Rorate Caeli

"The Next Synod is a Battle between Christ and the Antichrist:
- On whose side will you stand?"

Luca Signorelli
Preaching and Deeds of the Antichrist (c. 1500 - detail)
Orvieto Cathedral, Cappella Nuova

Alessandro Gnocchi continues to be one of best commentators on the present state of the Church.  The following excerpt from his column in La Riscossa Cristiana is an example of his determination to see things as they are.  Gnocchi uses strong words that provoke thought:

[T]he Catholic world that is commonly called “not of the left” or “not progressive”, save the rare exceptions that are able to operate in a way that is truly going against the current, is made up of unconvincing intellectuals who are thirsting for legitimization, poor characters in search of an author who will put them on a stage and will make them recite whatever script is put in front of them.  In the meantime, while the puppets leap and dance, the little theater turns always more to the left until the mutation is complete.  The language, the themes and even the principles that until the last pontificate were considered as non-negotiable adapt themselves to a public that always wants more and better: from political collaboration to doctrinal concessions the passage is very short, especially if there is the incentive of receiving applause from the world.

[There are those who] are scandalized by the fact that whoever tries to voice an objection in the face of the current situation is quickly labeled as “a divisive person”…The tactic of accusing dissidents of being “people who divide” usually is employed by those in power or by the spineless. We must remember that often those in power are the spineless who happen to have a lever of power in their hands.  Whenever there is someone who dares to debate the issues in opposition, the ones holding power avoid the debate by withholding their own convictions and their real position, while the spineless avoid the debate because they have no convictions, and, if they have them, they do not have the courage to defend them. Nothing is easier than to hold up to public ridicule anyone who dares to crack the veneer of unity by delegitimizing him a priori; if he threatens unity, he is not allowed to speak.  Truth, with a capital T, succumbs to expediency.  Pilate, who prefers to remain a friend of Caesar, never stops looking for fellow travelers.

The Church of the last decades has functioned, or rather malfunctioned, by actually anchoring herself to a will to be the friend of Caesar.  She has been weak to the point of losing blood on the ground of doctrine and morality.  She has shown herself to be aggressive and unsparing in her repression and negation of every legitimate opinion that has the intent of reaffirming the doctrinal and moral truths. The result is to silence those whose intent is to defend her and to give free reign to those whose intent is to destroy her.  This methodology is highly praised and is put into practice from the very top down to the parish church.

But now allow me to offer some considerations on the subject of one of the little jingle tunes that are often whistled by those Catholics who say that they want to oppose the drift to liberalism and in reality do nothing except to chase after it and are always being a step behind. I will limit myself to speaking of this one jingle, which is the following:  “it is always better to do something even if it is not perfect than to do nothing.”  These Catholics, who perhaps should be more accurately called Catholics-lite [cattolichetti] because of the tune they are always whistling, have lost sight of the posture that the Catholic should always assume in confrontations with the world. In this way, by persisting in colluding and cooperating with the world, they have dulled their spiritual sense to the point where they are not able to comprehend the gravity of the times in which we live.

They take delight in idealistic political plans of action, while what is really going on is a war between Christ and the Antichrist on a scale never seen before, where the survival of the Catholic faith is at stake. I repeat:  we are in a battle to preserve the Catholic faith, and all the battles being fought on various fronts, even those that are so important like moral truth, are only the terrain of confrontation in a war that is much deeper, involving metaphysics and religion.  The most important thing in play is faith.  But faith is preserved whole and intact or it is lost.  You cannot preserve just parts of it according to taste or expediency.

The choices that are made regarding crucial elements of moral teaching, which touch upon human nature itself, are the sign that will show whether faith will resist or yield.  Because whatever accommodation, even one that is conceived as done for the good or perhaps using the moth-eaten concept of the “less bad”, represents an accommodation of the faith: a betrayal of Christ in favor of the Antichrist.  The world of today does not need a law that is a little less bad than another because, as the lite Catholics say, “it is better to do something, even if it is not perfect, than to do nothing”.  We are not fighting a battle to give something less bad to the world, but to remain faithful to Christ and his teaching, and only He can save the world.

This is what has made the Synod on the Family recently concluded so dramatic an event and will make the next one even more so.  What happened and will happen, will be not only a face-off between two different schools of thought, but the face-off between those who intend to preserve the Catholic faith as a whole and those who want to change it.  In a few words, even if we are talking about bishops, cardinals and the Pope and therefore my words may appear to you to be harsh, even there we are dealing with the battle between Christ and the Antichrist.  It remains only for us to choose which side to stand on.

[Source La Riscossa Cristiana - Rorate translation.]