I see it more and more in a secular, lukewarm Catholic community. We’re getting soft. It’s enough that my religious ed students aren’t coming to Mass weekly because their parents don’t bring them. It’s enough that Mass times are reduced to 4 times a weekend, although there’s only one priest and he’s temporary as we await a new pastor. It’s enough that 90% of ‘Catholics’ I know hardly practice their supposed faith aside from ‘being a good person,’ whatever that means.
Don’t get me wrong; they’re lovely people and mean well, and I’m not actually judging. I know plenty of Pharisees who do all the ‘things’ with their faith but without as much love (1 Cor 13:1-13). What I mean is that we as a Catholic society have forgotten what our faith means, what living it entails.
Too many so-called Catholics are afraid to oppose pop culture. They want to be inclusive and fair and accepting, but they’ve forgotten that that excludes them from the faith. You cannot condone transgenderism and still be Catholic. You cannot accept abortion (the worst of all as it’s the killing of the most innocent!) and still receive Communion. You cannot vote for anyone who opposes the most basic of human rights (such as life) as still claim a Catholic faith. Yes, all fall short (Rom 3:23) but we must strive to live our faith, even if it means failing sometimes. That’s what confession is for.
Which brings me to a more disturbing matter: the fall of priests. When our very shepherds are failing to guide us and even lead us into the lies of this world as though they were okay, we are truly falling as a faith community. I went to Confession recently and the priest more or less told me I didn’t need to be there and that I could just as easily confess to God privately. Now, Mass was about to begin in the next ten minutes and he was clearly bothered by my coming to the Confessional at that time. It was the most dismissive, loveless, rushed ‘sacrament’ I’d ever experienced. I was floored but, knowing him, not terribly surprised. I pray for that man though surely not enough. I may pray for the congregation more. Are our priests becoming so soft that we’re bothering them by seeking sacraments?
Too easily people are being told that being Christian is being a good person but so few know what that means. If I’m a good parent, I don’t let my child do whatever he wants. What if he wants to eat cookies all day or play in traffic? I’m content letting him cry because he doesn’t get his way, but it seems some priests don’t feel the same about their flock. Marriage isn’t what it used to be, the consecrated sacrament of bringing forth new life. I feel that was the crux of the downfall of society. Now, it’s only becoming worse.
Who has the courage to stand up against all this? We can’t tell our brethren when something is wrong for fear of offending someone? Now even our priests might downplay the Holy Sacraments for convenience, brushing them off as an old tradition? Who will speak up? If no one speaks up, the very rocks just may (Luke 19:40)! We need to stand up for our faith and it needs to be done with love. We can be true to our faith and do it lovingly. We must pray, seek the Holy Spirit’s guidance, and speak the Truth. If we don’t and the rocks do, I fear what that will mean for our future.