Category Archives: Catechism

Discerning Private Revelation – New and Old

Standard

Those of you who have followed me in the past know that I am very interested in Catholic Prophecy.   It is fascinating to read some of the prophetic messages of past Saints, Marian Apparitions, and the like.    You will also know that I have a somewhat bi-polar relationship with prophecy.   I fully and embrace the reality of prophecy and prophetic messages, but am also pretty skeptical by nature.

In the past I have noted what I believe to be one of the seminal works on the subject, “Trial, Tribulation, and Triumph” by Desmond A. Birch.    The reason I am as fond as I am about this work is that he takes my own preferred approach to the subject.   There is not whimsical adherence to random prophetic utterances.   Instead, he starts with key statements about what private revelation is, rooted in the Catechism.   He then lays the groundwork for what he decided to consider in presenting different statements or writings:   if a Church approved apparition, or if the statement came from a venerable, blessed, or Saint then these statements carry more weight and are the focus of the book.

There is no statement for or against anyone else using this approach, but it is the safest approach to take.

Interestingly, and not surprisingly, there are many common themes that run throughout the book, and across the words of many Saints of many different times.    One might wonder if the writings are really their own revelations or if they were simply instructional teachings, learned from others.   I think it’s a fair question, but for the most part I believe the statements were from personal and private revelations of one type or another.

Perhaps more surprisingly (or not to some) is that there are many degrees of variations provided in prophetic messages that aren’t always easily reconciled.    And this is where things get murky.    First of all, Private Revelation can never rise to the level of Public Revelation.   There is no guarantee of protection from error on any number of fronts:   Did the seer hear or see something incorrectly?   Did the seer misinterpret what they saw?   Did the seer repeat the message properly?    Is there possible translation error into other languages, either explicitly or in a contextual sense?   Was the prophecy conditional (meaning the outcome has since changed based on our response to God’s warning embedded in a message?)      And, there is always the possibility that the person simply did not receive a real message of divine origin at all, or conflated a real message with some confabulation or other assumptions made.

Because of this, we need to both take seriously the prophetic, but also be very careful and discerning.

In the past, I’ve openly mused about Medjugorje.   I have never understood why it would be necessary for messages to be given/received over and over and over with very little differentiation in the message from day to day, week to week…   Having said that, I simply don’t know, and one can’t deny the stories about experiences at Medjugorje.    I’m completely open and uncommitted on that.    It simply doesn’t make sense to me, but I also know I’m a simple man and God doesn’t always make “sense” to me.   So I choose to await the Church on this one.

There are numerous other cases around the world of interest.   I am generally both interested, but skeptical, of most of them.    I choose not to spend too much of my time on them.

Every now and then you start to hear a lot about this person or that person.   Usually, in my opinion, as you look more closely at them you can’t help but be somewhat disappointed, at least in regards to the reliability of the people and their messages.    I don’t want to judge, but part of me thinks that some people receive very strong feelings or promptings that lead them to develop a message that seems divine or prophetic.   Perhaps it even is.   My sense is people have to guard against an almost addictive desire for this to continue, and move from a valid (or at least not invalid) experience to something they are forcing.   I think many of those who “receive messages” are really not, but honestly think they are.   The problem with this is that their overall message may be edifying, but the extraneous content – the more predictive elements – is nothing more than their own conjecture.

There was a series of messages that could be followed from a site called “Words From Jesus” some time ago.    It started off as somewhat intriguing, but as I checked in and tracked the messages and followed them, I personally felt strongly that this was not authentic.   Again, it was a case of message after message with not dissimilar warnings of a general nature, which may well have been something authentic.   But any time the visionary ventured into specifics about upcoming events or outcomes, or even some specific prophecies of the Pope, they never really happened.    One must be willing to walk away from something and not get too involved to the point that you can’t recognize error, whether in teaching or in more specific prophecy.   You can’t get too emotionally involved or you risk being misled.   Focus on the message and the character of the person and the rest wil take care of itself.

Another more pronounced example is a supposed seer in Brazil, named Pedro Regis.   A big deal was made some time ago because he accurately predicted some devastating circumstance in this place or that place.  It was compelling to me until I studied him further.    I went back to the beginning of his documented messages, and interestingly I found that his early messages were all very vague and unspecific.   There was very little actual “prophecy” in terms of forecasting future events.   As time went on, there seemed to me to be a distinct shift in message to more of a constant declaration of some bad thing happening somewhere at some point.    The issue I have is that he’s bound to get some right, and people made a big deal out of it when he did, but there are endless messages regarding different regions or countries or cities that nothing of the sort has happened.    Now, there’s usually not timeline, so I suppose it could all come to pass, but the next question is “what’s the point?”    OK, on a daily basis we’re told that some specific area of the world is going to suffer catastrophe.    Theoretically, I suppose it could all happen at the same time.   So why not just say “look, you’re all hosed unless you pray more.”

Now, again, I admit to being simple.   God has a plan.    He may be trying to reach others and this may all make perfect sense in the spiritual realm and doing what it’s supposed to do.   I have no authority whatever in making a judgment of authenticity one way or another.   I have my opinions, and will always state that opinion with the caveat that I will accept the truth whether that comes as a judgment from the Church or God someday whacking me upside the head and saying “How could you not figure out that good ol’ Pedro was my servant?”   I will have no good reply other than I’m human and thick-headed.

To end this post, I’ll start with this:   Be careful out there.   Take it slow, don’t get caught up in a single message or “direct hit,” but take your time to read up on anyone you might start to get interested in following (I use that term a bit loosely – I mean “follow” in the sense of keeping tabs on or learning more about, or even getting to know.   But never follow someone to the detriment of following Christ and His Church).

Now, having said all that, I plan on presenting my thoughts on a man named Charlie Johnston in some upcoming posts.    I have taken a number of months to read over his entire blog history, and try to figure out what he’s saying, where he’s coming from, and whether anything he says makes me uncomfortable in the context of Public Revelation, the Catechism, and what I would consider to be the more authentic messages of the Saints.   I can’t promise when I’ll be able to present my thoughts, but I’ll start putting those together.

Advertisements

Step 3 in the Re-definition of Marriage

Standard

As a quick recap for a couple previous posts, in my opinion (and the opinion of many others) the whole marriage debate has a lot of nuance to it, and the sudden realization that marriage has been re-defined carries with it no shortage of fault and blame going back centuries.    I won’t re-hash that detail, but it is important to remember the following points:

1) Marriage never has been universally defined.   Ages of people and cultures have viewed it, its purpose(s), and its structure differently.   Never has it meant same-sex relationships, though, to my knowledge.   But the historical nature of it has not been, and is not, universal.

2) The above point is not an argument that there should not be a universal definition.   Just as Jesus started the spread of the Gospel in a small area with a small group of people, there is some providential design that is apparently very important in the way Christian teachings are to take root in the world.   God wants us to live in a certain way and believe certain things, but He didn’t make that happen by zapping everyone in the world with a magical laser beam of perfect knowledge.   The Church was to grow over centuries and millennia and reach people at the designated time.

3) As with all things Christian, the true nature of marriage was revealed slowly and steadily throughout the world.   The lack of uniformity is not, and cannot be, an argument that there should not be uniformity.   And so the true nature of marriage became more understood and accepted and adopted not just in a religious sense, but in a secular and civil sense.  This truth largely prevailed, and even further, was recognized as a necessary base for a strong society and nation.

4) Some would say that marriage started to be redefined when governments (often backed by the churches) got involved.   This is not really correct.   It may have changed the way governments decided to view married people or treat married people.   It may have added conditions to the marriage arrangement that would later set in motion the redefinition of it, but none of these things fundamentally changed what marriage actually was, or what its purpose was.

5) Luther cracked the nut when he declared that marriage was not a Sacrament, which meant it was not covenental in nature.   It was a vow or promise, but between people.    When we talk about “redefinition,” we are now talking about this relative to the Christian ideal.

6) The next post was a review of how divorce moved from a rare and generally unacceptable thing to a very prevalent and acceptable thing.   The very idea that this is even possible stems from a belief that there is not a true, very real, singular unity of the spouses that cannot be broken.   This took a long time to take hold as a belief, but once it did it spread very quickly.

The fundamental purpose of marriage is not to have a companion for life.   The foundational purposes are to (a) unite with someone who can help you get to heaven, (b) have children, (c) raise children with the primary idea that you want them to get to heaven.

That, of course, is entirely simplistic, and it says nothing of all the things that go into actually having a “good” marriage.   There’s all sorts of love and sacrifice and struggle that goes into all that, but those are not what marriage actually is.  It’s what it should look like to the outside world.   What it actually is is more real at the spiritual level, and invisible to us all.   We don’t see a physical contraption binding husband and wife, nor do we see the Sacramental graces that come from God in the marriage arrangement.

OK, so that recap is nearly an entire post’s worth of words.   Sorry.

But now I move on to an issue that generally is a hard sell to people who really really really don’t like the implications of re-thinking what it would mean to change how they view it.   Wait for it…   wait…   almost there…

Contraception.

There.  I said it.

It shouldn’t be anything new.   After all, Pope Paul VI wrote Humanae Vitae at a time when boatloads of theologians and clergy alike all thought he was going to give the green light to the use of contraception.    He pretty much pulled the rug out from underneath them.

I am not going to re-write that document or St. John Paul II’s Theology of the Body here.   There’s a wealth of information for all who have the desire to be honest with themselves about really learning and understanding the Church’s teachings on the issue.    All I’ll say here is the top line summary:   Contraception is considered an intrinsic evil (yes, these words from the Catechism nearly instantaneously caused my own conversion on this issue after never receiving appropriate catechesis prior to marriage).  Why?   Boiling thousands of pages of detail into one sentence: The sexual act in marriage is about bringing life into the world through the act of love between man and woman that is our human and physical mirror image of the love between Jesus and His Father that gives us the Holy Spirit.   (It’s kind of a run-on sentence, but once I typed “into one sentence” I was pigeonholed.)   I admit, that comparison can seem quite odd, and even a bit disturbing if not viewed in its fullness of meaning, which is why I encourage much deeper study on it.

If this purpose of the marital act can be relaxed into one of pure pleasure without the life-giving nature of it, then it takes one of the foundational pillars of the purpose of marriage away and once again redefines it.   Yes, I know that these relations can still be an act of love, and a joining of two people, and all the good things that can come from that.   It’s not that every intimate embrace using contraception is entirely selfish.   But it almost always has at least some element of selfishness to it, and in many cases it really is just all about the pleasure of the act without the potential rewards of it. (I always hear “ramifications” as if begetting a child is like the aftermath of pressing the nuclear button.   I prefer “reward” when speaking about a new life coming into the world.)   And even removing the purity of motive, there is still the plain, old, legalistic, can’t-get-around-the-fact, aspect of using contraception that takes away the procreative aspect of sex.   Even if only intended to be a temporary measure for this reason or for that reason, you’ve removed the life-giving element of the act, which means you are no longer emulating the life-giving love between Jesus and the Father, which in turn means that act is no longer a human reflection of the Family that is the Trinity.    The longer one uses contraception, the more reasons one uses it for, and the fewer kids you decide is “right for you” because of it, the further away from the procreative foundation of marriage we get.

All the Christian religions universally agreed on the importance of this aspect of marriage until the Lamberth Conference in 1930.   The Church of England cracked open the door.   The Federal Council of Churches followed in 1931.   These initial allowances were conservative in nature – only when abstinence was deemed impractical for limited reasons.    But by 1961, nearly all Protestant religions followed suit, and many relaxed the standards, and the National Council of Churches finally declared that the only requirement was mutual consent of the couple.

The slippery slope is always an amazing thing to see historically.   And yet, every time someone proposes some relaxation of standards on just about any issue, they always seem to dismiss the future implications and the slippery slope argument.

From a social standpoint, the Federal ban on birth control in the US was lifted in 1938.   In 1965, states were no longer allowed to make their own decision on the matter.   The Supreme Court determined that contraceptive use is a Constitutional Right between married couples.    In 1972 the Supreme Court extended the right to unmarried couples.

The current prevalence of contraception, and its presentation as a good thing for women and “reproductive rights” has led to a world where numerous “Christian” nations are not even replacing themselves.  The sexual act is no longer reserved for marriage and comes (seemingly) without consequence.   The sexual act, primarily, is self-serving even within marriage.

Combine divorce and contraception, and you get a non-permanent arrangement where sexual gratification is one of the primary purposes of your maybe-lifetime-maybe-not relationship.   How many people call it quits when they are “no longer compatible sexually” or “that passion isn’t there anymore?”   How many don’t bother to get married in the first place?

This all needed to happen to get us to where we are today.   The Catholic Church stands alone, once again, in preserving the complete sanctity of what marriage is.    Unfortunately, an alarmingly high percentage of Catholics have decided that they do not need to follow Church teachings on this particular matter.   So, while the Church isn’t devaluing marriage in general, they are devaluing their own marriage, and likely passing that attitude on to their children and others.   I can empathize.   Many of those people simply do not know any better.   I thank God for revealing the truth to my wife and I after a few years of marriage before we did anything stupid and permanent, and I thank God for the grace to accept the truth.   It isn’t always easy.   Doubtless we would not have 9 children right now had we continued along our previously merry, but darkened, path.   We would have decided wrongly that 3 kids or so was the “right” number for us.

I digress a bit from the main point, but I don’t think we can understate what this has done to the mindset of marriage and relationship.   This, more than anything, has entrenched the idea that marriage is really about sexual companionship that has been given an official stamp of approval from someone or some institution that makes everything you do from here on out OK.

There are a couple more things that have assisted in re-defining marriage, though they are not, strictly speaking, a foundational thing.   By themselves, they wouldn’t be absolutely critical.   Combined with these foundational things, they acted to move things along, or were contributory elements in accepting some of the more fundamental changes.  I plan on posting about those as well.   May as well upset everyone while I’m at it.

Prophecy From a Catholic Perspective (42) – The Communion of Saints

Standard

Continuing through the Catechism of the Catholic Church as it relates to prophecy:

954 The three states of the Church. “When the Lord comes in glory, and all his angels with him, death will be no more and all things will be subject to him. But at the present time some of his disciples are pilgrims on earth. Others have died and are being purified, while still others are in glory, contemplating ‘in full light, God himself triune and one, exactly as he is”‘: All of us, however, in varying degrees and in different ways share in the same charity towards God and our neighbours, and we all sing the one hymn of glory to our God. All, indeed, who are of Christ and who have his Spirit form one Church and in Christ cleave together.

957 Communion with the saints. “It is not merely by the title of example that we cherish the memory of those in heaven; we seek, rather, that by this devotion to the exercise of fraternal charity the union of the whole Church in the Spirit may be strengthened. Exactly as Christian communion among our fellow pilgrims brings us closer to Christ, so our communion with the saints joins us to Christ, from whom as from its fountain and head issues all grace, and the life of the People of God itself”:
We worship Christ as God’s Son; we love the martyrs as the Lord’s disciples and imitators, and rightly so because of their matchless devotion towards their king and master. May we also be their companions and fellow disciples!

We believe that, in Christ , and in communion through Him we have an eternal relationship with one another. Not just those we personally know, but all those who live, have lived, and will live in the Christian faith. Those who, through their own choices and actions, are condemned have separated themselves not just from God but from all Christians.

The Communion of Saints is actually an important aspect of prophecy. This is true for a few reasons. First of all, there is a distinct allusion to the communion of saints and the martyrs in the book of Revelation as it relates to their pleadings for the justice of God. There is also a distinct tie-in to the timing of God’s final judgment to the number of martyrs and elect. This question will be explored further at a later time.

The communion of Saints is alluded to in ways that make the prophecies more understandable in that the Church is seen not just as a structure and a hierarchy, but as the mystical body of Christ formed by all believers. Further, when Christ says that He is the vine and we are the branches, we do not wither and die and fall off the vine upon our own death. We stays united on the vine and remain part of the mystical body of Christ in His Church. Paul says we are surrounded by a cloud of witnesses (there’s that “cloud” again!)

As an aside for a moment, it is a distinctly Catholic doctrine that there is a Purgatory. I will not turn this into an apologetic exercise about Purgatory. But it is unfortunate that we have this disunity. Many – if not most – people who pass away still need our prayers, and there are so many who do not believe that this is true. While it is true that the judgment of salvation or condemnation is determined upon our death, this does not imply immediate entry into heaven. Purgatory is not a way after death to get out of going to hell. It is a purification of all worldly longings and attachments in order to enter heaven. Our prayers aid in this process. Without those prayers, those souls are on their own, which is not emblematic of our communion with them as fellow believers. Purgatory is in no way a repudiation of Christ’s work on the cross, just as the fact that some will be damned is not a repudiation of his sacrifice.

Prophecy From a Catholic Perspective (41) – Consecrated Life as a Sign of Fulfillment

Standard

Continuing through the Catechism of the Catholic Church as it relates to prophecy:

916 The religious state is thus one way of experiencing a “more intimate” consecration, rooted in Baptism and dedicated totally to God. In the consecrated life, Christ’s faithful, moved by the Holy Spirit, propose to follow Christ more nearly, to give themselves to God who is loved above all and, pursuing the perfection of charity in the service of the Kingdom, to signify and proclaim in the Church the glory of the world to come.

923 “Virgins who, committed to the holy plan of following Christ more closely, are consecrated to God by the diocesan bishop according to the approved liturgical rite, are betrothed mystically to Christ, the Son of God, and are dedicated to the service of the Church.” By this solemn rite (Consecratio virginum), the virgin is “constituted . . . a sacred person, a transcendent sign of the Church’s love for Christ, and an eschatological image of this heavenly Bride of Christ and of the life to come.”

933 Whether their witness is public, as in the religious state, or less public, or even secret, Christ’s coming remains for all those consecrated both the origin and rising sun of their life:
For the People of God has here no lasting city, . . . [and this state] reveals more clearly to all believers the heavenly goods which are already present in this age, witnessing to the new and eternal life which we have acquired through the redemptive work of Christ and preluding our future resurrection and the glory of the heavenly kingdom.

I have not pulled all the different excerpts on consecrated or religious life from the Catechism, but these are emblematic of the whole. Those who dedicate themselves through vows of virginity and chastity, poverty and mission-work, and so on in a very special way unite themselves to the Kingdom and are in themselves signs of the glory of the perfected Kingdom to come. Further, as the universal Church is the bride of Christ, individuals are an image of this bride by consecrating themselves only to Christ and His Church.

This extends not only to recognized religious life, but to lay apostolates as well. Ultimately, this extends to all of us in every walk of life. There is a very special bond in the religious life. But this also is a sign to our own calling in life, and our own devotion to Christ and His Church – whether we are husbands and wives, fathers and mothers, teachers or lawyers or actuaries… wherever we are, we are still a witness.

That is in the here and now. But the Catechism considers all these orders and apostolates and individuals to be signs of the ultimate fulfillment of all our hopes and expectations in the return of Christ and perfection of the Kingdom. Whenever we see goodness, we see the Kingdom.

Prophecy From a Catholic Perspective (40) – Universal Evangelization in an Unbroken Line of Succession

Standard

Continuing through the Catechism of the Catholic Church as it relates to prophecy:

849 The missionary mandate. “Having been divinely sent to the nations that she might be ‘the universal sacrament of salvation,’ the Church, in obedience to the command of her founder and because it is demanded by her own essential universality, strives to preach the Gospel to all men”: “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, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and Lo, I am with you always, until the close of the age.”

860 In the office of the apostles there is one aspect that cannot be transmitted: to be the chosen witnesses of the Lord’s Resurrection and so the foundation stones of the Church. But their office also has a permanent aspect. Christ promised to remain with them always. The divine mission entrusted by Jesus to them “will continue to the end of time, since the Gospel they handed on is the lasting source of all life for the Church. Therefore, the apostles took care to appoint successors.”

865 The Church is ultimately one, holy, catholic, and apostolic in her deepest and ultimate identity, because it is in her that “the Kingdom of heaven,” the “Reign of God,” already exists and will be fulfilled at the end of time. The kingdom has come in the person of Christ and grows mysteriously in the hearts of those incorporated into him, until its full eschatological manifestation. Then all those he has redeemed and made “holy and blameless before him in love,” will be gathered together as the one People of God, the “Bride of the Lamb,” “the holy city Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God, having the glory of God.” For “the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them the twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.”

This is one of the key prophetic messages from Scripture (#849 above) that indicates that the end of the age will not come until a complete evangelization has occurred.   We live in interesting times in that we have the technology in so many ways to reach all corners of the globe, and even to the extent that technology doesn’t exist in all places, the ease with which we can travel allows access to nearly everywhere.   The only current practical limitations to evangelization are governmental restrictions that limit the ability to evangelize.    God will break these barriers down when the time is right, and whenever that happens, it may be an indication that the close of the age is nearing.

An unbroken succession of Bishops, or “Apostles” will be maintained until the end of time, and it is in that line that the Kingdom of Heaven exists on its way to ultimate fulfillment in perfection with Christ’s return.

Prophecy From a Catholic Perspective (39) – Roles of Christians and Non-Christians in Coming Events

Standard

Continuing through the Catechism of the Catholic Church as it relates to prophecy:

840 and when one considers the future, God’s People of the Old Covenant and the new People of God tend towards similar goals: expectation of the coming (or the return) of the Messiah. But one awaits the return of the Messiah who died and rose from the dead and is recognized as Lord and Son of God; the other awaits the coming of a Messiah, whose features remain hidden till the end of time; and the latter waiting is accompanied by the drama of not knowing or of misunderstanding Christ Jesus.

841 The Church’s relationship with the Muslims. “The plan of salvation also includes those who acknowledge the Creator, in the first place amongst whom are the Muslims; these profess to hold the faith of Abraham, and together with us they adore the one, merciful God, mankind’s judge on the last day.”

842 The Church’s bond with non-Christian religions is in the first place the common origin and end of the human race:
All nations form but one community. This is so because all stem from the one stock which God created to people the entire earth, and also because all share a common destiny, namely God. His providence, evident goodness, and saving designs extend to all against the day when the elect are gathered together in the holy city. . .

The Catechism speaks to other faiths, but also of non-Christians. Those who are imperfect in their belief of God and/or the Messiah can nonetheless share some common beliefs about the God we love and serve. The Catholic Church speaks no judgment of condemnation against anyone, since all judgment is reserved for God alone. And while it is certainly legitimate to point out error and differences from Catholic teaching, it is also proper to understand that there can be some mutual elements of belief to be celebrated, and to use as a starting point in the traversing towards unity.

It is evident in prophecy that Jews and Muslims play a large role in certain events to come. But what is certainly not true is that ALL Jews will do one thing and ALL Muslims will do another thing, and ALL Christians will do the right thing.

Prophecy From a Catholic Perspective (38) – Consistency and Victory in Truth Until the Parousia

Standard

Continuing through the Catechism of the Catholic Church as it relates to prophecy:

830 The word “catholic” means “universal,” in the sense of “according to the totality” or “in keeping with the whole.” The Church is catholic in a double sense: First, the Church is catholic because Christ is present in her. “Where there is Christ Jesus, there is the Catholic Church.” In her subsists the fullness of Christ’s body united with its head; this implies that she receives from him “the fullness of the means of salvation” which he has willed: correct and complete confession of faith, full sacramental life, and ordained ministry in apostolic succession. The Church was, in this fundamental sense, catholic on the day of Pentecost and will always be so until the day of the Parousia.

831 Secondly, the Church is catholic because she has been sent out by Christ on a mission to the whole of the human race:

All men are called to belong to the new People of God. This People, therefore, while remaining one and only one, is to be spread throughout the whole world and to all ages in order that the design of God’s will may be fulfilled: he made human nature one in the beginning and has decreed that all his children who were scattered should be finally gathered together as one…. the character of universality which adorns the People of God is a gift from the Lord himself whereby the Catholic Church ceaselessly and efficaciously seeks for the return of all humanity and all its goods, under Christ the Head in the unity of his Spirit.

“Parousia” is a reference to the Second Coming of Christ – the end of time as we know it, and the fulfillment of the promise of eternal life to come with the completion and perfection of God’s Kingdom finally to be had. The catechism is very careful to note (not all items have been presented here, since I am focusing on the prophetic elements) that “non-Catholic” churches are looked upon as brothers and sisters in Christ. Those born into other faiths who had nothing to do with division or schism, and are faithful Christians are believed to serve a real Christian purpose through the Holy Spirit, and we are unified in many ways, despite our differences. The reality is that there is still a schism there that needs healing, but we need to constantly move one another towards unity of Spirit and away from division. And in this way, the term “catholic” applies to all Christians who put their faith in Christ – we universally worship one God. In a sense, they are still a branch to the tree, though this isn’t a perfect analogy as long as teachings in areas of truth differ. However, the Church will remain until Christ comes, despite the enemy’s best efforts to the contrary, and even perhaps in what might appear for a time as a victory over and destruction of the Church in a time of great Tribulation to come.

I am often amazed when I consider the fact that our Church has persevered with here teachings intact despite all the different eras and pressures and a stretch of unseemly Popes and all that stuff. Whenever people want to point to individuals who have failed in some respect (even in deeply sinful, scandalous ways, such as the sex-abuse scandal that emerged in great detail a decade ago) as somehow being indicative of a Church that is in error, I can’t make sense out of the argument. The Church has done so much good in the world that people either fail or refuse to recognize that can be used to counter such arguments. But those things, while great, are insufficient. In the end, the teachings of Christ, the gospel message, and the faith has remained intact. Even today, we live in a world that embraces many evils as good, and provides well-constructed arguments that can even confuse the faithful into wondering if the Church is being a bit to inflexible. The attacks come from all sides. It is easy to see how a nearly complete animosity towards the Church can occur, as secular humanism becomes more and more entrenched as the favored gospel of the planet. And yet, the teachings remain. Where others see weakness, I see strength.

And so it will continue until the Second Coming. The Church may well, at some point, appear so weak as to be near death. But as long as the teachings continue to be the truth, the ultimate victory will be Christ’s. Somehow, some way.