…But today Catholics are facing a new fear: the idea that there’s no path for resistance, that things have changed so much that this time the Church isn’t gonna make it. This would be a sign of the End of the World; a world so profoundly corrupt it cannot function anymore.
There are two distinct, disturbing trends developing. On opposite sides, and yet showing a striking similarity in a crucial element: fatalism. Two models we could describe as follows:
A. Downplayers: “move on, nothing to see here” types, who insist there’s nothing you should do, beyond praying of course.
B. Doomsayers: those who can find the Antichrist anywhere and everywhere…
This article of mine was originally published in Italian on Papalepapale.
A sinister malaise ails Catholics of our time. It’s called fatalism.
Wait a moment. You can’t cop out so easily. We are all involved, one way or another, including non-Catholics.
What is happening right now in the Catholic Church reflects a bigger issue; it’s about our future.
Get a glimpse of what’s in store. The so-called silent majority is mostly moving through history slowly, due to inertia; Catholics for instance will live through an unfocused mix of
1.memory: their will to preserve a sort of emotional identity, a projection of endearing childhood memories associated to religion and family events,
2.perception: contrasting, transformational ideas brought about by the secular media.
Mental confusion ensues. In practice they tend to support change while dragging their feet and causing the resulting friction to slow down the process. Eventually people end up where they were pushed and nudged to get, like sheep. (In some remarkable cases I happened to hear a conservative politician, an authentic representative of those masses, actually letting it out: they see their role as that of slowing down a change they consider to be inevitable.)
While the majority is sound asleep, activist minorities are anticipating the next crises. The Catholic Church (CC from now on, for the sake of brevity) is essentially the last independent voice remaining, with a unique and recognizable value system: that’s why it’s been seeded with (mostly unwitting) infiltrators. It’s a key battlefield. You may object that other churches are independent voices too, but consider how their status is precariously dependent on secular governments benevolence, public opinion, passing fads. The CC suffers from similar influences, but can counter them with the double anchor of formal jurisdiction independence and Apostolic Succession (i.e. tradition validated through continuity).
This time Catholics feel we won’t make it.
Change is part of life. Up until now, though, the CC has been able to be in the world without being of the world.
Helping to promote true progress (science, universities, hospitals,…) without falling prey of ideologies and cultural fads (eugenism, racism, communism, fascism, sexual revolution…) that constitute false progress.
Of course the most famous and popular Catholics are typically the sellouts that choose to stand with the enemy; it happens today as it did in the past. Eventually those pretend winners, leaders and prophets are rightfully forgotten. (We remember and venerate saints instead; some were already famous in their time, very few admired while still alive; most were obscure and ignored even while doing lots of good.)
After all, IMHO the secret of the CC anomaly lies in discipline. When the scale is that of centuries and millennia, and the goal consists in transmitting the Gospel with no addition or subtraction, you really need a dull, timid priest who stays the course way more than a creative intellectual who believes he could bring about a new and improved Church.
But today Catholics are facing a new fear: the idea that there’s no path for resistance, that things have changed so much that this time the CC isn’t gonna make it. This would be a sign of the End of the World; a world so profoundly corrupt it cannot function anymore. Others, on the contrary, maintain that the Church needs to adapt and update. They reflect the view of the New York Times, the BBC, the mainstream media, independent theologians, you name it… Once a married lesbian known for her touching personal story about an abortion becomes a Catholic bishop, we’ll finally feel free from the shackles of Medieval nonsense… Yeah, sure!
According to the former group, there’s no stopping the diabolical “Progress”, but it’s a sign of the Apocalypse. If you listen to the latter, there’s no stopping Progress, you just need to conform to the new ideals and enjoy the ride.
Both pessimists and optimists don’t think they can make a difference; it’s just about choosing the appropriate side: joyfully riding the wave or instead stubbornly waiting to be crushed and overwhelmed, as upstanding and principled losers.
Pessimists run the risk of imitating the Jehova’s Witnesses, rejoicing at any bad news: natural disasters, wars, corruption are welcome because they are supposed to hasten the final release, the end of the world as we know it. It’s a diabolical temptation.
After preaching about Everything, now they teach the absolute value of Nothing.
Maybe our time is peculiar in the widespread perception of the inexorability of events. You are just one among 7 billion; a small, insignificant trinket.
In the last century there’s been a flurry of grandiose comprehensive theories; revolutionary “scientific” theories pretending to explain and predict everything. They boasted infallibility, yet they failed miserably, one after another. Their legacy was a multitude of experts that condescendingly tell you how the world revolves, how things will evolve, how anything can’t possibly not go as they predict.
After being proven wrong they remain revered experts nonetheless; in fact, they kept being constantly right while adjusting their assessments on the fly… Eventually, by subtraction, they had nothing left to lecture about. So they chose to teach you about Nothing.
Nihilism is far from freeing men. It’s a ugly and subtle constraint. In fact it causes the destruction of faith, moral, family, social entities: anything that is orderly and organized clashes with the new decadent trend. Isn’t Satan envious of everything that is good, after all?
Consider also that the masses are predictable; statistics and propaganda are highly specialized, effective, focused.
If you consider the EU, the US Federal Agencies, or the UN, International Tribunals… They are at the opposite side of the spectrum from the classical democracy in ancient Greece, where you could ideally get to talk face to face to any public figure in the agorà. And conceivably be able to spit in their face.
Now change is administered from the higher-ups as if it were a verdict. You couldn’t even identify someone who’s responsible. Everybody’s just chugging along. You need no further example than the Pavlovian reflex exhibited by the media and the politicians who reacted in sync to the LGBT “rights” call to action. Fighting “homophobia” and introducing same-sex marriage became instant human rights even if people never heard of the concept only a few years ago.
On a certain level, it doesn’t matter if you think revolutions are just natural and inevitable events, or if you can pin them on a complicated diabolical master plan executed to perfection (by Freemasons, since we’re at it): you are powerless anyway.
The most glaring deficiency is a lack of discipline. In the Church.
The Catholic Church is unique in its independence. That’s what makes it interesting. It resisted homogenization, even if through much peril, internal struggles and defections. It’s always been subjected to peculiar external pressure because any secular power sees its self-governance and resilience as a hindrance and a risk.
How do Catholics react to said pressure?
It’s crucial to understand the choices and ideas of leaders and influencers. In the past that meant just the Pope, cardinals, some bishops. Nowadays there are too many voices, including the laity, so it’s not so straightforward. We are witnessing a chaotic scenario, where revolutionaries who are hell-bent on destroying the Church (and its rules and traditions) are often the ones taking advantage of Canon Law and the hierarchical power they were able to put their hands on, while traditionalists that were supposed to put obedience first are the ones openly challenging their pastors.
Discipline is sorely lacking, more than anything.
How many false prophets and bad teachers will need to answer one day about the brothers and sisters under their care they misled and perverted, be it readers, pupils, churchgoers?
Two disturbing trends are developing these days. Paradoxically, they are antithetic yet similar. Fatalism is the key.
Fifteen years ago or so, when I used to say that our civilization is rapidly decaying, I was often met with disbelief and contempt, as if I were an idiot who couldn’t appreciate progress; nowadays for the very same remarks I’m seen as the idiot who insists on pointing out the obvious.
I just so happened to miss the transition when the absurd became the obvious. I’m still the idiot though.
But I think we all missed the transition. People gradually change, even their deepest convictions, never rationally addressing the problem.
The diagnosis is clear. Even though those who were denying the existence of the problem are now refusing to acknowledge the causes.
In the CC there’s a disturbingly noisy group of “Progressives” that for example express a harsh judgment on John Paul II and Benedict XVI, insist on the oh-so-advanced 60s reform agenda advocating for women priests, married clergy, okaying contraception and divorce, undercutting dogmas and so on. Boring, let’s move on. But don’t underestimate their influence, of course.
Doomsayers and downplayers
But then, among those who actually try to be good Catholics, you can find now 2 more behavioral groups.
A. Downplayers: “move on, nothing to see here” types, who insist there’s nothing you should do, beyond praying of course.
B. Doomsayers: those who can find the Antichrist anywhere and everywhere.
Here’s the interesting part.
Once upon a time, on a sunny day metaphorically speaking, the As could live a tranquil life, occasionally chastising the few Bs that were on the fringe following conspiracy theories or “prophets” not yet recognized by the official Church. Bs were also insignificant in terms of numbers.
Now that dense dull gray clouds loom over our heads, and both groups recognize the simultaneous crises in the Church and in the larger society, both crises being essentially due to a lack of moral strength and clarity, they share a common fatalist attitude, while disagreeing on the correct interpretation of it.
Oh my! (Clutches pearls)
Just sitting there, waiting for the Apocalypse, is quite convenient. Not only you are exonerated from the responsibility of doing something; you don’t need to make the effort to try and explain events. “The entire world is going to the dogs” is an extremely simple go-to answer; it soothes precisely when you’d be expected to despair. Even the best minds can fall for this trap; maybe not overtly, not entirely, but it’s a strong temptation.
Heck no! We need to be mindful of what’s at stake; to save the Treasure we received and begin to put down the foundations for the reconstruction after the crisis eventually ends. Don’t avoid difficult questions. Don’t run away from trouble.
Luke 21, 8-9:
‘But he said, ‘Take care not to be deceived, because many will come using my name and saying, “I am the one” and “The time is near at hand.” Refuse to join them.
And when you hear of wars and revolutions, do not be terrified, for this is something that must happen first, but the end will not come at once.’
Prophecies have more than one interpretation. The very same words can apply to different historical ages and circumstances. Humanity already faced momentous conflicts and crises. We expect more to come; each one of them bears similarities to the end of the world. Our assigned task: never give up, keep pushing the plow.
2012, the Apocalypse. Behind us.
In the grandiose -yet flawed- apocalyptic 2009 sci-fi movie entitled “2012” by Roland Emmerich, a catastrophe hits our planet, shifting around and ravaging the continents.
The subtextual content of the movie seems to be about a sort of history reboot, where you get rid of excess population and a small élite is tasked to bring forth a new humanity. Sort of modern Noahs, using a couple of hi-tech arks.
Here’s something that strikes me as quite odd: the screenwriters concede the CC a honorable end. A huge crowd in Saint Peter’s Square joins the Pope in a prayer vigil and waits for the mega-tsunami that destroys everything (even a Berlusconi look-a-like, who inexplicably chooses not to be saved as the other nations’ Presidents).
A touching moment, for sure. Sort of a pat on the head for the fluffy, meek Catholics. But then humanity, even if reduced to a small group, is saved! That’s not the end of the world! You just got conveniently out of the way. You gave up fighting, in your foolish millenarianism.
After all, this is consistent with a plan many believe could come to fruition: a New Age of Aquarius, when humans are supposedly going to get rid of the burden of religions. It’s even better when those religions do their part by renouncing to face modern challenges.
(They say in a 2012 scene that eventually didn’t make the cut there was a depiction of Mecca’s Kaaba being destroyed by a giant wave… I guess some sensibilities deserve and get a decent protection…)
Faith tells me that such atheistic utopia couldn’t possibly happen; reason tells me that even if you could completely eradicate Christianity from society, humanity couldn’t advance or even sustain our current level of civilization. But such awareness doesn’t mean we shouldn’t fight against partial incarnations of this anti-Christian ideology; never retreat to “safer” positions! Avoid the lazy solution of rejecting science, as some sadly are doing.
The tiny, secluded traditionalist universe. The doomsayers.
There’s probably as many alarmist delusional scenarios as there are doomsayers; but we can still try to identify some common traits. People retreating to a smaller, close-minded world where they can feel reassured in their familiar ideas and traditions, while scoffing at the external corrupt world, are wasting away centuries of fine intellectual inquiry, performed by Catholic theologians and scientists (please notice the contrast: those scholars were historically on the cutting edge!) All of a sudden you find yourself part of a group that rejects some difficult or inconvenient modern scientific concepts. As if we were just the umpteenth Protestant Fundamentalist Denomination, and we weren’t supposed to be the salt of the Earth in future centuries too.
I’m astonished to see creationism being pushed here and there as if it were part and parcel of proper traditional Christian values; only a few years ago this position reeked of American Protestant Fundamentalists; now it’s become somewhat mainstream, imported and adopted even by European Catholics. This attitude translates into self-inflicted damage.
Ok, a priori you wouldn’t see a connection between a naive anti-science attitude about the evolution of the species, on the one hand, and a morbid fear and excitement about the nearing end of times, on the other. But the same goes for the surprising observation that a vegan is essentially expected to support gay marriage and gun control. Some ideas go hand-in-hand!
There are repetitive patterns, people tend to think alike; it’s a sort of mental osmosis.
Doomsayers typically find themselves at home within the traditionalist movement: people preferring the celebration of the Mass according to the Tridentine Rite, Pius V’s Mass. You can’t really blame those Latin aficionados: liturgy today is in shambles, there are so many abuses and creative idiocies that a breath of incense becomes a breath of fresh air. But following this path to the very end you run the risk of isolating yourself; to become sterile, prone to conventionalism, dwelling on the past.
I understand what I just wrote is necessarily oversimplified, painted with a broad brush. I don’t necessarily want to lump all traditionalists (and pessimists scared by recent developments) together, let alone dismiss their grievances and valid contributions. But it’s also worth noticing that most of the time those various groups tend to further distance themselves from each other, in a hopeless quest for a superior purity; this adds insult to injury. It’s a very un-Christian spirit of division. Again, I also feel your pain.
Of course many would want to add some caveats and complain. I get it.
It’s no small matter: some champions of pessimism are sowing confusion, break unity, put the legitimacy of the office of the Pope into question, would want to rebuild a Church closer to their hearts. In a way they are falling prey of the of the very same trap of their revolutionary arch-enemies.
There’s also a large portion of pew-dwellers that are just carriers of the millenarianism disease, or maybe mildly infected. People that express dangerous doubts with a smirk. It’s a diabolical temptation because once you get in, you don’t know where you are going to stop.
A few days before last Conclave, I found myself in an argument with a guy who insisted, based on some prophecy supposedly coming from Brazil, that the soon-to-be-elected Pope was going to be an Anti-Pope, lacking proper legitimacy. Ouch.
It’s a sort of anguish porn.
Are you perchance an opposer of the Pope? Eh? Eh?! Confess! Gotcha! The downplayers.
We described the doomsayers. But what about people who pretend to deny there’s something fishy going on? I dubbed them deniers, downplayers or normalizers. They insist anything you witness should be considered normal, and that we should stop fretting about trying to find a solution. Things will automatically self-adjust, via Holy Spirit.
This phenomenon is even more peculiar, yet not less unsettling.
These people acknowledge there’s an ongoing Church crisis, even if only through the most glaring examples. But their recipe, for any person who’s not directly entrusted with a specific role in the clerical hierarchy, is that of strictly limiting yourself to prayer. Are you a layperson? Don’t dare touch on sensitive topics; your words could put our beloved Church in a negative light. Above all, never raise any criticism! Never cause scandal. Those in the know will take care of the situation. Your duty is that of properly interpreting the part of the tame sheep.
I find this approach to be disconcerting: a layman would be asked to employ his talents only for his job, in order to make a living, thus dedicating his life to ephemeral matters, but strictly avoiding any intellectual involvement and visibility where it counts, on great theological and moral principles, on Church issues, where he could possibly bring a significant contribution. If he’s up for it, his intellectual urges will be satisfied by giving him the opportunity to become part of some parochial committee, some useless low-level bureaucracy, where he’ll be tasked with the drafting of another useless harmless document no one will ever read.
I’m actually puzzled by the recent sightings on Facebook of many new faces, usually sporting fake profiles, who assume the role of self-appointed Church orthodoxy watchdogs: in their view, a believer should abstain from commenting on the various faux pas by the Vatican Press Room, or on the chilling Pope Francis interview reconstructed and presented according to the views of the notorious anti-Catholic journalist Eugenio Scalfari (consider the confusion: this interview was initially republished on the official Vatican website, but then withdrawn after several days)…
As if, by avoiding any inconvenient word between us faithful Catholics, problems were to magically disappear; thus ignoring the hostile media environment looming out there.
After all, this is precisely the same attitude that created lots of ugly scandals in the past: to protect the reputation (?) of the institution, you restrain your tongue… To what end? When a famous tv celebrity slash priest is involved in a money corruption scandal, any sane person would want to ask: “How come no one raised any doubts, when this priest was seen going around in a sports car in the fricking seventies?!?”
Isn’t it possibly the case that you’d have caused less scandal with a timely inquiry (as they say: sunlight is the best disinfectant), in a culture where any suspect behavior is habitually reported, instead of hoping to sweep the embarrassing details under the rug? Eventually you got the scandal plus the coverup scandal; a perfect treat for anti-Catholic vultures!
No dear brothers, silencing internal critics on principle, quashing doubts and rumors isn’t acceptable. This attitude alienates many sincere, well-meaning believers, and eventually exposes the community to far greater attacks from the exterior, when things have already degenerated; on top of that you are then to answer for your guilty silence.
But, here’s the essential, non-obvious crux of the problem: shouldn’t this meritorious opposition to downplayers, through a proactive reporting of misdeeds, be applied also to pastoral nonsense and any instances of clerical abuse against the doctrine and tradition? Of course the same anti-catholic media that cry foul in face of criminal scandals in the CC are instead enthusiastically applauding self-destructive modernist reforms and creative rubbish. Please, learn to see past that.
Can’t downplayers understand that it’s not just about criminal acts, there’s plenty of scandal for the faithfuls also when a priest is wearing a hammer and sickle pendant around the neck, and is well known for cursing agaist God (trust me, I know one such priest)?!? Or that there’s an open wound in the Church when Austrian priests celebrate a picnic Mass, or a German Bishop rails against Rome? We could go on and on.
Of course, sometimes people who criticize Church demolishers end up in the doomsayers camp, or in any case may lack a proper compassion and understanding of delicate matters. It must be acknowledged, for instance, how difficult it is, for bishops, to intervene with the full brunt of their authority to punish those creative buffoons that become media darlings precisely because they are fighting against tradition and doctrine (always ready to play the victim if someone tries to stop their abuses). Any disciplinary measure is met with shiver-inducing howls, crying about persecutions and the alleged assault on freedom of expression. Some counterattacks are thus a good excuse for many to distance themselves from the CC.
But if you do nothing, the problem metastasizes, and in the future you’ll face even more constraints, you’ll be even more easily singled out as a little petty tyrant with delusions of power, even while timidly trying to respond to the most outrageous acts.
This is not the time to let it go and wait for problems to sort out themselves. Not anymore, at least. Again, it’s a matter of communication. First of all we should attack the media system that misrepresents reality and ties our hands. This is primarily a job for the laity.
The new “Church of Silence”: the Downplayers.
Downplayers/normalizers are bringing diplomatic prudence to outlandish levels. Towards the exterior, that is.
The Pope himself isn’t in condition to say anything inappropriate about Islam: such restraint has become part of his role (see the case of Benedict XVI speech in Regensburg, where his simple touching on inconvenient truths sparked violent reactions.)
Here’s a heads up, folks: you are not permitted to say unpleasant things about Islam, under no circumstances! That’s how you lose the ability to actually form critical thoughts in your mind, through self-censorship. This is about suppressing knowledge that is too uncomfortable to bear.
Another example: some architectural horrors have been approved by Church authorities, built and consecrated as churches; please convince yourself it’s ok. Liturgy? Well, everything is improvable, but don’t try to have a say in it. Leave it to the professionals.
The Holy Communion in the hands, a Mass celebration facing the pews? Decisions were taken: you can’t complain, we can’t go back to the old times. Who the heaven do you think you are?
We could also bring to the table the temporary receivership of a particular religious Order, or some benign disciplinary measures adopted in a different case…
I’m taken aback by the internal logic of this downplay/normalize/do nothing attitude, that often translates into chastising those who dare make a peep. Because this way of reasoning gets us into a ugly mess.
Here it goes. The Pope appoints a Cardinal who in turn chooses a commissioner that is making some unpopular decisions.
If someone respectfully voices a dissent, normalizers rush to shame him into silence. Don’t you dare disobey the Pope! Are you perchance a sedevacantist, a viper sowing division in the bosom of Mother Church, a closet lefebvrian?
It’s astonishing: Papal Infallibility, or at least the duty to obey without any reservation, is projected onto each and every decision of the Pope; then transferred to one of his collaborators, then to an envoy of said collaborator, protecting his acts from any objection or resistance…(!)
As if, knowing full well that in this time and age people tend to rebel, they wanted to exceed pushing to the opposite side of the spectrum, demanding a very strict control. After all, if no one breaks ranks, you can safely pretend that “Nothing to see here, it’s all ok” is always a valid answer.
It’s again painful, to get to another example, to hear someone go: “How dare you criticize a Servant of God insisting he’s not worthy of canonization! This is a grave sin!”
The same transitive property applies, apparently: since there’s a diocesan investigation underway on that person’s virtues, it’s to be considered a given that the investigation will get to a positive result, a sort of guaranteed happy ending, through various stages of triumph: Venerable, Blessed, Saint. If you manage to set the process in motion, it’s automatically going all the way to the desired outcome.
Now, since the canonization is said to be covered by papal infallibility (I’m not an expert on the subject so I won’t discuss the details), according to those normalizers obedience requires that we treat any candidate as if he/she were already beyond criticism; if we express doubts or relate biographical details that would obfuscate the image of the Servant of God, we are enemies of the Church, represented by the future, foreseen declaration from the Pope. We are willing to put obstacles in their undisturbed path.
If you never met a normalizer/downplayer, you may think I’m making this stuff up. Sounds quite extreme, right?
Another example: you are forbidden to criticize popular media figures that are also part of the Church *cough*Enzo Bianchi*cough*.
If someone is successful in the eyes of anti-Catholic editors, intellectuals and tv producers, he is successful. So he’s to be treated as a Church Star, in the Church. Consequently he’s untouchable, beyond criticism.
A “monastic community” receives a tentative, temporary, local approval from a bishop that could have known better. The founder is adulated and protected by very important people. That initial approval becomes the ultimate seal of sacred protection and implicit blanket endorsement of any of his future utterings.
Would you dare question the judgment of bishops?!?
What if he’s making unorthodox assertions…
How do you know he is? It’s not your place to question his words. Who are you to judge! How dare you!
So, in the name of normalcy and protection of apparent harmony we are shooting ourselves in the foot time and again. Destroying any semblance of harmony, and letting the wolves run free.
When a renown scholar of the caliber of Monsignor Antonio Livi (an esteemed priest and Professor) comes up with a thorough, stringent and orthodox takedown of Enzo Bianchi, immediately a Defender of Normalcy, the Chief Editor of the main Italian Catholic newspaper Avvenire, proceeds to attack the good Livi in the most vicious, vile, hurtful, unfounded and enraging way I’ve ever witnessed in an editorial. For the crime of being not nearly as popular (and worldly, I may add) than Bianchi, and daring to disturb the semblance of a quiet and subdued Church life, where there’s no dissent, only louder voices promising renewal and appeasement.
You see, the most glaring problem of downplayers is that through all this peaceful and orderly conformity they end up putting revolutionaries and destroyers in power.
The new kommissars of the Church/Party. The little soldiers of the Pope.
Some Catholic normalizers enjoy the feeling of impersonating the role of class president, just as they used when they were children. They are all ears, ready to report bad boys to the teachers. They enjoy more than anything the idea of teasing other churchgoers, preparing traps, mincing words, in order to catch them out and glibly shame them in front of everyone. As if gloating when your brother falls were the essence of Christian love.
There’s a strong push to oversimplify and break off any arguments, hastily invoking the appeal to authority that should silence you… Inevitably, by association, the Maoist Laogai come to mind: if your ecclesiology is wrong, when you resist the authority, insist defending your position, counterattack, criticize, you are showing yourself being contemptuous, thus you are validating the charges against you.
Nothing good could come out of such a movement, creating useful idiots who homage the hostile journalists and applaud the least defensible modern “ecumenic” art project or celebration, but never cease to badmouth the “traditionalists” for their unimaginative orthodoxy. Self-censorship destroys your intellectual and social vitality. You become spiritually dry.
Meanwhile, the rest of the world grinds on. Nowadays there’s so much on people’s plates that the secular media are not pounding on the CC; not nearly as much as they could.
But expect dire times to come on that front too. Expect derision for the Catholic millenarianist idiots, that were waiting for the End Of the World and nothing happened; they were hostile to Progress and Science, they’ll say. Expect harsh harangues against a CC showing to be exactly as it’s been always described by its enemies: people lacking any individuality, freedom, independent thought; always passively following orders.
A pretend ideal form of orthodoxy (obedience beyond limits, perinde ac cadaver, as a sort of universal duty for the faithfuls) will be a juicy and powerful argument used against the CC in a future.
The downplayers insist you should just pray and stay at your place. There’s also a popular tactic, in the form of moral blackmail, a sort of way of calling your bluff: since you are so vocal and critical, are you really beyond reproach, fervent and assiduous in your prayers? If this is not the case (who’s really got the nerve to say it is?), you should concentrate on becoming more pious instead of pointing fingers. As if defending the Church through reasoning were something alternative and antithetic to prayer.
(Disclaimer: yours truly needs to really improve a lot in this field.)
Downplayers are fatalist because speaking up, acting, reacting are akin to a demonstration of lack of faith in the Holy Spirit. You are supposed to sheepishly wait, and eventually things will turn out just fine. Have faith! Besides, we have to reject the sin of pride: we can’t change the world on our own, we are just worthless servants.
Handy. As it happens for all perversions, you take a fundamental truth and transform it in its caricature.
Calma! Let’s get back to the basics: putting Faith front and center. No shortcuts.
John Henry Newman:
“Certainly, if I am obliged to bring religion into after-dinner toasts, (which indeed does not seem quite the thing) I shall drink, — to the Pope, if you please, — still, to Conscience first, and to the Pope afterwards.”
In these words we can appreciate the typical Catholic inclusive approach, et-et: obedience but with discernment; follow your own conscience, provided that it’s rightly formed; follow the Magisterium (teachings) coming from the Pope and the Councils, but not just the current Pope and the last Council (let alone their rendition through the media narratives): follow them all, from Saint Peter to the present day.
The CC has always faced (internal) opposers who, following their own conscience, decided they needed to cut off a piece of the Gospel they didn’t like, be it to pursue some mythical Progress, or to recreate some spurious Tradition. Nowadays we are facing Catholics who insist on silencing our consciences, to become little soldiers of the Pope.
This too is a form of heresy.