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Thursday, October 29, 2015

How Would You Describe the Church Today?

Pope St. Pius X
Remember in the gospels how often we read that people followed Jesus because he "spoke with authority." How's that working today do you think? Do those serving in persona Christi inspire confidence because they "speak with authority?" If you had to pick a word or phrase that summed up what Catholics are experiencing now would "speaking with authority" make the list? Not mine (at least for most prelates). Here's my take on the current situation which was confirmed big time by the recent synod. I believe these words describe the state of the Church:
  • confusion
  • ambiguity
  • error
  • disharmony
  • discontinuity
  • silence on moral truth
  • obfuscation
Dare I say diabolical disorientation?
Would these words and phrases make the list?: 
  • truth
  • fidelity
  • clarity
  • good governance
  • faithful obedience
  • unity
Which list is more accurate in defining the "new Church" we keep hearing about. Which list would you expect to receive as a gift from the "God of surprises?"

This morning I started rereading Pope St. Pius X's encyclical, On the Doctrines of the Modernists. It could be fresh off this morning's presses. Here's how a pope, speaking with the authority of Christ, opened his letter:
One of the primary obligations assigned by Christ to the office divinely committed to Us of feeding the Lord's flock is that of guarding with the greatest vigilance the deposit of the faith delivered to the saints, rejecting the profane novelties of words and the gainsaying of knowledge falsely so called. There has never been a time when this watchfulness of the supreme pastor was not necessary to the Catholic body, for owing to the efforts of the enemy of the human race, there have never been lacking "men speaking perverse things," "vain talkers and seducers," "erring and driving into error." It must, however, be confessed that these latter days have witnessed a notable increase in the number of the enemies of the Cross of Christ, who, by arts entirely new and full of deceit, are striving to destroy the vital energy of the Church, and, as far as in them lies, utterly to subvert the very Kingdom of Christ. Wherefore We may no longer keep silence, lest We should seem to fail in Our most sacred duty, and lest the kindness that, in the hope of wiser counsels, We have hitherto shown them, should be set down to lack of diligence in the discharge of Our office. 
It seems to me that these words from the document:
"men speaking perverse things," "vain talkers and seducers," "erring and driving into error." 
pretty much summarizes many of the participants involved in the Synod. Pope Pius warned about these "partisans of error...among the Church's open enemies" who reside "in her very bosom." Many "belong to  the Catholic laity, and, what is much more sad, to the ranks of the priesthood itself."

Yes, modernism is alive and well and more active than ever operating in the very heart of Holy Mother Church. Many of those among the faithful remnant are sounding the warning trumpet. It would be wise for us to listen. They come from the ranks of the traditionalists, like the SSPX who released a Declaration Concerning the Final Report of the Synod on the Family. They come in the form of questions, like that of Archbishop Samuel Aquila of Denver who asked, "Would the German bishops side with Henry VIII or Thomas More." They come from my friend, Fr. Tom Collins, who laments the "moral confusion" and "obfuscation" of "objective and eternal truths" that characterized the Synod.

The question now is how will Catholics respond to the warnings? The answer is the same as ever. Keep the faith as passed on by the Fathers of the Church and the saints and martyrs. Then evangelize the authentic faith, not the "poisonous doctrines taught by the enemies of the Church" as described by Pope Pius X. The saint described a number of ways to fight the modernists and it would be well to revisit his recommendations, but, first of all, one must recognize the enemy. Reading the encyclical is a first step in knowing and understanding the deceits of the modernists. Only those who truly know an enemy can fight his lies. So read Pascendi Dominici Gregis, On the Dctrines of the Modernists. And then fight those "poisonous" lies wherever they raise their ugly heads no matter the station of the liars. Accepting falsehoods out of human respect is one of the greatest enemies of truth.

Heart of Jesus, in whom are all treasures of wisdom and knowledge, have mercy on us.
Our Lady, Hammer of the Heretics, pray for us.
Pope St. Pius X, pray for us.

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