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"Alas, Alas for the Great City!" An Urgent Plea for Prayer at the New Year!

December 30, 2014 104 Comments

123014We are very close to the new year, 2015 AD. And most of us at the new year have it in mind to pray for the future year not only for ourselves, but also for our family, country, and culture. With that in mind, there is something of an admonition to us all that I would share from Scripture. For while we look to the new year with hope, we do well to soberly assess the warnings of God that are seemingly more applicable than ever. Above all we must pray so as to avoid the otherwise necessary chastisements of God and the inevitability of ruin at our own hand if we do not soon repent.

We have good reason to have concern for what we have come to call Western culture.  Our last century was nothing less than a blood bath of world wars, cold wars, killing fields, mass starvations, abortion, and euthanasia. It is conservatively estimated that 100 million were put to death for ideological purposes (e.g., in Hitler’s camps, Stalin’s mass starvations, Pol Pot’s killing fields, Mao’s camps, Rwanda’s genocide, the Balkan genocides). Add to this the war dead and the victims of abortion and the number easily reaches 200 million.

In the middle of that period in the West, we threw in many social revolutions: the sexual revolution, the revolution against authority, the widespread use of hallucinogenic drugs, radical feminism, abortion on demand, contraception, and no-fault divorce. The solitary boast of the tainted 1960s was the civil rights movement, largely granted to it by the 1950s.

It is no surprise then that Americans, still reeling from these selfish and egotistical revolutions, find that most baby boomers are now in various combinations of drug rehab, AA, SA, Overeaters Anonymous, or even jail. Add to this situation vast amounts of psychotherapy, psychotropic drugs, and a self-esteem-driven culture with endless distractions to keep the revolutionaries and their children sane. Then throw in large amounts of antibiotics to treat the sexually transmitted diseases … would someone please call in the exorcist?

We have sown the wind and we are reaping the whirlwind. Enter now the desperate confusion of the “rainbow,” a once beautiful sign of hope that now only bespeaks sexual confusion of a colossal degree. And let no heterosexual gloat until he ponders rampant fornication, easy divorce, abortion, and the disgraceful lack of self-control that has helped usher in the sex-is-just-about-pleasure-and-means-whatever-I-say-it-means culture. Confusion, from top to bottom!

So here we are in 2015. And if we have any sense and any faith at all, we need to fall on our knees and pray for miraculous conversion. I love this country and Western culture. I do not think anything finer has ever graced this globe. But we have become collectively corrupted. Our freedom has become licentiousness; our sense of human dignity has been debased; our comforts have made us lazy and inimical to the Cross and to discipline.

And thus we do well to heed God’s warnings of old to other cultures that had become similarly corrupted.

A little over a week ago, as we wrapped up Advent, Isaiah uttered a warning to a pompous and self-secure empire (Babylon) that its might and power, its wealth and poise, were soon to come to an end. Of special mention was the scorn that God had for Babylon’s arrogant presumption that she would never fall or suffer loss and that her power would be forever. And yet too often this same arrogance besets us today. Listen to what God says to ancient Babylon at the zenith of her power:

Come down, sit in the dust, O virgin daughter Babylon; Sit on the ground, dethroned, O daughter of the Chaldeans. No longer shall you be called dainty and delicate. I will take vengeance, I will yield to no entreaty … Go into darkness and sit in silence, No longer shall you be called sovereign mistress of kingdoms …

Now hear this, voluptuous one, enthroned securely, Saying to yourself, “I, and no one else! I shall never be a widow, or suffer the loss of my children”—Both these things shall come to you suddenly, in a single day: Complete bereavement and widowhood shall come upon you For your many sorceries and the great number of your spells; Because you felt secure in your wickedness, and said, “No one sees me.”

Your wisdom and your knowledge led you astray, And you said to yourself, “I, and no one else!” But upon you shall come evil you will not know how to predict; Disaster shall befall you which you cannot allay. Suddenly there shall come upon you ruin which you will not expect (Isaiah 47: 1-15 selected).

Be soberly attentive, dear reader, and pray. For it is hard to read words like these and not see how they apply precisely to an age like ours! And before you exultantly say, “Bring it on!” please consider how instantly different our lives would be. Are you really ready for a world with no electricity, no Internet, and no central government with a Bill of Rights? Are you ready to live without roads, running water, and trash collection? Repentance is a far better solution. So pray for a miracle!

What was (is) Babylon? At one level, it is an historical nation-state at the time of the ancient Jews. There were others: Egypt, Assyria, Medo-Persia, and later Greece and Rome. But all these powers, though real historical places, also symbolized the world and all its glories arrayed against God and His kingdom.

  1. Egypt with its power, its fleshpots, and its leeks and onions was something the ancient Jews were always pining after. Abram ran there during a drought instead of trusting God to sustain him in the Holy Land. When Moses led the people out, they were always looking back, forgetting the slavery and remembering the fleshpots. They loved the world and trusted it more than God.
  2. In their fear against invaders, the Jews were ever succumbing to the temptation to make alliances with Assyria and Egypt (i.e., with the world and its power). “Trusting God is too risky. Let’s trust in Egypt or Assyria. Let’s trust in the world to come through for us.”
  3. In Babylonian exile, the Jews left, singing that they would never forget Jerusalem. But after 8o years in Babylon (a symbol of the world and its empires) most had no interest in returning to the Promised Land (a symbol of Heaven) when they were allowed to do so. They preferred Babylon and its hanging gardens to God’s kingdom. Only a small number returned. “Why should I go back to Israel? I have a pretty nice little jewelry shop I run here in Babylon on the corner of Tigris and Euphrates Avenues …”

And thus places like Babylon, Egypt, Sodom, Assyria, and later Greece and Rome, were not just city-states; they were symbols of the world arrayed against God and vying for that place in our heart that belongs to Him. The prophets often accused Jerusalem herself of having become Sodom, Egypt, and Babylon.

But no kingdom of this world can or will stand. In the age of the Church, and even prior to that in the Old Testament period of the Church, kingdoms came and went. Nations rose and fell. Empires emerged and collapsed. Where is Nimrod now? Where is Pharaoh Necho? Where are Cyrus the Persian, Alexander the Great, Caesar Nero, Napoleon, Stalin, and Chairman Mao?

But what of us? All those ancient kingdoms fell not merely because their time was up, but because of sin and the collapse that pride and sin bring. And as for us, how can a nation or culture stand that is increasingly permeated by pride, godlessness, corruption, fornication, abortion, sexual confusion, families in crisis, lack of sexual self-control, gluttony, drug use, alcoholism, rampant pornography, and ridicule of authority, tradition, and faith?

Consider a similar passage from the Book of Revelation (Chapter 18) warning the faithful about “Babylon.” (By 90 AD Babylon was actually long gone. Thus “Babylon” here is a symbol for the world and its tendency to fall into corruption.) John was saying that the “Great City” (Jerusalem – the great city which is allegorically called Sodom and Egypt, where their Lord was crucified – Rev 11:8) had become Babylon. And he develops this theme in Revelation 18. Sadly, by 70 AD, having been given 40 years to repent, Jerusalem was sacked, burned, and utterly destroyed just as this prophecy had warned.

Have America and the West become like Babylon? Does the chilling judgment that came on Jerusalem and many other ancient cultures now apply to us? It would seem so unless repentance comes quickly. Hear and heed the warning given to ancient Jerusalem (which had become like Babylon) on this eve of the new year. Babylon is

I. Dominated by Demons – The text says,  After this I saw another angel coming down from heaven, having great authority; and the earth was made bright with his splendor. And he called out with a mighty voice, “Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great!  It has become a dwelling place of demons,  a haunt of every foul spirit,  a haunt of every foul and hateful bird; for all nations have drunk the wine of her impure passion,  and the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her,  and the merchants of the earth have grown rich with the wealth of her wantonness.” Then I heard another voice from heaven saying,  “Come out of her, my people,  lest you take part in her sins,  lest you share in her plagues; for her sins are heaped high as heaven,  and God has remembered her iniquities. Render to her as she herself has rendered,  and repay her double for her deeds;  mix a double draught for her in the cup she mixed (Rev 18:1-6).

And as ancient Jerusalem was said to have the abomination of desolation (Mat 24:15), so too has our age embraced and even celebrated many abominations: abortion, fornication, homosexual acts, and the greed that becomes injustice to the poor. Scripture speaks of four sins that cry out to Heaven for vengeance: murder (Gn 4:10), homosexual acts (acts of sodomy)  (Gn 18:20-21), oppression of the poor (Ex 2:23), and defrauding workers of their just wages (Jas 5:4). There are also sins against the Holy Spirit, sins that harden a soul by rejecting the Holy Spirit. Six sins are in this category: despair, presumption, envy, obstinacy in sin, final impenitence, and deliberate resistance to the known truth.

Welcome to America after the social revolution. Pre-revolution America (prior to 1968) was no paradise, but there was more of a sense of basic right and wrong. Now everything is up for debate, and what used to slink around in back alleys now parades down Main Street in broad daylight.

To all this demonic influence, celebration of depravity, and excessive passion comes the plea, “Come out of here, my people!” Otherwise we will share in Babylon’s punishment. Make no compromises with this modern age, which has become the dwelling place of demons. Celebrating its secularism, our age, in rejecting God, has delivered itself to the machination of demons and all sort of human foolishness.

Stay sober, my friends, and see this age for what it is becoming: the dwelling place of demons, the haunt of every foul spirit, impure passion, and wanton desire. Have custody of your eyes and guard your heart!

II. Defiant in Depravity –   As she glorified herself and played the wanton,  so give her a like measure of torment and mourning.  Since in her heart she says, ‘A queen I sit,  I am no widow, mourning I shall never see’  (Rev 18:7).  

Yes, no matter how high the body count rises from abortion, from the broken lives of children raised without fathers, from exposure to pornography, from the celebration of greed and whatever is base or decadent—the modern West is too drunk to notice the harm she inflicts on herself. 70 million abortions, more than half of children raised in fatherless homes and in chaos … never mind all that! We are liberated. We will do as we please. We will not be told what to do!

And thus defiance and even the celebration of what is wicked and cries to heaven for vengeance continues apace. Despite all sorts statistics that say we are in real trouble, most go on calling “good” or “no big deal” what God calls sin. But God will not be mocked and ultimately we cannot avoid the consequences of our increasing depravity. At some point, God will have to end it if we do not repent.

Sadly, our defiance makes it seem unlikely that we will repent.

III. Destined for Destruction So shall her plagues come in a single day,  pestilence and mourning and famine,  and she shall be burned with fire;  for mighty is the Lord God who judges her … Alas, alas, for the great city where all who had ships at sea grew rich by her wealth!  In one hour she has been laid waste. Rejoice over her, O heaven, O saints and apostles and prophets, for God has given judgment for you against her!” Then a mighty angel took up a stone like a great millstone and threw it into the sea, saying, “So shall Babylon the great city be thrown down with violence, and shall be found no more; and the sound of harpers and minstrels, of flute players and trumpeters, shall be heard in thee no more; and a craftsman of any craft shall be found in thee no more; and the sound of the millstone shall be heard in thee no more; and the light of a lamp shall shine in thee no more;  and the voice of bridegroom and bride  shall be heard in thee no more;  for thy merchants were the great men of the earth,  and all nations were deceived by thy sorcery. And in her was found the blood of prophets and of saints,  and of all who have been slain on earth” (Rev 18:8, 19-24).

Jerusalem, the great city, the holy city, was utterly destroyed. 1.2 million Jewish people lost their lives in the conflagration. Jerusalem was burned, and when the Romans were finished, not one stone was left on another. Jesus had warned of this day in the Mt. Olivet discourses  (Mark 13Matthew 24Luke 21) and had wept over Jerusalem: O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, killing the prophets and stoning those who are sent to you! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you would not! Behold, your house is forsaken and desolate (Matt 23:37-38).

And what of us? Will we repent? Or will we be defiant and destined for destruction? Pray for America. Pray for the West. Pray for our culture, which still has great goodness but has succumbed to much corruption.

IV. Depressing in Desolation – And the kings of the earth, who committed fornication and were wanton with her, will weep and wail over her when they see the smoke of her burning; they will stand far off, in fear of her torment, and say, “Alas! alas! thou great city, thou mighty city, Babylon!  In one hour has thy judgment come.” And the merchants of the earth weep and mourn for her, since no one buys their cargo any more, cargo of gold, silver, jewels and pearls, fine linen, purple, silk and scarlet, all kinds of scented wood, all articles of ivory, all articles of costly wood, bronze, iron and marble, cinnamon, spice, incense, myrrh, frankincense, wine, oil, fine flour and wheat, cattle and sheep, horses and chariots, and slaves, that is, human souls. “The fruit for which thy soul longed has gone from thee, and all thy dainties and thy splendor are lost to thee, never to be found again!” The merchants of these wares, who gained wealth from her, will stand far off, in fear of her torment, weeping and mourning aloud, “Alas, alas, for the great city that was clothed in fine linen, in purple and scarlet, bedecked with gold, with jewels, and with pearls! In one hour all this wealth has been laid waste.” And all shipmasters and seafaring men, sailors and all whose trade is on the sea, stood far off and cried out as they saw the smoke of her burning, “What city was like the great city?” And they threw dust on their heads, as they wept and mourned, crying out,  “Alas, alas, for the great city” (Rev 18:9-19).

Here’s the bottom line: Satan sails a sinking ship. Nothing of this world can stand except on the firm foundation of Christ and His Church. Too many Christians are in a compromised state with a sinful world. Scripture says, For here we have no lasting city, but we seek the city which is to come. Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name. Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God (Heb 13:15-16).

In this new year, pray for our Western world as never before. We have brought great gifts to the world through our marriage with Christ. But now, acting like an angry divorcée, we have forsaken Him and turned to great wickedness. But God still seeks us and wants to renew His covenant with us.

Pray. And before you exultantly say, “Bring on the destruction!” please consider that this is no “made-for-TV movie.” Think about how instantly different our lives would be! Please consider the bloodshed and loss of life. Again, would you be ready for a world with no electricity, no Internet, and no central government with a Bill of Rights? Are you ready to live without roads, running water, and trash collection? Repentance is a far better solution. So pray for a miracle! It doesn’t have to end in destruction. Jerusalem could have repented, and we still can.

The Church will survive. God’s will shall prevail. But what of our beloved country and the West? That is up to us.

So pray at this dawn of the new year. Pray a lot. Only then will it be a “Happy New Year!”

For the sake of His sorrowful passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world!

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Comments (104)

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  1. Frank says:

    I always greatly appreciate your words posted here.
    Yes, I am going to pray for this country with you.

    After reading, I have been reminded of the Our Lady of Akita, which is approved by Holy See.
    Here is an excerpt (

    October 13, 1973

    “My dear daughter, listen well to what I have to say to you. You will inform your superior.”

    After a short silence:

    “As I told you, if men do not repent and better themselves, the Father will inflict a terrible punishment on all humanity. It will be a punishment greater than the deluge, such as one will never seen before. Fire will fall from the sky and will wipe out a great part of humanity, the good as well as the bad, sparing neither priests nor faithful. The survivors will find themselves so desolate that they will envy the dead. The only arms which will remain for you will be the Rosary and the Sign left by My Son. Each day recite the prayers of the Rosary. With the Rosary, pray for the Pope, the bishops and priests.”

    “The work of the devil will infiltrate even into the Church in such a way that one will see cardinals opposing cardinals, bishops against bishops. The priests who venerate me will be scorned and opposed by their confreres…churches and altars sacked; the Church will be full of those who accept compromises and the demon will press many priests and consecrated souls to leave the service of the Lord.

    “The demon will be especially implacable against souls consecrated to God. The thought of the loss of so many souls is the cause of my sadness. If sins increase in number and gravity, there will be no longer pardon for them”

    “With courage, speak to your superior. He will know how to encourage each one of you to pray and to accomplish works of reparation.”

    “It is Bishop Ito, who directs your community.”

    And She smiled and then said:

    “You have still something to ask? Today is the last time that I will speak to you in living voice. From now on you will obey the one sent to you and your superior.”

    “Pray very much the prayers of the Rosary. I alone am able still to save you from the calamities which approach. Those who place their confidence in me will be saved.”

    For the sake of his sorrowful passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world!


  2. Michael Petek says:

    The best Christmas read I’ve had this year is an article by Professor Jeffrey C. Tuomala of Liberty University “Nuremberg and the Crime of Abortion”.

    Use this in litigation, and the US (and many other countries) will have to make a binary choice. Either abortion is a crime against humanity, or Hitler was right.

    If they make the wrong choice, then it really is the end.

  3. a catholic psychologist says:

    Fear focuses the attention. Let us hope that we focus and pray before it’s too late.

  4. Marianna says:

    A very timely article! I have just switched off the TV because of what was on offer for New Year’s Eve entertainment here in Australia, It looked like it was dominated by demons and defiant in depravity, and all the rest of those red headings are inevitable unless we repent and earnestly pray for a miracle. It’s not a hopeless case if enough people do this. An extra Mass during the week, a Rosary prayed while driving, all good New Year resolutions. Remember Romans 5:20 that “where evil abounds grace abounds more.”
    “For the sake of His sorrowful passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world.”

  5. Annette Strachan says:

    The thought of bridle high blood for 200 miles is.enough to try to say a rosary a day and keep the devil away.

  6. Chris Caudle says:

    I will pray. I really worry that my family – my children – will see this destruction.

    Jesus, have mercy. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners.

    • Michael Petek says:

      Your words, Chris, make me relieved as a European that I do not have children. If I had any, and in particular if I had daughters, I would rather see them die than have to live under the tsunami of radical Islam that’s coming for us.

      It would be less bad if the godless would hurry up and either repent or abort and contracept themselves into non-existence. The kiss of death is when so-called Christians do this.

  7. Mark says:

    Let’s seize the day for the kingdom of God is at hand.

    Today’s readings are a complement to this essay. They are encouraging, as well.

  8. Tim Danaher says:

    Father, thanks for the warning. We are in dire need of conversion. Unfortunately, I don’t see much faith in the pews or on the alters that give me hope. I pray for conversions of heart for the church. I pray for the defeat of the Culture of Death and a renewal of the Culture of Live. I pray for more priest and bishops like you who speak the uncomfortable truth in season and out. Keep up the great work in 2015. Thank you for your priesthood.

    • Thanks, and do not lose heart when looking at the “big picture” True reform in the Church has almost always come from a remnant.

      • Louise says:

        Yes, Monsignor, I believe you are correct. At a recent Advent/Gaudete Sunday party, in a home full of faithful Catholics, many of whom are well known as leaders in the Church, one remarked, “This is the remnant.” There is solace in that thinking, to be sure. But, what suffering will be required of the remnant to bring about this reform? Must we and our children (and theirs) suffer dire persecutions and lose our lives in the process? And, how does the remnant fully find one another and unite itself throughout our country and world?

  9. David says:

    Thank you Monsignor for the candor of Truth in this all-too unspoken, untaught, and inconsidered prophecy of The Gospel.
    Is the verse citation of Gn 17:20-21 regarding the four sins that cry out to Heaven for vengeance correct?

    May God Bless and Save us all

  10. jim magner says:

    Please, go to the website ” and read the excerpt for this week. Then you will know the solution for our current sinfullness. Go tho the foot of the cross, where Christ is renewing His Salvation of souls every minute of every day The Mass.

  11. C Beltz says:

    Thank you Msgr for another great meditation. My church is opening the adoration chapel tonite through midnight. I will pray for a miracle in our future (and past) that will bring about the repentance we so desperately need.

    Happy New Year and God Bless you.

  12. TONY CAMILLO says:

    God is not to be mocked. As we continue to sow wind we shall harvest the whirlwind.
    Thank you for this very timely reminder Msgr Pope!

  13. Mike says:

    True words.. although you forgot widespread sin of birth control, rampant political corruption and pornography. I think the worse sin is corruption of the very young. God cannot allow this to continue.

    But prayer is powerful. And the best thing for Christians to do is to attend to their own sins- go to confession frequently, and live each day in the love God calls us to.

    “Fear not, I am with you always.”

  14. Anne says:

    And yet ,,, everything appears so “normal.” This message is not heard from the pulpit. It is never the headline in our diocesan newspapers. No one wants to hear this message delivered with convincing urgency and explained thoroughly as Msgr. Pope has done. Try to talk about this at your workplace, at a family gathering, or even in parish circles. No one will want to hear you and you will either be thought an over the top alarmist or at worst a unwelcome presence disturbing the peace.

    • Andrew Nelson says:

      You can be extreme in anything these days except Jesus Christ. The darkness hates the light, so when anyone brings the truth of Christ, they can expect resistance. But we cannot be silent and cowards. We have to speak and defend the truth.

  15. Kelso says:

    Thanks as always Monsignor. Knowing your delicate position, if you are a prophet (and in a way I think you are) then ought you not to proclaim your message to the visible head of the Church. He obviously does not share your realistic views. A prophet, who has some authority (as a priest) should send his appeal to the pope, don’t you think? I mean our canonized John Paul II kissed the Koran, would have been good if he did publoic penance for that don’t you think? Where were the prophets to indict him? No, he gets canonized instead. And Pope Francis is, apparently, clueless — a herald of false ecumenism. I do not know if you will post this. Then, again, if Saint Catherine of Siena were alive. would you post her missives and public comments criticizing the pope? They are right to the point and aimed at the head, where they ought to be aimed. With reverence as she did. Again, you may ask why the last six popes have disobeyed the Mother of God refusing to consecrate Russia to Mary’s Immaculate Heart. Ought thy not to be criticized? How outrageous a disobedience is this! If you want to be tough, Dear Father, be tough. Take the flack. That’s what heroic sanctity involves — of course among all the other things. The world will only get worse when the pope gets away with nonsense! And “traditional-minded” Catholic priests refuse to be prophets. You do know what I mean by a “prophet”? One who tells the truth in opposition to the lies.

  16. vikkij says:

    Thank you, Msgr. You are a prophet in our time. Please continue to preach to us with such passion and Truth.
    I will be joining in these prayers as well.

    God Bless you and have a blessed New Year.

  17. Petrus Romanus says:

    What a prophet of Doom! How negative you are! Focus on what is good in this world and breath some fresh air of ressourcement and aggorginamento into it! How insulting to the memory of past saintly pontiffs that you would ignore their admonition of condeming. As Francis said: Do not judge! You sit on your throne of triumphalism and accuse others of being weak. How rigid and Pharisaical of you!

    • 🙂 I’m feeling condemned, accused and judged by you Petrus! Heu Mihi!

      OTH Your comment is so overly laden with buzzwords and internal contradiction that I suppose you are being facetious.

      Just for the record, in case others of the ilk you describe ARE serious, My hope is in the Church, I do pray for my country and culture but am aware that other nations and cultures have been plowed under, prior to ours in the age of the Church. The Church will be here, to be sure, thus my hope is intact. But at the end I am not so sure that the “culture of death” as JP II and Benedict termed it, will survive its suicidal walk. I pray for our conversion however.

      • Jim says:


        Two things: #1 — concerning judging others — Ezekiel 33:7-9 tells us that if we do not admonish those who are sinning, God will hold US responsible for their death — they will die, but so will we (for not informing them). To admonish sinners (keeping in mind we all sin, at least in little ways), we must JUDGE rightly what constitutes a sin, and then tell the world.

        When Jesus (and Pope Francis) said not to judge, He meant not to judge the heart of the sinner, because no one but God knows a person’s culpability for their sin. But, we can and should call a spade a spade (i.e., judge the behavior). If your friend told you he was going to try crack for the first time this evening, would you not judge that behavior and try to help your friend avoid his own destruction?

        #2 — please read Proverbs 27:12 ( before posting again. You are naive, my friend.

        • Petrus Romanus says:

          Prudence dictates that we apply the medicine of mercy in this day and age and, following the actions of John XXIII, approach the so-called ills of our world not in a gloomy manner but in a pastoral way – the same way the beautiful Synod on the Family approached the issue of the divorced and remarried and the same way the holy men who allowed the Holy Spirit to lead them into a deeper understanding of the faith at Vatican II did.

          By referencing that verse in Proverbs you seems to suggest that the Church should close itself up and form a sort of bunker mentality! Like the doctors who treated the Ebola victims in Africa, you would ostensibly have us dress up in full protective gear when interacting with the beauty of the world around us! You must be a rad trad stuck in amber in the 1950s, Do you not know the great accomplishments recent popes have had by critically engaging with the modern world? Just look at the astronomical growth in mass attendance, converts, vocations and zeal taking place among Catholics in their now un-Clericalistic parishes since the Church decided, in the 1960s, to return to the practices of the Early Christians.

          Moreover, we must, as Saint John Paul II the great did, dialogue with those who lead what Fr Barron once called “the great religions” of the world. Before the 1960s, leaders of non-Catholic religions were seen as heretical and the Church told the utterly docile, obedient laity to not engage in interfaith acts with them! Now, thanks to the guidance of the Holy Spirit, that legalistic approach has been done away with. We now get to listen to beautiful Muslim prayers recited by Imams in the Vatican Gardens.

          In all reality, your assertion that we “call a spaid a spaid” harkens back to an age of polemics between all of God’s children. All people are members of the human family. We are all brothers and sisters. Gentile or Jew. There is no difference. We need to, as Francis said in his book with Rabbi Skorka, simply “walk together in a reconciled diversity” in this new day and age where the Holy Spirit is full of surprises and makes us grow deeper in our faith and in fraternity with others. How rigid you are for intimating that we try to “admonish” (a code word for proselytize) those who follow where God leads them.

          Finally, what you say about being held accountable for others is utterly blasphemous. Francis told Protestant Bishop Tony Palmer to not convert to Catholicism. John Paul II believed Luther to be a “deeply religious man.” Rick Warren,a non-Catholic, helped educate the Princes of the Church at the recent Humanum conference and no one tried to “dissuade” him from being a non-Catholic. Furthermore, Benedict XVI had deep respect for our “elder brothers” in the faith, the followers of Judaism, and said their covenant is still valid. Are you saying that Catholics will be held responsible for not trying to convert these non-Catholics? The USCCB told us in a press release several years ago that we are not to “sheep steel” from other Churches! Nostra Aetete demands that we stop trying to convert non-Christians. Quit living in the past and trying to twist Christ’s words that “all may be one.” As Cardinal Kaspar once said “we can no longer understand ecumenism in the sense of a return to the Catholic Church”

          • Repent and Believe the Gospel! says:

            “Finally, what you say about being held accountable for others is utterly blasphemous.”

            Blasphemous????? PLEASE DON’T INSULT MY INTELLIGENCE.

            “Francis told Protestant Bishop Tony Palmer to not convert to Catholicism.”

            So what… who cares…even if it is true. The pope IS NOT Jesus.

            So the verse below is “Blasphemous”? JOKER, please read your Bible:

            “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit..” – Matthew 28:19

          • Petrus Romanus says:

            So, in your eyes, it doesn’t matter that Saint Francis, I mean, Pope Francis, told a non-Catholic not to convert but then you go and proof text a Scripture verse at me that says to “go and make disciples of all nations” ? I will not follow your word trickery but instead will follow the Holy Father’s belief that “proselytism is solemn nonsense” and simply encourage my non-Catholic friends to stay where they are and work for visible unity and brother among all Christian Churches. This Matthew character that you cite, by the way, sounds like he was writing in the Dark Ages. I think we need to understand the context he was writing in. I am sure that if the Bible told us to “make disciples of all nations” the Popes wouldn’t be praising other religions and their leaders as would instead be doing everything they can to persuade non-Catholics to accept the Pope as the Vicar of Christ and recognize that the Church of Christ is the Catholic Church.

          • Andrew Nelson says:

            If a person truly believes in the presence of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist, why would they not desire others to come home to the Catholic Church? It is through the love of Jesus Christ and the love of all souls, which will drive a Catholic to bring others to the Church. It would be a lack of true charity to purposely keep others from the graces which can be obtained through the sacraments in the Church. Although, as John the Baptist stated, we have to repent. And Jesus Christ proclaimed there was no greater prophet than John the Baptist.

          • Repent and Believe the Gospel! says:

            “go and make disciples of all nations” ? I will not follow your word trickery but instead will follow the Holy Father’s belief that “proselytism is solemn nonsense” and simply encourage my non-Catholic friends to stay where they are and work for visible unity and brother among all Christian Churches.”

            You are a LIBERAL KNOW-NOTHING, “go and make disciples of all nations.” ARE THE WORDS OF JESUS CHRIST!

            Jesus’ WORDS ARE ETERNAL and A COMMAND but you Petrus are full of trickery!

          • Jim says:

            Petrus — You take major leaps in your assumptions about me; and, as you did with Monsignor, you judge me and then condemn me — ironic for a person who claims to stand against being judgmental. Oh, that’s right, I forgot — liberals are tolerant as long as you hold the same view as them; but otherwise …

            An example of one of your assumptions: you assert, “By referencing that verse in Proverbs you seems (sic) to suggest that the Church should close itself up and form a sort of bunker mentality!” No indeed, that is not at all what I was suggesting. But, I was suggesting that we should not be naive about the storm clouds that are on the horizon. I appreciate people like the Monsignor who proclaim the truth (about the brewing storm), not people who stick their heads in the sand, and / or water down the truth for fear that they will offend someone.

            With regard to my “blasphemy” (“Finally, what you say about being held accountable for others is utterly blasphemous.”): well, it comes straight from the Bible — perhaps I should listen to you instead of the Bible? Here’s the quote, Petrus, I’m making it easy for you to look it up:
            Read in particular verses seven through nine. You are on extremely thin ice to suggest the Bible is blasphemous.

            I could pick apart numerous other comments in your reply, but I will just do one more. You “admonish” me and point out to me that “we are all brothers and sisters.” I’d like to challenge you to point out anything in my post that even remotely could be interpreted to mean that I don’t believe we’re all brothers and sisters. I totally agree that we are all brothers and sisters, that Jesus died for everyone — note how you judged and condemned me, and all of that on the basis of your mis-assumption of what I think.

            But here’s the main point, Petrus: some of our brothers and sisters are going to Hell — and neither is my salvation certain. Pop quiz: how long does Hell last? The Blessed Mother at Fatima showed Hell to the children, and the numerous souls that were there already. They were in flames, and they will be there FOREVER. You can’t die and get out of Hell, you can’t be released for good behavior, you can never be released after serving your time — it is ETERNAL separation from God. As Jesus said about Judas, “It would have been better had that man never been born.”

            You, Petrus, are mis-guided — if you actually loved our brothers and sisters, you would tell them the truth, like Monsignor. And yes, I am clearly judging your post as harmful to others — although I’ll take my own advice and not judge your heart — maybe your parents or your wife or your friends are all liberal, or maybe you just watch MSNBC 24/7 — so, there might be some mitigating factors in your case.

          • Richard Connell says:

            “How rigid you are for intimating that we try to “admonish” (a code word for proselytize) those who follow where God leads them. “–Aren’t you admonishing Msgr. Pope for following where God is leading him?

          • Andrew Nelson says:

            Only traditional Catholics cannot admonish anyone. But the traditional Catholic can be admonished by all, even by the leaders of the Church. Everyone gets a pass these days except people trying to follow the teachings of Jesus Christ. Many do not believe the grace of Jesus Christ can free us from our sinful ways, which is a lack of supernatural faith. We rely only on our strength, which is weak, and not the strength of Jesus Christ which can overcome any sin.

    • Repent and Believe the Gospel! says:

      Poor Petrus, doesn’t even read the Scriptures by shooting off your mouth with “How insulting….that you would ignore their (the pontiffs) admonition of condeming.”

      If only you are educated in theology, then you can come and talk to me, or else you are just an amateur:

      Do not judge (give me a break amateur…judges make judgement all the time)?

      Read the whole Bible, liberal:

      “He who persists in Sin, REBUKE him in the presence of all.” – 1 Timothy 5:20

    • Iacomus says:

      Folks, this Petrus person is trolling (the name informs even before reading) and taking cheap shots at our Holy Father and a few of his predecessors. Perhaps a meditation on Proverbs ch.29 is in order.
      Msgr’s testimony is spot on, though. The Church will always stand; God’s Word remains firm forever… we must do penance and pray because babylon is always temporary.
      “In the lifetime of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that shall never be destroyed or delivered up to another people; rather, it shall break in pieces all these kingdoms and put an end to them, and it shall stand forever.” (Daniel 2:44)

  18. DThomas says:

    I recall a study I did a several years ago, sparked by a reading of Revelation 6 (which begins with the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse). In verse 4, the second of riders is given a sword and the ability to take peace from the earth and cause men to slay each other. Out of curiosity is did a study on the death toll of our last century and came up with the same figure cited here: conservatively speaking, 200 million dead by the hand of their fellow men since the outset of the First World War. Then I did a study in world population at the end of the first century AD. I was stunned to learn that by our best estimates, world population at the time Revelation was written and this prophecy delivered was around 200 million.

    In other words, we have seen a 100% fulfillment of John’s prophecy of this eschatological reality alone, essentially within living memory. Of course, this doesn’t even address the other mind-numbing realities mentioned in this article. If we do not pray now, when will we pray? What would be enough?

  19. Jim says:

    A devout Catholic friend of mine recently told me that, in St. Faustina’s Diary, she documents that Jesus told her that every time someone prays three times, “O blood and water, which gushed forth from the heart of Jesus as a fount of mercy for us, I trust in you,” that someone in the world somewhere is given the grace of conversion. Presuming this is true, this (after the Rosary) is an incredibly important prayer — we can secure God’s grace for the world to obtain many conversions, which in turn could save the world.

    I believe I read somewhere that, at Fatima, the Blessed Mother told the visionaries that many will be saved through the prayers of a few (like the people reading and posting here). So, that is hopeful.

    Another thought: Romans 8:28 is such a beautiful verse, telling us that all things — including the incredibly horrible things that appear to be on the horizon — work together for the good for those who love the Lord.

    A final thought: since the Akita quote in the first comment above notes “those who place their confidence in me (the Blessed Mother) will be saved,” it may behoove all of us to ensure we have a statue of the Blessed Mother outside our house, for our protection, as well as to provide a witness to a weary world.

  20. MLS says:

    Ninevah repented and was spared. I will be praying deeply for our country and for the west. This article has inspired me to action. Come Holy Spirit!

  21. Jennifer says:

    Monsignor Pope, thank you for being our true friend and being willing to state the whole truth. You don’t sugar coat anything, and I appreciate this so much. God bless you and I’m so grateful for your Internet presence.

  22. Karl F. Leinfelder says:

    As I have completed with my professional career I now have become more interested in other things. One of these includes spiritual reflections and reading. This “epistula minor” on the “state of our spiritual health” as written here was one of the best presentations to which I have ever been exposed. It was beautifully generated and to the point. It is my opinion that this is exactly the sort of approach that should be taken on Sunday morning when the priest addresses the congregation (homily/sermon). It makes so much sense and quite frankly discusses the most important concern that should be experienced by all of those desiring a spiritual objective. The message is so real and factual that anyone exposed to it would automatically and immediately be considerably more focused on what is a very serious matter. The author (Msgr. Charles Pope) is a gifted writer and blessed with a great talent. I certainly will search the publications for more of his deliberations.
    Karl Leinfelder

  23. Richard Connell says:

    In a way, we are already experiencing chastisement in that we are compelled to live in a society that has all the evils already noted.

    St. Faustina pray for us.

  24. Nate says:

    Very good sermon Msgr. I see a lot of parallels between now and the early 16th Century: the Church succumbing to corruption in the wake of a failed Council, the Germans espousing heresy en masse, Islam on the march, etc.

    We need something along the lines of the Counter-Reformation.

  25. Joannes Romanus says:

    Dear Father,

    thank you for this beautiful meditation!
    The only thing that leaves me a little perplexed is the lack of references to the eternal consequences of sin. Scary at it may be, the loss of wordly comfort totally pales in comparison with the loss of the Beatific Vision.
    Why are clergy these days so reluctant to talk about the last four things?

  26. Peter says:

    The Old Testament is full of examples of what happened to people when they disobey God and his commandments. There is a price to pay for worshipping the golden cow under its many disguises. Personally I don’t think that the Western culture will survive. The Jews went into the exile and who is to say that the same fate does not await us?

    • Nate says:

      Western culture IS Catholicism. The geographic/cultural realm that we typically refer to as the West has been abandoning Western culture since Luther. If you want to restore Western culture, you have to restore the Faith. Without doing that first, we are just building sand castles.

      • Marie says:

        “Western culture IS Catholicism” That sentence is not true at all, Nate. Would be true if rephrased to something like, “Western culture was created under the influence of Catholic values” or something like that. But to equate the two is completely false.

        Catholicism is bigger than any one culture (see very definition of “catholic”). For one thing, there are the Eastern Catholics (e.g. Maronite, Byzantine, etc). For another, there’s the Roman Catholic Church happily enculturated into the local culture in parts of the world such as Africa or India where customs are quite different from what we know as “Western Culture.”

        • Nate says:

          I disagree. The culture of Europe was different before the arrival of the Church as were the cultures of Africa and India. The core of a culture is religion, not its food or style of hat. As Europe returns to paganism, it becomes less ‘Western’ even if the term has a geographical connotation that doesn’t really apply to what it is we are describing .Christopher Dawson explains this far better than I could. I encourage you to read his works.

  27. Br. John Maria Devaney, OP says:

    Reading this made me numb because it is true and something that runs across my mind often as I approach ordination to the priesthood this May. Yet, we can never,never loose our Hope and our Joy because that along with our prayers, fasting and supplications will win hearts and (more importantly nowadays) minds to the Gospel.

    I think as the baby boomers face death in the next 20-40 years there will be many a change of heart and there will be a generation of young zealous GenXer and Millennial priests (and fellow boomers priests like your self Msgr. Pope) who are ready to dispense the Mercy of Christ as those hearts are changing. Unless, of course the lapse Catholic terminal boomer opts for the cocktail and never taught the kids to call the priest as they slip into the coma and die, and of course Christ hasn’t returned. Have Mercy!

    Pray the Rosary!! Jesus I Trust in You!

    P.S. – Great use of CCR at the end by the way, Msgr. Pope! New Evangelization!

  28. Taylor says:

    Well-done Msgr Pope. How does one come out of or leave the implicated “city” like Lott left Sodom and Gomorrah? What are geographical and spiritual boundaries of Western Civilization?

  29. Hilary White says:

    This is great, but your numbers are way off. And I mean by a factor of ten at least. It wasn’t 100 million dead from ‘ideologies” including Nazism. It was 100 million from Communism alone. National Socialism has to be counted separately. And 200 million from war and abortion together? We hit the estimated 50-55 million abortions *a year* a few years ago, and that number does not include the countless millions in China which country does not report their abortion statistics to the usual counting bodies like the WHO and UNFPA. 200 million is how many abortions there were in the last 4 years around the world (not including China, and taking a very large grain of salt over the stats from abortion-giant nations like Russia and India where abortion is more or less out of control.) The death toll from abortion was estimated recently at about 1 billion since it was first legalised in Russia in 1920. The genocides have to take at least another 50 million. Don’t forget that a lot of this genociding and mass slaughtering business was conducted out of sight of the “West” in the 20th century. Armenia (1.2 million), Japan (Tojo killed an estimated 5 million), 1.5 in Ethiopia, 1 million in Biafra, 900,000 in Afghanistan by the Soviets, 800,000 in Rwanda… And the numbers killed by Mao are hotly disputed, with some saying that his total was nearer 75-78 million than the 30 million usually quoted. And we haven’t even got to WWII…

  30. lindie says:

    Thank you dear Priest. It cannot be easy writing these words as the year ends and the Dawn of another comes.
    I had read much lately on “victim souls”. It is a recurring thought that has manifested itself in thought and heart.
    The last image of Fatima seems to point in that direction. All victim souls led by our Holy Father, climbing and dying as they passed through a desolate destroyed city towards the Holy Spirit, the burning Sacred Heart of Jesus within the splendor of the Holy Cross. Jesus save souls!

  31. Dan says:

    Thank you, Msgr. Pope, for this great post. Sure, I will join you in prayer for America, the West and the World. It is a pity that the World (or the Church?) had ignored our Lady of Fatima and Akita. Lord, have mercy upon us and the whole World!

  32. Alphonsus Jr. says:

    Too true. Too true! Yet, incredibly, not a word about the supreme catastrophe of the 20th century.

    “At the close of a long life (for I was born in 1905 and I now see the year 1990), I can say that it has been marked by exceptional world events: three world wars, that which took place from 1914 to 1918, that which took place from 1939 to 1945, and that of the Second Vatican Council from 1962 to 1965. The disasters caused by these three wars, and especially by the last of them, are incalculable in the domain of material ruins, but even more so in the spiritual realm.”

    -Abp. Marcel Lefebvre, Prologue, Spiritual Journey

    • I’m not in the habit of calling valid Councils “catastrophes” there were things done imprudently after the Council and such as that has been discussed here. But I would not agree with you that the Council per se was a supreme catastrophe.

      The New Mass needs work, at least in the manner it is celebrated. We are left to speculate if we would have been more or less ready to deal with the cultural revolution had the Council not happened or the mass not changed.

      I don’t think the Orthodox who changed little or nothing have fared any better and they are certainly not a stellar example of packed and growing churches or of a juggernaut against the revolution. So I think we are left to speculate what would have, or might have happened if not for the Council.

      Frankly why aren’t traditional movements and attendance at TLMs growing? The number is DC haven’t grown in over a decade.

      And lets not forget that the number of Catholics worldwide is growing not shrinking.

      So, I think we have a cultural problem compounded by a weak-kneed church. I think the Council and Liturgy are not the “supreme catastrophe” you described.

      And lets not forget it was the “brats” schooled in the old system and raised with the TLM who threw the revolution. So something bad was already going on.

      • Unbelievable says:

        …The new mass needs work…

        You are full of it monsigneur-

        Seriously the new mass is nothing more than PROTESTANT JUNK!

        • Yes, I would probably emphasize restoring the proper orientation.

          When you say I am “full of it” can I suppose you mean the Holy Spirit. If not and you mean something else, I might ask you to ponder if going to the TLM has helped you grow in Charity. Apparently not. Hence continue going, but ask the Lord to increase charity in you. For two men went to the temple to pray…. (and I leave it you to look up the parable and ponder its meaning for you). Hint: where is the personal conversion that true liturgy should effect?

          As for the OF being “PROTESTANT JUNK!” First there is no need to yell. Secondly your comment bespeaks a woeful ignorance of the Liturgical Movement which began back about 1900 and included figures like Pius X and Pius XII. There are important elements in the OF that are worthy of that movement even if you don’t personally like them. e.g. the new lectionary which well expands the selection of sacred Scripture, permission for the Mass to be said more audibly to facilitate the prayers of the faithful untied to the liturgy, and while not excluding the importance of retaining Latin, the wider use of the vernacular especially in the readings etc. Wider use of the vernacular was already underway as early as the 1940 in the celebration of the sacraments outside of Mass. And this had been requested for years by clergy who, for example, were not certain it made sense to seek the baptismal promises in Latin. Abrenuntio Satane? Abrenuntio! Or to insist that couples hear their wedding vows in Latin and answer “volo” When securing consent form an individual you want to make very certain they know what they are consenting to.

          Anyway it is clear to many, that the consilium (not the Council) transgressed its mandate and broke the continuity necessary in any Liturgical reform. Hence I think we need to journey back to something that demonstrates greater continuity with the long history of the Liturgy but which retains necessary and salutary reforms. I think the 1965 Missal is worth further study. It is arguably the actual missal of the Council, not the 1970 version which introduced many things not mandated or even requested by the Council Fathers. Even there I would not want to be unfair. The 1970 missal did not mandate facing the people, the disappearance of Latin or chant etc. These were more cultural problems associated with the radical throw everything overboard 60s and 70s. and the abdication of authority by the bishops over the liturgy who deferred to periti and other “liturgists”

          Your hostility and that from some (not most) other devotees of the TLM does not help in this matter of addressing the OF. One can be clear of their concerns in regard to the OF, encourage wider use of the TLM etc without being nasty. I have long sought to build bridges back to tradition through a gentle and careful reintegration of them. I love the TLM and use any of the ars celebrandi that I can reasonably use in the OF, but it becomes much harder to invite friends to a TLM or to reintegrate aspects when nasty hostility and dismissive comments like “PROTESTANT JUNK” come so frequently out of the mouths and pens of those who say they love tradition. Please consider how your attitude isolates you and ultimately sabotages the very goal I presume you have, to draw people back to the beauty of tradition. There is a place for rebuke in moral questions, but in matters where there is freedom and permitted diversity, one needs to build bridges nit revile and make other people and forms look foolish or “full of it”

          • A. Crawford says:

            Monsignor, these are very interesting comments, and I wonder if you could recommend any reading about the liturgical movement which you characterize as beginning about 1900 and which included both Pius X and Pius XII. (Or perhaps you would consider devoting a future column to this subject.) I would find it useful to have some of this material in mind, as I am a devotee of the Latin Mass; but, as you mention here, I have been distressed by the lack of charity, perspective, and good judgment exhibited by many who claim to be devoted to the beautiful traditions of our faith.

          • Pope Benedict XVII just issued his theological treatise on the Liturgy in his collected works available at Ignatius Press in English. Of course, never fail to read Mediator Dei (Pius XII) and Tra le sollecitudini (Pius X) and I have found Fr. Alcuin Reid’s Organic Development of the Liturgy to be a good summary of the last 120 years.

          • Patricia Shaw says:

            Dear Msgr,

            Ad Orientem, like pilot and passengers, heaven bound on a Holy Barque. When our Priest pointed out the Cross shaped architecture of our traditional Church, it has since comforted me with the palpable sense of The Holy Roman Catholic Church as Great Ark for the faithful. During the Consecration, a deep resonating pulsating beat is heard and very nearly felt which is a reminder to me of Christ’s beating Heart. During Communion the Priest makes a precise Sign of the Cross with the Eucharist over each Communicant’s head. What a singular Blessing that is. During Asperges the Congregation is sprinkled with Holy Water from a reed dipped into a pail carried by an Altar Boy. The Gregorian Chant choir is angelic. Would that such Beauty and Grace be more accessible in more Communities.

      • Alphonsus Jr. says:

        Many thanks, Msgr. Pope, for your response.

        Regarding the Novus Ordo service, I’d point readers to this essay available on the net:

        The Theology and Spirituality of the Mass, by Fr. Franz Schmidberger

        Much more could be mentioned. For example:

        The Catechism of the Crisis in the Church, by Fr. Matthias Gaudron


        Iota Unum: A Study of Changes in the Catholic Church in the Twentieth Century, by Romano Amerio

        These also analyze the truly catastrophic nature of Vatican II, whether valid or not. They also address the various other assertions you’ve just made.

        Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum.

      • Marie says:

        Monsignor, you ask rhetorically why attendance at TLM isn’t growing. I can tell you exactly why. The people who comprise those communities often add a great many of their own made-up “rules” over and above what the Church actually demands of people and have a judgmental attitude towards those who don’t follow those “rules.” Whatever happened to “In essentials unity, in all else liberty, in all things charity”?

        Seems to me the essential thing in a TLM community is the TLM (and there are other essentials simply to being Catholic), but outside of those things, everything else – such as the number of inches a hemline is from the floor (or shoes heel height, I’ve actually heard that!), or whether one chooses to wear pants (gasp!), or not to closely follow private revelations or to substitute a penance other than abstinence from meat on Friday’s outside of Lent – everything like that ought to be simply regarded as the legitimate liberty referred to by St Augustine in that quote up above. If members of TLM communities focused half the attention that they currently focus on wanting everybody to follow a certain Very Particular dress code or adhere to the prescriptions of My Favorite Private Devotion and instead focused that attention on actual living of the Beatitudes, the fruits of the Spirit, and the works of mercy, then their light might shine brightly enough before men that people would be attracted to join them.

        As it is, beautiful as the TLM is, Jesus is just as present at any NO, and there parishioners (like the Church herself, I’d like to point out) don’t care if you don’t find a veil sufficiently helpful to your prayer life to wear one, and don’t care if your particular prayer life includes the Rosary frequently enough but you just aren’t moved at this time to embark on the FiftyFour Day Novena that you Must Pray in order to be considered Sufficiently Devout and if you don’t we will be Slightly Scandalized.

        • Alphonsus Jr. says:

          So much harsh judgment of traditionalists from you, Marie, and all in the name of nonjudgment. Kindly explain.

          • Marie says:

            Interesting accusation. I think there is a difference between pointing out a legitimate problem and the kind of judgment that we’re all supposed to avoid. You’d agree, of course, that there’s such a thing as good judgment as opposed to bad judgment?

            A good and proper kind of judgment is where we discern good from bad using right reason and legitimate facts and act on the discernment appropriately. This is different from bad and unhealthy judgment (“being judgmental”) which would omit some part of that. I have done my best to restrict myself to the former here.

            I’ve pointed out a legitimate problem:
            People making up rules that are stricter than the Church herself

            And its result:
            They drive away those who might otherwise be interested in the beauty of the liturgical traditions they supposedly desire to promote.

            I’ve given specific, factual examples of the kinds of rules that I’ve seen made up:
            a. Very particular dress codes that specify hem length or heel height in inches or the shade/color of clothes
            One illustration out of many: a parent for example taking it upon herself to grab a teen boy who is *not* her own son by the arm, scold him, and physically escort him out because he’d had the temerity to change into his gym uniform in the facility bathroom and was heading to parking lot leave for team practice. The shorts hit just *at* the knee, didn’t cover it, so to her they were a violation of her preferred dress code. (And note, the teen was already on the way out, this wasn’t even a situation of someone attending Mass thus attired or anything like that*). Grabbing and scolding is NOT acceptable treatment of someone else’s son! In some jurisdictions it would be a misdemeanor (though probably not a felony).
            b. de facto requirement that women veil in church (even if pastor/parish doesn’t officially require it, so technically they follow the Church on this, in point of fact the parishioners pressure women to do it which is inappropriate and makes people understandably uncomfortable)
            c. same sort of pressure as noted in b (in some cases even more vehement/nasty) for people to abstain from meat on Fridays outside of Lent, which just isn’t a requirement of the Church in our country at this time. What is a requirement is that *some* penance be performed on Friday’s, but it does not have to be abstinence from meat. There’s legitimate liberty there, don’t criticize people or look down on them for availing themselves of it. For all the critic knows the individual in question is taking the discipline in private *and* wearing a hair shirt (and forbearing to discuss such publicly, bearing in mind the injunction to not let left hand know what right hand is doing and conceal one’s fasting by washing the face and looking cheerful), which is a heck of a lot more rigorous than substituting fish sticks for meatloaf.
            d. same sort of pressure as noted in b (but usually a bit more hidden, you might not always know it was there if all you did was attend Mass and didn’t actually hang out with parishioners outside of Mass, but actually it’s often much more vehement/nasty) for women to wear skirts not pants
            e. strong pressure to follow the prescriptions of this or that private revelation or private devotion – the fact is, the Church even when she approves an apparition, simply approves it as *worthy* of belief not *required to believe* and a Catholic who doesn’t attend First Friday Devotions isn’t a “bad Catholic” thereby.

            Again, these are factual observations I’ve made, not speculations. I have personally encountered all five of these things *and more.* And they are, according to right reason, examples of a very legitimate problem: being stricter than the Church in one’s expectations of anyone besides oneself or those over which one has legitimate authority (one’s *own* minor children), and acting inappropriately as a result. Is it any wonder that many (actually most) people prefer to join communities where they aren’t going to be badly treated if they avail themselves of legitimate liberties afforded by the Church herself?

            *although I have to say, even if one were to see somebody attend mass in a gym uniform (even a gym uniform where the shorts _show the knee_, *gasp*), there’s no cause to get in a huff. I can think of a number of different scenarios where a devout young man might find himself unexpectedly in a position to choose between not bothering to attending daily Mass or some other devotion like Benediction or attending in gym uniform. If when faced with such a choice, he chooses to attend rather than to just blow off the opportunity, that’s *commendable* (not condemnable).

          • Nate says:


            You raise all sorts of straw men that simply aren’t true, at least in the traditionalist communities in full communion with the Church. I’ve never had my clothes, level of devotion, or anything else questioned by anyone in the TLM communities I’ve worshipped with – and I am not a particularly well dressed or devote person.

            Msgr.’s assertion about the lack of growth is somewhat misleading. He is referring to DC, which arguably has the most liberal population in America – the type of people least attracted to traditional worship and doctrine. Another, perhaps more important factor, is the boom in TLM’s just across the river in Northern Virginia. His statement is true for DC but false for the DC metro area. (I don’t think he is trying to mislead people, just that he is scoping his assertion to his own archdiocese, which doesn’t cover the whole metro area).

          • Marie says:

            Nate, as I said above, I’ve directly experienced all of the things I described and more. And yes the communities were (are) FSSP, not SSPX. Yet you are telling me what I said isn’t true. It’s hard not to read that as an accusation of lying. Which is a little ridiculous. If we’re at that point, though, where you aren’t even willing to extend the basic human decency of taking my word for what I’ve experienced it’s going to be kind of hard to have a conversation.

          • Phil Steinacker says:


            I count myself as a traditionalist but I have witnessed all too often what Marie describes.

            I hold with Msgr. Pope that the sort of nastiness expressed by some (but not most) traditionalists pushes people away from returning to the TLM. This should not be a surprise to either you or Alphonsus. I am glad neither of you is able to recognize the range of behaviors described in either of your own TLM communities, which supports both Msgr. Pope and me in our contention that such attitudes are a minority among traditionalists.

            For a time a couple years ago I attempted to post a sort of “open letter” at several TLM blogs and sites in which I first expressed admiration and respect for the understanding and appreciation for the treasures of Tradition and the TLM possessed by the traditionalist community. Then, in a charitable but candid tone, attempted to address the very shortcoming which pushes away people rather than evangelize them regarding the treasures I mentioned above.

            In each case I was attacked by very defensive traditionalists who refused to recognize their uncharitable and judgmental behavior nor were they willing to take responsibility it.

            That is why I am a traditionalist Catholic who attends a Novus Ordo parish, where I have greater success in penetrating hearts about the routine lack of reverence and a sense of the sacred in the NO Mass than I ever have been able to achieve with traditionalists.

            When moderates, conservatives, and occasionally a progressive or two are capable of bending their views even just a little to reconsider their views, the refusal of the folks Marie has encountered and the ones I failed to persuade to examine themselves perpetuates the conviction of many Catholics – including those interested in learning more about the TLM and Tradition – to stay away from that side of the Church.

            This is a tragedy, because traditionalists have so much to offer the Church that we desperately need, but it appears pride on the part of some from that community is a major obstacle to their offering themselves in service to the Church rather than indulging their feelings by publically condemning others.

            In that respect, it seems some traditionalists need a review not only in charity but also in the responsibility of all Catholics to evangelize others – and to learn how to be effective at it. I pray that the younger Catholics flocking to the TLM without the baggage Marie and I have described will rise to the occasion to be better, more effective disciples who give a more beautiful testimony to the impact TLM attendance can have on Catholic hearts.

          • Alphonsus Jr. says:

            Assuming the truth of your charges, what’s the cure?

          • Marie says:

            I thought I already said that? But I’ll repeat for clarity’s sake:

            Don’t make up rules for what makes a “good Catholic” that go beyond the rules the Church herself has created, much less scold, pressure, or look down on others when they transgress such made-up rules. Practice St Augustine’s saying “In essentials unity, in all else liberty, in all things charity.”

          • Barb Schoeneberger says:

            I attend the EF almost exclusively. I go there to worship God and to hear His words. It makes no difference to me whether a woman shows up in slacks, doesn’t wear a veil, etc. For heaven’s sake, I’m not there to mind somebody else’s business but to attend to my own.

            It’s totally pitiful that newcomers feel unwelcome and are treated as if they have a bad smell. I am very sorry your experiences have been so bad. I’m 69 years old and at my age I couldn’t give a flip about what other people think of me. Nobody is going to keep me from the EF, which I find essential for my spiritual sustenance. I’ll be dying sooner rather than later and don’t want to have to face Jesus and explain why I was so judgmental of others. If all of us who benefit greatly from the EF would simmer down and realize that everyone around us is being led by the Holy Spirit at his/her own pace, and if we spoke joyously of the miracles God is working in our lives, we would be a lot more inspiring and we’d have many more people joining us.

            If anyone reading this loves the EF, don’t let sourpusses drive you off. Brave any nastiness you encounter. It’s part of being a soldier of Jesus Christ. No one should let anyone else block him from where God is leading.

          • Mena says:

            Last year, I spent three months attending the only TLM available in these parts. I loved the silence and reverence and beauty of the mass, and I loved kneeling for Communion, and the well trained altar boys. Still, after 12 weeks, I regrettably left and returned to the NO in my neighborhood, which is too noisy, has terrible music, sloppy servers, and offers neither holy silence nor a Communion rail. I left specifically because of the coldness of the people participating in the TLM. I got sniffed at by a woman who literally slapped her purse down next to her to prevent me sitting beside her. I was veiled, so I assume she had an issue with my trousers. Another time, a man harrumphed and glared at me for having trouble finding my spot in the missal…a kind point toward the right paragraph would hv been gratefully accepted but he was too busy being annoyed to be charitable. In 12 weeks not a single person ever spoke to me, or even smiled at me in recognition, after my repeat appearances. The priest never greeted people after mass, so I had no sense of him, although I liked his sermons. But really, a mass full of cold people with down turned mouths…it was so unwelcoming I felt like I was Eliza Doolittle at Ascot and they couldn’t bear to have an intruder in their midst. If attendance at TLM is not growing, it is not bc of the Mass, but a problem with the members, who gave off a bunker mentality vibe: “what are YOU doing here? This is OUR Mass.!” Well, okay. You can have it, and I’ll go back to the other Mass, where at least no one is narrowing eyes at me. But it’s a shame. I could have loved the Mass.

          • John Hladky says:

            Here is my perspective. My temperament is very much what Fr. Jordan Aumann O.P. describes in his Spiritual Theology as melancholic (an internet search will turn up his work). Not everyone will necessarily agree with his assessment, but I do, at least in regard to myself. I mention this because I am very reserved and not at all outgoing. I pray for an increase in cheerfulness, to be more affable toward others, but I will never be the life of a party nor the match that gets any conversation going. Go figure I’ve created a website to reach out to Catholics to do what my domain name implies (, when all the while no one at my own parish even knows about the website because I never breathe a word about it; upon my arrival I march silently past everyone coming and going and go to my place (wherever it happens to be that day), and then afterward, I march silently past everyone coming and going and go out to my car.

            There was a brief time when I would go downstairs for the coffee “social” but that did not last very long. Once in a blue moon when someone else would ask me a question, it would be a different story and invariably I would have to warn them not to ask me anything or I might not shut up. But in terms of my personal life-history that only happens about as frequently as the return of Haley’s Comet. Most times I come to Mass and leave and never utter a word to anyone. I am not unaware of them, and while I believe I am smiling at those I pass by (at least those with whom there is eye contact), whether my lips actually break into a smile or not is a matter for debate.

            As Pius XII wrote in Mystici Corporis, the Church has a two-fold reality, one invisible and the other visible. Christ as High Priest is the invisible reality that makes the Church divine and capable of saving souls, but the Church He founded from upon the Cross is that visible reality composed of people, and that makes the Church a social entity, at least in terms of gathering together to publicly profess the Church’s faith in Christ, to assist at the Holy Sacrifice. I have only been where I am now for a relatively short period of time, but what about the parish I grew up in so many long years ago, in what seems a different age of men? Most times I felt like a lump on a log, socially speaking, but the priest that built that church built a huge banquet hall that rivaled the best hotels, and back in the late 1950’s and early 60’s, it was the only facility of its kind, and the parish used it to full advantage, hosting a variety of dinner-dances not just within the parish but for outside organizations, including an annual ball for the U.S. Marines who kept coming back year after year because of the facility.

            So, while I readily admit to having grown up socially inept and very shy, if ever the ladies asked me to help in the kitchen I did not hesitate. For ten years I worked that now ancient Hobart dishwasher for various dinners, helping to set up the tables and, having been in the Navy, lining up all the wine glasses, plates and cups in perfect rows (especially for the Marine’s dinner ball). After doing this for ten years I eventually was comfortable enough with the older folks to be a bit more outgoing, but I still didn’t speak unless spoken to (usually), and never with anyone my own age. I could be counted on to help and to clean, but never to socialize with newcomers. I hope and pray that defect in me does not prevent my entrance to heaven. I did not give myself my temperament, but while some may disagree, I do not believe I can change what to me seems a hard-wired mechanism.

            But God likes variety in people. If you doubt this, go to a really good Aquarium (I went to the one in Tulsa, OK) and see how many different (and really weird looking) forms of fish there are; some were so unlike to fish that they bore the appearance of blades of green grass. I say this because God made each of us, despite variations in temperament, with special graces and talents to accomplish a purpose that God in His wisdom has decreed, and in conjunction with this are often trials that can greatly impede what may otherwise be normative development, either physically or socially or spiritually. God gives these trials with the expectation that we overcome them for His greater glory. But to other people, especially to newcomers in a parish, such persons can appear cold, distant and unfeeling (though this is by no means across the board).

            Msgr. Pope is correct when he mentions demonic activity. I don’t want to go into this subject too much because it is both complex and can vary dramatically from victim to victim. Read Fr. Amorth to learn more, but I have personal experience in what God sometimes allows people to suffer, even through no fault of their own, but which is permitted as a difficulty that God expects us to overcome and thereby crush the empire of Satan at the same time as giving great glory to God.

            What does that have to do with being socially inept and not greeting people who come or go? Because people who suffer various forms of extraordinary demonic influence are very often so focused upon themselves that they are unable to consider anyone else. I suppose you find these sorts of people on either side of the liturgical aisle. But I offer this for your consideration so that you do not turn from the TLM and Christ because of the sick people who come to be healed by Christ.

            They come to be fed by Christ, to be sanctified by that invisible reality Pius XII wrote about. The Church is first and foremost divine because it is Christ who saves us, though He does so through the visible reality which must have a physical place and visible ritual. But the primary purpose of the Church is to continue in time the ongoing mission of redemption; the near aim of the Mass is sanctification but the final end, the purpose to which it is ordered is the glory of God; this is why we attend Holy Mass. If there is any fellowship, it is secondary and subordinate to the former. One must be very careful not to expect that fellowship automatically flows as by effect of the Holy Mass. It may for some, but not necessarily for others, at least not in the timeline we might imagine. We cannot know what trials Our Lord puts various people through. You will always encounter people who for any number of physical, mental or spiritual reasons will be silent, and outwardly distant. Do not let this derail you from attending the Holy Mass.

            Non Catholic confessions, lacking the divine reality to their belief system, have only the social fellowship upon which to base all their activity, and many people hunger for it because it directly feeds our emotions whereas Christ and the Holy Mass by-pass reason and emotion and through the liturgical language of the Church directly feed the soul. Of course we must know what we believe in order to love God, but as St. Thomas writes, one gets to a point where you lay aside the book-learning and just love God, and that does not require that we constantly adjudicate the process of the Holy Mass itself from moment to moment. If one “feels” good after Holy Communion, thank God, but don’t dwell on it because such is a grace that may please God to grant us one time but not another.

            Finally, I recall a former TLM parish (now closed) in upper New York, when I used to live there, where an older man chastised a young woman for wearing jeans. She was a good friend of my long-time friend; she was coming from a mental, physical and spiritual place where such attributes of faith were not even on her radar. She never came back. Some time later, the former editor of The Latin Mass Magazine gave a talk and I knew he was making mention of this unfortunate turn; he said, paraphrasing, many people when they come, are coming into the Latin Mass from a place in which those things that are customarily familiar are not only unfamiliar but are altogether unknown. That is, when grace reaches out to move a soul to think of God, and she comes to Mass wearing whatever she has because that’s literally all she has (and in that young woman’s case it was true), then we must suffer them for the love of God because, in the end, the Church belongs to God, not to man. God draws souls to Himself and they do not come for the first time with knowledge of the faith or of local custom. He said, the effect of the Holy Mass, by virtue of his holiness and sacredness, cannot but evoke change upon the individual. Give it time, he said; in two weeks or two years, if that soul is open to God and His Grace, that person will change of their own choice. I guess he must have seen such changes in people over time to make that statement.

            This is a very long-winded post, I am sorry, but I do hope you will not axe the TLM because of people who are outwardly unsociable.

          • Phil Steinacker says:


            I am a traditionalist I (see above comment) who knows what Marie is talking about.

            As I describe above, I have witnessed and experienced consistent refusal by traditionalists online to accept the truth of Marie’s description or mine. I have witnessed and experienced the seemingly prideful attitude of those who refuse to own their behavior nor take responsibility for alienating folks otherwise attracted to the TLM – or might be if they could get past being verbally accosted on site after a TLM or language like “PROTESTANT JUNK” as commented by Unbelievable on January 1 above.

            You should know that I, at least (I can’t speak for Marie), share most of the views of the TLM community but without the emotionalism and invective.

            I am frustrated by the obstinacy of traditionalist to receive humbly constructive criticism charitably given. I’ve taken great pains to offer my critiques as gently as possible, but to no avail.

            Interestingly, my mother impressed upon my 15 year old consciousness (back in 1965) that having to wear kid gloves in dealing with an adult is NOT a compliment to that person.

            That is so true, and it also truly breaks my heart that I’ve been taught by experience that walking on eggshells with many traditionalist fails to yield results.

            I have given you and Nate the benefit of the doubt so far on that point, but we’ll see how you respond.

          • Nate says:

            Marie et all.,

            I was not saying you didn’t experience this only saying that you are painting these problems across the whole tradionalist movement. Most of these problems exist within the older, Anglo communities that continue to carry a bunker mentality forward from the 80s and 90s. And, yes, they were under siege so it would also demonstrate charity to be patient with them. Decades of marginalization within one’s own Church while pedophiles and heretics were given free reign tends to leave some people bitter. That said, most of the newer communities and more recent devotees don’t have these issues. Also, very few women at TLMs in France, the heartland of tradionalist Catholicism wear mantilla a or Amish like dresses. I see this more as an infiltration of American Puritanism into even the most avowedly Catholic communities in the USA. I, for one, could care less if women wear pants or don’t cover their head at Mass. I’m Catholic, not Muslim.

            What is the solution? Start participating in these communities and making an effort to change things yourself. Also, the vast majority of Latin Masses are communities housed in a regular parish. Invite them into the life of the parish instead of just staring at them as you pass each other in the parking lot. Leaving people in isolation only breeds and worsens pathologies.

            Last word to you!

          • Marie says:

            Nate, thanks for clarifying that you did not mean to deny my experience. It’s true I’m generalizing, perhaps not all TLM communities operate the way the ones I’ve seen do. I also really, really appreciate your saying “I for one could care less if women wear pants or don’t cover their head at Mass. I’m Catholic, not Muslim.” Please keep saying that kind of thing. And get your confreres to say it. In time, I think it will really help the TLM community overcome its bad rap.

            I have two thoughts about your proposed solution in your second paragraph. First, it seems to assume what it’s supposed to solve, inasmuch as you are saying the solution to the turnoffs which are an obstacle to persuading outsiders to join – requires outsiders to join (and then change the community). Circular logic much?

            Second thought is, if people who aren’t already members of the communities have to come in from the outside and change things, that kind of sounds like an tacit admission of what you denied in your first paragraph: that things really are pretty messed up within these communities. If things are so bad that the solution can’t come from within but has to come from outside, that’s…really bad. I don’t know about you, but if I were inviting someone new to my house, I’d clean it first and then invite them over, not invite them over expecting them to help me clean it.

  33. Alphonsus Jr. says:

    For the record, Petrus Romanus above is a traditional Catholic writing facetiously; i.e., he’s consciously writing in the language and tortured logic of those processed by the Hippie Council Revolution, a.k.a. the Judas Council Revolution, a.k.a. the Second Vatican Council. Pope Francis the Groovy is, of course, chief among these processed.

  34. John Francis says:

    At last. Someone responsible breaches this subject.
    Amen, Amen, Amen.
    This is so timely.I felt somewhat alone in carrying these same thoughts.

    If you need some reassurance (we probably all do)read the story of French Mystic Marthe Robin.

    Just this week I read that scientists have “created” sperm in the lab.
    Who knows what monsters have been cloned by the Chinese.
    You have to be a fool not to see the writing on the wall.
    How long will our loving God be mocked by this people?
    I do envy the childless now.
    Thank you again Msgr.
    A sinful weak victim soul.

    I do not feel so alone.
    If you will, a sinful weak victim soul who loves the good Lord.
    God’s love to you all I pray.

  35. one anonymous says:

    The Spiritual Battle Continues for Lives and Souls… 2015

    We live in a fallen world, a world of prejudice, hatred, anger, injustice, a world of evil and jealousy and selfishness, yes, we live in a fallen world. And there are those who care and want something better for themselves and who want something better for others and there are those who will sell their souls for whatever gain or for whatever perceived happiness they get out of hurting and even destroying other people. This is the fallen world we live in, this is the evil we are up against in our daily lives. But we are not alone in the battle, for God is with those who are His, those who Love Him… we are not alone! Our challenge, our Hope is to not become like the world, but to be formed daily into the very likeness and image of Christ, and through the Holy Spirit we do just that, we are victorious! HAPPY NEW YEAR Msgr. and thank you for wanting Jesus Christ for ALL of us, for wanting something better for everyone.

  36. Reid Turner says:

    St. Hildegard (1098-1179) had a visionary experience of the last days that was loaded with apocalyptic imagery much like that found in the book of Revelation. She explains the meaning of the imagery and it describes the last 150 years with remarkable accuracy, matching your understanding of the state of the West since 1968. I just wrote a book on the vision, I discuss it at You might find it interesting.

    Thank you for an inspiring article!


  37. markrite says:

    What Msgr. Pope has written here is what I have been thinking about for over 30 years now. But not only thinking about. Some of the evils described herein, i was involved in, and during the ‘seventies, that awful decade, heavily so, from time to time. Thank the Lord Jesus and His Holy Mother, I also confessed often my sins, so that I could stop the sinning and also get involved in combatting some of these same evils I let myself dally with. The ‘seventies, for me, were a constant seesaw of falling into serious sin, feeling bad about them and then sacramentally confessing these sins. I’m sure I was not alone in living this way, I’m sure many others experienced similar cycles of temptation, falling, confessing and then trying to do better. I am now a frequent attender at daily Mass, and receive Holy Communion as well, much more so than at any other time in my life. So, I have a personal knowledge of what Msgr. Pope writes of, And, consequently, the good Msgr. is RIGHT ON! Further, we may be living in the last days; in my readings, the Holy Spirit has shown me, I believe, that this may be so. Now who knows for sure? Even Jesus, True God and Man, says in Scripture that “only the Father knows when the man of sin, antichrist has arrived, and the end is near,” (paraphrase) But certainly, one recent statistic that I read of is ominous in its implications,which is ” from 1980 to the present there have been OVER 1 BILLION “legal” abortions throughout the world”. As Msgr. Pope says, NOW is the time for repentance and daily Rosary, for these will save us, if it is to be. God Bless all.

  38. joy serdar says:

    we are definitely living n the last days. in the bible book of Mathew 24: 7 it talks about nation rising against nation and food shortages in one place after another. at luke 21 we are warned of earthquakes and pestilences and at Mathew 24:11, 12 about lawlessness and people having a contempt for god. at luke 21:25,26 it states that man will faint out of fear. at Mathew 24: 4 we are told that the good news of gods kingdom will be preached in all the inhabited earth as Jehovahs Witnesses are doing. these are known as the last days and at luke 21: 31,32 it tells us that when we see these tings occurring know that the kingdom of god is near, so it would behove us all to pay attention to the bible and its prophesies and perhaps to the next Jehovah witnesses that call at your door.

  39. Maryann says:

    Thank you Monsignor for your article. This should be preached throughout the church. When growing up the people complained too much fire and brimstone and what has happened to the church since, and now we seem to hear too much bubbles and noise and our young still leave the church. Truth is what we need. The people need direction not eyes closed to the wrong we do is acceptable. Holy Mother of God, Our Lady of Tepeyak, pray for us.

  40. Bernie says:

    Bravo, Msgr. Pope!!! Your articles/blogs are ALWAYS excellent, but this one may very well be the best yet. You’ve expressed the thoughts and concerns I’ve had much better than I ever could. I am convinced that the time for repentence and to turn to the Lord and put all our trust in God has definitely arrived, and truly believe that it’s not a matter of IF, but WHEN, our nation (and much of the world in general) will meet its destructive fate :-(.

  41. spera in deo says:

    I do love your blog and read it regularly. So refreshing to read the very things my best friend and I discuss and to feel like we are not alone! I get called gloomy & pessimistic, yet in some ways, I have more hope than those who call me names.

    This post should be required reading every where. Thank you, Msgr. for being willing to tell the truth.

    One thing that some there my be interested in is Our Lady of Good Success – an approved Marian apparition from the 1600’s that predicted many things that have already come to pass. It also talks about the apostasty and places it squarely in the “second half of the twentieth century”. The most consoling part ties in with Fatima – Our Lady says when all looks the darkest and like evil has triumphed, then will the Church be restored and triumph again.

    God Bless.

  42. Daniel O'Connor says:

    Excellent post! Though with all respect, I do wish there was a bit more discernment in the videos posted. That song (and that whole genre) is not of God, and some of the images contained in this particular YouTube are very intentionally lust inspiring. In the short few moments of it I was unfortunate enough to see there were young women with so much midriff showing that it was centimeters of not millimeters away from being blatantly pornographic.

    Let us above all ensure that we, dear Faithful remnant, do not participate in the least with the evil of this culture that this post rightly denounces.

    “Hating even the garment spotted by the flesh”

    • Phil Steinacker says:


      With a due respect, your reaction to the video is out of proportion to the reality. I viewed that video expecting something terrible, and I fear you’ve maligned Msgr. Pope with falsehoods.

      As one who was an active participant in the fornication culture over 35 years, and addicted to porn for 49 years, I’m simply stunned at your exaggerations.

      Man, you must have such an awfully low threshold of sexual arousal that perhaps monastic life is indicated for you. I pray you are not beset with scrupulosity, but t it seems that could be possible.

      God bless you, Daniel.

      • Daniel O'Connor says:

        Did I say I was aroused? God bless you, too, Phil. I will pray that you actually mean it when you ask God to bless people, though, instead of simply throwing it at the end of spewing venom at a fellow brother in Christ who is just trying to help Monsignor Pope, whom I love and would *never* malign whatsoever, much less with “falsehood.”

        • Phil Steinacker says:


          I meant every word of my blessing.

          I hope there is nothing in my words which would cause you to suspect that my blessing is a sarcastic slap at you. I think you are sincere, and so am I.

          And no, I didn’t say you were aroused, but I find criticism of exposure of a bare midriff (however close to the edge it may be) to be as scrupulous as a similar comment on bare shoulders. I have seen the two paired often by some folks.

          Apologies to you, sir, and I Bless you again.

  43. Karl says:

    There comes a point when it is a sin to pray for the wicked. They will not repent, and if you try to carry their weight it will crush you. I doubt that any of you have the strength to pray like that. You would have to pray no less than 3 Rosaries a day. The spiritual bounce back would be devastating to you, and they would go along their merry way, enjoying the time that your misery bought for them, during which they would continue as they had before. The end will be the same.

    • Daniel O'Connor says:

      You are flat out wrong, Karl. No one is beyond hope, and no living soul should be deprived of our prayers.

  44. Asbury Fox says:

    Excellent article. I just disagree with your exegesis of the passage from Revelations. Given that I believe the book was written between 95-97 A.D. long after the sack of Jerusalem, the identity of Babylon is not Jerusalem, but the heretics and apostates in the Church. A corrupted Church overflowing with apostates is the Babylon of Revelations 18.

  45. Barb Schoeneberger says:

    Father, a great article. Before I was directed here by a friend, I wrote a blog post on one of Father John Hardon, S.J.’s addresses to the Institute of Religious in 1999 which caused me to think of just the things you’ve mentioned here. I especially appreciate your Scripture quotes and analysis. We aren’t going to get to heaven by turning our backs on Truth.

  46. HALO says:

    this country was discovered by roman catholics,but was founded on the same false priciples that are destroying the church today. liberty,equality and total freedom. christendom was a better model than the americas. separation of church and state is the freemason battle cry for freedom and a new world order. when the state does not owe the true GOD,JESUS CHRIST HIS DUE WORSHIP IT IS CHAOS. the state becomes atheistic and the church is shackled, then comes the devil. this country has always allowed freedom of religion,putting false devil gods on the same level as catholicism. this country is not that good from a divine view only from a human view. these are the same views the past 6 popes have held since the revolution in the church at the vatican two council. we are in the clutches of liberal rotted catholics and clergy everywhere. i dont expect this to be posted because the diocese of washington is liberal and would not want the true,but JESUS CHRIST WILL JUDGE AT DEATH!

  47. Fredi D'Alessio says:

    Dear Msgr. Pope, may I please have permission to re-post this important and serious message on my blog ( Thank you for stating the crimes of our time so compellingly.

    (I couldn’t find an email or tweet address to send you this request.)

    Blessed New Year

  48. HALO says:

    another thing also, this picture on the article is about right. the statue of liberty we got from the french freemason needs to be struck by the hand of GOD. how about a statue of the blessed virgin mary instead?

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