Tuesday, April 12, 2022

Holy Week and Catholicism at the crossroads

Same adversary, new tactics
By now it's easy to see that the goal of secularism is to portray Christianity as a half-baked flying saucer cult.  To believe in Jesus will be one step lower than believing you were abducted and operating on by aliens.  That is the goal.  With a firm grip in our cultural outlets - education, media, arts and entertainment - it has all the means necessary for this to happen. 

Therefore in the coming years, expect the Great Apostasy to continue.  Sad to say, it has been happening for quite some time.  Decades.  Generations.  Dare I say, centuries?  It's just picking up steam as secularism continues its quest to evangelize the Church, and convert the faithful.  Yes, secularism told us for years how horrible it is to convert people and tell them their religion is wrong ... all while converting Christians and telling us our religion is wrong.  A common progressive tactic if you've noticed. 

Anyhoo, we're heading into that Dark Ages period that must inevitably follow a golden age. In our case, a moderately Christian era to return to its pagan roots.  That is the carrot on the stick, to revert to a secular paganism.  The paganism being of a vague Hollywood spin where lots of sex and hedonism is the fringe benefit of godlessness and material focus. Devaluing the dignity of the human person is merely a happy price to pay.  Paganism is, after all, a sort of default position for humanity.  Devoid of the direct revelation of God, humans will labor to mold the divine into their own image. 

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and wickedness of men who by their wickedness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. Ever since the creation of the world his invisible nature, namely, his eternal power and deity, has been clearly perceived in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse; for although they knew God they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking and their senseless minds were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man or birds or animals or reptiles. 

Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed for ever! Amen. 

For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. Their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural, and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in their own persons the due penalty for their error. 

And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a base mind and to improper conduct. They were filled with all manner of wickedness, evil, covetousness, malice. Full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malignity, they are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. Though they know God’s decree that those who do such things deserve to die, they not only do them but approve those who practice them.  Romans 1.18-32

How is the above passage not a spot-on assessment of the last century or so of Western and American history?  Not only do they approve those who practice them, they will quickly punish those who dare call out the ungodliness and sin.  Where Christians had it easy - perhaps too easy - for endless generations, that is no longer going to be the case.  Just now, the movement is afoot to demand that people be fired for refusing to say men can get pregnant.  Hate crime charges will no doubt follow.   

In the face of this version of being told to say O'Brien is holding up five fingers, expect many believers to buckle and surrender.  Many already had their faith undermined by an inordinate amount of blind trust in scholarship, science and academia as disciplines that obviously proved the ancient beliefs about God have long been debunked. 

Having their faith undermined on all fronts no doubt made believing in that old time religion quite a chore.  And that likely held for those leaders under the same pressure to ditch the thing, even while making a comfortable living preaching the same. At least they could rely on post-war secularism's lofty ideals of subjective morality, tolerance, diversity and inclusion.  Respecting different values and beliefs was all the rage, and a reassuring safety guard against this non-religious world view.

But this new world has revealed itself.  In a manner that would make Big Brother blush, it has now said racism, discrimination and bigotry are virtues. Censorship and banning of offensive art, literature and speech are essentials. Violence can be a fine answer.  Equality is bad and liberty can be stealth oppression. And if it says women are men, men can have menstrual cycles, or squares are round, then by golly we expect politicians, SCOTUS nominees, doctors and scientists and, yes, preachers and believers to say the same under threat of retaliation. 

With the press now acting in the manner of a secret police force, dispensing with anyone who stands in the way of this new world, many leaders, including religious ones, who we trusted to resist are showing their true colors.  That is leaving many who imagined they would have the same easy faith walk that our parents had swinging in the breeze. In the wake of that, we're seeing a stunning number of believers jumping ship, baling altogether, throwing the values and teachings of the Faith under the bus or, at best, working to mold the old Faith into the image of the new world.  

If there is one thing I appreciate about Rod Dreher, it's his book The Benedict Option.  Not that Rod is the best ambassador for his own work.  It's easy to speak of forming some Benedictine alternative when you can afford to jet set around the world and wine and dine with people in the highest levels of society.  For the average person scraping by it's a different matter altogether.

But the basis of the book is spot on honest: The Christian Faith is entering into a brand new era, the likes of which it has never seen.  Some insist it's just the same old sins of the world, and that might be true.  But they're packaged in a way we've not encountered before, at least in the West.  A hostile culture hell-bent on converting the faithful, and willing to punish those who resist the call to bow before this new Power in the world.  A Power found on denying almost anything and everything assumed to be true by the last 2000 years of the Christian Era. Even in my ministry days in the 90s, when we could see the winds of change increasing, nobody imagined it would happen like this, at least this quickly.

But it has. I fear even many of us who hold true, firm and solid to the Faith are at times more secular than we like to admit.  I feel in hindsight we might be shocked to see how much we've compromised without realizing it.  Many were tripped up by the 'stand five yards away from the world' tactic, until you realize the world is now a hundred miles from the revealed Faith.  That comes from thinking your eyes are on the divine prize, when they were on the world all along. 

There is no way as believers we can't be subject to the context of our age.  But we can begin to cling to the old 'in the world not of the world' principle.  The answer won't lie in politics, that's for sure.  Not that we shouldn't still try to exert our values into the political sphere.  Just be aware that for traditional believers, there are a diminishing number of those who agree with our world view on any level of worldly importance.  Which is how it's often been.  Only in the past, the worldly designs were in the context of a vaguely Christian model of reality.  Now it's in the context of an ever shifting model more hostile to the Christian Faith with each passing day.  

This development includes conservatives by the way, as it obviously would.  If, that is, the conservatism is merely a wordily brand with eyes on the here and now.  As my sons have noticed, among there peers who call themselves conservative, the big fight is against pregnant men or woke censorship.  That homosexuals should be able to marry and that our nation is best defined by its racist past are simply assumptions they take for granted. Because by now those things are taught with the assurance that America the Beautiful was sung in my elementary school days.  My guess is that most political professionals will reveal such views when pressed.

No, we need to learn what it is to be an oppressed minority with eyes set firmly on the eternal prize. You can be an oppressed minority and still have numbers on your side by the way.  Just ask South Africans during Apartheid.  In fact, that's sort of what we're seeing.  The last thing you want in our nation today is to be a majority.  That's why so many fight to define themselves in some minority way.  We've already said that the only path to anything good is to draw a straight line away from whatever majority group in question says is true.  And those in that group who get steamrolled?  Sucks to be them.  

Am I saying we reject the world and go live in caves, foraging for berries and hunting squirrels for dinner between Bible studies?  No.  I'm saying we're going to have to buck up and begin reevaluating where we are and how we got here.  It may mean rethinking some of what we have cherished, and at least admit it may have been handed down in ways not consistent with a belief in the Gospel. 

I dunno.  I just know the storm clouds are no longer on the horizon, they're here.  Already we're seeing the fruits of our post-Christian society, and we're watching many we thought would stand firm buckle.  What's more, and in an odd twist, the ones who seem least willing to admit to this are sometimes those who are loudest about resisting it.  As if we see the problems emerging, but have a limit to how much we're willing to look at the root causes of those problems, lest they snare something we've come to value. 

What I do know is that for Holy Week and the week following, I'm going to lay low with blogging.  Last year I did a daily reflection on the seven churches of Revelation.  It actually got me to thinking, since I noticed a couple things I hadn't noticed before.  I've spent the year thinking on that.  

This year for Holy Week, I'll spend my time in more meditative pursuits.  Perhaps I might post something on a devotional level, something that touches me in a certain way.  Whimsy and fun are always on the table.  

But let the world have its troubles.   I'll focus on the Creation of God and His revealed Truths.  After all, there are better ways to spend Holy Week than getting obsessed about inevitable defeats in battles for a war we've already lost.  Better to look upon the greater war that was won long before we entered the picture. 


  1. I in my own life, seen people walk away from the Church either deliberately or using whatever excuse they deem necessary in order to justify their leaving. Secularism has a secure hold on many of us even in my family and unless we hold on to whatever faith we still have we also will fall overboard. I am married, have five children. My mother is still living(96yo) I have 3 siblings and dozens of cousins. Out of all of us I can only count 3 of us that still holds on to our Catholic faith.

    Am I boasting? Not at all for my faith is a gift freely given to me by God and not merited. What it does mean however is that I, my mother and my older brother are left to praying for my whole family who do not seem to care about their eternal life. They may care, but I do not see it. Yes, people are leaving the faith in droves succumbing to our society and it's getting worse as you said but I've come to see all the arrows and slings thrown at Catholics/Christians
    as proving to me and verifying that our faith, the Catholic faith, is the one true faith.

    What we are seeing is Satan in action for this apostasy cannot come from the hands of man alone but the father of all lies. Our world has become a world of lies intended as truth and many are now excepting the lies no matter how extraordinary they are as "men can become pregnant." Maybe not all accept these lies but they are not rising to the occasion and disputing the lies, but rather, remaining silent.

    Let them mock us, ridicule us, laugh at us, persecute and prosecute us. If our faith was not valuable the world would not come after us or even bother with us. We've been told time and again the Church is out of step with the modern world and it has to change or die.The truth is, it has to remain stable in the Truth(Christ) or it WILL die. As I've said, let the slings come. It proves to me my faith is in Christ.

    1. I agree. I think getting laughed at and sent to the back of the bus is not too far away. Christians who remain faithful are going to have to stick together. We're also going to need faithful leaders willing to take those slings and arrows.

  2. Sometimes I wish there was a way I could go back and edit the misspellings and errors in my replies lol sheeeeeeesh!

  3. It's not your place to decide when a war is lost. Quintus Fabius Maximus Verrucosus you are not.

    1. Our nation is moving to sanctify the teaching that children might be the opposite gender since gender is an abstract opinion. Therefore we need to begin teaching them at a young age and helping them change their gender early on, even without parents' input - with the miracle of STEM to help.

      The opposition is running about saying 'the last thing we are going to do is discriminate against kindergarteners who are transgender or gay. We just don't want this taught in schools or apart from parents.'

      Game and match. The war, for the West at least in this age, is lost. I'm sure Quintus Fabius Maximus Verrucosus would agree.

    2. So much for the Church Militant, eh? Surrender is so much easier.

      How would the world have turned out if St. Peter had looked at Rome and concluded, "Game, set, and match"? Or if St. Paul had made that judgement of Greece?

      It's clear you are not familiar with Quintus Fabius Maximus Verrucosus. LOOK HIM UP. He KNEW he could not beat Hannibal ... yet. But he could keep fighting, and he could deny Hannibal another Cannae. He a stunning victory could not come soon, but he kept Rome in the fight until Scipio Africanus was ready to deal that winning blow.

      Maybe you're shell-shocked, but I'm seriously tempted to go all George Patton on you.

    3. "He knew a stunning victory...."

    4. I didn't say the eternal war was over. I said it was time to focus more on heavenly things, the worldly things having been lost. There will likely be a time in the future when humans have had enough, and the faithful will be there with the Gospel message. But continuing to fight as if we can slow, much less reverse, the trajectory we're on is wasted energy. We began this defeat many ages ago. We're now seeing the final stages. Believers, IMHO, had best assess how we got here and how we may have been party to this all along. We can continue living as that flying saucer cult the world would have us be. But not thinking we're going to convince the world of anything in its state. That happens sometimes. Read the biblical narrative. Heck, read history. It's just that we believers in the West have never experienced this before. I think we're in for a rude awakening if we think it isn't happening or, it is happening but it will be no big deal.

      Oh, and I know CFMV. I merely said he would admit the cause was lost. For him, of course, he was fighting for Rome. Our fight could have been for the West, but we lost that fight. Now it's time to focus on the fight that has been won for us.

    5. The West isn't lost. We've seen stuff like this before. Civil wars, riots, public degeneracy, incompetent popes and heretical bishops, political leaders (including allegedly Catholic ones) acting in direct opposition to the Church. None of this crap is new, it's just harder for the evildoers to hide it with modern communication technology. Rome survived threats far worse than what America is facing now.

    6. I think it is lost because the resistance is barely that. It takes the premises of the forces seeking to undermine or eliminate the Christian West. So already I'm seeing pols and even religious leaders tackle the 'transform children into other genders' movement by saying they'll never discriminate against transgender children, they just don't want yadda-yadda. See that? They accept that transgender children at five can determine they're another gender, they simply oppose doing something about it? That’s like gay civil unions. More and more religious are jumping on that, as if they accept the premise that there is nothing fundamentally wrong with non-procreative sex, so let's help. Or take 2020, when there was a wave of iconoclasm against 'white Jesus/Mary'. I saw many religious leaders speak out against it, but framing it as 'of course it's logical you'd want to destroy such white statues, but here's why we humbly think you shouldn’t. Of course in some cases they fully supported the removal or destruction of such since, after all, the Gospel isn't worth the troubles that accompanied its spread apparently.

      And these are the ones 'holding firm.' These are not the ones jumping ship and abandoning the Faith or the West by proclamation. These aren't the ones aligning with the movement to tear down the Christian West and its values. These are the ones ostensibly opposing it and fighting for the West. Sorry, but with that limp-wristed opposition that more or less accepts the truth claims of this rising power but only quibbles about results, I’m just not seeing a final victory for the worldly side of the tracks.

      I believe the Gospel will move on. I believe it was guided by God and part of God's plan for it to move through the West. I reject those Catholics going all Protestant and acting as if the last thousand years were some Babylonian Captivity, ala Protestant thinking. But I believe it's one thing for the Gospel to come to a pagan people, and another when the people living with the Gospel choose to reject it for a return to paganism. Then it's dust off the feet and move along.

  4. This article overstates and misstates much of the where we are today as a society. The modern model is one where people are free to think, believe and behave based on their beliefs - whether traditional or untraditional. No one is forcing people to be transgender, marry someone of the same gender, be sexually active, etc. We might or might not object to the choices of some but that does not give us a right to stop them or impose laws that create barriers. We have to accept that not everyone believes the same and using religion to impose laws against people who think differently than we do is not a precedent that is either advantageous, desirable or morally sustainable. Like every age, we are grappling with new understandings of humanity that challenge long held (and long unchallenged) beliefs. There will be chaos. There will be calm. That is the human condition.

    1. Sadly, yours is an assessment that stopped being accurate more than a couple decades ago. By the 1990s, liberal values were increasingly being imposed upon the marketplace and educational institutions. By the 2000s, more than one company I worked for made it clear traditional views on a growing number of issues would not be tolerated. Promoting those views would be fine. Today, more than one individual standing firm on the idea that men can't have babies is being threatened with retaliation, if not losing her job. And schools are, in fact, beginning to sex up and train the youngest of children into the post-gender/open sex movement. Added to that, teachers are becoming brazen about hiding such things from parents. With the press on the side of these movements, and one party invested in them, it's not hard to see how failure to conform leaves you ostracized at best. And that's the best you can hope for.

  5. Reread what you wrote. We are being forced to accept a persons say so that the he is a woman and/or she is a man. It is discrimination if we don't accept it. Why are people being fired or prosecuted for using the pronouns of one's choosing? We are forced to recognize a same sex union as the equivalent of a marriage between a man or woman. Just because the law says both unions are equal it does not make it reality. No we don't have the right to impose laws against them but they in turn do not have the right to impose their lack of morality on us and accuse and charge us with discrimination for failing to pretend that their lifestyles are good and normal. And when they start abusing our children with their transgenderism and homosexuality is good then Houston we have problem. Don't pretend that they just want to live their lives in peace and tranquility. If they really do want peace and to live their lives then stop trying to force us to believe in their la la land.


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