If salt loses its taste
There’s a new Catholic Church today. A Church that is behaving like a monkey: aping the majesty and wisdom of God, drifting away from Him.
It’s a significant part of the Catholic Church; you’d easily mistake it for the Church itself. But it’s something different. It’s a sort of gooey blob that took over many positions. But it won’t end like this.
For all its blabbering about mercy, this reality is far from the true Mercy that comes from Christ; they are watering down the Church teachings in order to appease everyone. “The pitiful mother causes the wound to fester”, an old Italian saying goes.
Posing as authoritative? More aptly, authoritarian! That’s how you recognize the top dogs in this movement: former rabble-rousers (or instead stealth revolutionaries!) that, once in a position of power, aren’t willing to show the same tolerance they once enjoyed. That’s why punishments and vendettas are reserved for the defenders of the Tradition.
If you heard about the vicissitudes of the Franciscan friars of the Immaculate, you know what I mean.
Consider the following example. In Colombia a bishop recently defrocked father Luis Carlos Uribe Medina. What was he guilty of? He criticized the Pope’s teaching about the Eucharist and marriage… Uh-oh! (We must add he was restored after a short while: possibly an effect of international outrage?)
There’s a lot of confusion these days; many rumors about internal struggles in the Curia. Many different interpretations of the Apostolic Exhortation Amoris Laetitia: the bishops from different parts of the world appear crucially divided on the proposal of permitting the Eucharist for the divorced and remarried. This innovation would represent an unjustified and dramatic rupture, not only putting in question the meaning of those two Sacraments, but the whole concept of the Catholic Church as the bearer of a definite teaching.
And yet it seems that Pope Francis himself, ambiguities notwithstanding, wants to facilitate this “development”. That’s akin to saying that the value of marriage is relative, what really matters is showing empathy and embracing everyone: what is done is done, Jesus Christ surely must understand and justify us…
What lies ahead: easy to predict. Just take a look at the German Bishops’ Conference website (one of the most compromised), where as reported by Lifesitenews, inconceivable assertions are offered as valid: a theologian presents his position about the value of unions beyond “traditional” marriage, suggesting that in a future a marriage between two men or two women could become a sacrament (!)… No, wait: are they still Catholic?
The Church of Progress and whimsical innovation preaches the Good News with its mouth, but instead longs for new and novel ideas, customs, teachings, rites, slogans… marking a breakup with the Old Good News: Tradition and the Gospel itself.
But even while they are insisting on becoming inclusive, reaching out, welcoming sinners without naming them as such, targeting the peripheries, they are actually causing the faithful to become disinterested and leave.
Last Sunday’s Gospel reading (Mt 5,13-16) seemed surprisingly appropriate for this article…
‘You are salt for the earth. But if salt loses its taste, what can make it salty again? It is good for nothing, and can only be thrown out to be trampled under people’s feet.
‘You are light for the world. A city built on a hill-top cannot be hidden.
No one lights a lamp to put it under a tub; they put it on the lamp-stand where it shines for everyone in the house.
In the same way your light must shine in people’s sight, so that, seeing your good works, they may give praise to your Father in heaven.
It’s a sorry sight: the Catholic Church became rapidly irrelevant in today’s world evolution. Shining city upon a hill? Come again?
And, let’s rub some salt on our own wounds: where’s the light when you need it?
A Church that is preoccupied with trivialities while avoiding or distorting the pressing, important issues. Of course it elicits derision/indifference!
Those who don’t dare teach, but become obsessed with pleasing a distracted listener, are bound to eventually discover that no one respects them anymore.
That’s how you verily lose your taste and become useless; that’s when they trample on you.
A media earthquake
Father Giovanni Cavalcoli is a Dominican friar, a good old-fashioned pastor and a reliable theology professor. He’s been attacked for what he said during a radio program, answering a phone call from a listener. The station was Radio Maria, one of the most prominent Catholic radios in the world; we must add that it’s quite customary to find overexcited/overzealous callers there. Sometimes it’s a painful experience, it requires a lot of patience on the part of the anchorman to moderate and sanitize their rants/pleas.
Here’s the listener’s question: could there be a connection between the earthquake that destroyed St.Benedict Basilica in Norcia last November, and some evil acts committed by the Church or by the country (Italy)? Could it represent a sort of Divine Punishment?
Our friend answered the question in a prudent and nuanced manner, perfectly in accordance with the Church’s teachings; yet his words were misrepresented by the media. No surprise there: the mainstream is openly hostile to anything Catholic, except when you accept a supporting actor role as a retreating “Church which goes forth, led where it doesn’t want to go”.
They reported that Cavalcoli considered this earthquake a punishment for the recent promulgation of the “civil unions” law, establishing marriage between same sex couples. All hell broke loose, in a teapot of course. Because media scandals are pretty shallow.
What is saddening is that the ensuing storm caused many in the Church, including his superior, to join the media firing squad, condemning him without consideration for his actual words, evidently preferring to pander to the usual suspects instead of defending the truth (and a brother who didn’t deserve it).
Puzzling: a rumor was started of his defrocking a few days ago, just hours before he was able to communicate to his followers on Facebook that the sanctions his superior imposed on him 3 months ago had just been lifted.
See, people who are reasonable and obedient, scrupulously doing their job, may get punished for this very reason; those who protest and put their foot down get lots of attention, respect, even flattering. The voice of those who don’t want to participate in the revolution becomes faint; a feedback loop kicks in and those who naively pretended to introduce a controlled, limited transformation get overwhelmed by the avalanche. The outcome is the birth of a reverse conformism; most people don’t resist change, because they’ve seen what happens to those few who didn’t comply.
As Mao Zedong put it: “Strike one to educate one hundred”.
In a future article I’ll further explore the question: does God punish us through earthquakes? There are subtle truths behind it.
Why this attitude? Why surrender to the World?
If you want to understand how this revolution could take hold in the Catholic Church, you should observe what fuels scandals.
The subject is earthquakes; there’s been a long sequence of events in central Italy in the last few months, a few of them caused multiple casualties. The pain felt by the relatives of the victims has been weaponized. In today’s western culture emotions represent an absolute; impotent rage in the name of those who suffer is a sacred totem, in front of which you must perform certain prescribed rites. Even the slightest impression of an incorrectly formatted reaction, without the right amount of empathy, is sufficient to become the hapless target of legions of self-righteous censors; worse, they’ll enjoy the pleasure of spewing hate against you in the name of their moral superiority.
Feelings becoming a Mighty Monolith. An idol. In a society that lost the sense of manhood and fatherhood, this is hardly surprising.
In a world of moral blackmail and codified reactions, the Catholic Church, unjustly attacked for centuries in its role as teacher, described as the sort of oppressive power structure it never was, eventually capitulated to the accusations. Choosing the route of embodying a sort of meek compliancy, content with being seen as a benevolent presence meant to give comfort to those who suffer, determined to prove its commitment to side with them in any dispute over perceived social justice issues. A subtle adjustment initially, to appear more humane; a dramatic rift eventually.
Many modern pastors resemble a father of a rebellious teenager who tries to compensate for a lack of respect by trying to befriend him. Buying him stuff, indulging him, refraining from punishment. We know how it ends: the boy becomes even more unruly, plus now he’s harboring resentment for a father who doesn’t want to act like a proper father.
The fundamental mistake lies in a desperate attempt to please everyone and become more popular. That’s when you don’t take the Gospel as your guiding star anymore, becoming dependent instead on the judgment of the World. That’s becoming a sellout.
Remember: when the traditionally anti-Catholic media begin to praise you, a whole set of alarm bells should go off in your head.
Wait before throwing stones!
Am I perchance asserting that all the priests and bishops participating in this mockery (or at least not opposing it) are fully aware and possibly pleased with how this autoimmune disease is spreading?
No, it’s complicated. Chaos is part of the facilitating factors for the triumph of the self-styled progressive movement, that is based on mimicry, at least among the clergy.
Very few desire to consciously destroy their own Church: most are sincere, though many may have a blind spot for certain sins, due to their own skeletons in the closet (pride, careerism, money, sexual sins and crimes) that inspires them to become exceptionally indulgent.
Others naively pretend to tame the beast, supporting some arguably reasonable demands while believing they could hold back the rest.
Mostly the problem is with good priests trapped in the name of obedience, hardly reacting in the name of prudence, taken advantage of thanks to their good nature.
How many brothers are lost just because diplomacy suggested to let it go for now, to avoid giving the impression of discord? This attitude actually puts power in the hands of those who sow discord for a living!
Those who aren’t hard at work to demolish the pillars, get into hiding to escape (self-)blame.
As for the faithful, their (our) reaction is becoming increasingly uncontrolled. Both on the side of the critics, and of the critics’ critics. It’s a curious (s/f)ight: those more Catholic than the Pope vs. those more papist than the Pope.
The opening photo depicts an unauthorized bill that was posted last Saturday in the streets of Rome. It says:
Hey Frank, you put congregations under a commissar, removed priests, decapitated the Order of Malta and the Franciscans of the Immaculate, ignored cardinals… where the heck is your mercy?
A weak attempt at criticism, I’d say. Most of those acts are, generally speaking, part of the duties of a Pontiff; “ignoring” cardinals is a funnily vague accusation in itself.
But we must add that by examining individual cases in detail, we can find plenty of reasons to criticize a Church administration that at times appears disconcerting and frightful: you can’t act surprised then, when some lose their nerve.
I’m not the kind of person that gets outraged for a media scandal. But this incident isn’t as funny as it was intended to be; to me it’s actually sad.
We should cultivate a sense of respect, moreover we should refrain from deriving pleasure from the belittling of the opposing faction in the Church.
Italian authorities and media reacted to this insignificant incident with unwarranted alarm, showing how their perception of authority is dysfunctional.
It was reported that this crime was investigated by the Digos (a special police force tasked with fighting terrorism and political crimes)… Some even suggested to apply a law that was promulgated during Fascism (yet still in force) stating that a public offense to the King (or in a subsequent revision, the President of the Republic) or to the Pope is punishable with 1 to 5 years in jail…
Freedom of speech is at risk here too: a criticism is equated to an offense, an offense is seen as deserving a draconian punishment. This is crazy, maddening, unacceptable.
Of course the Pope is the main character of this comedy, for better or worse. We need to address his role. It’s been a while since I began considering how to publicly discuss this delicate subject. I believe there’s a dire need for strong determined voices, inevitably coming only from the laity, criticizing Pope Bergoglio’s actions without losing sight of what is appropriate, reasonable and respectful of everyone involved. I should stop kicking the can down the road, as I usually do. Even if it’ll mean losing some friends. Coming soon…
P.S. If you happen to be a Protestant, please don’t feel entitled to pity us for our current sorry state: the problem here is a protestantization of the Catholic Church.
The dramatic errors troubling today’s Catholic Church are of the same nature of those that caused a withering of the piety of entire nations, from Luther onward, also causing in the process division and sectarian violence.
Even the Orthodox Church, held in high esteem for its rich traditions and liturgy, preserving mysticism and reverence for all things sacred, in fact gave in to the spirit of the world a long time ago: consider as examples the concession of the blessing of a second marriage, or the subordination to the civil authority.
There’s no alternative: we should weather the storm. The Catholic Church eventually will come out stronger. Just as it happened 500 years ago after a dreadful crisis. And again the only possible reaction comes from holiness. There was a surprising flourishing of sainthood back then: saints, theologians, founders of new religious congregations. We must keep the faith and pray for the next generation.