and of Whose Fathers?
of our fathers, living still ... ?
the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on earth?
more stunning, no more frightening, and
perhaps no more ominously portentous words are spoken in all the Gospels,
in fact, in the entire New Testament perhaps even in the entirety
Scripture itself words that become increasingly
fraught with significance with every passing generation. Indeed,
some wonder if they are, in fact, spoken of this
generation ... or of one soon, very soon, to come.
the Son of Man comes will He find Faith on earth?
As with so many of Christs teachings, the troubling
question Christ puts to us in asking if He will so much
as find Faith upon His return is too often
and too deftly explained away especially by liberal theologians
and bishops that have proliferated since 1962 which is to say, by
learned and the wise. It would appear that either Christ does
not know what He is saying, or we do not know what He is saying
although we all agree that He said something that looks suspiciously
seven words, however, to which we must pay careful attention,
perhaps more now than at any other time in post-Classical history.
reluctant we are to take Christ at His word which becomes
increasingly inconvenient to us it nevertheless
remains that Jesus never spoke needlessly, nor meaninglessly.
The Jewish religious authorities
the learned of His own
time had angrily dismissed Christs warning that not so much
as stone would remain standing in the great Temple 1
... the very Temple within which, 70 years later, these words
were fulfilled when Rome laid waste in days what took 46 years
in the building.
We tend to view such alarming statements made by Jesus and
there are many with the same scorn and incredulity today.
Indeed ... what
has become of the
Faith of our Fathers?
mere fifty years ago we ourselves would have quickly replied,
Are you mad? Of course He will find faith! There is
simply some deeper, some obscure and less evident meaning to
this that we do not presently understand and what He appears
to be saying, He is not really saying at all. Surely the
of our own day will explain that Jesus is really asking nothing
of the sort.
It is likely that many Jews of Jesus
time both the learned
and the unlearned had replied in much the same way. In fact,
they did. 2
In other words, to us, our faith, the Faith of the Catholic
Church for two millennia, could no sooner disappear than ...
well, the stones of the great Temple 2000 years ago!
If, however, we take a careful inventory of our present and
undeniably dismal situation especially as it has unfolded
in the last five decades Jesus does not quite appear as ...
... as so many apparently make Him to be.
Ask yourself the following:
the Faith the Catholic Faith indeed, has Christianity
itself, flourished in the last 50 years,
or has it withered?
vocations to the Priesthood and Religious life growing
Catholics (are Christians in general) having more
children or are they having fewer children?
Are Missionary efforts, to the end of (dare we say it?)
as mandated by Christ 2 encouraged
as intrinsic to Catholicism or are they discouraged
as impolite, obtrusive, culturally imperialistic and inherently
inimical to the
spirit of Vatican II
especially as interpreted by Pope Francis for
is solemn nonsense,
to use his own words?
it really the case that
to Christ and His Church is actively discouraged;
that especially under Pope Francis it is no longer understood as a holy and
inherently necessary endeavor for is it disdained,
even dismissed, as
socially and culturally incorrect
indeed, has really come to this that promoting our
Catholic Faith as Christ has commanded us to, been all
but forbidden by Francis?
our understanding of the Catholic Church, as a unique
institution indispensable to the ordinary means of salvation,
emphasized as urgently today (if emphasized at all) as it
was a hundred years ago? Fifty years ago? Indeed,
is the concept itself of the singularity and
indispensability of the Holy Catholic Church
authentically deemed a viable concept any longer?
For all our insolence and equivocation, we know the answers,
and we are uncomfortable with them, for they fly in the face
of Christ and all that He taught to say nothing of Sacred
Scripture, Holy Tradition, and the Sacred Deposit of the
Faith entrusted to the Catholic Church by God Himself.
Christs question takes
on a greater sense of urgency, for the sheep are scattered and
confused as never before. The papacy of Francis has been
disastrous for the Church. Why? Because he has taken Vatican
II to its logical conclusion: the irrelevance of the Church.
Ubi est Pastor?
is the Shepherd? Who is earnestly addressing this spiritual
malaise and religious decay? Our clergy? The Religious? The
laity? More often than not they contribute to the problem
rather than redressing it. Pope Benedict XVI in many ways stood
alone especially before the indolence and dereliction of the
vast majority of American Bishops who appear far more eager
for secular plaudits than the now quaint and discredited
salvation of souls.
Pope Francis has effectively declared this mandate defunct
in favor of the rehabilitation of bodies, societies, and the
Same! Shame on us! By
our silence, our fear of being shunned by
for the sake of Christ, we condone it, are
complicit in it ... even promote it!
What will motivate us to recognize and to redress this frightful
and ultimately deadly state of affairs?
are, after all, other contenders in this world for the souls
of men ... seen and unseen! As our own wick smolders, others
blaze! The burning Crescent of Islam, poised like a scimitar,
and every bit as deadly, glows and grows in the east, and with
it, not an ethnic, but a Religious Cleansing to which the world
remains indifferent, an expunging of every vestige of Christianity
in partibus infidelium. Even the European Union will no
longer tolerate inclusion of its Christian heritage within its
then, in our effort to remedy this impending state of dissolution,
we will first turn to our Bishops, since they are, preeminently,
Teachers and Guardians of the Faith. But more often than
not much more often than not in the well-appointed
office at the end of the corridor we do not find a shepherd
of souls but a deeply sequestered, occasionally avuncular, and
remote ... administrator.
his prime responsibility as Teacher
and Promoter of the Faith ... to others, in the form
of Lay committees and subcommittees largely
Catholics more concerned with social issues than the salvation
of souls, are we confident that the patrimony of our faith will
somehow percolate through this strata of already contaminated
soil and reach our children authentically and intact? Is our
fear mitigated ... or further exacerbated ... by our Bishops
resolute lack of diligence in being attentive to
what Catholic colleges and theologians in their own
dioceses are really teaching the teachers
... who, in turn, are teaching our children?
of fact, is your Bishop actually aware of or even concerned
with what the teachers themselves are actually teaching?
Not in this diocese. Not in Boston. In fact, Cardinal Sean Patrick
OMalley routinely fetes, praises, the
Catechists who churn
out our children to the Sacrament of Confirmation with no clue
whatever of that in which they are being confirmed. By comparison,
even the dismal failure of our public schools in Boston must
be deemed a stunning success.
of us especially in the Archdiocese of Boston, but no less
elsewhere the answer is, as they say, a
no-brainer: it is
a universally resounding
Most of us find, to our growing dismay and deepening cynicism,
that our Bishops appear to have
more important, more ...
things to do ... than to communicate the Faith to the faithful
... especially the children.
Really, we beg the question: if no one teaches the teachers
who, then, teaches the children? If they are not brought
the faith by those to whom it has been entrusted the
Bishops, the Episcopacy who will
bring it to them?
Will they how can they
have faith ... if no one brings it to them? Saint Paul is
very clear about this:
then shall they call on him, in whom they have not
believed? Or how shall they believe him, of whom
they have not heard? And how shall they hear, without
a preacher? And how shall they preach unless they
be sent ...?
candidly: do you know more ... or less ...
of your Catholic faith than your children? Very likely more
although, in all honesty, it is probably little. You politely
assent to the quaint Catholic notion that
the primary teachers of their children, but knowing
little of your own faith, you simply shell out $50.00 per child
and pan off this grave responsibility to others of whom
you know nothing, and who themselves largely know nothing of
the faith they presume to teach. You go through the
motions as careless of what your children are taught in their
10 years of
Religious Education as your Bishop is of what
the teachers teach. 10 years later, and $500 poorer per child,
you scratch your head and wonder why Johnny still does not know
God, and why Judy never goes to Mass and yet we have agreed
that you know more than your children ...
What, then, we must ask with growing apprehension will
your children teach their children
What will they
who know even less than you
those who know nothing?
The momentum, we see, inexorably grows until it culminates in
total ignorance: every generation knows less of their faith
than the generation preceding it. It is, in the end, the devolution
from doctrine to legend, from legend to fiction, and from fiction
That is not just poor, but deadly, arithmetic.
This default at every level in
transmitting the authentic Catholic faith intact ...
leaves Jesus question very suddenly very real.
Recently, a Gallup poll was
taken on Catholic attitudes toward Holy Communion.
The poll showed serious confusion among Catholics
about one of the most basic beliefs of the Church.
Only 30 percent of those
surveyed believe they are actually receiving the
Body and Blood, soul and divinity of the Lord Jesus
Christ under the appearance of bread and wine.
is more than mathematical, as we have seen; it is exponential.
70% of Catholics do not possess this most fundamental,
this most essential understanding of the core article of genuine
Catholic doctrine: that
Unless you eat of the flesh of the
Son of Man, and drink His Blood, you have no life in you. Heavy
It is not just a matter of the greatest concern, but nothing
less than a matter of the gravest dereliction that most
Catholics do not realize do not know that
the very Mass itself is an abbreviation of
Most Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, and that it is
really a Sacrifice, the
actual re-enactment of Calvary
before their very eyes!
This failure of understanding ... culminates
in a failure in faith. It possesses, in significant
ways, the remorseless characteristics of mathematical certainties.
Not understanding, grasping having never been taught
the most elementary features of the faith, how can they be
understood to possess what they have not acquired, and how can
they transmit, pass on, what they do not possess? It is inescapable.
Prognostication, of course, is for fools.
words of Christ are certainties that will
come to pass.
not for Me, but for your children,
Christ told the sorrowing women on the road to Calvary.
Jesus' question, then
Son of Man comes will He find faith on earth?,
is not a
rhetorical question at all; it is a question fraught
with enormous significance ... and whose answer appears to be
unfolding before our very eyes if you take Christ
at His word and given Jesus track record on things yet to
come, we would do well and wisely to give pause for more than
Are you worried now ...? Not nearly enough.