After the craziness of the past month, instead of presenting our Vortex episodes, we are going to be spending this week thinking and talking about what all this means. The Synod, the characters at it, the conditions which have led to it, the larger conditions in the Church which have led to these conditions and so forth.
There is no one single issue to point to, and frankly, affairs are clipping along at such a pace that even while we were on the ground in Rome, the various storylines were changing so fast, it was nearly impossible to keep up with them and report on them. Now it's time for a breather.
What we are seeing right now is the result of what has been filtering through the Church for the past 500 years, but most especially for the past century, with an emphasis on the past 50. Things have reached such a crescendo that, in many ways, the Faith is no longer recognizable. It has been defaced, sometimes on purpose, sometimes through negligence. If this reality doesn't cause you great sorrow for the Church, then this apostolate, this website, isn't for you. The work we do here will hold no interest for you.
But if you are troubled over all of this, everything — the Synod details, the goings on in your local parish, the state of affairs in your diocese — then ChurchMilitant.com is a home for you. ChurchMilitant.com was born from the work of our apostolate, St. Michael's Media, which is now entering its 10th year this month. We established it precisely because of what we saw as a lack of understanding and self-identity among Catholics.
The crystallizing moment was the book-movie combo of The DaVinci Code back in 2005–2006. We called the archdiocese of Detroit and volunteered to help in whatever way we could to protest, etc. We were told by the communications director that the archdiocese wasn't going to do anything because, in their estimation, "pickets sell tickets," and nothing should be done.
"Do nothing" — that seems to be the only response that is ever considered by official Churchmen these days — do nothing. Don't draw attention, don't rock the boat, ignore the controversy and so forth. It is precisely this mindset so dominant in the Church since at least the end of Vatican II that has contributed to the wreckage we see now. The crisis in the family that is now so visible didn't just fall out of the sky. It has been brewing for most of the last century, and certainly accelerated since contraception became a household practice.
For example, why are today's leaders in the Church so willing to let things go by unaddressed to the degree they do? These men didn't just arrive on the scene from nowhere. They came from Catholic families that were probably pious and devoted, but that was it. Before they are priests, they are seminarians. When they arrive in seminary, they arrive with the formation they received from their families. If you don't have strong Catholic clergy, that's a sign that something may have been amiss in the family as far as religious or doctrinal formation went. And we shouldn't be surprised by any of this. Saddened, yes. Concerned, yes. And we need to figure out what to do.
It's beyond clear that a massive groundswell of faithful Catholics needs to form by coming together and doing what so many in leadership roles are not doing:Instill the Faith in a meaningful manner so that we are able to resist what is coming our way. In ways not altogether obvious to us as we have moved along in this apostolate, that's what we have already been doing in fits and starts. But given the dimensions of the crisis we are now in, it needs to take on a whole different dimension, an entirely new burst of energy aimed at emphasizing the glory of the Catholic faith.
We need to be able to speak more often to seminarians, for example. Their formation comes from many different informal sources; we need to be one of them. We have met and know many fine young men who want to respond to the crisis, but are often stymied in their efforts by a crisis of lethargy, a lack of zeal, an encouragement to not rock the boat — in short, the same old message we have all been hearing for decades.
Saint Michael's Media, our sister organization here at ChurchMilitant.com, is responsible for the theological programming we produce. We need to expand this and without delay. We need to be able to increase our reach to seminarians with programs, webcasts, seminars. We need to be able to talk to young men who are considering the priesthood, and talk with them plainly. We need to be able to do this with the means of contemporary communication, which means the Internet and social media.
Saint Michael's Media was originally founded as an apostolate for television. After one of many visits from the holy Fr. Pablo Straub, when he said to me, "Michael, we need to bring Christ to the Internet," we changed direction and began evolving toward Internet outreach. We are now ready for a major expansion in this regard, and we want and need your help to do it. We are asking you to support our efforts in expanding what we do and need to do more of: helping form a truly Catholic mind among young men considering the priesthood as well as the families that produce these young men. In response to current affairs in the Church, we want to increase the amount of production, the type of production, the space for production, the personnel for production, the quality of production and so forth.
Saint Michaels's Media is looking for supporters willing to donate $25 a month to help with this undertaking, which is going to be consuming. It's a campaign built around the theme of Resistance — resisting the temptation and the push to marginalize the faith, to accede to the demands of the world to sit down and not rock the boat. We will not. We will resist, for the sake of Our Blessed Lord and Holy Mother Church. We will resist.
We are already working on a simple guide to help people talk to their friends and families about current issues facing the Faith. The need in the Church these days is overwhelming, but it can only be addressed by Catholics willing to step up and actually do something about it.
For the first 500 supporters of St. Michael's Media willing and able to commit, we're happy to send you a complimentary copy of the new book MILITANT, which is approaching 2,000 copies in sales in just the first three weeks.
We all need to get something going, to join together — a movement needs to begin, a massive effort born from a deep love of the Church that says we are sick and tired of the Faith being mauled, of the Church being disgraced. And we need to begin right at the root of the problem: the destruction of the families and the young men who emerge from them willing to fight for the Faith, but who get beaten down.
Please join us in this work, the work of the Church. Please click the donate button and become a monthly supporter of St. Michael's Media.