This past week after Christmas, the Catholic Church encountered a great loss. One that affected the Church in recent times. And one of the principal players who kept the Church in line with Traditional doctrines and teachings. His clarity and brilliance on these matters was stunning, piercing to the heart of issues regarding the designs of those who sought to undermine the Church and cause not only ignorance, but confusion among the less informed laity.
Bishops and Cardinals, even to this day, are trying to instill the passing and ever changing opinions of the world into the unchangeable Teachings of Jesus. They cite the “old fashioned ideas that should be eliminated and updated to reflect societal changes and norms.”
But the Church wasn’t founded on the opinions of the modern man – no matter the age they lived.
In the words of Solomon, “There is nothing new under the sun.” (Ecclesiastes 1:9)
The same sins that occurred throughout the history of mankind are only repeating themselves ever louder through those who seek to control the world. If not the universe, as some are claiming.
There are a plethora of pundits in the media world giving their perspectives on Pope Benedict XVI. They describe his great achievements, and the scandals he inherited from his predecessor.
But those did not affect me. There are other experiences by each one of us that are unique, individual, and personal.
Pope John Paul II was the longest reigning Pope in modern Church times. He beguiled the youth, mesmerized the critics, wrote prolifically, and steered the Church for the most part along a traditional path. But he was also very confusing when he would say something that sounded, to the haters of the Church, like he was willing to compromise on the doctrines of the Faith. To the traditional followers, he was lauded by his writings of the sanctity of life.
But he left the sex scandals, damaged people, relocated clergy without due punishment, did not follow through with the Blessed Mothers repeated requests to consecrate Russia, and allowed horrible translations of the Mass and prayers to remain in place.
It was during his reign that I left the Church. There was little order, little clarification and very little strength of leadership during those years which propelled me to believe that Jesus had lied. He was NOT with the Church until the end of the age.
Or so I thought…
Then came the interim…
The journey took me from witchcraft to Catholicism. And thanks to the love, acceptance, and help from my Protestant brothers and sisters, came back to the Faith.
But upon arriving back into the fold of the Church, I was appalled at how awful the English Mass was. The translation of the Latin version from Paul VI had been terribly mangled. Pertinent and very specific words at the Consecration, the very heart of the Mass, changed the meaning of the words of Christ. Essentially, they were invalid. It was one of our assignments to translate the Mass of Paul VI from the Latin to English.
Not even close.
Falling in with schismatics, I became semi “Sede Vacantes”. “Semi” because it didn’t look like there was any other options. And their arguments sounded reasonable and convincing. Until my family and I began to question their words and compared the accusations lobbied against Pope and other prelates, right along side the Vatican II Council that we realized our mistake.
The documents didn’t align with their interpretations. So we left. And went to St. Pius X. A step closer to the Church, but still not fully in union with the Church.
One Sunday Mass, we heard that John Paul II had did and another pope had been elected. The priest arrogantly declared that this man was the reason for the horrible condition of the Masses throughout the world…along with other things.
But I knew of Cardinal Ratzinger. He was always a stalwart defender of the Faith, and, as a professor and teacher, corrected the misinterpretations of the laity and priestly orders alike. He ever steered the people back to the meaning of the doctrines and teachings of the Church as passed down through the centuries. I knew that this priest was wrong.
And we left.
The new Pope, taking the name of Benedict XVI, began his work of setting the American and German bishops right. The translations were rectified, and the Church began a terrific journey toward healing. Even to the restoring of the Latin Masses and culture that had been the mainstay of the majority of Catholics globally. And he set it in its proper place of honor.
Seminaries began to reform their teachings to reflect the true teachings of the Church.
Even the sex scandals were finally addressed. (Although there are always the naysayers who try to find some chink in the armor of greatness.)
It seemed that order was finally being restored.
Then, we were all taken by surprise.
The Pope, for the first time in hundreds of years, resigned.
The Sede Vacantists rejoiced as if this proved he wasn’t the real deal. Traditionalists were holding their breath, not certain of the position the new papacy would take. And the modernists who were now firmly embedded into the hierarchy were rubbing their hands in glee. Here was the chance to install someone who would accept their worldly view and mingle it into the over two thousands year’s teachings to incorporate their desire to destroy the foundations of the Church.
Even my family held their breath. The man chosen to succeed the beloved Pope Benedict XVI, now Emeritus, was South American Jesuit – someone trained and embroiled in the Liberation Theology of that continent.
Who would he be? And how would be react?
Time would tell…
When Pope Benedict XVI retired, he continued to reside at the Vatican. He and the new Pope Francis were close. And he helped guide the prelate with thorny issues. He continued to play a strong role in keeping the Church guided through the Pillars of Faith and Reason.
And Pope Francis listened.
Russia was finally consecrated as the Blessed Mother wished – late, but completed.
But there are wrinkles in the words and implications of this new Pope. He isn’t like his predecessors. And his words, like many words fro Pope John Paul II, are ambiguous at best. Even more so.
And the upcoming “Synod of Synodality” that is upcoming this year has us all holding our breath. Now that this great strength is gone, what will be the result? Will the outward appearance of the Church look like She is embracing the wishes of the world?
Unlike Pope Benedict XVI, it isn’t clear the purpose – or even the definition – of this Synod. Unlike past gatherings, it is bypassing the scholars and heading straight toward the laity. Even if they aren’t Catholic, they can participate. It is a gathering of the desired Democratic position of liberal theologians, anxious to install women priests, remove the requirement of Sunday and Holy Days of Obligation, embrace unacceptable forms of world-defined “marriages”, reduction of definition of sins, etc.
Forget about the teachings of the Saints, Doctors and forefathers of the Church, first and second century martyrs and theologians, and nearly every encyclical and doctrine of the Church.
The Church will still prevail. And, in spite of the efforts of wicked men, we now have a Pope in Heaven standing shoulder-to-shoulder with great Popes throughout the History of the Church; St. Peter, being the first.
When one wonders the fate of the Church, we cannot help but remember the words of Our Lord: “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations…teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and behold, I am with you always, even to the close of the age.” (Matthew 28:20, RSVCE)
The Lord didn’t leave us helpless, lost, and alone. If He allows the Church to be ruled by tyrants or evil men, He is a liar.
With the intercession of St. Peter, St. Paul, and the popes in succession to them, we will overcome even the worst of times. Especially with the two most impressive Popes of our times: Popes John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI. Fierce prayer warriors whose job is far from over.
Their intercession will provide the means of Graces we need to overcome the World. They are not god, but strong prayers for the sake of the Church. God listens to those who will do do His will. His Will has been the indestructibility of the Church, regardless of what the world thinks.
As Jesus was killed on the cross and the world thought they’d gotten rid of their enemy. But He rose from the dead. So they tried to circulate a story that His followers had stolen the body. But the historical records don’t support that information.
Governments persecuted, tortured, and killed Christians in attempts to silence the masses. But that didn’t work either. For where there is persecution, the Church gains followers.
With the likes of our great Pope Benedict XVI praying continually for the Church, who can come against God?