Church leadership has lost sight of the foundational truths of the Faith and how they are to be applied. This has been going on for centuries now. Too much recognition has been given to the worldly view of man, and not enough attention has been paid to the truthful view of man.
A great naïveté swept over the Church some centuries ago and remains today. The very notion of the Church Militant isn't even known, much less understood by the overwhelming majority of Catholics, large numbers of clergy included. Today, in more recent times, this naïveté has presented itself as the belief that if the Church simply dialogs with the world — whatever that means in theory, it has had disastrous effects in reality —that things will be okay, that the world will come to simply accept the glory of the Faith on its own merits if only the Church just keeps repeating them. That absurd view of things discounts the evil that is present within men, the evil to resist the truth and live in abandonment of it.
The current approach of dialog needs to be supplanted by the apostolic zeal of declaring the truth. The world needs to be told the truth, not entered in dialog about it. Dialog is for those who already accept the truth — as a means to deepen their love and understanding and appreciation and devotion to the truth. It is not for those who reject the truth because it lowers divine Truth to the realm of being able to be discussed. The Faith must be declared to unbelievers and discussed with believers.
There is no room for the notion of dialog in evangelization. One simple glance at the world will prove that such a tactic is fruitless — which is exactly why the world itself refuses to use that tactic. The world does not dialog with the Church. It ignores Her and screams its message of untruth as loudly as it can for anyone to hear. The world only engages in dialog with the Church as a means to disarm Her, to get the Church Militant to put down Her weapons.
So from within the Church, we hear the agents of the world dialog unceasingly about the need to dialog unceasingly. And there, the point of the dialog is simply to continue the dialog on the one hand, while converting the world on the other, using the dialog with the Church as a sort of diversionary tactic, appealing to Church leaders’ soft underbelly of mercy.
Mercy can only be effectively extended to those willing to receive it. For those who think they have no need for it, it is pointless. Likewise, dialog with those who have no sincerity in their hearts that they are wiling to admit they might be wrong in their view is pointless. It is that precise point why the Church can never enter into a dialog with the world. For dialog to be effective, there must be a willingness on each side to admit it is wrong or can learn from the other.
The Church has nothing to learn from the world — quite the opposite, in fact — and the world does not believe it is wrong, so dialog is pointless. This is what the Church has to re-learn, to reacquire: the truthfulness of Her own convictions, that the world is to be engaged to the extent that it is willing to be saved, not chatted with.
There has been a tireless brigade of those inside the Church, for reasons either of treachery or naïveté, who are happy to just keep chatting — the clerical chattering classes, you could call them. And what good has it brought about? It is the world who has converted large parts of the Church, not the other way around.
It is the Church’s duty to declare truth, to convict men in the truth of Heaven, period. The truth of Christ is compromised in these continual dialogs. And the reason it is is because the world never gives an inch in these encounters. So weak men in the Church look for ways to accommodate the unbending world by skirting around certain truths, laying aside this or that (for the moment, they tell themselves), but fail to ever pick up these laid-aside truths again. They buy the lie the world offers and look for ways to incorporate some aspect of the lie into the truth.
For example, the world lies when it says it is wrong to give offense. That’s a lie. It is wrong to look for ways to give offense, to intend to give offense — but it is not wrong to say the truth and the hearer to be offended by it. But weak churchmen buy the lie and begin a dialog already from the loser position because they have yielded in the “never give offense” area. How exactly, pray tell, can one say to the militant homofascist crowd that sodomy is evil without giving offense? And how, pray tell, can one speak of Catholic glory in the area of sexual morality without saying sodomy is evil?
Yet the malformed Churchmen want to avoid saying that — in fact, many are on record as saying we need to change the vocabulary, which of course changes the argument. They want to avoid that kind of verbiage because it gives offense. Well, it is offensive precisely because it is true.
Now, the long-term strategy of the malformed Churchmen, as opposed to the truly malicious Churchmen (of which there are many), is to try and talk the issue to death and wear down the world by going on continually about joy and the like. They are concerned, rightfully so, that saying things plainly will have the result of driving people away. And here is where they are wrong.
First, those they are speaking to are already "away" — and this includes many sitting in the pews. So it is not a question of being rude and causing people to leave. It is a question of trumpeting loudly what needs to be heard and allowing the few whose ears, through some mysterious movement of grace, will hear the message.
This is what the Apostles did. Did most of those who were already "away" not like the message, take offense to the message? Sure they did. And the more the Apostles preached it, the closer they moved to their martyrdoms. But that is what Our Lord said would happen. The world will hate you. That's okay. It's to be expected.
Our Lord did not speak in non-offensive tones or words to the world. He said what He needed to say, based on what the world needed to hear — and He said most would be damned because they would not listen. But some would be saved through the direct preaching of the hard truths, the words that, at first, were offensive to them, but came to be loved by them as the words of everlasting life. The Church’s history is full of such people — people who were "away" and were brought in by the language of "offense" – what they considered offensive, but in reality is truth and beauty.
One such man — who wrote the first Catechism of the Church, the tireless Dutchman Peter Canisius, also a Doctor of the Church — was quite clear in his preaching about the effects of the truth as he tried to reclaim Catholics lost to the Protestant heresy. He said, "Better that only a few Catholics should be left, staunch and sincere in their religion, than that they should, remaining many, desire as it were, to be in collusion with the Church's enemies and in conformity with the open foes our faith."
So much for dialog with the world.