Son of Man comes,
WILL HE FIND FAITH ON EARTH?”
No 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 of Sacred Scripture
words; words that have become increasingly
fraught with significance with every passing generation. Indeed, we
must 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?”
(Saint Luke 18.8)
As with so many of Christ’s 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 the overwhelming number of liberal theologians and bishops who have
proliferated and multiplied since 1962 — which is to say, by
“the 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 sounds suspiciously clear.
These are twelve words, however, to which we must pay careful attention,
perhaps more now than at any other time in Church history.
However reluctant we are to take Christ at His word — which becomes
increasingly inconvenient to us — we must recognize that Jesus never
spoke idly: His words, His teachings — and yes, His Commandments
— were always uttered to one explicit end: the salvation of souls
— attaining to Heaven and everlasting happiness and to avoiding Hell
and eternal misery. The Jewish religious authorities — “the learned”
of His own time — had scornfully dismissed Christ’s 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 to build.
We tend to view such alarming statements made by Jesus — and there are
many — with the same scorn and disdain today.
Indeed ... what has become of the
A mere fifty years ago we ourselves would
have instinctively replied “Of course He will find faith! There simply
must be 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 “learned” of our own day can
deftly explain the answer to this troubling question. In the end, they
will conclude, Jesus is really asking something entirely different from
what He appears to be asking and that it has nothing to do with our
very real defection from the Faith.”
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.
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 and increasingly scandalous situation in the Church — especially
as it has unfolded in the last five decades — Jesus does not quite appear
as ... “perplexing” ... as so many apparently make Him to be.
Ask yourself the following:
Has the Faith
— the One, True, Holy Catholic Faith — indeed, has Christianity
itself, flourished in the last 50 years, or has it withered?
Are Missionary efforts,
to the end of (dare we say it?) “conversion” as mandated
by Christ 2 encouraged as intrinsic to Catholicism
— or are they discouraged as impolite,
obtrusive, culturally imperialistic and inherently
inimical to the “Ecumenical spirit of Vatican II” —
especially as interpreted by Pope Francis for whom
“proselytism is solemn nonsense”, to use his
Is it really the case
that “conversion” 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 — rather than being disdained,
even dismissed, as “socially and culturally incorrect”
— indeed, has it really come to this: that promoting
our Catholic Faith as Christ has commanded us to, been
forbidden by Francis and his “progressive” coterie
of feckless and disaffected cardinals and bishops?
Is our understanding
of the Catholic Church, as an absolutely unique
institution indispensable to the ordinary means
of salvation, emphasized as urgently today (if
it is 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 dogma and a viable concept
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.
Indeed, Christ’s 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? Where is the Shepherd?
Where is the Shepherd? Who is earnestly
addressing this spiritual malaise and religious decay, the indolence
and dereliction of the vast majority of American and European bishops
who appear far more eager for secular plaudits than the now quaint and
discredited notion of “the salvation of souls.” Pope Francis has effectively
declared this mandate defunct in favor of the rehabilitation — and sometimes
transformation — of bodies, societies, economies, and the environment.
That the passing material environment of man is infinitely less important
than the eternal abode of his soul often appears to elude Francis. Indeed,
it appears to elude most Catholics whose mantra increasingly coincides
with the world’s: Social activism! ... not interior conversion
away from this world and to Christ.
Shame! Shame on us!
our silence, our fear of being disparaged by “other Catholics” for
the sake of Christ, we condone this travesty — are complicit
in it ... even promote it! What will motivate us to recognize, and to
redress, this frightful and ultimately deadly state of affairs?
There 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 the inclusion of its indissoluble Christian heritage within
its Constitution. Not only does it thoroughly repudiate its own Christian
cultural heritage — it prohibits it — even banishes it!
Surely, then, in our effort to remedy this impending state of dissolution,
we will first turn to our bishops, since they are, preeminently, the
“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 predictably remote ... “administrator”.
Relegating his prime responsibility as Teacher and Promoter of the
Faith ... to others, in the form of Lay committees and subcommittees
largely “chaired” by liberal 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 — and who
are teaching the teachers ... who, in turn, are teaching our children?
Do you think that your bishop actually — that is to say, cognitively
— is 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 O’Malley
routinely fetes, praises, and holds up as exemplary the clueless “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.
For most 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 no. Most of us find, to our growing dismay and deepening
cynicism, that our Bishops appear to have “more important”, more ...
“pressing” 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 — acquire the Faith ... if no one brings it
to them? Saint Paul is very clear about this:
“How 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.
assent to the now quaint Catholic notion that “parents are 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 — teach those who know
The momentum, as we see, is inexorable
— 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 to myth.
That is not just a poor, but a stultifying and ultimately deadly patrimony.
This default — at every level — in transmitting the authentic Catholic
faith intact ... leaves Jesus question 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.”
The problem 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 “The
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.
But the words of Christ are certainties that will come to pass.
“Weep not for Me, but for your
children”, 5 Christ
told the sorrowing women on the road to Calvary.
In very deed.
Jesus’ question, then —
“When the 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
... the frightful answer to which
appears to be unfolding before our very eyes — but that is 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 thought.
Are you worried now ...? Not nearly enough.
And this is all the more frightening still.
Geoffrey K. Mondello
Boston Catholic Journal
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1 Saint Matthew 24.1
2 Saint John 2.19
3 Matthew 28:19
5 Saint Luke 23.28
Totally Faithful to the Sacred
Deposit of Faith entrusted to the Holy See in Rome
opera tua ... quia modicum habes virtutem, et servasti verbum
Meum, nec non negasti Nomen Meum”
know your works ... that you have but little power, and
yet you have kept My word, and have not denied My Name.”
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