I struggle with despair at the future of the Church. Fr Z replies.

From a reader…

QUAERITUR:

I am blessed to attend a beautiful Extraordinary Form Mass each Sunday, offered by devout, orthodox priests. I go to confession regularly and make every effort to lead a good Christian life.

Yet, I struggle with despair at the future of the Church. Between the news of the scandals and what’s happening in Rome, I find it my faith regularly disturbed. I often seriously wonder whether I will die a Catholic, because there are days – increasingly more in recent months – where I think of giving up entirely. Why bother when it seems as if so few of the Church’s priests and bishops believe in her teachings? Why cling to tradition it seems increasingly likely that, within my lifetime, Rome will capitulate to the fads of the world?

Rather than finding consolation in the Church, I instead feel abandoned. I speak of this feeling often, including to my confessor, but it does not abate. If anything, it grows stronger the more I openly admit it and that worries me.

What am I to do?

Never fear.

Never give in to doubts.

Christ’s promises are rock solid.

The Church is indefectible.

Persevere.

You have a role to play and eternity awaits.

Pray and be good.

Off up your suffering in reparation for sins that offend God and the Blessed Virgin.

When high leaders in the Church do confusing things people will, legitimately, be upset.  When that happens, we have to stay calm.   Not false calm, to the point of inaction or paralysis.  Calm, in the sense of not having a spittle-flecked nutty or doing something rash.

Each horrid thing that clerics do or strange thing they say is further proof that this is God’s Church.  Only He keeps it going.  If it depended on us, we’d be finished in no time.  God is trustworthy and the Church is indefectible.

Every Pope’s pontificate, every bishop’s or every priest’s mandate are the mere blips in the long history of salvation which is directed, not by us, but, again, by God.

We are offered every grace we need to get though any blip, whatsoever.

Some Councils and Popes were not nearly as important as others.  In the long term, we will see how things shake out.  Since Francis is interested in “peripheries”, one day we may refer to this time as the “periphery of Francis” rather than the “pontificate”.  Perspective!

When something weird or confusing comes our way, we have an opportunity to crack open our trustworthy books and study.  Thus, we wind up being better educated and better prepared to give reasons for the faith that is in us.  That’s a good thing.

 

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7 Responses to I struggle with despair at the future of the Church. Fr Z replies.

  1. Mary Salmond says:

    Be bold, be Catholic! Jesus says: I am with you always. Hope lies ahead, not behind.

  2. Kate M says:

    Our Blessed Mother warned of these times at Akita, at Fatima, and at Quito. The Church Herself warns that She must undergo Her own Passion (CCC 675-77), so never let your faith depend on the Church’s own ascendency because She warns against that. Remember that all of this is in God’s hands, and pray.

  3. Faith comes first, always…keep it. I am STILL trying to get my 5 kids to the Traditional Mass 2 hours away every Sunday with everyone I know telling me I need to go to church closer…if the name of Francis is mentioned in the Canon of the Mass you do not know what you are getting even if it LOOKS legitimate. You dont know if the priest, sacraments, or intentions are even valid. LOOK TO SAINT ATHANASIUS. God bless.

  4. I believe that the Church has survived periods that are as bad as this one, and periods that were even worse – the Borgia popes, the time through which St. Catherine of Siena lived, and more. Faithful Catholics survived all that, and even flourished. If we are faithful, we will survive this, too.

    I sometimes think of the Good Thief, hanging on his cross next to Christ, seeing the wreckage of everything Christ tried to do, and yet knowing that it wasn’t wreckage at all, but the beginning of something glorious.

    We too can see what the Good Thief saw; we too can know what he knew.

    In the words of King Lear: “Look there!”

  5. DonnaLiane says:

    Despair is the desire of the devil for you. I have felt it once over sin. You must struggle against it but not alone! Ask God to help you overcome it. List all the unlikely and seemingly impossible ways that God could resolve this for the best outcome. Then remember that there are probably more ways that you didn’t think of and lastly that NOTHING is impossible for God!! He has overcome before and will again! This trial, once overcome, will make you much stronger! God bless you!!

  6. kathleen says:

    Very good advice from Father Z!

    These are things we desperately need to keep telling ourselves whenever “the devil of despair” tries to edge his way into our troubled hearts. Yes, we are currently in the midst of “fourth great crisis in the Church”, as Archbishop Schneider has warned us – there is no doubt about it – but that is where our own commitment to fight this evil comes in.

    Have we ever thought why we, each one of us, was created by God to live at this moment in time? Surely it is because we, members of Christ’s Body, the Church, have been specially chosen, picked out among millions of other souls, to confront the grave errors and abuses against the teachings and traditions of the Holy Catholic Church of our day. The gravest of them come from inside the Church Herself which makes them so much harder to vanquish.
    Yet these are the challenges God has placed before us, men and women of the 21st century. If we cower down and metaphorically “throw in the towel”, the devil and the enemies of Christ will win the battle for souls. We must “fight the great fight” as soldiers of Christ. We have a responsibility to fight, with all the tools available to us – prayer, fasting, adherence to the virtues and Sacraments, learning the fullness of the truths of our Glorious Faith, etc. – for that is the mission for which we have been handpicked from all eternity.

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