WHERE IS HOLY MOTHER CHURCH HEADING AS WE NEAR THE MILLENNIUM?


Part Two:

As we began in the first issue, we continue to uncover what went wrong within the hallowed halls of Holy Mother Church. When did loyalty to the Magisterium start to unravel? We could go back to the middle ages when there was corruption in the Vatican and in monasteries, but such luminaries as St. Catherine of Sienna and St. Teresa of Avila helped right the ship. There were problems in the 17th century as well, but Holy Mother Church was able to steer the rudder in the right direction. So what is the problem with the Church today?

THE ONE HUNDRED YEAR WAR IS HEATING UP

We need only go back a century to the shocking vision Pope Leo XIII had of the evil one bartering with God over souls. Satan asked for free rein for the next 100 years and God granted it simply because the Almighty One allows evil for good. We are now coming to the end of that time period in which satan has run roughshod over the world. If any one doubts this, look around. Look at the decline in moral values, the increase in offenses against the Commandments and all that is holy. Every one of the seven deadly sins have run their course. A cancer has been spreading throughout the world. Once a healthy body, the world is disintegrating physically and spiritually. This deadly malady has even seeped into Holy Mother Church as well as every church, faith and home in the world. No one is immune for as long as we are here in earthly exile, we are susceptible to the effects of original sin and consequently, the wiles of the evil one who "wanders the world seeking the ruin of souls."

It was Pope Leo who, having been shocked into reality by this vivid omen he beheld, composed the powerful Prayer to St. Michael. He released it to the world and urged the world to pray this prayer for protection.

HOW SATAN MADE INROADS

This powerful prayer was faithfully led by the presiding priest immediately after every Mass until sometime in the late '60's when suddenly it became passe. Chalk it up as a victory for the devil! If one looks at the time-line of 100 years from the late 1890's to now, one will realize that thePrayer to St. Michael along with theRosary had, up to the mid-sixties, been influential deterrents in keeping the evil one at bay. But once these prayers had been discarded or relegated to the "back pew", it opened the floodgates for satan to rush headlong into a confused flock of sheep and, as the wolf in waiting, devour his prey by deceit and division. Jesus Christ charged all of us to love one another"(John 23:34) but the evil one has divided us so that this Christian love often resembles outright warfare. There is so much bickering going on between the liberal element and the conservative rudiment over issues ranging from liturgical language to ordination of women that love has fallen behind. We're shouting at each other so loudly that we can't hear the whispers of the Holy Spirit. The issues today have become so complex because the emotions of man have made it complex, that the better part of valor does not rule. We over-complicate everything when, in reality, it's so simple because it is based on the one eternal truth--GOD! But we lose sight of this child-like way of obedience and bowing to the Will of Our Father in Heaven. We clamor for more change because "the world demands it". We need to "keep up with the times" they cry, while drifting farther and farther from the true essence of what has made Holy Mother Church One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic. "Who needs tradition? We're just observing what the Vatican II Council Fathers changed", they rationalize as they strive to erase all venues that don't fit their "vision" of the Catholic Church by rubbing out all they can.

PREPARATION THROUGH PRAYER AND FAITH

Many forget that at the turn of the 12th century the Church was in great decline. It was left to a simple friar to bring Christ's Church back to where she belonged. To St. Francis of Assisi Our Lord charged, "Rebuild My Church." From the basic mortar of the little portiuncula below the walled city of Assisi, Francis founded the great Order of Friars Minor better known today as the Franciscans. Again the Church was in disarray four centuries later when God rose up St. Teresa of Avila to reform religious life and bring the "contemplative heart" back in union with God's Will. Through every century the Church has faced turmoil and opposition from within her ranks and ramming at her ramparts from outside the hallowed walls of Holy Mother Church. At every instance, she has emerged victorious and stronger in her conviction that Holy Mother Church is the One, True, Catholic and Apostolic Church founded by Jesus.

What, then, does this tell us about where the Catholic Church is heading as we near the next Millennium? That is the essence of this multi-part feature as we begin the countdown here in January 1996. Two things are vital if we are to survive: Prayer and Faith. Without these vitals we could be swept up into the vortex of worldliness and swallowed in the cavernous grave of deceit and ignorance.

But we have the assurance of Jesus Christ Himself Who designated Peter theRock, giving him the Keys of the Kingdom and promised His protection for all time (cf. Matthew 16:18,28:20). Our Lord also assured us that through the continued Apostolic Succession of Peter, the gates of hell shall not prevail against the Church.

God said it! We believe it! That settles it! Oh, if only it were that simple. Sometimes, having that assurance that the "gates of hell shall not prevail against it" has the tendency to leave us "over-confident" if you will.

What do we do to offset this over-confidence? Can one soul make that big a difference when one considers the overwhelming odds? Yes, as Bishop Fulton J. Sheen said, "You can change the world." It is possible and plausible and in the next installment we will discuss what avenues are available to us in our task of "road maintenance" on the way to Heaven on the greatest of all vehicles - the Roman Catholic Church.