Bring it on!!! |
An Apology for Our Day
Unlike all other entities, only the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church founded by Christ has survived and will continue to survive no matter what the ramparts of hell throw at the True Church for we have Christ's assurance that "the gates of hell shall not prevail against it" and He will be with us "all days, even to the consummation of the world."
I am a Catholic without sadness, without shame, and without any of that silly "Catholic guilt" I hear about. The Catholic Church needs no human defense, for the light streaming from God on high is sufficient to enlighten every man coming into this world concerning the truth. Nonetheless, because men in these days have freely chosen blindness, because they have freely chosen to harden their hearts, and because their attacks upon the truth display the most vitriolic contempt, their self-inflicted infirmity must be addressed, even though screams and moans may come from the infirm. It is the only charitable thing to do. Silence is dereliction. The time to defend the truth is upon us. There is no more joyful time to be Catholic than in these scandalous days, so let me tell the people of our times what I really want.
To all those out there with a grudge against the Church, especially to the media, let me say this. I want you to attack the Church with everything you have. I want you to expose every skeleton, in every closet, of every Bishop, Priest, and Brother or Sister you can find. I want you to probe and penetrate, search and investigate, inquire and interrogate. Leave no stone unturned. Bring your experts on television, tell us your opinion, and make your predictions. Tell us in the strongest terms you can just how weak, how immoral, how stupid, cruel, cold and callous the leaders of the Catholic Church really are. I only ask that you tell the truth. Tell just enough truth, in just the right way, to make life in the Church appear solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short. Keep pointing your finger and cry "bad, bad, bad" until you run out of breath. I want you to use all your influence, howsoever much it might be, to persuade as many minds as you can that the Church is full of hypocrites, liars, cowards. Try to prove that all of us must finally come to agree with you that the Church is really nothing special. I even want you to talk with Catholic theologians who will agree with you, and demand that the Church must change. Change, change, change! Let us hear how out of touch with reality the leadership is; let us hear how snotty, how arrogant, how aloof they are, how blah, blah, blah. I want you to keep asking why the Church has not hired any P.R. firms, like so many other faiths have such as the LDS Church, Jehovah Witness, and Scientology, to help maintain it's image and credibility. Then I want you to turn around and blame the Bishops for only caring for the Church's image and credibility. Keep making these sorts of observations please, I urge you. Do not hold back. Your chains have been unloosed for a short while. Give us your best shot.
Oh how I relish these days! So many people at once thinking about the Catholic Church. To all those out there who are paying attention to the Church, to all the men and women of good will, let me say this. The claim we make now, always have made, and always will make is that the Church comes from the Apostles, the Apostles come from Christ, and Christ comes from God. My theology comes from above. The Catholic Church is established by God to communicate the truth about God, man, and the world to all people in every nation under heaven. God endows her with all the power She needs to teach the truth and to perpetuate the mission of Jesus Christ in the world. Perhaps the word "power" frightens you. Perhaps you fear the Church is trying to impose Her opinions upon you. But before you fear, look at a crucifix and ask yourself whether that looks like a man trying to impose upon on you.
To all of you out there who are willing to think the matter through with me, I say that the argument is always the same. Either the Church originates from God or the Church originates from men. Now, if this plan or this undertaking is of men, it will fail; but if it is of God, you will not be able to overthrow them. You might even be found opposing God. (Acts 5:38-9) That is why I want the attack to be severe. The more the wretchedness of Catholic leaders is brought to light the better. For if the Church is of God, then even the most furious attack upon it, even the most evident dirty truth about Her leaders -- no matter what its magnitude, no matter what its duration, no matter what its degree of intensity -- all of the efforts of those who would destroy the Church will come to naught. All the power and the influence of the media, the secularists, the skeptics, the Catholic bashers and the bigots, all of it will come to nothing, even though we ourselves hand them ammunition so damaging that they could ask for none better. That is why I relish these days, for in these days the invincible stability of the Church is shining brightly. The evil, both within the Church and without, only shows that God is with us, that it is God Himself who stabilizes the Catholic Church. It is God who vouches for Her message. It is God who is telling the story that the Church is constantly telling about Herself. The Church is not merely the product of man.
What shall all you gleeful opponents of the Church say in reply? If you say that the Church is from men, that it is just one more social institution among others, then you are forced to defend the manifestly ridiculous proposition that it is Bishops and Priests who have held the Church together for thousands of years. Don"t make me laugh. What shall you say? Shall you say instead that it is the laity who holds the Church together? Catholic laity is hardly known for their widespread and fervent enthusiasm. American Catholics these days indulge in their designer spouses " all fixed up on their diaphragms and pills " just as much as the rest of the world does. American Catholics so completely bought into the 60's that we should expect to see the Church going the way of the 60's. Why is it not? Why does the Church still teach that men should not sleep with men, nor women sleep with women, nor should women and men sleep with each other unless the other person is one's only living spouse and not semi-rejected with contraception? Don"t bother saying the Church will change these teachings as soon as John Paul II dies. When he dies, the Church will be stronger and more influential than ever.
Perhaps the best you opponents of the Church can do to explain why the Church is so invincibly stable is to pull out your old-fashioned rationalism. All you can say is that what keeps the Church going is simply that the Church provides a fairy tale to fill people's deepest emotional and psychological needs for personal meaning and comfort. But now you have passed from the ridiculous to the absurd. You are telling me that, despite all the hostile forces against it, despite all the obstacles in its path, and despite all the wickedness, wretchedness, ineptitude and imbecility in her own members, the reason why the world's oldest and largest institution has been perpetuated is just because Catholics have a great fairy tale to comfort them? Your explanation boils down to the claim that the Catholic Church has grown and survived, and become all that it is, just because Catholics are irrational. From your explanation, it follows that irrationality is more successful in the long run. If that is so, then why should I be what you call "rational"? If irrationality is better in the long run, then what must we say of your god "Reason"? "Reason" has not smiled very brightly on the societies you organized in its name. For where are your"rationally" organized societies now? They are either long dead, recently dead, or currently dying. It seems that your good "Reason" is good for nothing. The twilight of that idol has been upon us for some time now.
Any man who denies that the Church is from God must attribute to Catholics a certain sort of excellence that we would not dare attribute to ourselves. He must attribute to us the capacity to perpetuate our message and way of life for millennia, to spread it all over the world to people of every language and culture, and to get over a billion people to get down on their knees and say to a fictitious God "Thy will be done", all without any help from above, without any divine assistance, and without any grace from a real God. Do you realize what you have said if you attribute that sort of excellence to us? You have said that Catholics are "uebermenschen " - people who live, and move, and act far above the ordinary run of their fellows. You have said that we are a superior race of people, for ours is a two thousand year Reich, two thousand years and counting. Make no mistake. I do not say that we are uebermenschen. You do. For it is you who deny that the Church is from above, it is you who deny that it is God who perpetuates the Church, it is you who deny that we are being taught by God, and so it is you who must affirm that we have achieved it all by our own natural talents. How ridiculous for you to say that we are a "we are all that." Just look at Cardinal Law!
Some people say that they cannot see the difference between the Catholic Church spreading its message all over the world, and the Muslims spreading theirs. They both claim to be from God, right? Just think about September 11 and compare what you remember to the crucifix you looked at earlier. The difference between the Christian martyr and the Muslim martyr is that the Christian martyr does not inflict suffering but only consents to have suffering inflicted upon him for the sake of the truth, while the Muslim martyr refuses to have suffering inflicted upon him, but is more than willing to inflict it upon others in the name of the truth even if it means suicide. That is how Mohammed and his fellows spread Islam. If you do not believe me, ask a Muslim. They are usually very honest people. They will admit that in the beginning Islam had one primary evangelical weapon, namely, weapons. The many kind and peaceful Muslims there are in our world have, just by being kind and peaceful, departed from the ways of Mohammed. Does that look like a message from God? I am sorry, but it is human, merely human.
I do not want you secularists to get the wrong message. Oh, you have done some good over the past few centuries. Democracy, abolition, civil rights, you have worked alongside Christians in bringing these good things about. But you undermine your own good deeds by hanging them upon the philosophical peg of atheism, rationalism, materialism, naturalism, and now- the most empty of them all "postmodernism". When you deny that there is a truth to which all human beings are subject, when you deny that we can know the truth at all, and when you deny us permission to appeal in the public square to any substantive views about God, on what basis do you say that democracy, rights, freedom, tolerance, progress, free-markets, science and technology are truly good and good for everybody? Whatever basis you offer, it cannot be true, for you deny that there is any truth that can serve as a basis upon which to show to all that these things really are good for everybody. How can you say that democracy, rights, freedom, tolerance, progress, free-markets, science and technology, really are good things for everybody, if at the same time you adamantly deny that there are absolute goods at all, when you deny that there is such a thing as something good for everybody. And if, due to the evident contradiction in such a vain philosophy, you say that these things are not really good for everybody, that these things are just one more set of "values" for a particular community, then you forfeit them over to the Catholic Church, who shall snatch them from your hands as from an unjust possessor, and ground them in the truth they deserve, the truth whence they came, namely, Jesus Christ.
Why shouldn't Johnny Walker join the Taliban? Do you have anything more than your own private opinion to give him?
Some people tell me that we should expect to see many Catholics drift into Protestantism. But whosoever gathers elsewhere scatters. Just look at the yellow pages under "churches".
Finally, to all the Catholics out there who are being shaken by the scandals, there is nothing to fear from a merciless onslaught of bad press, disappointment and heartache. We believe in the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church, not because the Bishops and Priests are really good men, but despite the fact that they clearly are not. When we say the creed, first we say that we believe in God the Father, Jesus Christ His only Begotten Son, and the Holy Spirit, and only then do we say we believe in the Church. Our faith is first in the Holy Spirit, Who has been poured forth into our hearts and enlightens our minds. Yes, the Spirit enlightens our minds to see the truth, to love what is good, and to be full of joy in the midst of the most terrible suffering, and to cherish the sacraments with all of our hearts. Someone is bound to ask about Cardinal Law's mind. Did the Holy Spirit enlighten his mind? I must be joking. Actually, Cardinal Law openly admitted yesterday in deposition that he looked to psychologists for guidance. How typical for Catholics in this country. We look to psychologists, Oprah, Hollywood, MTV, CNN, feminists, academics and the "experts". People, these things are not the light. The last time I checked, the Church had not approved a cult of devotion to "experts". Cardinal Law traded the light streaming from the deposit of faith for the twinkle of a psychologist's diagnosis. How dare the world accuse him of anything when the world traded in the light long ago for the terms of the psychologists! If it were not for psychologists telling them what to think, how many thoughts would the people who hate the Church really have in their own heads? Cardinal Law refused to be led by the Holy Spirit, and so in turn was led by the world. The world took him by the hand and led us all into what seems to be a nightmare. But it is no nightmare. It is reality. It is a real demonstration of the Spirit and His power, living and active in the Church. We believe in the Church because we believe it is a work of Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit. If grace is medicine for the moral sickness called sin, and if grace comes through the sacraments, then the Church is a hospital for wicked wretches, and being surprised by wretchedness in our clerics is like being surprised in a hospital that someone is sick. Actually, there is one thing to be surprised about. The surprise is that the Church exists at all.