Sunday, May 4, 2014

Despair Is A Tool Of The Devil

Patrick Archbold of Creative Minority Report recently did a blog post entitled, "Do You See What I See?" [HERE] in which he wrote of his anxiety and outright despair over what he sees as the current condition of the Catholic Church.  He started out with the usual "there has never been a bigger crisis in the Church than we currently face" approach:
Having been born in the 60s, I have no strong recollection, beyond some overheard conversations, of what it must have felt like to witness the tearing down of everything. It must have felt to many that all was ending and that God must surely act to defend His Church from the destruction.
Alas, it was not to be and the destruction continued, most people just cared less.
. . .
I also wondered why so many people, at that time, failed to see it for what it was. They smiled and called it the new springtime even as everything died around them. They called it opening the doors and letting fresh air into the Church, as everybody inside choked on the smoke of Satan. How did they not see what was happening?
I have often wondered what it must have felt like to live through that era. I wonder no more. In fact, I think that perhaps today's high speed death spiral may be worse in some ways. Having never been through it before and unable to see its logical end, many well meaning Catholics perhaps opened themselves up to the false optimism of that era.
Mr. Archbold then writes these statements filled with despair:
I have often pondered this question. Will I live long enough to see the Church fully transmogrified into syncretistic modernized mess it seems hellbent on becoming or will the Church be rescued by the Lord.

As I said, I have often wondered what it must have felt like. I don't wonder that anymore, I know now. The only thing I wonder now is when God will choose to act and rescue us, His Church, from us, His Church.
Such an attitude reminds me very much of those people in the Gospel accounts who surrounded Our Lord. Here was Jesus Christ telling them He was the Savior come to save the world. The people who followed Jesus witnessed miracle after miracle - sight restored to the blind, the deaf healed, the lame walking, demons cast out, dead raised to life - and yet, the disciples of Jesus were constantly doubting Him. This included those closest to Him. The Gospel of John relates the story of Lazarus, who had died, and his sisters, Mary and Martha, who felt that Jesus could have healed their brother, but Jesus delayed His coming to them and Lazarus died. The two sisters did not hesitate to show their disappointment in Jesus.

John 11:17-24:
17 On his arrival, Jesus found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb for four days. 18 Now Bethany was less than two miles from Jerusalem, 19 and many Jews had come to Martha and Mary to comfort them in the loss of their brother. 20 When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went out to meet him, but Mary stayed at home.
21 “Lord,” Martha said to Jesus, “if you had been here, my brother would not have died. 22 But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask.”
23 Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.”
24 Martha answered, “I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.”
Both Mary and Martha felt Jesus had really let them down. When Mary was told that Jesus was there, she ran to see Him, but the first words out of her mouth were, "Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died." (Verse 32)

Jesus Wept
The next verse tells us that when Jesus saw how mournful the people were, He was "deeply moved in spirit and troubled." (Verse 33). What troubled Jesus? Verse 35 is the shortest verse in the Bible, but it speaks volumes: "Jesus wept." Why? What moved Jesus to tears? He knew what He was about to do. He knew Lazarus would soon be walking among them again. Our Lord did not weep out of pity for Lazarus or for those who mourned him. Our Lord wept because of the unbelief of the people, as shown in His statement to Martha in verse 40:
Did I not tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?
Why did the people so quickly forget what Jesus had told them? They took their eyes off of Jesus and let their physical circumstances dictate their beliefs. The worst had happened - Lazarus had died - and Jesus had let them down by allowing it to happen. 

Another biblical story that I find very similar to the story of Lazarus is that of Mary Magdalene on Easter morning at the tomb. She had gone to the tomb of Jesus in order to finish anointing His Body. However, Jesus' Body was not in the tomb, and her first thought was that someone had stolen the body. Even though Jesus had said many times that He would rise from the dead, Mary was so overwhelmed by the shock of what had happened three days before and by her own grief at losing Jesus that she never gave a thought to Jesus' statements. As far as she was concerned, Jesus was dead and the dream was over. Even though Jesus stood right next to her in the garden, her unbelief was so profound that she did not recognize Him. I wonder how often we allow ourselves to be so overwhelmed by despair that, like Mary Magdalene, we cannot recognize Jesus even though He is right next to us.

Later that same day, Our Lord appeared to two disciples on the road to Emmaus.  These disciples were filled with grief and despair at the death of Jesus Christ. Jesus came right up to them and asked what they were talking about (Luke 24:17-18).
They stood still, their faces downcast. One of them, named Cleopas, asked him, “Are you the only one visiting Jerusalem who does not know the things that have happened there in these days?”
Again, like Mary Magdalene, these two disciples allowed themselves to be so overwhelmed with grief that they did not recognize Jesus Christ when He was literally standing in their midst and talking with them.

The disciples and Jesus on the road to Emmaus
Many look at the current condition of the Church and of the world, and despite their professed belief in Jesus Christ, they tend to despair, as expressed by Patrick Archbold.  We stand in the garden with Mary Magdalene with Jesus Christ right beside us and wail, "Where have they taken My Lord?"  We need to read and re-read the words of St. Paul, who suffered persecution and setbacks far beyond what we have experienced.  This is what he wrote:

Romans 8:5-6:
Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace.
Verse 15:
The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again.
Verses 31-32:
What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?
St. Paul is telling us that as long as we are in Christ, we can't lose.  The trick is to keep our eyes on heaven and not on things of the earth.  Patrick Archbold would do well, instead of wringing his hands in despair, to instead look to the words of Jesus Christ who said, "The gates of hell will never prevail against the Church."  (Matthew 16:18)  Our Lord promised never to leave us.  (Matthew 28:20)  He also sent the Third Person of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit, to guide and lead us into all truth.  (John 15:26).

We know every time we enter a Catholic Church that Jesus is in the tabernacle waiting for us. We know that His Blessed Mother is constantly interceding on our behalf. If she was willing to ask Her Son to save a wedding party when they ran out of wine, can we doubt for a moment that she is constantly asking her Divine Son to save our souls? All she asks of us is "Do whatever He tells you." And what does Jesus tell us? He commands us to trust Him and believe His Words.

Our Lord literally poured out His Life Blood for us, facing the worst cruelty of men so that we could be saved from sin and spend eternity with Him. His love for us is so big the universe itself cannot hold it. How can we insult Him by wondering, as Patrick Archbold did, "Will I live long enough to see the Church fully transmogrified into syncretistic modernized mess it seems hellbent on becoming or will the Church be rescued by the Lord." How can Patrick Archbold or anyone else look at Christ on the Cross and ask such a question?

Pope St. John Paul II once said,
“Do not abandon yourselves to despair. We are the Easter people and hallelujah is our song.”
St. John Paul II lived through the horror of World War II.  He saw death and destruction on a massive scale.  He himself came close to death many times.  And yet he told us never to despair but to always trust in the Lord.  Our despair will blind us to Christ and that could be deadly to our souls.  St. John Paul II wrote this prayer:
Jesus, I trust in You! With God nothing is impossible! What is especially possible is conversion, which can change hatred into love and war into peace. And so our prayer becomes all the more insistent and trusting: Jesus, I trust You!
Despair is actually a form of pride. Despair says to God, you're just not big enough. This storm that we are facing is too big for you to handle. The great sin of Judas was not his betrayal of Jesus Christ. St. Peter also betrayed Jesus and he went on to become the first pope. Peter owned up to what he did, received the great mercy and forgiveness of Jesus Christ, and became a great saint. Judas looked at what he did and gave into hopelessness. Who knows what great things Judas could have accomplished if he had not allowed despair to destroy him.

I have to say that I find most Catholic blogs and websites to be extremely depressing. Instead of spreading the good news of salvation through Jesus Christ, we are mostly given the news about the great sins of the church and how it is all pretty much hopeless. We act as if this was the first time in Church history that we have ever had to contend with sinful human beings. If Our Lord had wanted the church to be run by perfect beings, He could have put angels in charge. We would never have to worry about any sex abuse scandals or wayward priests or bishops. Angels would always have the courage and wherewithal to stand up for the truth, never flinching, never backing down. They would always do and say the right thing.

Instead, Our Lord gave us weak sinful men and said, listen to them and do what they tell you to do. Further, Jesus tells us that He takes very personally the way in which these men are treated:
Very truly I tell you, whoever accepts anyone I send accepts me; and whoever accepts me accepts the one who sent me. (John 13:20)
And:
Whoever listens to you listens to me; whoever rejects you rejects me; but whoever rejects me rejects him who sent me (Luke 10:16)
We all have our own ideas of how the Church should be run. When things don't meet our expectations and demands, we whine and complain and, like Chicken Little, declare that the sky is falling, even though Jesus promised such a thing will never happen in the Church.

The next time you feel compelled to sit in judgment of those who have been put in authority in the church, remember that Jesus Christ says you are sitting in judgment of Him. Oh, I know all of the arguments that we have a right and even a duty to criticize our prelates. But this should be done only after deep, prayerful consideration and learning as much as we can about any situation, and not just believing every word we read on some website or blog. It should also be done in charity and with great regard for the soul of the person we are criticizing and if at all possible, it should be done in private. The devil is a cunning foe, and he knows just how to ensnare us. The enemy feeds on negativity, and anytime we give in to and act on negative thoughts, we are giving into Satan himself.

Patrick Archbold concluded his post with the following comment:
**Note. If you don't sympathize or understand this post, that's fine. Just let it go please. Anyone who chooses to use the comment box to mock me and my fellow travellers will be deleted and likely banned. So again, just let it go please.
I am certainly not trying to mock Archbold or anyone else.  But I have to say that I do get very tired of all those who see nothing but negativity and destruction in the Church.  This is the Church founded by Jesus Christ, who is the Chief Cornerstone.  This Church is guided by the Holy Spirit.  The gates of hell have certainly stormed the church over and over again down through the centuries, but have never once prevailed.  The Church is indestructible.  Never believe anyone who tries to tell you differently.  As I John 4:4 tells us, He who is in you is stronger than he who is in the world.

Patrick Archbold says that he cannot understand those who persist in optimism at this time in church history.  I think the optimists are the only people we should be listening to.  That is not to say that we should not acknowledge and admit our problems and the challenges facing us.  But we should never let that govern our actions or thoughts.  Our two most recently canonized saints - Popes St. John XXIII and John Paul II - were always optimistic and based their papacies on this optimism and faith in Jesus Christ.  We need to listen to them.

In the 1960's Leslie Gore sang, "It's my party and I'll cry if I want to."  Well, this is NOT your party and if you want to cry, you are going to find yourself on the outside.  Despair will often knock on our doors and demand to be let in. We need to immediately take that to our Lord and ask Him to cast it out of our hearts.  There is no room for despair in the life of a follower of Jesus Christ.

This is from one of the greatest optimists in Church history:
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (St. Paul to the Romans, chapter 8:37-39) 


23 comments:

  1. This is a key statement from Archbold: "The only thing I wonder now is when [not if] God will choose to act and rescue us, His Church, from us, His Church."

    If waiting on the Lord and praying for His glory, and for the salvation of souls from error and sin, is despair, then sign me up!

    As usual, the problem is not your exegesis, but your zealous onesidedness. I can only assume that you take this pope's condemnation of saccharine triumphalism with a grain of salt.

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    1. Elliot, you even fight me when I say we need to trust the statements of Jesus Christ. You seem to want to be negative. Like the examples I gave of those who gave into their despair, you are missing the glory of Jesus Christ.

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  2. Catholic in Brooklyn, you have characterized others as being in "despair": I don't agree with your assessment of those that you cite.

    Concern does not equal despair or distrust. "Optimism" is not a Christian virtue: hope is.

    As God is truth, at some point we are going to have to acknowledge the truth: all indicators of Catholic life have been dropping like a stone in recent decades. It is time to admit that we have been making some mistakes.

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    1. Just how is trying to point people to Christ equivalent to not caring about their souls? I guess you would have to say St. Paul and St Pope John Paul II didn't care about souls either.

      When St. Peter was walking on water, he was doing fine as long as he concentrated on Jesus Christ. The moment he took his eyes off of Christ and looked at the water, he began to sink. Patrick Archbold is looking at the water and encouraging others to do the same. That is not going to save any souls.

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  3. Oh yes, my expectation that God WILL rescue the Church from this current crisis is despair? How silly. Unless you are fatalistic and completely indifferent to the souls lost during times like these, concern is the Christian response. That the Church will prevail is undoubted, but should we not care about all the souls lost along the way?

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    1. Do you think that giving into despair is the answer? Your post made it seem like Our Lord has completely abandoned us, that the devil is now in charge, and that the only response is to clean house, to save the Church from itself. Can you dispute any of the specific points that I have made? My point in this is that we should not look only at the physical circumstances around us, that we need to realize that Our Lord is always in charge. When Mary Magdalene and the other apostles were convinced that all was lost, that was actually the time when Christ had won the victory. But because they concentrated on the physical instead of believing what Christ had said, they did not even recognize Our Lord when he was actually standing right in front of of them.

      Your post takes people's eyes off of Jesus and puts it on our physical surroundings. That is a sure receipe for disaster. If you want to save souls, as we all do, then point people to our Savior and not to those who are fighting against Him and His Church. Tell people the glorious truth of the Gospel. Take a lesson from our newly canonized saints.

      Concentrating on the negative as you have done only drives people away from the Church and Jesus Christ.

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    2. "Your post made it seem [to whom?] like Our Lord has completely abandoned us [<-- False. You're relying on the same cheap, faulty reading as I noted above.], that the devil is now in charge [<-- wow, how does it feel to jump the shark?], and that the only response is to clean house, to save the Church from itself [or, uhhh, rather, to save it from human shepherds who scatter and do not feed... or is that aspect of Scripture now verboten?]. ...

      "My point in this is that we should not look only at the physical circumstances around us, that we need to realize that Our Lord is always in charge. [Good, because that's exactly Archbold's point: we mustn't take the current idiocy and theological philistinism as an absolute norm, but must wait on the Lord to see when He shall restore His own House.] ...

      "When Mary Magdalene and the other apostles were convinced that all was lost [again, not at all Archbold's assertion], that was actually the time when Christ had won the victory. [Yes, but it is madness to deny that Lazarus--if we accept your metaphor of him as the visible Church--is in fact dead. Jesus wept because he was faced with *the reality* of human death. Would you actually claim that, despite numerous accounts from saints and ecstatics, that He does not similarly weep for the death we see around us in the human dimension of the Church? Weeping over the obvious signs of the Church's human morbidity does not, by any means, denigrate the Lord's victory. If anything, your saccharine handwaving and ultramontane whitewashing is akin to Lazarus's siblings blocking the Lord from acting until the corpse was even more odious. #hurtingByHelping] ...

      "Your post takes people's eyes off of Jesus and puts it on our physical surroundings. [False. If anything, his post was another handy pretext for you to compose more maternalistic handwaving.] ... If you want to save souls, as we all do, then point people to our Savior [as he did in the quotation I cited above!] and not to those who are fighting against Him and His Church. [Stop the presses! Did you just admit that there are actually hostile elements within the visible Church which are wreaking havoc? Careful: you almost sound like a trad again!]"

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    3. Is Archbold paying you? It not, he should be. Elliot, if you really hate me and what I write, why do you keep coming back?

      You're ranting, Elliot, and it does not become you.

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    4. Brooklyn
      Your premise and all your subsequent arguments which depend upon it are faulty. Eliot does a good job pointing out why. I think your attempts at reading my mind are silly.

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    5. I did not attempt to "read your mind." I quoted from your post. One thing I did not bring up but will point out now is how you dismissed the words of one of our newly canonized saints, St. Pope John XXII. You wrote, "I also wondered why so many people, at that time, failed to see it for what it was. They smiled and called it the new springtime even as everything died around them. They called it opening the doors and letting fresh air into the Church, as everybody inside choked on the smoke of Satan. How did they not see what was happening?"

      That was an indirect swipe at St. John XXIII who famously said, "Throw open the windows of the Church and let the fresh air of the Spirit blow through."

      And may I say that it was also a "cheap shot" on your part to take a swipe at a saint without even quoting him.

      Your post is just one long opinion piece. It gives only your point of view, which is that basically the Church is lost. How else do you explain this statement:

      "When will others see it and will it be too late?"

      Then you write this:

      "As a blogger, I pray and ask for guidance. Lord, should I just pack it in and just focus on getting my family through this time. Or, should I be shouting the obvious from the rooftops, even though I know I will continue to be ignored and vilified. I don't know, I guess I will keep praying."

      I give you credit for saying you will keep praying. But to actually ask aloud if you should "pack it in"? You are the apostles hiding away in the upper room afraid to face the world. That statement says you are basically giving up on Jesus Christ, that you don't feel He can take care of His own church which He promised never to abandon. You are Mary Magdalene in the the garden with Christ right beside her saying "Where have they taken my Lord?" And please notice that the examples I used were not enemies of the Church. They were people who believed in our Lord but had taken their eyes off of Him and because of that had lost hope.

      Your post expresses hopelessness. Your statement, "The only thing I wonder now is when God will choose to act and rescue us, His Church, from us, His Church" is hardly positive. That statement says that God is allowing the Church to self destruct. Yes, you say "when" not "if"' but it still says that God is NOT acting now and you don't know when He will. How is that statement helpful to anyone? How does that give anyone hope in the promises of Christ?

      That is why I tried to counter with my post. Unlike you, I quoted scripture and the saints. I did not rely on my own reasoning and vision. We are in very difficult times. The world is enveloped in evil and many, many in the Church have been infected with this evil. But I believe as St. John wrote in I John 4:4 "He that is in you is stronger than He who is in the world."

      I don't wonder WHEN Christ will act. He has never stopped acting. He has never stopped being the Head of the Mystical Body. I don't let the circumstances around me dictate what I feel. I don't let the dead body of Lazarus make me say, "But he would not have died if you had been here." As St. John Paul II said, "“Do not abandon yourselves to despair. We are the Easter people and hallelujah is our song.”

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  4. I'm not fighting. I'm calling out what I think is a cheap shot. Archbold made a legitimate point, in a balanced way, but you chose to put him under the microscope as, for all intents and purposes, an accomplice to the work of the devil. Straw man, much?

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    1. If you are going to argue against me, I think that the least you can do is make specific points. Otherwise you are the one taking the cheap shots. Just saying "You're wrong" does not accomplish anything.

      I backed up everything i wrote with scripture and quotes from the saints. Nothing cheap in that.

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  5. As I granted in my first comment, nothing is wrong with your exegesis; it's your aim that is off. Just admit it: the only thing you'll allow yourself to admit is "wrong with the Church" is folks like myself. ;)

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  6. It says more about you than you may ever realize that you assume that defending a fellow Catholic from a strawman attack entails that I'm being paid to do so.

    But, to answer your "question," no, I am not on the staff of any well known Catholic apologetics organization. (chuckle)

    It's just as unseemly that you try to derail this discussion with the emotive tar brush that I'm "ranting". (Sorry to disappoint, but I don't raise my pinky when I drink tea, either.) Poisoning the well is easy. Watch:

    Who's paying you to rant about Voris? If you hate him so much, why do you keep following him?

    Oh, wait: having a vested interest in the life of fellow Catholics is not a crime--though, to hear you tell it, daring to express such an interest is. Your post was simply off the mark and now you're just trying to defend your ever shrinking logical crawlspace.

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    1. Elliot I mean this in all seriousness. I appreciate that you keep coming back and challenging me. You and I are actually on the same side - that of the Catholic Church. We are coming at it from different points of view. Unfortunately, you seem intent on attacking me instead of actually hashing out ideas. It keeps me humble, and I can always use that. But please try to realize that ad hominem attacks really don't accomplish much.

      Believe it or not, I really do mean the things that I write. They are coming straight from my heart. I hope you can understand that. I am not trying to one-up anyone or attack anyone just for the sake of doing so. When I challenge the things I hear or read from other Catholics, I am basically sharing my thought process with anyone else who may be interested. And it actually helps to have someone like you come along and challenge me.

      I also wish you could look at what I write in a more objective manner and see what I am trying to say. My belief is that Jesus Christ is in charge no matter what physical circumstances might say, and the Catholic Church is His Mystical Body sent into the world to save souls. The Church is the lifeboat to the world, and we need to do everything we can to support her.

      I believe we are at a very critical time both in Church history and world history. I truly don't believe there has ever been more evil in the world than there is in this 21st Century, and I don't think there has ever been a more critical need for the salvation that Our Lord gives to the world through His Church. The devil wants to do whatever he can to derail the Church, and he knows just how to play the game. We need to listen first and foremost to Holy Mother Church. Unfortunately, far too many Catholics feel they know better than those who have been put in charge of our souls, and instead of working with our bishops and priests (and Holy Father), we are fighting them. That is what I am speaking against, or at least trying to.

      I keep listening to Voris and challenging what he says because I know so many people who hang on his every word, and I believe it is damaging them spiritually. Voris is extremely dangerous. He can sound so Catholic, but in reality he is at war with the Catholic Church. How else to explain his constant call for the resignation of priests and bishops, his constant condemnation of Church hierarchy, the way in which he twists and distorts.

      I'll let it go at that. If you really believe that I am off the rails and completely at odds with the teaching of the Church, I would ask that you pray for me. Also, just for the sake of discussion and clarity, try to keep the ad hominem attacks at a minimum if possible.

      BTW, I really didn't think you were being paid by Archbold. It was my (apparently lame) attempt at humor.

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    2. Voris is against attacking the Pope & can articulate rationally & coherently why it is so very wrong. Say what you will about his other failings but that is his great virtue. Which is ironic because what would he think of a blog which is largely Pope Francis bashing central?

      Now I am not going to name names but I think we all know who I am talking about....*cough* Elliot *cough".:-)

      I am so going to Purgatory.;-)

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  7. I know that you're being sincere. Which is why I find it so irritating that you assume that I am not. As I have tried to explain, I have no problems with the "content" of your post, but simply with the pretext for it. Ergo, I'm not interested in hashing out the ideas; they are rather uncontroversial in and of themselves. My beef is that they simply do not pertain the substance of Archbold's post. IOW, there's no "there" there.

    Lastly, I find most people's invocation of the "ad hominem" objection pretty hazy. Could you cite specific examples I committed? And are you aware that there is a legitimate rhetorical usage of "ad hominem"? As I've explained before, I grieve that I come across as a jerk at times, but also know that my writing voice is what it is, and that I prefer lucid brevity to obfuscatory verbosity (<-- see what I did there?). ;)

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    1. In regard to Archbold's post, look at my direct response to him in the comments above. As I pointed out, he wondered if he should "pack it in". He took the arrogant position that it is too late for others to see what he can so plainly see, and that of course is the "false optimism" that church leaders talk about, including our newly canonized saints and your personal favorite, Pope Francis. Archbold deftly avoids naming names, but it doesn't take a genius to know what he is talking about. There is a whole lot of "there" there. Archbold has recently written another post declaring he will not leave the church no matter what. Where does that kind of thinking come from? It comes directly from his faulty thinking and taking his eyes off of Jesus Christ. It comes from arrogantly thinking that he knows what is best for the Church over and above Church leadership, a huge problem that I see on far too many Catholic blogs and websites.

      Elliot, you say my exegesis is correct, and yet you attack what I have written. You are most obviously in agreement with Archbold that the "smoke of Satan" has entered the Church. Yes, that is what Blessed Pope Paul VI said, but like most others in your camp, you point at the leadership of the Church, and again, most specifically at Pope Francis as being responsible. However, this is not what Pope Paul VI was talking about. In fact, he was actually speaking about the mindset of people like Pat Archbold.

      There is no transcript of the actual sermon by Pope Paul VI. Jimmy Akin provided a translation of what has been preserved in the Vatican archives. Akin's article is at http://jimmyakin.typepad.com/defensor_fidei/2006/11/the_smoke_of_sa.html

      "Referring to the situation of the Church today, the Holy Father affirms that he has a sense that “from some fissure the smoke of Satan has entered the temple of God.” There is doubt, incertitude, problematic, disquiet, dissatisfaction, confrontation. There is no longer trust of the Church; they trust the first profane prophet who speaks in some journal or some social movement, and they run after him and ask him if he has the formula of true life. And we are not alert to the fact that we are already the owners and masters of the formula of true life. Doubt has entered our consciences, and it entered by windows that should have been open to the light."

      That is my whole point. Too many have taken their eyes off of Our Lord and they are drowning in their own despair. Archbold's post reeked of despair. I quoted directly from his post. How can that be a straw man argument?

      My point is that when we are in the midst of a storm or even just feel like we are, that is the time to look at Jesus Christ and realize that He is always there. But we cannot see Jesus Christ if we give into despair. You show me one clear statement from Archbold's post that comes even close to saying that. I have already answered the "if" and "when" argument, and there really is no other statement in his post that comes even close to being positive.

      As far as your ad hominem attacks, it isn't so much what you say but how you say it. One statement you wrote, "I can only assume that you take this pope's condemnation of saccharine triumphalism with a grain of salt" is a prime example. It is condescending and adds absolutely nothing to the argument.

      Our real argument, Elliot, is profound disagreement as to the leadership of the Church. You will attack me or anyone else who supports the current leadership of the Church. It doesn't matter what arguments we make, even quoting scripture and the saints. I strongly suggest you meditate and pray on John 13:20 and Luke 10:16.

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  8. I believe there is a lot of semantics going on with the word hope and the word optimism. None of which really seems to serve to any benefit for this discussion.
    I believe Catholic in Brooklyn's point is that if we have faith in the Lord and are strong in His promise, then we at the same time should recognizes that nothing can bad can happen to us. Even if the worse possible happenstance were to occur, it is not bad, because Christ is King of our lives and we trust in Him. In many real ways, despair voices a lack of that trust in God's plan.
    Is our Church what it should be? Of course not. If we examine Church history we can see an ebb and flow in this. Overall, I believe it is most likely the Church has never been what it should be, because the Body of Christ has always been made up of imperfect human beings.
    The question that seems to be most important to me is this: Can we be faithful to Christ through the Church that he founded with His own hand, even though it is imperfect? I believe what make this question so important is the fact that Christ is in fact faithful to each one of us individually, even though we individually are imperfect.

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    1. Thank you for this. I believe that St. Padre Pio summed it up very well: "Pray, hope and don't worry."

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  9. I have three autistic kids. A wife who looks at least 15 years older then she actually is slowly being destroyed by the pressure & tragedy of our situation. Then there are the spiritual attacks and the financial attacks.

    Despair and I are old drinking buddies (mind you I drink Root Beer). Forget about not trusting the Pope ya bloody amateurs. What do you do when you are tempted to believe God isn’t there to give a crap about you? What do you do when you fear death and fear going into the night like you never feared it before?

    This is what I live with every day of my life. It sucks to be me. But most likely is sucks to be anyone else only in different ways.

    Still it’s not all bad. I can refute logically any "argument from evil” against the existence of God by pulling out my copy of Brian Davies and going to town on any Atheist creep who thinks Stephen Law has a brilliant argument. Philosophy & Thomism have been a great comfort to me in subtle ways. Intellectually I have hope & in my will I want to choose to have hope and if I don’t feel hopeful at any given moment well. Who gives a flying fart about mere feelings?

    I don’t feel the great religious fervor or comfort I used to feel in my youth. Life has gotten too dark for that. But I want to believe maybe that isn’t so bad? St Gregory of Nyssa said Moses first saw God in the light of the burning bush but over time Moses saw God in the Darkness.

    I think I feel good about that.

    Cheers.

    It sucks but don’t give up.

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    Replies
    1. I can't even begin to reply to this. You have know great suffering up close and personal, and all I can say is that I will pray that our Lord comforts and protects you and your family. I hope this doesn't sound trite, but please ask our Blessed Mother, whose suffering was only surpassed by Her Son, to take you into her loving arms and pour her love on you and your family.

      God bless you.

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    2. Maria Regina Mater Dei!

      Miriam HaKodessa pray for us!

      Thanks bro.

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