A Tainted Libation
“I am already
being poured out like a libation, and the time of my departure is
I have competed well; I have finished the race; I have kept the
we been poured out as a libation for Christ Jesus?
In fact, the point
of our being Catholic at all very likely has had little in the way
of any adverse consequences in our lives.
In other words, if we have not suffered
for the sake of Christ :
we have not been marginalized as:
- behind the
have not been:
epithet has been hurled at us to make us look like fools before
“modern” and “progressive” Catholics, to say nothing of theworld at large — then we have not been
We have cherished
the world over Christ; and have even been applauded for it. We use
“the Name" even as we repudiate the “Person”. We lustily sing that
“We are the sheep of His fold” ... even after we have torn down
the fence and strayed, with no clear direction from our priests
and bishops, into other pastures. We are told, in an age of mindless
and unbridled ecumenism, that there really are no fences any
longer and that one fold is really no different from another, however
much the sheep somehow look like wolves. And behave like wolves.
And howl like wolves.
Why, then, is Saint Paul’s fate so different from our own?
Following Christ literally cost him his head in Rome.
The answer is found in the previous verses omitted from today’s
the time will come when people will not tolerate sound
doctrine but, following their own desires and insatiable
curiosity, will accumulate teachers and will stop listening
to the truth and will be diverted to myths.”
(2 Timothy 4:3-4)
will not tolerate sound doctrine.”
Let us put Saint
Paul's words in a more contemporary setting:
“Following our own
desires and insatiable curiosity, we have accumulated teachers (bishops,
priests, theologians, CCD teachers, RCIA instructors) who
will satisfy our desires”, in other words,
who will teach us what we want to hear,
and not what we must hear; who will teach
us that sin and corruption, properly understood, are acceptable
to God after all, and that this whole “Roman thing” doesn't apply
to Catholicism in America, Europe, or, for that matter, to any “enlightened"
culture any more. It is hopelessly archaic, unenlightened, “patriarchal”,
stultifying, and terribly dissonant with everything that is now
socially correct, legislated, mandated and rigorously enforced by
a ruthlessly secular State which is intolerant of intolerance ...
and that, by policy, refuses to acknowledge this contradiction.
This attitude explains why we have kept our own heads (in a manner
of speaking), while Saint Paul lost his.
We have no libation to pour out – because no one has filled
our cups since the Second Vatican Council ... or if they have, the
substance is profoundly diluted, and often tainted. Instead of sound
doctrine, our cups have been, by and large, filled with
quite nearly anything to calculated to satisfy
our desires ... which are not the same
as God’s. And this really is the root of the problem.
We still want God's “stamp of approval”, and since Rome
will not give it to us, we seek out bishops, priests, theologians,
clerics, ecclesiastical functionaries of every sort more perverse
than ourselves who will give us both: our own corrupt desires
and a counterfeit stamp of God’s approval.
This is what the Roman State wanted from Saint Paul.
And it is precisely
what Saint Paul would not give them.
But ... unlike St. Paul, for Heaven's sake ... we must not lose
our heads over it. Mustn’t we ...?
Geoffrey K. Mondello
for the Boston Catholic Journal
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