|Brueger's the Blind Leading the Blind|
(Rome) For the first time it has not been my lot to participate at St. Peter's Basilica in the public consistory with the CREATION of the new cardinals. I was not the only one.
Given the dismal decline of the faithful, even in the province, given the low point in the priestly and religious vocations, and given the silence at the Islamist massacre of Christians, lay and ordained, things have - shall we say - become extremely intolerable with the lean papal liturgies and their populist touch, which is stressed by the mass media (also Catholic).
Cleric harasses the Church with human "solutions" - and deadly for the faith
"Velociter currit ad finem" even if we trust as Catholics on the cleansing work that the Holy Spirit will also act on the dying Church, which is beset by those clerics who only propose human "solutions" as they administer the beleaguered believers administered with cocktails that are lethal to the faith, instead of bringing them the divine healing medicine.
One should mind his own front door, but one's right of residency is not served by blindness. So instead of a European, I'm going to talk about a Latin American message that depresses me. The Archdiocese of Cochabamba in Bolivia announces that the number of Bolivian secular priests has shrunk in 20 years from 900 to the current 500. A country of nine million inhabitants, of which eight million are Catholics, there will be fewer priests than in the Diocese of Vicenza in northern Italy, from which comes the Acting Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin.
Some areas of Latin America have remained difficult to access into the priesthood. Until 20 years ago, each year, there were 20 candidates in the seminary. In the past five years, there were on average only four. Ten years ago, the country had another 150 branches of women religious. Since then, 50 have closed down for lack of vocations. 20 years ago there were 50 male religious houses. Today there are still 20.
"When the Son of man returns to the earth will He still find faith?"
If I read sentences like these by Pope Paul VI.: "We are as a church on the way to a deep and global renewal. In order for this renewal to be truly catholic, they must intermesh all historical dimensions of the Church," I wonder what the Pope would be led to say at this exact moment of such an assessment and what has become of this path. We experience in our own skin those clerics who are now so fashionable and lead the faithful to the abyss of loss of faith.[!]
From Paul VI. comes the sentence: "There is great unrest in the world of the Church and what is in question is the faith. So it happens that I find myself repeating the dark sayings of Jesus in the Gospel of Saint Luke, 'When the Son of man returns, think ye he will still find faith on earth " (Luke 18.8)?.
It happens, not only today, that books appear, in which belief is in decline in important ways, and that the bishops are silent, and that many clergy and laity find nothing strange about it. This, however, seems strange.
Recently, I sometimes read what the Scriptures say about the last times and realize that some characters are recognizable. Are we near the end? We will never know. [Till it happens] The Lord says we should always be ready. This has been true for almost 2000 years. It may be to the two thousandth anniversary of His death on the cross. It may take a very long time.
Rise of the non-Catholic thought unstoppable? - The small flock
What moves me these days and has kept me from the halls in Saint Peter's Basilica Consistory, is what moved Paul VI. to say in his speech of September 8, 1977. "What moves me when I consider the Catholic world is that within catholicity occasionally a thought seems predominant, that is not Catholic, and it may be that non-Catholic thought within catholicity will even be the strongest tomorrow."
Looking back over the past fifty years, this thought seems inexorably to seize the Church step by step. The various attempts to counter this development have not been to be averted, only delayed. These experiments were important and correct, but not consistent enough to shortness of breath, too superficial, too tolerant and even itself made sickly by non-Catholic thinking. On the other hand: How should a faithful priest or layman who wants the best, give more, if he himself does not understand it any better because of an incomplete and incorrect training or education?
Paul VI. 1977 ended his reflections with the words: How strong might this non-Catholic thought in the church be. "It will never represent the thinking of the Church. It is necessary that a small flock persists, be it ever so small."
Let us pray for the Church, for the Pope and for all the faithful.
Text: Traditio Catholica
image: The Blind Leading the Blind by Pieter Bruegel the Elder (1568), Naples
Trans: Tancred firstname.lastname@example.org