Tuesday, September 17, 2013


The Church has always had blemishes, warts and sin, always. But in the history of the Church times have be worse, especially in the time of St. Francis.

Our Faith tells us as does our Lord that the Church will not face extinction in the temporal spiritual battle. Satan tempts us to think he will win, but he, delusional as he is, doesn't realize he already lost the battle in eternity. Loser, past, present and to come. He simply is.

On September 18th, Wednesday, will be a year since my Italian Mom died. We remembered her this morning at Mass at Santa Chiara (Clare ) here in Assisi. My mother's full Italian name is Isolina Clara (Chiara) Sainati. She died last year one month shy of her 93rd birthday on October 18th.

Eternal rest grant unto her O Lord, and may light perpetual shine upon her.


Henry said...

"But in the history of the Church times have be worse, especially in the time of St. Francis."

I know of no historical basis for any such claim.

Pater Ignotus said...

Amazing that it has been a year already. May she rest in peace.

Anonymous The First said...

Father McDonald,

Did you compose that headline simply to be provocative?

The priesthood at the time of Francis of Assisi no doubt was rife with simony, violations of chastity and corruption, but to say we are better off now? At least people CLEARLY knew what the rules were then, even if so many were breaking those rules.

Where to begin? We have a pope who cannot stop making controversial remarks in an un-precise manner, so much so that his handlers have to backpedal and explain for him just about every time a new headline (which is almost daily) breaks with one of his "groundbreaking" comments. We have a prefect for the CDF, who praises liberation theology. We have priests and nuns advocating for abortion rights, gay marriage, ending celibacy in the orders who do so fearlessly, since no one from the Vatican will touch them. We have a growing Traditionalist movement who is terrified, because every time one of them sneezes, the Vatican threatens to investigate them. We've had Summorum Pontificum revoked for one religious order--a pope flat-out contradicting a previous pope--and the liberals are cheering. Summorum Pontificum hangs by a thread and the man who should be protecting it is calling its adherents "Pelagians."

I supposed you could be encouraged that overall Church attendance is up, but who can say how well catechized those Catholics are? What does it mean to SAY you are a Catholic while refusing to live like a Catholic? A recent ABC News poll found that 54% of people calling themselves Catholic support gay marriage. The majority of married Catholics contracept and are convinced they are not sinning. A 2012 Gallup poll found that 82% of Catholics say that contraception is "morally acceptable." Do our priests correct them? A brave few do--often risking their vocations because Bishops don't like their priests causing any controversy. But for the most part, we are instead told how we must support unlimited immigration and that we are selfish if we don't let the less fortunate take everything we've worked for. One recent pope kissed a Koran, a book that denies the Trinity, denies that Jesus is the Son of God, and is filled with blasphemies. Yet we are told this is OK because we all have to march to the gospel of "ecumenism". In its truest sense, ecumenism means bringing the separated back to the Catholic Church, but how much of THAT do you see? You can credit Pope Benedict for a great job with the Anglicans, but Benedict was hated by the liberals who were only too happy to see him go. As for the rest of this ecumenical hoo-hah, WHERE are the conversions? How many people reading this know someone who left the Church this year?

Maybe my vision is distorted, but the above problems are just the tip of the iceberg, and to deny them or minimize them doesn't help the problem. To ignore them is like prescribing ginger ale to a Stage Four Cancer patient with metastasis. I must disagree. The Church is NOT better now than in the past. We took our golden age and trashed it 40 years ago.

Anonymous said...

That is a really nice photo.
I'm sure it means a lot to you.


Anonymous The First said...

BTW, I offer my prayers for the repose of the soul of your mother. She obviously did a good job of raising Catholic children.

George said...

The Church in it's essence will never change,irrespective of what happens in the world and despite that worldliness seeping in at times. It's teachings, which come from God, are the fullness of the Truth. Now being in its members, the Mystical Body of Christ-yes in this part of the Church's nature sinfulness and the corrupting influence of the world can have it's impact. Given this,the faithful within the Church should dedicate themselves to constantly engage in spiritual battle through prayer and sacrifices to counteract the effects of those members
whose actions do great harm to the Mystical Body. This should be one of the prayer intentions of those of faith.

Something you might want to read:

Here is a link to an column by Peter Kreeft on the "New Paganism":

John Nolan said...

Ironically, in St Francis's time (which coincided with the reign of Innocent III, the greatest pope of the Middle Ages) it would be difficult to argue that the Church was in a bad way. The Fourth Lateran Council (1215) was by far the most important of the second millennium; in the words of Eamon Duffy it was "the high point of the medieval papacy's involvement with and promotion of the best reforming energies in the Church at large".

The Cathar heretics in Spain and southern France posed a real threat, and although Innocent did not shrink from tackling heresy forcefully, he recognized "that heresy could be effectively disarmed only if genuine religious zeal and reform were fostered" (Duffy). Francis needed papal support for his movement, and thanks to the vision and genuine spirituality of Innocent and his successors, he got it.

Gene said...

Well, I think Anonymous the First has pretty well captured it. By no stretch are we "better off" in the Church or anywhere else for that matter...unless you count flush toilets (ancient Rome had those) and penicillin.

Henry said...

Anonymous I: "The Church is NOT better now than in the past. We took our golden age and trashed it 40 years ago."

Whether or not the golden age of the Church was the immediate pre-Vatican II period--or the 13th century of St. Francis in the age of faith, or some other--it surely is arguable that the Church is in WORSE shape that in any previous time in its history.

Certainly, the Church has always been full of sinners, and always will be. There may well have been times in the past when most clergy and bishops (not to speak of laity) were less than serious in their practice and promotion of the Faith, or even were notoriously public sinners.

But has there been a previous period in the whole history of the Church, when an apparent majority of clergy and bishops (not to speak of laity) throughout the world either denied broad swatches of the faith in its full content--as enunciated in papal proclamations, magisterial documents, the CCC, etc--or openly countenanced those who do?

Gene said...

Yes, I believe it was Innocent III who took care of the Albigensians, Good job!

rcg said...

I tell my children that their duties are theirs and no one else's. If our times are better and our work is lighter it would be a shame to be remembered for failing at a smaller task.

May you mother rest in peace.

Carol H. said...

I just got back from Wonderful Wednesday. Fr. Godfred gave the best presentation on Mary as the new Eve that I have ever heard! He included both the Bible and some of the Early Church Fathers.

I don't think that the Church is better now than it was in the past, but this is where in time God wanted us to be. I hope we can learn from the past, be a good example to others in the present, and, God willing, live out our eternity in heaven in the future.

My family is praying for the soul of your mother today. May the Lord bless you on this anniversary.