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Tuesday, June 4, 2024

The Reasons for the Church's Crisis

By:   Paul de Lacvivier
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The Reasons for the Church's Crisis

Why has the Church's crisis broken out? The aim here is to give internal and psychological reasons for the crisis, which explain the weakness of clerics and good Christians to defend the Faith, or even to play in favor of its devitalization.

External causes, such as the Freemasonry and liberal attacks, the modernist onslaught, the collapse of the Catholic states and the relaxation of morals in the 50s and 60s, certainly count for something, but are basically secondary: there have always been attacks, and sometimes quite terrible heresies, but each time the Church has been able to resist more firmly in principle and more holily in the practice of virtue.

This time, however, clerics and good Christians have shown an astonishing weakness. Where does it come from?

We see three causes that explain why the dikes have broken.

1) the most important and fundamental cause, leading to everything else: FORGETTING GOD'S JUSTICE AND GLORY.

Until then, justice and glory were self-evident, or quasi-evident, as our elders knew them to be naturally "supernaturalized" from the experience of natural political societies. Everyone accepted that justice was bound to be done, one way or another, and that man's greatness lay in sacrificing himself for honor, which brought him glory, and sacrificing himself for the honor of the great, which enabled him to share in the glory of the great - kings, war heroes and so on.

By extension, and by Christian straightening and ordering, both ultimate justice and ultimate glory are God's.

We know that all justice is in God, that the wicked will be punished, that all our deeds are counted, and that all human justice must depend on God's, and that our greatness is to let God take vengeance for us, often in the hereafter, sometimes here below, for the conversion of sinners.

This psychological logic born of intellectualizing theological knowledge, forgetting glory and justice, is a catastrophic calculation: the results and consequences obviously speak louder than anything else.

Mercy, then, only makes sense in the context of this exact and rigorous justice, which consists in giving everyone their due - and as sinners our due is hell. Hence God's exceptional charity in lowering Himself at the Incarnation in this carnal slave, filthy for a pure spirit, and moreover, with the Redemption, allowing us, despite our due, to redeem ourselves in justice thanks precisely to Jesus, the God-man, who repays all our debt, and much more, out of pure liberality, out of pure love. But a love that exists only in justice, only thanks to this justice.

And so, as the redeemed, we cannot but want to sacrifice ourselves wholeheartedly to defend the honor of our Redeemer, Jesus, who not only restores us to the Father's justice, by justifying us, but moreover elevates us to divine adoption, consecrates us his brothers, and adopted sons of God!!!! An undeserved honor of pure goodness and gratuity. Absolute freedom of the great lord, who rewards beyond all expectation the naughty servants who are so penurious and vile as we are, but who try to do their best anyway - the wicked being irrevocably punished by being thrown far from the court, far from the castle, out of the great lord's domains, for his misfortune that he willed.

So we serve to make his glory shine forth, and we sacrifice ourselves to share that glory.

All this was once self-evident, but in the twentieth century it has disappeared.

Justice and divine glory have been erased. Mercy and grace have become incomprehensible, like a due, demanded by the capricious child. And the vanished glory does indeed come from the complete oblivion of the incredible deeds God has done for us, Incarnation and Redemption - not to mention Creation, which even natural reason can understand.

If the glory is gone, why fight for a glory that no longer exists? Why bother? Why sweat for a grace that becomes a due?

The fatal chain is set in motion.

2) the other cause: awareness of the difficulty of spiritual combat.

Despite their oblivion to justice and glory, twentieth-century Christians are acutely aware - at least in the case of theologians, clerics and religious practitioners - of the difficulty of spiritual warfare, as described by all the great Christian spiritual masters.

They know how painful it is to purify ourselves of our bad habits and sins. Worse still, they know that the more advanced the struggle, the greater the risk of falling into rebellion, as the devil tempts more, and the greater subtlety of the soul allows for greater wilful betrayal if need be. They know that spiritual droughts are terrible, and that the chalice, when it comes, is a terrible agony.

All this fighting was once welcome! For it is only justice in view of our sins and our fallen nature, so imperfect and heavy! But grace, always there, comes to make up for our weaknesses, comes just when all seems lost to reveal us. This struggle is welcome, because the good Christian knows that these sufferings are nothing compared to what Our Lord endured, and that these few little crosses are a way of drawing closer to Our Lord: these crosses are therefore a joy! The battle is hard but joyful, like the knight on the battlefield, full of blood, but happy to be able to serve his master, and knowing that if he dies bravely in battle, he will have the glory of the arms, and the honors of the king, and that if he survives, he will also have the recognition of his king, glory on earth, and honors at court! He wins every time, and the more he's wounded and injured, the more he suffers, the closer he comes to the ultimate glory of dying in battle!

But without glory, or justice, only the terrible aspect of combat remains, and comes to make one despair...

The fatal chain of events continues...

3) Misunderstood charity wants to install ignorance of the Faith, supposedly to spare the faithful suffering. The good clerics, knowing the hardness of spiritual combat, and knowing that ignorance alleviates guilt, will fall into a terrible psychological-theological trap: let's increase ignorance, let's create ignorance of the faith, so that, in a world without justice but with mercy, the masses will still be saved, and without having to risk turning to the enemy's side because of mortifications too terrible and a risky spiritual combat...

The fatal chain of events that leads to passive apostasy... And to the very contemporary contempt for the "people" who are robbed of any possibility of glory, and who are believed incapable of overcoming combat and trials - and thus a defiance of God and his will, and his wisdom to give each person the trials he can overcome for his own good, without ever demanding too much!

This is the extension of the crisis as we know it today. In one generation, the faith dies out, and in two, the number of people baptized collapses. And so everyone is tumbling towards the due in divine justice without redemption: hell.

Not to mention the fact that justice will fall, not only on those who have created ignorance, but also on all those who, perhaps duped, or giving in to the easy way out, first ignore, then wallow in ignorance, and therefore already sin, and finally cut themselves off from the sacraments, and, worse still, no longer baptize and educate children in a Christian way.

This is the extension of the crisis as we know it today. In one generation, the faith dies out, and in two, the number of people baptized collapses. And so everyone is tumbling towards the due in divine justice without redemption: hell.

And this downward slide is entirely logical.

This psychological logic born of intellectualizing theological knowledge, forgetting glory and justice, is a catastrophic calculation: the results and consequences obviously speak louder than anything else. But even at a time when the consequences were not yet apparent, in a context of triumphant Catholicism the world over, this is an absolute lapse of elementary charity!

To steal the possibility of glory is not only to increase the risk of purgatory, a terrible punishment, but also to prevent everyone from taking their place in the divine plan! What pride of theological and clerical maneuvering, what smallness of soul refusing to trust God, what hubris to believe oneself capable of saving everyone in spite of themselves, and without God!

Above all, it's forgetting God's love, and forgetting the simplicity of imitating Our Lord...

The consequences are staring us in the face.

So let's get back to the basics.

GLORY AND JUSTICE OF GOD!

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Last modified on Tuesday, June 4, 2024