Keeping the Faith

Keeping the Faith

Catholics have had a great deal to process the past few weeks. Some of it was best processed in quiet, in prayer, and in the counsel of wiser souls.

What can we observe of recent weeks?

As the Pope’s moto proprio severely restricting the Mass in its extraordinary form appeared on the scene, we heard nearly universal disappointment, whether one spoke to non-believers, trad Catholics, Eastern Orthodox Christians, or just one’s average fellow parishioner.

The main question seemed to be: Why, when the Church is plagued by so many dreadful problems, should eradicating an ancient, valid, and quite beautiful liturgy be the focus?

For the sake of “unity,” apparently, which for progressives seems rooted in a coercive punishing those of you don’t like.

It cannot have escaped anyone’s notice that scandals of serious import have abounded lately: the widely-publicized trial of Cardinal Becciu, for one, over corrupt financial dealings in the Vatican, and also the revelations about the Vatican’s property holdings & budget deficit, rife with stories of greed, waste, and poor investments.

And of course, shortly after the moto proprio‘s release, the handful of folks celebrating it had their crowing cut short by the bombshell report by Ed Condon & J.D. Flynn of The Pillar, which revealed that the Secretary General of the USCCB, “the most powerful priest in America,” Jeffrey Burrill, had left an extensive data trail suggesting hundreds of liasons through gay hook-up app Grindr. And nor was Burrill alone. The diocese of Newark and other areas (including the Vatican itself) seem also to have clergymen caught in the sting, with doubtless more to be implicated.

While America Magazine types flipped out over concerns of “journalistic integrity” and “judgementalism,” the average practicing Catholic seems to have rather set his face like flint, realizing that an overly sentimental and deferential attitude toward clergy has only contributed to the problem. That, even after 2018’s “Summer of Shame,” the highest-placed priest at USCCB could violate his vows over and over with no one to say boo, tells us all we need to know.

Silence, patience, trust, and/or reluctance to deal with the licentious subculture that’s been created within the priesthood is costing us dear in every conceivable way: from the good priests and seminarians who suffer indignities and spite, to the offending clerics who are poisoning themselves. One gets perfectly the fact that everyone’s a sinner and certainly no one wants their shame drug out into the light of day, but our clergy and prelates are not cleaning up the mess privately and the whole Church is paying for the failure.

That some high-profile priests and lefty Catholics seem more concerned with keeping the corruption on the down-low than with addressing it, seems to prove a well-established tenet: Lust makes one spiritually blind. Whether one is in the lay or the clerical state, it robs us of our vision and purpose and makes our works barren. Aquinas taught that:

“Now it is evident that pleasure fixes a man’s attention on that which he takes pleasure in. Now carnal vices, namely gluttony and lust, are concerned with pleasures of touch in matters of food and sex; and these are the most impetuous of all pleasures of the body. For this reason these vices cause man’s attention to be firmly fixed on corporeal things, so that in consequence man’s operation in regard to the intelligible things is weakened; more, however, by lust than by gluttony, forasmuch as sexual pleasures are more vehement than those of the table. Wherefore lust gives rise to blindness of mind, which excludes almost entirely the knowledge of spiritual things.”

(ST II-II, q.15, a.3)

To paraphrase the Angelic Doctor, the Grindr mentality makes you particularly stupid as concerns the things of God–which, especially if you are among the ordained, means you can’t do your job.

How is one who operates, as Aquinas says, in a state of almost complete exclusion of the knowledge of spiritual things to serve as a seminary rector, a teacher, a director of priestly formation, a counselor…. indeed, as a prelate of the Church? When the father of a family behaves in such a way, his spouse and children suffer. It isn’t any different here.

As if to drive the point home even further, it also transpired last week that Theodore McCarrick, the man probably most responsible for the current direction of the episcopacy in the United States, was at long last criminally charged with a 1976 sexual assault in Massachusetts, and we know, of course, of his longstanding affairs, the abuse of his priestly and episcopal position, and the silence in which it was cloaked.

The Pillar exposé perhaps hints at a shift. The worm has turned.

There are still other woes for the Church, the standard heartbreak of a fallen world. We could read, further away, of the dreadful numbers of Christians lost in Nigeria this year to militant attacks, or to the plight of the Chinese Catholics and long-suffering Cardinal Zen.

We could look at the vast numbers of our fellow Catholics who seem to have lost Faith or interest in the sacraments over the period of COVID, who are not returning, who grow distant from grace.

All of these crosses and crimes cry out for justice and for the healing hand of God operating through His Body. And our leaders could focus upon them and bear the cost.

But no. The progressives have decided that real problem lies with those fellow Catholics who like to receive Holy Communion kneeling and want a bit of Latin tradition; not with the reprobates and thieves, the architects of the culture of death, or those rejecting the deposit of faith. No; it’s the mantilla & maniple crowd that’s ruining things.

So where does this leave us? One could give way to despondency, anger, disgust, or fear.

But why should we?

In the midst of the greatest chaos, one sometimes finds clarity, a sort of eye in the storm to give perspective. Since when does a Christian turn away from a cross? It’s a contradiction in terms.

One does not have to look far to find many others in the Church who feel and think the same, and yet have their eyes fixed on the Lord. It’s been quite intriguing, for example, to see the response of a surprising number and variety of bishops to the plight of their traditionally-minded people. It’s been curious find even committed atheists rallying in support of the chief expression of Christian piety.

None of this is to say the coming time may be easy; one rather suspects not. It sometimes feels like the Seven Deadlies are are having a heyday in the Church.

Military elites have coined a phrase: Embrace the suck. It means, essentially, to strengthen your resolve, to get comfortable with suffering for your mission. To get into the fray and to do it.

But we can go further than stoicism. Is it not a privilege to be counted worthy to believe in Christ, to hope in Him, to love Him, in this historical moment? To be tested and tried, to be held to ridicule and even to suffer? Have we not been assured “where sin abounds, grace abounds all the more”?

We should perhaps go so far as to say with Fulton Sheen, in a dire historical moment: “These are great and wonderful days in which to be alive. I thank God … that I can live in these days.”

We need, rather than shying away from the troubles, to sink our teeth into them, to pray for humility and fortitude and wisdom, and to act where God calls.

Venerable Cardinal Newman said once:

God has created me to do Him some definite service. He has committed some work to me which He has not committed to another. I have my mission. I may never know it in this life, but I shall be told it in the next. I am a link in a chain, a bond of connection between persons. He has not created me for naught. I shall do good; I shall do His work. I shall be an angel of peace, a preacher of truth in my own place, while not intending it if I do but keep His commandments. Therefore, I will trust Him, whatever I am, I can never be thrown away. If I am in sickness, my sickness may serve Him, in perplexity, my perplexity may serve Him. If I am in sorrow, my sorrow may serve Him. He does nothing in vain. He knows what He is about. He may take away my friends. He may throw me among strangers. He may make me feel desolate, make my spirits sink, hide my future from me. Still, He knows what He is about.

So readers, let’s go all in. Keep the Faith.

13 Replies to “Keeping the Faith”

  1. I was baptized at 18 to the chagrin of my parents. The priest who gave me my instruction told me to be sure of my reason for becoming Catholic. He said to be sure it was because of Jesus, that human beings were fallen and might disappoint. He also cautioned me to stay close to the Eucharist and to Our Lady.
    This past eighteen months only removed the veil from what was already happening in our diocese. It was horrible not to have the sacraments, not even to be able to go into the church and pray.
    On the most difficult days, I have tried to keep that long ago advice in my heart. I have kept up my daily rosary and the Chaplet of Divine Mercy.
    God is still where He was and we are not abandoned. We must pray for our priests and for each other.
    The priest who helped me prepare for baptism always said that the Catholicism was difficult to live out, but the only faith in which to meet Death.

    1. This is the only attitude to have these days. The Bishops lost their moral authority ages ago- and it’s just now that the veil is lifting. I will continue to go to the Sacraments and listen to good priests who have boots on the ground and know their people. The Church is becoming more and more a battlefield and we have to be ready to fight.

    2. Wow! This is so well said, I run the risk of sounding patronizing with anything more than…Wow, amazing comment! The priest was correct, and Our Lady IS the Auxilium Christianorum and the Holy Eucharist IS the Salus Credentium. If the faithful stay moored between those two, they will be able to weather the storm building.
      See St. John Bosco’s vision of The Two Pillars:

  2. I read that the diocesan portion of that Synod of Synodality begins in a few months. “Consultation with the People of God in each local church will conclude with a presynodal meeting, which will be the culmination of diocesan discernment” according to the Vatican. Golly Gee, I’m sure we will all be consulted, that they will actually care, and that all that is wrong with the Church can be cleared up by more meetings. What an immense waste of time and money. Yes, indeed, we must keep the Faith, but don’t look to the diocesan machine to help us. Our only chance is to support the good parish priests among us and hang on to the Eucharist. The future of the Church is not in the chanceries.

    1. It is always good to remind faithful souls of what’s most important: Faith in our Blessed Lord and keeping His commandments. For it these things that the world cannot take away from you. Our diocesan leadership can deny us the sacraments and lock the churches. Society can rob us of everything, even to the point of taking our lives. But neither corrupt clergy nor a demonic society can lay a finger on an eternal soul sheltered under the wings of our Mighty Savior. Praise Be Jesus Christ, Now And Forever!

      “My safeguard and my fortress, my stronghold, my deliverer, My shield, in whom I take refuge, who subdues peoples under me.” – Psalm 144:2

  3. Yes, the faith is beautiful but it seems the leaders have no faith. Instead, they use the faith like a business. Worse, they use the faith for their own perversions! They make money through gov’t contracts at the state and federal level and also through very generous wealthy laity. The sex abuse crisis cost 4 billion which would have ended many businesses but not the Church. The sex abuse crisis was due mostly because of homosexual priests. We now know we are paying for grindr hookups, prostitutes and gay orgies at the Vatican. We have homosexual priest grooming seminarians and enabling homosexuality by actually teaching it’s fine, like Fr. James Martin or making sure homosexual priests are enabling it at college campuses. Our priests silence on the sin of homosexuality makes them all look guilty. I think we can all agree a big mistake was made and we can not have same sex attracted priests…we see it’s like having alcoholics tend a bar. Eventually, both are harmed.

    Trust and respect must be earned and no matter how much we may like our priest, we must all start facing the facts and demand accountability.

    Why are we tithing to them when the Church leaders do not follow their own laws. Canon law 915 says those who do not believe in the Catholic faith should not receive the Eucharist. But they allow for the Bidens, Pelosi’s and Cuomo’s of the world to continue to think they are Catholic.

    The leaders no longer teach and if they do, they teach half the faith. They’ve been preaching mercy for years without justice. Augustine says, “Mercy without justice is the mother of dissolution.” As we watch our society unravel because Christianity has been so watered down everything is tolerated. All want to look merciful and so justice and discipline is ignored. They teach the Eucharist is life yet ignore the fact it is also death to those who do not believe. 1 Cor 11:27-31, “7 So then, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord. 28 Everyone ought to examine themselves before they eat of the bread and drink from the cup. 29 For those who eat and drink without discerning the body of Christ eat and drink judgment on themselves. 30 That is why many among you are weak and sick, and a number of you have fallen asleep. 31 But if we were more discerning with regard to ourselves, we would not come under such judgment.”

    The bishops job is to govern and teach but they have governed and taught destruction by ignoring half the truth. We must start seeing action. We must see they are following Canon 915 and denying the Eucharist to politicians who publicly claim they are Catholic but are responsible for countless unborn deaths. In our own church, we must hold the pastor accountable. Maybe we should demand they teach on 1 Cor 11:27-31 which is never mentioned at mass. Hmm, wonder why? We should demand they preach on the sin of homosexuality which is never mentioned. We must demand bishops teach in public by standing for morals in the public square, like the apostles they are supposed to be.

    Our pastors can’t be telling baptized Catholics they are Catholic even when they do not agree with the Catholic faith. That keeps money coming in but we see there is no true unity which is called for in 1 Cor. 1:10 ” I appeal to you, brothers and sisters,[a] in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another in what you say and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly united in mind and thought.” is not in our churches. Of course, saying you are Catholic, even if you don’t believe what the church teaches, is condemnation according to the Word of God. Imagine as you receive the Eucharist the Holy Spirit witnessing it! You are saying you are one with Christ but you are not. So people are walking out of mass, not as Christ bearers but as the walking dead…’damned’ and ‘asleep’ people. Thus we see the Catholic leaders are responsible for our current culture.

    Worse, we now have a pope who is denying many the old rite liturgy which has 1 Cor. 11:27-31. Why? He has changed the CCC with the death penalty which does not follow tradition or the Word of God and yet few leaders say anything. He has approved James Martin and allowed for him to be part of Vatican communications. Why? He has allowed the Pachamama and signed the UN AGENDA 2030 which wants global population control through birth control and abortion! Maybe we should all start asking if the pope is Catholic. Cardinal Burke and others questioned him on Amoris Laetitia and they were ignored. He has now continued in heresy and so Cardinal Burke issued the Declaration of Truths yet no one printed it. Why? Because most know how to sound good but are really just company men. They fear man more than God….UGH!

    We must demand accountability. Our bishops and priests are called to teach the fullness of the faith. We need men who believe in God and His mercy and justice. We need men of God who take the Word of God seriously so they obey God over an evil bishop. The Israelites, who reached the promise land and were not willing to fight, all died in the desert. We too will die if we do not fight for Christ and His Truth and His glory. If we do not demand the truth to be known so we can continue in our comfort, then we too will die and not make it to the promised land of heaven. As our pastors cover the Eucharist in the next few Sundays, maybe we should demand they teach on 1 Cor. 11:27-31?

    If we see the continued dissolution of our faith, then we must ask ourselves if our church is even Catholic. It may have all the bells and smells but really be anti Christ. As Bishop Sheen said from his signs of the times sermon, ““He will set up a counter-Church which will be the ape of the Church because, he the devil, is the ape of God. It will have all the notes and characteristics of the Church, but in reverse and emptied of its divine content. It will be a mystical body of the anti-Christ that will in all externals resemble the mystical body of Christ. In desperate need for God, whom he nevertheless refuses to adore, modern man in his loneliness and frustration will hunger more and more for membership in a community that will give him enlargement of purpose, but at the cost of losing himself in some vague collectivity.”

    1. It sure is starting to feel like the “ape of the Church” is about to have a coming-out party. It’s been simmering for a while now, but the faithless boomer generation of clergy running the Church and their money-obsessed sycophants appear to be making one last power-play before receiving their eternal reward. So be it. As the disputed Napoleon quote goes: “Never interfere with an enemy while he’s in the process of destroying himself.”

      It’s time to live by Luke 6:27-28, where our Blessed Lord says: “But to you who hear I say, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.”

      Prepare to be hated, cursed, and mistreated FROM WITHIN the Church. And be ready to love, do good to, bless, and pray for those souls engaged in these evils. I’ve heard that if we do, our reward in Heaven will be great…

      Hmm….a brief spell of earthly suffering in exchange for an eternity of rapturous joy and unending bliss? I’ll take that deal.

      Come, Lord Jesus.

  4. When you’re going through hell keep on going get to the other side don’t stop being strong and believe in the presence the very real Gloria For our spiritual and physical strength to carry on in the world mixed up and evil. The faithful must prevail we must go to church to confession And to remain in a state of grace We must continue to put our hearts and souls and into the teaching s
    Of our lord and savior Jesus Christ

  5. If we truly believe in the real presence of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist we must continue to attend mass and receive him in all his glory For our spiritual and physical strength to carry on in the world so mixed up and evil. The faithful must prevail we must go to church to confession And to remain in a state of grace We must continue to put our hearts and souls and into the teaching s
    Of our lord and savior Jesus Christ


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