My old friend and exemplar, Anne Roche Muggeridge, would never in a thousand years have left the Catholic Church. But in the midst of the post-Vatican II squalor in the 1970s, she did ask this non-rhetorical question: “What do you do when the Church leaves you?”

This is a problem akin to modern marriages. They aren’t — I mean this literally — worth the paper they were signed on. Quite apart from the deterioration in contractual law, so that many other contracts expire from the moment you change your mind, the collapse of “good faith” is appalling. What is just, is not enforced; and what is enforced, is not just. More fundamentally: no man’s word is his bond; for, “that would be slavery.”

Don’t forgive me for the vulgar commercial analogy. It is useful. In earlier life I became familiar with quite impressive Chinese business practices, in which there were no written contracts. This was possible because a man’s word was his bond (as was once possible here). He would endure ruin rather than break it. This made him the more cautious in his business dealings. “Contract” was enforced by the culture. Fail once, and no one would do business with you ever again. You might as well become a pirate or a highwayman, for no other jobs would be available. And mysteriously, long before the Internet, if your credit was not good in Bangkok, it was not good in Singapore, either, or in Hong Kong, or in San Francisco. And there was no way to sue.

The Church was long accepted as a middleman to God. Her priest is supposed to act in persona Christi. But what if we doubt that he believes this himself? He is still a priest, and we ought not to judge him. His sacraments are “guaranteed,” by Our Lord. But what if the priest takes them frivolously? What if, almost everywhere we turn, we find a Church that does not take her own doctrines seriously? One in which bishops — even the highest bishop — seems to be an impostor? Then what?

To my understanding we act, according to our commitments, sincerely. We stand a little aloof from the clergy, and wait patiently for Christ to sort them out. We stop doing things like giving them money; giving it directly to the poor, instead. In other ways, we keep our distance, for buttressing falsehood could not be what Christ wanted Christians to do. Crucially, we keep examining ourselves, for signs of arrogance and other moral slips. We say our prayers devoutly. Especially we pray that Christ will not forget us.

I read this morning that three hundred and fifty “faith leaders” have endorsed Biden, hailing his “moral clarity.” The various signatories are mostly non-Catholic; though nominally Catholic career politicians are their intended beneficiaries. Their declaration is a tissue of media clichĂ©s and absurdities. One camera-ready (tatoo’d, half-naked) priestess celebrates, “The sleeping giant of progressive Christianity.”

Fifty-five million babies have been sacrificed on that altar, so far within the USA. (Disproportionately black.) I could mention many other outrages, but that fact is overwhelming and decisive. What need one add?

That no politician can help us, nor any Disney-costumed “faith leader,” or progressive witch-doctor of any other kind. That we must keep Christianity alive, out here in the “asphalt jungle”; wait even here for the Catholic Church to return. Perhaps we can get help from foreign missionaries, now that we are savages again. Some, surely, will be brave enough to come here.