In fact, the same Protestant harpings that permeated the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries are prevalent today with almost the same conditions which make these times ripe for another great schism in the Church. Groups who call themselves Catholic are at odds with the Magisterium and true teachings, proposing their own curriculum of thought and forcing it on the vast unsuspecting and gullible public. Many priests have fallen for this false rhetoric and, in the process, greatly harmed their flock as well as their own souls by leaving them vulnerable to the wolves of the world, the flesh and the devil. Under the jurisdiction of bishops who either press their agenda on the priests of their diocese or turn a deaf ear to the atrocities going on in so many parishes, the priests are caught in the middle. And so are the majority of the flock in each parish where estimates are that only 23% are still loyal to the Magisterium of the Church and adhere to all the Holy Father teaches. Does that mean that 77% are against the Pope and the Church as she exists today? Not necessarily for it is also estimated that the liberal core of modernists is even smaller, yet much more vocal! For as the traditionalist conservatives resort to Christ's words to "turn the other cheek" (cf. Matthew 5: 39), the modernist element are intent on going for the jugular in unseating the hierarchy handed down through Tradition and upheld by the chosen Vicar of Christ and the Magisterium of Holy Mother Church. The victims are the vast majority - close to 60% - of unsuspecting and ignorant of what is really going on and easily swayed parishioners. Sadly, too many are apathetic to what is really going on, not wanting to rock the boat - to make waves. They represent the lukewarm God spoke of in Revelations/Apocalypse 3: 16, "But because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I am about to vomit thee out of My mouth." To this group, the great majority, are both the good angels and the fallen ones setting their sights on.
There are good shepherds and there are bad ones and there is no greater prize for satan than to capture the soul of a priest for the ordained one takes countless souls with him into the everlasting abyss of hell. Christ's words in Matthew 18: 7-8 ring true in that regard: "Woe to the world because of scandals! For it must needs be that scandals come, but woe to the man through whom scandal does come! And if thy hand or thy foot is an occasion of sin to thee, cut it off and cast it from thee! It is better for thee to enter life maimed or lame, than, having two hands or two feet, to be cast into the everlasting fire." Since Vatican II seminaries have closed down in alarming numbers and worse yet, teachers in the seminary are spewing heresy as many young priests are being indoctrinated with something not familiar to the true teachings of the Church. Woe to those who teach them. We all need to pray for them and pray for those who are being taught that they will be inspired by the true Light of Christ and His Holy Spirit before it is too late and even more souls are lost.
With the recent verbal attacks on the Holy Father in these last few decades, our blood boils even more for to attack Christ's chosen Shepherd here on earth is attacking Christ and we've had enough. It's time for Roman Catholics the world over to unite and make a stand against those who attack the Pope and Holy Mother Church! As much as the false prophets cry out that John Paul II is out of touch, the remnant grows in loyalty to him because they know he is Christ's true Vicar on earth! There are no questions. The Pope says it, it's Catholic doctrine, end of discussion! Almighty God gave us His Only-begotten Son as the perfect Example of Loyalty, as the perfect Example of selflessness, as the Way, the Truth and the Life. And Jesus Christ, our Lord, God, Savior and Redeemer, gave us the One True Church and established the Apostolic Succession so we would always have His Presence as the Head of the Church in the person of the Holy Father, the chosen successor of Peter upon whom Christ built and established His Church, and promised that He would be with her to the end and the gates of hell would not prevail against it (cf. Matthew 16: 18). Loyalty then to the Holy Father is an absolute 'must' for all who profess to be of the Roman Catholic Faith, who profess Catholicism as their creed, and who profess to live this creed daily in every thought, word and deed. We, as Catholics, have been given an abundance of graces to keep us in union with God's Will, which is Loyalty lived and expressed on a Divine level. Loyalty leads to respect, respect for God, for country, for our neighbors, our families, and ourselves. If we don't respect human life, which God created in His Own image and likeness, then our loyalty is misplaced because we don't really know who or what to be loyal to and why we must be loyal in the first place. Because of the erosion of authority in our society over the past 30 years it is altogether too easy to dismiss the words of Christ's Vicar on earth and to rationalize that he's out of touch, too old, too ailing to know what's best for us. We, in turn, fall into satan's lair by thinking we know better, must do our own thing in order to have a neat, orderly, sweet life filled with worldly pleasures. This is NOT what Christ intended when He said, "If anyone wishes to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me" (Matthew 16: 24).
We finally have the new Catechism of the Catholic Church, but for those who have remained loyal it's really nothing new for it is really a detailed thesis on all that was contained in the old Baltimore Catechism which spelled everything out in simple, black and white terms which left no doubts. Back then, before Vatican II, priests knew what was right and what was wrong and, for the most part, conveyed it to their flock. With the confusion that evolved after Vatican II the old tenets were shelved in favor of a new permisiveness that truly penetrated the Church all the way to the Sanctuary where Jesus Christ, Second Person of the Triune Divinity, and truly present Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity in the Blessed Sacrament of the Altar was replaced by man as the tabernacle was removed from behind the altar and in its place the sedalia chair for the celebrant and altar servers slowly became the centerpiece of the sanctuary. The protestantation of the sanctuary had begun. It no longer resembled the Mass or liturgy or rubrics Catholics had been weaned on. Priests went along with the changes as the bishops dictated, supposedly out of obedience, but had they truly delved beneath the surface, truly followed Canon Law and the true teachings they would have had at least an inkling that there was indeed "something rotten in Denmark!" As in a domino effect, the faithful grew more and more lax and the Sacraments were diminished, the Ten Commandments and Christ's true teachings were compromised in favor of political correctness. The priests were afraid to offend anyone and consequently fell deeper into the "let-bygones-be-bygones" syndrome. Many bishops became bolder in speaking out against the Pope, began installing themselves or allowing into their dioceses questionable programs for the seminaries, RCIA, diaconate programs, and numerous lay groups with the rationalization "we must be open to everything." This heresy soon spread from parish to parish and those priests and few bishops who opposed the changes, who realized it was wrong and not in concordance with the Magisterium - with the Vicar of Christ, were ostracized by other priests and persecuted mentally. Some were drummed out or reassigned to small remote parishes. Those who persevered grew stronger and this small core group of devoted and loyal priests and bishops became the nucleus for the remnant that would blossom from the results of the Mother of God's intercession at Medjugorje beginning in the early 80's. Medjugorje, the renewal of Marian devotion, and the Marian Movement of Priests had a major effect in rallying the remnant to stand behind God's loyal priests by fine-tuning consciences to seek the truth in all things, to follow the true teachings of the Church Our Lady's Divine Son founded nearly 2000 years ago, and to provide spiritual nourishment for feeding the sheep will be the crux of the next installment when we examine "Feed My Sheep": the priests' role as guided by private revelation.