And there was a great battle in heaven…

war_in_heavenThese days I get a lot of email asking me to explain what is going on in the Church today.  The question is often accompanied by heart-felt, often heart-rending words of personal pain.

What is going on the Church is is what has always gone on in the Church.

There is a spiritual war being waged by the forces of Hell against God.

The visible actors in this war are fallen human beings, suffering from the effects of original sin.  They are sinners, as all men are.  They are prone to the three perennial foes, the world, the flesh and the Devil.

The invisible antagonists are well known.  They are relentless, cunning, malicious beyond human imagination.  They have human agents; some are witting, but most are dupes who do evil thinking that what they do is good.

I point the readership to three pieces today.

First, read every word of Ed Pentin’s interview in Regina.  Samples:

REGINA: What reaction to the dubia do you see, on the ground in Rome, from your Vatican contacts?

Edward Pentin: The reaction has been interesting so far: almost all the College of Cardinals and the Roman Curia have remained silent, neither supporting the cardinals, nor, more importantly, coming out in support of the Pope and his decision not to respond. If silence is taken to mean consent for the dubia, then one could therefore argue that the vast majority are in favor of the four cardinals. That can only be speculative of course, but it could conceivably be true as for months one has heard from one significant part of the Curia that they feel great unease about what is happening. The phrases “reign of terror” and “Vatican martial law” are frequently bandied around.

REGINA: ‘Reign of terror’. Wow.

Edward Pentin: Not an insignificant number of officials are opposed to what the Pope is doing, but are keeping quiet having convinced themselves there is nothing they can do and instead are preferring to “save their ammunition” until the next conclave. It should be said that that was before the dubia were published, so things might have changed, but I think if the Pope continues not to respond and demand persists for an answer, a growing number of the College will move towards favoring the four cardinals, and probably publicly so. We are then likely to see a fairly rapid unraveling of this pontificate towards an unknown conclusion.

It must be said that another part of the Curia and the College exists which is fully on board with the Pope’s agenda and certainly, until now, they have been in the ascendant. There are, therefore, two parallel curias: one fully behind the Pope or ambivalent towards him, and the other who find his pontificate deeply regrettable and which they hope will soon end. It’s not a situation that augurs well, whichever way one looks at it.


REGINA: The Pope’s comments on ‘rigid’ young Catholics. What’s that all about?

Edward Pentin:  The common view in Rome is that his ‘rigid’ comments are simply aimed at wearing down so-called “conservative” or traditional Catholics so that orthodoxy gradually disappears, and he can push through his reforms. That’s not necessarily the case, of course, but that is how it is being perceived in some quarters. Of particular concern to some has been the Pope comments in this regard which he has made in reference to seminaries as they see it is as plot to weaken orthodox priests from the start, especially in the area of conscience and sexual morality. It’s just one of many other acts made during this pontificate which has led to the disaffection of a large number of practicing Catholics. But it seems that seminarians, especially in the UK and US, tend to understand what’s happening in today’s Vatican and are trying to uphold the Church’s teachings and Tradition. And in trying to make sense of it all, they see it in a positive sense: of clarifying and uncovering what has long been seen as a veiled schism that’s existed at least since the end of the Second Vatican Council.

Second, if you are still up to it, now read the Holy Father’s daily fervorino posted today.

Third, this is an examination of erroneous claims some are making on the basis of Amoris laetitia ch. 8.  First Things has a summary of an Open Letter To Pope Francis by John Finnis (emeritus professor of law and legal philosophy at the University of Oxford and Biolchini Family Professor of Law at the University of Notre Dame) and Germain Grisez (emeritus professor of Christian ethics at Mount St. Mary’s University).  It is, quite simply, brilliant.  HERE  This piece includes a link (a little hard to see) to the Letter itself, which is longer and not easy.  HERE

The following is addressed mostly to priests… I think.  I still offer to some people that, although what is going on at certain levels of the Church truly affects everyone, not everyone should constantly scour the internet looking for the latest.  That could verge into the spiritual danger of curiositas.  Some people should tune out a bit for the sake of their vocations.

However, some of us need to be tuned in.  For these I have the following.

A war is underway.

The middle ground is being eaten up.

Sides are being more clearly chosen and drawn.

We cannot remain in the middle ground, neutral, as if none of this concerns us.

It concerns us all.

Hence, I ask all of you to pray and to fast.  For the good of the Church and her members.

Now.  Pray now!

O my God, I firmly believe that Thou art one God in Three Divine Persons, Father, Son and Holy Ghost. I believe that Thy Divine Son became Man, and died for our sins, and that He will come to judge the living and the dead. I believe these and all the truths which the Holy Catholic Church teaches, because Thou hast revealed them, Who canst neither deceive nor be deceived.

Saint Michael Archangel, defend us in battle, be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil; may God rebuke him, we humbly pray; and do thou, O Prince of the heavenly host, by the power of God, cast into hell Satan and all the evil spirits who prowl through the world seeking the ruin of souls. Amen.

Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who fled to thy protection, implored thy help, or sought thy intercession, was left unaided. Inspired by this confidence, I fly unto thee, O Virgin of virgins, my Mother. To thee do I come, before thee I stand, sinful and sorrowful. O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions,but in they mercy, hear and answer me. Amen.

Lord, have mercy. Christ, have mercy. Lord, have mercy.

Today, start fasting.

Consider other mortifications for the sake of reparation for sins.

The combox is CLOSED.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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