A recent trip to the confessional booth solidified my belief in two disturbing things… the Catholic Church lacks leadership and orthodoxy.
The vacuum left by weak Catholic leadership is being filled by ISIS. The void left by priests, bishops, cardinals and the pope unwilling to speak boldly and truthfully about the eternal moral truths of Christ has left the world in a state of moral relativism. Children, having grown up in a world without moral structure, look for something tangible, solid and eternal.
For many, ISIS is it. It is unrelenting in its belief. It is unwavering in its task. It is stringent in its orthodoxy. And it is transparent as to its way of life.
Don’t get me wrong. The acts of ISIS are repulsive to any follower of Jesus. But, you know who they are and what they stand for.
Now, look back on your life and ask yourself… When was the last time the Catholic Church was as unrelenting in its belief, unwavering in its task, stringent in its orthodoxy and transparent as to its way of life? Not in my lifetime. Instead of being an immovable rock, Catholic leadership has ebbed and flowed in the undulating currents of social mores.
Case and point. During a recent confession I expressed my dismay that the church has identified many things as intrinsically evil, yet I could not remember hearing any priest talk about them at mass.
The priest replied if he preached on everything he should, most would stop listening.
I said, “You mean like Jesus.”
The priest replied that, yes, like Jesus, most would walk away and then the church wouldn’t be able to provide all of the good it does in the world, with schools, helping the poor, etc.
My head was about to explode. The priests aren’t talking about avoiding intrinsically evil acts, acts that will damn souls to hell, so they can collect money provided by those same souls?
Are schools worth more than souls? Are poverty programs worth more than souls?
How much would a poor soul suffering in hell for eternity care about a school?
The church has been dying a slow and painful death because of beliefs such as this pastor. Don’t talk about the hard stuff so we can keep providing services, even if it means many of his sheep burn for eternity.
I would not want to be him at his judgement and I actively pray for his soul.
The only reason entities like ISIS can exist in this world is because the Catholic Church has failed at its job of teaching the hard, but glorious teachings of Jesus Christ. Saying nothing allows evil forces to speak up and take center stage.
Pray for the church leadership to stand up and remain resolute in their orthodoxy. It is okay for the church to get smaller, just like with Jesus. Some programs may suffer, in the short term. But, like Jesus, as the church got smaller, to only 12 men (1 of which would betray him), it would grow again to take over the world.
Our church can do that again if it stops being a cultural entity and starts being a belief structure that does not bend to social will, does not lessen God’s call in order to receive money and is not afraid of persecution for being unpopular or, in some places, illegal.
Pray, pray, pray for the church. Pray God raises up a true leader of orthodoxy and strength. The world, including all of the souls in the pews funding those good services, need it.