I was a lapsed Catholic. Moved by the obvious disinterest which priests around me showed in Catholic values and Mass attendance, badly catechised, and surrounded by a more and more secular world, I started to lose the habit of thinking with the Church that had been rudimentally transmitted to me as a child. Slowly, other things went out of the window, due to the influence of the secular values when one stops seeking the nourishment only the Sacraments can give. I preferred to consider abortion a terrible evil I would not have the courage to avoid, and preferred to leave it at that. I refused, or rather neglected, to think rationally about the necessary consequences of being a Catholic. I was the socially conservative version of the Cafeteria Catholic. I was disgusted by fags; but mainly only out of common decency, rather than of deeply felt religious values.
In all this, never one day, never one minute did I lose the faith in God. Feeling abandoned by the platitudes of the V II Church and not yet acquainted with Traditionalism (a movement I really discovered only in 2005, thanks to the Internet), I spent countless hours with “do it yourself” exercises, with up to seven different Bibles on my table, trying to understand and deepen the faith about which I felt so strongly, if confusedly, and which made me despise the secular priests of questionable virility I saw around me and on TV, and the shallow rhetoric of poverty and social justice that had nothing supernatural in it.
Faith is the biggest grace I ever received, and never losing faith for one second is, in itself, a grace in the grace. I feel as if a good God would patiently wait, through my Years Of Stupidity, until I finally found the fountain of pure water, Catholicism as it was always intended and had never been taught to me. Coherent, logical, manly, as beautiful and as hard as a diamond.
I confess that I suffer of “excessive doctrinal security”. I could, if it depended on me, depose Francis, defrock him, and send him to die at the stake without flinching; and I would be ready and proud to be called at my own judgment there, on the spot, whilst the Argentinian’s corpse is still burning, and the smoke still rising high in the Roman sky.
Faith is a grace, that I have obviously not deserved. But I think it my duty to make use of it, and help others along the way.
And I want you to see it, this faith. I want you to feel it, I want it to jump on you unexpectedly, like a lion. You may disagree with me, hate me, mock me. But my faith, you will not be able to deny or even ignore.
It is a grace. Fully undeserved. Given to a wretched sinner, concerned about his own salvation more than it’s comfortable to him. Given to him, I think, so that he may use it to help others.
However, even if I had not been graced with a strong faith, and had gone through periods of doubt – something up to now always spared to me, but common to even many saints in form of perceived distance of God from them, or of punishing spiritual aridity – never would I dare to present my doubts, my trembling and wobbling faith, as something desirable, or that makes me more “complete” than the one who never had such doubts.
“Never doubted God? You’re missing something, my boy’!”
Who would be such an idiot as to express himself in that way? Someone without faith, of course. Someone who cannot avoid thinking in totally secular terms, and likes it, and wants you to think in the same way. Someone who thinks so much in terms of moral relativism and pensiero debole, that he boasts of his own lack of faith.
Someone, in short, like this one.