Liberal catholics want to wussify the Church. They effectively embrace the world’s ways and think the Church should adapt her teachings and practices to shifting secular mores. They accuse those who still dare to stand up in the public square and defend what is written into our being by God and what is taught through divine revelation and the Magisterium of the Church of being “culture warriors”. Apparently being a warrior of any kind is bad, but it is especially bad when you tell them that, no, you can’t support abortion, you can’t have sex with people of the same sex and, no, there really are difference between men and women.
From Catholic World News I read about a challenge that Bishop Thomas Olmsted issued to Catholic men in a pastoral letter called “Into The Breach” (cf Henry V, iii: “Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more…”)
Bishop Olmsted issues powerful challenge to Catholic men
In a powerfully worded apostolic exhortation addressed to the men of his diocese, Bishop Thomas Olmsted of Phoenix, Arizona, has urged them to “not hesitate to engage in the battle that is raging around you.” [MS is going to swoon upon his fainting couch and probably even clutch at his pearls.]
In a 23-page exhortation, entitled “Into the Breach,” Bishop Olmsted challenges men to join in a “primarily spiritual” battle against forces that are “progressively killing the remaining Christian ethos in our society and culture, and even in our homes.”
Bishop Olmsted writes that the cultural crisis has arisen primarily because “Catholic men have not been willing to ‘step into the breach,’ and his purpose in the document, released on September 29, is to rally good men to the cause. [What has caused this? Our clergy abandoned their roles and the Church became in key ways “feminized”. Moreover, our form of Holy Mass was changed and devotions were abandoned. The result has been a weakening of Catholic identity which has devastated Catholic manhood.]
Bishop Olmsted explains that Catholic men are needed to conduct the “New Evangelization,” to re-introduce Christian principles in a society that has come to neglect them. He also cites the image offered by Pope Francis, of the Church as a “field hospital,” providing urgent care for those wounded by societal problems. [“Field hospital”… sure. That’s where you do triage and you stop the bleeding fast. Then you send the wounded soul on to the real facility where the more difficult work is done. Furthermore, lot’s of the wound die in field hospitals. So, while field hospital is a good reminder of one aspect of the Church, we need more.]
Reflecting on the complementarity of the sexes, the bishop calls for active resistance against “gender ideology” and a dedication to living out male virtues, particularly the virtues of fortitude and chastity.
Addressing the question of what it means to be a man, Bishop Olmsted reminds his readers of how Pontius Pilate referred to Jesus: Ecce homo– “Here is the man!” The bishop observes: “Only in Jesus Christ can we find the highest display of masculine virtue and strength that we need in our personal lives and in society itself.” [Sacrificial love in perfection. He also got pretty angry, and properly so, and went into action.]
The bishop urges men to undertake a campaign of spiritual growth, advising regular prayer and use of the sacraments, [GO TO CONFESSION!] reading of Scripture, and unselfish service to wives and children. He recommends imitation of the great males saints. He cites the words of one of these models, Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati: “To live without faith, without a patrimony to defend, without a steady struggle for truth – that is not living, but existing.”
In closing his apostolic exhortation, Bishop Olmsted calls readers’ attention to the scandal of Planned Parenthood’s involvement in the sale of fetal tissues. “We need to get off the sidelines and stand up for life on the front lines,” he writes, adding:
We need faith like that of our fathers who defended the children of previous generations and who gave up their own lives rather than abandon their faith in Christ. My sons and brothers, men of the Diocese of Phoenix, we need you to step into the breach!
God bless Bp. Olmsted.
I begin this letter with a clarion call and clear charge to you, my sons and brothers in Christ: Men, do not hesitate to engage in the battle that is raging around you, the battle that is wounding our children and families, the battle that is distorting the dignity of both women and men. This battle is often hidden, but the battle is real. It is primarily spiritual, but it is progressively killing the remaining Christian ethos in our society and culture, and even in our own homes.
The world is under attack by Satan, as our Lord said it would be (1 Peter 5:8-14). This battle is occurring in the Church herself, and the devastation is all too evident. Since AD 2000, 14 million Catholics have left the faith, parish religious education of children has dropped by 24%, Catholic school attendance has dropped by 19%, infant baptism has dropped by 28%, adult baptism has dropped by 31%, and sacramental Catholic marriages have dropped by 41%. This is a serious breach, a gaping hole in Christ’s battle lines. While the Diocese of Phoenix may have fared better than these national statistics, the losses are staggering.
One of the key reasons that the Church is faltering under the attacks of Satan is that many Catholic men have not been willing to “step into the breach” – to fill this gap that lies open and vulnerable to further attack. [And a lot of catholics are actively working to widen the breach!] A large number have left the faith, and many who remain “Catholic” practice the faith timidly and are only minimally committed to passing the faith on to their children. Recent research shows that large numbers of young Catholic men are leaving the faith to become “nones” – men who have no religious affiliation. The growing losses of young Catholic men will have a devastating impact on the Church in America in the coming decades, as older men pass away and young men fail to remain and marry in the Church, accelerating the losses that have already occurred.
These facts are devastating. As our fathers, brothers, uncles, sons, and friends fall away from the Church, they fall deeper and deeper into sin, breaking their bonds with God and leaving them vulnerable to the fires of Hell. [Do I hear an “Amen!”?] While we know that Christ welcomes back every repentant sinner, the truth is that large numbers of Catholic men are failing to keep the promises they made at their children’s baptisms – promises to bring them to Christ and to raise them in the faith of the Church.
This crisis is evident in the discouragement and disengagement of Catholic men like you and me. In fact, this is precisely why I believe this Exhortation is needed, and it is also the reason for my hope, for God constantly overcomes evil with good. The joy of the Gospel is stronger than the sadness wrought by sin! A throw-away culture cannot withstand the new life and light that constantly radiates from Christ. So I call upon you to open your minds and hearts to Him, the Savior who strengthens you to step into the breach!
Please, God… would that more, nay rather, all Catholic bishops would write and speak like that.
Here is the speech from Shakespeare’s Henry V:
Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more;
Or close the wall up with our English dead!
In peace there’s nothing so becomes a man,
As modest stillness and humility;
But when the blast of war blows in our ears,
Then imitate the action of the tiger:
Stiffen the sinews, conjure up the blood,
Disguise fair nature with hard-favoured rage:
Then lend the eye a terrible aspect;
Let it pry through the portage of the head,
Like the brass cannon; let the brow o’erwhelm it
As fearfully as doth a galled rock
O’erhang and jutty his confounded base,
Swill’d with the wild and wasteful ocean.
Now set the teeth and stretch the nostril wide;
Hold hard the breath and bend up every spirit
To his full height. On, on, you noblest English,
Whose blood is fet from fathers of war-proof!
Fathers that, like so many Alexanders,
Have in these parts from morn till even fought,
And sheathed their swords for lack of argument.
Dishonour not your mothers: now attest,
That those whom you call’d fathers did beget you.
Be copy now to men of grosser blood,
And teach them how to war. And you, good yeoman,
Whose limbs were made in England, show us here
The mettle of your pasture: let us swear
That you are worth your breeding; which I doubt not;
For there is none of you so mean and base,
That hath not noble lustre in your eyes.
I see you stand like greyhounds in the slips,
Straining upon the start. The game’s afoot:
Follow your spirit; and upon this charge,
Cry ‘God for Harry! England! and Saint George!’