At some point over the course of the next week, most of us will have the great blessing of kneeling down before the tabernacle and offering prayers to Our Lord Jesus Christ, Who is truly present in the Most Blessed Sacrament. Whether the church itself is humble or magnificent, we will likely find that utmost care has been given to honoring God by making the altar and tabernacle appear beautiful and holy. Indeed, we would sense that something was wrong if anything about the tabernacle suggested even the least bit of irreverence.
Our particular circumstances may naturally differ from those of our favorite saints, but the most important realities of our lives will be identical: Our Lord created and redeemed us; He wants us to know, love, and serve Him in this life and be happy with Him for eternity in Heaven; and He permits various trials and crosses in our lives so that we might honor Him and save our souls.
As we kneel before the Blessed Sacrament, we might recall that our Faith is the same that all saints have had since Our Lord taught His disciples. Our particular circumstances may naturally differ from those of our favorite saints, but the most important realities of our lives will be identical: Our Lord created and redeemed us; He wants us to know, love, and serve Him in this life and be happy with Him for eternity in Heaven; and He permits various trials and crosses in our lives so that we might honor Him and save our souls.
As one indication, among many, that our Faith is the same as that of all the saints, we can see that everything in Bishop Athanasius Schneider’s prayer for the triumph of the Catholic Faith (quoted in part above) echoes the Faith that the Church has always fostered. Any of our favorite saints could kneel beside us before the tabernacle and recite that prayer with devotion. However, one passage from the prayer reflects the truly unique circumstances in which we find ourselves today:
“Graciously receive our act of humble reparation for all the sins committed against the Catholic Faith by the laity and clergy, especially by high-ranking clergy who, contrary to the solemn promise they made at their Ordination to be teachers and defenders of the integrity of the Catholic Faith, have become champions of heresy, poisoning the flock entrusted to them and gravely offending the Divine Majesty of Jesus Christ, the Incarnate Truth.”
Almost certainly, our favorite saints would have superficially different reactions upon saying this portion of the prayer —mixtures of anger, sadness, dismay, and filial trust — but the core dispositions would remain the same: they would trust and love God enough to know that this tragic situation required them to defend the Faith as fervently as possible and do all they could to make reparation. Our favorite saints would recognize that they needed to be saints.
Many believe that the Faith can adapt to fit the modern world. They hear this from Francis and the leaders of the Synod on Synodality, of course, but it has been a consistent theme since John XXIII’s call to make the Church more relevant to the world through the process of updating (aggiornamento).
As Bishop Schneider’s prayer indicates, not all who identify as Catholic would have those same dispositions. Many believe that the Faith can adapt to fit the modern world. They hear this from Francis and the leaders of the Synod on Synodality, of course, but it has been a consistent theme since John XXIII’s call to make the Church more relevant to the world through the process of updating (aggiornamento).
Blessed Pius IX had addressed this spirit of updating in his Syllabus of Errors, condemning the notion that the pope — and, by extension, the Faith — could change to fit modern civilization:
“80. The Roman Pontiff can, and ought to, reconcile himself, and come to terms with progress, liberalism and modern civilization. — Allocution ‘Jamdudum cernimus, March 18, 1861.” [condemned proposition]
The challenges presented by modern civilization vary day by day, but we bring them to an unchanging God when we kneel before the tabernacle; and He wants us to respond to those new challenges with the same immutable Faith all the saints have had. But Vatican II ushered in a period in which the proponents of a New World Order have pushed for changes to Catholicism, seeking to tailor it to the world. For good reason, Cardinal Ratzinger described the Council’s Constitution on the Church in the Modern World, Gaudium et Spes, as a “Counter-Syllabus.”
Fittingly, an image from Francis’s recent World Youth Day helps us visualize the difference between this concept of an evolving religion on the one hand, and the immutable Catholic Faith (shared by Bishop Schneider and all the saints) on the other. Whereas most faithful Catholics hope to be kneeling before beautiful, holy, and fixed tabernacles sometime this week, some of the participants at the WYD found themselves before sacrilegious plastic crates used as tabernacles. Those responsible for the WYD had wasted so much time and money preparing for the gathering, and this is how they treated the Blessed Sacrament. It is no wonder that so many Catholics no longer believe in the Real Presence.
The boxes containing the Holy Eucharist at World Youth Day
We find ourselves in this tragic crisis not because the modern world has forced us to abandon the true Faith but because Catholics have abandoned the true Faith to keep up with the world which keeps moving further from God.
Even if there were Catholics at the WYD who realized this was an inexcusable offense against Our Lord, the spectacle nonetheless represents the religion espoused by Francis, the man who leads them astray. The plastic tabernacles are blasphemous and ugly, but one can move them easily, which is how Francis prefers his theology:
“There are people who live trapped in a theology manual, unable to get into trouble and keep theology moving forward. . . Stagnant theology reminds me that stagnant water is the first to be corrupted, and stagnant theology creates corruption.” (quoted by Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò)
Whereas our beautiful tabernacles are fixed and holy because our religion is fixed and holy; we can see the ugly portable storage container tabernacle at WYD as a fitting representation of Francis’s "mobile religion,” which grows uglier and more blasphemous by the day as it chases the modern world.
We find ourselves in this tragic crisis not because the modern world has forced us to abandon the true Faith but because Catholics have abandoned the true Faith to keep up with the world which keeps moving further from God. Widespread apostasy accelerates the movement of the world away from God, leading to a vicious cycle that causes so much pain for those of good will.
Only God knows how much faithful Catholics can do to turn the tide before He intervenes, but it is clear that we must adhere to the immutable Catholic Faith and try to be saints. We must live the Faith articulated so well in Bishop Schneider’s prayer, and make reparation for the blasphemies and lies so fittingly represented by the WYD’s unholy tabernacles. Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us!
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