In 1968, after reviewing the recommendations of a commission convened to study contraception and population, Pope Paul VI issued his encyclical Humanae Vitae and all hell broke loose: literally. To the dismay of the commission, the Pope dismissed their conclusions, affirming instead, the Church's long Tradition of rejecting contraception, and in turn, Pope Paul was shocked by the negative reaction that his encyclical received from the world.
The reaction from the laity was even more shocking as many publicly voiced their opposition to the Pope and his encyclical, and for the first time in recent memory, saying they would follow their own conscience on a matter of what they considered a personal and private issue as well as other teachings of the Church. As far as they laity was concerned, a pope had no business telling them what to do especially in regard to the bedroom. Like Luther and the protestants of 500 years ago, many of the Catholic laity now decided to become their own little popes in matters of their faith. What ensued from this dissension has been forty years of chaos and confusion in the Church, and a falling away of the faith.
Right after Vatican II ended, progressive priests and bishops began to implement changes in the Church, as I wrote here, under the guise of their own false interpretations of the "Spirit of Vatican II", greasing the wheels of discontent among the faithful. Tabernacles were being were removed from front and center of the sanctuary, and put instead to a lesser place of prominence and alter rails were dismantled, blurring the roles the priests and laity played in the Mass. Many churches also removed their statues and icons depicting saints and heavenly scenes and replaced them with felt banners instead. Though the Council never banned any of these things, the progressives thought it was time to displace 'tradition' and create a mirror image of the anti-establishment mentality that pervaded society in the sixties. While observing these changes in age old traditions that the progressives were making, Catholics began to believe the Church as less stable, less important in their lives than before the Council.
Devotions such as First Fridays, First Saturdays, and praying the rosary were no longer widely promoted from the pulpit but instead seen as cute little traditions that really had no meaning in today's world. Even the "Family that prays together stays together" theme was now just a quaint little saying that just wasn't a reality in today's busy world. Though none of those devotions were obligatory for the Catholic, they were and are still important aids in our spirituality though practiced by only a few.
The sense of the severity of sin was greatly reduced as more homilies about sin faded away. The new "gentler and kinder" Jesus that did not judge was preached instead, while what St. Paul said, "We preach Christ crucified" took a back seat or was watered down as to why he WAS crucified. It's no wonder the practice of receiving the Sacrament of Confession fell off sharply. Sin was not important anymore.
All these things and more contributed to the mass confusion and chaos in our Church of the last forty years. Now that we have become our own "little popes", missing Mass on Sundays, receiving the sacraments while in a state of mortal sin through divorce, practicing contraception or even having had an abortion is no longer considered a sin for us, because as popes, we say so. Some Bishops and priests continue to openly defy the Pope and the Church for they are also their own little popes, just like we are. Liturgical abuses by some priests continue in many parishes as their bishops seem to nod in approval or are silent out of fear of being seen as insensitive or being perceived as a stick in the mud.
We've wandered for forty years in a spiritual wasteland.We've allowed progressive clergy and laity alike to experiment on us as spiritual guinea pigs for all these years and it is now time for this to stop. I'm tired of it. Many of us are tired of it. The Church leaders need to get back to what they were commissioned to do; Teach the true Catholic faith and defend it. The Church is also to be the light of the WHOLE world and that includes non-Catholics, but what has happened in the last forty years has not only confused Catholics but others as well as seen here from an article by a protestant friend of mine. Truly...I can feel her pain.
If I had the audacity and arrogance to make myself a little pope I would write a letter to some of my Catholic brothers and sisters, along with some of the bishops and priests of the world and in that letter I would say a few things to them such as;
If you consider yourself a Catholic then get on the same page as the rest of the Church. If Paul needed to visit Peter to make sure he taught the same thing as Peter and the Church in Jerusalem, then you can take a trip to Rome and visit with the Pope and get your stories straight. No more ambiguity. No more confusion.
If you feel you know more than the Pope or the Magisterium, then start your own Church instead of changing the one that was founded by my Lord. It's His Church and it was given to us in a pure, unadulterated form.
If you no longer believe in the Real Presence, then please, do us all a favor and refrain from receiving communion. It only makes you a hypocrite and it offends those of us that DO believe in the Real presence for to us, receiving communion without this belief is a sacrilege of the highest degree.
If you don't believe in some of the Church doctrines and traditions then that's fine. It's your choice. Just don't try to change what the Church believes and teaches to suit your needs because many of us don't have a problem with what she teaches. It's your problem not ours.
But since I am not my own little pope I cannot send this letter. I can only pray for the Church and all within her. I don't know about you, but I'm tired of the parched desert we have been made to travel since the '60s. I want to be fed the good, red meat of True Catholic Faith and not the daily dose of granola bars and yogurt of "feel good" theology. My spirit is thin enough.