Flannery O’Connor once described the “liberal” mindset (which is of course anything but liberal) to Cecil Dawkins in a letter written in 1958:
The Liberal approach is that man has never fallen, never incurred guilt, and is ultimately perfectible by his own unaided efforts. Therefore, evil in this light is a problem of better housing, sanitation, health, etc. and all mysteries will eventually be cleared up. Judgement is out of place because man is not responsible.
Modern liberalism produces not compassion but sentimentalism, not mercy but cruelty walking around with sandwich boards that say “mercy.” It is a mindset that talks of love and tenderness but ends up loving no one and nothing but death. Its logical end is tyranny and terror.
In her introduction to “A Memoir of Mary Ann” O’Connor reflects upon this. Mary Ann was a twelve year-old orphan who had spent the last nine years of her life under the care of nuns who ran the Our Lady of Perpetual Help Free Cancer Center in in Atlanta. For nine years Mary Ann had suffered from a brutal form of cancer from which she finally died. The priest at Mary Ann’s funeral said that “the world would ask why Mary Ann should die.” O’Connor noted that the world would actually ask why Mary Ann had been born:
That world . . . would not ask why Mary Ann should die, but why she had been born in the first place . . . . One of the tendencies of our age is to use the suffering of children to discredit the goodness of God, and once you have discredited his goodness, you are done with him . . . . In this popular pity, we mark our gain in sensibility and our loss in vision. If other ages felt less, they saw more, even though they saw with the blind, prophetical, unsentimental eye of acceptance, which is to say of faith. In the absence of this faith now, we govern by tenderness. It is a tenderness which, long since cut off from the person of Christ, is wrapped in theory. When tenderness is detached from the source of tenderness its logical outcome is terror. It ends in forced labour camps and in the fumes of the gas chamber.
There can be no true tenderness when man cuts himself off from God’s love as revealed in Christ Jesus. All that’s left is a heartless sentimentalism; the compassion of the guillotine and the dungeon. “All those who hate me love death.” (Prov. 8:36).