From a reader…
I the better part of 60 years old and have been concerned for a number of years that the Roman Catholic Church is literally disappearing.
With the last article I read, I’m fairly certain it’s gone. The article explained how 75% plus of today’s parishioners are okay with and even welcoming the LGBT and Q community into the church and a mere 25% of “older” parishioners have a problem with it. Fr., my catholic faith means everything to me but this has become extraordinarily upsetting and disruptive. I will do anything to keep from losing the church all together. Have you any advise for those of us in the 25% bracket?
We have been down this road before.
In the 4th century, Holy Church struggled with the central questions, “Who is Jesus?”, “How does this God-man work?” It’s hard to think of a more central question to Christianity.
There were those, who went be the nickname “Arians” (an Egyptian priest Arius who answered this question incorrectly), who maintained that Jesus was a creature of God the Father. He was not equal to God in His nature. Rather, He was a created being who was somehow raised to the Divine dignity. He was not eternal in the sense that the Father was eternal. As a creature, even as the highest creature, there was a time when he was not. This error took hold and became widespread.
In response, Holy Church had a Council at Nicaea in 325. The Council Fathers defined that Jesus is God, always has been God, and that He is “consubstantial” with the Father, homoousios to patri. He has the same nature and is, therefore, divine, eternal, etc.
Sadly, Nicea did not end the debate. Heretics continued to push the Arian error. Liberals are ever the same, in every century. If the vote doesn’t go the way you want it to, call for another vote, and another, and another… until you wear down the opposition and you get your way. And the Devil, the Enemy of the Soul, aids them.
In 358, the Emperor Constantius called another council to hammer out the issue. At this Council at Ariminum (modern Rimini), the majority of the bishops voting there favored the language that the Son of God was like to the Father, was of like substance – homoiousios – not the same substance. That Council didn’t use the language worked out at Nicaea: that the Son and the Father are consubstantial. Only a few bishops there were in favor of the wording of Nicaea. St. Jerome wrote, in response to this Council, “The whole world groaned, and was astonished to find itself Arian.” Pope Liberius rejected the Council’s formulated Creed, which prompted a split among bishops and even the election of an anti-Pope.
Today, it seems as if the Church has groaned and found Herself modernist. Mix that in with indifferentism and all the “gender” and homosexual garbage and you have s seriously poisonous formula from Hell.
We have clear teachings from a long line of modern popes, from Pius IX onward. Despite a constant drumbeat from some quarters that we have entered into a “new springtime” we see empty convents, empty seminaries, parishes closed, the Church receding from the public square, and our beliefs mocked, ridiculed, and largely ignored. We see countless baptized family members and friends sleeping in on Sunday morning, going to other churches, or playing golf, tennis, shopping, anything but what they should be doing: giving due worship to God. We look around the sparse pews at those who are there at Mass (but who never GO TO CONFESSION) and wonder if they truly believe what the Church teaches, or if they’re just there out of force of habit. We look for leadership in this age of great confusion, but only hear more confusion. It’s at the the point where it’s easier to tune it out rather than to try and figure out what’s being preached.
It is easy to become dispirited, depressed, distraught.
That is precisely what the Evil One wants us to become.
What should be our response to heresy, to a lack of belief, to confusion and immorality in the Church?
Our response should be the same as the response given by St. Jerome and the faithful Catholics in the early Church: strive to become holy.
Be saintly. Fast, pray, study, then pray and fast some more. Perform corporal and spiritual works of mercy. Storm heaven with prayers. Pray for each other, especially those on the front lines, our good priests and bishops (yes, there are many). Pray for the weak and the errant ones, too, for the love of God. They are on the road to Hell.
Also, we MUST MUST MUST revitalize our liturgical worship of God! Save The Liturgy, Save The World has been my battle cry for years. Nothing that we undertake in the Church will succeed unless we straighten out our sacred liturgical worship.
Meanwhile, offer your suffering to the Lord. Put each and every care and petition you have into the chalice that Father prepares at Mass. Say your Rosary. Pray the Guardian Angels of other people who are going astray. Ask St. Michael for help when you see Hell reading its head.
Don’t let the devil get his claws into your heart and allow him to squeeze that hope out of you. God planted hope in your soul at baptism. He wants for it not only to grow, but to be fulfilled.
Never forget: We know the end of the story already. Christ the King will return in triumph and scatter all doubt and darkness. Between now and then, the path is cloudy, and there will be many and horrible setbacks. There will be moments when it seems as if utter defeat is on the horizon. But we know it’s not. Almighty God has told us so. He can neither deceive nor be deceived.