|Just replace the politicians with some Church leaders...|
Monday, July 8, 2013
Why We Need to "Criticize" What's Going on in the Church
I enjoy watching Michael Voris on the Vortex, and I’ve never found him “negative” – though he gets that criticism often enough. I get it myself! I am sometimes accused of having nothing good to say - always complaining about what's going on in the liturgy and the sacraments and the everyday practice (or non-practice) of the faith, and criticizing the bishops and priests who either don't do anything to remedy the problems or else actively contribute to them.
First, a word of self-defense: I do try to find good things to say on my blog. I have written about bishops with backbone and persevering priests who truly defend the faith, and who truly shepherd the faithful; and I've even found some hopeful stories about the Traditional Latin Mass being re-introduced in various places around the country, even if my diocese isn't one of them...yet.
But, second, let me just shrug my shoulders and say, “So..?” It happens that there’s a lot wrong with the Church these days - not with the Church Herself, and her teachings, of course, but with the implementation of those teachings - and I’m not the only one voicing that opinion or giving examples of the shortcomings. And it’s not just me ‘n’ MV, either – there are plenty of others. There have been plenty of others for decades now. In fact, there have probably been people being accused of being “negative” and “critical” since the beginning. After all, the Church is comprised of human beings, each of whom has a fallen human nature. The Church is full of sinners.
In the last 50 years, though, the problems seems to have been exacerbated by some unidentified (ha!) force. There was Vatican II, and then there was the steep decline of the Catholic Church. Well, correlation, as they say, does not imply causation; there were lots of sociological and political factors at work at the same time, including the “sexual revolution”, and Protestant groups acquiescing to artificial contraception, among other issues. Still, there does seem to be some evidence that Vatican II didn’t really help matters any. There are dozens of litanies out there about the ways in which the Church – especially in the West – has declined, and I’m not going to recite them here. You readers know what I’m talking about – even you “liberal” readers who lurk around the corners of this blog, waiting to jump on me for being “critical”.
Anyway, the point is that the Church is in trouble. The Church – certainly the Church in the United States – is divided. That division hasn’t come about simply because a handful of people in a particular parish or diocese have clamored for the traditional Latin Mass, either - despite the fact that traditionalists are often accused of being "divisive". The division doesn’t really have much to do with the TLM, at least not currently, and not directly. Rather, it has to do with the political views of the Catholic population of this country and the way “liberal-progressive-modernist” Catholics have sought to redefine important concepts like “conscience” and “social justice” in alignment with their political views. The division is about the truth of the teachings of the Church, which and how many of those teachings can be changed in order to bring the Church into the modern age.
As I have said, there are plenty of people talking about all that’s wrong with the Church today. But ask yourself: is anything being done to change the downward trends in vocations, Mass attendance, frequency of confession (if ever!), etc.? No. Duh. In fact, as Michael Voris has pointed out numerous times, the “establishment Church” doesn’t want to hear about it. The “establishment Church” will acknowledge some problems, some of the time, but gloss over them and tell everyone to hurry to the next LA Religious Ed Conference to get their annual fix of liturgical dance and youth-oriented Kathlic teaching. Put on a happy face.
While I am happy to give credit where credit is due, and applaud bishops who are taking courageous steps to reverse the trends and once again build up the Church, the fact is, there are not many of these. Thirteen years ago, Rod Pead, editor of Christian Order, said at a conference (see this post):
A prelate stands up to condemn sodomy or abortion – the minimum one might expect of a Catholic bishop – and we go weak at the knees and lose all sense of proportion in our rush to congratulate him. In our desperation for something – for someone – to hold on to, we blithely ignore the standards set by St. Paul, who wrote to Titus that “a bishop must be beyond reproach, since he is the steward of God's house…”, and that the bishop is duty bound to “rebuke sharply” the “many disobedient, vain talkers and seducers” who “bring ruin on entire households by false teaching”; false teachers who, St. Paul concludes: “must be silenced.” [Titus 1:7-13].
Rod Pead was speaking in 2000. Thirteen years later, we’re still in the same boat. We’re still praising the bishops who say something that is the minimum we would expect a shepherd of the Church to say. When I am critical of bishops and priests for going decades without really impressing on the faithful the immorality of artificial contraception, I hear, “But at least they’re doing something now!” Yeah. Right. They are standing up for our first amendment rights, our freedom of religion; but have they taken a poll lately to see how many “Catholics” believe the Church teaching on contraception (or abortion or “gay marriage”)? If they haven’t, they'll have no problem locating someone who has, and the statistics are far from encouraging.
To me, that says we don’t need fewer of those who raise their voices in protest against what is going on in the Church today; we need more. We need to raise the roof until our shepherds run the wolves out of the flocks and start preaching and teaching the absolute Truth of the Catholic faith.
Yes, you would. So would I.
And that is why I write what I write on this blog. I want to help save the House. I came to the Church all too late in life, but I love Her. I loved Her before I knew that the house was on fire! Now that I know, well, I’m trying to make up for lost time.