Answer Me, My Priest!
This letter is not the call of Paul Revere, nor is it the charge of Henry the Fifth.
Such moments in history are led by men of great vision and consequence, who see the need before them and enlist the action of nations to follow them. As I am by no means the first to raise my voice on this, and because I am just my single self, I must take my place behind the first wave of troops and wait my turn to carry my single weapon forward.
This letter is not a call to arms, but an answer to the call that's been made by those better Catholics before me:
And even my Uncle Pat, who's letter to his parish priest was clear and to the point: No longer would he support a hierarchy steeped in perverted scandal and which was either too feeble or ambivalent to offer more than vague and tepid platitudes in response to the dumpster fires that describe the faith-life of their parishes.
We lay folk, rely upon our priests to learn, live, and lead us to the unyielding Truth of objective reality which resides within the one, true God. Certainly our salvation does not reside within their hands, but at their hour of judgement, they will answer for the seeds they've sewn within God's Church, and how many of our number will be lost by then, influenced too little by the Truth and carried away with heresy, relativism, and despair?
Better we disenchant such bellwethers from their illusions of grandeur, and cut short the poison dripping from their silence in the face of evil. Let the feeble-faith priests of the tired old guard preach their platitudes to their hearts content, but let their congregation be a hall of empty pews. After all, they have worked so hard these last few decades for that very thing.
Growing up, it was the question that couldn't be asked enough.
"Why are the youth abandoning their faith?"
It was years and years before I slowly discovered the answer. "Because they never had it to begin with."
Of course that begs a whole new slew of questions, not the least of which is "why not?" And while greater men have written volumes on the topic, I can tell you what teaching catechism has taught me. Classroom lessons are no match for lived example. Children are sharp to spot the "do as I say, not as I do," and ever quicker to completely ignore such empty hypocrisy. And what examples they had as to why they should!
Divorce rates at 50% and above.
Bitter treatment within and by the educational class of religious life.
Sex abuse scandals rampant within the church. Not from lay people mind you- but the clergy themselves.
The complete abandonment of ecclesial leadership throughout the capsizing of the Irish abortion vote.
The dissolution of any essentially distinguishing characteristics between Catholicism, Protestantism, Secularism, and now even paganism. Couple that with the absolute milquetoast, inconsequential, tepid presentation of the Catechism, and can anyone wonder why over 70% of "Catholics" do not subscribe to one of the core tenants of the Catholic faith- the real presence of God in the Eucharist?
"What do the youth want?" was the incessant cry of the baby-boomer bland-faith bandwagon.
Substance. We ALL want substance.
No one is going to buy-in on meaningless alternatives to reality, much less the youth. In their feverish grasps to appease us with the concept of life without consequence, the old guard of priests withheld from us young men the very thing for which anyone in search of purpose truly longs: responsibility. But instead of learning from this folly, these priests- now bishops and cardinals, have doubled down upon their ignorant proclamations, painting for their flocks by example, an image of God not as Loving Shepard, but instead a useless clown.
It's the only way to describe what happened this week during the opening ceremonies of the Amazon Synod.
From yoga-pants dancing the bible overhead up and down the isle while pagan idols shared the altar space with the priest, to pagan rituals enacted on Vatican grounds under the supervision of the pope himself, to a banner of a bare-breasted woman co-nursing both child and dog hanging in the entrance of the Synod church, it would seem that the ungracious beneficiaries of the Catholic nation-state are pulling no punches in their fight to redefine what virtue, goodness, and Truth really are.
And as amusing as it might sometimes be to watch a fool attempt to run through a brick wall, there is no consolation for the people it is damaging. These foolish men and their uncomprehending white-robed leader stand in positions of significant consequence. The same ambivalence of doctrine that these bellwethers have fostered throughout the last few decades, have yielded a flock too poorly catechized to know the difference between Truth and feeling, and as a consequence, too many are ready to follow them over the cliff.
"Where will we go, Lord? You alone have the words of eternal Life."
The only consolation to be had, is that despite the efforts of every attempt made to define it as otherwise, Truth has never suffered damage from the insistence of its non-existence. God will continue to persevere, even in the face of having to hold in existence, those fleshly inhabitants of the temporal realm who would assert responsibility for His essential nature of Being.
There is but one reality, and to entertain anything less is an insult to the gift of intellect, and a disservice to the self, as no peace can be found while living in falsehood. This is why there is no merit in guarding a pagan culture. Like the human-sacrificing Aztecs, if the culture is pagan, then in the interest of preserving the lives of its people, the culture needs to die. And disappear. Let future "moralists" worry about the bygone features of evil ways, but let all generations be rid of its influence now and forever. Regardless how colorful the feathers that adorn it, there is no virtue in preserving a lie.
My Single Weapon
What shall we do?
1) We must pray. Pray the rosary, pray the prayer of Saint Michael, and if you can't do that, just talk to God and ask for strength, wisdom, and humility.
2) We must take responsibility. It's no longer an excuse that we weren't brought up well within the Faith- if we weren't educated before, we must educate ourselves. Study God. Read the Bible. Study God's creation. The Five Ways of Saint Thomas are a great starting point.
3) Get your priest to answer the question: "What is going on?" If you demand an answer from him, he will have to demand an answer from his bishop, and so on. The leadership must know what their parishes are needing.
3) Stop paying for weakness. If your priest can't or won't answer what's going on with the Catholic Church, put your money where your mouth is, and send your "Appeal" money to where the Truth is being sought. Personally, I support the FSSP. Those guys are badasses.
4) Keep the Faith. The Church has endured far worse and will continue on as God has promised. Do not worry about what might happen to the Faith, other than it might be lost by you.
5) Enjoy the fireworks. Just keep in mind that you might be branded and lit up as one yourself.
Until then, raise a glass of whiskey with me, and here's to hoping that I see you on the other side.