The important thing, in this time of darkness for the Catholic Church in the West, is to keep her on life support, to keep her breathing and ingesting some trickle of nutrition. She seems in some sense comatose for the moment, and without defence. Ours is to defend her.
Every monastic activity is precious; every liturgical expression, uncontaminated by the heresies of “modernism,” is valuable towards this end. It is important to realize that, even in Europe and America, there remain actual millions of faithful Catholics, often abused or abandoned by their own bishops, and by the vicious bureaucracies that surround them, advancing their various demonic “agendas.” In the face of which we must persist — as the laity did, along with faithful priests, through the Arian challenge of the fourth century; through other periods when the Church herself seemed falling into the hands of the Enemy, and the City of God was once again being reduced to the Desolate City. Yet she was not dying, as in each case we later came to know. She rose, again and again, the servant of Christ Unkillable.
To persist, as it were, to “keep on trucking” as we used to say, to “not let the bastards drive you out of the Church,” may be the best we can do some days, when the gloom descends; when, as in the last few days, we have had to hear our own Holy Father playing to the gallery not only of non-Catholics, but of anti-Catholics; pivoting from us to them; flattering our very persecutors — commending the progressive politicians in Washington; or in New York, applauding an international elite that unambiguously imposes contraception, abortion, and “gender bending,” as conditions of “foreign aid”; or everywhere he goes, blathering about “climate change,” to the mass media audience, while saving the Gospel to be preached privately. Preaching, thus, only to the converted; and to each audience, only what they want to hear.
Our obedience is to the Magisterium. If the authentic teaching of the Church is neglected, confused, or even contradicted, at Rome, it is our duty to cry out. It is not our duty to be mealy-mouthed about it. And should it cost us to do so, then let us pay, such a tiny mite, compared with the Sacrifice of Our Lord.
I know it is impolitic to say such things; I read many well-intended, and even highly regarded commentators, spending more, and more, and more of their time, making excuses for this man. It is considered poor etiquette, indeed, for a Catholic to criticize the pope. Yet many times in history it was a duty. I think it is worth reading, once again, the memo the late Neil McCaffrey wrote to the papal cheerleaders of the 1970s, maintaining their discreet silence, or making their cumbersome excuses, when Pope Paul VI was making his mistakes. That pope, surrounded and increasingly isolated by very questionable advisers, created the mess to which this pope is returning. His “good intentions” were of no avail; evil counsellors prevailed because their opponents would not speak up. Instead they focused on silencing each other — not in obedience to the Magisterium, but to one frail man. (See here.)
This distancing from the faithful was not the way of Saint John Paul II, nor of beloved Benedict XVI, whose courageous works of restoration — after the catastrophes of the ‘sixties and ‘seventies — are now being dismantled and undermined. How painful to see the extraordinary work of John Paul, in reconstructing the teaching on the family, now being undone. He went out in the world, as pastor, to preach the Gospel, in very clear terms; how sadly he is missed. How sadly we miss the deep and genuine learning of Benedict, in this new era of reckless and fatuous sound bites.
Or read, if you will, the memorable speech to the American politicians by Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta, the 3rd of February, 1994. (Here.) She was not shy in what she proclaimed; reminding these posturing “Christians,” among many other things they were trying to forget, that the very first to proclaim Christ on this Earth was an unborn baby.
Part of our task is to keep the words “Jesus Christ” alive, not only in our hearts but on our lips, when our own shepherd thinks it prudent to avoid saying the name in “mixed company.” Part must be refusing to take advantage of, for instance, the new regime for annulments, which strikes at the heart of the Christian family. Part is to revert to the ancient and perennial forms of prayer, and to their music, in the face of endless ugly tampering “in the Spirit of Vatican II.” Most important is to seek holiness, ourselves, regardless of the world’s opinions — to make every expression of the true Christian life open, joyful, and uncompromising.
Leave schism to the schismatics: this is no time to abandon Sancta Mater Ecclesia — our Holy Mother Church — to the Doctor Mengeles of Washington and New York. Indeed we need converts, the best we can find, to fill our empty spaces and to help us turn once again the evangelical mission outwards. To the sincerely faithful Christians of all denominations we must make our appeal, for help in a struggle for Christianity itself; to the sincerely faithful of all religions, who recognize the Divine in this world, in goodness and in truth and in beauty, we have something to say, and something to show. For Christ is still with us, come what may.
Of course, it is not in our power to convert a single soul, whether outside the Church, or within. But lead them to Christ, and He will do it. (And pray for the pope, our fellow sinner, toughly in love and not in hatred.)
To the surprise of everyone, except the faithful, Holy Mother Church will revive. The destruction that has been done to her — so much of that destruction from within — will be made good. The ruins will be built over, and the chalice replenished again. For against the Truth, no falsehood can long stand. If God is with us, who can be against us?
In the Gospel of Saint Luke, chapter 19, we read of the Pharisees, demanding that Christ rebuke His too noisy disciples. To whom Our Lord replied:
“I say to you, that if these shall hold their peace, the stones will cry out.”
We are those stones, and what we cry out must be the Gloria.