by Fr Richard Heilman | November 30, 2015 8:29 PM
My church (shown above) – St. Mary of Pine Bluff, WI – was built by tenant farmers in the 1800s. They didn’t have two nickels to rub together, but they knew it was absolutely essential to build something that glorified God. Why? Because without such reverence and transcendent beauty, they knew the faith would fade away, and few would believe in the Real Presence any longer.
Well … they were right. Over the past 50 years, a few elites ran roughshod over the innocent faithful in a campaign to protestantize the Mass, and gut out our churches (St. Mary’s miraculously escaped the wreckovation of the modernists). Now, here we are with less than 30% of Catholics practicing their faith in America. In most places in Europe, it is down to less than 10%. And, in most parishes, those who do attend do so in their worst recreational attire while they mindlessly grab the host, like they are in some sort of cafeteria line.
Fr. Robert Barron draws attention to this very real epidemic in our times:
“A real concrete statistic around this is that 70 percent of the baptized faithful are staying away from Mass on a regular basis. And we’re doing well in comparison with the European countries. Vatican II said the Mass is the source and summit of the Christian life … everything leads to and flows from the Mass. The Eucharist is everything, and 70 percent could care less about it. Yes, there are many reasons around why some do not go to Mass, but I suspect that, for most, they are suffering from spiritual sloth; they could just care less.”
“They could care less.” Yes! If it is just a quaint prayer service with some nice entertaining music, then it is “just another thing.” And, frankly, most can find better entertainment elsewhere. So, they say to themselves, “what’s the point?” In speaking of the need for a New Evangelization, Pope Benedict XVI said, “the true problem of our times is the ‘Crisis of God,’ the absence of God, disguised by an empty religiosity” … a kind of lukewarm, going through the motions of one’s faith, which ends up collapsing completely.
The “Spirit of Vatican II” campaign that sought to turn the sacred into the profane is, literally, killing off the faith. The Catholic Mass, sacred music, art, architecture was the most beautiful and sacred in all the world … we didn’t need to become protestant … and we have now robbed generations of what generations prior adored. We are mere mortals, our ancestors before us knew this; they knew it was important; they knew we mere mortals needed to “approach heaven” as we came to worship; they knew we needed to immerse ourselves in a “sense of the supernatural.”
Fr. Dwight Longenecker recently wrote an article for the National Catholic Register on “What Every Catholic Should Know About Prophecy of the End Times.” He seems to prophesy himself, as he predicts where we will soon be, if we continue on this path. Here is the heart of it … you can read the whole thing there:
Now, and in the years to come we will see an increasing clarity in this struggle. Protestantism will move away from any pretense of being a supernatural religion. It will become one of three things: a dry exercise in fundamentalist Biblical exegesis applied in practical ways, or a superficially stimulating blend of self help teaching and inspiring religious feelings, or a fellowship of religiously inspired social activists. What it will not be is a supernatural religion claiming supernatural authority instituted on earth for the salvation of souls.
Catholics will also become clear about their mission. Those who have turned Catholicism into an inspiring self-help program or a fellowship for social activism will die out. Their shallow religion will prove to be no religion at all, and those who desire this false religion will go to the Protestants where it will be done more effectively and efficiently. This new religion (which will grow out of Protestantism) will increasingly become the religion of the state. The anti-Christ state will realize that some religion is better than no religion at all, and as the Chinese have established a false Catholic Church, the American people will increasingly follow this hollow form of ‘advanced’ Protestantism.
The most insidious form of this new religion will be the evolution of “conservative” Evangelicalism. It will lose its Biblical roots and lose any sense of objectivity in moral or doctrinal teaching. The leaders will eschew all denominational affiliations and choose instead to graze among all the Christian teachers–taking a tradition here, a doctrine there, a worship practice here and a moral teaching there. Each one will be, even more than they have been in the past, a law unto themselves. Individual opinion and subjective sentiment will be their only guide. They will not be limited to Christian teaching, but will adopt and adapt Eastern religious practices and New Age practices as they seem to fit, and they will do so with slick marketing, high technology and attractive communication techniques.
As the old mainline “liberal” Protestantism dies out their social activism and moral laxity will be absorbed by this new syncretism. Trendy megachurch pastors will make headlines for their work with the poor and their courage for setting up a church in the slums. They will campaign for women’s rights and homosexual liberation. They will trumpet “forgiveness” after divorce and remarriage, will admit that “sometimes abortion is a necessary solution to a difficult problem” and they will espouse contraception and overlook fornication and cohabitation as “the way things are now.”
In other words, they will adopt all the positions of what we now term “liberalism” and they will do so while still wearing the coat of the “Evangelical Conservative.” They will simply say they are “compassionate conservatives.”
In the midst of this, Catholicism will stand out as the only supernatural religion that remains. Because of this the world (and the false religions of the world) will join forces to oppose the Catholic faith. This situation will not be different than it has always been in the world.
It will simply be more obvious and transparent.
As a priest in 2015, I believe THIS is the charge that is set before us in our times, and I am absolutely committed to this restoration of sacred beauty and reverence. This is WAR!! It is a war on the supernatural. There is a growing fervor among Catholics who are choosing to stand against this modernism, with all of its haughty avant-garde pretense, looking down its nose at those who would have the audacity to persevere in their outdated belief in the supernatural.
I will not tire in my stand against this insidious infection that has made our beautiful Catholic faith sick! It’s time to restore ourselves to health again; it’s time to restore a sense of the supernatural!
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