As we know from history, religious and secular, it is rarely smart to apply terms like “the Great” to still-living persons. You hate to have to take it back someday. Yet two things caused me to write the above headline: 1) I’m not that smart; and, 2) the current slanderous, orchestrated attack on the Pope demands a proportionate response from faithful Catholics.
Editor, The Remnant
(www.RemnantNewspaper.com Posted 04/06/10) “These are the times that try men’s souls”. The colonial amy was freezing at Valley Forge when Thomas Paine penned these famous words in his pamphlet American Crisis. His aim was to encourage his countrymen to stay in the fight despite the terrible hardships of war and dismal prospects for the future.
I have little in common with the author of Common Sense who dismissed the Bible as false and condemned Christian doctrines as immoral. But I quite agree with Mr. Paine that certain periods in history do indeed try men’s souls, and ours is shaping up to be the granddaddy of them all. I’d call my pamphlet World Crisis for the world we once knew is now in flames and from its ashes something apocalyptic seems likely to rise up.
It’s not only tradition-minded Catholics who are concerned. The radio, television, Internet provide 24/7 commentary on a global state of anxiety afflicting the “enlightened” and the rest of us alike. Whether you’re a home-school parent waiting for “child services” to ring, or a public school teacher wondering if you’ll be knifed in the cafeteria, or a Christian trying to stay alive in Palestine, or an inner city mother trying to enjoy urban renewal while dodging bullets on a nightly basis—you’ve got to be brave in this new world.
War, famine, earthquakes, civil unrest, economic collapse, rampant immorality—no wonder people are a bit edgy. And every day the news brings more of the same: angry mobs in the streets, teachers exploiting their students, doctors euthanizing their patients, Catholics indicting their priests, Moslems bombing synagogues, Christians fleeing the Holy Land in terror, and now devils dressed in Armani trying to lynch the Holy Father.
Ah, yes, the media have found their collective conscience. They’re shocked—shocked!—to discover a sexual abuse scandal in the Church that emerged more than eight years ago, and which they had already covered and forgotten only to realize—just a moment!—we can use this against Benedict. These are the same moral watchdogs that call us “haters” if we object to “reformed” sex offenders being relocated in our neighborhoods; who ignore the prevalence of sexual abuse in all areas of “enlightened” society today, and that, among clerical offenders, Catholic priests are least likely to offend. These guardians of the moral order accuse grandmothers of “hate speech” for objecting to Catholic adoption agencies placing Catholic children with homosexual couples; view condom distribution in grade schools as an issue of national security, and broadcast Lady Gaga videos night and day depicting borderline necrophilia, lesbianism and violence to children. And, above all, these are the same moral authorities who agitate for tax-funded abortion on demand.
Yes, these guys are shocked—shocked—that thirty years ago Archbishop Ratzinger didn’t read the memo about a sexually abusive priest who was sent to “therapy.” They’re all about the truth….And if you buy that one I’ve got a bridge to sell.
“The Bad Shepherd” screamed the headline in the latest Newsweek, just above a picture of a “cold” and “aloof” Holy Father and a vicious concluding paragraph: “What’s needed, really, is a new vision for a church that is more human. Is Benedict the man to provide that? Alas, probably not.”
Get it? What’s needed is an even wider opening of Catholic windows to the modern world. What’s needed is less dogma and more Darwin to help the Church “evolve” into something that might actually benefit the common good someday.
From the New York Times to the London Times to the Sydney Herald, it’s open season on the Catholic Church. And even traditional Catholics—historic defenders of the papacy—find themselves between a rock and hard place. Clearly, a witch hunt is under way in which Pope Benedict is the target, but it’s not as if the disastrous policies of the last forty years aren’t responsible for all of this: the dismal formation of priests, watered down moral theology, the pooh-poohing of sin and hell, face-to-face confession (“let’s just chat”), relocating predator priests, encouraging homosexuality in the priesthood, and establishing an utterly emasculated liturgy. Faux media outrage aside, we know that the Church is reaping the whirlwind—exactly as traditional Catholics predicted she would forty years ago.
Our cause has never been about “liturgical preferences”, but rather the defense of the Church against the very policies of ecclesial auto-demolition that are now threatening to bring the Church to her knees and put Peter in chains.
Still, it must be said that Pope Benedict has done more than any other Pope since Vatican II (including John Paul ‘The Great’!) to actually address the madness running rampant since 1965. High-profile media darling, Father Gino Burresi, for example, the Italian founder of the Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, was barred from public ministry under a cloud of suspicion of sexual misconduct—immediately after the election of Pope Benedict XVI. As Vatican insider, John Allen, pointed out in his column,When the same axe fell a few months later on Mexican priest Marcial Maciel Degollado, the high-profile founder of the Legionaries of Christ, against whom accusations of abuse had likewise been hanging around for the better part of a decade, the message seemed unmistakable: There’s a new sheriff in town. In retrospect, the Burresi and Maciel cases crystallized a remarkable metamorphosis in Joseph Ratzinger vis-à-vis the sexual abuse crisis. As late as November 2002, well into the eruption in the United States, he seemed just another Roman cardinal in denial. Yet as pope, Benedict XVI became a Catholic Elliot Ness—disciplining Roman favorites long regarded as untouchable, meeting sex abuse victims in both the United States and Australia, embracing “zero tolerance” policies once viewed with disdain in Rome, and openly apologizing for the carnage caused by the crisis.
Strange! There’s been nothing about this in the New York Times!
What’s next? It’s anyone’s guess. Today a reporter from the local Fox affiliate gave me a call. He’s doing a story on Christian hate groups and the militia movement here in Minnesota: “Since The Remnant has been designated a hate group,” he said, “I wanted to ask you a few questions.” Well naturally!
I wonder if this reporter will recognize the insanity of tradition-minded Catholics being portrayed as dangerous haters while militant Islamic groups are coddled, powerful street gangs control large sections of U.S. cities, the public school system is cranking out entire generations of drug and sex addicted waifs who are criminally undereducated, and abortion providers are held up as pillars of the community.
What is to be done? Pray, of course. Humanly speaking, there’s no way out of here. But we also make every effort to forge alliances against those who would destroy our Church. The scourging of Pope Benedict is all about one thing: gagging the last whimper of moral authority in the world today. Once they’ve silenced the Catholic Church the feeding frenzy on all things Christian can begin in earnest and it will become difficult to imagine how the End Times could be much worse than ours.