A pretty good summary of the devastation facing the Church in our day July 15, 2015Posted by Tantumblogo in abdication of duty, Basics, catachesis, disaster, episcopate, error, foolishness, General Catholic, history, persecution, reading, scandals, secularism, self-serving, the struggle for the Church, Virtue.
The following excerpt comes from the conclusion to Donna Steichen’s book Ungodly Rage: The Hidden Face of Catholic Feminism. It presents an interesting analysis to me, a relatively recent convert, given that it was written in 1990. It describes the same crisis we face today. I will not include her great hopes for the future, hopes which may have seemed viable in 1990 or even 2012 but in 2015 seem as unrealistic as the most distant fantasy. I did find, however, that the definition of “orthodox,” at least the general perception of it, has, I think, moved closer to the pre-conciliar Faith since the time of this writing, or at least it had prior to the past 2+ years.
Anyway, I thought it made interesting and informative reading. She is a talented writer (from pp. 371-374):
To view the devastation all at once is almost overwhelming. The unvarnished reality is that the faithful remnant of believers are living in the catacombs of an American Church under the domination of revolutionaries within a decadent secular society. Where, we ask, are our shepherds? [Generally shirking responsibility or committed revolutionaries themselves, a few notable exceptions granted] How could God let this happen? [For many reasons] If the Church can fall into such disarray, is she after all the true Church? [Certainly] Is there hope for her restoration? [Supernatural hope, certainly. Natural hope….I think we’re down to supernatural at this point] How can we and our children survive as Catholics until order is restored? [Homeschooling, the TLM, traditional parishes, pre-conciliar books (even better, pre-20th century books), prayer penance]
The American Church is convulsed by a lack of courageous leadership. [It’s everywhere, not just here] What can explain the episcopal impotence so widely apparent? Twinges of guilt for past condescension?…….Hope that feminism will subside unconfronted? Dread of public criticism by feminist partisans in the media? Are bishops overawed by assertive women with graduate degrees? Or, feeling helplessly swept along by a torrent they can neither understand nor control, do they choose to ignore blatant disorders in order to keep their burgeoning bureaucracies staffed? Any of those explanations would seem more humanly comprehensible than bias in favor of a revolution in which their own offices are prime targets………[I don’t think Steichen could countenance the fact that many in the episcopate, especially at that time (and increasingly today) were thoroughgoing modernist/progressive types committed to creating a “new church.” That, I think, is a prime reason for failure of episcopal duty, that, and general lethargy and cowardice on the part of most bishops who simply want to be left alone to continue their ladder climbing, and will thus kowtow to whoever they perceive has the loudest voice.]
The North American bishops have shown in other circumstances that they are capable of brusqueness. However they justify it in their own consciences, during the past generation they have not only tolerated but enforced discrimination against the non-feminist majority of Catholic women, often poorly instructed but meaning to be faithful, trying to live their vocations against the stream of mounting modernist influence within the American Church. Orthodox laywomen, disturbed about aberrant liturgical practices, spiritual direction, catehetics and sex education, have been either ignored or reproved for divisiveness. Meanwhile, women involved in the most egregiously offensive “Catholic” feminist activities have been given approval, a respectful ear if they want one and promotion in the religious bureaucracy. [So, I have to ask……could that response, and it occurred almost everywhere, be driven simply by fear of bad PR or by mere shirking of duty, or was it because at least a very large number of bishops were basically won over to the feminist-progressive worldview? How many bishops voted for Obama, again?]
The bishops do not see the problems that result when children are left to raise themselves because their mothers are employed away from the home…….They have not unambiguously enunciated the principles required for the healthy restoration of family life. Their most immediate pastoral duty in that regard is to remove the revolutionary vipers being cherished in the very bosom of the Catholic bureaucracy and to ensure that the Catholic Faith is taught in its purity and fullness. They are responsible before God for the spiritual welfare of their flocks; the souls of the faithful cannot be sacrificed to placate the unfaithful. [And yet they are! And 25 years later, even after over two decades of “conservative” pontiffs like JPII and BXVI, the episcopate in this country in particular still has not, almost universally, “unambiguously enunciated the principles required for the healthy restoration of family life.” In the interim, the family, in horrid shape in 1990, has all but collapsed in this year of our Lord 2015. We now have pseudo-sodo-marriage as the law of the land, and where are the bishops! Saying “attaboy!” and “way to go!” What Steichen probably did not know in 1990 was how many of these bishops were themselves of a most perverse orientation, and the implications that would have on the Church’s response to the left-engineered destruction of the family]
……In other, more general statements, bishops prominent in the USCCB speak so glowingly of conditions in the American Church as to bewilder the faithful. Everything would be rosy, their comments suggest, if it weren’t for those few troublesome lay and clerical “fundamentalists” in the ranks. [While I think the days of pretending all is rosy are behind us, that last bit is dead on. If only there weren’t those stubborn bitter clingers things would be so much easier! They could just get on with their creation of newchurch and not have to respond to the unanswerable objections of that mean ol’ remnant.]
The bishops’ behavior seems curiously self-destructive. If, as often claimed, their motive for doctrinal laxity has been ecumenical hope that separated Christians could be reunited through broader theological “pluralism,” they should by now have noticed that religion without doctrinal clarity produces only a unity of indifference. If their shift toward “social gospel” Christianity was motivated by a hope of attracting more converts or more young people, it should have expired years ago; far from attracting those groups, liberal Catholicism has repelled them, just as liberal protestantism has. By the time the American bishops took to doctrinal liberalism, mainline protestant sects were already emptying. Over the past 20 years, impressive denominational growth has been confined to the culturally despised “fundamentalist” churches that reject all explaining away of the meaning of Scripture or basic Christian doctrines. Historical-critical Scripture scholars notwithstanding, “modern man” has continues to flock to the fundamentalist groups. The only visible Catholic vigor has been in small orthodox groups and institutions……..[including] the small but intense schismatic traditionalist groups. [Excellent overall paragraph, disastrous ending. Look, this was written in 1990. It’s a product of this time. And…..to be honest, Steichen says she found her “orthodox island” in Communion and Liberation. That says a great deal. What was “orthodox” in 1990, at just about the high water mark of the initial modernist revolution, may not be so orthodox today, in spite of scandal at the highest levels. I must repeat, however, she overlooks a primary reason for all these things she deplores: the bishops themselves were products of the feminist dominated seminaries of the 70s and 80s which Steichen decried throughout the book. Yes some kept the faith, more or less, through that process, but many did not. They became advocates for the new, revolutionary religion. That makes their actions much more understandable.]
……Have the bishops hoped for the esteem of the secular world, which approves culturally assimilated Catholics? [I do think that another large piece of the puzzle. Yes many bishops are committed modernists, but many, probably most, simply want to go along with the least fuss possible.]……..Whatever their motivations, the genuine spiritual welfare of the faithful cannot have been one of them. The consequences of their passivity demonstrate how compelling the need is for legitimate episcopal authority.
……The present disorders follow from the encounter of religious revolutionaries who reject authority and ecclesiastical leaders who decline to exercise it.
Maybe a bit more tomorrow. She does a pretty interesting comparison between modern feminism and the role of Eve in the Fall of man.
I don’t know if Steichen is still among the living (I think so), but I wonder where she is at now, ecclesiastically? Is she more open to Tradition, or does she still sneer at it? I wonder if she has been able to accept more openly the fact that a revolution swept through the Church and that it was certainly not limited to the lower levels? It would not have happened without significant episcopal connivance. Since she later wrote some for Latin Mass Magazine, hopefully she developed a greater appreciation for tradition and strong stands to preserve it.
Ungodly Rage was one of the first non-trad books, though, to really take a hard look at the revolution taking place within the very structures of authority in the Church. As such it was a bit ground-breaking, though similar analyses had of course been produced by those rad trads for years before. This, combined with Ann RocheMuggeridge’s The Desolate City were both very influential in the early 90s in bringing more conservativish Catholics to come to grips with the revolution in their midst. My impression is that they helped jump start greater faithful resistance to the revolution? Anyone agree with that?
See, I show what a neophyte I am. I know Davies, von Hildebrand, Jones, Bozell, et. al., were on the case well before, but they had a pretty limited following, right? Was there widespread resistance in the 80s? I’ve always had the impression more people came out in the open saying “this ain’t right” starting about 90 or so?
Someone should write a history of the post-conciliar traditional movement. More than just a history of the Society. It would make for fascinating reading. No, don’t look at me, I’m a barking dog chasing cars, that’s about all I’m good for.