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Did you ever contemplate the "anonymous power"? It is at work across the societies of men.

It is as pervasive as it is mysterious.

The term, as a Catholic columnist recently mentioned, was once used, during Holy Week in 2012, by Benedict XVI, who pointed out that Judas, the betrayer of Jesus, was "neither a master of evil nor the figure of a demoniacal power of darkness but rather a sycophant who bows down before the anonymous power of changing moods and current fashion. But it is precisely this anonymous power that crucified Jesus, for it was anonymous voices that cried, Away with him! Crucify him!

An "anonymous power":

It is when an idea -- however nefarious, however outrageous -- gains sudden acceptance.

We see it much in our strange time.

"Greed" is good. We ignore infanticide. We can no longer discipline our children.

"Animal behaviorists have even come to this truth with their new and extremely controversial theory called the 'Hundredth Monkey Effect,'" notes author Deborah Lipsky (in A Message of Hope). "Basically the effect states that a learned behavior, once enough monkeys engage in it, will spread instantaneously from one related monkey group to another. It basically alluded to some sort of supernatural instantaneous spreading of a learned behavior if enough monkeys do it even if there is no direct monkey to monkey communication. In human terms we can apply this same principle to the term 'societal norm.' Somewhere, and somehow, almost 'magically,' look at how societal values have diminished over the last fifty to sixty years. Abortion, gay marriage, and sex on television were taboo in the 1950s. Can we pinpoint an exact date when this all changed? No. How did it change to the point that these ungodly principles are now accepted as common behavior in our country?"

It is the fruit -- the "anonymous" effect -- of indifference. It is from a spiritual force. It is also the result of disorientation.

Abortionists were once thrown in jail and now are only jailed in extraordinary, incredible cases; before 1962, homosexual activity was a felony in all U.S. states. Just seven percent of the American public was intensely interested in the recent trial of an abortionist for first-degree murder, to speak about indifference. We allow the cloning of embryos. We don't question the deaths in wars we wage of civilians. We oppose a new world order while supporting globalized corporations (and with fervor, as if extreme capitalism is a new tenet of Christianity). 

It is a time of contradiction. It is a disorientation. We focus on politics and Wall Street and Hollywood while our food -- all our soy, our corn, our wheat, our rice -- is being modified genetically. This is also cognitive dissonance. Meanwhile, the landscape shifts all around us. Like the sweep of a tail (see: devil), outrageous ideas become mainstream.

Lust is "making love" (when it is just the opposite). Pornography is the right of free speech. Christmas displays are no longer allowed in the public square, while gambling of all types and stripes is everywhere.

The "anonymous power" is when immorality wins wide acceptance. Perhaps this is why (bravo!) the new Pope alludes so often to the devil (while exuding the Holy Spirit).

Trends have suddenly fallen upon us -- bizarre trends (see: tattoos) -- like the drop of a theatrical curtain.

It's mysterious, the anonymous power. It's inexplicable. Look at what happened in Nazi Germany.

Good people came to believe in a great evil because, falsely, it seemed beneficial.

On several fronts, we are doing the same, and as a result, we head for a time of tremendous civil discord. There is such a trend toward dehumanization. How quickly "anonymous" sweeps; how irrationally. (There is even a major computer hacker who goes by the name "Anonymous.")

"Its a cultural tsunami," said the columnist about gay marriage. "On TV and Twitter and Facebook and the web, its an overwhelming obsession. And whos pushing it? Well, its anonymous."

It just happens.

And if that's true, we should begin thinking of what other things can "just" occur: what else the anonymous power has up its -- his -- sleeve.

[resources: Deborah Lipsky's book on spiritual warfare in A Message of Hope; see also, Tower of Light]

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