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What Does Remnant Theology Have to Teach us About the Church Today?

September 9, 2015 43 Comments

Recently on the blog we examined a survey conducted by the Pew Research Center that reported a decrease in the number of Catholics in America. The good news is that as many as 45% of Americans indicated some affiliation with Catholicism. That does not mean that they are all Catholics. Sometimes it means that they have a Catholic spouse or were once Catholic themselves but have fallen away, etc. What does remain sadly and soberly true is that only 20-25% of Catholics attend Mass weekly (as we are required to do).

Frankly, as a Catholic and a priest, I am stunned at the decline in Mass attendance that has occurred during my lifetime. When I was a young child, I remember jam-packed Masses: if you didn’t get there early you’d have to stand. In those days (the sixties) if you put up four walls, Catholics would fill them. There were waiting lists for the local parochial school. There were lots of religious sisters. There was not just one associate pastor or curate, there were two, or three, or even four.

But those days are largely gone. Yes, there are still some large parishes in suburban areas; some of them are even growing. But during my lifetime, weekly Mass attendance has gone from 70-80% down to 20-25%. And although vocations are beginning to rebound, the usual situation these days is empty convents and largely empty rectories. A parochial vicar is unknown in many parishes. In some parts of the country there isn’t even a resident pastor in each parish.

There is no way to describe this decline other than “stunning.” And I can hear all the usual arguments about why swimming around in my brain: We abandoned tradition! No, say others, we’re not progressive enough! There are too many rules! No, say others, our problem is that we abandoned all the rules! I could go on and on. Everyone has an explanation and there are lots of disagreements about them.

But what might God be doing? What might He be allowing? Now I know that I am walking on thin ice in attempting to consider this question, but please be assured that I am merely pondering it, not proposing a complete, definitive answer. I have often asked the Lord, “What’s up with the Church? What has happened, Lord?” Now I don’t claim that I received a bolt from Heaven in answer, rather I just came to a gradual and increasing awareness that what we are experiencing is really not new. There does seem to be a biblical precedent that God has frequently seen fit to thin His ranks, to prune and purify His people. Theologians call this “remnant theology,” since a remnant refers to a smaller portion of a much larger thing.

Remnant theology is seen in both the Old and New Testaments. The phrase refers to the fact that, of the many followers of God, many (if not most) fell away at critical periods, such that only a small remnant remained to begin again. Here are some examples from Scripture:

  1. There were Twelve Tribes in Israel. But ten of them were lost in the Assyrian Conquest of the northern kingdom of Israel in 721 B.C. The prophets had warned the Northern Kingdom of its wickedness, but the refusal to repent brought the foretold destruction. Those who did not die in the war were deported and disappeared by assimilating into the peoples around then. They are known as the Ten Lost Tribes of Israel. Only a remnant, the Tribes of Judah and Levi, survived in the Southern Kingdom of Judah.
  2. A remnant of Judah – Judah also grew wicked and prophets warned of its destruction. The Babylonians then destroyed Judah, and Jerusalem with it, in 587 B.C. They deported the survivors to Babylon. Eighty years later, the Persians conquered the Babylonians and allowed the Jewish people to return to the Promised Land. But only a remnant went back; most chose to stay in the Diaspora, preferring Babylon to the Land promised by God.
  3. Gideon had an army of 30,000 and faced the Midianites, who had 60,000. But God said to him, “Your army is too large. Tell the cowards to go home.” So Gideon told the soldiers that if they didn’t think they were up for this battle they could leave; 20,000 left. With Gideon’s arm down to only 10,000, God said to Gideon, “Your army is still too large, lest you think you would win this battle on your own.” So God told Gideon to observe the men at the stream as they drank water. Most drank leisurely, but 300 of them lapped up the water like dogs! “That is your army,” said the Lord, “300 men and I will be with you.” Gideon won that day with 300 men whom the Lord had chosen. God thinned His ranks and chose only a remnant as His true soldiers (cf Judges 6 & 7).
  4. Jesus, too, didn’t seem to trust large crowds. Some of His most difficult sayings came when there was a large crowd. In fact, anytime you hear mention of a large crowd in the gospels, fasten your seat belt, because it’s practically guaranteed that a hard saying is coming! Once when there was a large crowd, Jesus taught against divorce (Matt 5 & 19, Mark 10). Another time He spoke to crowds He declared that no one could be His disciple unless he renounced his possessions, took up his cross, and followed Him (e.g., Luke 14). Yet another time, Jesus taught on the Eucharist, causing many to leave Him and no longer walk in His company (Jn 6).
  5. And surely we cannot forget Jesus’ sad lament that the road to destruction is wide and many are on it, while the road to salvation is narrow and only a few find it (cf Mat 7:13-14). Yes, only a few, a remnant.

These are just a few examples of remnant theology in the Scriptures. There are many more. I would like to quote one last passage from Zechariah because it also gets to the root of what God may be doing in our times, if my hunch is correct.

“Awake, O sword, against my shepherd, against the man who is close to me!” declares the LORD Almighty. “Strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered, and I will turn my hand against the little ones. In the whole land,” declares the LORD, “two-thirds will be struck down and perish; yet one-third will be left in it. This third I will bring into the fire; I will refine them like silver and test them like gold. They will call on my name and I will answer them; I will say, ‘They are my people,’ and they will say, ‘The LORD is our God’” (Zech 13:6-9).

It is a stunning passage to be sure. But it also shows God’s purpose in thinning His ranks. There is something very mysterious about why God allows so many to stray. And yet it is true that we are always free to stay or go. There seem to be times in the history of the Church and Israel during which God allows many to depart, even “causes” them to depart as this passage describes it. It is a hard mystery to stomach. But I suppose I understand one aspect of it.

An Image of why – In November it is pruning time here in the Northeast. My mighty rose bushes, some eight feet tall, will be pruned back to just one foot off the ground. And I do it on purpose! But if my roses are to thrive next year, the pruning has to be done. The roses do not understand what I do, but I know why I do it. It is necessary, though painful. And God, too, knows what He is doing. And we cannot fathom it any more than my rosebushes can understand why I prune them. But God does it. In the passage above, the one-third who remain must also be purified, refined as in fire. But when it is done, they will be pure gold. Those who remain and accept purification will call on God’s name. They will be a people, a Church, after His own heart.

To me it has become clear that the Lord is pruning His Church. He is preparing us for spring. And we are in fact enduring a difficult winter. But we’re being purified, cleansed. These are tough days for the Church, but I can already see signs of a great spring ahead. There are many wonderful lay movements and growth areas in the Church. I am very impressed with the caliber of men entering the priesthood. These are men who love the Lord and His Church and who deeply desire to speak the truth in love. In my own convent, we had 25 young sisters of the Servants of the Lord, a wonderful new and missionary order. They had to leave to find a larger convent because they were growing so much. They, too, love the Lord and His Church and want to spread His Gospel everywhere.

Though the number of practicing Catholics has diminished, I see greater fervency in those who remain. In my own parish there are many who are devoted to prayer, bible study, and praise of God. Eucharistic piety is stronger in the Church today through Eucharistic adoration and daily Mass. On the Internet there are many signs of excitement and zeal for the faith. Many wonderful blogs and websites are emerging to strengthen Catholics. EWTN is doing wonderful work and many Catholic radio stations have also begun.

I could go on, but I think you get the point. God has pruned and is purifying us. I have no doubt that there are still some difficult winter days ahead before a full spring sets in. But God never fails. He is renewing His Church and preparing us for whatever lies ahead.

Frankly, it is going to take a stronger and purer Church to endure the cultural tsunami that has been rolling in. The first waves hit in the late 1960s and successive waves look to be even more destructive, as Western culture is gradually being swept away. The Church will have to be strong and pure in order to endure the days ahead, to rescue those we can, and to help rebuild when the terrible waves have worked their last destruction.

I realize that this post will not be without controversy. I do not propose it as the only answer to the times. Neither do I claim that fallen-away Catholics have simply been pruned, as though we could know for certain that they will never return and be grafted on again. We should continue to evangelize and to seek to grow the Church by Christ’s own mandate. We cannot know the size that the Lord wants us to be, nor should we ever stifle the Spirit of Christ’s mandate: Go and make disciples of all the nations.

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Comments (43)

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  1. jim magner says:

    Embrace the incredible Catholic Mass, offering to the Father the only gift worthy of Him, The Body Blood Soul and Divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ in atonement for our sins the sins of our families, the sins of our nation and the sins of the whole world.

    • edraCRUZ says:

      AMEN, AMEN and AMEN!!! Yes, we pray. For the sake of HIS Sorrowful Passion, have mercy on us and the whole world.

      Yes, Monsignor, indeed we are being pruned individually and as a whole Church to bring forth a great harvest of faith. The work of the Apostles had brought forth Churches upon Churches and Sanctuaries for the people of faith. I do not think GOD will allow them empty. Like these articles you are teaching, it will bring forth a flowering of faith that will be pollinated by the HOLY SPIRIT to become fruits, the seeds of which will multiply again and again. YHWH SHAMMAH.

    • Msgr. Charles Pope says:

      And all the people said Amen

  2. Barbara Diamond says:

    Dear Monsignor, thank you for this insightful perspective. It came on a day I really needed a fresh way of looking at our world and Jesus’s Church. Thank you and may God bless you.

  3. Nate says:

    Interesting idea. I’m not sure that I fully agree, although you very well could be right. Certainly, over the last several centuries the world has gone increasingly mad. People have been demanding a world without Christ and I’m afraid that He is letting them have it.

    • Msgr. Charles Pope says:

      Idea…hmm…. I thinks it more than an idea, at least insofar as Remnant theology in the Bible goes. My own thought about where we are in the usual chain of events in remnant theology of course may be called an idea.

      • Nate says:

        Yes, I was referring to your thought about our current situation, not the theology. My apologies for the imprecise comment.

  4. nellie says:

    As lost as the world is getting, I remember how church goers were when I was a child in the 50s. Everyone had it super good but there was no gratitude. The more convenient life got the more arrogant everyone got. By the 70s people had decided they didn’t need church and that the doctrine of suffering was out of date. In the old days people hardly prayed at all because they had gotten too ‘scientific minded’ and forgot about God.
    You’re right that God is testing the Church. He wants people who are grateful. It is devout Catholics saying the Rosary daily that interest Him. They are the ones who are saving the world from the WWIII. These people pray their guts out! In the old days people said grace every day before dinner but aside from that and bedtime prayers no one cared about God. Me-ism took hold like a plague.

  5. Nick says:

    I don’t believe in remnant theology, because the whole Church is herself the remnant of Israel (according to the prophecies), but I do believe Jesus at Calvary only had the holy women, Saint Mary, Saint John, Saint Simon of Cyrene, and the Good Thief and Centurion: His other Disciples and Apostles had abandoned Him, and His enemies and the impenitent thief mocked Him. Since the Paschal Mystery transcends space-time and recapitulates creation and history (especially Israel), we should not fear apostasy but fear sinning and we should imitate the virtues of those at Calvary:
    – the ministry and fellowship of the holy women, including the three Maries, who had followed Jesus from Galilee and in Jerusalem
    – the longsuffering of Saint Mary the Mother of Jesus, her soul pierced by a sword and entrusted to Saint John
    – the contemplation and wisdom of Saint John, who had rested his head on Jesus’ Bosom (though the Son of Man had nowhere to rest his head)
    – the solidarity of Saint Simon, who had helped Jesus to carry His Cross by denying himself and following the Lord
    – the hope and faith of the Good Thief, who prayed to Jesus to remember him when He entered into His Kingdom
    – the repentance of Saint Longinus the Centurion, who doubted Jesus’ Death (just as Saint Thomas doubted the Lord’s Resurrection) and pierced His Side with a lance
    – the obedience and humility of Jesus, Who prayed the Psalms during His Passion and commended Himself to His Father at Death

    • Msgr. Charles Pope says:

      I think to say you don’t believe in remnant theology is an awfully strong. Further that the “whole Church” (by which I take you to mean all the members) sounds too inclusive. There are people who call themselves Catholic and who are baptized members of the Body who have fallen away, and aren’t going to be saved because they have a Church baptismal certificate. You go on to talk of repentance, Amen. But I am not sure how your talk of that corresponds to your first statements.

  6. John says:

    I have noticed many of the people involved with are converts: Jimmy Akin and Tim Staples for starters. This also applies to widely published Catholic Authors: Scott Hahn and Peter Kreeft. There are many a from the outside being added to this remnant.

  7. Ann says:

    I think a lot of the fear and hand-wringing we see going on among many Catholics who write on such things (not here!) is actually mixed in with a fear of losing worldly power. Losing our buildings. Probably losing our tax exemptions at some point.
    I wonder if we who are left are ready, truly ready for what is to come. Many of us have gotten along giving the minimum each week, a small sliver of our disposable income, feeling secure that our priests and parishes will still be there for us when we want or need them. Perhaps now we are going to have really dig in and make true financial sacrifices if we want to keep parishes open and the sacraments available.
    The other thing I wonder about is when people jump ship and say it’s because they are against one part of Church teaching. Ok. But I rarely see them go join even another Christian denomination that would be more in line with what they say they believe on whatever teaching? I think people are using isolated teachings as excuses to drift away but I don’t think their belief was really there to begin with. In other words, they prefer to blame the Church for their exit, rather than look at themselves honestly.
    I apologize in advance for the novel! Thank you always for the thought-provoking pieces you write.

    • Msgr. Charles Pope says:

      Yes, I think the remnant today stands to loose a lot. And to be willing to lose it probably an important quality to being of the remnant.

      • Michael Petek says:

        What worries me is this. Gideon had it easy. He never had to confront Muslims. They can wipe out any remnant.

        • Cathaholic says:

          That’s statistically impossible. Each martyred soul gains Heaven immediately, becoming part of the Church Triumphant, and their prayers are perfect. It’s impossible for evil to triumph. ISIS and the Muslims are fighting a losing battle. Many will eventually be converted to Christianity in massive numbers along with the gentiles, followed by the Jews.

          • Michael Petek says:

            Look at the state of North Africa. That used to be a thriving center of Christianity. Ditto the entire space from Constantinople to China. And as for Saudi Arabia, not a single church anywhere. I guess only the Last Judgement can stop them.

        • C Beltz says:


          Hope thrives in the trenches, not out on the pristine beaches of the Riveria. Out there, who needs hope? They already enjoy the best this world has to offer.

          And there is the rub. The best this WORLD has, not God.

          As you fret over the Muslim aggression of our age please remember, during the crusades, the papacy ran they were so afraid. They lived in France in exhile until the time of St Catherine, who quite boldly told the Pope to go back to Rome.

          If you saw the news today, you saw that ISIS and Al Quaeda are now fighting. Each other.

          Evil cannot stand. There is no good in it to hold it together. That’s what goodness does, it binds us, keeps us together.

          Do not fear Muslims, only fear the loss of Jesus. As long as you have Him, who can be against you?

          • Michael Petek says:

            Well, yes, hope does thrive in the trenches. Today the news broke that the House of Commons here in the United Kingdom voted by an absolute majority to reject a Bill to legalise assisted suicide.

            This is good for morale, but it doesn’t mean victory is near. My father served in the German Army in WW2. He and his comrades fought on to the bitter end, long after they knew the war was lost. The only order he disobeyed was the order to stay put and wait for the Russians to collect him.

  8. RJChavez says:

    I think we need to be careful in playing the ‘WE are the remnant’ card. While there is clearly a biblical case for God pruning his flock, designating one’s self and/or congregation as THE remnant smacks of Protestant tribalism that is pervasive today.

  9. beej says:

    I have been thinking along these lines for some time. I can’t help but wonder where we are on the time line. Is this a “final” remnant or just another step in the long journey of awaiting Christ’s return? I am sooo ready for Christ to return and restore.

    • Cathaholic says:

      It doesn’t really matter if we are witnessing the beginnings of the final remnant or not. It only matters that we are ready. But being ready for Christ to return and restore does not mean being ready to see Him come in Glory. Who wouldn’t be ready to see that? The scriptures are quite clear that the times leading up to Christ’s return will be a time of severe persecution over the entire world. We are not even close to this. Most will follow a great apostasy thinking that they are not in the wrong, and they will try to utterly destroy the Church. Being ready means being ready to be martyred. It means being ready to see your loved ones horribly mistreated in every way, tortured, mutilated, murdered, perhaps even by some of your own loved ones. It means dying for the faith, and forgiving the murderers in the process. Look at the early Church persecution. It’s well depicted in the art at the Vatican museums and elsewhere. The end times will most certainly be as or more brutal and ruthless as this, and on an enormous scale. It will certainly be more brutal and go on for much longer than anyone thinks. This will be the end times. Then and only then will Christ return.

      • Michael Petek says:

        Do you know how we Europeans saved European civilization from the Islamic invasion centuries ago? We didn’t only die for the faith. We killed for it.

        • Nate says:

          Thank you. People always want to turn Catholicism into pacifism, which is heresy. Our Lady of the Rosary guide and protect us!

  10. Vijaya says:

    Thank you for this reflection on the difficult times we are going through. I first came across this idea of the remnant in the book: Salvation is from the Jews by Roy Schoemann (sp?) That same year I read the whole Bible and I am so glad I read his book before because it brought to light how God has always preserved the faithful remnant.

    Parce Domine.

  11. Harold C. Seger says:

    There are comments about ‘remnant’ in Pope Benedict XVI in his ‘small church’ comment.
    Would you comment on this more resent history of the remnant Church.
    Seems that the church is going though a great upheaval not unlike the remnant of Judah you mentioned above.
    The ethnic basis for the Church may change to be truly (catholic) universal?
    Harold C. Seger

  12. Clinton R. says:

    Excellent post, Monsignor Pope. When one thinks of the oft quoted number of 1 billion Catholics, how many actually go to Mass every Sunday and the Holy Days of Obligation? How many do not practice contraception? How many regularly go to Confession? How many believe in Extra Ecclesiam Nulla Salus? But as you said, what a powerful faith there is among those Catholics who adhere to the ways of God and the timeless teachings of His Church. May God bless us with a strength of faith. +JMJ+

  13. Mike says:

    “But if I be asked what sign we may look for to show that the advance of the Faith is at hand, I would answer by a word the modern world has forgotten: Persecution. When that shall once more be at work it will be morning.”
    Hilaire Belloc

    Persecution seems naturally to increase as the ‘faithful’ leave the fold for easier roads.

  14. paulineo says:

    Msgr. Pope: This post is very pertinent to our time, and I think that other Christian denominations are trying to get in on the “ACT”

    I went to the website around 9.00 a.m., and to my amazement, there was a very, very strange headline, and a video! So, I listened to the video, put together by someone other that a contributor to New!!

    Much later, I went on-line later, knowing that it would no longer be there, as it was simply NOT the material catholics would write about!


  15. Rob B. says:

    As I continue to study the history of the Church, I am always struck by how whenever the Church seems on the edge of collapsing, the Holy Spirit comes through with the saints it needs (though not, perhaps, the ones it wants) to preserve, defend, and increase it. I think we might be in one of those phases right now and I pray that the Holy Spirit continue its work in me and in Holy Mother Church.

  16. Cephas says:

    The Zech passage reminds me of Revelation: A third of the stars will be swept from the sky. Which is it then: 1/3 or 2/3?
    And then you don’t mention John’s farewell discourse at all. I think Jesus said something about pruning there too.

  17. Cassandra says:

    Speculating about the mystery of God’s action in the Church, even pruning, is one thing. Obviously, something is going on, and at the very least falls under God’s passive will in permitting it.

    Speculating under the title of “Remnant Theology” is another thing entirely. A google search of “remnant theology” shows an almost exclusive return of protestant writers. In 10 pages of hits, only two showed catholic writers at all, one being questionable, and the other discussing it as a danger in the context of a withdrawal in the “Benedict option” and the myopic “only we are the true faithful” mentality.

    Furthermore, Remnant Theology is strongly associated withe Seventh Day Adventists.

    My suggestion is that you not associate your speculation under the name Remnant Theology in order that your readers not mistakenly take that as an endorsement of protestant theories on ecclesiology. You’re on dangerous ground in calling the present situation by that name.

    Another issue is that you are placing overemphasis on God’s active will in pruning at the expense of passively permitting a falling away. It’s really a rehash of the mystery of predestination and free will. Focusing on one or the other leads to heresy. For the Church it’s both/and.

    It seems apparent that God is chastising His people, but there is also the action of free will in refusing His grace to endure it. Your example of Jn 6 is good, but see it in a fully context. It is a hard teaching and a test, but one can not say that God actively *wills* that His disciples fall away. Rather He permits them to refuse His grace to accept the teaching on Faith. Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater.

  18. Charles says:

    Great post and how true about the caliber of men studying for the priesthood today. As a former seminarian and as a faculty member of a major Catholic seminary in the country, I can attest that this is absolutely true in the United States. I would perhaps encourage any Catholic who is discouraged by the cultural climate to find a way to visit one – you’re in for a big treat! These men need our prayers – their commitment to Christ and the Church is really incredible.

  19. TheInformer says:

    You wouldn’t believe the hassle from the three parishes in Ventura, CA just to get ONE evening Mass so that the Faithful (who have to commute and work all day) might be able to get to an evening Mass, daily.

    Apparently the priests don’t have the ability to make the decision themselves. It has to go through the deanery or some committee.

    If the parishes offer Mass and devotions, the people will come. We have to work out our own salvation. The purpose of the parishes is to make that happen.

    Let’s hope our new bishop, His Excellency Robert Barron, will be good good good all around!

  20. sursum.cor says:

    This teaching reminds me of ROMANS Chapter 11.

    “Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How inscrutable are His judgments and how unsearchable His ways!”

  21. E G Lewis says:

    Thank you for this wonderful post. I believe Benedict the Beloved’s prophetic words about the Church becoming smaller and not having edifices ocupy. It breaks my heart to see them go, but go they must. I don’t see any of the parishes preparing for the inevitable. Look around at Mass and ask yourself, “How many of these folks will be here in 10 years?” I’d conservatively estimate at least 25% our parish will be gone within those 10 years…probably way more than that. How many young persons do you see compared to gray-haired oldsters? If you have 500 families and you lose 25%, then 25 % again, where will you be? Where will those 219 replacements come from? Meanwhile, how many families will have drifted away??

  22. Dan Krischke says:

    Thank you for a very helpful and inspiring article. I lead a class at a prison and have been reading a lot of Catholic history. It seems as though the promises that Our Lady made at Fatima and the non-consecration of Russia to Her Immaculate Heart has been a factor in the trials and troubles of the Church in the 20th century. I was born in 1950 and had 12 years of Catholic school, served in Vietnam, left the Church and came back about 20 years ago. I look at Vatican II and see where “smoke” did indeed enter the Church. Therefore, I temper my theology with pre-conciliar basics and use the VII theology when applicable. I do not mislead, but I stick to the Baltimore and Adult Catechisms for most of my research. God bless you, Msgr Pope. You are a really wonderful Priest.

  23. Marie Dean says:

    I have been writing about remnant spirituality since the British passed ssm in 2013. I was in England when this happened and wrote on two blogs about how interesting it was that a marriage crisis began the destruction of the Church in England.

    The remnant posts I wrote can be found here, on my old blog–the remnant will be very, very small.

    Just look at the tags at the side for “remnant”. We need to have a remnant mentality.

  24. Dr. Thomas L. says:

    On point. While we are sad to see so many open pews, many of us are enthusiastic to see fervor in our good and holy priests, and fellow believers. The faithful who are still coming to Mass, we come for a reason. Praise God, true priest candidates are populating our seminaries, too. A necessary sea change, as we prepare for what is coming. Deus lo vult.

  25. RodH says:

    This is interesting to hear from you Monsignor. Coming from an evangelical background, “remnant theology” as you put it is…expected. Coming to the Church I brought along my comfort level with being odd guy out so-to-speak and one of the things I found stunning about the Catholic Church is that in spite of her powerful teaching in books, few Catholics I met seemed to care much or take the teaching very seriously, as “being a Catholic” was linked more with, dare I say it, left-wing politics than it was with the actual Magesterium of the Church and a personal commitment to Jesus Christ who sad to say was rarely mentioned in personal conversation.
    By God’s grace, two friends of mine badgered me into visiting an FSSP chapel. I was overwhelmed….with joy! Here, finally, was the teaching I’d read about actually being taken seriously!
    I didn’t wind up in a TLM {FSSP} community because I am a “traddie” but simply because it was the place I found Catholic doctrine and life-giving teaching being taught and modelled. Five years ago if you told me I’d be called a “traddie” I would have scratched my head in ignorance of what that sobriquet even means and then when told…would have laughed such a drunken insinuation! But now as I see the bark of St Peter struggling against the winds and hear the creaking of the timbers amidships and see and read of the attempts to make the Church some sort of general association of the generally socially conscious and hear what is thought of about “Traditionists” by the “masses” of “Catholics”, I sense the reality that soon the remnant of those who actually are committed to the teachings of the Church will not only be ostracized from the pagan world, but will increasingly be ridiculed by those who call themselves “Catholic” as well. I praise God my adult children are following me into the Church, but I pray they may be strong to stand among the remnant themselves. God bless you Monsignor and thank you for the wonderful ministry you provide me just plain personally. Deo gratias!

  26. RodH says:

    In rereading what I wrote it might sound as if I am saying the TLM community represents an exclusive remnant within the Church. I do not believe this to be true. However, popular “Catholicism” being what it is, places a strain on the ecclesiological doctrine of the “visible Church” to be sure. When Archbishops deny that homosexuality is sin, when marriage and its breakup are placed in the hands of those who want out, when the Pope himself trumpets the call for a “reverse Crusade” and fullscale invasion of Europe by Islam and helps achieve what Saladin could only in his wildest dreams conceive and there is no public uproar and resistance from leadership and the “faithful”, well, we have serious problems, folks. Serious problems.

  27. Correct indeed. Unfortunately the pruning is far from over. But if we trust in the Lord, remain true to His Vicar, and steadfastly live the Eucharist as the center of our lives, then we can be sure that we will not be separated from the vine.

    But the continued pruning will, as Msgr. alludes to, precede the great springtime — the Triumph of the Divine Will on Earth as in Heaven.

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