I’ve been asked by a few readers of this blog to record a few thoughts about the events surrounding the resignation of Pope Benedict. Over the weekend especially, many rumors circulated, regarding a seedy backstory to the resignation.

I am not surprised to read of such rumors in secular media sources, but I must admit I was surprised to read some of these things reported in Catholic sources.

As for me, it remains a rumor, and rumors are best unrepeated.

I prefer simply to take Pope Benedict at his word. He indicates that, given the effects of age, he thinks is best step back for the sake of the Church. I know of no other walk of life where we have, or expect 85-year-old man to hold a position that would tax a man half his age.

The fact is, the Papacy has changed, even in my own brief lifetime. When I was a child, it was common to refer to the Pope as the “prisoner the Vatican.” For, when a man was elected pope, he went into the Vatican, and was not seen outside again except at the window.

Pope Paul VI began to change this when he flew to the United Nations, and made other trips to the Holy Land and a few other places. At that time it was a stunning and bold move, that the Pope would actually emerge from the Vatican, get on a plane, and go somewhere!

This move opened the door on the modern papacy. Pope John Paul II obviously ushered it in full force. And now the papacy is a jet-set and very vigorous public presence in the world. The Pope is expected to be out and about, and make quick responses to worldwide issues. The pace is quick and the mileage long. All day, there are exhausting meetings with heads of state, and many other significant individuals who expect to meet with the Pope.

Yes, the days are very long and taxing. Even at age 51 I think I would be taxed by such a pace such high expectations. That an 85-year-old man thinks it’s best for younger man to take the position makes a lot of sense. The other alternative would be to dramatically scale back Pope Benedict’s calendar and duties. But his judgment is the Church needs a Pope to meet the current duties and that these are reasonable expectations for the office of the papacy.

This is how I understand the Pope’s resignation, according to what he himself is said. And the rumors and accusations of grave scandals are of no interest to me. Scandals will inevitably arise, but woe to those through whom they come (Lk 17:1).

In all of this let me also state my firm position that I remain very optimistic about the state of the Church today. Not only does she have the promise of the indefectability from the Lord, but I am seeing sure signs of great renewal especially here in America.

While I am less certain about the state of the Church in Europe, here in America our seminaries are beginning to fill again, many new and reformed religious communities are coming back alive, many superb Lay movements, and great clerical and lay leadership is developing. Our numbers in the pews do continue to decline, but I see many things being put in place that will address and prepare the Church for the near future.

It may well be, that a smaller and disciplined army is necessary for what may be difficult days ahead for Western culture as it continues to descend into deeper darkness. Yes, the Church is getting increasingly focused on her main mission, which is to be a light in the darkness, to continuously strive to make disciples, and to bring people into a life-changing, transformative relationship with Jesus Christ.

I think persecutions will probably arise in the near future but maybe that’s just what we need. And besides, the Church has a good track record of not only enduring persecution, but thriving in the midst of it

Even this weekend I have been able to celebrate many great signs of life. In Lent, the preaching circuit really lights up for me, and I’ve had a very busy weekend. I spent Friday and all day Saturday preaching a retreat 30 seminarians from the Archdiocese of Washington. Altogether we have well over 70 seminarians, and we are having to add a new wing to the seminary to accommodate more. These are good men, men who love the Church, who love the truth and are preparing to speak the truth in love. I am confident that all them I met will make great priests. The Seminary named for Blessed John Paul II, is a great place. The Priests who staff the seminary and teach are very solid and orthodox. Liturgies are well celebrated and in the men, both priests and seminarians show a strong faith.

In my parish convent we are blessed with the Servant Sisters of the Lord, a newer order who outgrew their last Juniorate and recently had to move to larger quarters. These are great religious sisters, joyful and passionate for the Lord and His Church. Vocations for their order and of several other orders like them are going strong.

Having completed preaching the retreat at the seminary, I was privileged to celebrate masses of my own parish on Sunday, the Church was filled with many lively and wonderful Catholics, who came to hear the Word of God and to receive Holy Communion.

And then, just this evening, I am returning from Southern Maryland where I preached the first night of a three-night revival in one of our parishes. The Church was filled with people eager to hear a word from God and have their faith strengthened.

Yes, God is alive and he’s gathering his faithful. Even if the overall numbers in the Church are down a bit, those who remain are becoming increasingly vigorous and vibrant in their faith, more clear about what it means to be a Catholic in these days and times.

So put me in the optimist camp, I think God is doing great work in purifying his Church. So many things are improving! I remember some very dark times in the early and mid-80s when I was in seminary and I must say that, in many ways, the tide has completely turned. On-going purification is necessary, but so much has been accomplished!

The Lord Jesus loves his Bride the Church, and His love for the Church is becoming increasingly evident to me.

Yes, call me an optimist, and call me uninterested in the rumors swirling, about Vatican corruption. If there is need for reform in the Vatican bureaucracy, the Lord Jesus will accomplish it. Jesus loves his Bride. I know that first-hand experience what he can do by way of reform.

I realize there are some who read this who will consider my remarks wrong or naïve They will recite to me let me of things they think are still wrong, everything ranging from liturgy to authority and discipline. I do not say the Church is perfect and I know on-going reform is still necessary. But I am saying that I see what God has done is doing and I know He will continue to do.

As we head for conclave, call me the optimist, call me the joyful son of Mother Church, everything will be alright, indeed, everything already is alright because Jesus is the Head of the Body the Church, and the beloved groom of the Church the Bride.

If you call me a fool, at least add that I was a fool for Christ. Call me naïve but at least said that my naïveté is rooted in an undying confidence in the love of Jesus for his bride the Church.

Was that a lightning bolt that struck the Vatican or was it a divine dose of refining fire and dynamic power from on high?

51 Responses

  1. Robertlifelongcatholic says:

    As an eternal optimist I say cheer up, we’ll all be dead to the world one day. There are people dying now who have never died before. Glory to God in the highest and peace to his people on earrth.

    • Repent and Believe the Gospel ! says:

      Revelation: The lighting struck St. Peter’s for She (the Bride of Christ) is being recharge with new energy from above! That’s how I interpret it. Watch, a miracle will happen!

      • Dorothy says:

        I INTERPRET IT DIFFERENTLY

        GOD IS SAYING DO NOT TOUCH MY VICAR! NOT ONCE BUT TWICE THE LIGHTNING STRUCK

      • TeaPot562 says:

        Structures containing metal that are taller than their surroundings are more likely to be struck by lightning during thunderstorms. In NY City, the Empire State Bldg. is struck by lightning between 50 and 100 times a year. And, Because the skeleton of the bldg is steel, the electricity is conducted to and from the ground, and those in the bldg have no awareness that it has been so struck.
        TeaPot562

  2. John says:

    Hello father. There are so any good and truthful things in your blog today that it’s hard to know where to start! I couldn’t agree more that this is a GREAT time to be a Catholic and that where persecution is concerned, the church will only thrive. Even here in sad old Europe, there is hope. Our Catholic churches here in this corner of Lutheran Switzerland are full and there are more and more young people coming in. As for numbers in general, am I being too much the optimist to say that as the times get darker – morally and probably economically too – more and more people will leap into the barque of St Peter as the SS Secular Modern World starts to sink? Thank you so much for your wonderful posts!

  3. Mishka Wu says:

    Totally agree with you Msgr. Pope, Christ’s always there to love & protect His Bride!

  4. GaryM says:

    I am with you, Msgr. Clearly, Jesus established his Church and left the very sinners He came to save in charge of it. If the news reports are even partially correct, well, In time we know that the Holy Spirit and the Blessed Virgin Mary will prevail. We are never alone.

    Remember Mary’s words to St. John Diego of Mexico in his darkest of days:

    “Hear and let it penetrate into your heart, my dear little son: let nothing discourage you, nothing depress you; let nothing alter your heart or your countenance. Also do not fear any illness or vexation, anxiety or pain. Am I not here who am your Mother? Are you not under my shadow and protection? Am I not your fountain of life? Are you not in the folds of my mantle, in the crossing of my arms? Is there anything else that you need?

    For those that want more, St. Louis de Montfort will guide you to her in extraordinary ways.

  5. Pilar says:

    Thanks Monsignor. I really needed a dose of optimism today. My husband & I helped pass out the Protect Religious Freedom and Life postcards after Mass at our NoVA parish yesterday. It left us feeling very frustrated and disappointed because the majority of people ignored us or read the card and gave it right back to us saying, “No thanks.” I agree with everything you posted and reading it was a great way to start my day. Thank you, thank you, thank you! I felt the Holy Spirit moving me to shout “AMEN” at the end!

  6. taad says:

    I think those who are with Christ are becoming obvious. And those who against Christ, are becoming clearer too. They are playing out their hands so to speak, at this time. Listen to those who saying the pope needs to leave Rome, and not live in the monestary at the Vatican. Are these bishops with Christ? Or do they have other plans. Christ is revealing who is with him, and who is against him. The rats are surffacing. More cleaning needs done.

  7. Ann says:

    Good article Msgr. Rational, realistic, and optimistic. I can’t speak for every parish of course, but our parish is overflowing every Sunday, and we’re an old parish in an old industrial town in the Northeast. Not the ones that you hear about growing all of the time.

    I remember I used to be really judgmental for a time about how people dressed at Mass and I’ve left that all behind. We are here, we are here for Jesus! Because you know what…if you are “here,” it’s because you really want to be here now. There is no more societal or familial pressure to be Catholic anymore. So I think you are right, what we may be losing in numbers we are gaining in vibrancy and joy.

  8. Peg says:

    I couldn’t agree more, Monsignor, especially about ignoring the rumors that make more out of things than is necessary. Thanks for the lift!

  9. dianne says:

    I am an old lady whose ability to get out and about is limited. So I read. I have read extensively about the history of the Church. We have gone through much, much worse. They thought they had finished us off when they crucified our Lord. Nero, Diocletian and various other emperors tried their best to destroy us. The prostestant revolt was supposed to be our end. Then came Marxism.Really the attacks of our enemies are too many to list. And then, there was from time to time serious corruption within the church itself. When I go to mass, I see large numbers of college students, teenagers, young familis (LARGE) young families. Since I joined the church 15 years ago, we have had two saints for popes. We are in great shape, thanks be to our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

    • John says:

      What a lovely response, Dianne! Yes, we need to remember that if we outlasted this bunch of historical uglies, then we can take anything the modern world throws at us!

  10. Clare Krishan says:

    I was intrigued by similarities in the Byzantine-style icon with those of Moses ascending Mt Sinai and removing his shoes for “this is a holy place” http://tinyurl.com/Moses-sandal-Sinai Note the hand gesture of the centrally placed apostle with the carved figure of St Philip in Last Supper arrangement at Holy Blood altar in Rothenburg ob der Tauber (http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p00cgfl3 in UK, or rent/buy their DVD)

    Apparently such artistic devices were visual prompts to invite the faithful to confess their sins (ie breaking the decalog tablets that Moses was about to receive in icon at St Catherine’s monastery I linked to above) to the priest at the altar below the image (ie in days before private confessionals came into practise). A neat reminder of a necessary Lenten practise, for Catholics have been obliged to renew their confession annually since ,,, the Apostles, right? As did/do our Jewish brothers atone for their sins annually at Yom Kippur (falls around about our Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross honoring the instrument of our salvation itself).

    Lovely image and audio yet Father I recommend caution: the video clip you linked to is tagged with the following info:
    “Why John Paul II was not the Pope (full length video clip URL)
    The Amazing Heresies of Benedict XVI (full length video clip URL)
    ie published by virulent anti-VII sedevacantists

    Thanks for allowing me to share (or not if you think I’m a blog hog ; -( so sorry)
    Cooperation between the clerical and lay state in life is vital for the Mystical body to live out its calling to redeem the world, no?

  11. Mary Josephine says:

    After many internal “nudgings”, I finally said “Yes”, and joined the Church March 31, 2002.

    That year in February, while I was a catechumen, the first wave of pedophile news broke. Having had a history of my own (non priest), this was a great opportunity for me to leave the RCIA program. Seeing the pain and shame on our parish priests’ faces, I knew this was happening in order to shake the faith of our priests and to get the lay people to give up and leave the Church in “moral outrage and disgust”.

    Since my confirmation, I have joined a Lay ministry program within my Archdiocese and whenever I feel discouraged, I remember Jesus’ predictions in Matthew, chapter 24, especially verses 10-13, and then take Him at His word when He said, in Mt. 28:20, “And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.”

    Monsignor Pope, you are not a fool or naive, fabulous changes are coming. :)

  12. Greg Hessel says:

    Dear Monsignor Pope,

    Is the seminary noticeably better than the seminary you attended?

  13. Gloria Schotten says:

    Loved your take on the ” Lightening Bolt” right on, Monsignor! I have read many passages in the Bible re lightening these past few days, they fit perfectly. This for one; Revelation 11:19. Then God’s temple in heaven
    was opened, and the ark of His Covenant ( Mary) was seen within His temple; and there were ‘flashes of lightening, loud noises, peals of thunder, an earthquake, and heavy hail; these events all happened in Rome on 2/22/12. The earthquake occurred a few days later…..Awesome!!
    The Catholic Church is indestructible. (Matthew 16:18)
    Luv ya Monsignor Pope.
    Gloria Schotten.

  14. Sojourner says:

    Thanks Monsignor, My initial reaction to the Pope’s resignation was one of dismay and disbelief – “the Pope can’t resign!” After a little more thought, I have come to be very moved by the Holy Father’s resignation. I see it as tremendous act of Love for the Church and for us his “sheep”. We have been blessed to have his very pastoral leadership and he will be missed. But I look forward with hope and optimism as the Holy Spirit guides the Church through the coming time of transition.

  15. Nigel McCarren says:

    We must remember, however challenging and frightening our times can be, that the Lord, his Son, our Lady and the Saints live every second with us. Our faith is built on the miracle of Calvary, it can not and will not fail – it is the work of God and beyond the capacity of human hands to destroy. If a criminal enters the Church to do harm to the vulnerable, or to act in other ways despicable to God, we must remember that those acts are not of the Church, they are of human sin – the very reason the Church exists. The Church has been harmed before – the Gospels and Acts themselves bear witness to that – but Peter himself showed us that sin will always be conquered by the redemptive love of Christ. Msgr, you are right to be optimistic – everything we love and hold dear about the Church is informed by that optimism; it is the single most important part of faith itself and Christ’s greatest gift to us.

  16. John says:

    I had the great blessing to be present at an audience the Pope gave to the Order of Malta on Feb. 9th. When we left Rome on the following Monday morning we had no hint of the news we were to receive on arriving back in the U.S. And while like most people I was shocked to hear that he had resigned I was not really that surprised having seen his physical condition only two days earlier. I firmly believe that had he not resigned that in a few short months his workload would have worsened his health to the point where he was entirely incapacitated and unable to work at all at best or killed him at worst.

  17. RichardC says:

    I saw this video from the 50’s or 60’s and it showed the Pope being carried around St. Peter’s Square on a throne. I thought that was cool and I think they should go back to doing that. Also, I think once a guy is elected Pope, he would be well advised to not ride in a car, train, or airplane–any motorized form of transportation–for the remainder of his time as Pope.–I am not saying that is a good idea. I just think it is an idea worth considering. I don’t have any clear thoughts on whether a Pope should use a microphone or not.

  18. Regina says:

    Love the perspective given about how the Pope never left the Vatican and how JPII changed this. This explains the Popes resignation in such practical terms. Thanks!

  19. Andkaras says:

    Sometimes when infirmity or illness gets the better of me ,my confidence in God will wane, however most days ,especially after prayer, remembering Gods promises I nearly burst with anticipation of what is to come and Praise God for allowing me to come forth and live in this time of all times in history to witness His mighty works before men. Can’t you hear all of heaven gasping in anticipation at what He is about to accomplish in our times? And what a glorious mother we have been given !

  20. Aloysius Duque says:

    It will only become better….

  21. mark says:

    Msgr. Pope,
    I was going to comment on the clothing choices people make when attending Mass, as Ann referred to this above and has come to look beyond the outer, and how those that judge our outer appearance and ignore the inner purpose of the Mass offend beyond words. I live in an area amidst three Indian Reservations, amidst 33 percent of the people live in poverty and unemployment is 23 percent, and the vibrancy of those in the pews is filled with so much of the Holy spirit that I cry at Mass, as I am filled with the Love of our Savior for me and the Meek that surround me.

    We do not wear suits(except you will see some at Christmas and Easter), some do not wear shoes(cannot afford, this occurs in the summer as our winters get to be -50 F and shoes are provided at the clothing depot) however we wear clothing that is clean and it covers us up(no cleavage or Undies showing) as we realize that Jesus wore simple clothing and I ask would he turn his head to us when we neared him in his teaching because we were not in the finest of wardrobe, so as to put want before need.

    I would add that my wife and I, while visiting Kansas, were turned from the door of a Catholic church in Kansas City, Kansas because I did not have a tie or jacket and my wife did not have a proper dress(the ushers words), so we turned to see a variable sea of cleavage and undies, as this is not offensive, but our clean clothing was. So we hurried to the closest church, Eastern Orthodox, and were welcomed with open arms.

    This is not an oration on clothing, however it is an oration on love. Yes this is an exciting age as the church is returning to the true theology of the tenants of our faith, the seminary’s are teaching true orthodoxy and leaving the wondering from the truth behind. Jesus is speaking through the truth so a purification can happen, so we can become stronger in our battle with the darkness.

    I for one was at first astonished by Pope Benedict the 16th when he stated he would rather have churches with fewer true believers than churches filled with people that at best have a tentative adherence to the teachings of our Lord Jesus
    Christ(paraphrasing). Our Diocese started a purification last year, not through forced purging but by aligning the teachings of our faith to the true Orthodox of our Church teachings and the voluntary purge began. We lost some parishioners, because our teachings were in line with the truth and we became less HIP(their words) and more conservative, I would say we became more in the light and less in the shadow.

    I pray for you and all of those that are called to the Holy Orders, fore your work is hard, your compensation is small but we are here at your side to protect you in the fight with the darkness, fore you will inherit that which is yours from our King and Savior, Lord Jesus Christ. Amen I say to you my brother, lead and I shall follow.

    God Bless

  22. David Naas says:

    Being surrounded on all sides by cycles — day/night, summer/winter, happy/sad, growth/decline — it is amazing that we humans always –always– mistake the present for permanence. Ten years ago, the Church was “in decline”, and would continue so until oblivion. In the ’80’s, the questionable American implementation of Vatican II presaged universal apostasy. Things have changed. There are lessons to be found in Ecclesiastes (duly sung by the Byrds) that we should take to heart. The Church may not be deflected by its enemies, but scrapes, bruises, wounds are the normal result of being alive. This is not blind optimism or triumpalism, but a sober realism, based on observance of 2000 years of Church history (5000 if we include Abraham, which we must). God will not be thwarted.

  23. Antonia says:

    There years ago I was blessed with a radical conversion to Catholicism (from atheism!). Now my kids are baptized, homeschooled, and becoming joyful, faithful Catholics, and my longtime fallen-away parents are being drawn back towards the Church. I can see the rise of deep, orthodox Catholicism all around our diocese. I gain such insight & perspective from your blog, Monsignor. I had *no idea* that popes before Paul VI remained so cloistered inside the Vatican; no wonder JPII’s papacy was seen as so revolutionary. Thank you for your ongoing catechesis, and may God bless you, Pope Benedict, & all of our beloved bishops, priests, and religious.

  24. Jamie Reynolds says:

    It is a great time to be Catholic, for sure. We experience Christ through the beauty and sacraments of the Church, often in ways that leave me breathless and unable to describe (to my non-Catholic Christian friends) just how much the Church is my home. There really is nowhere else to be!

    The only comment I’ll risk making about the post is that while the Church is persecuted, it has done great, great harm to itself in the past 50 years. We should not focus on one without the other. The internal threats are worse, I think, than the external ones. We must vigorously defend the Church’s right to be active in the public square; but we must be equally vigorous in ensuring that those within the Church are true to its mission and, if they are not, they are removed in line with civil law.

  25. Eric says:

    AMEN!! Thank you very much for this post. I wholeheartedly agree with your assessment, the Holy Spirit has great things in store for the Church!

  26. Bill Foley says:

    Dear Monsignor Pope,

    This passage from an encyclical by Saint Pius X fits right in with your article.

    Iucunda Sane
    Encyclical of Pope Pius X on Pope Gregory the Great
    March 12, 1904

    8. Kingdoms and empires have passed away; peoples once renowned for their history and civilization have disappeared; time and again the nations, as though overwhelmed by the weight of years, have fallen asunder; while the Church, indefectible in her essence, united by ties indissoluble with her heavenly Spouse, is here to-day radiant with eternal youth, strong with the same primitive vigor with which she came from the Heart of Christ dead upon the Cross. Men powerful in the world have risen up against her. They have disappeared, and she remains. Philosophical systems without number, of every form and every kind, rose up against her, arrogantly vaunting themselves her masters, as though they had at last destroyed the doctrine of the Church, refuted the dogmas of her faith, proved the absurdity of her teachings. But those systems, one after another, have passed into books of history, forgotten, bankrupt; while from the Rock of Peter the light of truth shines forth as brilliantly as on the day when Jesus first kindled it on His appearance in the world, and fed it with His Divine words: “Heaven and earth shall pass, but my words shall not pass” (Matth. xxiv. 35).

    Also, I would like to Email you a long article; may I please have your personal Email address. Mine is billfoley@dakotacom.net. Thank you.

  27. Jennifer says:

    We “wait in joyful hope”!
    How could there be any more cause for optimism than that?
    No matter how long it takes, or what we go through, there is great Joy in the journey.

    • chris awo says:

      i am all for optimism. But we need to face the reality. the enemies of the cross of Christ are attacking the church where it will hurt the most i.e the head. There is a satanic conspiracy to bring down the church of Rome and thereby drag many souls to hell. And this time it is an inside job. the enemies of the church are right inside of her in important positions. Unless we all wake up from our slumber and begin to pray earnestly for the mercy of God i am afraid that by the end of march 2013 the church of Rome may be unrecognuisable as we now know it now. Optimism yes; but it was tthe Lord Jesus who said: ‘When the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?’ (Luke 18:8)

  28. Dorothy says:

    AND MSGR WHEN ;

    GAY LIFESTYLE WILL BE A SIN NO MORE

    AND CONTRACEPTIVES WILL BE ALLOWED

    WHEN DIVORCE AND REMARRIAGE IS ACCEPTABLE

    WHEN THE HOLY SACRAMENTS WILL BE UNRECOGNISABLE

    WHEN THE VIRGIN BIRTH WILL BE REWRITTEN BLASPHEMOUSLY

    WHEN ALL THE TRUTH WILL BE REPLACED WITH A LIE

    will you remember this article and weep for your naievity

    what will you say to us all then

    THERE IS SOMETHING SO VERY FRIGHTENING ABOUT THIS WHOLE EVENT AND WE ARE ABOUT TO SEE IT ALL UNFOLD WITHIN A COUPLE OF DAYS,

    • Brian says:

      Perhaps, Dorothy, it is now time to pray, to trust in God and to remember that “the Gates of Hell shall not prevail against It.”

      • Ernst says:

        True Brian, and I am sure Dorothy would be praying as all of us are,

        however, if Dorothy was concerned it would be for the loss of souls should we get a bad pope, We have had bad popes before you know. Feel free to correct me Monsigneur, but it is still possible even for our times isn’t it.

        • Brian says:

          Thank you, Ernst, for the response. Reading her post again, I believe that my initial thought, based on the use of all caps, was that Dorothy felt we are doomed to have a bad Pope and there is nothing we can do about it. I suppose there is a chance of a bad Pope, but that chance should not keep us from hope and optimism. Nor should we lose our hope and our optimism even if Dorothy’s thoughts become a reality. That is not to say, however, that we should not have concern for and pray for those in danger of losing their souls.

  29. Donna says:

    I feel very uplifted by all these responses left by those who clearly love The Church and Our Lord. And we have every reason to feel secure in the church that was instituted by none other than the Lord. I guess I don’t feel as optimistic as I feel hopeful; I don’t feel that everything is going to turn out A-OK for the multitudes of lost souls – both in and out of the church – but I am full of hope just knowing that nothing is impossible with God.

  30. Tom Heckel says:

    Thank you Msgr Pope. I was uplifted by your words. Too often I let the world get me down. My faith doesn’t waver, but my hope does. Then I read your words and my hope returns. In fact, I hit the Hope trifecta today. Your words gave me peace and joy this morning. Then, this afternoon, I was doing an interview for a consulting project, and the woman talked about how much she missed her previous organization, which started every meeting with devotion and prayer. I was stunned, and could only say Deo Gratias! I was so moved that I wrote her a letter tonight thanking her for her courage to talk about her faith in the so-called public square. Finally, at my parish Lenten Mission tonight the subject was Confession and Sin. The priest gave powerful testimony to the changes that give me great hope. He started his talk by telling the story about how he was “robbed” of his Catholicism by never once hearing a priest talk about sin or confession until he went away for college. This was in the 1970’s. This is despite regular Mass attendance and going to a Catholic elementary school. His message of love to us was to prevent us, and all future Catholics from being “robbed” of our Catholic faith, our teaching, the truth. It is because of this courageous priest, yourself and so many others like you, that we can have hope. For anyone who is not aware of the FSSP and the Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist, visit their website, learn their story, and you too will experience great joy and hope.

  31. Jett Subercuseaux says:

    I am a gay man and catholic, but one who have chosen to accept the true guidance of the church and for this reason the Catholic Church has been my salvation. My life has not been easy, but it is thank to the Church that I have been able to live a life away form homosexuality or of a gay style. The Lord has wanted me to carry a cross that at times it difficult for heterosexuals to understand, but if we truly carry the love of God in us we don’t want to contribute to the damnation of others, and this is why I have found that in loneliness you can truly find Christ, and offer your sufferings for others that like me receive a shower of graces through the church but reject them. We must carry our crosses in silence and with dignity, offering to God what ever comes our way. I know the Lord will be merciful with me at the hour of my death for I have strife to obey the guidance and teachings of the Church. Please remember me in your prayers.

    • chris awo says:

      Dear Jett,
      You are in our prayers.
      Perhaps this passage of the bible will be of use for you :’…animal sacrifices O Lord you do not want, instead you have prepared a body for me, here i am O Lord, i have come to do your will as it is required of me in the scriptures (Hebrew 10:7 and Psalm 40:6)

      • Bernadette says:

        Dear Jett,
        Thank you SO much for your testimony. You are not ever alone, you are a member of the Body of Christ and you are my brother in Christ! What a blessing that we are all connected in the Communion of Saints! We must all battle evil and hide in His Sacred Heart when tempted -each one of us has our particular suffering to bear whatever our state in life or situation. But as you have beautifully stated, God is our hope, our strength, our reward. Let us pray for one another and by His goodness we will meet each other in heaven!

  32. Doug Lawrence says:

    In light of the widespread apostasy and rampant corruption in the Catholic Church throughout the world, the promise of the indefectability of the Church, directly from our Lord, may be the only thing we can depend on. And that is enough, for this Catholic.

    The reason Jesus may have chosen to return to Heaven, promising to return only at the very end, may be that this present system of things was/is so far gone as to be totally irreparable … even by God.

    All the more reason, going forward, for a new Heaven and a New Earth, populated by those who steadfastly refused to deny their faith in Christ and his Church, no matter what.

  33. Lorraine says:

    I am filled with hope as well. No matter how bad things get in the future, and they will, where else are we to go? Either the Church is True or it is not. This is not the first time in the history of our beloved Church that all has appeared lost and hopeless. It won’t be the last time either, as long as human beings are human beings.

  34. Ninth Centurion says:

    “Yes, God is alive and he’s gathering his faithful. Even if the overall numbers in the Church are down a bit, those who remain are becoming increasingly vigorous and vibrant in their faith, more clear about what it means to be a Catholic in these days and times.”

    Monsignor, I’m sorry but “overall numbers” and “increasingly vigorous and vibrant in their faith” are horrible measures when almost half in the pews believe the right to murder life in the womb is a “lifestyle choice” they have no moral obligation to oppose politically, who believe the same regarding “gay marriage” and it is The Faith that they must be vigorous and vibrant in – not “their fiath.”

    What it means to be a Catholic “in these days and times” is no different than what it has always meant to be a Catholic since Christ established His Church.

  35. GaryM says:

    What scares me somewhat is the Pope’s recent use of the phrase “climb the mountain” and the related facts/events out of Rome. It reminds me of the Third Secret of Fatima and the Lucy’s impression of possibly a pope dressed in white climbing the mountain to the foot of the cross etc. We all know the what happens. Not good for us believers in earthly terms.

    Wow. Maybe Pope Benedict should keep his red shoes!

    Mary, give us courage and strength to endure in our love for God.

  36. Restoration says:

    Of course, I am optimistic in the long term because of my faith in Christ and His holy Church, but in the short term, I’m afraid things are going to get much worse before they get better. Even if we get a warrior Pope who will clean house in Rome and around the world, the rot in some places is too far advanced. Case in point…

    I just got back from Stations of the Cross at my territorial parish tonight. I normally attend the Traditional Latin Mass, so I never visit this parish except for devotions and confession.

    This evening saw 18 people in a church built for 750. It is the 3rd Friday of Lent. What was even more disturbing than the turnout was the age of the attendees. My wife and I were the only people present under 60. The priest decided to change things this week and instead of using the traditional Way of the Cross from St. Alphonsus, he used a strange format from 1965 with inclusive language. The madness doesn’t seem to end. Will a priest like this not be satisfied until he has completely emptied his parish? At this rate, in another ten years, the only people at Stations will be me and my family and the priest (assuming the parish is even still open).

    I had the same experience at confession at this same parish. A Saturday in Lent saw only three people in line for confession. An elderly lady, a WWII veteran, and me. What does it say about a the vitality of a Sacrament frequented only by people in their 80s/90s? We are looking at a near extinction event in some areas.

    It is great to be optimistic about the long term, but we best sober up about the state of the Church. God didn’t promise anyone that his or her particular parish would never close — only that the Church will not fall.

  37. [...] media so desperately tries to attach scandal to this historic resignation, Msgr. Charles Pope interjects some much needed sanity on the Archdiocese of Washington blog. I prefer simply to take Pope Benedict at his word. He indicates that, given the effects of age, he [...]

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