The fact that the Church is of God and exists because of supernatural life, is today made to correspond to an absolute prohibition of worrying about Her future in the world.
Nowadays, whoever dares express in public their disquiet about the destiny of the Bride of Christ in the world, is immediately assaulted by a mighty chorus of judging voices that cry: “How dare you be so pessimistic, the Church belongs to the Lord, it is not right for you to speak like this, She is never going to be abandoned by God.”
In Catholic environments, you can hardly express anymore a realistic judgment about the situation in the Church. Recently, for example, an inquiry by Cesnur* [the Italian Center for Studies on New Religions] reveals that 70% of Italians are “a long way away from religion” and go to Church only for weddings and funerals.
We would like to add, that the majority of these occasional frequenters to the Church find themselves at weddings and funerals where God or Grace are not spoken of anymore, because the men and women who are marrying or have died are souls that are too busy being celebrated (by the community), with the result that not even at these sporadic events, Christianity is being presented.
So, if a man dares express great concern about the stability of Christianity in our lands, he is immediately branded with the label of pessimist and a man of little faith.
We do not go along with this way of reasoning and of action (rather non-action) because the disaster is visible for all of us to see!
For sure, they will tell you that the few Christians that remain are infinitely more mature, more “adult” in the faith than those of the past. We have some doubt about this, seeing that the Christians in the past made society Christian, (whereas) the Christians of today do not produce anything, apart from giving moralistic support to a liberal, tired world which is not in the least Christian under any aspect whatsoever. The hour has come to say “stop” to this seeming tranquility, which denies the evident collapse of the presence of the Church in our lands.
This is a crisis without precedent: no more believers and no more priests: it is a wasteland of Religion backslidden into neo-paganism smattered with a dash of natural religion which tranquilizes consciences at particular moments in life – and nothing more.
Is it against the virtue of Hope to speak thus? No, we do not think so!
Suffering because of the pitiful situation in the Church does not mean we do not believe in the intervention of God, Who from the wreckage of our sin is able to resurrect Christianity. On the contrary, it is the responsibility of the Christian, first the priests and then the faithful, to record the unhappy moment and invoke the mercy of the Lord upon His Church – and all of us.
Every serious amendment to life starts with this realism: look at where you have ended up forgetting God, and then with His Grace, convert! This is true for the life of an individual, but it is also true for the entire life of the Church.
All of the souls who have loved God and the Church, His Bride, have done so. The saints have done so. We would also like to do so: uniting and not dividing, facing up to the dramatic state of affairs in the Church, with unshakeable faith in the Power of God’s Grace, Who will not abandon humble penitents.
In this bulletin, we would like to offer some short passages about the history of the Church, published in the 1920s in “ The Knight of the Immaculata” by Father Maximilian Kolbe – a true saint, a Franciscan in love with the Immaculata. Here he writes about the History of the Church confronted dramatically with the evil which besieges Her, but in writing this, he expresses unshakable trust in Her perennity through the Grace of God.
This is the only truly Catholic way of proceeding with the present situation in the life of the Church, taking to heart Her destiny in a responsible way. Even if She is in the hands of God, She is also entrusted to our Christian responsibility – first the priests and then the faithful.
The Church of Christ confronted with Her enemies
The present situation
All over the world, a war is being waged against the Church and the care of souls. The enemy is manifested under many guises and under different names. It is no mystery that socialism takes advantage of the workman’s poverty in order to inoculate him with the poison of disbelief. We see how the Bolsheviks cut down religion at its roots. We hear about the doctrine of the materialists who reduce the world to that which is known immediately through the senses and so are persuaded that there is no God nor immortal soul. Theosophy spreads religious indifferentism, the Jehovah Witnesses and other protestants are increasingly recruiting new members with great sums of money. All of these battalions are united on a common front against the Church. (The Knight of the Immaculata no.2. 1923, p.2; P. Jerzy Domanski, Co dzien ze sw. Maksymilianem, Niepokalanow 1994, p.83 -84).
But the greatest enemy armada appears after these forerunners: the prime enemy, at the same time the strongest and the most dangerous, is freemasonry. That the fleet of protestant sects is effectively the vanguard of freemasonry is acknowledged explicitly by the organization “Wolna Mysl”: “Having confessed our complete independence in recognizing the values of the Church of the people (name of “the old Catholics” in Poland) we can, however, like that of the other protestant sects, support their battle against the supremacy of the Roman Church.” (Manuscript: The real enemies of the Church; P. Herzy Domanski, o.c., p.84).
The Church of Christ confronted with Her enemies
This black wave of hate which overwhelms the Catholic Church today shakes us, and fills us with fear and dark thoughts…
[T]he most painful blows that the Church received were those involving scandals and internal division, which oppressed Her in the 9th and 10th centuries. The bishops were often courtiers and warriors more than servants of God; even some Popes rendered their office unworthy of the Vicar of Christ. Then agonizing years followed, in which there were two or three popes, who fought each other, but, let us be clear, there was only one true Pope! These were terrible times for the Church!
Any other institution would have collapsed under the ashes and ruins. But the Church liberated Herself from all of this and did not crumble. The whole world had been bent on Her destruction, but Christ’s promise was not contradicted.
The stage in the 16th century witnessed the appearance of Luther, Calvin, Zwingli and Henry VIII, as well as many others. Their heresies cut the Body of the Church into pieces. Entire nations and countries ended up succumbing. Until this day there are still different countries where it is hard to meet even one member of the Church. Despite all of this, the Church is still on Her feet – She did not fall: on the contrary, even after such losses, She enjoyed a new prosperity and was even more powerful than before. She turned Her attention to the pagans in order to convert them, and received millions of them into Her bosom.
The Protestants introduced a slackening of morals. The effort of the Jansenist sect was directly against nature. ... According to them, laughing, joy, and merriment were all considered a betrayal of the Spirit of Christ! But they also have disappeared!
In the 18th century, the Church was dealt the hardest of blows: rationalism, which did not battle simply against this or that religious dogma anymore but prospered and fought against religion itself. Atheism! Man created only for earthly happiness! Not created, but … somehow appeared (on the earth) by chance. It was said that he had descended from the monkey, evidently… to free him of all responsibilities. A monkey has no need of religion, a monkey will not be judged. These are certainly comfortable principles, but they are also degrading! Today the rationalists continue to make a lot of noise, but at the present time, religion is replaced by spiritism and hypnosis etc., and all of these are waging a battle against the Church!
Yet, She is still on Her feet, indestructible, immutable. All around Her everything else passes away: not only the most ingenious institutions, but also countries and peoples; as for the Church, She remains. This is a marvel to behold!
And so She will face the present attacks in the same way. Her members, taken individually, may fail, if they are not careful to remain in intimate union with the Church, but the Church will never be brought down. Furthermore, entire countries may separate from Christ’s fold – the only one which leads to salvation -, but the Church in Her essence, will never be destroyed. May Our Most Holy Mother, Queen of Poland, preserve us from this evil, which is the most evil of all! (“The Knight of the Immaculate” no. 7 1929, p.p. 195 – 197).
[From the July 2012 editorial of Radicati nella Fede, bulletin of the Catholic community of Domodossola and Vocogno, Diocese of Novara, Italy. Text taken from Una Fides (see our sidebar). Tip and translation: Contributor Francesca Romana]