The Roman historian Livy wrote about the terminal decline of the Roman Republic that “Nec vitia nostra nec remedia pati possumus… We can bear neither our vices nor the remedies.”
Alas, I fear that our vices have called forth precisely the leaders that reflect those vices. The vices feed the leaders, and they the vices.
We may no longer have the collective will to make the changes that must be made to change course.
The last couple days have prompted me to reflect on the Church’s primary job: to keep as many people out of hell as possible.
People will chose to sin, die in sin, no matter what we do to help them to a different course. We must strive to help save ourselves and as many others as possible.
St Augustine one day, in his basilica in Hippo, was preaching a tough message. He broke off his line of thought and explained that if he didn’t preach his tough message he could not be saved. If they listened or didn’t listen he was going to preach anyway and thus save his soul. “But” he concluded, “Nolo salvus esse sine vobis! … I don’t want to be saved without you!” (s. 17.2)
Now that we in the USA are, I think, on a course toward the iceberg, we need to consider soberly about how we will approach the time and resources we have left.
During this time when Benedict XVI has called us to revive the Faith where it has died or still just slumbers, get to work.
Will our shepherds be able to bear applying the remedies?
Augustine also said that the doctor doesn’t stop cutting just because the patient is screaming for him to stop.
Think frequent confession.
Think fallen away Catholics.
Think Four Last Things.