Why Silencing Christians will Continue

ludwigvonlangenmantel_savonarolapreachingagainst Luxury and Preparing the Bonfire of the Vanities 1881

The number of subjects we cannot talk about in public discourse are rapidly multiplying. The older notion of “free speech” as a search for the truth through reasonable argument is being replaced. We no longer want to hear speech if it “offends” someone’s feelings or self-defined identity. We would rather “just get along” than to have to decide about the truth of any issue or confront the consequences of its violation.

We thus have become infinitely “tolerant” of anything but truth itself. Speech is not directed to truth or falsity of an issue but to the “sensitivity” and “compassion” of those who hear it. “Objective” standards are subject to the listener’s “right” to hear only what he wants to hear. Thus, whatever is “permitted” in positive or civil law becomes a “right” for those who follow it. Furthermore, we cannot criticize the law as if there were some “standard” by which to judge its worth. There are no standards as there is no nature on which to base them. “Hate speech” laws become effective tools to suppress any objective judgment about the rightness or wrongness of what is legislated or practiced.

Academia and the press were once considered places where delicate and sensitive topics could be more freely discussed without being compromised by human passions. This presumption is no longer the case. Universities and the media are more likely to participate in the suppression of truth or objective reasoning than their advocates. The phrase “political correctness” accurately describes a culture that seeks to silence challenges to ruling orthodoxies. Arguments become unwelcome because they might challenge our way of life.

Moral Attitudes Change in Dramatic Ways
Something new has occurred that serves to further expand the list of things that can only be approved, but never discussed critically. Let us suppose that we have a classroom of high school or college students, or even a church congregation or a public meeting of some sort. We cannot presume that any audience we encounter is firmly rooted in a single culture. We must assume that, in the body of listeners, we will find the results of what may be called “lived multiculturalism.” That is, in any audience, congregation, or classroom, we will find not a few listeners with divorced parents, relatives, or friends. We will find others who either have had or assented to abortions, even euthanasia.

More and more, also, we will have young people born of in vitro fertilization techniques, whether of parents or various surrogates. We will even find those conceived in vitro but born of a third mother who carried the conception to its completion when the fertilized cells were implanted in her womb. We do not yet have actual clones, but these sorts of lives are certainly being pursued by scientists. We will find women who insist on conceiving children long after the normal ending of their natural fertility cycle. We hear of men who have impregnated many, many women.

We increasingly find in audiences members with same-sex parents, whether male or female, and we see some coming from sundry multi-parenting situations. Here the primacy is not the good or need of the child, but of the “right” of parents to do whatever they want. There will also be audience members who have been victims of incest and child abuse. Likewise, it is possible to have children of polygamous families, especially if they are Muslim or sometimes even Mormon marriages. Cultural trends suggest that laws against polygamy will soon be overturned. And soon after we will have polyandry. Though we do not like to admit it, divorce itself is a form of sequential polygamy or polyandry. In many cases, it will not at all be clear just who are the parents of individual children.

This situation would be true in cases of adultery and fornication that resulted in pregnancies. It is difficult to know just who would be responsible for such children, no doubt some government agency by encouraging through it’s welfare policies the begetting of children. It is true today that a DNA search can identify the real parents of real children. We not only have divorce courts but parentage courts. The legal profession is finding new areas of interest in determining parentage, especially if one of the begetting sources is wealthy. The day of the “anonymous” sperm or ova donor is probably over.

There may be other forms of relationship that I am overlooking. For instance, we can imagine the case of a sperm bank carrying the sperm of a “donor” who is long dead, but whose sperm is used to impregnate an ovum in vitro say a hundred years later, or some variant of the same relationship. I recall when the famous baseball player Ted Williams died; his family argued over what to do with the body. Some wanted to bury him, while others wanted to freeze his body so that many years hence, when science found a cure for the disease that killed him, he could be brought back to life and go on playing baseball. This view, of course, is rather a parody on the resurrection of the body, but the efforts to extend life as long as possible, even begetting children so that their bodies could be used as parts to “save” a sick brother or sister are proposed. Also we see legal efforts to deal with three parent offspring in which, presumably, the material that formed a child came from more than a given mother or father. Efforts to “improve” the genetic composition of a given child fall into this category.

All of this is happening in an era of general population decline in which many nations themselves—Italy, France, Spain, Germany—risk disappearing or being greatly reduced in numbers because its populace no longer wants or provides for children in viable families. Traditionally the begetting of children was evidence of hope in the future. Nations thrive on the birth and the raising of healthy children in families. Nations with aging populations and declining births place huge financial and moral burdens on fewer offspring. This leads to a corruption of medicine when euthanasia is seen as the solution to the problem. Immigration is likewise considered a remedy for meeting labor demands in nations with declining populations. In some instances, immigration can change radically the constitutional structures of some nations or even threaten their very viability.

Critics of Dominant Orthodoxy are Silenced
But my topic here has to do rather with limits of speech caused by these non-traditional familial arrangements now found in society. Let us suppose, for example, that there is a good, reasonable argument detailing the case against divorce as the first step in this long process. We would have to be very careful how to make this case since the room is likely to contain many divorced persons who approve of the practice. Such a discussion of this issue, as with the others, will likely lead to protests and disruptions. Will public discussion of these subjects ever be possible again?

“Hate speech” legislation is designed to prevent any conflict over these issues. If these protected practices are considered “rights,” we are legally prohibited from discussing the consequences of exercising them. The “solution” silences anyone who defends marriage, life, or family. Since all audiences are now populated by people who live in abnormal family arrangements, it is thought best to forbid any discussion that might establish objective, reasonable grounds for opposing or criticizing same-sex marriages, fetal experimentation, divorce, or any similar arrangement.

In a way, this political arrangement is a modern version of what Thomas Hobbes proposed to do to eliminate the causes of dissent in seventeenth century England. By identifying religious and philosophical ideas as the cause of civil discontent, Hobbes was able to justify giving the state absolute power over public expression. This prevention was accomplished by the presumed fear of violent death if the law was violated. In a way, modern public opinion produces the same effect, a kind of civil death in which a reasonable position is simply said not to exist.  If we do not allow anything but what the state or the culture permits, no matter what it is, we will end up with a “peaceful” society that has been intimidated and ridiculed into silence.

As a result, the arguments against these disorders are never heard. Society becomes locked into itself. No one is able to diagnose its ills. But this new form of suppression of dissent works also in the churches. Since their members also display widespread instances of divorce, homosexuality, in vitro births, abortions, and various other ways of life considered to be unnatural or harmful, it makes opposing these things in church also problematic.

Many basic teachings are simply seldom heard from the pulpit out of fear of dissent in the congregation or the loss of state funds. Politicians and other public figures who advocate positions against basic Church teachings are not expelled. They remain members in good standing. In this context, an ordinary person will conclude that the Church is silent about these teachings because they are indefensible. Protests are immediately heard whenever a strong and informed case is made against these deviations from Catholic teaching; as a result, the Church is often found speechless.

And if the arguments are seldom heard, it will not be surprising if the majority of people assume that the Christian churches have in fact abandoned their teachings as they have been urged to do. There will be in effect two churches. The first is the old-fashioned one, the minority, that still advocates the orthodox positions that are now largely against the civil law and public opinion. The second is the church of the media in which everything is understood as evolving and developing in the direction of what the civil law establishes. This will be presented as what is best for man and what the churches ought to teach. The orthodox Christian view will appear to undermine civil peace. A remnant will be left that will not go along with what modern society permits.

Editor’s note: The image above is a detail from “Savonarola Preaching Against Luxury” painted by Ludwig von Langenmantel in 1879.

Rev. James V. Schall, S.J.

By

Rev. James V. Schall, S.J., taught political science at Georgetown University for many years. His latest books include The Mind That Is Catholic from Catholic University of America Press; Remembering Belloc from St. Augustine Press; and Reasonable Pleasures from Ignatius Press.

  • lifeknight

    So true, Father. Thank you for your thoughts, sad as they are. I can recall only two homilies in 15 years that even MENTIONED contraception as evil. I have never heard a word disparaging homosexual acts. IVF, stem cells or surrogates are not even on the radar. Thank you for being informed and for doing your “job.”

    • M P P

      I also have heard two homilies on contraception but never on the other topics–we are speaking ever.

  • David

    One disagreement – hate crimes laws are not used to silence people, hate speech laws are.

  • Vinnie

    This essay goes along with yesterday’s article by Anthony Esolen.

    My comment in regard to this statement: “We would rather “just get along” than to have to decide about the truth of any issue or confront the consequences of its violation.”

    What is truth?

    • Reets46

      Amen Vinnie,
      So Pilate said to him, “Then you are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say I am a king. For this I was born and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.” Pilate said to him, “What is truth?”
      History repeats itself. People don’t change. “Progressives” think they are creating a “new and better” world, but it’s all been done before. I shudder at the arrogance of today’s secular cultural elites.

    • shieldsheafson

      In a lecture that Pope Benedict gave at La Sapienza University in Rome at the beginning of 2008, he addressed this challenge to the Faculty of Jurisprudence: ‘How can juridical norms be found that guarantee freedom, human dignity and human rights?’ Anticipating the standard response referring to democratic processes of deliberation, he observed that public argumentation in contemporary democracies aims above all at attaining majorities, and that ‘sensitivity to the truth is constantly overruled by sensitivity to interests’, often ‘special interests that do not truly serve everyone’.

      Faced now with Pilate’s question, the Pope replied; ‘There are only two options. Either one recognizes the priority of reason, of Creative Reason that is at the beginning of all things and is the principle of all things … or the priority of the irrational’, which would mean accepting that everything on earth and in our lives, including reason itself, is only accidental. ‘The great option of Christianity is the option for rationality and the priority of reason.’

  • Terry

    Bishops must speak up – Bishop Malone in Buffalo is a GOOD example of this.

    I have a good friend who is an Episcopalian (whom I have been trying to convert for years) who said to me once – throughout history reform in the Catholic Church has come from the bottom up – meaning US.

    Meaning too that in some cases we must make it so uncomfortable for our tight-lipped leaders that they HAVE to say something.

    Nancy Pelosi, Joe Biden, Kathleen Sebelius, Leahy from Vermont, John Kerry, ALL catholic (small c) politicians – they should be warned in private that they will be denied communion, and then follow through.

    • AlSetalokin

      John Kerry (nee Cohen) is not a (small c), but a large K that rhymes with bike.

      Nobody will know who is who until the microchips start getting implanted.

      Convert yourself, fool.

      • Art Deco

        No, John Kerry was born John Kerry. His mother’s family are old money old stock New England protestants. His father’s lawful name at birth was ‘Richard Kerry’. His grandfather was born “Fritz Kohn” in the Hapsburg dominions. Fritz Kohn immigrated to the United States, abandoned both the name Kohn, and abandoned any Jewish affiliations a dozen years before Richard Kerry was born and died when Richard Kerry was six years old.

        • AlSetalokin

          Again, nobody will know WHO is WHO until the microchips start getting implanted.
          ——
          Here’s some grist for the mill:

          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EtPC0W4HII8

          Don’t tell me, let me guess:

          Larry Silverstein is a “Protestant”…?

          Why not forward this video link to Nancy Pelosi, Joe Biden, Kathleen Sebelius, Leahy from Vermont, John Kerry, etc. ? Perhaps they will call for his arrest and questioning..

          (oops…almost forgot: Thanks for playing “Pin the Foreskin on the Don-key”.)

          • Carl

            Don’t feed the Troll!

        • Terry

          I have seen a picture of John Kerry (along with Ted Kennedy) receiving communion from the Cardinal of Boston whose name I forget. John Kerry is catholic.
          Your detailed history of the Kerry name is more information than I really need, although I do admire your knowledge of it.

          • Art Deco

            John Kerry is a nominal Catholic whose Jewish affiliations are a genealogical curiousity. His grandmother died in 1960, so he was acquainted with her and his great-uncle appears to have been alive as late as 1949, so he might have known him. However, the locus of his upbringing was the microculture of the U.S. Foreign Service, which in turn has an affinity for the patrician old-money world of his mother’s family. He attended and Anglican boarding school in New Hampshire and another boarding school in Switzerland, at least in some measure on the dime of some of his mother’s second-degree relations, after which he attended Yale. Ethnic he really is not. His mother and his 1st wife were both Anglicans and his 2d wife is out of Portugal’s expatriate gentry.

    • TheAbaum

      “I have a good friend who is an Episcopalian (whom I have been trying to convert for years) who said to me once – throughout history reform in the Catholic Church has come from the bottom up – meaning US.”

      What is (are) the principal objection(s)? He/She must be terribly uncomfortable in a community whose founding was imposed by a King while holding that belief, no?

      • Terry

        His principal objections? I really can’t answer that. Perhaps I haven’t prayed hard enough. One point I have no problem with – the intellectual firepower we have going back 2000 years.

        Why don’t you help out – pray for ‘John the Episcopalian’ to be converted to the true faith.

        Thanks – if 1000 of you will devote a single decade of your daily Rosary to that cause – who knows what might happen?

        • TheAbaum

          That’s all good, and it would be great if we prayed, but you should ask him (just once). Sometimes when people can’t articulate an objection, they realize all that’s holding them back is inertia.

          I have a friend who is an Episcopalian cleric, a basically nice guy, but I realized just how far apart we were one day when he likened officiating at services as essentially a matter of choreography.

          • Art Deco

            essentially a matter of choreography

            Oh?

            • TheAbaum

              His representation, not mine. He said successfully discharging his responsibilities was essentially the proper placement of his (the right word escapes me so I’ll say paraphernalia) and getting a good rhythm.

              I guess that’s what happens when you no longer believe in the real presence.

        • jacobhalo

          Didn’t Pope Francis say that conversion is “nonsense”?

          • fredx2

            No, he said prosyelitization is nonsense. Evangelization is good, proselytization is bad. But then again, he was speaking in italian so it all depends on the translation.

      • jacobhalo

        Protestants are only 48% of the US pop. today.

        • TheAbaum

          And? Not sure what your point is.

  • Reets46

    We have just celebrated Easter and so we must not, as we stand before the Resurrected Jesus, lose hope. He is Risen. He is Risen indeed!

    I fear that all that Fr. Schall has proposed is quickly becoming our reality and as a remnant of the Catholic Church, we will see things get worse before they get better. However, the truth will rise up through the young people that are already beginning to see the lies that surround them. Those of us who are raising children and grandchildren must pray that they will have strong characters, intelligent and informed minds and deep faith. We must all do what we can to lovingly assist in their formation.

    There will be great saints and martyrs in the times ahead. JPII, pray for us. There will be a “new springtime”, but as we’ve seen in the recent past, often we see long hard winters preceding the most wonderful springtimes. JPII also said, “Do not be afraid.” What an appropriate saint for our times… JPII, we love you!

    • Vinnie

      VOLUNTEER TO BE A FAITH FORMATION TEACHER, EVEN IF YOU CAN’T TEACH. WHAT’S NEEDED ARE FAITH-FILLED PEOPLE WITH THE PEACE OF CHRIST, WHICH IS KNOWLEDGE OF GOD, IN THEIR HEART. Just pray and in class be a witness to the grace of God through the Holy Spirit.

      • M P P

        Exactly what I am doing.

      • Nerd

        No. If you can’t teach, you will do more harm than good. My confirmation teachers were knowledgeable, but God help them, they were incapable of conveying that knowledge to high school students. They came across as dull and stupid, out of date, and out of touch. No one cared and most of my class has since left the Church.

        Knowledge is important, but its easy to find. Get the kids interested and they will find the correct information. It’s not like people don’t know what the Church teaches. People just don’t care.

    • Margaret O’Hagan

      Actually as one gets older, riding along on a wagon to a guillotine seems to be not that unattractive a death….. Wish I could stick around for the time……

  • http://outsidetheautisticasylum.blogspot.com/ Theodore Seeber

    The solution, is to be vocal *despite* the oppression. Nobody needs to hear truth more, than the person who isn’t prepared to hear the truth.

    • Siwash

      Yes. And to make sure we have sufficient legal firepower!

      • http://outsidetheautisticasylum.blogspot.com/ Theodore Seeber

        But especially when we have no legal firepower at all.

        I don’t often reference my journey in adolescence through new age occult, but this paraphrase of a quote from a book within a book fits:

        If you are going to be a messiah, know right now that you will die a particularly bloody and horrible death. Just don’t giggle on your way to the execution, the crowds won’t understand.

        _The Messiah’s Handbook_ in _Illusions_ by Richard Bach.

        I no longer follow Richard Bach’s New Age philosophy, but the point is still correct, even in Catholicism. If we are to follow our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ properly, it is our duty to speak out and proclaim the Truth, not just when we have the legal power to do so, but in fact when it will lose us our jobs, our family, our very lives to do so.

        Just don’t laugh when you are martyred. It won’t be understood.

        • Siwash

          Right. I agree with the willingness to be a martyr.

          But much of these current political trends actually began as loose-hair legal challenges. And there are legal straws and principles and precedents that may be considerable, all together, such as the various constructions of the First Amendment.

          • http://outsidetheautisticasylum.blogspot.com/ Theodore Seeber

            The First Amendment has been so twisted that it might as well not exist. I don’t consider the law to be just anymore- and have no expectation that any of those legal straws and principles and precedents will help in any way, shape, or form.

            Freedom in the United States is just another name for license to sin, and the legal system supports that.

            • Harry O

              I agree the First Amendment has been “twisted” and mocked and treated with contempt. Indeed it seems to be a preoccupation of the present administration to inculcate disrespect for the Constitution itself and the Bill of Rights. Why not? If they can do that then they can destroy our system of government and impose their Marxist system in its stead. Does anyone seriously doubt that that is what the Obama administration wants to do? And if they can make people lose faith in the law “and have no expectation” that the law will be observed or enforced at the highest level of government, then Obama and his henchmen are half way home. They want you to lose faith in the law. Don’t let it happen.

              Who stands in their way? The Christian Churches of course. And that is why Obama will come down heavily on them. They must be willing to go where the politically correct will not go. They must put truth above political correctness.

              • http://outsidetheautisticasylum.blogspot.com/ Theodore Seeber

                The constitution was destroyed a long time before Obama, and the seeds of its destruction can be seen by comparing the Catholic principle of Subsidiarity to Article I Sections 8 & 10, and the often ignored 10th Amendment. Freedom is just bread and circuses to keep people under control and profitable to the few at the expense of the many- just like communism was. Centralization of power is always wrong.

          • Harry O

            I’m sorry but you’ve lost me. What are “loose-hair legal challenges”? And what are “legal straws”?

      • RPTMS

        And sufficient actual firepower!

        • TheAbaum

          Amen, although there’s been a steady effort to militarize the tactics and equipment of the municipal and state constabularies.

    • Ed Hamilton

      Agreed, but I think realistically, we are talking about at least a white martyrdom to do as you say. Only the Holy Spirit can do that inside us and us being faithful to him. It is beyond mere human efforts and human politics.

      • http://outsidetheautisticasylum.blogspot.com/ Theodore Seeber

        Thank you for teaching me a new term. I looked up the subject on Wikipedia, I find it very interesting how my faith formation from the 1970s is lacking, and I often find answers there.

        I very much aspire to be a dry white martyr. I don’t think I’d enjoy being a red wet martyr. And I think I’m already a blue or green martyr, at least on the subjects of abortion and gay marriage if not contraception.

  • Pingback: why silencing christians will continue | the Anglo-Sinkie scribbles

  • Nestorian

    Would people agree with me that Fr. Schall’s lamentations apply with at least equal force to the tragic case of Edward Snowden and the suppression of both his person and his alarming revelations by the “Establishment” as it does to the issues raised by Fr. Schall?

    • TheAbaum

      Snowden started to lose me when he allowed himself to be used as a prop in Putin speech a couple weeks ago. He reminded me of the clapping seals Obama surrounds himself with when he’s up to something.

    • Art Deco

      Suppression of ‘his person’? He misappropriated information entrusted to him and then abandoned his common-law wife and the sought asylum from an antagonistic foreign government. Sweet guy.

  • Fred

    Thank you Father for that wonderful article. It resonates with me as if I wrote it myself, and I struggle with the feeling of helplessness in knowing how to turn this ship around. I do feel that it is time for those of us who have been in denial to open our eyes and awaken our spirituality. What is God’s will I do not know, but I know it is not his will that we be spectators to and cower from sinful acts.

    • AlSetalokin

      Really? You do not know God’s will? Astonishing, for he revealed his will most explicitly in the very first book of the Gospel:

      Matthew 7:12 (KJV)
      12 Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.

      The majority of Christian ministers are in fear of “offending” their congregations with the simple truth, because most of the flock have been seduced by an anti-Christian media (esp. TV) and their “public” schools. We can hardly call them “public” when they are driven by a very “private” agenda.

      Reprove the works of darkness by exposing them.

      Let me be the first: the prime suspect in the 9-11 mass murder is Larry Silverstein.

      • Art Deco

        Moderators, can you please attend to this malicious crank?

        • TheAbaum

          Yes, please do. I think he got lost on the way to the cross burnin’…

          • AlSetalokin
          • AlSetalokin

            Art Deco, TheAbaum:

            Are you both trying to silence me? Excellent. Let us see if the moderator can straighten me out.

            Then I’ll publish what I REALLY know about the anti-Christ Jew, from the deepest recesses of the broadcast biz in which I once (shamefullly) worked as an editor.

            You both sound like intelligent enough men: Do you know what “blood money” is?

            • TheAbaum

              We know when the Imperial Wizard is lighting a torch.

            • Art Deco

              Do you understand what ‘libel’ is, specifically re a certain real estate developer in New York City whom you’ve accused of mass murder sans evidence?

              This is a forum to discuss contributions to the magazine, not a rathole to be infested with your repulsive little fantasies.

              • TheAbaum

                More precisely in contradiction of the evidence. Atta answered the call of the muezzin, not the shofar.

  • Guest

    Excellent piece Father. Thank you.

    All one has to do is take a look at the comment sections under recent essays right here. The propagandists come out in full force. They attempt to close discussion by calling truth hate, or calling truth rash judgement, or misusing the CCC as a cudgel to claim any proper identification of error is unchristian.

    Up is now down. Right is now wrong. Evil is now good.

  • gsk

    Excellent analysis and summary, Father. I don’t know about speaking out–that may be in the hands of clergy and Catholic leaders who are in the position to do so, but I know my vocation as a Catholic laywoman is simply to live the truth, providing a witness to the beauty of Holy Mother Church. That said, there is nothing more frustrating than to be derided, marginalised, or undermined by my own Church, which occasionally suggests that people like me are the problem. (Then there are the stray comments from the hierarchy that suggest that orthodoxy itself is changeable, leading to such confusion.) Difficult times, but history is rife with such epochs.

  • NE-Catholic

    Thank you Father Schall. One of my sons recently gave me your book, “On the Unseriousness of Human Affairs” to read. Very interesting reading.
    It’s a little hard to publicly adhere to a Catholic “orthodoxy”, when the Pope himself calls a divorcee to encourage her to continue to receive Holy Communion, after the pastor/Bishop rebuked the divorcee for receiving. And, when he also reprimands those who attempt to publicly stand against abortion, same sex marriage, etc. as being ‘intolerant’ and focusing too much on negative behaviors. Forgiveness and contrition are due to those who acknowledge or disavow evil but it seems odd to encourage an open, forgiving embrace of those while they mock believers and actively champion those evils.

    • FernieV

      I wouldn’t try to be more Catholic than the Pope! I cannot see how Pope Francis is promoting abortion, same sex “marriage” etc. He isn’t. I have read his recent Exhortation and didn’t find anything not perfectly in line with the Catechism of the Catholic Church. The secular press is constantly interpreting his magisterium to find cracks in orthodoxy by stating things out of context… but they are not there!

      • AlSetalokin

        In what context is darkness light?
        In what context is light darkness?

        Now, exactly where in NE-Catholic’s post did it say “Pope Francis is promoting abortion”?

        “Secular press”? Did he not make the cover of “Time”? And even “The Rolling Stone”?

        Vatican II was the work of anti-Christ Jews, the very ones who promote the destruction of the flock.

        The Good Shepherd is ever on patrol!

        • FernieV

          I am sorry to hear your comment on the Vat II Ecumenical Council of the Catholic Church, which we Catholics believe was under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. You may find it difficult to maintain your status as a Catholic (assuming you are one) if you deny this Council…

          • AlSetalokin

            You are sorry (sore), and I am not.
            Neither did you respond to a single item in my post. So I’ll replay the ‘highlight':

            “Secular press”? Did he not make the cover of “Time”? And even “The Rolling Stone”?

            Enough said, you artful dodger.

            Oh…regarding my “status”:

            John 10:27-29 (KJV)

            27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:
            28 And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.
            29 My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand.

            Surely, we’ve all heard about the proverbial “wolf in sheep’s clothing”?
            Few, however, are aware of the ever greater danger of a “wolf in shepherd’s clothing”.
            And a shepherd that doesn’t WARN his flock of danger is NO SHEPHERD at all, but rather…

            Status? Just call me “sheepdog”. Woof woof.

          • Nesbyth

            I actually think that Vatican ll was hijacked. By whom I do not know. But whoever they were they figured that if they destroyed the Mass, they would destroy the Faith. By their fruits you shall know them ….a great falling away if ever there was one.

            • TheAbaum

              Whatever the merits or demerits of V2, the “falling away” started before the 1960’s. If you talk to enough old enough people, you realize there were cracks before the dam burst.

              • Nesbyth

                I am old enough!!
                There were no “obvious” cracks before Vat2 but there were a great many during and after.
                I personally was very upset with the changes in the Mass and I was about 17 years old at the time….(a groovy teenager!)
                I know rather a lot of people who left altogether rather than go to the New Mass (as well as several priests) while others went to the traditional Mass, ostracised, in odd places like Town Halls or Hotels.
                Evelyn Waugh, amongst others, was deeply upset and there has been a great “falling away” ever since in Mass attendance. The “New Mass” is restless and noisy. It leaves no space for silent prayer or contemplation.

                • TheAbaum

                  Are you in your 80’s or 90’s, because that’s how old you have to be to remember even the 1950’s as a mature adult.

                  • Nesbyth

                    I was born in 1946…and I was a mature adult when the New Mass came in in 1969….although they mucked about with it before then in some Churches.
                    And I am NOT in my 80’s or 90’s! Do the maths…please.

                    • TheAbaum

                      You aren’t good at sarcasm, are you?

                    • Nesbyth

                      Not really. No.
                      I wasn’t aware that you were being sarcastic. If you were I’m not sure why you would want to be about those who remember pre Vat 2 Days. They were rather lovely. The Liturgy was beautiful, the processions were large and fervent, the teaching was better than nowadays (and I speak as a teacher of History and RE).
                      But the Liturgy is improving and one can find a prayerful Mass if one searches and the younger intake of priests are encouragingly more traditional.
                      IMO

                    • TheAbaum

                      I had a sack full of relatives born 1909-1921 who lived (the oldest is now 97) and based on the stories they told and tell, there was a lot of people in the 1940’s and 1950’s whose interior disposition wasn’t nearly as deep and orthodox as prior generations.

                      I don’t know whether they had “beautiful” liturgies or long and fervent processions in say 150 AD, but they sure were committed.

                    • Nesbyth

                      Glad to hear they were committed!

                    • TheAbaum

                      If I’m the first one telling you, that says much in support of my assertion.

                    • Nesbyth

                      Which is?

                    • jacobhalo

                      Nesbyth, I was a history and religion teacher too.

                    • jacobhalo

                      I was born the same year.

                • FernieV

                  We have to pray that God sends us priest with the heart of Christ that will celebrate the “digne, attente et devote” and above all with Love for Christ, Priest and Victim.

                • fredx2

                  And in many cases, banal.

              • jacobhalo

                I’m old enough to remember pre-Vatican II and I didn’t see any cracks, not with the congregations. There were cracks (crack-pots) in the clergy, modernists who were clamoring for changes in the church, which didn’t need changing because the seminaries, convents, Catholic schools, and churches were full. There were long lines at confession and very few cafeteria Catholics.
                Unforturneatly, the crackpots took over at Vatican II, with the election of Pope John XIII. The rest is history, disastrous history.

                • TheAbaum

                  I’m old enough to remember pre-Vatican II and I didn’t see any cracks, not with the congregations.
                  I’ll give you a good idea of a “crack”. Nuns admonishing a 12 year olds in 1960 (cousins & friends) not to wear a Nixon button-that indicated a deeply disordered attachment to the Democrat party, something that began with FDR.
                  I remember a great aunts one who would be in her 90’s now, the other about 105. The younger one was confronted with Bill Clinton’s position on abortion and said “we need to give him a chance”. The other had a andard response that Republicans were for the rich to just about any party-faith conflict.
                  This was typical in the Northeast. Some of these old Catholics had faith a mile wide and an inch deep, and thought voting D was the 8th sacrament. When the dems went left, they followed.

                  • Art Deco

                    Some of Andrew Greeley’s late columns on topical political questions were stupefying and reflected the same mentality. You’d have thought someone with Greeley’s sophistication would not swallow stupid caricatures and recycle them.

                    • TheAbaum

                      Maybe he trafficked more in sophistry than sophistication.

                  • Art Deco

                    Adam, I encountered a structurally similar phenomenon among mainline protestants of similar age. The best example I have in mind was born in 1930 and died in 2011 and had a degree from a seven sisters college. It does not have a Catholic signature but (perhaps) a feminine one, in that information is evaluated and sorted with categories that map very poorly to contemplating public life and very ill-adapted to maintaining fixed principles over time.

                    • TheAbaum

                      I rather figured that it wasn’t a phenomenon confined to Catholics. I should be gratified by the confirmation, but somehow I’m not.

                    • Michael Paterson-Seymour

                      The Abaum

                      Mgr Ronald Knox gives this description from his time as an Anglican: “I think, then, it should be said at the outset that public schools [i.e. English independent boarding schools] are trying to teach the sons of gentlemen a religion in which their mothers believe, and their fathers would like to: a religion without ” enthusiasm ” in the old sense, reserved in its self-expression, calculated to reinforce morality, chivalry, and the sense of truth, providing comfort in times of distress and a glow of contentment in declining years; supernatural in its nominal doctrines, yet on the whole rationalistic in its mode of approaching God: tolerant of other people’s tenets, yet sincere about its own, regular in church-going, generous to charities, ready to put up with the defects of the local clergyman.”

                      The religion of quite a few Catholics before VII was not dissimilar. A religion that continued to use Christian language, with none of its spirit.

                    • TheAbaum

                      I did not know (or had forgotten) Knox was a convert. Thanks for this quote. I must move Msgr. Knox up my reading list again.

                  • FernieV

                    Amazingly accurate! Each period of history has its challenges, shortcomings and positive points. It would be silly to say that it was better or worse… And we need faith in the Holy Spirit who guides the Church thru History.

              • Art Deco

                I think descriptive statistics on church attendance in general were at their peak around 1958. The troubles the Church was having at that time were esoteric, at least in this country. I believe Kenneth Jones has assembled the data to the effect that select discrete indicators were moving in a salutary direction through about 1965.

                • Michael Paterson-Seymour

                  “The troubles the Church was having at that time were esoteric, at least in this country”

                  The troubles had been there since the beginning of the century, when Blondel wrote, “With every day that passes, the conflict between tendencies that set Catholic against Catholic in every order–social, political, philosophical–is revealed as sharper and more general. One could almost say that there are now two quite incompatible “Catholic mentalities,” particularly in France. And that is manifestly abnormal, since there cannot be two Catholicisms.” Responding to a national survey in 1907, Blondel articulated his sense of the “present crisis”: [U]nprecedented perhaps in depth and extent–for it is at the same time scientific, metaphysical, moral, social and political–[the crisis] is not a “dissolution” (for the spirit of faith does not die), nor even an “evolution” (for the spirit of faith does not change), it is a purification of the religious sense, and an integration of Catholic truth” One has only to consider the plight of theology in the aftermath of Lametabili and Pascendi to see the truth of that, with the Church’s greatest thinkers, Brémond, Maréchal, Bouyer, Chenu, Congar, de Lubac, Daniélou under suspicion, when not actually silenced (I can remember their writings circulating in mimeograph) and the work of the École Biblique ham-strung, until the false dawn of Divino Afflante Spiritu.

            • FernieV

              I have read all the documents of Vatican II and I didn’t find any unorthodox teaching. On the contrary, I could summarize Vat II as a call to all Christian to holiness, which is a clear teaching of the Gospel. Unfortunately some at the top level used the Council to justify abuses in the Liturgy which brought about a great harm to souls. Nevertheless, I do not agree that they destroyed the Mass. When I attend Mass, said in English or Latin, Christ is the Priest and Victim. And I try to attend Masses celebrated by pious priests that will not harm my soul with their “progressive liturgical innovations”.

              • Nesbyth

                You are right about some people at top level changing things and bringing in harmful liturgical innovations, which were indeed absent, for the most part, in the documents of Vat II, which is what I meant by “hijacked”

            • fredx2

              The Council was not hijacked. There is nothing wrong with the council at all. It is the implementation that was hijacked, as exemplified by the fact that they could not say they were acting according to Vatican II, so they had to say “in the spirit” of Vatican II. As Benedict said, the Council of the Media took over and took precedence

    • AlSetalokin

      Amen.

      Jude 1:4 For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.

  • hombre111

    A bit ironic to see the article accompanied by a painting of Savanarola, who was burned at the stake by the Church for practicing free speech. As a priest, there are pulpit topics that will stir up ire on the right as well as the left. Then you pay as the collections drop.

    • TheAbaum

      A double whammy. A calumnious factual error and your pecuniolatry on overdrive.

      http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/13490a.htm

      • hombre111

        Let’s see…. Dominican friar Savanarola seems odd for sure, with visions and prophecies on an apocalyptic scale. But he had his good moments. He preached in Florence against the corruption of the clergy, despotic rule, and the exploitation of the poor and, after helping boot the Medicis out of Florence, helped form a republic. When Florence refused to join Pope Alexander VI in his Holy League against the French, the Vicar of the Prince of Peace threatened an interdict against the city, and excommunicated the pesky Dominican. He was finally arrested, tortured, hung, and burned in 1498.

        • TheAbaum

          Nice diversion, but having has to correct the detail of the nature of his execution (hanged rather than incinerated) and having read your numerous other errors on other subjects, I’ll need a more reliable and credible witness. So thanks, but no thanks,

        • Michael Paterson-Seymour

          The Medici family went on to give two Sovereign Pontiffs to the universal Church: Leo X, who condemned the errors of Luther and Clement VII, who refused Henry VIII’s divorce. They were also most munificent patrons of learning and the arts. Clement’s promotion of biblical scholarship in particular should not be overlooked.
          Savanarola was more effective in banishing conspicuous consumption than in encouraging alms-giving; one result of this was a thousand lace-makers besieging the town hall, demanding bread

          • hombre111

            Catching up. Excellent post.

      • tamsin

        Adam, thanks for the link. I actually went and read both the Catholic Encyclo article on Girolamo Savonarola, and a lengthy article in my ancient Encyclo Britannica.

        Then I read up on Pope Alexander. Hoo boy.

        I like the choice of the painting of Girolamo to headline this article in Crisis.

        • TheAbaum

          You’re welcome. There’s so much past and so little present.

  • FernieV

    Amazing article with a clarity that reminds us that Christ’s teachings – and therefore his Church’s – will always be a sign of contradiction and that Catholics need to be prepared to be unpopular in order to continue being faithful to Christ – or loose their soul to be able to continue being popular.

  • AlSetalokin

    Wow. So far, not a single mention of the role played by anti-Christ Jews.

    Wow. So far, not a single mention of anti-Christ Jews having INFILTRATED the Catholic Church.

    Awaken, all ye faithful. Some anti-Christ Jews are in the pews, and some even stand behind the altar…

    Jude 1:4 For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.

    Too many “fathers”, and not enough “brethren”.

    • TheAbaum

      Nancy Pelosi, Joe Biden, Kathleen Sebelius, Andrew Cuomo and any of a myriad of lesser political luminaries aren’t Jews.

      To paraphrase: I suspect your Jack Boots are on a wee bit too tight.

      • AlSetalokin

        I’ll say it again:

        Jude 1:4 For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.

        And, of course, you are correct in saying that those polyticks “aren’t Jews”….because they are members of the Synagogue of Satan.

        I don’t wear Jack Boots, yet if I did, they sure would be the right size, you whitewashed sepulchre.

        Besides, I needn’t remind you whose brainchild the Abaum is, do I? Funny how the nuclear chicken has come home to roost.

        • TheAbaum

          Take your hatred somewhere else.

        • Rob B.

          Thank you, Mr. Setalokin, for proving Father Schall’s point that rational discourse is almost dead in our society. Please accept this award for Best Spittle-Flecked Nutter Posts of the Day…

        • Nesbyth

          Freemasons I thought? Maybe sometimes the same thing.
          There were some very suspect cardinals around in Vat II. eg Suenens, Marcinkus et al.

        • cestusdei

          Anti-Semitism has been condemned by the Church.

          • Rob B.

            Ahhh, but isn’t this just part of the conspiracy that Al is bringing to light? *sigh*

            Don’t try being rational with the irrational; you’ll just give yourself a headache…

  • Art Deco

    WIth some exceptions (the folk hauled in front of Canada’s administrative star chambers), people are not prohibited from speaking. They are however, wretchedly other directed and lacking in self-confidence.

    As for the Church, consider that its problem may be similar to that of liberal protestant denominations: shot through with people who want to ‘do ministry’ but whose conception of what that is amounts to being a salaried den mother. Challenging moral and ethical teachings are an impediment to getting through the day for these types.

    Some time ago, Leon Podles offered (contemplating the career of Bernard Cardinal Law) that the problem the Church faces ‘went deeper’ than the axis which distinguished ‘orthodox’ from ‘liberal’. Perhaps not deeper, but implicating more than one valence. We see that with the behavior of bishops Jugis and Tobin and those who defend them: men without chests.

    The Church may be done as an influence over public life. It’s members have co-operated with its emasculation. We have reason to believe this will continue to be the case, and the ‘orthodox’ will be implicated as well as the ‘liberal’ Catholic in this, just with a different set of guises and poses.

    • P2H

      Vinnie, can you please expand on your comment about Bishop Peter Jugis. Are you referring to the recent Charlotte Catholic debacle? Truly Curious as a member of his flock here in the piedmont region. I thought his response was not quick enough and certainly not forceful enough in respect to that situation and wrote I a personal note on the matter…which I would think was tossed aside.

  • Susy

    Bravo, Father. You’ve nailed it. You’re not alone in identifying what’s trending in larger society, and being very much concerned by it. Bless you for your article.

  • Siwash

    Excellent stuff! Christians—especially Catholic Christians—have to face up to the fact that civil disobedience to unjust laws may be forced upon us.

    The death of free speech was planned by political activists.

  • Sherry M.

    This is an absolutely brilliant summary of current realities! Who would have thought that “audiences” today – whether secular or Catholic – comprised at least “one each” of all the key moral issues that ten years ago were only starting to be in evidence.

    Unfortunately, the majority of “Faith Formation” has been from from TV, movies, music, popular periodicals and books (and book clubs), talk show hosts, etc. And much of Catholic faith formation has been woefully inadequate.

    Rev. Schall’s article is the third in a trio of outstanding recent essays from Crisis Magazine that, taken together, do the best job of explaining the challenges we face. His article, together with R. Jared Staudt’s article on April 15, “Down the Slippery Slope: A Timeline of Social Revolution”, followed by Anthony Esolen’s “Catholicism: Scandalous in Every Age” combine to show where we have been, where we are, and where we are going.

    There are many courageous bishops and priests who are speaking the truth in love, but there are those who really are not in accord with what our Church teaches. As Anthony Esolen said in his article: “The Church’s teachings liberate. I’ve experienced it”. Well, so have I. And it has been a great inspiration to give everything for our faith.

    We laypeople need to help with faith formation in our parishes by using the outstanding resources that have been developed that can be used in our own homes – either on the computer or in small groups in our living rooms.

    Programs like “Symbolon”, developed by the Augustine Institute, the Catholic Distance University, Catholic Courses by Benedict Press, The Avila Institute, etc. can be used effectively in small groups. They are wonderful and easy ways to grow in our faith – especially in parishes that do not promote what our Church teaches.

    I am so grateful for this article today. It is frustrating for many of us who are trying to piece together all that’s happening in our ever-changing environment – but this article did it in a beautifully articulated manner.

  • Angel

    I just sent a letter to my local Bishop about a 75 year old priest who recently did a homily on Easter Sunday on the “Creative Impulses of God.”

    In his homily, he stated that “Perhaps, it is just and right that gay people should get marry.” From his speech, this priest chose to ignore the CCC #2357.

    Chastity and homosexuality:

    2357 Homosexuality refers to relations between men or between women who experience an exclusive or predominant sexual attraction toward persons of the same sex. It has taken a great variety of forms through the centuries and in different cultures. Its psychological genesis remains largely unexplained. Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity,141 tradition has always declared that “homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered.”142 They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved. – from the Catechism of the Catholic Church

    So I asked the Bishop this question: What should a Catholic Priest do?:

    A) Promote sodomy marriage, and ignore a grave sin and lead his whole parish into grave sin?

    OR

    B) A Catholic Priest must not teach anything that violates the Doctrine of the Faith.

    I don’t know if I will get any action from this Bishop, we will see. To be continued……..

    • TheAbaum

      ” a 75 year old priest who just recently did a homily on Easter Sunday on the “Creative Impulses of God.”

      In his homily, he stated that “Perhaps, it is just and right that gay people should get marry.”

      Are you sure he’s 75 and not 76?

      • Angel

        I’m sorry, I’m a bit slow today. What do you mean “76”?

        • TheAbaum

          We have a resident commenter on here who claims to be a 76 yr, old priest, and based on his comments here, he could very easily have given that sermon.

          Is your Parish absent its Pastor at the moment and located in a “red state”?

          • Angel

            No, I’m in California. This heretical priest is popular with the crowd and I’m afraid the Bishop will just ignore my letter. Isn’t sad that it’s now the enemy from within?

            • musicacre

              Pope Paul VI warned about those enemies within when he coined the phrase “…. the smoke of satan has entered the Church….”

            • hombre111

              Savanarola, whose picture graces this article, was also popular with the crowd, but the public is fickle, and so the old boy perished at the hands of the Inquisition. Maybe the conservatives in your diocese can engineer the destruction of this fractious priest, and cause his demise by rack, noose, and fire.

            • TheAbaum

              Yes. my second guess would be a Jesuit?

          • hombre111

            heh, heh, heh.

            • TheAbaum

              He who laughs last, laughs best.

  • BillinJax

    A case for Martyrdom
    Anyone who thinks we should set our faith aside in America
    in order to avoid stepping over the line in this current political battle for
    the soul of our country is courting disaster.

    One thing is abundantly clear to any Catholic who understands
    the faith as shepherded by our Holy Father in Rome
    and that is the current regime in Washington D.C.
    under Barack Obama is by far the most anti-Catholic administration in the
    history of our country. The really sad thing is that our bishops had too long
    avoided the fight for fear of being accused of mixing politics and religion,
    and in the case of Obama the dreadful racist label from the media, allowing
    those of weak faith within their flocks who entered the political arena selling
    their souls to party platforms in opposition to our faith and values to
    establish a pattern of Christian capitulation.

    We and our societal standards based on the founders reliance
    on Divine guidance are no longer recognized as a legitimate challenge to the
    status quo separation phrase used to deny them. Our elected officials who were put into office to protect our freedoms have chosen to be a ruling class unto themselves. Those like Pelosi, Biden, Kerry, Dodd, Sebelius and many others show no remorse for pandering to the enemies of Holy
    Mother Church and by default are parts of the problem. The situation has become grave and we, with guidance from bishops who now realize just how serious the administration is in its effort to remove all obstacles to a full blown secularist society, have to get involved in the fight for the soul of America.

    It is time to stop pretending we are powerless to defend
    ourselves from those who have abandoned piety in favor of personal power and prestige. If we the laity, the Church Militant, are to be the martyrs for the
    faith standing together against the forces of evil which are consuming our
    nation as it progresses on the administrations path into oblivion then so it
    must be. It has and always must be for true followers of Christ a requirement to assist the Spirit of Pentecost within us in bringing forth upon our world the
    will of God to have life more abundant using the power of His Truth to make and keep men free. It is our duty, along with the message of hope and change within the church of Christ, to open the hearts of men to depend on the
    creators love to guide us to the place he is preparing for us not to succumb to
    the lure of an ever expanding totalitarian Marxist styled government promising
    to provide our every need in order to make us slaves to a godless political
    system.

  • mollysdad

    This is why St Paul wrote: “If anyone preach to you a gospel, besides that which you have received, let him be accursed.” (Gal. 1:9)

    • TheAbaum

      That’s a good verse for LDS missionaries, especially if you include verse 8.

  • Spudnik3

    The same segments of society who want to silence Christian viewpoints because they are deemed offensive are those who praise as “courageous” (or at least condone) the most vicious bigotry directed at Christians: a daily staple of entertainment, higher education and polemic. I think we need to begin to admit to ourselves that the people who talk so much about tolerance and non-offensiveness simply aren’t sincere. Even secular Britain is now starting to discuss and acknowledge the double standard and wondering if things have gone too far.

  • Pingback: Fr. James Schall: The silencing of Christians is only going to get stronger... - Christian Forums

  • Emerson_C

    The most interesting point made in this essay concerned the rapidly falling birthrates in those countries, cultures and social milieus that feel for the so-called “sexual revolution”. It must be obvious to anyone with common sense (as opposed to being “Enlightened” that any world view that is based on the radical separation of sex from a procreation and stable marriage is axiomatically doomed; the entire philosophy is is intrinsically suicidal. The author also makes the point that high birth rates represent Hope. by way of contrast the “sexual revolution” including divorce, artificially induced barreness and homosexualism are manifestations of black despair.

    • Rob B.

      I’ve always found it interesting that those who are most interested in the social safety net are also the ones pushing zero population growth. They are, essentially, shooting themselves in the foot very slowly.

      • TheAbaum

        It’s not well known, but the first (Europeans 1800’s) social security systems were population control schemes, developed in response to the specious but seductive assertions of Malthus. The idea was to remove any incentive to reproduce to as insurance against old age, especially in a world where physical vigor mattered greatly in employment.

        The welfare state has a lot of design objectives and unanticipated uses by intrepid politicians that would shock the misconceptions of those who see it as a benign instrument of charity (the willfully and defiantly blind).

  • Laura McCasland

    “Protests are immediately heard whenever a strong and informed case is made against these deviations from Catholic teaching; as a result, the Church is often found speechless.”

    Does this mean Catholics are no longer to evangelize the rest of the world? No, Jesus said, ‘Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.’

    Matthew 28:19

    “We must assume that, in the body of listeners, we will find the results of what may be called “lived multiculturalism.” That is, in any audience, congregation, or classroom, we will find not a few listeners with divorced parents, relatives, or friends. We will find others who either have had or assented to abortions, even euthanasia…”

    The church, as Pope Francis states, is a hospital to be filled with wounded people. Both clergy and laity take part in the healing process, as once we all were broken along life’s way. As we become more sanctified in Christ’s love, so are others to be given the good news of Christ’s mercy and a real hope for reconciliation that they may also be immersed in his love.

    “We increasingly find in audiences members with same-sex parents, whether male or female, and we see some coming from sundry multi-parenting situations. Here the primacy is not the good or need of the child, but of the “right” of parents to do whatever they want. There will also be audience members who have been victims of incest and child abuse. Likewise, it is possible to have children of polygamous families, especially if they are Muslim or sometimes even Mormon marriages. Cultural trends suggest that laws against polygamy will soon be overturned. And soon after we will have polyandry. Though we do not like to admit it, divorce itself is a form of sequential polygamy or polyandry. In many cases, it will not at all be clear just who are the parents of individual children…”

    Baptize the babies, for the love of God…

    “But my topic here has to do rather with limits of speech caused by these non-traditional familial arrangements now found in society. Let us suppose, for example, that there is a good, reasonable argument detailing the case against divorce as the first step in this long process. We would have to be very careful how to make this case since the room is likely to contain many divorced persons who approve of the practice. Such a discussion of this issue, as with the others, will likely lead to protests and disruptions. Will public discussion of these subjects ever be possible again?”

    Yes, within Catholic parishes. Priests and laity should discuss divorce and its consequences, for those who file against those who don’t, and for their children. Clergy, laity, and those contemplating or already divorced should be able to learn if or when they are eligible to take the Eucharist as long as they remain single and within the church.

    “Many basic teachings are simply seldom heard from the pulpit out of fear of dissent in the congregation or the loss of state funds. Politicians and other public figures who advocate positions against basic Church teachings are not expelled. They remain members in good standing. In this context, an ordinary person will conclude that the Church is silent about these teachings because they are indefensible. Protests are immediately heard whenever a strong and informed case is made against these deviations from Catholic teaching; as a result, the Church is often found speechless.”

    The Church cannot be speechless. Politicians and other public figures who advocate against Church teachings should first be privately censured, then publicly spoken to if they continue to do so. Priests can and should refuse them the sacraments if such figures remain unrepentant.

    “And if the arguments are seldom heard, it will not be surprising if the majority of people assume that the Christian churches have in fact abandoned their teachings as they have been urged to do. There will be in effect two churches. The first is the old-fashioned one, the minority, that still advocates the orthodox positions that are now largely against the civil law and public opinion. The second is the church of the media in which everything is understood as evolving and developing in the direction of what the civil law establishes. This will be presented as what is best for man and what the churches ought to teach. The orthodox Christian view will appear to undermine civil peace. A remnant will be left that will not go along with what modern society permits.”

    If we are afraid to lovingly confront society with the truth, the Church will suffer martyrdom…

  • Don Campbell

    I have come to the conclusion that “moral relativism” is merely a way-station on the path to a new cultural consensus about what is the Truth. The Christian foundation of morality in the West was too deeply set to simply replace with new “truths” instantaneously. The new morality is taking shape now, and it will be enforced with rigor and dispatch.

  • Don Campbell

    Father, this is why I believe Pope Francis’ approach is naive. Simply downplaying the Church’s moral doctrine, or avoiding talking about it to the extent possible, is simply not a good strategy in my opinion. It results in several things. First, it means that many will not understand the Church’s true teaching – i.e., it sews confusion. Second, it results in a Church that is full of people who affirmatively reject its own teachings on sexual morality? Why? Because the Church makes no demands on them. Third, it permits those in the clergy, and theologians in academia, and others, to work without any real opposition to overturn and undermine the Church’s moral doctrine and conform it to the modern culture. For example, they may be successful in changing the Church’s doctrines on remairrage after divorce, or same sex marriage. I should have faith that this could never happen, because if it were to happen then it would meant he Church is a fraud and always has been – i.e., that it is not in fact infallible and that it has or does teach error in matters of faith and morals. But I must admit, I lack faith, and we must admit that there are powerful forces working assiduously to make these things happen. Finally, it robs those of us who accept the moral teachings of the Church (though failing like everyone to live up to them) of our ability to point to the Holy Father as our defender – to say he “has our back.” I can’t tell you how many Catholics and non-Catholics have asked me whether I agree that it is wonderful that the Pope is “walking back” the Church’s teaching on gay marriage, homosexuality, divorce and remarriage. When I say he isn’t, they thow “Who am I to judge” in my face. Yes, the Pope’s job is to evangelize. It is ours as well. But it is also his job to vigorously defend the faith in the face of the all-out assault we are facing in the West.

    • gsk

      It also causes the laity to have contempt for the saints who gave their lives for ‘outmoded’ ideas, creating an enormous chasm between the past and the present. It thus unravels the communion necessary for the Mystical Body to thrive, robbing the next generation of the witness and intercession of the Church Triumphant.

    • Michael Paterson-Seymour

      Abbé Henri Brémond used to recommend only two books to the many would-be converts who came to him seeking instruction – the Imitation of Christ by Thomas à Kempis and Introduction à la vie devote of St François de Sales. He often quoted Pascal’s «Voilàce que c’est que la foi parfaite, Dieu sensible au cœur » [This, then, is perfect faith: God felt in the heart.]

      The convert, said Brémond, does not need book-learning, but the contact and certainty that comes through prayer.

  • Joanc57

    I am so finished with the media; it’s not entertaining, it’s a daily assault. I scan headlines and move on to do my work (in front of a computer). Turn it all off. This society will crumble, it’s the same old story, history repeating itself. Turn it off. All you really need is orthodox Catholic news, weather and traffic.

    • fredx2

      Catholic traffic? Now there is a concept

  • Fred

    I love Crises because the articles and dialog really stimulate me. It is refreshing to read and find solace in that support. Whether we have wavering priests or not, hopefully everyone that comes here understands that we live in extraordinary times where we can no longer stay solely in our support groups while expecting others to be the agents of change, that we must rise beyond our comfort zone and where we can speak truth to lies. You might be surprised how many people have ill formed opinions because their brains have not been engaged while being exposed to all the mass media cultural training they got from their TV sets telling them how to think. Some are actually hungry for the truth though may not admit publicly out of fear. It may come anyway, but if we don’t act then the path we are on will certainly be realized. Of course the wicked are many who seek to confuse perversion with normalcy and I pray God for strength in those encounters.

  • one comment

    It is easy to feel alone and chastised when so much of society has gone after the world, and then when the “Shepherds” turn and run, well it is almost impossible not to feel abandoned. But we are not abandoned, we are not alone. Jesus warns us that we will suffer for Truth but there is the sweetness of eternity that comes with the Truth, with an alliance with Holiness and of all that is Good, that is just too wonderful and can’t be put down.

  • Jerrie Castro

    “Many basic teachings are simply seldom heard from the pulpit out of fear of dissent in the congregation or the loss of state funds. Politicians and other public figures who advocate positions against basic Church teachings are not expelled. They remain members in good standing. In this context, an ordinary person will conclude that the Church is silent about these teachings because they are indefensible.” This statement that you made Father is so true. Since you are a Jesuit and so is Pope Francis, maybe you can suggest that he should mandate to all bishops that pastors and associate pastor must speak from the pulpit regarding basic teachings by working them in to their homilies rather than just just preach on the basic description on what the readings and Gospel are all about in the context of historical/Biblical times. I teach Adult Faith Formation in my parish. Believe me most of the Sunday pew sitters have little knowledge of their faith. When they decide to take up where their catechesis left off in the 8th grade or high school they are astounded that they are so poorly catechized. These people are blessed but are representative of the “typical Catholic number” of about 40 people per week. What happens to the other 4,000 ignorant parishioners who attend Sunday masses is the question!

  • Pingback: The Many Gifts of God | Being Catholic

  • markkrite

    There is so much fruit for contemplation contained within these observations by Fr. Schall that, once again, in reading of these very deeply thoughtful and disturbing comments, I scarcely know where to exactly begin. Yes, we as a nation of 320-plus million souls, are getting snookered through the ever more corrupting “lamestream” media into a position where we’re coerced / intimidated into a position of passivity where noxious cliche and oppressive stereotypicity meet and shall rule as an agenda / tactic strategy designed to let the forces of militant secular egalitarianism have their way, and, among other evils, continue to champion the mainstreaming of amorality among us, i.e., “gay” marriage and the increasingly desperate facade of “choice” as to the dilemma of unborn babies being generated by so many sins of fornication, rape and adultery. In the also increasingly delusional mindset of the liberal radicals who are constantly trying to shove their awful agenda down the collective throats of the peeps, their rage at seeing so many resisting their blandishments to just “let it go” and accept their superior reasoning that it’s “better” for us as a nation to adopt their “transformational” scheme is now becoming very palpable to so many, who through the inspirations of the Holy Spirit see through their collective unhingedness. They at times can be positively choked in false indignation that they sputter and scream at times in frustration at what’s coming; an apparently unstoppable movement to ultimately reverse Roe V. Wade and their worst nightmare now taking shape inchoately, a pushback against just “accepting”, once again, “gay” marriage in all of its depravity. God Bless all who are part of this movement..

  • portlandCatholic

    “Many basic teachings are simply seldom heard from the pulpit out of fear of dissent in the congregation or the loss of state funds.”

    And what is the basis for such dissent in the congregation? The liberal ideology that the majority of Catholics ascribe to over and above anything that the Church teaches. A Church that lives in constant fear of “alienating” such Catholics by speaking the truth cannot rightly expect its presence to amount to any real consequence in the world.

  • Jimmy

    I think of the 100th anniversary of WW i’s outbreak, how a generation of young men were sacrificed to serve the interest of monarchs, the old order exploded, there was a general loss of faith in everything. The seeds of dissolution go way back, & faith was replaced by political revolution , nihilism, existentialism. A war of ALL AGAINST ALL. Of course men cannot live without CERTAINTIES, so the dawn of the collective followed, or as Orwell called it, the 20th Century’s smelly little orthodoxies. More bleeding and dying, but always new systems to crush the human spirit, including the soft despotism in the West. Now men are told they no longer need certainties, i.e. faith, moral categories, immutable laws of nature. The civil law is everything, and the lawyers its acolytes. Father Schall has been a voice in the wilderness for some time now, and he has once again anatomised our current predicament & the decline of free speech in a nominally “free” society with great clarity.
    .

  • Ruth Rocker

    Excellent article. The only “tolerance” these people actually have is to hear their own views and beliefs parroted back to them. Critical thinking has not been taught in schools in decades so how could any young person know how to intelligently attack some of these issues. Charles Krauthammer recently published an article that, in essence, said that because the left cannot justify its position, it is now moving to silence any opposition. And look at the lawsuits filed against photographers and others who do not choose to support the agenda of the homomafia in this country.

    Our clergy needs to be visited by the spirit of the first disciples. They went from cowering in the upper room to BOLDLY proclaiming the truth wherever they went. We all need to do the same, too. No matter how many people say that a bird is a tree does not change the fact that it is not true. This is the current mentality in this country. If enough people agree that up is down then it must be so.

    We need a true revival that only the Trinity can foster. The Holy Spirit needs to work overtime visiting at least the bishops to remind them of their true duties and where their allegiance should be.

  • Pingback: PowerLinks 04.28.14 | Acton PowerBlog

  • Pingback: Mere Links 04.27.14 - Mere Comments

  • Pingback: St. John Paul II Set the Barque Back on Course - BigPulpit.com

  • Pingback: Free Speech: Going, going, almost gone - Christopher's Apologies : Christopher's Apologies

  • Pingback: Though It is Late | True Restoration News Feed

  • Pingback: Infinite Tolerance « Thinking in Christ

  • Lion_IRC

    The world is run by those who show up.
    And nothing is more ironic than the timid or lazy or stupid frog sitting there in a pot of slowly warming water.

  • Willem

    Pure homophobic BS

  • adevar@hotmail.com

    For 2,000 years, the priests silenced women in the church…
    Does this have anything to do with the society silencing the church now?

MENU