What to do?

Judging if only from the contents of my email inbox, many Catholics are at a loss what to make of their Church at the present day, and what to do about it.

Monsignor Viganò’s testimony this past week has made clear to any candid and intelligent observer that her administration is — in Rome, as well as dioceses spread through the world — a kind of criminal shambles. The accuser is extremely credible; he has a reputation for honesty and integrity, among those who actually know him, and he is writing at first hand about many events, with assertions that can be checked. His self-explanation is likewise plausible. He is writing near the end of a long life in the hierarchy, in view of his own death. He does not wish to confront his Maker with a dirty conscience. He will not be a member of the “silent majority” of clerics who saw terrible evil, and let it pass. The eleven pages of his indictment are replete with references to dates and documents, to assist investigators; it concludes dramatically, by calling on the pope to resign. Moreover, it comes after years of partial revelations, and in addition to so many other known facts and reasonable suspicions. I, for one, found nothing in this “screed” that could surprise me, knowing what I already knew.

To my mind, revelations about sexual improprieties (extending to rape) are not the principal issue, although they are gravely important, and demand prosecution to the fullest extent of the Church’s own long-existing, and very impressive laws. Civil prosecution is no alternative: it will soon enough turn against the Church in herself, and upon all Christians. With the enthusiastic help of our rabid media, a mob will be raised against the guilty and the innocent alike. The worst perps within the Church will join the mob with alacrity, to save their own skins. Catholics who demand the intervention of the civil power cannot know what fire they are playing with.

Rather, the crux of this matter is the comprehensive subversion of the Church, from within, by her own bishops. The “cover-up” for these crimes is at a greater spiritual level than mere evasion of worldly justice. It involves an attempt to overthrow Christ, as the source of authority in the Church’s liturgy and teaching. Very cynical men have used His Church not only as their private club or brothel, but as a toy for their “progressive,” political views. The tampering with seminarians, and thus with their vocations, is a direct affront to God. But so has been each flight into heterodoxy. The Church, from her curial centre in Rome, has been invaded by something unambiguously demonic.

Many are leaving the Church in disgust. They are cowardly fools. By this act they can only intend to surrender the governance of the Church to devils. They abandon Christ on the hill of Calvary. Fools, because they will not find salvation in any other quarter.

Prayer, penance, fasting, may seem fey suggestions in present circumstances. Instead, they are crucial. We must let God know that we side with Him against His persecutors, and that we recognize our own failures, not just other people’s sins. We must not ourselves succumb to the agnosticism that preaches the ineffectuality of prayer. Rather we must purify ourselves for the battle, and raise our prayer with the faith that moves mountains. To the conflict with a faithless enemy, personal faithlessness brings nothing. Live with disappointment, and not for it.

In addition to this, each Catholic man and woman must examine — with the love that enables clarity — his own parish and diocese, and learn what can be done, positively, to restore the Catholic order within each. Withholding contributions makes sense in many cases, but the money must be saved for a later day, or spent the more generously in private (and mostly invisible, not self-seeking) acts of charity and devotion.

Before each decision ask yourself, and never lightly: “What good will this do?”

Get to Mass — the most reverent Mass you can find. Do not be shy about going to Confession. Do not afflict yourself with speculations about the worthiness of the priest, who personifies Christ. (All of them, always, are unworthy, as we are unworthy to receive the Host.) Open your heart, naïvely, to Christ, and let Him do the work only He can do. Do not assume that He has been defeated.


(I wrote on this today also at Catholic Thing, over here.)