For the past week or so, I've had to split my usual duties here at the apostolate with taking care of my father, who has been hospitalized since more than a week ago with a pretty serious bout of pneumonia. Please keep him in your prayers. He's doing somewhat OK — all things considered — but is by no means in the clear. Spending so much time and rearranging my usual life around tending to him at the hospital has given me the opportunity to step out so to speak from the usual bubble of Church Militant. I've had to go to Mass and confession in places where I don't usually attend and wow! If I have ever had a doubt or wonder that what we do here is not sorely needed, I can dispel those doubts.
First, I went to Sunday Mass at a typical parish here in the incredibly shrinking, Alpha-loving archdiocese of Detroit — a parish much closer to the hospital where my dad is. Things are even worse than I remember. How about, for starters, the priest changing the words of the Creed? Yes, because, you know, the current one offends people, so let's just change it. Man, it's hard to sit through these stylized Masses "performed" by aging hippie-priests who are stuck in the 1970s.
The Church, you know, the one who owns the Creed, Her own Creed has the line "was incarnate of the Virgin Mary and became Man." Well, Fr. Hippie changed it to "was incarnate of the Virgin Mary and became one of us." I was so ticked off — as a committed Catholic should be — I very loudly yelled out "Man, became Man!" But the sensitivities of Fr. Hippie's aging parishioners are don't use terms or vocabulary that stress anything masculine so rob Jesus of His maleness.
There were about 100 people at the only Sunday morning Mass and sitting in the back row I could easily see the make-up of the congregation. In fact, the colliding of walkers and canes and oxygen tanks was a little startling because it shows just how aged and out of touch the Church of Nice is. It is dying and dying pretty quickly. Just as the various bishops all over the country who are trying to pry, however, many hundreds of millions of dollars from the near-dying hands of their parishioners because when they are dead, that's it. The young for the most part have already deserted the Church. So when this crop of bishops who have contributed to this spiritual madness die and stand before Our Lord, they will stand there with lots of cold hard cash in their hands but very few souls.
Want some more evidence of the rot? An Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion, an elderly lady, came into my dad's room to give him Our Lord. While she was there with Jesus present in the Blessed Sacrament, I knelt down. Just as she was leaving, and I started to get back up and sit down again next to Dad’s bed, she poked her head back in and said, "You know, I've been doing this for 11 years, and you are the first person who has ever knelt down." In the course of 11 years, she has undoubtedly been in the rooms of hundreds of patients with thousands of Catholic family members and not one has ever knelt down when Our Lord came in. Great work, bishops. Great work, clergy. Great work, you crazy, social justice nuns.
Want another? I went downstairs to Mass at the hospital — it's a Catholic hospital — for the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception. I arrived pretty early on purpose because I wanted to go to confession. So, I asked the priest, and he said he didn't have enough time to hear my confession. But he did say "let me give you absolution" which he did without confession. He then went on for a number of minutes to explain to me what general absolution was, a considerably longer time than my short confession would have taken. So, why not just hear my confession and give me absolution, like normal?
So, what have I seen in one short week outside the bubble of faithful Catholicism that I live in? Mind you, this was every "encounter" I had with the Church of Nice this week — a priest changing the words of the Creed; another priest giving absolution without hearing my sins and first-hand testimony of a complete collapse of belief in the Real Presence. And my goodness, this was all within three square miles within the archdiocese of Detroit.
Perhaps, the archbishop here, Allen Vigneron, who is running a $130 million fundraising campaign and pushing Protestant Alpha like his eternal life depends on it, maybe he should start stepping out a little more often. Because what's going on in this archdiocese which is going on in many of them is no way to save the Church. In fact, it's a virtual guarantee of how you make it vanish.
What has to happen to make particular bishops realize they are killing the Church in the West?