Whereas the post-Christian pagan Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712–1778) claimed that man is by nature an anti-social animal so that human society is essentially artificial, the pre-Christian pagan Aristotle (384–322), a much wiser man, knew that society is natural because man is by nature a social animal – watch how he gathers with his fellow-men from dawn to dusk in all kinds of human societies, especially the human family. But every man has free-will, so that all those kinds of societies must have somebody in authority to co-ordinate those free-wills which by themselves are liable to fly apart. Hence every society needs authority, as natural and as needed by man as is society. See how the Roman centurion recognises Our Lord as a man in authority from his own exercise of authority in the Roman army (Mt. VIII, 8–9).
But authority being as natural to men as is their social nature, and their social nature coming from God, then all authority amongst men must come ultimately from God (cf. Eph. III, 15), which is why in our own sunset of the world where almost all mankind is turning its back on God, men are also revolting against any kind of authority, and all kinds of authority are becoming more and more fragile. For instance is it not more and more common today for wives to be declaring independence from their husbands and for children to be running their parents? That is not natural in any true sense of the word, but it is today more and more common, because revolt against authority is in the bloodstream of all of us. Then how can it be restored? We have a classic example from the book of Numbers (Ch.16) in the Old Testament.
Moses and his brother Aaron were the political and religious leaders respectively of the Israelite people to bring them out of Egypt into the Promised Land. They had both been appointed by God, as the people well knew, but the Israelites were a proud and hard-necked people, and the moment came in the desert when Core, a first cousin of Aaron and jealous of his privileges, stirred up another 250 Levites and two leading Rubenites, Dathan and Abiron, to revolt, and the people rose up in a tumult behind them against the authority of Moses and Aaron. These two immediately appealed to the Lord, who told them to assemble the people on the next day in front of the Tabernacle. Then Moses told the people to get away from the tents of Dathan and Abiron standing there with all their extended families, whereupon the earth opened up and swallowed down the revolutionaries straight into Hell. Fire from God then devoured Core and his 250 Levites demanding privileges and prestige given by God only to the family of Aaron.
By this means God Himself demonstrated to whom He had given authority over the Israelites. Authority was so important for the Israelites in the desert because despite the miraculous crossing of the Red Sea (Exodus XIV), they were still hankering for the onions of Egypt, and Dathan was complaining of the hardships of the desert (Numb. XVI, 13–14). Yet Moses was no tyrant, but the gentlest of men (Numb. XII, 3), and Aaron had done the people no harm (Numb. XVI, 11). However, had God not resorted to an extreme punishment of the rebels, one may wonder if Moses and Aaron would have been able to lead the Israelites into the Promised Land. Would anything less have restored their authority? As it was, it is easy to imagine that after the double miraculous fire no Israelite was in a hurry to disobey Moses or Aaron!
In 2019 rampant materialism all over the world is making ever fewer human beings even believe in God, let alone take Him seriously. Science and technology seem to guarantee the good life for us all, so who still needs God? And without Him, all basis of authority is gone, and authority in every form of human society is melting into thin air, but especially in the Catholic Church. Moreover Neo-modernism holds its victims in such a grip that they are virtually inconvertible, being persuaded that they are still Catholic. How can the Church survive? If Catholic authority is to be restored before world’s end, will not another miraculous and deadly fire from Heaven be necessary, as with Dathan, Core and Abiron? God is not mocked (Gal. VI, 7).