The Table of the Capital Sins [in the corners, the Four Last Things]
(La Mesa de los pecados capitales)
Museo del Prado [previously in the Monastery of San Lorenzo de El Escorial]
The Church exists for the salvation of man, every man, and not for making him conscious that salvation has already happened.
The difference is all in this. We are now in the midst of a Catholicism that has taken on another form. This fact is visible for all and clear to see. The concern is no longer for the salvation of souls. People who attend church will unlikely hear the following preached - which is the heart of Christianity: Our Lord Jesus Christ is the sole Redeemer, it is necessary to repent and change your life, to be baptized and receive the Sacraments and live in a state of grace for the salvation of your soul. No, all of this is not spoken about anymore. And we will see that it is so in this “Year of Faith”, when, alas, Church dates will be the main concern and the preoccupation for the salvation of souls will not be affirmed.
Why all of this? The reason is simple. After the Council a mutation of the Catholic Faith was in fact produced and now we are fully reaping the bad fruits.
Too many (almost all) have in their minds that the salvation of souls has already occurred and that, now, it is merely a question of making people aware of this gift from on high. This is a church that has shifted everything towards the human, to anthropology, to the comfort and well-being of the person - in search of happiness.
But – is this even Christianity? Did Jesus not come for the [simple] reason that without Him, we cannot be saved? Did He not die on the Cross to free us from the power of the Evil One and to re-open the gates of Paradise? Did He not command His disciples to preach the Gospel to the ends of the earth and to baptize? “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved, but he that believeth not shall be condemned.” Is this not how it is written?
You will wait in vain to hear “the churchman of the moment” speak to you about the question of eternal salvation on television debates about the Council. But if this is not what it is all about, what is the churchman doing there – and what about the Church Herself?
It so happened that we glanced on “LA7”* a Cardinal, the one from Milan, display a ridiculously blind Irenicism regarding the present situation in the Church (“When I visit the churches – they are always full”… “It is not true that there is a crisis”...), and hear him speak of an obscure Christianity in a speech that resembled more of a lesson in anthropology, and then [the same] reacting, irritated, to Professor De Mattei’s clear assertions on the dreadful crisis following Vatican II, while “the secular intellectual of the moment”, in this case Giuliano Ferrara,* recalls that it is necessary to speak also about Hell as well as the “fullness of mankind” brought about by Christ. This is how far we have gone: those outside the Church remind the Church of the essentials, which She no longer preaches.
But be on your guard, all of this is more than dramatic, because changing the perspective means to change everything.
If the [Church’s] aim is to render this life on earth better and more conscious, and not [the goal] of eternal salvation, we are faced with a profound modification of Christianity - we are faced with a new religion, which is not that of Our Lord Jesus Christ. We are faced with the religion of man - not the religion of God.
A great and holy priest, Father Emmanuel André, called all of this “Naturalism”: everything is reduced to nature – to man. It is the greatest and most devastating cancer in Catholicism. The same Père Emmanuel said that it is necessary, when faced with this evil, to be “men of God”, “men of reaction”: both – to be of God and to be of reaction. Yes: it is necessary TO PRAY AND REACT and to say – enough! And not to have anything more to do with those who are shelving the Church and the Catholic Faith.
Our [true] shepherds are the those who are guarding Catholicism, not those who are selling out and transforming it into religious anthropology so as to enter the “cultural salons” of this stagnant Western civilization. How might we know if pastors are worthy to be listened to and followed? It is simple: if they are speaking about eternal salvation, if they are speaking about the Four Last Things: Death, Judgment, Hell, Paradise. If none of these ever appear in all of their talk, do not trust them – they have already changed the faith.
* La7, an Italian TV Channel, aired a debate on the Second Vatican Council on October 8, 2012.
* Giuliano Ferrara- Editor of Italian opinion newspaper “Il Foglio”
[November 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]