Church, Caudillos, Cojones
The Holy Father will soon visit Spain for the World Youth Day. He will find a country where Catholicism has been in steady decline for some time. This is the same, though probably even more marked, that has happened in France, Italy and the Catholic part of Germany.
I look at all those countries and my answer to who is the culprit is always the same: the clergy. I have lived personally – and I do not doubt that the same has happened in the other countries examined – the simple reality that there has been no issue by which traditional Catholic practice or thinking has been attacked or dismantled, without prestigious members of the Clergy giving their support.
We live in times where bishops allow churches to be used by non-Christians; support the building of mosques; carefully avoid to mention I do not say Satan and Hell – whose existence they have long forgotten – but even the evil of abortion, or basics like Sunday Mass obligation; sabotage the sacredness of the Mass; downplay or do not believe in the Eucharist; downplay or do not believe in the Church as the way to Salvation; downplay or do not believe in the sacrament of confession. I could go on.
You tell me whether a national church whose clergy doesn’t even have the gut to forcefully remind the faithful of Mass obligation has any right to avoid being punished by the Lord with humiliation and decay. The Church (big C) is obviously indefectible, but the same guarantee is not given to the local churches, in Italy, France, Spain, Germany. If they insist in wanting to commit suicide, here and there they might even succeed.
This is exactly what is happening today, where we see a generation of cowardly or heretical or plain stupid bishops trying the possible and the impossible to please the young generations not by being Catholic, but by pretending to be young. The problem is that the Church is not sexy, and no disco-masses or similar bollocks will ever – thank God – make it so, nor will any dismantling of her liturgical apparatus make her attractive to secular minds. A church without sacredness is neither fish nor fowl: she is too boring for the worldly, and too shallow for the spiritual.
So, the Pope will visit a country with declining Catholicism. He will crowd the streets, as a Pope is always a media event. He will say the usual words that everyone is expecting to hear: be good, don’t be bad; be faithful, don’t be atheists; do things right, don’t do things wrong. To the bishop, he’ll give similar words: be courageous, don’t be weak; say it straight, don’t say it “nuanced”; be real bishops, don’t be fake bishops, & Co., & Co.
After which, he’ll go away leaving the same incompetent cowardly bishops free to continue the work of destruction in exactly the same way as they were doing before his arrival, and the church in Spain will continue to die exactly as she was doing before his arrival.
Mind, I do not think that they will succeed in this. The clergy, as Cardinal Consalvi reminded Napoleon and us, has tried to kill the Church for eighteen centuries and has never succeeded. But if the church in Spain avoids extinction, I think it will not be for lack of effort of her incompetent shepherds, but because the V II generation will not live long enough to see the work of destruction completed. Already the next Pope will be the first one in half a century not directly involved with V II, and from there the dynamic will take its own course. The first Pope with real chuzpah will be enough to repair if not all the damage, an awful lot of it. Catholicism is, if properly used, an extremely powerful weapon.
If the government of the United States embarks in a policy of senseless spending, sooner or later some rating agency will downgrade its debt. For the Church, the punishment is slower, but harsher. The Lord punishes the Church by making her weaker, allowing her to lose perspective and prestige, suffering that she be humiliated.
The Church in all Western European countries has been, as the Spanish experience abundantly proves, downgraded not of one, but of several notches. It is high time that those in charge (Pope, bishops) realise this simple, undeniable, plain to see reality and react accordingly. The Church in Spain is in decline because in Spain , as in many other countries, the clergy “no tienen cojones“. The sooner this very simple message is understood, the sooner the reconstruction work will start.
The present situation is like talking with a shepherd whilst more and more of his sheep fall into ravines, with the shepherd saying “you see, in these modern times more and more sheep are lured into the ravines” (no, they always were at risk; but they used to have good shepherds); “we admonish them not to fall into them, but we believe in sheep liberty and therefore can’t force them” (of course you can, you must, even!); “at the same time, we must be sensitive that we are not harsh to the sheep that are still alive, lest they throw themselves into the ravines, too” (gotta love the logic: don’t tell them not to fall, or they will fall). Whilst you talk with the shepherd, you see further sheep falling. The shepherd says to them “oh please sheep, be good, don’t fall into the ravines”, but stays there without moving one finger. More sheep disappear. The shepherd looks at you and says “sad, isn’t it? It’s the modern times, you know…”.
I do not doubt that the Papal visit will be a great media success, though…
Posted on August 9, 2011, in Catholicism and tagged Catholic Church, Catholicism, Conservative Catholic, conservative catholicism, Francisco Franco, Pope Benedict XVI, Spain. Bookmark the permalink. 13 Comments.