Ralph Martin has written a poignant article highlighting the grave crisis in the Church with the now ever-growing exposure of terrible sex scandals and such in many priests and bishops. He does also show, at the close of such article, hope that the remnant of faithful Catholics will serve to revive and renew the Church.
I would like to build on this with a Scripture analogy, hoping that he does not mind. The dire situation that he describes entirely corroborates my seven letters treatment. To elaborate, let me start by saying that the following development does not require spiritual historicism, as in, that the ages of the Church in some partitioning must match up with the seven letters. It suffices to consider each letter as way to look at many times in Church history where a particular spiritual climate has existed. That being said, let us proceed as we remember this.
To start, in the seven letters discourse that I have linked above, out of the fullness of rigor therefrom, Sardis emerged as the fifth age of the Church by that model, and it was nothing short of our era, the modern minor secular apostasy.
And to the angel of the church of Sardis, write: These things saith he, that hath the seven spirits of God, and the seven stars: I know thy works, that thou hast the name of being alive: and thou art dead.  Be watchful and strengthen the things that remain, which are ready to die. For I find not thy works full before my God. Have in mind therefore in what manner thou hast received and heard: and observe, and do penance. If then thou shalt not watch, I will come to thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know at what hour I will come to thee.  But thou hast a few names in Sardis, which have not defiled their garments: and they shall walk with me in white, because they are worthy.  He that shall overcome, shall thus be clothed in white garments, and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, and I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels.
 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith to the churches.
Jesus said that it is a church that is rumored to be alive, but is dead. I saw this initially as the liberalism, its mind, or INTELLECT, being useless, dead fluff because of a hijacked, left-inclined "Spirit of Vatican II."
Too, of course, the world around the Church was dead because of apostasy, so that it regarded the true essence of the Church as dead, per the Two Witnesses and the Jairus' daughter.
But Jesus, toward the end of the fifth letter to Sardis, like how Dr Martin's article ends, comforts a remnant that have "not stained their garments," and that they shall walk with Him in white.
Of course, in the next age, by the same rigorous model, Jesus will visit the earth with the sixth age of Church history, the Age of Peace of His Mother, Philadelphia, which includes the vindication of the Church’s teaching.
What I then wished to apply from Dr Martin's article was that to say the church of Sardis was dead would not merely mean it is dead in INTELLECT, as above, because of mushy theology, but also dead in the WILL, or immorality. Indeed, the Church in the West is saturated with bishops and priests that are now being exposed as homosexuals and pederasters, and the yet hidden Masons, and Communists that Bella Dodd testified to decades ago. For decades, the unfaithful clergy and theologians have dumbed down the seminaries, preaching, catechesis, and so forth, birthing two generations of Catholics who are nearly all clueless about doctrine, and whose morals are no different than pagans. Hence, the will of the Church, sparing the remnant, has been dead as well.
But we are that faithful remnant, who are called to be true and loving and bold. We will build up the Church to prepare for Our Lady’s descent from Heaven spiritually to rest Her graces in nearly all men's hearts throughout the world, when all Church teaching will vindicated in humanity, Christians will be reunited, and a glorious age of love and peace shall ensue.
As [Cardinal Ratzinger] recently pointed out (in the context of the message of Fátima), we are not at the end of the world. In fact, the Second Coming (understood as the physical return of Christ) cannot occur until the full number of the Gentiles are converted, followed by "all Israel."
Approved Catholic mystics (Venerables, Blessed and Saints, approved apparitions) throw considerable light on this order, by prophesying a minor apostasy and tribulation toward the end of the world, after which will occur the reunion of Christians. Only later will the entire world fall away from Christ (the great apostasy) and the personal Antichrist arise and the Tribulation of the End occur.
Although this is not Catholic doctrine, arising as it does from private revelation, it conforms to what is occurring in our time, especially in light of Our Lady of Fátima's promise of an "Era of Peace." This "Triumph of the Immaculate Heart" (other saints have spoken of a social reign of Jesus Christ when Jesus will reign in the hearts of men) would seem to occur prior to the rise of the Antichrist. The optimism of the Pope for the "New Evangelization" and a "Civilization of Love" in the Third Millennium of Christianity fits here, as well. This would place us, therefore, in the period just before the events spoken of in the Catechism, that is, on the verge of the evangelization of the entire world. Other interpretations are possible, but none seem to fit the facts as well, especially when approved mystics are studied, instead of merely alleged ones.
And for them do I sanctify myself, that they also may be sanctified in truth.  And not for them only do I pray, but for them also who through their word shall believe in me;  That they all may be one, as thou, Father, in me, and I in thee; that they also may be one in us; that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.  And the glory which thou hast given me, I have given to them; that they may be one, as we also are one:  I in them, and thou in me; that they may be made perfect in one: and the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast also loved me.  Father, I will that where I am, they also whom thou hast given me may be with me; that they may see my glory which thou hast given me, because thou hast loved me before the creation of the world.  Just Father, the world hath not known thee; but I have known thee: and these have known that thou hast sent me.  And I have made known thy name to them, and will make it known; that the love wherewith thou hast loved me, may be in them, and I in them.
I know thy works. Behold, I have given before thee a door opened, which no man can shut: because thou hast a little strength, and hast kept my word, and hast not denied my name.  Behold, I will bring of the synagogue of Satan, who say they are Jews, and are not, but do lie. Behold, I will make them to come and adore before thy feet. And they shall know that I have loved thee.  Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I will also keep thee from the hour of the temptation, which shall come upon the whole world to try them that dwell upon the earth
Amen, let it come!
For the full Seven Letters Discourse as support and backdrop, see:
The Seven Apocalypse Letters Revisited: a Renewed View of the Ages of the Church