Dies Irae, Or: Reprobation In The Time Of Godlessness
I have written many times about Garrigou Lagrange's affirmation that it is reasonable to suppose that the majority of those living in Catholic Countries avoid hell. Very reassuring, for sure.
However, Garrigou Lagrange was writing this in the Fifties, when Catholic Countries or territories like France, Italy, Spain, Austria or Bavaria were almost totally, and extremely solidly Catholic.
Nor were those the Catholics of today. Very many of them not only went to Mass at least every Sunday, but stood pretty near to the Sacraments, knew about salvation more than Francis ever imagined and had, crucially, a great fear of the Lord, which is the beginning of wisdom.
If we compare them with today, we see how Catholicism has today become such a thin varnish that I seriously, seriously doubt Garrigou Lagrange would make the same claim today.
Today's “catholics” not only don't go to Mass, but they consider it utterly normal to call themselves (if they must) Catholic whilst making their own religion. They tattoo themselves (grave matter!) without a second thought; try to tell them this is grave matter and you will likely be insulted. They contracept, fornicate, often abort. They distance themselves from everything of the Church past and present that does not square with their own personal theology. Most importantly, they have no compunction about any of this.
In all ages, people have sinned. But in a strong Catholic culture with a strong fear of the Lord, repentance followed the sin, and most people were reasonable enough to be afraid of what a sudden death might do to them.
Perhaps even more importantly, a strong Catholic culture naturally enforced Catholic behaviour in the public square. When I was in grade school, not one of the pupils either in my or in my siblings' classes was the son of concubines (this was very easy to see then, because the wife had to take the family name of the husband). Not one. The scenario is inconceivable today even in once Catholic Italy. You want more? I knew the first guy who lived more uxorio when I was fifteen (a young teacher at my school). I knew of the first non Jewish boy who was not baptised when I was nineteen, and I still remember mine and my classmates' shock. I never had a school mate with tattooes.
It was all normal then, but it seems unbelievable today. Today we live in an age of mass rebellion. Still, we think that we should have access to the same mercy our forefathers (who would have been terrified I do not say of concubinage, but of a tattoo!! Something considered the preserve of godless Mariners, Pirates and jail inmates) earned with their fear of the Lord and their access to the Sacraments.
There is a big difference between, say, the girl who sleeps with her bethroted and is afraid of hell for that and the girl who sleeps with her boyfriend and thinks that she is right, because lurv. The first one is, clearly, also in danger of damnation, but she will always have access to a mercy the second one has cut herself out of. Still, there seems to be this thinking according to which God's mercy is something due to us, whilst we rebel to Him not out of weakness, but of sheer hubris. This thinking is so spread today that it is, actually, the default position among many who call themselves Catholic, let alone those who don't.
Fools, all of them. Fools in this generation as in every other before or after, because the rules don't change according to what you think about them. And yes, let us hope that the Lord will look with more mercy on the poorly instructed; but don't expect Him to have the same attitude with those who thought they had no need of, or even resented the instruction.
If we asked our Grand-Grandmother what the probable destiny of a person is who never darkened a church in decades, lived in sin and boasted of it, and died suddenly or anyway unrepented, said grand-grandmother would think we are pulling her leg, and we certainly weren't born Sherlocks. She might dismiss our statement as a bad joke. She might even (if she takes us seriously) slap us in the face for our obvious lack of fear of the Lord. Interestingly, it is very reasonable to assume that our Grand-grandmother would refuse to recognise the vast majority of our Catholic neighbours as Catholic in any way, shape or form. She would, on the whole, be pretty right.
Heck, I wonder how many children in once Catholic Italy are today actually not even baptised, as their vaguely deist parents think that 'ceremonies are not important' and 'God does not care for formalities'. These are, of course, the offspring of parents who did not believe fornication can lead you to hell if there is lurv, and such rubbish.
Let's get rid of the rules. I want to have it my own way. Father Faggot, whom I still despise, seems to think the same anyway. I think him an idiot, but I will use his godlessness whenever it's convenient to me.
Does it mean, then, that we live in a time in which the majority are Reprobates? I cannot see how it could be any other way, and it seems to me that those born now are in a much worse situation than those born only 20 or 30 years ago. Logically, it really cannot be any other way.
If the difference between a strong Church which rigidly enforces Catholic living and the pathetic, effeminate church of today showering her mercy talk on every fornicator is non existent or very little, then the Church has no importance. If a life of fornication gives me the same chances of salvation as a life of abstinence, let me grab those titties! If salvation is showered in the same way on a faithless and on a faithful generation, we and all our forefathers are idiots.
However, we aren't idiots. We are, actually, pretty smart; because we have the fear of the Lord, which is the beginning of wisdom. A wisdom of which most of this generation seems utterly deprived. It was this wisdom that kept old sinners near the Sacraments and, in the end, out of hell. The current crop of heathens and self-appointed mini-messiahs has nothing of it. They march toward their judgment in the utter persuasion of their goodness, and in the entitled expectation of whatever salvation they think might exist. They literally think that if there is a God they deserve salvation because they love polar bear cubs.
This is the the thinking of heathens. We know (or do we know it still?) where most of them end.
So yes, we are probably living in an age of mass Reprobation; and this mass Reprobation is made evident to us every day, in that we see that very many around us actually live like picture book reprobates: fornication, concubinage, rejection of the sacraments, tattooes , abortions, soon euthanasia….
and not a care in the world beside climate change.