Coming to you from the ninth annual "Bringing America Back to Life Symposium" sponsored by the Cleveland Right to Life, events like this here in Cleveland, as well as many other pro-life rallies and conventions and so forth, are a kind of two edged-sword. It's awesome that they happen, and people come to them and great talks are given and ideas discussed and approaches to the latest evils figured out. But that's just it — the evil never stops coming. And, therefore, these conferences are a reaction, a response, to counter the evil of the Left. And that's just the way things are. The more conferences and so forth, the more indication that evil is pushing its case and must be pushed back against.
The Catholic life is just exactly this — a combat, a battle, a war, a never-ending story this side of death anyway, and that's just the way things are. Until Our Lord returns on the clouds of Heaven for the final Judgment, the war never ends, the fight goes on. Saint Paul told us this when looking back on his life as its end approached, he said, "I have fought the good fight." Our Blessed Lord, Himself, said only those who persevere to the end shall inherit salvation. And that's just the way things are.
So a true follower of Christ, while not happy that a war must be waged, must find happiness and joy in waging the war. You develop a love for the fight, not for itself but for the realization that without the fight, you lose. And in fact, the only way to win this battle is to die fighting up to your very last breath. It's why the Hail Mary concludes by asking for Our Blessed Mother's assistance "now and at the hour of our death." Fighting and the need to fight constantly in this life is just the way things are. But the quality of the battle and the underlying dynamics of the battle are something that can be altered through fighting. For example, the whole reason this symposium, as well as many other pro-life events, is even necessary is ultimately because leaders of the Church gave up the fight many decades ago. That gave evil the upper hand and whenever evil has the upper hand, it uses that momentum to crash through and destroy.
Only the Catholic Church has the power to fight evil and win. So when leaders in the Church send up the white flag, the world better brace itself for an onslaught of evil. This is the same message in essence delivered by Cdl. Robert Sarah, prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments, in a recent speech and later interview. His Eminence said:
From the moment that Catholics abandon the teaching of Jesus and the Magisterium of the Church, they contribute to the destruction of the natural institution of marriage, as well as the family, and it is now the entire human family which finds itself fractured by this new betrayal on the part of priests.
Shorthand ‚ if you want to know the condition of the Church, just look at the world.
Yes, boiled down to the local, this annual conference here on the outskirts of Cleveland is necessary because Catholic leaders have not defended their sheep. They rebelled against the Magisterium when it came to contraception. They rebelled by their silence when it came to abortion. They are continuing to rebel in their tacit approval of the homosexualism running wild in the Church, especially within the ranks of the clergy. Having put out down the weapons of war for phony-baloney excuses of accompaniment and meeting people where they're at, they have been bowled over by the rampant evil that has descended on the Church. And even now, many of the so-called good guys stand there with the deer-in-the-headlights paralysis while souls on their watch fall into Hell in the next life and lives are shattered in this life on the way to Hell. And that's just the way things are.
Church Militant has also brought up the point various times that the only plausible explanation for all this rot within the clergy is a loss of supernatural faith on the part of many members of the hierarchy and clergy. Cardinal Sarah had something to say on this point as well: "Faith has become lacking, not only on the level of the people of God but also among those responsible for the Church. Sometimes we can ask ourselves if we really have faith." Consider the profound reality of that thought: We can ask ourselves if the leaders really have faith. That's just the way things are right now, that is.
Of course, in the flow of 2,000 years of sacred history, there are going to be ebbs and flows of faith. But it would be pollyannaish to refuse to admit that right now the Church is in its nadir as every conceivable demographic points to the Church becoming essentially extinct in the next handful of years in the United States, naturally speaking? What this should inspire is not a discouragement but an encouragement, as in en–courage — a desire to join the battle, to become engaged, to sign up for duty and to rush headlong into the fight. The leaders have abandoned the people but that doesn't mean the sheep are left shepherdless.
Christ has left us His Church with every plan for battle that we need to increase in holiness — the goal of the Catholic life. And we have that Church even if the current leaders have left the Church in practice if not in office. It's clear from Cdl. Sarah's interview that he intimately understands the relationship between the condition of the world vis-a-vis the Church. Its why events like this are so necessary because what used to be able to be accomplished through the Church leadership, namely, the establishment of a moral society, is no longer achievable through the old means. So, now the battle has shifted from Catholic universities and chanceries and seminaries and cathedrals to engagements like this where the faithful may comfortably gather and join forces to combat the evil let loose on the world by the failure of leaders in the Church to retain their own faith.
We must pray constantly for Holy Mother Church. She is the Bride of Christ, established by Him as the sole means of salvation on earth. But owing to the hubris of leaders who themselves no longer believe that, then the laity must step up and assume their positions along the barricades of the spiritual war as it is fought in the culture until a new crop of leaders can arrive in the Church, and things can be set straight again. And that's just the way things are.