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The germs of modernism continue to wreak havoc on the Church and the world, but the faithful must not be upset and frightened so quickly. This from Cdl. Walter Brandmüller, whose words recently appeared on German-speaking Catholic News.
Brandmüller references St. Paul's second letter to the Thessalonians, in which the Apostle to the Gentiles addresses that city's faithful, who feared the Lord's return was imminent. "We ask you ... be not easily moved from your sense, nor be terrified," Paul wrote, and Brandmüller borrowed, sprinkling the saint's words throughout his own address.
Brandmüller is a champion of orthodoxy and no stranger to what's playing out in the Church, being one of the four cardinals behind the dubia sent to the pope in 2016 over Amoris Laetitia.
Two of those four cardinals have since died, and the pope has yet to reply. The German prelate summarizes the current state of affairs, noting the Church, especially in Europe, continues to experience a mass exodus so extreme, it would've been unthinkable even under socialist dictatorships of the 20th century.
Brandmüller laments it's no longer merely lukewarm Christians leaving the pews empty, but now many, who are perplexed and disappointed, are no longer able even to recognize their familiar Church. He offers this latter group as an explanation why some seek a spiritual home in communities connected to tradition.
The cardinal speaks clearly of mass apostasy, loss of faith, moral arbitrariness and a cooling of love, but explains the widespread collapse of religious practice is nothing new.
Brandmüller harkens back to the 19th century, which saw a secularization of church structures, many priests leaving, empty seminaries and many remaining priests conforming to the rationalistic enlightenment by viewing themselves more as educators and social workers.
He notes the liturgical attempts in Germany at the time showed an alarming loss of supernatural faith, with priests preaching on baby care at Christmas and the reawakening of nature after winter at Easter.
Their sermons were godless, the prelate continues, just as many are today, even if (technically) different topics like climate change and a message of "all are welcome" are the order of the day. But in the midst of so much destruction and confusion, the faithful must remember that they are not persevering on their own human strength, he encourages.
Brandmüller reinforces Church teaching that believers are imbued with supernatural grace: "The ability to believe, hope and love are graces of God that are given, as it were, poured into the redeemed person in the sacrament of baptism."
Brandmüller also reminds the faithful that the Church follows Jesus to Golgotha, knowing it's the way to glory.