There seems to be a sense of anticipation, an urgency that something is going to happen in the world as we know it. Something big. I can't really put my finger on it but its almost as if the world and the Church are being prepared for a showdown both within the Church between dissidents and the faithful, and within societies pitting governments against its citizens and ultimately, between the Church and secularism. Many changes have occurred in a short period of time but it's not necessarily the changes or what I see as preparations that I find disconcerting or even amazing, but the speed at which they are occurring. Changes are coming fast.
If someone had asked me a few short years ago what I would have envisioned the world to be like today in 2011, I would have been dead wrong in my assessment. I never would have imagined Europe on the brink of a spiritual, cultural and economic catastrophe, or the middle east in the center of an Arab uprising with Egypt falling and Libya next in line. I never would have thought of an America that is on the precipice of economic failure, taking the world along with it, while losing its status as the leader of the free world. For sure, I would not have imagined having a president that seems not only intent on bringing this country down to its knees, but quickly and systematically leading it to socialism while decimating or curtailing freedoms guaranteed by our Constitution.
I would have been aghast to find the Catholic Church fighting for its moral life because of an horrific scandal. She is going through one of the most scandalous times in her history with the clerical sexual abuse uncovered only a few years ago and recently again in Ireland and elsewhere. The Church is still reeling from it and probably will for a while. Whatever it is that we now see happening, we must remember that we are engaged in a spiritual war and the world is the battlefield. However, despite all this chaos there is something afoot, especially in the Church.
More and more people are starting to have a change of heart concerning abortion. Reports have shown that the overall abortion rate has declined and polls are indicating that a larger number of people are opposed to abortion on demand. Pro-life marches have younger participants, younger women with children tagging along. States are using their legislative powers to place more restrictions on abortions or abortion clinics. Though only a few states have begun the process, it is my hope that this trend continues unabated.
Planned Parenthood has been under more attacks than at any other time in recent history and they are being exposed for what they truly are: death mills. Bills are being introduce in legislatures to cut public funding of this monster. This is a good thing. The country, or its citizens at least, are stepping in the right direction, a direction that has been long in coming despite having the most pro abortion president in our history who seems obsessed with death to the unborn.
The pro-abortion movement is beginning to lose ground and influence and they know it. There is panic among the leaders of this billion dollar death industry and that is an other very good thing.
2. The New Mass Translation
I for one am eagerly awaiting this change. It will better follow the Latin texts giving us a deeper meaning and reverence for the Mass and reawaken our faith through the Eucharist. Sure, it will take some getting used to, but so what? I'm an old dog, and if I'm ready to learn a new trick, so can others. The new translation will also allow fewer occasions of abuse in the Liturgical prayers by priests who have a penchant to ad lib.
One of the best ways to know that a change is good is by looking at those that oppose it: The progressive Catholics. They certainly are not known to uphold traditional Catholic Doctrine. They claim that the translations make no sense, the laity will have a hard time understanding the new prayers and responses, it is archaic language, big words are going to be used that people have no clue as to their meaning and that the Church will be turning the Catholic clock back to the Middle Ages. This is all nonsense. The Catholic faithful are not stupid, contrary to the claims above. If we were able to handle the changes after Vatican II, we can handle the new translation.
What progressives are really worried about is losing what ever ground they have may have gained in trying to compromise authentic, Church teaching during the last forty years. They see this translation as the foot in the door for more changes and to a quick demise of their agenda which is creating a modern Catholic Church in their image, not Christ's. This may be one of the last straws for dissidents.
3. The Anglican Ordinate
We have seen the acceptance of the homosexual agenda within certain Christian faiths. Many protestant faithful and clergy have severed ties with their churches because of liberalism infecting their denominations, and for what they see as the accepting of homosexuality that is contrary to Gospel teachings. This is a major crisis for many of them and their only recourse was to remain or leave without any place to go. Until now.
Last Sunday we heard the parable of the wedding feast held by a king and I immediately had a thought that corresponded to something that is happening today. The invited guests who made excuses of why they couldn't come remind me of those that have left the Church for whatever reason or excuse and are now being replaced by Anglicans, Lutherans and other Christians to whom the Catholic Church has graciously opened her arms. The Catholic Church may have lost some of her faithful but she has gone in the streets and invited others. They accepted the Church's invitation while many others that were originally invited have declined and left. I believe we are seeing this parable come to life. Who would have thought just a few years ago that Protestants would be filling the pews abandoned by Catholics?
Ireland, a bastion of priestly vocations only a few years ago, is close to being the most anti-catholic nation in Europe. As shocking as this may be for many of us to consider about Ireland, God had other plans. During that same period of time, God saw fit to take Africa in His arms and filled her with faith. Now the continent is becoming a new source for priestly vocations. African seminaries are turning out priests in great numbers and in a few short years we will see many of our parishes being led by these fine young men untarnished by western, liberal ideologies, bringing an undiluted, authentic Catholic faith with them which our country and world sorely needs.
5. Loss of Faith In Europe
Not much can be said of this but that it is a cause of profound sadness. As the Pope has said, Europe needs to be the target of re-evangelization if it is to survive. I have hope
This is the elephant in the room that many are not willing to talk about or even want to notice. Its been said by some that a schism has already occurred in our Church and I would tend to agree, but I think it will finally be made manifest with the creation of a 'new' Catholic Church comprised of dissidents and progressives and unfortunately, many Catholics that don't know any better, who follow their feelings rather than Truth. The signs are all there for this to happen. The groundwork has been done and the foundation laid in the last forty years and I believe they are ready to build.
The new Mass translation may be the catalyst that finally propels the progressives into schism. In any case, they won't take the new translation lying down. Already opposing Church teachings against homosexuality, contraception, abortion and women's ordination, the new translation may be the last straw for them.
There's been talk of a smaller, purer Catholic Church in the future, and again I tend to agree. Is this a good thing? No, it is never a good thing for people to leave the Catholic faith, but with fewer dissident clergy to blur the teachings of the Church and taking up residence in their own church, the lines between the Truth and deception will be further clarified for all to see. Even if the Church is much smaller because of schism, we have to remember back two thousand years ago. The Church started with only twelve men with Christ as their head. You can't get much smaller than that, yet look at the influence they had with the Holy Spirit guiding them. Keep your eye on Rome, for therein lies the True Church.
7. The Showdown
Bishop Dolan sent a letter to the President telling him that if his administration is intent on disregarding the Church's right to speak the Truth of her faith and to defend marriage as a union of a man and woman, then he will have a major battle on his hands between the State and the Catholic Church. The Bishop would never have written a letter with such a tone unless he saw dire times coming down the pike for all Catholics and Christians in general.
Obama has not hidden what he thinks of the Catholic and Christian faith. He is in an all out war against the Church for she interferes with his agenda and he is using everything at his disposal to hamstring the Church's influence and force her to accept abortion, contraception as well as accepting homosexual marriages. I never would have thought to see this a mere three years ago, where our freedom of religion would be so highly disregarded as to silence the Church. Yet here it is, and I think it will get much worse, especially if he gets re-elected.
Bishop Dolan has drawn his own line in the sand. His writing of this letter to the president tells me that the Bishops are well aware of what the government's intent is when it comes to freedom of religion in order to push their immoral agenda, and I thank God that the bishops are not taking this lightly. Confrontation between the Church and the government came to a head with Obamacare and taxpayer funding of abortion. The bishops stood their ground against this funding and Dolan has just done it again. I am a bit surprised this letter was written in such strong terms, but I am very pleased. I hate to say it, but we've needed more backbone from our Church leaders when dealing with this government.
Is the Catholic Church being set up for prosecution under the law for her faith? I don't know. It would seem to be, seeing how the government is taking an aggressive stance toward her, a stance I never would have believed would happen in this country. But then again, with all the changes going on in the world and in the Church, and at so fast a pace, I'm not even sure I'm living in the same country as I did three years ago. Perhaps I should start asking some of the martyrs that died in the early Church to pray for us for it looks like we may need their prayers sooner than I thought.
All the changes mentioned have occurred rather fast, too fast for it to be coincidental. The chaos in societies and what seems to me the solidifying of our faith in the changes that have come our way, indicates that something is coming that is good, bad and profound depending on where we stand in matters of individual faith. I think the Church is being prepared and strengthened for this. The end of the world? No, that is not what I am thinking at all so I won't even go there. We have more to worry about at the moment.