Father John Zuhlsdorf - Lately there has been a sharp uptick in the media – even “Catholic” media – in open and cavalier dissent from the Church’s teaching and the authority of her duly ordained pastors. Much of it seems to revolve around the two poles of personal claims of self-determination and autonomy from anything outside one’s own skull or one’s groin.
Many who dissent from the Church’s teachings and authority simply don’t know any better. They were, perhaps, never taught or they were taught error. I tremble for those who are responsible for their ignorance.
Some dissenters know full well what they are refusing to accept. I worry that they are in peril of going to Hell. Tragically, they are dragging people into confusion with them and putting their souls in peril as well. Tragically, some of the Church’s pastors are watching it happen.
In so doing we make ourselves slaves of the world, the flesh and the devil and we could wind up in hell as a result.
It is a terrible thing to even think, much less say, but I suspect that in our O-so-sophisticated-age, this time of picking and choosing, not many people are actually going to their judgment in the friendship of God.
St. Teresa of Avila was granted a vision in which she saw souls falling into hell “like snowflakes”. If memory serves, the three children of Fatima were given the same vision with the same sight of falling souls so numerous that they were like a snowfall.
Many saints have said this in the past. Is the situation worse now? I don’t know. It might be, because the prevailing attitude today, at least in wealthy regions, seems to be autonomy and self-determination without regard for anything transcendent, even while what is truly transcendent is being replaced by concern for the environment, or chimeric personal “rights”, blah blah blah.
Give the way the dissolution of mores is accelerating and given the weakening of the bonds of society ad intra and ad extra regarding even the Church, I don’t know if we can reverse the trend anymore. Nevertheless, the one important challenge that has never changed for everyone through all ages remains. In accord with our state in life we must do our best to get to heaven. We have to do what small things we can for ourselves and loved ones and those immediately in our sphere. We simply must persevere.
The terrible alternative should be a point for daily reflection.
Christ, God, gave us the Catholic Church. It is the Church He founded. He gave us the sacraments as the ordinary means of salvation. He gave His own authority to the Church to teach about faith and morals. He gave us a visible point of reference for unity and security of knowledge for our membership in His Church: Peter and his successors and the apostles and their successors with Peter.
Knowingly reject the Church – and Peter – and the Church’s teaching and her discipline of Christ’s sacraments, and you place yourself on a path that might just land you in hell for eternity.
If nothing else from this rant gets through to readers, and this is especially my plea to priests and bishops, I beg you on my knees, I implore you: make it a habit to think about the Four Last Things at least once a day. We are all going to die. We must all go before our Judge to give an account of the gift of life and the graces we have been offered.
Nothing will change this vector we are on within the Church and throughout the world until Catholics engage in a serious renewal of our liturgical worship of Almighty God. And that might not work either, frankly. It may, however, save some souls who would otherwise be lost. That’s not nothing and it is worth our effort.
Originally posted at: Fr. Z’s Blog WDTPRS.com