Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen once made some commentary about his time some fifty years ago. Think about where the world has gone since then. More importantly, think about where we as Catholic Christians have gone. Catholics, in large part, just helped elect the most pro-abortion candidate ever to hold high office. Think about that as you read what the usually cheery Fulton J. Sheen had to say.
‘Wild and gloomy times? Small wonder that people are shaken and confused! The signs are everywhere. The signs of our times point to a struggle between absolutes. We may expect the future to be a time of trials and catastrophes for two reasons: firstly, to stop disintegration. . . Revolution, disintegration, chaos must be reminders that our thinking has been wrong, our dreams have been unholy.
The second reason why a crisis must come is in order to prevent a false identification of the Church and the World. Our Lord intended that His followers should be different in spirit from those who were not His followers. . . But, though this is the divine intent, it is unfortunately true that the line of demarcation is often blotted out. Mediocrity and compromise characterize the lives of many Christians.
There is no longer the conflict which is supposed to characterize us. We are influencing the world less than the world is influencing us. Since the amalgamation of the Christian and pagan spirit has set in, since the gold is married with an alloy, the entirety must be thrown into the furnace SO that the dross may be burnt away.”
Is there anyone who would claim that as Catholic Christians that we are less of the world than fifty years ago? Is there anyone who would claim that a non-believer would see Christ in your average Catholic more now than fifty years ago? No, we know better. The world has influenced us to the point where we can no longer be distinguished from it. We are not only of it, we are making it. But we are not making it the way that Christ showed us.
Therefore, as Archbishop Sheen said, the crisis must come. I fear it must, but yet that also offers hope. The kind of hope in which a painful operation can cure the disease. Fear, pain, and hope. Lord, I pray that I will not be dross but gold.