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Starting premises, first principles, foundational things (whatever you want to call them) matter. And by matter, we mean they really matter because everything happens because of them. As my dad — God rest his soul — used to say, when you begin the game of chess, there is a huge number of moves you can make, but once you make that first move, all future moves are contained in it.
Stretching that further, as you make move after move, the number of possible moves keeps shrinking, keeps being reduced, until there are no more moves, and the game is over. In short, the final outcome is actually baked into that first move, so you'd better make the right first move, believe the right first premise. That's how it is with life, both on earth and, most importantly, the next life. So let's focus on the starting premise, which will contain within itself the final outcome.
First, God is a trinity, an undivided unity of three divine persons. That immediately eliminates all world religions except Christianity from any kind of consideration as being worthy of belief. Hinduism, Islam and so forth, are false because their starting premises are false and, therefore, lead to a false final outcome.
Then, within Christianity, based on the premise that the Eternal Logos incarnated to save humanity from its fallen state and consequent damnation, Jesus Christ established a Church — one Church. That immediately eliminates all other brands or flavors of Christianity except Catholicism from any kind of consideration as being worthy of belief because it was and is the Catholic Church alone that He established.
The Founder of the Catholic Church, being divine, therefore gives to the Catholic Church a single identity and purpose not present in any other religion or so-called church, no matter the intentions or goodwill of its members. See how the starting premise eliminates everything else very quickly. As the 19th-century Spanish philosopher Juan Donoso Cortés said, and we have repeated numerous times, "Catholicism is the law of life, the life of the intelligence, the solution of all problems. Catholicism is the truth, and everything that departs from it one iota is disorder, deception and error."
It must be that way if the starting premise is correct. Philosophy is very much like mathematics in this regard. The final outcome was, is and always will be just one correct answer. There cannot be many right answers. So where does this bring us with regard to the Church in the world (because in its material dimension, the world is where the Church exists in history and the day-to-day affairs of man)?
It's very simple, actually — since the Catholic Church was established personally and directly and uniquely by God Himself as the sole means for salvation, then it is at odds with the world, which is under the sway of Satan. The Church brings order; the world brings chaos. And these two are at war with each other until the end of time. It is only the civilizing influence of Catholicism that keeps the chaos at bay.
But there is a truthful extension here, a logical conclusion flowing from all this. If the world is descending into chaos, then the Church is in retreat. And, therefore, a second conclusion can be drawn: The state of the Church influences the condition of the world. In short, if you want to know the condition of the Church, just look at the condition of the world.
The world is in chaos today precisely because the Church is. Or, as we are fond of terming it, at the moment, the Church is a dumpster fire. For the past century or two, the world has been advancing on the Church at an ever greater rate, and the response of the shepherds has been not to push back and attack, but to fold and surrender.
African Cdl. Robert Sarah has put it very succinctly: "The Church is dying because her pastors are afraid to speak in all truth and clarity. We are afraid of the media, afraid of public opinion, afraid of our own brethren! The good shepherd gives his life for his sheep." That statement clearly defines the battle lines between the Church and the world. And notice who the esteemed cardinal identifies first as being "the world" — the media.
The proxy war being fought between the world and the Church is the one between the media and the cowardly bishops who will not stand up for the truth because of what will come their way. Remember that starting premise — it's the Church established by God and the world at war with each other. At any given moment, one is winning and the other is losing.
God permits the world to engulf the Church precisely to draw out, to bring forth, to summon from His faithful, to awaken in them, a sense of their true identity as warriors. As Pope Leo XIII so aptly put it: Catholics are born for combat. Given the ever-increasing advance and encroachment of the world on the Church, it is blindingly clear that too few Catholics are learning their lesson.
The Church is dominated by cowards and beta males, up and down from shepherds to influential laypeople. The cowardice and sense of "decorum" from those in high places inevitably trickles down to the common Catholic who thinks compromise, disguised as "charity," is the correct response. It is not — not even close.
You are only allowed to temporarily tolerate evil while at the same time working to eradicate it. A faithful Catholic (truly faithful) can never compromise with it, make peace with it. There is complete denial on the part of these leaders — bishops and laymen — that the world seeks to destroy the Church. That denial arises from a false starting premise, actually, many false starting premises.
But what is going on and advancing rapidly is undeniable and, most importantly, is being aided and abetted by these cowardly, weak men. When the Church is losing, then order is replaced with chaos. Take a look around and judge for yourself.