A Simple Directive from God in Times Like These

A silhouette of a young Christian woman is bowing her head in prayer, and desperation outside during sunset.

Beginning in 721 B.C., after repeated warnings from the prophets, terrible waves of destruction came on the Jewish people. The Assyrians invaded and conquered the ten northern tribes of Israel. The survivors were exiled and in a certain sense were not heard from again. (They are often called the “Ten lost tribes of Israel.”)

Small, feeble attempts at reform in the south for Judah and the Levites were mostly unsuccessful. Again, despite repeated warnings from the prophets, 587 B.C. was witness to another wave of destruction: the Babylonians invaded and destroyed Jerusalem. The city lay in ruins, the temple burned and looted. The survivors were exiled in Babylon and for eighty years the Promised Land lay in ruins.

How could this be? Why would God allow His people to be conquered? Worse yet, how could He allow the temple to be destroyed?

But He did. God does not care about buildings and land. He cares about the temple of our soul and a harvest of justice.

Even though His people were severely pruned and waiting for a spring of new growth, God did not forsake them utterly; He nurtured a remnant in Babylon. Through His prophets, God taught them to remain faithful and to await the day of liberation that would surely come.

We do well to look at a repentance text, a simple and humble text with very few moving parts. Why? Because many of us, especially the older of us, remember a once-flourishing Church that had enormous numbers and was influential in the culture. Back then over 80% of Catholics attended Mass every Sunday. Our schools and churches were packed and the faithful were generally respectful of Church teaching. Poor laborers and immigrants built glorious monuments to the faith along with schools, universities, hospitals, and orphanages. While we ought not to idealize those times, it is hard to argue that they did not produce a remarkable legacy of buildings, institutions, and large Catholic families.

But a cultural earthquake in the West shook us vigorously and many were lost to us. Today only 20-25% of Catholics attend Mass regularly. Once-packed churches have closed or been merged with others. Schools and seminaries have been shuttered and a flock that was once largely obedient has been infested with dissenting voices up to some of the highest levels. Birthrates have plummeted, liturgy has widely degraded, and catechesis seems ineffective against a secular juggernaut. Even those who have tried to stay faithful feel lost, weak, and discouraged.

It is not 587 B.C. by a longshot, but we cannot help but see some similarities. It may be good to recall this simple, humble text summoning all to repentance and encouraging the faithful remnant to stay true:

If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land (2 Chron. 7:14).

Well, what do you think? Is this really so complicated? The Lord seeks a humble, broken people who seek Him and His truth. Are you among them? Be careful, the Lord is not seeking a people who are proud and who denounce others; He had that in the Pharisees. What if changing others were not my primary task? What if repenting more deeply of my own sins were my focus? What if humbling myself were to come before finding fault in others? What if turning from my own sins were what would get God’s attention and bring healing on this land?

It’s pretty hard to change the world, but when it comes to my own life I stand a chance to be able to affect my acreage and claim it back for God.

King Jesus is listening all day long to hear a humble sinner pray. Too often we assess the problems in others, in the rival political party, in secularism, in culture. All of these areas certainly need help, but when do we ever get around to following what God asks of us: that we humble ourselves, pray, seek His face, and repent of our sinful ways?

I don’t know how or even if our land will be healed. Better cultures and empires than ours have fallen. But empires and cultures consist of individuals, and among us God seeks those who will humble themselves, seek His face, and turn from their sinful ways. Why not me? Why not you? Why complicate things? It is easier to wear slippers than to carpet the whole of the earth. What is God asking you to do to change this Hell-bound, sin-soaked world? Why not do it? What if the change of the whole world were to begin with you and me?

40 Replies to “A Simple Directive from God in Times Like These”

  1. Repent. That is good advice. However, no one knows what that means anymore because no one knows what sin is anymore. Actually, listening to Pope Francis one would not know that sin existed (except perhaps turning on the AC or driving to work to make some money).

    Yesterday’s sins are today’s medals. Standing up for life and marriage means nothing to this church anymore but if you are gay or in remarried you’re practically a saint.

    Yes, I know what my sins are, or at least what I thought were sins but nowadays who knows anything anymore.

    I don’t need a mixed-up and confused institution in order to pray and beg God for forgiveness and grace. After this weekend, it is clear that the institutional RC church is dead. It is dead because it has abandoned traditional marriage, the family, and children. May God help us.

    1. Your view of Pope Francis is very negative. If you mull over your words about him and consider how Jesus Christ came to redeem sinners, not those who did not need redemption or a physician, you might repent from your own thoughts. He invites people to stop sinning and be healed. An invitation is better than a threat, don’t you think?

      When you want an injured pet to come to you so that you can remove a splinter from its jaw, do you threaten it with more harm for disobeying the command to “Come to me” or do you gently encourage it to come to you? Wisdom prevails in this situation.

      God IS helping us through Pope Francis. Yet people choose to distrust and not have faith. This is not Pope Francis’ fault. Rather, it is an individual choice.

      1. Fred’s assessment is more realistic. I’m not in agreement that the institutional church is dead but it has been dealt a severe blow by the confusion of the recent Synod. When the Catholic Church already has an annulment process and the Sacrament of Confession yet those in high places make it appear as if mercy never existed before 2013, methinks that some want to remake the church into their own image and likeness. My question is: is the 6th Commandment a sin or not? Upholding doctrine is not being closed minded. It is there to clarify God’s laws and to help us to do the right thing. Sometimes the road to hell can be paved with good intentions. I’ll choose good doctrine over good intentions any day.

        1. Spot on. Here’s the scandal: we have many bishops (perhaps even the Pope himself) who do not believe or support what is in the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Communion for the divorced and remarried is dealt with explicitly (and rejected) at paragraph 1650-51. The fact that so many Catholic bishops want to overturn the teaching of St. John Paul the Great is scandalous and dis-heartening. What are the flock to make of this, when “priority one” of the new “administration” seems to be to undo the teaching of the last 2 pontificates on a matter that implicates 3 of the 7 sacraments (matrimony, reconciliation and the Eucharist) and the clear teaching set forth in the Catechism as rapidly as possible? It is nothing less than shocking. It amounts to spitting on St. John Paul the Great’s grave. And they aren’t even waiting for the saintly Benedict to die before spitting on his.

          1. Don, one of the challenges that some have is that some allow emotion to affect how they think about Pope Francis and other bishops, claiming they don’t believe, that they desire to violate unbreakable truths, and so on. That is emotion, and probably misguiding media at work more than it is fact and reason. Pastors are looking for ways to help people heal.

        2. Fred’s assessment is actually full of absolutes which, if you took them to court, would be proven false – without merit. Doesn’t matter if you accept my view; your choice. But at least acknowledge the problems with his argument.

      2. You have said it. Christ came to call sinners. That’s everyone. There are none who do not need the Divine Physician and Redeemer, only those who think they do not. God’s invitation to Grace is worded beautifully in Isaiah 55. He leads us to the Water but doesn’t force us to drink. “Only listen to Me”… I think many are discouraged because they sense the danger of 99 sheep being scattered for the sake of the one listening to the world. All I can do is pray.

    2. Hey, fRED! If you look at the people in the church your heart will break for disappointment – but Jesus hasn’t left the tabernacle, so I’m not leaving the pew. He is slow to anger and works all things to His inscrutable good, so let’s be patient. Love hopes all things, endures all things, Love never fails!
      See you in heaven, my friend!

  2. Another inspiring post. Thank you. At times our secular culture gets me down and I think I’m doing okay. When I read your blogs, I’m reminded that I need to do more and not be complacent. I

  3. I see a big difference in the kind of Divine Mercy that St. John Paul II instituted than in the one Pope Francis desires. The difference being that in the former we acknowledge our sinfulness and are shown divine forgiveness, in the latter we remain in our sin and expect divine forgiveness without doing anything to change our lives. What happened to the words of Jesus when he commanded us to be perfect as our Heaving Father is perfect. No one can attain this kind of perfection without divine assistance but should we wallow in the gutter and not even try to change?

    1. “The difference being that in the former [JP II] we acknowledge our sinfulness and are shown divine forgiveness, in the latter [Pope Francis] we remain in our sin and expect divine forgiveness without doing anything to change our lives.”

      You are correct. You hit it on the head!

      And Jesus said: “Neither will I condemn you (mercy) Go, and sin no more (Justice).”

      Pope Francis is a BIG DISAPPOINTMENT! Did you read his final remark at the conclusion of the Synod?

      Pope Francis statement:

      “It [the Synod} was about bearing witness to everyone that, for the Church, the Gospel continues to be a vital source of eternal newness, against all those who would “indoctrinate” it in dead stones to be hurled at others [WHO IS HURLING DEAD STONES???].

      It was also about laying closed hearts, which bare the closed hearts which frequently hide even behind the Church’s teachings [PEOPLE WHO BELIEVE IN THE CHURCH’S TEACHINGS ARE “CLOSED HEARTS”?] or good intentions, in order to sit in the chair of Moses and judge, sometimes with superiority and superficiality, difficult cases and wounded families…

      It [the Synod] was about trying to open up broader horizons, rising above conspiracy theories and blinkered viewpoints, so as to defend and spread the freedom of the children of God, and to transmit the beauty of Christian Newness, at times encrusted in a language which is archaic or simply incomprehensible [THE CCC AND THE BIBLE ARE PRETTY CLEAR TO ME].

      The Synod experience also made us better realize that the true defenders of doctrine are not those who uphold its letter [SO THE FAITHFUL, WHO UPHOLDS THE WRITTEN WORD OF GOD – SACRED SCRIPTURES – ARE NOT THE “TRUE DEFENDERS”?], but its spirit; not ideas but people; not formulae but the gratuitousness of God’s love and forgiveness.

      Contradictions and Confusion coming from this Pope and then attacking the faithful. Very UNBECOMING of the Pope!

      1. How unfortunate that when the Pope does not like a certain outcome, he judges others (so-called conservatives a/k/a those who follow church teaching) by name calling. Where is the humility, unity and tolerance of others’ views when they don’t reflect his own? I truly believe that priests need to protect their flock first and foremost than protect this pope by their silence.. Their fidelity is to the Lord and to the flock to whom they have been entrusted. We should pray for this pope’s conversion or for his defeat.

      2. He can’t help himself. He is extremely judgmental. Here’s what makes it even worse. His snarky and condemnatory comments are directed at those who are doing nothing more than defending the teaching of the past two popes from a full frontal assault by bishops who never accepted that teaching and want it overturned. Accordingly, he might as well be leveling these comments directly at St. John Paul the Great and Pope Benedict. Can you imagine the audacity, the lack of respect, the hubris, and the lack of Christian Charity that requires? He is in effect labeling St. John Paul the Great and Pope Benedict as “Pharisees” and “rigorists” and “doctors of the law” with “cold hearts.”

        Think about it and let it sink in.

  4. By the closing remarks of the Holy Father, I have come to seriously doubt the dogma of Infallibility. It was the Bishops who surprisingly upheld church teaching and not the pope. Pope Francis makes the word doctrine appear like a bad word even though the Catechism of the Catholic Church says that doctrines are the lights that guide our faith. Doctrine and mercy are not mutual enemies; doctrine is truth and mercy tempers truth; they serve one another. You cannot have one without the other without sinking into sentimentality.

    1. Michael, with all due respect you (and many, many other people, including some of those who have posted comments elsewhere in this thread) have a seriously flawed concept of papal infallibility. Papal infallibility is a very special charism of the Holy Spirit. It is given to the true Pope (not an anti-Pope, and not a cardinal or bishop who deviates from sound Catholic belief & practice). By all commonly accepted definitions, it only comes into play when the Pope makes some definitive statement re: faith and/or morals.
      This, Vatican II most definitely NOT do–in fact, in one of their earlier statement, V-II specifically said that it was not going to define any articles of faith or morals; it was to be merely a pastoral council.
      This, the recently closed Bishops’ Synod on the Family likewise did not do. While there is abundant and dismaying evidence that the Pope and many of the bishops/cardinals from the developed world have been badly infected with a sort of Marxist or Teilhardian progressivism (they actually believe that God is going to continue to “evolve,” and that humans and the Church are going to evolve into God, etc.), this of course is not true Catholic belief at all, and you are 100% to be dismayed.
      However, if you study the history of the papacy carefully, and I have, you will find that many many Popes have been material heretics. In the 200’s there was a Pope who “buckled” under the Roman persecutions and actually burned incense to Jupiter! Since many Christians were dying gruesome deaths at the time, the other bishops promptly called a conference and deposed him! Said Pope upon being deposed, came to his senses and said they were right, he was wrong, and they were not to so much as bury his dead body but let lie wherever it was and let it rot in the streets, so badly had he betrayed the faith. The bishops responded by re-electing him Pope. He went on to die one of those particularly gruesome martyrdoms, and is now counted as one of the saints.
      In other eras (high Middle Ages) there was a Pope who claimed that the deceased who were liberated from Purgatory were nonetheless deprived of the beatific vision (seeing God face-to-face) and that they would have to wait til the end of the world to receive this privilege. Since those who knew and lived their faiths realized the mischief which comes from tinkering with basic dogma, this Pope was directly threatened by at least one monarch with being burned at the stake if he did not recant, and repent. He did. He died fairly shortly thereafter.
      In yet another instance, and this gets right to the heart of where papal infallibility comes into play, a Pope in the later Middle Ages decided to translate the Bible into the vernacular. He did a lot of this on his own. Everyone at the time agreed that this translation was spectacularly horrible, would confuse the faithful, and would cause all kinds of misunderstandings of the faith. Despite repeated protests, threats, etc., this Pope persevered in his egregious errors, which if this Bible had actually been published would have altered the basic dogmas of the faith, according to those familiar with it, and would have amounted to forcing a sort of marriage of Catholic truth with all kinds of individual errors.
      When the day for publication arrived, this Pope was found dead in his bed! The horrendous Bible never was officially approved, was never officially published, and is now kind of roadkill along the highway of Church history.
      Apparently, God does permit these things to happen. Where the hand of God appears to fall is that while individual Popes can (and do) commit all kinds of sins against faith & morals (witness the Popes in the 9th Century, and during the Renaissance), when it comes to forcing a hybridazation of heresy or error with the true faith, and it is do-or-die time, something occurs which prevents the evil from being forced into the bloodstream of the Church, so to speak.
      Somewhere in the Bible it says that part of where God permits temptations, etc. to occur, is to find out whether it ever was your intention to obey him.
      I apologize for the length of this comment, but I think the issue of papal infallibility does need to be treated, as there is a simply tremendous amount of misunderstanding out there.

  5. Very good article, Msgr. Pope. Another “simple directive” from God is below. “The call to serve Christ in the poor is an invitation to perfect happiness,” as Father Ho Lung says.

    Isaiah 58:6-12:
    “Is not this the fast that I choose:
    to loose the bonds of wickedness,
    to undo the straps of the yoke,
    to let the oppressed go free,
    and to break every yoke?

    Is it not to share your bread with the hungry
    and bring the homeless poor into your house;
    when you see the naked, to cover him,
    and not to hide yourself from your own flesh?

    Then shall your light break forth like the dawn,
    and your healing shall spring up speedily;
    your righteousness shall go before you;
    the glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard.

    Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer;
    you shall cry, and he will say, ‘Here I am.’
    If you take away the yoke from your midst,
    the pointing of the finger, and speaking wickedness,

    if you pour yourself out for the hungry
    and satisfy the desire of the afflicted,
    then shall your light rise in the darkness
    and your gloom be as the noonday.

  6. To me this article is very soothing and takes away a lot of worrying that I had about the seemingly changing face of our mother the Church. No, nothing has changed, what I have been taught as a child is still the same today and will remain the same forever because the teaching comes from Christ our Saviour. The Church remains faithful in her teaching, my part is to respect that.

  7. The Pope and clergy have a responsibility to clearly define and defend the sacraments, including marriage. The synod weakened, rather than strengthened the teaching through watered down language lending only tepid and vague support for doctrine while creating wide loopholes for those looking to do whatever they feel and call it good. It’s not the end of the Church of course, but no one should pretend everything is OK either. I’d love to have bishops and clearly and unambiguously defend God’s plan for families rather than propose the toleration and acceptance of unrepented sin under the banner of mercy.

    1. Exactly right. We are in a bad, bad way at the moment. At this point, we can only hope to limit the damage Francis and his hand-picked cronies will wreak on the Church before they are done. Look at the cabal with whom he surrounds himself. They have one thing in common: they despise the Magisterium of St. John Paul the Great and Benedict XVI and want to undo it as quickly and completely as possible. It is scandalous and shocking.

      1. Also, Pope Francis’s Marxist economic views are an embarrassment. I can’t help it if he comes from a country, Argentina, that goes bankrupt every 10 years and is currently running a 25% inflation index.

      2. Good grief. I think that you could be found guilty before court if tried for libel.

        Are you guys being paid to write this stuff?

  8. The Babylonian conquesr of 587 BC wasn’t, as such, a punishment for Judah’s sins. God told them through Jeremiah that He has given the land of Israel to King Nebuchadnezzar by His own good pleasure. The people of Judah could have lived and kept the Temple had they bent their necks and served the King of Babylon, but they listened to the false prophets and offered armed resistance.

    It was for their rebellion against Nebuchadnezzar that they were put to the sword and sent into exile.

  9. James Martin, SJ, in an article today on realclearreligion.com said the problem now is Catholics don’t want change. The changes I have seen that coincidentally coincided with Vatican II have been less than encouraging. Now, it appears that certain members of the recent synod want to relax the standards of marriage that Jesus set, that one can easily find in the gospels, which include a non biblical scholar like myself. No, I am not buying it Father Martin.

  10. As I understand it, the final document produced by the Synod is a recommendation only to Pope Frances. Unless and until the Pope issues some kind of statement, exhortation, etc., absolutely nothing in Catholic doctrine has been changed. Nothing.
    He did issue statements prior to this years Synod making the process for determining marriage validity a bit simpler and less of a “bureaucratic nightmare.”
    Pope Frances is the successor of Peter upon whom Jesus Christ built His church with the assurance that the Gates of Hell would not prevail against it. I trust Christ to take care of His church.
    What He asks of me is just what Msgr Pope states in this excellent article. My work to help save the world is to work on perfecting myself.
    If each of us did that, we might indeed have a “perfect church.”

    1. Come on, we all know by now what side of this argument Francis is on. It’s not the side of St. John Paul the Great, Pope Benedict, or Jesus for that matter. The only thing that will stop him is if he thinks he can’t get away with it without causing a schism. It is beyond the pale that he used his closing remarks to petulantly cast aspersions at those who opposed and defeated his pet project.

      Intellectually, he’s already a joke. Pastorally, he’ll end up an utter failure.

      1. Who is “we”? Perhaps “I” would be appropriate and the word “know” is not applicable in your case.

  11. Here is some basic “Catholic Teaching 101” fromt the Catechism that many of our bishops apparently reject (including Pope Francis?). Woe to these false teachers who lead the flock astray. It will not be good for them on the day of judgment. Millstones, anyone?

    1847 “God created us without us: but he did not will to save us without us.” To receive his mercy, we must admit our faults. “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just, and will forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

    1848 As St. Paul affirms, “Where sin increased, grace abounded all the more.” But to do its work grace must uncover sin so as to convert our hearts and bestow on us “righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Like a physician who probes the wound before treating it, God, by his Word and by his Spirit, casts a living light on sin:

    Conversion requires convincing of sin; it includes the interior judgment of conscience, and this, being a proof of the action of the Spirit of truth in man’s inmost being, becomes at the same time the start of a new grant of grace and love: “Receive the Holy Spirit.” Thus in this “convincing concerning sin” we discover a double gift: the gift of the truth of conscience and the gift of the certainty of redemption. The Spirit of truth is the Consoler.

    1864 “Therefore I tell you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven.” There are no limits to the mercy of God, but anyone who deliberately refuses to accept his mercy by repenting, rejects the forgiveness of his sins and the salvation offered by the Holy Spirit. Such hardness of heart can lead to final impenitence and eternal loss.

    Then there’s this:

    1650 Today there are numerous Catholics in many countries who have recourse to civil divorce and contract new civil unions. In fidelity to the words of Jesus Christ – “Whoever divorces his wife and marries another, commits adultery against her; and if she divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery”160 the Church maintains that a new union cannot be recognized as valid, if the first marriage was. If the divorced are remarried civilly, they find themselves in a situation that objectively contravenes God’s law. Consequently, they cannot receive Eucharistic communion as long as this situation persists. For the same reason, they cannot exercise certain ecclesial responsibilities. Reconciliation through the sacrament of Penance can be granted only to those who have repented for having violated the sign of the covenant and of fidelity to Christ, and who are committed to living in complete continence.

  12. The failings of Francis and various bishops should not lead anyone to despair in God, which is the worst sin possible. We need to support orthodox clergy wherever they can be found, challenge the lies of the heretics and, as Msgr. said, we need to better ourselves. A handful of saints carried the Church through the Arian crisis and can do the same in regards to modernism. Francis, like all of us, is a speck of dust compared to God. He can’t destroy the Word anymore than Satan could.

  13. In general, thank you Father for yet another excellent article. I think many of the commenters here have completely missed your point, which is that we each need to point the spotlight on ourselves, subject ourselves to a fearless and searching moral inventory, as the 12-step programs put it, a/k/a a thorough examination of conscience. We need to look at ourselves, and not pick the Pope or certain cardinals or archbishops to pieces. What we each really, really need to do is to analyze ourselves to see where we fall short of the mark, confess our sins in the confessional, and then try to amend our lives, whether by avoiding the near occasions which lead us into sin going forward, making amends for wrongs we have done, or whatever is called for.
    As you know, I am very much the private Catholic prophecy buff, and I believe with Pope Benedict XVI that we have not yet seen the end of what has been predicted at Fatima, Akita, etc. In fact, the prophecies of Sister Agnes at Akita seems to be coming true in spades: the spirit of the world has entered the hierarchy, you see cardinals opposing cardinals, bishops opposing bishops, etc.
    Other prophecies which are manifestly coming true in our day are to the effect that humility and charity are laughed to scorn (not to mention chastity–there simply are almost no virgin souls in the USA anymore).
    In recent months, I have radically revised my thinking about these matters–it is 100% true that private prophetic threats of divine chastisement (or those in the Bible, for that matter, such as in Jonah’s time) are conditional. That is, if people will seriously repent, stop sinning, do penance, and amend their lives, God will not let His hand fall. This is just as true in our day as it was in Jonah’s. However, since people are hell-bent on pushing the crassest materialism, Marxism, socialism, promiscuous sexual perversity and polymorphous pan-sexuality to the farthest extent possible, no one should be surprised if God has not abandoned this wicked culture to its own devices, and is simply allowing matters to run their course. Private prophecy indicates in many places that the dissent, etc., which began around the time of Martin Luther will end in chaos, anarchy and bloodshed.
    However, it would be a great mistake to believe that God is denying His grace and mercy, in the case of a truly repentant sinner, or anyone who is sincerely seeking the truth. Far from it! God would not be God if He did any such thing!
    More and more, I tend to believe that God has hit the “accelerate” button on the process of living putrefaction in western so-called civilization. If He did not, and if this level of moral corruption, etc., went on unchallenged for much longer, no flesh at all could be saved.
    Rather than fall into bitterness, despair, or allow oneself to even entertain thoughts of abandoning the Catholic Church, what is called for is radical repentance and conversion, beginning with oneself. Then, praying and offering penances and suffrages for one’s own sins, for the sins of others, and to obtain even more grace for the conversion of sinners and the salvation of souls.
    Both John Paul II and Benedict XVI believe that the Church will be persecuted, will grow smaller as the multitude abandon the barque of Peter, and will likely be forced to go underground.
    In such times, faithful and devout Catholics are called to stand up and be “the grownups in the room” despite all of the ravings of the deluded mass culture. I think that this is what you are getting at, Msgr. Pope.

  14. One last thought: if we each would spend the same amount of time in intense prayer, such as the rosary, Eucharistic adoration, etc., that we spend on the Internet or in complaining & criticizing, we would be putting together prayer and penance-offerings which would likely be much more acceptable in the sight of the living God. And which would likely accomplish far more good in the world.

  15. Wow. It seems like some of the commenters here didn’t even read the whole post: “Be careful; the Lord is not seeking a people who are proud and who denounce others.” “Too often, we assess the problems in others…” “What if humbling myself were to come before finding fault in others?”

  16. The quote from 2 Chrons is insightful. It is reminiscent of the prophetic words of St. JPG, who, in his final three magisterial documents: Novo Millenio Ineunte; Rosarium Virginia Mariae and Ecclesia de Eucharistia states that his “programme” for the Church for the new millennium is to “contemplate the face of Christ in the school of Mary.” “To put out into the deep, of the sea of history, for a new evangelization.”

    Some have trouble seeing how this will play out in such dark times. They were dark times for the Jews in Babylon as well!

    I do see a surviving remnant being the true Church holding fast to the teaching of Jesus. The times may be more likened to the time of the Maccabees though than the times of the Babylonian captivity.

    Maranatha….come Lord Jesus!!


  17. Well stated both Msgr & Catharine. We are all very quick (me included) to diminish, disparage and denounce others in our community, highlighting faults and admonishing anyone who do not follow the same narrative or script as we do. Rarely do we condemn ourselves, rather we hold ourselves as bearers of truth and gate keepers of Orthodoxy protecting the Church from her enemies.

    One fundamental observation that I have come to learn over the years about human nature is that we rarely hold ourselves to the same standards we expect of others. We need to change from within first, examine our own conscience and seek humility and penance for our own sins, and set an example for others.

    Let God do the rest.

  18. Thank you, Monsignor.

    Here is what seems evident: Parts of the Final Relatio are ambiguous and can be manipulated. The language of HHPF’s encyclical Laudato Si and his Final Discourse to the Synod clearly reveals the papal mind, and this is cause for deep concern for faithful Catholics.

    What can we do other than wring our hands or bury our faces in the sand? Sacred Scripture reminds us to “pray always.” And Our Lord tells that we are to take up our crosses and follow Him who “offered up His life as a ransom for many.” This translates to the fact that we too are to “offer up our lives as a ransom for many.” How do we do this? By praying always, fasting, frequent Confession and Masses.

    But we North Americans are by tradition action-oriented. When we speak of “ora et labora” we are more apt to seize the “labora” and give a nod to “ora.” But now we must seize the “ora” and become deadly serious about prayer. Deadly as in putting to death the machinations of division and evil. We must offer that sacrifice of time in genuine prayer. Just as we go to the gym to slowly, methodically build up muscles, we must slowly build our prayer muscles, moving toward that attainable goal of “praying always.” It is much easier to opine, study, reflect and talk the talk, but walking the walk right now means serious commitment to genuine prayer. We are a force; the heartfelt collective prayers of the laity can change the course!

  19. I’ll stick by the Church but not the current leadership. I will stick with the Church as long as the Church offers the sacramets and the Mass. Some of our leaders have misunderstood the promptings of the Holy Spirit and should act with charity toward them. But we should not follow theim.

    As an aside, I wonder if the Cardial is informed of the opinions expressed on this web site? He is sympatico with Frances if I read the papers correctly.

    1. I agree. What some state here is so unreasonable and so far from the truth that it makes me wonder if they are playing games here.

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