The State of the Church

By pintswaquinas September 14, 2023

A few thoughts about the state of the Church from an unsophisticated and uneducated—but hopefully humble—Catholic.

When things are chaotic and turbulent, a reasonable response is fear and anxiety. When we are fearful and anxious, a reasonable desire is to be consoled and reassured. It seems more than obvious that many (most?) faithful Catholics are in a state of fear and anxiety regarding the state of the Church and are looking for consolation and reassurance. I see two extremes:

Extreme 1: “All is basically well. Yes, there are problems, yes Pope Francis says and does some confusing things, but almost all of this is blown out of proportion by the media and by online RadTrad types. Things are well. Things have always been well. We need to stop overreacting.”

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Consoling, reassuring, but — from where I’m standing — whether intended or not, an act of gaslighting. Things are not well and pretending that they are is insulting, not to mention a lie.

Extreme 2: “Pope Francis is not the Pope! He is an antipope! And more, he may in fact be the antichrist!”

This option at least seems to take the fear and anxiety we feel seriously but offers a false conclusion. But, false answer though it is, it is at least *an* answer. It seems to give us some sort of clarity. Never mind the terrible consequences this false view will inevitably lead to in the not-too-distant future (illegitimate bishops who have ordained illegitimate priests; illegitimate cardinals, one of whom may be named pope next). We want to be soothed now! The fear is too much! The anxiety is too great now!

Ok, here’s the not terribly insightful, not at all satisfying, third option: Acknowledge the corruption, the bad decisions, the false teachers and your own wretchedness. Then, like Job, sit in a pile of dung and wait upon the Lord. As my spiritual Father put it, “Stay in the tension. Every heresy comes from trying to force a resolution in the tension. Remaining in the tension, stretched out on the Cross, is the only way. And it feels/smells like a dung heap!”

One more piece of advice for me and for you: Continue to live by and teach the truths of the Holy Catholic Church. The failure of others (including leadership) to do this does not alleviate us of the responsibility to do so. What else? Ask that God make you a saint. And while waiting on that, at least be kind to the people around you. Don’t cause your loved ones any unnecessary grief. Be a cause of joy for them. Be gentle with yourself and with those around you. Pray at all times, forgive your enemies, read the writings of the Holy Fathers and frequent the sacraments. And don’t leave the dunghill.

Told you it was going to be unsatisfying. If you have a better answer, I’m all ears.

Some words to meditate on:

“Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!” – Psalm 27:14

“But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.” – Isaiah 40:31

“The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him.” – Lamentations 3:25

“Therefore the Lord waits to be gracious to you, and therefore he exalts himself to show mercy to you. For the Lord is a God of justice; blessed are all those who wait for him.” – Isaiah 30:18

“Our soul waits for the Lord; he is our help and our shield. For our heart is glad in him, because we trust in his holy name. Let your steadfast love, O Lord, be upon us, even as we hope in you.” – Psalm 33:20-22

“The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.” – Exodus 14:14

“Wait for the Lord and keep his way, and he will exalt you to inherit the land; you will look on when the wicked are cut off.” – Psalm 37:34

“For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from him.” – Psalm 62:5

“Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; fret not yourself over the one who prospers in his way, over the man who carries out evil devices!” – Psalm 37:7

“Be still, and know that I am God.” – Psalm 46:10

“I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in his word I hope;” – Psalm 130:5

“Do not say, ‘I will repay evil’; wait for the Lord, and he will deliver you.” – Proverbs 20:22

“I wait for your salvation, O Lord.” – Genesis 49:18


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