Dear father Angelo,
Please help me understand where the Church is going today. I know I’m asking you a million euro question but I’m desperate. I am almost 80 years old and I can no longer live a faithful life with serenity. It seems to me that everything I have learned about Christian doctrine has been in vain, of professing an obsolete religion. I try to be a good Christian with Mass and daily Rosary, but during these practices I get distracted, I think about what the Church has become: a megaphone to advertise pseudo news and banalities. I think that true believers expect a transcendent message from the Pastor, a reminder of eternal truths. The precepts of good civic manners, of ecological orientations, of civic solidarity can be declaimed – most of the time without believing it – by any source.
That acute observation of the English writer G.K. Chesterton :”90% of what we call new ideas are simply old mistakes.” In fact, it would seem that, at heart, these champions of the “new paradigm” are not so much speaking to the world desiring its conversion, as giving in to the thought of the world. So the Church sold out to the world.
I can’t stand it anymore. I am tired of cardinals, bishops and priests: they make me sick for their despicable cowardice and infidelity, most of the time out of ignorance. This is a Christ-hating church that lets him be killed a second time. This general betrayal of the representatives of the Church is shaking my faith. I am disgusted and embittered. I would like to mention with some examples why there is so much sense of moral rejection in the face of so many attacks on Christianity and its roots without anyone from the ecclesiastical hierarchy intervening. (…). Cardinal Giacomo Biffi wrote some time ago, with his typical irony, that “the real pastoral problem is not so much constituted by non-practicing believers, as by non-believing practitioners …” Paradoxical certainly, but how true! Sociological surveys put it cruelly in the light: those who call themselves Christians and Catholics (even some who are consecrated) and do not believe in either the Resurrection of Jesus, or in the existence and action of the Devil. There are also those who do not believe in the divinity of Christ such as …, who in a Lenten address said: ‘… Jesus never defined himself as God, and the undivided church took three centuries to arrive at this article of faith, in the Council of Nicaea (325): “God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God” ‘. Truly astounding that the numerous passages of the Gospels in which Jesus reveals His divine nature have escaped him. Always critical of Pope Ratzinger, he has also lately called him “mean”, yes, in these exact words. His fault? Having always said that salvation comes from Christ.
By now the cornerstones of the doctrine of faith are being questioned little by little by those who should educate us in the faith like bishops. In fact, lately the … in an interview, about the truths of the Gospel, specified: “In the meantime, we should begin a good reflection on what Jesus really said. At that time nobody had a tape recorder to record the words. What is known is that the words of Jesus must be contextualized, they are expressed in language, in a precise environment, they are addressed to someone who is definite ”. Where do we go if we question the gospel? Furthermore, he declared that hell does not exist and that the Devil is a symbolic person. Isn’t this a heresy? I wonder and I ask you: if hell did not exist it would make no sense to speak of salvation operated by Christ. (…).
Saving the best to last! Days ago, talking to a priest in my parish about the week of ecumenism, I contested the fact that no one clarifies the differences between the various religions. It was right to pray for unification but it also seemed correct to explain the differences. And the discourse fell to discussing the differences withthe Protestants, on the theme of the virginity of the Madonna. The aforementioned priest, in response to my question on what he thought about the image of the birth of Jesus presented by the painting broadcast by Saviano, replied, to my utter bewilderment, that the image reflects what really, according to him, had occurred on Christmas Eve, so the “Virginity of the Madonna” is to be considered only because she did not have relations with a man, so after giving birth, according to him, she can no longer be considered a virgin!
My knowledge on the subject led me to argue, to no avail, that as the light passes through the glass without breaking it, so the divine light of Jesus has come to us without compromising the virginity of the Madonna, to the silence of the priest. Astounded, I bid him farewell, saying: if you believe this, God protect you.
Please help me to reply to the priest for this, for me, terrible heresy with one of your illuminating comments. Perhaps, reporting your opinion will also do good to the priest in question. What can these churchmen teach the faithful? Only spiritual disorder, not to mention heresies.
Excuse me for the length of the text but I needed to let off steam, the priests with whom I had spiritual relationships have been in the Kingdom of Heaven for years and I feel alone. Up to now I have not been able to find suitable substitutes. In greeting you with great affection, I sincerely thank you.
A priest answer
1. Only today do I come to your email, which contains many correct observations. I understand your discomfort, which is not yours alone, but that of many.
2. In all this, however, no one can prevent us from keeping our gaze fixed on Jesus. Christ is the object of our life. He is the life of our life. The words of St Paul are particularly precise: ’What will separate us from the love of Christ? Will anguish, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or the sword? As it is written: “For your sake we are being slain all the day; we are looked upon as sheep to be slaughtered.” ‘
3. In a word, nothing and no one can separate us from holiness which is the goal that we are all called to achieve and that the Lord expects of us. None of us will be able to say before the court of Christ: “If there had been a different pope, a different bishop, a different priest I would have become holier …”. It is in the present situation that the Lord calls us to holiness and does not fail to offer us all the help so that we can become more and more conformed to him in charity.
4. Always keep in mind what the prayer of the ninth Sunday of Ordinary Time says: “Deus, cuius providéntia in sui dispositióne non fállitur, …”. The correct translation should be this: “O God, whose providence is not mistaken in his dispositions …”. The translation of the Italian Episcopal Conference is instead the following: “O God, who in your providence arrange everything according to your plan of salvation …” Yes, the translation of the Italian Bishops’ Conference is fine too, but there is no emphasis on the fact that God is not mistaken even in his permission.
5. You start your email by asking yourself: “Where is the Church going”. From what you write one would conclude that she is drifting. But this is a human judgment. I would like to say: “It is a worldly judgment” that is according to the world. It is not a judgment that looks at events with the gaze of faith, which is the very gaze of Christ and God Himself.
6. In reality the Church is also now moving towards Christ. Everything that Jesus, her Spouse, disposes and allows in the present moment turns to a single purpose: to unite more and more to him in charity. The words that the Holy Spirit said about Jesus Christ also apply to the present time and to the vicissitudes of each of us: “For in him were created all things in heaven and on earth, the visible and the invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers; all things were created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together” (Col 1,16-17) and “No, in all these things we conquer overwhelmingly through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor present things, nor future things, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Rm 8,37-39)
7. In this situation the Lord always wants you to always be “more than a winner” thanks to the one who loved us. Remember: always more than a winner, and not always more disappointed or more and more disoriented and defeated. But such you can only be if you continue to look at ecclesial events with the purest gaze of faith and not with that of worldly logic that you yourself rightly reject.
I wish you all the best, I entrust you to God and I bless you.
p.s. on the virginity of Mary not only after childbirth but also in childbirth cf. the answer published at another time: According to one of our visitors, Jesus being born would have broken Mary’s virginity because He wanted to be born like all the other children of this world.