|Pope Adrian VI, 1522-23
Synod on Synodality, things are likely to get much worse. Just as the Vatican used previous synods and surveys to undermine the faith and attack Dogma and Sacred Tradition, the latest synod "listening sessions" will likely be used to further advance dissent and heresy. Already there are rumors about legitimizing contraception and further advancing homosexuality and even abortion. Check out the wolves among the synod "experts" who will be preparing the document for the next step in the synod process.
No matter how this goes, don't lose heart, friends. God uses what Satan means for evil to bring about good, and what is happening is nothing new in the Church.
Let's recall for a minute a 16th century pope who served only twenty months, Pope Adrian VI (January 9, 1522 - September 14, 1523). He was a reformer who eliminated many of the excesses of the corrupt Vatican which contributed to the Protestant revolt. He eliminated the balls and fetes, the plays and pomps and parties and all the luxuries infecting the Vatican court. He ate and dressed simply. His two objectives were to reform the curia and to fight the invasion of the Turks. He denounced clerical corruption through his legate at the Diet of Nuremberg in 1523 instructing him with these words:
“You are also to say that we frankly acknowledge that God permits this persecution of His Church on account of the sins of men, and especially of prelates and clergy.... Holy Scripture declares aloud that the sins of the people are the outcome of the sins of the priesthood; therefore, as Chrysostom declares, when our Saviour wished to cleanse the city of Jerusalem of its sickness, He went first to the Temple to punish the sins of the priests before those of others, like a good physician who heals a disease at its roots. We know well that for many years things deserving of abhorrence have gathered round the Holy See; sacred things have been misused, ordinances transgressed, so that in everything there has been a change for the worse. Thus it is not surprising that the malady has crept down from the head to the members, from the Popes to the hierarchy.
“We all, prelates and clergy, have gone astray from the right way, and for long there is none that has done good; no, not one. To God, therefore, we must give all the glory and humble ourselves before Him; each one of us must consider how he has fallen and be more ready to judge himself than to be judged by God in the day of His wrath. Therefore, in our name give promises that we shall use all diligence to reform before all things the Roman Curia, whence, perhaps, all these evils have had their origin ; thus healing will begin at the source of sickness. We deem this to be all the more our duty, as the whole world is longing for such reform. The Papal dignity was not the object of our ambition, and we would rather have closed our days in the solitude of private life; willingly would we have put aside the tiara; the fear of God alone, the validity of our election, and the dread of schism, decided us to assume the position of Chief Shepherd. We desire to wield our power not as seeking dominion or means for enriching our kindred, but in order to restore to Christ’s bride, the Church, her former beauty, to give help to the oppressed, to uplift men of virtue and learning, above all, to do all that beseems a good shepherd and a successor of the blessed Peter.
Now that's a clear-sighted pontiff who cared about the flock. Would that we had one today.
And now we move to a modern pope. In 2005, one month before his election to the chair of Peter, as Pope John Paul II lay dying, Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger said this during Stations of the Cross:
Should we not also think of how much Christ suffers in His own Church? How often is the holy sacrament of His Presence abused, how often must He enter empty and evil hearts....What little faith is present behind so many theories, so many empty words! How much filth there is in the Church, and even among those who, in the priesthood, ought to belong entirely to Him.... What little respect we pay to the Sacrament of Reconciliation, where He waits for us, ready to raise us up whenever we fall.... Lord, your Church often seems like a boat
about to sink, a boat taking in water on every side. In your field we see more weeds than wheat. The soiled garments and face of your Church throw us into confusion.
Yet it is we ourselves who have soiled them! It is we who betray you time and time again, after all our lofty words and grand gestures. Have mercy on your Church; within her too, Adam continues to fall. When we fall, we drag you down to earth, and Satan laughs, for he hopes that you will not be able to rise from that fall; he hopes that being dragged down in the fall of your Church, you will remain prostrate and overpowered. But you will rise again. You stood up, you arose and you can also raise us up. Save and sanctify your Church. Save and sanctify us all.
The crisis in the Church is real and serious. To fight it we need to know the faith beginning with the first questions in the Baltimore Catechism. Who made you? God made me. Why did God make you? To know, love, and serve Him in this world and be happy with Him in the next.
We know God through scripture, prayer, and the sacraments. We love God by worshiping Him and serving our neighbor. And we serve Him by defending the faith and practicing the corporal and spiritual works of mercy. We can do all this through the Holy Spirit whose grace is sufficient for us. May all the angels and saints help us to persevere in every storm and crisis in the Church.