In 2010 the Catholic Church in particular and Christianity in general are under attack because age old truths are being abandoned for the Dictatorship of Relativism. One might ask; how did we get here? It didn’t happen overnight; as a matter of fact many of those doing the rebelling actually think they are doing us all a favor. Centuries and millennium evolved into a construct of rebellion where self appointed leaders who thought knew better than the Church and society itself tried to change all that was sacred and holy into something, they but most importantly their friends in the intelligentsia, could accept. Too many cooks in the kitchen can be bad for your acquired culinary tastes, but when truth is watered down it is something entirely different and far more serious. In this instance, we are talking about souls, not taste buds. If this is so then how could the thesis of my book, The Tide is Turning Toward Catholicism be true? The answer is simple because the world is getting closer and closer to the precipice. Some may choose to jump but thankfully more will choose to come back from ledge into the world of reality and when they do they will see the many positive developments happening in the Church. One’s own mortality has a way of causing self preservation.
When did this construct of rebellion begin? One could say the Garden of Eden or even further back to Lucifer who tried to overthrow God. Theologians tell us the “light bearer” tried to overthrow God because of the Almighty’s love and mercy. God allowed Lucifer to look in the future and see the Incarnation. God’s mercy and love was too much for the evil one and he, along with one third of the angels, tried to violently take over heaven. God’s holy angels, with St Michael the Archangel leading the charge, tossed the rebellious angels out of heaven into hell where they reign to this day hoping to deprive earthly souls of their heavenly inheritance
Sadly as the march of history continued so did the Construct of Rebellion. In ancient Israel, try as they might, the Old Testament prophets always seemed to be fighting a losing battle with the general population. After Christ’s death, resurrection and ascension into Heaven, the rebellion continued on in the form of heresy, often denying key points of Christian doctrine such as the Scriptures, Trinity or the Eucharist. In the Early Church, these miscreants were often exiled to the Arabian Peninsula. Historians tell us that a young Muhammad traveled the Arabian peninsula with his uncle, a skilled tradesman. We are told that these two heard many of these apocryphal stories surrounding Christ. Eventually, these stories made it into the Koran.
The Protestant Reformation started as a religious movement but quickly turned political. Martin Luther’s ego thought that those dissenting with the Church would follow him en masse, but later many did not. All the tension and anger came flowing out at the Marburg Colloquy in 1529 when Luther realized that key doctrinal issues were not going to be followed by some leaders of his movement. When the Eucharist (John 6:22-69, Luke 22:14-23, Luke 24:30-35.) and other sacraments were shelved, Luther stormed out and exchanged unpleasantries with some of the attendees never to meet with them again. Luther later lamented that some of the Protestant movement ceased to be Christian when they disregarded Christ’ command concerning the Eucharist. We now have 40,000+ denominations and independent churches in the United States even though Christ exhorted us to be One (John 10:16.)
In the modern political world, one can trace this construct of rebellion back to the French Revolution. Though Voltaire and his minions fancied themselves as intellectuals, their rebellion against God (pretending He didn’t exist) became child’s play. Much like children sometimes exclude a child they don’t understand or wish to play with from their midst, so do the modern atheists. Because they can’t understand God’s vastness, they simply pretend He isn’t there. Adults generally don’t reward their children when they exclude others, but sadly the intelligentsia of the modern world (liberal religious included) often hang onto the militant secularist’s every word.
The 1960s became the incubator of the modern day rebellion seekers. (Point of personal privilege, there are two sets of liberals; utopians who are by their very nature good hearted optimists but hopelessly lacking in reality, and elitist control seekers who use the misfortune of the suffering to gain, consolidate and hold power. The crux of references to liberals in this and most of my writings revolves around the elitists and not the utopians.) The Western Cultural Revolution of the 1960s sought to diminish and then to liquidate religion. The flaming barricades of Paris sent shockwaves to the likes of Pope Paul VI and a future pontiff then Theology Professor, Father Josef Ratzinger. The Pontiff and the future pontiff had hoped 1960s societal change would bring about positive changes for the Church and world.
Sadly, they realized this Cultural Revolution shared more with that in China then what they had in mind. In 1968 when Pope Paul VI announced Humanae Vitae and some four years later spoke of the “Smoke of Satan” entering the Vatican, the cultural elites cheered on the likes of dissident priest Father Hans Kung as he tooled about the German University town of Tubingen behind the wheel of his trendy Porsche. Yet, they snickered at the old school Father Ratzinger as he peddled through the same town on his bicycle. Shortly before the French Revolution, Voltaire thought that since the indefatigable Jesuits had been thrown out of the country, the Church would collapse once the Revolution and the guillotine swung into action. He was very mistaken. So it was with the 1960s elites who thought the Church of Father Ratzinger would be gone in 40 years.
Yet, forty years later the bicycling Father Ratzinger would become Pope Benedict XVI and the Porsche driving, ascot in the breeze, Father Kung would become but an asterisk of past dissidents who disappeared into the mists of history. The tortoise of truth had passed the hare of relativism. The Smoke of Satan was being wafted out from whence it came by the likes of Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI.
This seems to be lost on those both inside and outside the Church who scoff at Church orthodoxy and traditional societal views of the world. Modern day blue blooded jihadists who are more familiar with Monaco and Paris than they are with Gaza and Peshwar are still somehow labeled as “have not’s” by the elites and media gatekeepers who could have easily bumped into these jet setting jihadists at the latest Cannes premier or Sundance Film Festival. Therefore, it shouldn’t surprise anyone when government officials travel the world to apologize for American and western values and at the same time view near terrorists successes on airlines as “the system worked.”
These same gullible folks have by and large bought into the man made global warming argument when a simple review of European weather records which go back 1,000 years shows ebbs and flows long before the Industrial Revolution was launched. For example in the first couple of decades of the 13th century crops were being grown well into Scotland. Yet a few decades later, winters saw the Thames frozen so solid, that one could walk and skate across it. Congressman Al Gore came to Washington from rural Tennessee a conservative, pro life Democrat. Yet, he came under the spell of the intelligentsia and ended up being the defacto leader of the manmade global warming movement. If this wasn’t ludicrous enough, he somehow came under the delusion that he invented the internet. In days gone by, such souls would be pitied. Sadly, today some of the best and brightest believes he is one of them.
Just like past failed attempts at Big Government, liberal Christianity has failed and many are seeing the writing on the wall and subsequently are crossing the Tiber as fast as humanly possible. Yet one would think from mainstream media reports that it is Christian liberalism on the ascendency and not Christian orthodoxy.
As I noted before, all of this is made manifest in ordination numbers. 64 to 6 and 14 to 4 stand out. What does this mean? In 2006 when writing my book, The Tide is Turning Toward Catholicism, I noted that even though the Diocese of Rochester had more Catholics than the dioceses of Lincoln and Omaha combined, Rochester had 6 men studying for the priesthood while Lincoln and Omaha had 64. That same year of 2006 Denver had 14 young men ordained to the priesthood (eleven in May and three earlier in the academic year) while Los Angeles had four; a staggering statistic when one considers that the Archdiocese of Los Angeles has 4,300,000 Catholic residents compared to 385,000 Catholics for the Archdiocese of Denver. Los Angeles and Rochester are led by two of the most liberal prelates in the Church, while Omaha, Lincoln and Denver are led by three of the more conservative bishops in the US, a revelatory statistic to say the least.
Younger liberals might be forgiven if they mistakenly believed the canard told by their elder comrades that 1950s Catholic leaders and especially bishops were all right wing conservatives who had no patience for the ideas of liberals but possessed the patience of Job for fellow conservatives. In his memoirs published shortly after his death, the late Senator Edward Kennedy wrote that his famous father, the former Ambassador to England Joseph P Kennedy, would often socialize with Richard Cardinal Cushing of Boston. Senator Kennedy wrote that his father always called the famous prelate by his first name.
In a revealing account the late Senator spoke of an incident in which brother Bobby, the future Senator from New York, heard a controversial conservative priest at a Boston lecture whose views about Protestant salvation were deemed very conservative. After Bobby’s father made a phone call to “Richard” the priest was promptly booted from the Archdiocese. Senator Edward Kennedy surmises that because of this incident, his brother Bobby unwittingly played a part in bringing about Vatican II. As one can clearly see from this example, the right wing Catholic hierarchy may not have existed as vividly as it did in some liberal’s imagination.
However, the pull of being accepted by the world is tough even for self-professed orthodox minded Catholics. For example the secular scholarly world rolls its eyes and snickers at modern day miracles and apparitions. One of the most popular Catholic websites Spirit Daily is one such site that makes mention of both. However, mention you read this site and you are bound to be looked at with suspicion even in the world of orthodox minded Catholicism. The site is run by author Michael Brown whose book; The Last Secret is one of the most thoroughly researched books on the History of Marian Apparitions. The Pulitzer Prize nominated Brown (who was nominated for the prestigious prize in the late 1970s while writing for a newspaper detailing the toxic waste dumped in upstate New York’s Love Canal) spent a great deal of time researching The Last Secret. He used libraries around the world, including the largest collection of works on Marian Apparitions housed at the Marianist, University of Dayton. Though a Pulitzer Prize nominee for the scholarship displayed in researching the Love Canal tragedy, his book The Last Secret, using the same methodology, received scant attention in the Catholic intelligentsia.
It would seem that for some the fear of being lumped in with those who see the Blessed Mother in every scrap of burnt toast or every dilapidated barn door holds far more sway than believing that the Blessed Mother has appeared in human history to bring attention to her Son, the Savior of us all. Sadly, the construct of rebellion is prevalent in all areas, even among some faithful Catholics.
There comes a point when human beings have to trust their senses and well formed consciences. The elites, especially within the Church often speak of “conscience.” Yet the Church teaches that conscience has to be well formed. Many jihadists claim they are at peace with their conscience, as are hedonistic types who troll the world for the latest chemical and sexual stimulus. However, conscience is much like a pizza without the proper ingredients and trial by fire, it will not resemble anything called a pizza but rather a sad spectacle of what might have been.
With all of our institutions of higher learning, seminaries and free time to read and develop our minds (as compared to our recent and most especially distant ancestors) it is more than a little disconcerting to note how far off the rails some of us have traveled. In the field of athletics and the world of stage and screen, the lingo is “what could have been” or “he could have been a contender.” Many of us will recall the famous commercial entitled; “A Mind is a terrible thing to waste.” Our world is doing just that by buying into the construct of rebellion. Just in case you need further evidence of the Construct of Rebellion keep this in mind. Most radical activists, including many in influential political circles, read and absorb everything that famous radical activist Saul Alinksy has said or written. In his landmark book, Rules for Radicals, Alinsky dedicates the book to a litany of rebels, including Lucifer. Do you see the importance of the first few paragraphs with my thesis on The Construct of Rebellion?
The question seems to be will we follow ourselves at the expense of all that we know is true, or will we chose the path traveled by our faithful ancestors? With all of their limited opportunities they made the best of a difficult situation. Yet, at this very moment they are most likely praying that we travel the same path that the faithful have been doing for over 2,000 years. Which road will we travel?