G.K. Chesterton once said, “We don’t really want a religion that is right where we are right. What we want is a religion that is right when we are wrong.”
At the moment we are seeing a full-scale war over the direction of the Holy Roman Catholic and Apostolic Church. The pull and tug of those involved in the battle is what surely went on during the Reformation, as well as Vatican II. Make no bones about it, behind the scenes and often in stealth, there are those looking to aggressively change what has been taught for 2,000 years.
It has now been five years since March 13, 2013 when Pope Francis assumed his position as the Vicar of Christ on earth, and the changes to the church under his pontificate have been profound. The Reformation produced incalculable changes in the church and the world, and news traveled slowly because of the times in which they lived. When Martin Luther posted his ninety-five theses on a door for all to see in 1517, changes over time came to the church few could imagine. With Vatican II from 1962-65, we saw a further delineation and separation of thought with the New Order of the Mass (Novus Ordo) and a different doctrine emerging from previous ages.
There are naturally significant nuances and variations of thought with an estimated 1.3 billion Catholics in the world. We have not seen as great a division among the faithful since Vatican II. People at the moment are confused and finding it difficult to process all the language coming from leading clergy and what it actually means. Neither the Reformation nor Vatican II had social media, so that means what happens in Rome or Jerusalem today can be seen in real time. With millions of bloggers, websites, and reporters, so many people have an opinion on just about everything. There is often more heat than light in most conversations on church and politics.
As a result of what is taking place now, people seem to be falling into one of three main camps. These groups have emerged since the white smoke went up the chimney of the Sistine Chapel five years ago:
This group is threatening to leave the church because they oppose what they consider are some heretical teachings by Pope Francis. They were put on guard over the number of homosexuals in key posts (where little seems to be done to reign it in), the direction of the Synods, and the ambiguous language of Amoris Laetitia (The Joy of Love) that many consider intentional. Amoris Laetitia was released on March 19, 2016 on the Feast of the Solemnity of Saint Joseph encapsulating the Synod (two) documents on love in the family. Many in this group were skeptical early in the pontificate of Francis with the first Synod being hijacked by a very liberal contingent of Bishops and Cardinals. This group is not sure where to go at the moment and are looking more and more to the Traditional Latin Mass for continuity or leaving the church outright. They have read The Dictator Pope, and The Lost Shepherd, How the Pope is Misleading His Flock, and other writings and they see them as true.
This body of believers is remaining in the church and accepts the Synod writings of Pope Francis. They appear to have little problem with Amoris Laetitia. They do not speak against it, and accept it as true because it comes from the papacy. To question the papacy is not acceptable to this group.
Here is a fuzzy area. Many Catholics have a DNA strand that comes at birth to respect the authority of Rome as gospel. Many do not question it. They are soccer moms, maybe a dad or mom working two jobs or a lot of overtime to make ends meet, sacrificing for the love of family, as well as parents genuinely concerned about their kids grades and keeping little Johnny and Mary out of trouble with the neighborhood kids. Commuting home from work, they wonder how they will pay the orthodontist bills. The parents coach little league and take the girls to ballet lessons. It is often beyond their emotional capacity and time to read on magisterial documents on subjects they can’t control. They trust the church because they have been taught to trust the church. They are trying to get by in a culture deteriorating in front of their eyes.
Many in this group cannot tell you the language of encyclicals or the names of church hierarchy promoting an agenda one way or the other. They are moms and dads busy changing diapers, shopping, preparing food, and getting the kids to bed on time at night as this is their station in life. Often these people are the salt of the earth. They are being faithful to what they have been taught in the past and are sometimes unaware there is a hidden liberal agenda going on behind the scenes wanting to bring the church into a new direction. Sometimes there is a virulent strain with these folks if someone disagrees with them. They may see the wholesale apostasy of faith in our midst, and the church under attack, but they will stay the course with the papacy because they don’t know where else to turn.
Here is the smallest group. This group opposes some of the teachings of Pope Francis as heretical as group 1 does, but this group decides to stay in the Church because they believe they are standing on magisterial truth that has endured through thick and thin for millennia, where the gates of hell will never alter the long-term direction of truth. This group considers the current confusion in the church just another bump in the long road of the Catholic Church. Often this group is persecuted and marginalized by group 2 for being critical of the Vicar of Christ. The five words of “Who Am I to Judge” sent them over the edge early in the Francis pontificate.
No one is now immune from this confusion. April 7, 2018 there is a conference in Rome with clergy attending beyond the Dubia to deal with the issues caused by statements and proclamations from Pope Francis called, The Catholic Church: Where Are You Heading?
In 1830, the Blessed Mother came to a young novice in a chapel by the name of Catherine Laboure’ at Rue du Bac, Paris. Between July 18 and December 1830, Sister Catherine received the extraordinary favor of conversing with the Blessed Mother on three separate occasions. One time Our Lady pointed to the altar where the tabernacle was and said, “Come to the foot of this altar. Here, graces will be spread over all who ask for them with confidence and fervor.” Our Lady said her message at the time was not listened to as she asked. Our Lady as always was providing the answer for mankind and it was in Her Son.
So, in 1846, she appeared in an isolated farming hamlet to two young children in the mountains of France by the name of LaSalette. Here she gave one of the most severe messages in the history of apparitions. She said, “the priests, ministers of my Son, the priests by their wicked lives, by their irreverence and their impiety in the celebration of the holy mysteries, by their love of money, their love of honors and pleasures…the priests have become a cesspool of impurity…the church will be in eclipse… I gave you six days to work; I kept the seventh for myself, and no one wants to grant it to me. This is what weighs down the arm of my Son so much…Rome will become the seat of the anti-christ. Not exactly a casual message. On September 19, 1851 Pope Pius IX formally approved public devotion of the prayer referring to the messages of LaSalette as “secrets.” In 1879, Pope Leo XIII granted Canonical Coronation of the image of the Basilica of Our Lady of LaSalette.
There are many similar authentic messages like this over the last hundred years where it is said, “Satan would reach the interior and summit of the church, and the apostasy would become generalized.” The question must be asked what exactly is The Summit of the church?
The battle is intense and the moral welfare of future generations are at stake which is why we must focus on the cross and the fruits of Eucharistic Adoration. It is heaven’s medicine for the ills of mankind. It is time to double down and go deeper in prayer and Adoration.
Jesus, I Trust on You