More on the last words of Card. Caffarra, and a little chat

carlo-caffarra-con-benedetto-XVIBack on 8 September I posted something already about the last words of His Eminence Carlo Card. Caffarra. The substance of the words had been related to me by a reliable source.

I now find that Antonio Socci had something more. HERE (My translation.)

Many Catholics in the last few years have look upon Carlo Card. Caffarra as one of the few lights in the present shadows.

A priest confided to me that, in the last few days, he went to see to tell him of his sorrow, referring a few facts, for the daily disaster that we are living in the Church.

The Cardinal burst into tears and told him:

“The Lord will not abandon His Church. There were twelve Apostles, and the Lord will begin again with a few. Imagine the suffering of St. Athanasius who remained the only one to defend the Truth for the love of Christ, of the Church and men. We have to have, faith, hope and fortitude.”

This priest confided in me: “The Cardinal was deeply grieved, but he conveyed to me so much courage and so much love for the Church.

Christ’s promises to the Church must be true.  That doesn’t mean that what we get to live in the Church is all beer and skittles.  There are times of bloody persecution in the Church’s history.  They may come again.  There have been times of spiritual upheaval and persecution.  They are here again.  The Lord reminded us not so much to fear harm to the body, but rather to fear spiritual harm, that can lead us away from God and to perdition.

I get many notes from people who are afraid and angry.

Perhaps read a little less churchy news.  Also, when the clamp of frustration tightens, why not sit down with a really good book, such as Scripture and the Catechism of the Council of Trent or the Catechism of the Catholic Church… or any other of a myriad of great resources.  Review.. or learn for the first time… the content of the Faith in which you believe, asking the Holy Spirit to increase in you the faith by which you believe, even as Card. Caffarra said at his earthly end.

Calm.  Breathe.  Pray.  Study.  Work.  Live.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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  1. rickamdg says:

    Good advice Father. A little (or maybe a lot) less churchy news definitely helps. Daily study of our faith is something most of us, I suspect, could use. It’s not hard to take maybe 10-15 minutes a day, maybe in the early morning, and you really do learn so much that you didn’t know. You gain strength from that knowledge. Add in some time to read Scripture and some spiritual reading and before you know it the proverbial silver lining will slowly outline those dark clouds. Even if that lining consists only of simply growing closer to God…But what am I saying? Isn’t that the whole point of our lives?

  2. Grumpy Beggar says:

    Thanks for this post Padre. . . contained just the right dose of solace that I needed today.
    God bless you.

  3. oldCatholigirl says:

    Thanks, Father Z.
    A priest recently gave me essentially the same advice as that of rickamdg. (Actually, he told me I should do that Scripture & spiritual reading as part of my “Plan of Life”, & promise Jesus that I’d do it–a bit formidable to this casual Catholic.) So, I returned to the Ignatius study edition of St. Augustine’s Confessions, which I’d begun a few years back. Just read the part where he says that God heard the mute anxieties in his heart as loud cries for help. Consoling–because I forget to think of God as being pro-active in our lives, if only we allow Him to be.
    God bless the two remaining “dubia cardinals”, and may the two who have died rest in peace (especially if the “rest” includes interceding for us).

  4. jaykay says:

    Thanks Father. I think we all needed that. As it happens, I’ve recently begun to re-read all the novels of Father R.H. Benson, both the historical ones and the ones that would have counted as “current fiction” in his pre-W.W. I days (he died at a tragically young age in late 1914). He was a very popular author, and needless to remark the quality of prose is superb. What’s interesting is that his “current” fiction has many characters who are considering converting to Catholicism or have just done so – so much so that he was accused of actively proselytising by Protestants and Atheists dismayed at his popularity! Very much a tonic for these times.

  5. Rod Halvorsen says:

    With respect, Father, this is the ostrich’s approach.

    Better is to read much Scripture, much Catechism, and then…much Church news.

    The former equip the warrior for Christ for what we learn the Enemy is up to in the latter.

    To further put it in military terms, you might say the Scripture is Logistics, the Catechism Operations and the Church news, Intelligence.

    We need all three.

  6. Anneliese says:

    Why should we be afraid? God is control of all things and the Church is in his hands. I have a Protestant friend who has Catholic leanings. She struggles when reading secular news. In her mind the world is set to end any day. I always tell her that the world has managed to survive for this long with God’s help. Why should our time be any different from the past? Look at the scandals the Church has survived. Is our time worse than the Avignon Popes? The Reformation? All these struggles bore fruit that has sustained the Church. When people go through suffering, aren’t their souls being refined like gold? Isn’t that how we should see the trials the Church are facing in the same manner?

  7. lmgilbert says:

    I dig that ecclesiastically we are living in most serious times, but at the same time there are aspects of our situation that are truly hilarious, for example, the emergence of The Superbelievers Who Don’t Believe Anything. Even the angels must laugh.

    Did Our Lord not say, “Behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age”? Nevertheless, to these children of grace it seems that perhaps the cause of Jesus Christ can be advanced by innuendo, character assassination, irony, sarcasm. On any given day I can go to several, even numerous sites and find plenty of this, all of it confessional matter. One would have to say that many these self-selected champions of orthodoxy (Athanasius Contra Mundum in their own minds) seem very badly catechized and are very likely incurring guilt on an heroic scale. If only they would believe that the gates of Hell will not prevail against the Church. That would help. A little faith in Jesus Christ. Certainly He has earned a little trust, no?

    However the saints may have acted, now it seems that the way to heroic sanctity is through worry, hand wringing, keeping super-informed on the inside baseball of the Church, and launching protests in the blogsphere.. It is absurd, no?

    Just from the standpoint of basic mental health, allowing oneself to become exercised and overwrought about matters that are properly the concern of clergy, tends to exhaust emotional resources that are much better spent elsewhere, in one’s own proper sphere..

    Somewhere I read that many business executives avoid the news particularly in the morning, feeling it unwise to concern themselves with matters about which they can do nothing. From them many in the church who are now setting up a din and baying at Rome could take a lesson,
    “For the sons of this world are more shrewd in dealing with their own generation than the sons of light.”

    It seems to me, at least, that unless we have pastoral responsibilities, the way effectively to engage our difficulties is through prayer and fasting and through keeping largely uninformed, so that when we come to pray our minds are not that cloudy and turbulent water (stirred up by concerns that are not properly our concern) that has no possibility of being enlightened and consoled by God, and that will not be effective in bringing down His grace to remedying our situation.

    If there are genuine concerns, they must be addressed with effective remedies, but these are not found in the blogs, posts and comments of the Superbelievers Who Do Not Believe Anything.

  8. Aquinas Gal says:

    I often feel like we are back in the 70’s. But then I take hope because it’s more like a death rattle. I’ve found that for my peace of mind and serenity it’s better if I don’t read every papal interview, etc. I can’t change it anyway, but I can pray, study, and evangelize others. Which I’m doing with God’s grace.

  9. The Masked Chicken says:

    “Is our time worse than the Avignon Popes? The Reformation?”

    Well, at the risk of sounding negative, I would say, yes. Conflicts in those days were regional; today, they are global. Now long would it take to fight to the Vatican, should war break out in those days – days, weeks? Today, one nuke and bye bye Rome. Things were bad, back then, but at least the Protestants believed in something, even if it were wrong. Today, who knows what some people believe. Oh, I would say things are more difficult, today, but, never has there been a greater chance to practice heroic virtue.

    The Chicken

  10. catholiccomelately says:

    Thanks, Father.
    More Scripture. More prayer. Less internet.

  11. maria_nj says:

    Most of the times I just read the headlines. Reading what Bishop McLiberal or Sr. Bubbles says is a waste of time, plus they’re too many of them. I’ll skim some blogs, but most are rants about how bad things are, *shrug* I know they’re bad. I don’t even read what the pope says all the time any more. I try more to keep up-to-date with the more important issues.

    I know an older person who would get SO WRAPPED UP with EVERYTHING that she was nearly going crazy until her confessor told her to take it easy on the Catholic news.

    Moral of the story: less churchy news is healthier! ;)

  12. RichR says:

    I hate to admit it, but this is the only blog I read anymore for churchy news. Maybe I should be more informed, but I find it detracts from my spiritual life if I get too caught up in matters of high ecclesial politics.

    Let’s be honest, this type of stuff has always occurred. The only difference is that we now have real time news via Twitter and Facebook. So the inner workings of the Vatican are all over the internet rather than kept behind closed doors.

    My vocation is to my Lord and my family. I’ll leave Church governance to those who will ultimately be held accountable for it: the bishops.

  13. Eric says:

    Maybe I’ll hold off on the dystopian disaster genre novel.

  14. jaykay says:

    Masked Chicken: yes, but now we have so much education and so much information – so much information in a way undreamed of even 30 years ago, 25 even. There is now NO excuse for people to be badly informed, if they really want to know. If they really want to know…

  15. TonyO says:

    Masked Chicken:

    Well, at the risk of sounding negative, I would say, yes.


    Let’s be honest, this type of stuff has always occurred.

    I agree with Masked Chicken. It is true that some of this stuff has always occurred, but not like this This is, indeed, more like the days Athanasius, I believe. It’s not just the weird philosophers going off the rails, vast numbers of the “Catholic” laity not only don’t believe in 4/5 of Catholic teaching, they don’t even know what true believing even looks like. And we have whole bishops’ conferences gone off the rails – and not just in one or two places, but all over the world…Argentina, Germany, Canada, Belgium, etc. It’s in the curia, in the seminaries, in the “Catholic” colleges that turn out secular humanists at the very same pace that secular colleges do.

    Still, it is not needful to be aware of ALL the crud that is going on. You can pray generally for the bishops without knowing just how awful some of them are. You can teach your children to beware the snakes in the Church without keeping abreast of every new outrage they commit. We do need to know enough to know who are the good priests, the good bishops and cardinals, so we can pay more attention to them. But that doesn’t take vast amounts of reading and time. Cards. Burke and Sarah, Bishop Barron, and Fr. Z, of course!

  16. (X)MCCLXIII says:

    I, too, tend to agree with the masked chicken.

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