An Apocalyptic Paradox
Fatima Perspectives #1286
Sandro Magister has published a letter he received from a missionary priest who has devoted his life to making converts and now wonders what it is they are supposed to be converting to. He remains anonymous because in this age of “dialogue” and the rejection of “clericalism” there is no dialogue but only reprisal for anyone who questions an ecclesial status quo of corrupt novelties enforced by the worst sort of clericalism: the tyrannical abuse of ecclesiastical authority to impose what Msgr. Guido Pozzo (recently removed from the staff of the Ecclesia Dei commission on orders of Pope Francis) has called a “para-conciliar ideology” that “pervades Modernism” in the Church and is “obscuring the urgency and the call of conversion to Christ and adherence to His Church.”
“Obscuring” is putting it mildly. In “sixteen dazzling reflections,” as Magister describes them, the anonymous missionary describes nothing less than the obliteration of the divine commission in practice. He writes: “By now it is clear. The Catholic Church is no longer the same as it was before 2013. And I really want to see if someone succeeds in defining what the Catholic Church is today.”
In fact, the transformation he sees now has long been underway. It was hardly the case that before Francis the Church was busily engaged in making converts to the one true religion in order to gain Heaven and avoid the fires of Hell. John Paul II admitted long ago, in the book-interview Crossing the Threshold of Hope, that on account of the Council’s novel “cosmic vision” of eschatology, the traditional focus on the individual soul and its particular judgment has been lost, the Four Last Things have been forgotten and “one no longer speaks of these things in evangelization,” and that, quite simply, Catholic churchmen “have lost the courage to preach the threat of hell” — a situation about which John Paul II himself did little beyond admitting its existence.
The situation the anonymous missionary describes in his cri de cœur has been more than a half-century in the making and represents the essence of the post-Vatican II crisis in the Church. His reflections, which are worth reading in full, demonstrate the depth of the problem that has been described as a veritable “demissionization” of the Church. Of particular note, however, is this priest’s observation of the new level of the crisis during this pontificate: “But now I as a missionary no longer know precisely what the Catholic Church is. And since I see the pope, the cardinals, the bishops gradually and inexorably tolerating the legitimization of adultery, approving of sodomy, blessing homosexual marriages, admitting the parity of salvation with other religions… to what kind of conversion must I invite others?”
Most dazzling of all among these reflections is that, for all their errors against the revealed truth of Christ, in “other religions, albeit without knowledge of the Gospel, there is no lack of solid norms founded on good sense and on nature, while now Christianity in its official leaders promotes and upholds the way of living and the morality of pre-Christian times. But then Jesus really came for nothing!” Indeed, Amoris Laetita’s infamous paragraph 303 explicitly excuses continuing violations of the Sixth Commandment as “what God himself is asking amid the concrete complexity of one’s limits, while yet not fully the objective ideal.” The Commandment of God reduced to an ideal!
If that paradox is not apocalyptic in its dimensions, then nothing is. Were it not for the Church’s indefectibility, all would appear to be lost, or at least on the verge of being lost. But in the end the Immaculate Heart of Mary will triumph in yet another vindication of the Church’s divine institution and inherent indestructibility. And, indeed, our anonymous missionary expresses an optimism borne of that same confidence in the promises of Christ: “But the Spirit of God is always alive. And therefore today as well we are sure that there are many saints who still allow God to live among us. O Lord, stay with us!”