Saturday, September 15, 2018

The Tears of a Grieving Church

From Kathryn Jean Lopez at The National Review:
We seek healing as evil is exposed. Do you know the Book of Lamentations? Break it open and you will read:
She weeps incessantly in the night, her cheeks damp with tears. She has no one to comfort her. . . . Her friends have all betrayed her, and become her enemies. [1:2]
Hear how I am groaning; there is no one to comfort me. All my enemies hear of my misery and rejoice over what you have done. . . . Let all their evil come before you and deal with them. . . . My groans are many, my heart is sick. [1:21–22]
Those are just some of the lines from poems expressing the anguish of surviors of the destruction of Jerusalem in 587 b.c., after a long Babylonian siege. These words resonate like nothing else in the wake of a brutal summer of demonic news about men who were supposed to be striving for holiness and not guilty of sacrilege. There are more questions than answers at the moment. Certainly, lamentations are the soundtrack of this time. Groaning, grieving, struggling to see hope. It stings. And no one is immune. Cardinal Timothy Dolan in New York just confessed this:
She’s in assisted living now, almost ninety, still, thank God, in decent shape. She loves her Catholic faith. She has a son a priest, four other children living their faith, handing it on to their kids, her grandkids. She is always eager to talk about the Church to her friends, Catholic and non-Catholic alike.
But not on the day last week I talked to her on the phone. “Tim,” she said to me, “I skipped lunch today. I’m ashamed to go to the dining room. I’m so embarrassed to be a Catholic. I don’t know what to say to anybody!” She’s my mom. Only one of the millions of faithful Catholics who today are ashamed of their clergy and bishops, of their Church.
He’s shaken — and I’ve heard him preach hauntingly about Satan, seeming to reveal some of what he sees in his days. Everybody is shaken — and humiliated, and angry, and disappointed. On CBS a few days ago, a host who was interviewing me shared that her Catholic-school-teacher mother skipped Mass the other day as she tried to process headlines. She’s far from alone. (Read more.)

From The Catholic Thing:
Perhaps the most disturbing chapter of the post-Vatican II story of distress was not the Humanae Vitae crisis or the breakdown of the Mass or the nearly complete failure of ecclesiastical discipline.  All of these, of course, were significant contributing elements.   The most wrenching account – in my view – was a letter to the editor in Catholic World Report more than twenty years ago. In the letter, a woman reported she was one of eight children.  Four of the siblings were raised before the Council and four raised after.  The first four were mature and well adjusted in adulthood; the latter four were painfully immature beyond adolescence.  The explanation?  The father of the family not only lost confidence in his Church after the Council, he lost confidence in his ability to be a good father.

Confidence in the faith translates into confidence in our personal codes of belief and conduct.  Inculcating confidence in the Catholic faith for the salvation of souls should be the primary concern of every priest, bishop, and pope.  If not, regardless of office, the cleric is a failure before God and men. For example, when priests live their celibacy with confidence, they provide an example to young men who are required to be chaste in their own celibate state before they marry. Clerical violations of celibacy not only encourage secular commentators like Rush Limbaugh to question its value for priests, they undermine the resolve of men struggling to overcome addictions to pornography.

If priests cannot be chaste in celibacy, how can we expect our young men to grow in chastity as they prepare for marriage? We are going through a crisis today every bit as dramatic as the post-Conciliar years. The completely unnecessary ambiguities of doctrine on marriage and the family, and trading the faith for political activism seem to be the norm.  Just as Pope Francis refuses to respond to the Amoris Laetitia dubia, he refuses to respond to the recent Viganò charges of papal and episcopal complicity in concealing McCarrick’s sexual perversions. (Read more.)

An exorcist speaks. From PJ Media:
In a recent interview, a world-renowned exorcist said the sex abuse scandal currently rocking the Catholic Church is demonic in nature and likely to get worse before it gets better. “We are in for a long storm,” said Father Gary Thomas, the exorcist for the Diocese of San Jose, California. Fr. Thomas' training in Rome was the subject of the 2010 book The Rite: The Making of a Modern Exorcist by Matt Baglio. The book was made into a movie starring Anthony Hopkins in 2011. “It’s only going to get worse,” Father Gary Thomas told the National Catholic Register's Patti Armstrong. “But as bad as it is, it has to come out. It is unacceptable.” (Read more.)

The problems of other Christian denominations. From The Federalist:
 Some Catholics may regard the crisis in their church as a purely internal matter, and consider outside commentary unwelcome and intrusive, even if it is well-meant. Likewise, many non-Catholic Christians may assume the Catholic crisis does not affect them at all, and perhaps even find in that crisis confirmation for their darkest views of Catholicism.

We do not accept that position. Non-Catholic Christians should take an active part in the conversation about the Catholic crisis. While they must be unfailingly tactful and sympathetic, they should also be as critical as is necessary given what is at stake. The well-known writer Rod Dreher, formerly a Catholic and now Eastern Orthodox, has posted frequently on the Catholic crisis, and is a magnificent model for other non-Catholic Christians to follow. Among many reasons for non-Catholic interventions, three stand out in our minds.(Read more.)

 The crisis as it stands now. From The National Review:
 Despite the attempt by some commentators to describe Viganò’s testimony as part of an “operation” or an organized “putsch” against Francis, the letter’s release has not been followed up by a campaign of new revelations or documents. Its appearance in small, conservative Catholic publications itself was evidence of turning to the first friend on hand, in the absence of real planning.

Did McCarrick even look sanctioned? Not long after Viganò’s letter was published, reporters began to interrogate the public record. Did McCarrick look like a man who had been sanctioned by Benedict as Viganò claimed? The record was mixed, to say the least. Simple searches on YouTube or in newspaper archives turned up appearances of McCarrick at various Masses and social events during the period in question. McCarrick traveled, and he even appeared near Archbishop Viganò and Pope Benedict in public. This certainly did not look like a life retreated into a prayer cell. On the other hand, reports also confirmed that Cardinal McCarrick did move out of his retirement living quarters at a seminary and into a renovated parish house. He was forced by the nunciature to cancel his appearance at events with seminarians. And after Francis was elected, McCarrick did take on a larger profile. Reporters sympathetic to McCarrick had noted the change, saying that while had been “put out to pasture” by Benedict but was “busier than ever” under Francis. (Read more.)

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