I saw this tweet from Ed Pentin:
Benedict XVI en route to Fatima 2010: “…today we are seeing it in a really terrifying way: that the greatest persecution of the Church comes not from her enemies without, but arises from sin within the Church.” https://t.co/3bYs4ZIxHT pic.twitter.com/qTzB3hzDen
— Edward Pentin (@EdwardPentin) August 14, 2018
I call to mind Benedict XVI’s words in the Way of the Cross he wrote for Good Friday in John Paul II’s last days. For the 9th Station, the 3rd Fall, he wrote:
How much filth there is in the Church, and even among those who, in the priesthood, ought to belong entirely to him! How much pride, how much self-complacency! What little respect we pay to the Sacrament of Reconciliation, where he waits for us, ready to raise us up whenever we fall! All this is present in his Passion. His betrayal by his disciples, their unworthy reception of his Body and Blood, is certainly the greatest suffering endured by the Redeemer; it pierces his heart. We can only call to him from the depths of our hearts: Kyrie eleison — Lord, save us (cf. Matthew 8: 25).
Lord, your Church often seems like a boat about to sink, a boat taking in water on every side. In your field we see more weeds than wheat. The soiled garments and face of your Church throw us into confusion. Yet it is we ourselves who have soiled them! It is we who betray you time and time again, after all our lofty words and grand gestures. Have mercy on your Church; within her too, Adam continues to fall. When we fall, we drag you down to earth, and Satan laughs, for he hopes that you will not be able to rise from that fall; he hopes that being dragged down in the fall of your Church, you will remain prostrate and overpowered. But you will rise again. You stood up, you arose and you can also raise us up. Save and sanctify your Church. Save and sanctify us all.
All: Pater noster …
Eia mater, fons amoris,
me sentire vim doloris
fac, ut tecum lugeam.
I recently finished an audio “course”, Living the French Revolution and the Age of Napoleon, from The Great Courses [US HERE – UK HERE] and I am presently working through Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities.
Having all this French upheaval in my mind, it wasn’t much of a jump to recall the anecdote about Napoleon and his threat to destroy the Church. It is said that Pius VII’s envoy Ercole Card. Consalvi observed,
“Your majesty, we, the Catholic clergy, have done our best to destroy the church for the last 1,800 years. We have not succeeded, and neither will you.”
Surely this is true. Holy Church is indefectible. Indefectibility is one of the divinely designed attributes of the Church.
Our Lord made promises. He promised that Hell would not prevail against the Church (Matthew 16:18). In the end, the Church will be triumphant and the final closing of Hell’s gates will shut the Enemy away forever.
The gates of Hell will not prevail, the Lord promised.
He did not promise that Hell would not prevail against the Church in these USA.
In the fantastic TV series, I, Claudius, [US HERE – UK HERE] the old emperor, finally and terminally weary, knowing that the horror of Nero is around the corner, acquiesces to his fate and croaks out:
“Let all the poisons that lurk in the mud hatch out.”
Great moments all through that series. For example, Caligula’s interpretive dance always reminds me of certain Jesuits, and vice versa.
I think we have to brace ourselves for the fallout.
I suspect that large numbers of nominal Catholics will drop away. They will take income for the Church with them. Local Churches will thin out. Clergy will retire and not be replaced. Churches will close. At the same time, I think that Tradition will grow in numbers and strength. I think these things were going to happen anyway, but it’ll probably speed up now.
Now is the time for all of us on the more conservative and traditional – Catholic not catholic – to close ranks and cooperate. There is no purpose or value in small differences or past grievances, imagined or real.
Cardinal Consalvi, by the way, was the Cardinal Deacon of Sant’Agata de’ Goti, whose title is now held by Raymond Leo Card. Burke.