Some interesting interventions on my comment box led me to write my thoughts (purely subjective, of course) about the matter of the “Great Chastisement”.
Let me say first of all that I am not a prophet of doom, nor do I share the gloomy vision of the future I read around me in the comment box and elsewhere. I do not think Western clergymen are going to die in jail anytime soon (if they wake up, of course; which they most probably will), nor do I think in one or two generations Catholics will meet in catacombs. I have that sanguine attitude of your typical Southern European that does not negate a problem, but avoids painting the devil on the wall.
I was, therefore, asked how I think the “Great Chastisement” will take place if I do not go around talking of imminent nuclear catastrophes on a global scale, or the like.
In my eyes, when the priests abandon the right way of thinking, God punishes them by damning a greater, perhaps the majority of them. If it is true that a priest has a higher duty than a laymen, and will be judged with corresponding severity, I wouldn’t change my place with your average post V II, guitar-strumming, “modern” priest. Already this would be, if you ask me, a great punishment for the Church, albeit not at a level of “great chastisement”.
The matter becomes, though, more serious when we consider the effect bad priests (and bishops, and cardinals, and up) have on countless souls; souls which, whilst certainly helped to the error by the betrayal of the clergy to whom they have been entrusted, cannot get such easy get out of jail card and must accept a worrying degree of responsibility for their own betrayal. If, therefore, the role of the priests is to have an influence in the salvation of souls , it must perforce follow that an age of bad priests will have as consequence an age of damned sheep. Which makes sense, as in the end the sheep who insist in going astray can’t say they deserved so much better than the bad shepherds they got.
If I remember correctly, then Cardinal Ratzinger wrote something on the lines that when the bride of Christ behaves like a bad woman, the Bridegroom punishes her by inflicting disgraces like allowing heretical movements to wound her. Again, one sees a circularity in this, with the heretical sheep in the end deserving their heretical pastors and the relevant punishment.
If this is so (and I don;t think many will deny the fundamental soundness of the assertion bad priests = more souls lost), it seems to me that the great chastisement is happening every day, and has been happening for decades now: the great number of souls – on a planetary scale and for several decades, not in the relatively tiny number caused by this earthquake or that tsunami, or even the one or other war – who must have been lost because of the bad influence of Vatican II. It doesn’t need a genius to calculate that by more than two billion Christian souls (more than half the Catholic alone) the differential in damned souls between good church and bad church could (though no one can know with exactness; but just assuming good priests do make a difference) easily amount to several Holocausts.
This idea – which you find echoed rather incessantly in people like Michael Voris, constantly reminding his viewers of the great price paid in souls because of Church inaction – seems explained rather well here, and you will notice the prophetic words of Sister Lucia on the oncoming great attack on Catholic priests. Words more important, because the threats therein described seemed at the time not really realistic (yes of course there were ferments; yes of course there were strange around. There always are).
Therefore, yes, a great chastisement is certainly in place if we look at it from the proper, planetary dimension. But in the end, we are all judged the day we die, and there is no need of any more or less choreographic great show to persuade us such a chastisement has in the end come. Again, assuming – as it is reasonable to do – that good priests make a rather important difference in the economy of salvation than bad priests, then this difference must, on a planetary scale and in the course of several decades, vastly surpass every natural catastrophe or disease you can (reasonably) imagine.
Just my two cents, of course; but it seems to me this explains how one can consider the present situation as serious (which this blog incessantly does) without going around “promising” catastrophic events on a huge scale.