Saturday, 3 October 2015

October: The power of the Rosary

I have always encouraged people to pray a daily Rosary by noting that its power is that of the word of God: its prayers comes from the Sacred Scriptures so it is a verbal recitation of the word of God contained in the Bible, and it is a mediation on the life and work of the Divine Redeemer (the Word made Flesh) in bringing about the Atonement. What better power is there to draw upon in the universe than the very word of God Himself? None. Janet Moore, author of the blog ‘Entering into the Mystery’, has written a striking piece on the power of the Rosary here. Do go and read it, it recounts the power of the Rosary over the atomic bomb, the forces of Communism, the forces of Radical Islam and the power of the Devil.

If often think of the Rosaries I say as interlinked like a chain, by which I am building, by God’s grace, a ladder to heaven. Why not build one yourself? If you miss a day see it as a broken rung –and see an additional Rosary next day as a repair job. (The danger with this is that we can give ourselves permission to miss if we are doing regular repair jobs, and we may break so many rungs the ladder becomes weak and we stop using it. Never give up on the Rosary. It has its own power above and beyond the one who says it: it holds the power of God to thwart evil and save souls. It is the weapon, as St. Padre Pio would say! Here is the link to Janet again: ThePower of the Rosary. Do go and read her excellent post.

Friday, 2 October 2015

UP-DATED: Protestants Warn Catholics About Francis; Catholics warn Catholics about Synod. Vatican back-tracks on Kim Davis meeting

Strange header for this post, no? Not as strange as the reality it conveys, for high-ranking evangelical Protestants have warned Catholics that Pope Francis is left-leaning; taking the Church with him, and appears to have sided with the political left (seeLifesite News here). That makes for sad reading; protestant leaders are alarmed that in Francis’ speech to the joint session of the US Congress he never mentioned Jesus Christ (whose Vicar he is and whose name and teaching he is meant to proclaim). What might this imply to them and to the outside world (and to solid Catholics) about who Francis sees as the supreme teacher?
In my previous post I ventured to say Francis is too provincial, but I may have misconstrued his problem. Certainly he has won hearts by his embracing of the sick etc, but he is losing solid Catholics on a daily basis; only those with politically left leanings are likely to be faithful to him. Further, in promoting his image as the caring Francis yet failing to mention Jesus Christ, he has allowed people to make the claim that he has his own agenda at the centre of his vision, rather than the Gospel.
As if this were not problem enough for Francis, he has also left himself open to a charge of ‘speaking with a forked tongue’, for while he addressed victims of child sexual abuse and told them that clergy and bishops will be held accountable, he has personally invited Cardinal Danneels to the Synod on the family, yet Danneels has a history of telling an abuse victim to stay quiet about the abusing Bishop until the said Bishop had retired.
Few devout Catholics will be uplifted by Francis on his US trip; those who are happy with him are likely those who have no desire to uphold the Traditional Faith of the Church on marriage and the family, since these are the very issues Francis strikingly failed to defend before Congress. That this failure (as well as the failure to speak of Christ and the failure to denounce the evil of abortion) has concerned even non-Catholics, is disturbing.
In a country where the Church is being battered by secular forces which demand funding by Church groups for the anti-life Culture of Death (contraception and abortion); the same country which has legislated for homosexual pairings to be equivalent to God-given marriage, Francis ought to have spoken clearly and unequivocally of the teaching on the Church on these issues. Talk about the environment and social justice is all well and good, but failure to mention the right to life (upon which access to very other right depends); the failure to defend of the natural process of transmitting life, and even the failure to mention Jesus Christ, is a loss beyond words. Many are likely to view Francis as politically (or image) motivated rather than gospel motivated.
It has also been revealed (see Rorate Caeli here) that a shadow group of Jesuits are already drafting the post-synodal document by Pope Francis, apparently with his knowledge. If true this is a massive indictment against the current Roman Authorities, and explains why the reflections of the “small groups” (circuli minores) are not going to be shared, and why there will be no mid-term report: they will likely not be of the kind the shadow (shady?) people want.  

UPDATE: So, the Vatican is claiming Kim Davis had no 'real audience' with the pope and that it should not be taken as support...well, coming so soon after a rebuke of the Pope by the Left, this looks very much like the Pope even regrets supporting solid Christian teaching and witness. Dear oh dear, what have we here? Will Fr Lombardi now have to say it was an audience and the pope does support Ms. Davis'  position or what? The answer is 'what': what a mess we are in.

Friday, 25 September 2015

Provincial Francis at Congress: A Bitter Disappointment. Updated.

I truly believe Pope Francis has good intentions , but I admit to being bitterly disappointed by his address to the American Congress this week.
While some are saying that his statement that we have a “responsibility to protect and defend human life at every stage of its development” are a reference to the evil of abortion, I don’t think they are. They can be taken to refer to abortion, but in that he immediately went on to explicitly mention the death penalty he failed. He failed to mention the slaughter of innocents in the very arena (politics) that defends abortion as a human right for women. Supporters of abortion are thus entitled to say “Francis said to protect and defend human life but he did not mention abortion; he mentioned the death penalty; therefore his remarks are about the death penalty”. Can we really argue with that? Had he meant to include abortion he would have named it, surely, as he did with the death penalty?
At first I thought Francis was simply being a coward; that he is too afraid of offending the USA (or of losing his credibility with the political left) to tackle the supreme humanitarian crime in which the USA and other Western powers such as the UK engage. But it suddenly occurred to me: this is not cowardice. Why Francis does not mention abortion but seems obsessed with the environment and subsidiarity is nothing to do with cowardice, it is that he is simply too provincial to be a world leader; he is still preaching and leading in accord with the problems he saw in Argentina. Annulments there take several years; he has presumed it is the same the world over and imposed laws for rapid declarations of nullity; the condition of the poor in the shantytowns of Buenos Aires is extreme; he has assumed it is the same the world over.
It is not then that the Pope is a coward. Rather, it is that Francis is a provincial guy with a provincial view unsuited to global responsibilities. His mind-set is still in Argentina and he is preaching to Argentina and its problems. He has not progressed to seeing the whole view from his window at the Domus Sanctae Marthae; he still looks out and imagines he sees shantytowns everywhere. Undoubtedly there is poverty the world over, and it certainly needs to be addressed. Only the cold-hearted could say otherwise. But today’s spiritually poverty; the loss of the sense of sin and of grace-  has led to the slaughter of millions of innocent lives by dismemberment while alive in the womb; the killing of the sick rather than the care of the sick, and the destruction of the natural family to which every child has a right. As such some of us see the greatest poverty as poverty of the spirit: until we change minds and hearts by the Gospel we will not end abortion, euthanasia or protect the family. So while we want to feed the hungry, clothe the naked; shelter the harbourless and visit the sick & imprisoned, we know that we must first instinct the ignorant, counsel the doubtful and admonish the sinner -without which hearts and minds will not change. Uninstructed by the Gospel the human person, predisposed by concupiscence, follows sin and darkness, not grace and light. Global leaders cannot afford to make important speeches on huge public stages and fail to mention the gravest evils of the day.  
Revelations (see RorateCaelie here) that several Cardinals banded together in what one of them (Cardinal Danneels) described as a Mafia Club to actively canvas for Jorge Bergoglio so as to get a more modern Church, leaves a bitter taste of subversion. If these Cardinal-electors wanted and canvassed for their man so as to get a ‘modern Church’ (in fact, departure from the constant teaching of the Church), they must have known before hand what kind of catholic Bergoglio was/is, or they would not be seeking to elect him. This puts his actions at last year’s Extraordinary Synod, his nominations for this year’s Synod (and the exclusions he made), very disturbing and a picture of manipulation arising that is hard to avoid. It also puts his trip to the USA in a new light: he appears a willing puppet of men who seek to abandon the Faith of the Gospel for the ideologies of the world. I do hope he turns out to be another Pio Nono and come in liberal but go out strictly orthodox.

While we may yet be in for a period of great turbulence and division within the Church, but she will emerge even stronger than she was after Trent and before Vatican II, for Truth is Christ and Christ has conquered the world they are so enamoured by. Can we off any advice to the Cardinals involved? Yes, the advice of Christ Himself:  “Woe to you when all men speak well of you, for their fathers treated the false prophets in the same way”. To us Christ advises, “But I say to you who hear, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you”, (Luke 6v26-27). In all honesty. if Christ’s words do not worry them, they have lost The Faith. 

Wednesday, 16 September 2015

Has Pope Francis ‘let drop his mask’ -and indicated the untrustworthy nature of the current Episcopate?

When soon after his election Pope Francis was considered to be a liberal it was quickly declared that he is a loyal son of the Church. One wonders if this loyalty is what is being questioned in the remark that he has ‘let drop his mask’, as reported here by LifesiteNews. It is always possible that Francis is simply allowing dissent to come to the forefront so as to override it in the post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation.

Lifesite, however, records two striking stories around Pope Francis. The first is that the “a seven-page dossier that is now being privately circulated in the Vatican among Curial members who are opposing Pope Francis's recent decision to liberalize the process of marriage annulments” (as linked to above); the second is that a “major appeal by theologians urges Pope to delete ‘seriously defective’ Synod texts on contraception” (see Lifesite News here)

Taken together, these indicate that high-ranking voices are concerned about Pope Francis’s attitude towards immutable doctrine. I cannot help but recall a reaction first voiced in my own living room on the night Francis was elected: “I have a gut feeling that this man thinks that the Church belongs not him as its CEO, not to Christ, and that he will do untold damage to the Faith and the Church”.

When Cardinal Pell defended Francis as a loyal son of the Church it was interesting that the examples he gave were of a pope who is “very, very concerned for the day-to-day life of the people, and for those who are suffering, those not well off and those in difficult situations.” In my opinion the Cardinal’s defence could do little to stem the tide of criticisms of Francis; the two articles linked to above demonstrate a perception by many that Francis is not loyal to The Faith. Unfortunately the picture of Francis as having little regard for the doctrine of The Faith will only be made worse by his ‘selective selection’ of members for the up-coming Synod. As reported by that pinnacle of the Catholic Blogosphere Rorate Caeli, Cardinal Tong Hon seems to have been lied to by the Vatican as to why he is not being invited (age being said to be the reason), since many attending are older than he –including Cardinal Kasper. Meanwhile Archbishop Cordileone of San Francisco –a warrior of a Bishop in one of the most sexualised communities in the USA- is exempted for no good reason (other than, like Cardinal Tong Hon, he is likely to hold to the Tradition of the Church).  Truly, Francis has to be careful that he is not leaving to history a picture of himself as a Pope willing to manipulate a Synod to favour his personal agenda rather than the Tradition, using an impression of collegiality to do so. If, as I believe, Truth will win out, it may not be in this Synod but later in the Church’s life. After all, if Francis and the Synod can ditch all that has gone before for 2000 years plus, a future Pope and Synod can ditch Francis and the 2014/2015 shenanigans. Indeed those very shenanigans make this a real possibility, so don’t be too afraid of what happens in October. It will be a noteworthy but impotent blip in the history of the Church –ever heard of the Robber Council? It was the later-condemned Ephesus Council II.

The most disconcerting aspect of these shenanigans is that Francis is able to pick and choose among those who make up the episcopate. It is not sad that a Pope has the power to do this; rather, it is sad –if not alarming- that with the current state of the episcopate it is possible for him to choose between those who will and those who will not hold to the Tradition. We should not, as we currently are, hear folk voicing concerns over who will be attending the Synod: we should be able to trust the episcopate implicitly. Sadly, the ‘selective selection’ of those who will attend the Synod demonstrates that we cannot implicitly trust the episcopate. How sad this must be for those Bishops who are or who desire to be faithful to the Tradition but feel held back by their Episcopal brothers who have a liberalising tendency/agenda. Pray and fast for the Synod; God will reward the effort.

As Archbishop Fulton-Sheen would say, “The truth is the truth even if no one believes it, and error is error even if everyone believes it”. And The Truth will eventually win the fight, even if it loses a round at this Synod, because the Truth is Christ, and he has overcome the world.

Monday, 14 September 2015

Exaltation of the Holy Cross: Two Disparate Thoughts

My first thought is how the Cross is misunderstood by some souls. I was one of them. Despite Paul’s assertion that “God proves His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom.5v8),  for many years I looked at the cross and saw in it an accusation. It accused me of every infraction against the Ten Commandments I had ever committed. Then I went to Lourdes as an assistant chaplain on Day Pilgrims and the priest leading us, Fr Ian James Smart (pray for him please, he has since left the priesthood), did something no other priest with whom I had travelled to Lourdes had done: he stopped at the foot of the Via Crucis to point out the statue of the Angel of the Passion with its inscription ‘In Cruce salus’: In the Cross is salvation. It quickly became my favourite statue in Lourdes.

Statue at the entrance to the Visa Crucis in Lourdes

I finally began to get what Paul was saying: salvation cannot be deserved, won or bought; it is a free gift to all those willing to respond to the (actual) graces of God which prompt us to respond to His love by doing good and avoiding evil, that we may be filled with sanctifying grace. I realised that the Cross was not simply something Christ underwent for His friends who fail Him, but something he underwent for His enemies; His foe: those who deliberately attack Him. Enemies, not just failing friends. Enemies, not just the weak and disloyal friend. Enemies. The message of the Cross then is one I have to refocus upon often: I cannot earn, win, deserve or buy salvation: it is God’s free gift to those who seek Him. And who could not love, admire, and seek out the God who loves us so much that “He did the time for our crime” -which we committed against Him in the first place?

The Cross cancels out our sins; it fills us with grace. It offers to the Eternal Father an infinite Price for our salvation. No sin, and no amount of sins, no matter how dark, horrid and hellish, is or are beyond the power of the Cross, for its infinite merits have no end -and no sin can get beyond that which has no end: it is race sin cannot win because there is no end; no finishing line. As such the Cross is the world’s greatest treasure; God’s greatest gift to man. It is The Mystery of Faith: the mystery of God’s redeeming love.

Every Mass brings this Mystery of Faith to us and allows us to participate in it: “This is My Body given up for you...The Blood of the New and eternal Testament; the Mystery of Faith, which is shed for you”. This is the one day of the year when Mass should be celebrated, especially since we do not offer it on the day we commemorate the Crucifixion itself, Good Friday. How would one offer the Divine Hours today in commemoration of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross and not enter into its very reality at Mass?

My second thought is how easily today the Cross is abandoned. It struck me when saying Mass in the Ordinary Form this morning that while the people in the reading ask, “Why did you bring us out Egypt to this wilderness?” that Egypt is a type (as in typology; 'it stands for') the world from God is rescuing us. Folk of today who find commitment to The Faith difficult ask why they should be taken out of the world; out of their careers, hobbies, social circles etc, to become what people call ‘a religious nut’. For them devotion to Christ seems to be seen as an alternative to ‘life’: I have known daily Mass goers and converts who, when a career change, a new hobby, new social circle or new relationship come along, no longer exhibit devotion to the Lord by making the effort to get to Holy Mass. It just doesn't occur to them; they “have something important in life now”. Such a career, hobby or relationship, when it diminishes our devotion to the Mass, cannot be of God, for God does not bring about that which lessens our devotion to Him -and our hold on salvation.

For the genuine and devout Catholic nothing is more central than the Mass; the Cross, the Mystery of Faith. They know that our salvation, our happiness, is not primarily in our career, our social circle or our relationships, but in the Cross, and the Cross is in the Holy Mass. In Cruce Salus; nunc et in aeternum.

Saturday, 12 September 2015

In My Opinion... 7 Points On the Crisis in the Church

Several times on the blog I have tried to convey the fact that I know myself to be a sinner, but I begin this post by yet again affirming my sinfulness before God and man lest I appear self-righteous.
It would be imprudent to list my sins in public, but let me say that while I have not committed the sins the world sees as the worst (adultery, abuse, murder, misappropriation of funds) I do seem to have fallen prey to many of the sins brought to me in Confession: sloth, the callous tongue, the over-indulgence in alcohol, the failure to challenge those I know personally who are in irregular unions or who are using contraception, involved with crime, violence or substance abuse. So I can genuinely echo what was said by St Paul: “The good that I would like to do, I don’t do -and the things I would rather not do, I find myself doing”. There is a concept in Social Work today of ‘good-enough parenting’, but I hesitate to apply even ‘good-enough’ to myself as a spiritual Father. To that extent I echo the words of psalm 37: “My wounds [sins] are foul and festering; the result of my own folly...” but I rejoice in Psalm 64: “Too heavy for us our offences, O Lord, but You wipe them away.” All in all, this post comes from a sinner seeking holiness. My self-image and my image of the folk I base on psalm 102: “Bless the Lord, my soul, and never forget all His blessings. It is He Who forgives all your sins: who heals all your diseases” which I couple with Matthew 9v12. "It is not those who are healthy who need a physician, but the sick”.

All that said, many who know me often mistake my conviction in preaching what the Church teaches and my insistence on celebrating (I hope) good liturgies (saying the black and doing the red) as self-assurance or even arrogance. Well...No. I have confidence in the rightfulness of what Sacred Tradition teaches and I am convinced of the need for a liturgy that focuses on God -but that is it.

What then, am I giving my opinion about? About the Crisis in the Church and its resolution: I am praying our prelates will acknowledge (though I suspect deep down many are actually aware of it) that something is dreadfully wrong in the Church; I am praying many will swim against the current episcopal tide and come to recognise the following.

1. That Vatican II needs to be clarified.
It has been said that "the key to understanding Vatican II is best expressed in two phrases that characterized it, namely, the Church is semper reformanda (“always in need of reform”) and the Church is Populi Dei (People of God)"; that these phrases “reflect a new self-understanding of church” (see here), de-emphasizing the institutional model of church in favour of a less doctrinaire, more pastoral, more ecumenical and more democratic model. Well, if the Church is the people of God and always in need of reform, this is not new: Confession has been in place since Apostolic times for the reforming of the people of God (i.e., anyone who is baptised). This in no way ousts the Institutional model, which is of Divine Will. This quote is but one example of how Vatican II has been misunderstood. Without doubt, many grave distortions have crept into the Church since Vatican II, being due to the ambiguous texts of the Council -and these ambiguities have been admitted (see Cardinal Kasper’s admission in ‘L'Osservatore Romano, April 12, 2013) -which suggests direct manipulation of the Council by men. Indeed, on the strength of Vatican II, distortions have entered into the liturgy; into ecumenism (e.g., the idea that we are all the same and can be saved in any religion); into what is meant by the sensus fidelium; into collegiality and into the role played by the laity.

2. That the Liturgy needs to be taken in hand.
*The call for ‘active participation’ has been portrayed as ‘activity’ when in fact it primarily means full, conscious (internal) contemplation of the Mystery in which we participate. Dancing, mimes, dramas, gathering children around the altar etc, are not authentic participation but illicit additions to the Rite of Mass.
*The versus populum orientation is neither in Vatican II nor in the Missal Pope Paul authorised as giving concrete form to the reform asked for by the Council: there is NO DIRECTIVE that priests are to face the people at Mass, though it is given as a possible option (Prot. No. 2036/00/L regarding GIRM #299). THE DIRECTIVE OF THE MISSAL is to face the altar (see GIRM 157 & 158 and rubrics 132,133).
*Communion in the hand was introduced illegally in Holland from where it spread to Belgium, France and Germany, and was allowed by Paul VI only where it had already begun by 1969. Again, there is no directive from Rome stating that this is to be the norm; the directive is still, officially, to receive on the tongue (Memoriale Domini, 1969, CDW).
*There is no directive to remove altar rails.
*There is no requirement to have the whole Mass offered in the vernacular. There is however, from Vatican II, a directive that the people should be able to say or sing their parts of the Mass in Latin (Sacrosanctum Concilium 36,54; GIRM #41) and that Gregorian Chant is the primary music of the Mass (see Sacrosanctum Concilium #116).
*Use of hymns is supposed to be a last resort for music at Mass, since the Church wants us to sing the Mass texts themselves (cf. Notitiae 5 [1969] p. 406; and USCCB BCL Newsletter, August-September, 1993).

3. That the catechism needs to be put back into schools.
*The criticism that this was ‘parrot-fashion learning’ is an error; children taught the catechism by good teachers did not simply learn the catechism as they learned the Arithmetic Tables, they learned it with fuller explanations. Yes they learned in the question and answer format and so remember them to this day because its repetition usefully sticks in the mind, but they may not necessarily remember the fuller explanations they were given too, just as they may not necessarily remember other lessons they were given as children at school which were not parrot-fashion learning.
*‘Parrot-fashion’ learning usefully provides children with answers on The Faith when it is questioned, just as parrot-fashion tables gives them a useful tool for shopping; a cf. Catechesi Tradendae (1979) #55: “A certain memorization of the words of Jesus, of important Bible passages, of the Ten Commandments, of the formulas of profession of the faith, of the liturgical texts, of the essential prayers, of key doctrinal ideas, etc., far from being opposed to the dignity of young Christians, or constituting an obstacle to personal dialogue with the Lord, is a real need, as the synod fathers forcefully recalled. We must be realists. The blossoms, if we may call them that, of faith and piety do not grow in the desert places of a memory-less catechesis. What is essential is that the texts that are memorized must at the same time be taken in and gradually understood in depth, in order to become a source of Christian life on the personal level and the community level” (emphasis added).

4. That the authentic Lay Apostolate needs to be rediscovered.
*Vatican II never once spoke of lay ministry; you will not find those words anywhere in Vatican II; it always spoke of Lay Mission, and clarified this by encouraging the laity to be active in bringing The Faith to bear in their work and social lives. Lay ministry is not a development of Vatican II, but a distortion of Lay Mission, which is much missing in today’s world.
*The co-workers of the Order of Bishops, with whom the Bishops share a common call and a common ontology, are the priests. The role of the laity is to evangelise the world, not to replace the Presbyterate.

5. That the ‘New Pastoral Care’ orientation  needs attention
The ‘new pastoral care’ (as evidenced by the call even from prelates to admit civilly re-married divorcees, cohabitees and those in same-sex unions to Holy Communion) is dangerous to the salvation of the souls of those in such situations –and to the souls of the clerics who promote their admission to Eucharistic Communion.
*The ‘new pastoral care’ springs from emotionalism and an erroneous understanding of justice. Emotionalism doesn't want to see people in pain (which is laudable) but it seeks to alleviate the pain by hiding the truth of the situation in which they are living. It is the giving of false hope for the Gospel Truths are unalterable, and changing Church discipline to accommodate error is to accommodate the destruction of souls brought by the father of lies. 
*In regard to such souls and justice, it is said that those excluded from Holy Communion are being oppressed by the Church. Not true: their souls are oppressed by their situation but they do not know it. Excluding them from Holy Communion is like the responsible bar-tender refusing to pour another drink for the man who is dangerously intoxicated. I sum up all this ‘new pastoral care’ by saying that “pastoral care has degenerated from pastoral sensitivity (wherein the Truth is explained to souls with tender care and compassion) into pastoral sentimentality (wherein Truth is ignored simply to make the person feel at ease)”.
*Social Justice (the corporal works of mercy) has become the only kind of pastoral work in which many seek to engage, with the spiritual works of mercy neglected in the performance of those corporal works.

6. Get Collegiality into perspective.
Collegiality is not, and this is by Divine Will, joint government of the Church by Pope and Bishops. There is to be a common solicitude for all the Churches (expressed via advice and support? –such as in a sharing of priests, of resources, of good practice points etc, and common statements reiterating official Church teaching) but not shared Governance since this intrinsically impacts upon and reduces the governance exercised by a Bishop in his own Diocese, for which he alone is accountable to the Divine.

7.Get 'sensus fidelium' right.
This cannot be made to refer to the majority opinion of those now living; it encompasses the Church throughout her history. While many today might favour divorce and remarriage, contraception, homosexual pairings et al , this is not true of the Christians of the last 2000 years. Those favouring these new positions today are inconsistent with the authentic senus fidelium, and with Divine Deposit in both Scripture and Tradition.
There is much to be done. It is down to the Bishops to lead us, led by Rome. Oremus.

Thursday, 10 September 2015

Crisis in the Church (Francis’s Failing Hospital)

That the Church is in a state of Crisis cannot be denied. The Church in the west is demonstrating a severe sickness by the fact that Mass attendance has gone into reverse; gone from 90% practice and 10% lapsation pre-Vatican II to 10% practice and 90% lapsation post Vatican II. Baptism figures too are falling, as are Confirmations, Ordinations and Religious Profession. Is this the great renewal which was to follow Vatican II? In terms of Francis’s image of the Church as a hospital, its mortality rate (the death of parishes, seminaries, convents, schools, marriages etc) is extremely high. The Church may be doing well in Africa, but from comments after last year’s Extraordinary Synod is it not true that some European Bishops rather look down on their African counterparts?

While we might not want to say the sickness of the Church has been brought about by Vatican Council II (see ‘Note’ below) can we not say it has been at least been made possible by the Council and permitted by those whose duty it was to guide the Church in the post-Conciliar era: the priests (of both Episcopal and Presbyteral rank); clergy who naively ditched spirituality for sentimentality in giving emotional rather than spiritual solutions to those in psychic and social pain, all the while calling their approach ‘pastoral care’. And we have all fallen into that trap at one time or another.

Another contributing factor to the Church’s diseased state is that over the last fifty years, the Bishops and presbyters have allowed very poor catechesis to enter schools; very poor formation to be given in seminaries, and all kinds of anomalies to enter the liturgy, which has become orientated towards the entertaining of the crowd (now, in fact, just a small group and no longer the crowd of the pre-Vatican II era: it is the 10% practicing remnant of the Catholic faithful). The closure of parishes and schools is amputation of limbs of the patient, and amputations that do not contribute to the recovery of the patient -the amputation of a diseased limb that has caused sepsis will not cure the sepsis.

The causes of the crisis are not so much the practice of Ecumenism (though distortions of this are indeed partly to blame since great indifference spread among the Catholic faithful who took to heart the erroneous adages, ‘we all serve the same God...we’re all going to the same place’, and where Catholicism became a subset of Christianity (something we were actually told in seminary!) Rather, the problem is rooted in the moral relativism which spread through the clergy and went hand in hand with their failure to give full and total support to Humanae Vitae: when we unlocked the door to contraception (even if we didn’t leave it ajar) we unlocked the horrors of abortion, IVF manufactured babies, surrogacy, homosexual activity, transgenderism and euthanasia. The video below has three Bishops talking openly about the crisis in the Church. Well worth watching and taking to heart (and soul).

NOTE: Vatican II tried to hold onto Traditional teaching and values and in this way is able to be read in a hermeneutic of continuity, but it also sought to open doors to the world and by doing so allowed ambiguous texts (thus texts of dubious orthodoxy) to creep in too; texts which Cardinal Kasper admitted were placed there deliberately:

"In many places, [the Council Fathers] had to find compromise formulas, in which, often, the positions of the majority are located immediately next to those of the minority, designed to delimit them. Thus, the conciliar texts themselves have a huge potential for conflict, open the door to a selective reception in either direction." (Cardinal Walter Kasper,  L'Osservatore Romano, April 12, 2013)

So, while we may not want to blame the Council for todays cris outright, we can say that if its texts were ambiguous that it has to some extent it has facilitated the crisis. And if we also admit ambiguity, can we not ask if the Council was engineered by man rather than guided by the Holy Ghost? And who or what is guiding it today? More of the same is not going to fix the problem.