What Used to Be Common, Expected, in the Church, Today is Unimaginable November 14, 2016Posted by Tantumblogo in Basics, catachesis, disaster, Ecumenism, error, General Catholic, history, Revolution, sadness, scandals, secularism, Society, the struggle for the Church.
Could you imagine finding a nearly full page ad for the Church in a major national weekly magazine, not only encouraging souls to become Catholic, but even arguing – if tacitly – for the Church as the One True Church founded by Jesus Christ? Can you imagine a piece of evangelization produced by an institutional source like the Knights of Columbus making plain the Precept of the Faith to assist at Mass on Sunday in such a secular environment?
I bought a bound volume containing all issues of Newsweek for the first half of 1954. About once a month, the ad below ran:
Bringing out a bit of the text:
Catholics believe that Christ not only called upon us to honor and serve God…..but prescribed the ways in which we should do so. He did not say how often we must go to church [I disagree with this. He did, Author/Inspiration of Sacred Scripture, command us to keep the Sabbath holy, every week]……….nor how many prayers we were to recite. But He did establish a Church with the power and authority to carry on His work…..and He promised that His Church would last to the end of time-that it would have God’s protection in teaching all men to observe all things. He had commanded, especially to believe and to be baptized and thereby become members of His Church to attain the purpose of their lives.
And how do Catholics know theirs is Christ’s Church?
Because it possesses the distinguishing marks Christ gave His Church. It covers the earth as Christ said it would. Unchanged after nearly 2000 years, it continues to live and grow, in fulfilment of His promise that His Church would last to the end of the world.
But the most convincing mark that He gave it is its unity of faith, worship and obedience under the authority of the lawful and historical successor of Peter, the first Bishop of Rome and the “rock” upon which Christ built His Church. Just as Peter was the first Pope and the first Vicar of Christ, so also is Pius XII the 262nd Pope and the Vicar of Christ today.
If you would like to know more……
First of all…..what effective catechesis and apologetics! In a couple hundred words, hugely important and key truths of the Faith and brought out in a most convincing manner. No wonder so many tens of thousands were converting the Church every year in this timeframe! Geez, it’s almost like believing this Catholic stuff is actually good for winning over souls, rather than constantly apologizing for it (in a negative way), undermining it, and trying to explain it away.
Secondly…..how about the near total implosion of the unity of Faith that could, quite honestly, still be promoted in 1954? Yes, there were seething currents of modernism and leftism hidden under the surface, but for most believers and those outside the Church, she still presented then a vibrant bastion of faith, truth, and morality. That vibrant face attracted many millions before the Church began her program of self-demolition just a few years later, with the death of Pius XII.
Thirdly…..while it is not directly stated, it could be understood from the above that the Church is the ONLY TRUE Church. I do think the wording regarding baptism could have been sharpened up, but we almost all have experience of just how embarrassing Catholics, leader and lay alike, would find even such hints at the Church’s unique, Christ-given role today. Especially under Francis, but going back decades, such clarion calls to the necessity of conversion through baptism and then membership in Christ’s Church for salvation have been notably absent. Concomitant with that absence has been the near total implosion of the Church’s evangelization efforts, the hemorrhaging of souls, and the rise of all kinds of errors and demonic sects.
Again, it is important to notice the context: this was not an advertisement in a spiritual magazine, or a mid-50s copy of America (even then, not so spiritual), or anything of the sort, where one might expect a bit more direct language. This was in a liberal-leaning (at that time) secular magazine. We haven’t seen anything like this in decades. And that sums up the crisis in the Faith in very stark terms.