Sometimes the Christian may feel depressed over present errors and distortions, supported by intellectual and cultural elites, defended by individual Christians, and sometimes perhaps insufficiently condemned by the elders. It may seem like various battles, such as the ones over abortion, divorce, and Sunday work/shopping (I do not equate the three issues), are lost, even among many of the faithful. Sometimes it helps me to remember past battles that also appeared to be unwinnable but that have been won, mainly to increase hope, though a wiser person than I might also learn lessons from the past victories.
Two past battles seem to me particularly memorable: simony and duelling. They are different kinds of examples. Simony (the charging of money for sacraments), as far as I know, was never strongly supported by anybody but the simoniacs themselves. But nonetheless it seemed to be a vice that for centuries was impossible to root out. Yet now, by the grace of God, we are almost entirely free of it. Duelling was supported by much literature, and by examples in the highest society of people who engaged in this sin without any sign of shame. The situation might well have seemed hopeless, and the defense of the Christian teaching on the sanctity of life would have seemed crazy. Yet, again, while people still fight, the cold-blooded, formalized duel to the death is almost entirely gone, as are its defenders. It's almost a miracle—or perhaps literally it is a miracle.
Also certain kinds of once-mighty ideological enemies of Christianity are no more. An interesting case is the puritanical secularist, whom one now one meets mainly in the pages of Chesterton and in history books. For instance, Gonzales in The Mexican Revolution quotes the revolutionary Saturnino Cedillo (around 1920):
I want land. I want ammunition so that I can protect my land after I get it in case somebody tries to take it away from me. And I want plows, and I want schools for my children, and I want teachers, and I want books and pencils and blackboards and roads. And I want moving pictures of my people, too. And I don't want any Church or any saloon.Or any brothel, too, I bet. These kinds of secularist revolutionaries seemed to have four enemies: the exploiting classes, the Church, the saloons and the brothels. This sternly moralistic secularist was a formidable enemy in his time: his just opposition to exploitation, drunkenness and prostition did make it harder to fight against him. But he is no more. That is a pity in some ways.