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Unlike the past great crises that have plagued Catholicism, which often tended to create visible rifts and invoke clear passion from both sides of the struggle, the current plight facing the Church is being met with wholesale ignorance. Despite its unprecedented scope, it is very much a "hidden" crisis.
Also in contrast to past controversies, such as the Arian crisis or the Protestant revolt, the present catastrophe, finds Catholics worldwide "weighed down with carousing, drunkenness and the anxieties of life" and oblivious to even the existence of a great spiritual battle. While the Mystical Body of Christ suffers in the Garden of Gethsemane the clergy and laity sleep, unaware of the great turmoil occurring within feet of them.
That itself is the distinguishing part of the modern crisis that sets it apart from all the crises of the past: that people are unaware there even is a crisis.
As is generally the case, "secular" crises are never truly limited to the temporal elements of society; there is nearly always an underlying spiritual dilemma which precedes and then carries the following societal catastrophe. The French Revolution is often portrayed as a triumphant — albeit bloody — struggle for glorious freedom; it is generally ignored that the substratum of the 1789 revolt sought freedom from God and an elevation of man to take His place.
Additionally a crisis can often take decades for the lit fuse to reach the dynamite and decades more to realize the full extent of the damage once the smoke has cleared. With the storm of societal unrest breaking in the 1960s, five decades of turmoil has run rampant through the culture and the Church. The process of tallying the losses has only begun.