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.


  1. Whilst agreeing that Vatican 2 cannot be held responsible for the state of the Church there must be some link to explain that turn around in the statistics. Perhaps the fact that protestant clergy had input into V2 might give some suggestions on the why. It is evident that in many external ways the OF of our Mass resembles a Protestant Communion Service. In fact (apart from EF Masses) one can see a more recognisable pre V2 Mass in Anglo-Catholic churches

    1. Thank you, David.
      As I say, I think the link is the ambiguous texts and the sentimentalism of the clergy.
      God Bless.

  2. After Christ's Resurrection, He met His disciples on the shore and three times He asked Peter if He loved Him. Three times Peter said "Yes" and Christ asked Him to care for His sheep and lambs.

    This same duty applies to all priests. Because they chose (or were chosen) to accept this task by following their vocations.

    Right now the sheep are scattered all over the place. It's like herding cats out there.

    I wonder how each priest will respond when God asks them: "And how many of those I put in your care have you led to Heaven?"

    God bless.

  3. It is horrendous that you were taught in the seminary that Catholicism is a mere subset of Christianity. I did not know that but it just explains the weakness of priests and bishops to proclaim theat Christ established only One Church. That Church is the Holy Catholic Church.
    The education of priests and their knowledge of the Faith is abysmal. Evidenced by one priest who told me that Holy Communion in the hand was introduced by the teachings of Vatican II.

  4. I have read that v2 was a pastoral council and as such not a infalible council. If the council was held and infiltrated by those of a liberal philosophy which at its very root is opposed to Christianity it would be safe to assume in my humble opinion v2 was not guided by the holy ghost and if v2 was merely a pastoral council that has lead the church into poor pastoral care i would support its disoloution

  5. The collapse continues, and the cure appears to be more of the same medicine. More leaning towards the World.

    It is now clear, from a distance of fifty years that Vat II was the occasion, the vehicle, of this collapse. And the Church is still in denial.

    The analogy of a field hospital is interesting. I actually have some experience of one, although it was because of an accident since I never heard a shot fired in anger. But the objective was absolutely clear. Get back into the ranks asap.

    As for what is guiding us today? Well fifty years into the Protestant Reformation, it was still not clear where the solution was to come from - just as it is not at all clear at present.

    But the Church will prevail.

  6. Father, after watching the video what do you think we as individuals and parishes can do beyond prayer.

  7. Since Vatican II, many of the Church's educational institutions have become doctrine-free zones. Nothing more than gnostic refuges of religion, centres of ceremonial religion, where all the aura of religious trappings have been retained while the faith has been lost. Even seminaries have presented themselves as refuges where the Catholic religion can continue after the faith has been completely lost. For too long schools and colleges have been teaching creedless Christianity and contentless catechesis. Here in the Diocese of Sale, Victoria, the Catholic faith is in its extinction phase while the hierarchy and religious remain in denial. The practice of the faith is well below your stipulated 10 percent, and the recently appointed bishop appears to be nothing more than a smiling undertaker.

    1. Thank you Greg.
      I think many good catholic folk around the world would see their own Diocese reflected in the description of your own -sadly.
      God Bless.

  8. "The causes of the crisis are not so much the practice of Ecumenism (though distortions of this are indeed partly to blame..."

    I'm sure that there is a genuinely Catholic form of ecumenism somewhere, Fr., but the problem is that it was never defined properly in the first place. Therefore, it is hard to know what is and what is not a "distortion." After the Council, everybody just did their own "ecumenical thing" and there was no yardstick to say whether this or that complied with the mind of the Council Fathers or not.

    Insofar as "ecumenism" has infected the ecclesiology of the Church, however, it has had a knock-on effect on the current crisis about marriage. In Eph 5 St Paul teaches us that the relationship between Christ and His Church is effectively the same "mystery" as the relationship between a man and his wife in marriage. Ergo, get your ecclesiology wrong and you will get your theology of marriage wrong (an adulterous, polygamous Christ with numerous denominational spouses begets the end of indissolubility in marriage), and get your theology of marriage wrong and you will get your ecclesiology wrong (viz the Eastern schism - where the capitulation to Caesaropapist demands for divorce and remarriage over centuries ultimately led to heretical ecclesiology.)

    The novel concept of "partial communion" of heretics and schismatics with the Church is inevitably the precursor of people in "partially grace-filled" sinful relationships being admitted to Holy Communion. It is the same corruption of the same mystery.

  9. Deacon Augustine, what you write about ecclesiology is so true. The crisis the Church is experiencing, and we are witnessing, are the logical and radical consequences of the many deeply flawed ecclesiologies being fostered by our leaders, since Vatican II. The smallest of errors in ecclesiology have led and continue to lead into immense problems, confusion and incoherencies in the understanding of the faith because the mystery of the Church is central to our belief in the mystery of Christ, who is the head of the Body. A distorted view of the Church inevitably leads to a distorted view of Christ, his Apostles, their Mission, the economy of salvation, who we are and what we are called to be.


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