temptation to follow suit is, indeed, very strong.  Moreover, the world is so tolerant of human weaknesses that it actually seems to encourage them. A home-breaker is considered a sportsman; the financier, the business-man who amasses his wealth dishonestly is called a clever fellow; the free-thinker is considered a broad-minded man who follows the light of his conscience. How many men are thus encouraged to lead a life of sin!

Adolphe Tanquerey originally published these lines in 1923. In the intervening century, the immorality and amorality he describes have become the new normal, even the new standards. 

A few decades earlier Nietzsche brilliantly captured the Spirit of the Age with his announcement of the death of God. Above we read of its first fruits.  Today we see the fruit rotting on the ground.

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