Crisis of Faith and Scandals
The root cause of scandals is a crisis of faith
The Camino to Santiago that I just completed was a time of grace:
1. I realized, at a deeper level, that we are living a great apostasy.
-Everywhere we could see the roots of Christian Europe. Even the smallest towns have a church in their center. But today they are mostly closed, vestiges of another era.
-Relatively few on the Camino had a Christian motivation. What used to be a pilgrimage seeking repentance and conversion has become simply an adventure, a sport.
-Even the older persons in the towns, there seems to be only a remnant of the faithful left.
-I had the practice of, Instead of saying goodbye, I saying “see you in heaven” -the response often was “if there is one” or just a puzzled look.
-I had the sense that there is a radical loss of faith, profound indifference.
-The result is a huge apostasy and the resulting darkness in the hearts that still is being masked by a culture absorbed in entertainment and consumerism.
-To see this is grace because we need to know the battle at hand in order to respond.
2- The fruit of the Camino for me was a profound awareness of the grace we have received in Love Crucified through the Path, the constant teachings, and having each other to help us live it.
-This brought me to repentance for my lack of resolve and focus on the mission that the Lord has given me. I saw occasions even in my recent past where I acted as a good priest but not as the Missionary of the Cross, as if my identity and mission is something that can be put on and off.
-The physical demands of walking to the next goal each day became a sign of the spiritual discipline that the Lord is asking of me to allow Him to transform my heart.
St Paul: “where sin increased, grace abounded all the more” Rom 5:20
He did not minimize the devastation caused by sin, he suffered it daily, but he resolved the more to give His all, trusting and proclaiming that Christ’s grace working in Him is stronger than all evil and will bear great fruit.
Actually, he saw the suffering as a blessing.
Our confidence is not in the world, that things are not too bad, or that we humans are going to somehow fix the problems. Our faith is in the love of Jesus crucified who lives in us as victims of love.
Are you going through a hard time? Are you concerned about the future? Don’t minimize the problem, but know and proclaim this:
Rom 8:35 “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?
Notice that these things DO separate most people from Christ… But Paul is proclaiming that Christ wants to give us the power to conquer and not be defeated. But we must be willing to embrace the cross.
St. Paul knew that remaining steadfast was only possible through the Cross.
Paul goes on to say: "For thy sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered." 37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am sure that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
ST. CLAUDE DE LA COLOMBIÈRE who said:
Really humble people are never scandalized: they know their own weakness too well; they know that they themselves are so close to the edge of the precipice and they are so afraid of falling over that they are not at all astonished to see others do so.
St. Claude, like Paul, knew his weakness and relied on the Lord.
Regarding the scandals in the Church, the focus for the remedy seems to be on more and better regulations, better accountability, a process of handling accusations, more transparency…. All this is good, but the core of the problem is a lack of new life in Christ. Where is the fire of Pentecost, of St Paul and the saints??
We always feel that we can fix things, bring them into control. At the heart of the problem is a crisis of faith.
The sexual abuse scandal exploded at the same time as the sexual revolution. Dissent against Church teaching was widespread —particularly on issues of sexual morality.
We are celebrating the 50th anniversary of Pope Paul VI’s encyclical Humanae Vitae which defended sexual morality against the contraceptive mentality.
He prophesied a “general lowering of moral standards”. It was met with widespread dissent.
Also about 50 years ago the Lord gave us the Chasimatic Renewal…. a grace to renew the Church and make us aware that we need the Holy Spirit.
JOSEPH RATZINGER: This is the question that arises over and over again, particularly in our hour of a new paganism and also of a new longing for God: Is the light of God, the light of Jesus Christ, hidden under the bushel of our habits, our indifference, under the flood of our words, so that beneath them the word can no longer shine forth? Or can it emerge and once again become light for all who live in God’s house, in his creation?
In the XVIIIth century, there was the Albigensian heresy, it was a reaction against the corruption and abuses of the clergy.
The Lord raised St. Dominic…
In the XVI century again the abuses and corruption of the clergy was a major cause for the protestant revolt called the Reformation.
The Lord raised St Ignatius….
We must respond and I believe that this is why the Lord has raised Love Crucified as a faithful remnant for these decisive times.
For some, the clarion called sounds exaggerated, but the Lord has told us that we are entering a time of great trials, that the devastation will be great, that the securities we are used to will not be there, a time of great upheaval… It has begun.
Revisit Fatima, children 6,8,9 of age.
She called us in a special way to be victim soul to raise up a holy army of priests.
The Lord told us through Lourdes Pinto:
Believe, my daughter, that the Mothers of the Cross will help raise up many of my fallen priests.
Suffer all with me, no longer two but one.
Today is St. Benedicta of the Cross, on pg 226 of the Path
The world is in flames. The conflagration can also reach our house. But high above all the flames tower the cross. They cannot consume it. It is the path from earth to heaven. It will lift one who embraces it in faith, love and hope into the bosom of the Trinity.
The world is in flames. Are you impelled to put them out? Look at the cross. From the open heart gushes the blood of the Savior. This extinguishes the flames of hell. Make your heart free by the faithful fulfillment of your vows; then the flood of divine love will be poured into your heart until it overflows and becomes fruitful to all the ends of the earth.
Do you hear the groans of the wounded on the battlefields in the west and the east? You are not a physician and not a nurse and cannot bind up the wounds. You are enclosed in a cell and cannot get to them.
Do you hear the anguish of the dying and would like to be a priest and comfort them?
Does the lament of the widows and orphans distress you and you would like to be an angel of mercy and help them?
Look at the Crucified. If you are nuptially bound to Him by the faithful observance of your vows, it is your precious blood that is being shed. Bound to Him, you are omnipresent as He is. You cannot help here and there like the physician, the nurse, the priest; but in the power of the Cross, you can be at all fronts, wherever there is grief. Your compassionate love—the love of the Divine Heart—takes you to every place where the Precious Blood is being poured, everywhere soothing, healing, saving.
The eyes of the Crucified look down on you asking, probing. Will you make your covenant with the Crucified anew in all seriousness? What will you answer Him?
Lord, where shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.
Collected Works of Edith Stein. III.2, Meditation on the feast of the Elevation on the Cross, 14 Sept. 1939.