Our Lord promised us that Hell would not prevail against the Church.
He did not promise that Hell would not prevail in the USA, or in your town or parish.
Today we are seeing a shrinking of Holy Church in many places. The rise of relativism and secularism, and the decades-long devastation of our Catholic identity due to poor catechesis, deficient shepherding, and unworthy worship have taken their toll.
We need the New Evangelization that Pope Benedict has called for. We need it desperately. We are duty bound to carry out the Lord’s “great commission”. We are bound in charity to be concerned for the souls of our loved ones and strangers who are at risk of the loss of Heaven and the pains of Hell.
If we are going to be a minority, then let us be what Pope Benedict called a “creative minority”. We must keep putting bricks back together, one brick at a time if it need be so.
When we have to deal with a bad wound, sometimes we have to cut things off in order to save the rest. St. Augustine, when speaking about Christ as medicus, the Physician, used the image of the medicine of his day, the early 5th century. When it comes to the pain of being corrected, the suffering we must endure when we convert or reform our lives and which Christ allows us to have for our own good, Augustine said, “the doctor doesn’t stop cutting just because the patient screams for him to stop.”
Many parishes are facing hard choices. They can’t keep their doors open because they don’t have adequate income. It’s a hard fact: parishes need YOUR money to stay open. Another hard fact: many Catholics think that everything should be free.
“But Father! But Father!”, some of you are about to gripe, “Dioceses and parishes are incompetent when it comes to money! I don’t want to give my hard earned money to these nitwits! I don’t want to give my money so that it can go to pay off lawyers because of evil priests and bishops who hurt children! If I give money, I want to know that it is going to something… good!”
You have my sympathy. But what is the alternative? Cut off giving and therefore cripple the Church’s ability to keep the doors of institutions open?
We are in a pickle, friends.
We have to keep our parishes open. We have to support our priests. We have to promote vocations. We absolutely need our parishes to remain open so that we have access to the sacraments, without which we cannot be who we are supposed to be.
Sadly, to keep some parishes some, we will have to close others. How very sad. We have squandered the gifts and hard work and loving sacrifices of our forebears who, often in their true material poverty scrimped and saved and gave to the Church to build those parishes, and schools and hospitals.
When I think about all the money wasted on ridiculous and sometimes even evil wreckvations of churches I SEE RED. When I think of the money thrown away because of the wickedness of priests I feel rage and sorrow and shame rise in my gorge.
Today I read this story about what Archbishop Chaput has to do in the once mighty Archdiocese of Philadelphia.
Archbishop Chaput urges ‘deep changes’ in Philadelphia archdiocese
Philadelphia, Pa., Sep 8, 2012 / 08:03 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Celebrating the first anniversary of his role as head of the Philadelphia archdiocese, Archbishop Charles J. Archbishop Chaput is calling for “deep changes” in how the local Church thinks, behaves, and is organized.
“We can no longer allow ourselves the complacency of the past. ‘The way things have always been’ needs to become ‘the way things need to be’ if we have any hope of preaching Jesus Christ to the world around us,” Archbishop Chaput writes, signaling the ongoing reformation of his archdiocese.
“The task of renewal will require deep changes in the thinking, behaviors, structures, procedures and organizational life of the archdiocese,” he says in a Sept. 8 letter to the faithful of the archdiocese.
The archdiocese has been profoundly affected by a sexual abuse scandal since 2005 and has had serious budget problems in recent years. The archdiocese faces a projected deficit of $6 million for the 2012 fiscal year.
In addition, many of the parishes in the archdiocese are struggling. “Many of those parishes simply can’t be sustained,” Archbishop Chaput says in his letter, pointing to the possibility of further parish closings and mergers.
In a great Italian novel, Il gattopardo (The Leopard), about the changing of the times in Sicily during the forced unification of Italy in the 1800’s, the son of the Duke, Tancredi, tells the old man,
“Se vogliamo che tutto rimanga com’è, bisogna che tutto cambi … If we want everything to remain as it is, then it is necessary that everything change.”
The key to any renewal of Holy Church where we live is the revitalization of our worship of Almighty God.
At the summit of the hierarchy of all our relationships is God. The virtue of Religion, related to Justice, obliges us to give God what is His due. This is done by us, collectively, in our liturgical worship. Justice and Religion help us to order all other relationships in our lives. If we get our worship wrong, many other things in our lives will go off the rails.
We need a Marshall Plan to rebuild our Catholic identity. A renewal of our liturgical worship is a sine qua non for any project for a New Evangelization.