of our fathers, living still ... ?
the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on earth?
more stunning, no more frightening, and perhaps no more
ominously portentous words are spoken in all the Gospels,
in fact, in the entire New Testament perhaps even in the entirety
of Sacred Scripture itself words that become increasingly
fraught with significance with every passing generation. Indeed,
we must wonder if they are, in fact, spoken of
... or of one soon very soon, to come.
the Son of Man comes will He find Faith on earth?
As with so many
teachings, the troubling question Christ puts to us in asking
if He will so much as find Faith upon His return is too
often and too deftly explained away especially by the overwhelming
number of the liberal theologians and bishops who have proliferated
and multiplied since 1962 which is to say, by
learned and the wise.
It would appear that either Christ does not know what
He is saying, or we do not know what He is saying although
we all agree that He said something that sounds suspiciously
These are twelve
words, however, to which we must pay careful attention, perhaps
more now than at any other time in Church history.
we are to take Christ at His word which becomes increasingly
inconvenient to us we must recognize that Jesus never
spoke idly: His words, His teachings and yes, His Commandments
were always uttered to one explicit end: the
salvation of souls attaining to Heaven and everlasting
happiness and to avoiding Hell and eternal misery. The Jewish
learned of His own time
had scornfully dismissed Christs
warning that not so much as stone would remain standing in the
great Temple 1 ... the very Temple within which,
70 years later, these words were fulfilled when Rome laid waste
in days what took 46 years to build.
We tend to view
such alarming statements made by Jesus and there are many
with the same scorn and disdain today.
Indeed ... what
has become of the
of our Fathers?
A mere fifty years
ago we ourselves would have instinctively replied
course He will find faith! There simply must be some deeper,
some obscure and less evident meaning to this that we do not
presently understand and what He appears
to be saying, He is not really saying at all. Surely the
of our own day can deftly explain the answer to this troubling
question. In the end, they will conclude, Jesus is really asking
something entirely different from what He appears to be asking
and that it has nothing to do with our very real defection from
It is likely that
many Jews of Jesus
time both the learned and the unlearned had replied in much
the same way. In fact, they did. 2
In other words, to us, our faith, the Faith of the Catholic
Church for two millennia, could no sooner disappear than ...
well, the stones of the great Temple 2000 years ago!
If, however, we take a careful inventory of our present and
undeniably dismal and increasingly scandalous situation in the
Church especially as it has unfolded in the last five
decades Jesus does not quite appear as ...
... as so many apparently make Him to be.
Candidly Ask yourself
Has the Faith
the Catholic Faith indeed, has Christianity itself,
flourished in the last 50 years, or has it withered?
to the Priesthood and Religious life growing or
(are Christians in general) having more children
or are they having fewer children?
efforts, to the end of (dare we say it?)
as mandated by Christ 2 encouraged
as intrinsic to Catholicism or are they discouraged
as impolite, obtrusive, culturally imperialistic and inherently
inimical to the
spirit of Vatican II
especially as interpreted by Pope Francis for whom
is solemn nonsense,
to use his own words?
Is it really
the case that
to Christ and His Church is actively discouraged
that especially under Pope Francis it is no longer
understood as a holy and inherently necessary endeavor
rather than being disdained, even dismissed, as
and culturally incorrect
indeed, has it really come to this: that promoting
our Catholic Faith as Christ has commanded us to, been all
but forbidden by Francis and his
coterie of feckless and disaffected cardinals and
Is our understanding
of the Catholic Church, as an absolutely unique
institution indispensable to the ordinary means of salvation,
emphasized as urgently today (if it is emphasized at all)
as it was a hundred years ago? Fifty years ago? Indeed,
is the concept itself of the singularity and indispensability
of the Holy Catholic Church authentically deemed
a dogma and a viable concept any longer?
For all our insolence
and equivocation, we know the answers, and we are uncomfortable
with them, for they fly in the face of Christ and all that He
taught to say nothing of Sacred Scripture, Holy Tradition,
and the Sacred Deposit of the Faith entrusted to the Catholic
Church by God Himself.
question takes on a greater sense of urgency, for the sheep
are scattered and confused as never before. The papacy of
Francis has been disastrous for the Church. Why? Because he
has taken Vatican II to its logical conclusion: the irrelevance
of the Church.
Ubi est Pastor?
Where is the Shepherd?
Who is earnestly addressing this spiritual malaise and religious
decay, the indolence and dereliction of the vast majority of
American and European bishops who appear far more eager for
secular plaudits than the now quaint and discredited
salvation of souls.
Pope Francis has effectively declared this mandate defunct in
favor of the rehabilitation and sometimes transformation
of bodies, societies, economies, and the environment.
That the passing material environment of man is infinitely
less important than the eternal abode of his soul often
appears to elude Francis. Indeed, it appears to elude most Catholics
whose mantra increasingly coincides with the worlds:
Social activism! ... not interior conversion
away from this world and to Christ.
Shame! Shame on
us! By our
silence, our fear of being disparaged by
Catholics for the
sake of Christ, we condone this travesty are complicit
in it ... even promote it! What will motivate us
to recognize, and to redress, this frightful and ultimately
deadly state of affairs?
There are, after
all, other contenders in this world for the souls of
men ... seen and unseen! As our own wick smolders, others
blaze! The burning Crescent of Islam, poised like a scimitar,
and every bit as deadly, glows and grows in the east, and with
it, not an ethnic, but a Religious Cleansing to
which the world remains indifferent an expunging of every
vestige of Christianity in partibus infidelium. Even
the European Union will no longer tolerate the inclusion of
its indissoluble Christian heritage within its Constitution.
Not only does it thoroughly repudiate its own Christian cultural
heritage it prohibits it even banishes it!
Surely, then, in
our effort to remedy this impending state of dissolution, we
will first turn to our bishops, since they are, preeminently,
and Guardians of the Faith.
But more often than not much more often than not
in the well-appointed office at the end of the corridor we do
not find a shepherd of souls but a deeply sequestered, occasionally
avuncular, and predictably remote ...
his prime responsibility as Teacher
and Promoter of the Faith ... to others, in the form of
Lay committees and subcommittees largely
Catholics more concerned with social issues than the salvation
of souls, are we confident that the patrimony of our faith will
somehow percolate through this strata of already contaminated
soil and reach our children authentically and intact? Is our
fear mitigated ... or further exacerbated ... by our bishops
resolute lack of diligence in being attentive to
what Catholic colleges and theologians in their own
dioceses are really teaching and who are teaching
the teachers ... who, in turn, are teaching our children?
Do you think that
your bishop actually that is to say, cognitively
is aware of, or even concerned with what the teachers themselves
are actually teaching?
Not in this diocese.
Not in Boston. In fact, Cardinal Sean Patrick OMalley
routinely fetes, praises, and holds up as exemplary the
who churn out our children to the Sacrament of Confirmation
with no clue whatever of that in which they are being confirmed.
By comparison, even the dismal failure of our public schools
in Boston must be deemed a stunning success.
For most of us
especially in the Archdiocese of Boston, but no less elsewhere
the answer is, as they say, a
it is a universally resounding no.
Most of us find, to our growing dismay and deepening cynicism,
that our Bishops appear to have
important, more ...
things to do ... than to communicate the Faith to the faithful
... especially the children.
Really, we beg the question: if no one teaches the teachers
who, then, teaches the children? If they are not brought
the faith by those to whom it has been entrusted the
bishops, the episcopacy
who will bring
it to them?
Will they how
can they acquire
the Faith ... if no one brings it to them? Saint Paul is very
clear about this:
then shall they call on him, in whom they have not
believed? Or how shall they believe him, of whom
they have not heard? And how shall they hear, without
a preacher? And how shall they preach unless they
be sent ...?
Ask yourself candidly:
do you know more ... or less ... of your Catholic
faith than your children? Very likely more although, in all
honesty, it is probably little. You politely assent to the now
quaint Catholic notion that
are the primary teachers of their children,
but knowing little of your own Faith, you simply shell out $50.00
per child and pan off this grave responsibility to others
of whom you know nothing, and who themselves largely know nothing
of the faith they presume to teach. You go through the motions
as careless of what your children are taught in their 10 years
Education as your Bishop
is of what the teachers teach. 10 years later, and $500 poorer
per child, you scratch your head and wonder why Johnny still
does not know God, and why Judy never goes to Mass and yet
we have agreed that you know more than your children ...
What, then, we must ask with growing apprehension will
your children teach their children
What will they
who know even less
than you teach those who know nothing?
The momentum, as
we see, is inexorable until it culminates in total ignorance:
every generation knows less of their faith than the generation
preceding it. It is, in the end, the devolution from doctrine
to legend, from legend to fiction, and from fiction to myth.
That is not just a poor, but a stultifying and ultimately
This default at every
level in transmitting the authentic Catholic
faith intact ... leaves Jesus question very
suddenly very real.
a Gallup poll was taken on Catholic attitudes toward
Holy Communion. The poll showed serious confusion
among Catholics about one of the most basic beliefs
of the Church. Only 30 percent of those surveyed
believe they are actually receiving the Body and
Blood, soul and divinity of the Lord Jesus Christ
under the appearance of bread and wine.
The problem is
more than mathematical, as we have seen; it is exponential.
70% of Catholics do not possess this most fundamental,
this most essential understanding of the core article
of genuine Catholic doctrine: that
you eat of the flesh of the Son of Man, and drink His Blood,
you have no life in you.
It is not just a matter of the greatest concern, but
nothing less than a matter of the gravest dereliction that
most Catholics do not realize do not know
that the very Mass itself is an abbreviation of
Most Holy Sacrifice of the Mass,
and that it is really
a Sacrifice, the
actual re-enactment of Calvary before
their very eyes!
This failure of understanding ... culminates
in a failure in Faith. It possesses, in significant
ways, the remorseless characteristics of mathematical certainties.
Not understanding, grasping having never been taught
the most elementary features of the faith, how can they be
understood to possess what they have not acquired, and how can
they transmit, pass on, what they do not possess? It is inescapable.
Prognostication, of course, is for fools.
But the words of
Christ are certainties that will come
not for Me, but for your children,
Christ told the sorrowing women on the road to Calvary.
In very deed.
the Son of Man comes will He find faith on earth?,
is not a
question at all; it
is a question fraught with enormous significance ... the frightful
answer to which appears to be unfolding before our very eyes
but that is if you take Christ at His word
and given Jesus
track record on things yet to come, we would do well and wisely
to give pause for more than thought.
Are you worried now ...? Not nearly enough.
Geoffrey K. Mondello
Boston Catholic Journal