Father makes an important and sad point:
The sex abuse crisis within the Church, along with an increasingly top-heavy bureaucracy, has – arguably – caused a kind of institutional paralysis....How else can we explain the general institutional failure to guard religious liberty during the pandemic? Historians will forever argue whether respect for the common good, fear of legal action, or servile fear, motivated Church authorities to meekly comply with government edicts. Regardless, the Church’s bureaucratic behemoth – and virtually every Catholic parish and entity – have submitted.Many of us consider the Church cave-in disastrous with serious future consequences for religious liberty and freedom of assembly. And was it necessary? A church for a thousand worshipers can easily allow several hundred with distancing protocols. Locking Our Lady's immense shrine in D.C. is one of the most shameful episodes in the litany of shame across the country.
While our bishops implement policies giving homage to Caesar, "Many Protestant ministers are leading the fight to restore religious liberty." Thank God for them! For years Catholics and Protestants have been allies outside (and inside) the abortuaries. I met many wonderful brothers and sisters from other faiths sidewalk counseling, standing side by side at Life Chain and 40 Days for Life, working at pregnancy help centers, and sharing prison cells after rescues. I'm confident that the Lord will use our love for the little ones and for religious freedom to bring us closer to reunion.
I love the recent quote from Judge Walker in Kentucky. “The Court does not mean to impugn the perfectly legal business of selling alcohol, nor the legal and widely enjoyed activity of drinking it. But if beer is ‘essential,’ so is Easter.”
Amen! Alleluia! It's long past time to restore the Mass!
And I offer a second article from Raymond De Souza at The Wanderer. (N.B. You won't be able to read the full article unless you subscribe to the digital edition or pay a fee. I heartily recommend the paper and subscribe to the print edition myself.)
What is the Root of the Problem
De Souza addresses the Church's "most serious crisis of faith in history." And it isn't COVID 19! Nor is it "to be found primarily in the effects of the secular policies by this or that administration, promoters of abortion and unnatural sexual practices, [etc.]." He summarizes it in one word, the mediocrity of professed believers who "take no risks" and prefer to be "like the chicken, that flies a little and comes down again to the dust, safe and sound."
How does he define mediocrity? It is the "refusal to see the big picture, the cause of the Catholic Church, the militant aspect of being a Catholic." Mediocrity embraces "minimalist ethics." Don't kill, don't steal (at least not too much). But don't put yourself out "fighting evil" or worrying about "loss of souls." The mediocre with their minimalist ethics have "No desire to see good rewarded and evil punished, because this might upset some people in the parish. And after all, who are we to judge those who live in adultery or support abortion, contraception, and euthanasia?"
I think De Souza pegs it when he laments "shallow religiosity" preoccupied with the "type of prayer that makes one feel good....At best, the mediocre neither desires Heaven nor hates Hell -- he'd be quite contented with spending eternity in Limbo."
De Souza's article reminded me of Pope St. Pius V's statement. "All the evils of the world are due to lukewarm Catholics." Pope St. Pius X said something similar. “All the strength of Satan’s reign is due to the easygoing weakness of Catholics.” It was the condition St. Jean Vianney found when he arrived at his country parish of Ars. By his holiness, fidelity, and suffering he took a mediocre parish and transformed it into a powerhouse of piety. Let us fast and pray for all our priests and bishops that they may imitate the great patron of parish priests and follow his example. With their holy leadership may we see our Church revived and transformed into one that rivals the first century when so many were willing to DIE for love of Jesus.
St. Jean Vianney, pray for us.
St. Pius V, pray for us.
St. Pius X, pray for us.