The Five Wounds and Five Joys of the Modern Church

First he was found faultless in his five senses,

and then failed never the knight in his five fingers,

and all his trust in the field was in the five wounds

that Christ caught on the cross, as the creed tells.

And wheresoever this man in mêlée was stood,

his first thought was that, over all other things,

all his force in fight he found in the five joys

that holy Heaven’s Queen had of her child;

for this cause the knight fittingly had

on the inner half of his shield her image painted,

that when he beheld her his boldness never failed.

—Anon., Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, A. S. Kline, Trans.

This description of Sir Gawain’s shield in one of my favourite Arthurian stories reminded me of a book title by one of my not-so-favourite Blesseds, Antonio Rosmini-Serbati (fond as I was of one of his order’s most illustrious sons, Fr. Jean Charles-Roux). This was Of the Five Wounds of the Holy Church. In that volume he described in detail what he considered to be the biggest problems of the Church of his time.

In to-day’s world, the Church still faces huge problems, but of a somewhat different type than those of Rosmini’s day (though a few may be traced back that far, perhaps). It struck me that our current worries might be graded and explored in the same way. However — and mindful of Our Lady’s joys, which the Pentangle on Gawain’s shield also represented — that I should also look at the reasons for joy which we have; they are many. Lastly, of course, in one’s whole contemplation of this, it struck me that we too should also look often on the image of Our Lady painted on the inside of his shield, so that like the Green Knight’s opponent our boldness may not fail.

The first wound, at the Church’s feet, so to speak, is the generation gap among her children and within her hierarchy. This is somewhat ironic, as the first time this writer recalls hearing the phrase, it was back in the 1960s — and was used to describe the sundering of the Hippies, Flower Children, and what Europeans call the “Generation of ‘68” from their Depression and World War II-scarred parents. The revolutions in society were mirrored in the post-Vatican II Church; therein, young clerics and nuns attempted to remake the Church according to the vision of such as Rahner, Bugnini, Teilhard, and so forth — that which Benedict XVI called the “Hermeneutic of Rupture.” Although lacking the education and background of their ideological gurus, they threw themselves with all their youthful energy into destroying the Tradition they had received. As they climbed the ecclesiastical ladder, they used whatever power their latest position might have garnered to push this agenda further. Thus it is that the way-out and bizarre curates of the 1960s and 70s became the seamless garmented and pedophile-tolerant prelates of the 1980s and 90s; arguably some of this mindset are now at the highest reaches of the Church’s power.

To listen to the rhetoric of these folks brings back the groove of the 1960s, when they were excitedly creating new liturgies, plucking away at the guitar at folk Masses, and admiring the work of Martin Luther King and Cesar Chavez. Those who loved grandeur at worship, they labelled “Triumphalists;” Catholics who insisted that the Church had the fullness of truth they called haters and worse. However ignorant or disdainful of traditional Church practices they might have been, above all their manifold activities made them feel alive. They were freeing the Church from centuries of imprisoning ritual and belief, bringing her into the 20th century, and making her a force for what they considered good.

Without wanting to pass judgement on the validity of youthful dreams — especially those based upon ignorance and arrogance — it will nevertheless be readily apparent to any with a knowledge of the calendar that this is the Year of Grace 2017, not 1967 (and how well does this writer recall his own excitement as a first-grader just returned from Christmas vacation, when he first wrote that latter year on a school assignment!). So much has happened since then! Five Popes and ten presidents (though the seemingly deathless Queen Elizabeth II remains upon throne of her various realms and territories). Neither a draft nor a South Vietnam! Communism has fallen (and this writer may perhaps be wrong in thinking in part that some of the antipathy of the Left toward Russia and Eastern Europe ultimately — perhaps unconsciously — stems from those regions abandoning Marx), save in China, Cuba, Vietnam, and North Korea. In the Church, the same era, under the tender ministration of the sorts of priests and religious earlier described, has undergone implosion in every measurable statistic — at least in those areas where said mindset remains in control.

Meanwhile, gradually — with some inspiration by Popes St. John Paul II and Benedict XVI — a new mindset has appeared in the younger priests, seminarians, and religious of the afflicted areas. Not having the almost psychedelic experience of iconoclastic fulfilment their elders enjoyed, these hapless young folk approach the Faith as something to be accepted and applied to life; they tend to react naturally toward its truths, and to find the traditional ways of expressing it more fulfilling than those dreamed up a handful of decades ago. They are not nostalgic; rather, they find that such expressions of religion transcend time. It is rather as though someone raised by parents who, having themselves fallen in love getting drenched in a thunderstorm while crooning “Singing in the Rain,” and constantly having advised their son to do likewise, discovers the comfort and utility of rain gear. The parents will never understand why junior doesn’t get giddy in cloudbursts, and he will think them exceedingly silly, if not downright foolish.

So it is that elements of the clerical geriatric set are absolutely revolted by the younger folk earlier mentioned. Finding that the youngsters are committed to Catholic dogma and liturgy, they accuse them of rigidity; they profess suspicion of any seminaries and religious orders that are getting vocations due to their orthodoxy. Now, this is perfectly understandable. For the zeal and success of the young ones is a tacit rebuke to their elders — a practical demonstration that the path we have pursued since the 1960s and perhaps a bit earlier has been a failure; that Pius XII’s denunciations of then-current doctrinal errors in Humani Generis and liturgical ones in Mediator Dei were prophetic, given that what that Pontiff called “error” is now standard practice. All understandable, indeed — but pathetic and sinful. Pathetic, because any such declaration of war against the future and eternity in the name of a bygone fashion is doomed from the outset; sinful, because some of the young will lose their Faith under the assaults of those whom that very Faith has taught them to revere and obey. God have mercy on those who have mounted such assaults.

The Second Wound is the ongoing secularisation of society, especially in countries once considered Catholic. This is not merely to be seen in terms of shrinking Church membership and closing parishes and other institutions, nor in the demographic implosion in North America and Western Europe. Nor is it just the elevation of infanticide into a civic sacrament and sodomy into marriage — and the greater or lesser attacks upon those who oppose these things as bigots. It is not just the removal of Christian symbols from public places, nor the gradual transformation of popular entertainment into hardcore porn. Neither is it the welcoming by various elites of swarms of non-Christians into once-Christian realms, and the hailing by those same elites of the declining public face of the Church in their countries as “pluralism.” Rather, it is the combination of the whole stinking mess, and the lack of real opposition to it by most Catholic clerics and laymen. We are grateful for a little religious “freedom” granted to us; but our attempts at conserving even that are pathetic, as witnessed by the lukewarm reception (if any at all) given to such efforts as the “Fortnight for Freedom” in most American parishes, our tolerance of opponents of the Faith at such nominally Catholic events as New York’s Al Smith Dinner and St. Patrick’s Day parade, and Washington’s Red Mass, or overseas, such spectacles as King Felipe VI’s secular inauguration, and Luxembourg’s “Catholic” government depriving their Grand Duke of the veto power because of his opposition to euthanasia. How is it is that such abortion proponents as Teddy Kennedy and Pierre Trudeau receive Catholic State Funerals, and are lauded by the clerics offering them? That Catholic opponents of such things as Ireland’s gay marriage law find themselves denounced by prelates? Why have most of the world’s so-called “Christian Democratic” parties, once the proud heirs to the pre-World War II Catholic parties, become neutral in the struggle — or worse, as in Belgium and the Netherlands, secularisers themselves.

One might ask as well why our Bishops were quick to denounce president Trump’s withdrawal from the climate change accord, when — with a few noble exceptions — they did not oppose the Boy Scouts’ adoption of the gay agenda, and gave the National Catholic Commission on Scouting no mandate to oppose it? How can we expect such as the Knights of Columbus and the Knights of Peter Claver to react effectively to anti-Catholic measures when the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and the various State Catholic Conferences rarely do so? Of course, when the question is immigration or anything else they find themselves allied with the media upon, it is a different story. The same pattern is to be found with other Bishops’ Conferences around the world to a greater or lesser degree — and even to some extent with such relevant offices of the Holy See as the Council on the Laity and even the Secretariat of State. Part of our lack of reaction to this second bleeding wound is the age factor. But much of it has to do with the Third Wound of the Church.

This Third Wound is the practical excision of the Social Kingship of Christ from the Church’s active social teaching. Now do let us be clear. There is a great deal of real value in the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, and it should be carefully and prayerfully read by every believing Catholic. The problem is not what is there but what is lacking. Just as Bl. Paul VI’s truly prophetic Humanae Vitae needs to be read in tandem with Pius XI’s Casti Connubii, so too does the Compendium need to be fortified with the latter Pontiff’s Quas Primas on the Kingship of Christ, and Ven. Pius XII’s Ad Caeli Reginam on the Queenship of Mary. It is certainly true that the Church promotes the value and dignity of the human person — but it does so because of man being a creation and subject of the Divine King, from which subjecthood he derives all his rights. All of the ills of which we just spoke are certainly damaging to humanity on purely natural terms; but they also constitute Lese Majeste toward the King of Heaven and Earth. It is for that reason that they must be fought, and fought strongly — and that the positive aspects of that Kingship must be enacted in every society. The Kingship of Christ is not just an eschatological occurrence in the future — it is a current reality which must be accepted by all if we are to prosper as individuals, countries, or as a planet and a race. But the practical lack of acceptance of this reality by most Catholics flows naturally and uninterruptedly from the Fourth Wound of the Church.

That Fourth Wound is the very thing that destroyed Father Feeney’s career, despite being denounced by Ven. Pius XII in Humani Generis: lack of belief in the necessity of the Church for Salvation. Three generations of Catholics since then have been taught to believe that No Salvation Outside the Church — so far from being defined three times and repeated by Trent — is a heresy, for which the hapless Father Feeney was excommunicated. The practical result of this development in the life of the Church was noted by Pope Benedict XVI in an interview last year:

There is no doubt that on this point we are faced with a profound evolution of dogma. While the fathers and theologians of the Middle Ages could still be of the opinion that, essentially, the whole human race had become Catholic and that paganism existed now only on the margins, the discovery of the New World at the beginning of the modern era radically changed perspectives. In the second half of the last century it has been fully affirmed the understanding that God cannot let go to perdition all the unbaptized and that even a purely natural happiness for them does not represent a real answer to the question of human existence. If it is true that the great missionaries of the 16th century were still convinced that those who are not baptized are forever lost — and this explains their missionary commitment — in the Catholic Church after the Second Vatican Council that conviction was finally abandoned.

From this came a deep double crisis. On the one hand this seems to remove any motivation for a future missionary commitment. Why should one try to convince the people to accept the Christian faith when they can be saved even without it? But also for Christians an issue emerged: the obligatory nature of the faith and its way of life began to seem uncertain and problematic. If there are those who can save themselves in other ways, it is not clear, in the final analysis, why the Christian himself is bound by the requirements of the Christian faith and its morals. If faith and salvation are no longer interdependent, faith itself becomes unmotivated.

The practical result of this occurrence is that most Catholics to-day are either Universalists or Neopelagians, in Pope Francis’ pithy phrase. But as we may see by the Catechism of the Catholic Church, this tacit Universalism is to some degree enshrined in what many consider part of the Ordinary Magisterium:

VI. The Necessity of Baptism

1257 The Lord himself affirms that Baptism is necessary for salvation.59 He also commands his disciples to proclaim the Gospel to all nations and to baptize them.60 Baptism is necessary for salvation for those to whom the Gospel has been proclaimed and who have had the possibility of asking for this sacrament.61 The Church does not know of any means other than Baptism that assures entry into eternal beatitude; this is why she takes care not to neglect the mission she has received from the Lord to see that all who can be baptized are “reborn of water and the Spirit.” God has bound salvation to the sacrament of Baptism, but he himself is not bound by his sacraments.

1258 The Church has always held the firm conviction that those who suffer death for the sake of the faith without having received Baptism are baptized by their death for and with Christ. This Baptism of blood, like the desire for Baptism, brings about the fruits of Baptism without being a sacrament.

1259 For catechumens who die before their Baptism, their explicit desire to receive it, together with repentance for their sins, and charity, assures them the salvation that they were not able to receive through the sacrament.

1260 “Since Christ died for all, and since all men are in fact called to one and the same destiny, which is divine, we must hold that the Holy Spirit offers to all the possibility of being made partakers, in a way known to God, of the Paschal mystery.”62 Every man who is ignorant of the Gospel of Christ and of his Church, but seeks the truth and does the will of God in accordance with his understanding of it, can be saved. It may be supposed that such persons would have desired Baptism explicitly if they had known its necessity.

1261 As regards children who have died without Baptism, the Church can only entrust them to the mercy of God, as she does in her funeral rites for them. Indeed, the great mercy of God who desires that all men should be saved, and Jesus’ tenderness toward children which caused him to say: “Let the children come to me, do not hinder them,”63 allow us to hope that there is a way of salvation for children who have died without Baptism. All the more urgent is the Church’s call not to prevent little children coming to Christ through the gift of holy Baptism.

59 Cf. ⇒ Jn 3:5[ETML:C/].

60 Cf. ⇒ Mt 28:19-20; cf. Council of Trent (1547) DS 1618; LG 14; AG 5.

61 Cf. ⇒ Mk 16:16.

62 GS 22 # 5; cf. LG 16; AG 7.

63 ⇒ Mk 10 14; cf. ⇒ 1 Tim 2:4.

One may then look at the Catechism of the Council of Trent on the same topic:

Necessity of Baptism

If the knowledge of what has been hitherto explained be, as it is, of highest importance to the faithful, it is no less important to them to learn that the law of Baptism, as established by our Lord, extends to all, so that unless they are regenerated to God through the grace of Baptism, be their parents Christians or infidels, they are born to eternal misery and destruction. Pastors, therefore, should often explain these words of the Gospel: Unless a man be born again of water and the Holy Ghost, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.

Infant Baptism: Its Necessity

That this law extends not only to adults but also to infants and children, and that the Church has received this from Apostolic tradition, is confirmed by the unanimous teaching and authority of the Fathers.

While one is struck immediately by the difference of tone, a close reading will reveal what appear to be irreconcilable differences between the two texts. On one level, there is an easy answer; the Tridentine Catechism, since it simply repeats in this area the Infallible Canons of that Council on the matter, must be held to be of greater weight than the CCC, which is a composite work. As its own foreword says of the CCC, “Its principal sources are the Sacred Scriptures, the Fathers of the Church, the liturgy, and the Church’s Magisterium” — although it will be noted that the last is lacking in this particular question. The caution presented in the Social Doctrine Compendium’s foreword seems worth recalling here: “In studying this Compendium, it is good to keep in mind that the citations of Magisterial texts are taken from documents of differing authority. Alongside council documents and encyclicals there are also papal addresses and documents drafted by offices of the Holy See. As one knows, but it seems to bear repeating, the reader should be aware that different levels of teaching authority are involved.” If indeed the two Catechisms differ on any point, it would seem obvious that Trent’s is the more authoritative — for all that the CCC is so good in so many areas — not least of which is its attempt to give equal time to the methods and manners of life of the Eastern portions of the Catholic Church.

Nevertheless, the CCC epitomises Pope Benedict’s assertion. The results, beyond what he mentions are manifold. Business-like clerics and religious, who seem more like commercial executives than bearers of God’s truth; the general lack of concern about either the gaining or losing souls in day-to-day life, and much else besides. Since the Salvation of Souls is THE reason for the Church’s existence, deprived of that raison d’etre, all the Church’s efforts are tremendously weakened — including those in the social sphere. Individual Catholics, clerical or lay, attempt to define for themselves a reason for the Church’s existence or their own activities — be it as social workers, medical healers, maintainers of what are really museums, folklorists, carriers-on of culture, and the like. This mindset flows into and from simultaneously the Fifth Wound of the Church.

This last wound combines and renders particularly poisonous the other four. It is the apparent unreality of the Faith to a huge proportion of its members. For the millions of poorly catechised laymen around the globe, this is simply the result of decades of poor catechesis. But it is present too among the highest levels of theologians. So it is that we read in the International Theological Commission’s 2007 document, The Hope of Salvation For Infants Who Die Without Being Baptised a very interesting thing. After giving a fine historical analysis of the development of the teaching of the Limbo of the Infants, the document’s narrative suddenly switches gears, with the bald statement, “In the 20th century, however, theologians sought the right to imagine new solutions, including the possibility that Christ’s full salvation reaches these infants.” Indeed, on this topic and the entire question of Salvation, the document is a telling revelation of the mental gymnastics theologians in modern times have had to undergo to try to alter the meaning of defined definitions while being unable to change their words. One is reminded of Humpty Dumpty’s assertion in Lewis Carroll’s Through the Looking-Glass:

‘When I use a word,’ Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, ‘it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.’

‘The question is,’ said Alice, ‘whether you can make words mean so many different things.’

‘The question is,’ said Humpty Dumpty, ‘which is to be master — that’s all.

Without either impugning or even attempting to discern the motives of the theologians who indulge in such word-mastership, there can be no doubt of the practical effect: to reduce Catholic dogma from a description of objective reality to a strange looking-glass world that can be altered at and by an exercise of the will. That is, it becomes a fantasy, and not a particularly exciting one either. In this manner, before and since the Council, various theologians have used this methodology to challenge or underplay almost every doctrine of the Faith. Karl Rahner was a master of this technique — hence his orthodox brother Hugo’s quip that “one day I shall translate Karl’s works into German!” — that being the duo’s native tongue, and the one in which Karl wrote. Thus Catholicism become a sort of pliable dough, ready to be reshaped for whatever purpose those in power in the Church — currently the senescent set earlier described — wish to. If any object, they shall be punished, even as Annas, Caiphas, and the Sanhedrin punished Our Lord.

And so the Mystical Body of Christ, bleeding from these Five Wounds, lies stretched upon a Cross erected for her by Catholics and non-Catholics alike. Sick in head and members, she has become a laughing stock for the great ones and the vile-minded of the Earth. But even as she shares the crucifixion of her august Founder and Invisible Head, she has also Five Joys which console her and should console her faithful children — redolent as they are with the hope of future Resurrection.

The first of these joys are the same Catholic youth who send elderly clerics into despair, tut-tutting about “rigidity.” As this writer noted in this space four years ago, there has been a large rebirth of interest on the part of the young in religious life, which has only grown since then. For all that one particularly prominent elderly cleric has warned “When they tell me that there is a congregation that draws so many vocations, I must confess that I worry,” growth — despite the current geriatric logic — is a sign of life. What may cause dismay amongst those married to the 1960s should be reason for rejoicing among those who live in the here and now. There is a huge desire among those proportionately few young people who care about the Faith at all to reconnect with its perennial values (the majority, alas, have taken the logic of the currently dominant theology to its logical conclusion, seeing Confirmation as graduation from Church). But the truth is that those of to-day’s young who remain committed to the Faith or discover it despite the best efforts of their elders are far more zealous than my generation were/are — and in them one may well see realistic hope for a “new springtime” in the Church.

The Second Joy is that — thanks to the internet, which is equally capable of doing so much evil — Catholics young and old can find both the undying Truths of the Faith and each other on a global and so truly Catholic basis. Are you a Catholic Scientist? Fine — you need not operate alone any more. So too for doctors, lawyers, farmers, veterans, would-be homesteaders, nurses, policemen, soldiers, writers, labor union members, academics, and on and on. Where once one had to rely on the parish bulletin and the diocesan paper for Catholic news and information, he can now read the writings of the Popes, Curia, Fathers, the Council of Trent, and just about any Catholic literature in the public domain. Interested in various shrines and devotions? Most have websites, as do most dioceses and bishops’ conferences throughout the world. This may well be the generation most ignorant of the Faith in the Church’s history — but it also has the potential to be the best informed and catechised, should any of its members care to avail himself of the possibilities. If you want either a Catholic lay organisation, Latin Mass in the United States, Europe, or elsewhere, Eucharistic Adoration, an Eastern Rite parish, an Anglican Ordinariate community in Britain, North America, or Australia, or Mass times anywhere, the Internet can help you.

The First two joys lead to the Third, which is the dizzying number of lay efforts in the social sphere, despite a lack of official support. As mainstream Catholic schools declined in Catholicity and quality, parents and educators have banded together to build a whole network of independent Catholic academies across the country. For all that most mainstream Catholic colleges and universities in the United States surrendered their religious identity in keeping with the decisions of the Land O’ Lakes Conference back in 1971, a few either refused or were founded in response to this action. Parents displeased with the direction Scouting has taken in this country have found an alternative. In Italy, Quebec, France, and innumerable other places groups committed to the restoration of Christian Order have either received a new influx of youth, or been newly founded. In Spain secularists are upset by the increasing number of honorary mayoralties being awarded to the Virgin Mary and the growth in the number of Confraternities dedicated to processing on Church feast days, and even in this country there is an uptick in such devotions as the Precious Blood and the Sacred Heart. Last year the President of Peru consecrated his country to the Sacred and Immaculate Hearts of Mary; a month later Poland’s president declared Christ the King of Poland, just as the country’s Parliament had proclaimed Mary the nation’s Queen back in January. There are any number of young Catholic commentators online who seek to steer the alt. right, neo-reactionaries, and various other internet based groups in a Catholic direction.

All of these developments in turn bring us the Fourth, the rediscovery by so many of the Church’s identity and salvific mission. Certainly Pope Benedict XVI played a major role in this development by stressing his “Hermeneutic of Continuity,” his liberation of the Tridentine Mass, his creation of the Anglican Ordinariates, and his outreach to the Eastern Orthodox. Certainly those who come into the Church to-day do so to save their souls. But beyond the frontiers of the Church, greater numbers of Protestants are rediscovering the Liturgical Year — and in northern Europe, Medieval pilgrimages and shrines are being revived. As and when our leadership recovers its desire to evangelise, there may well be a good harvest there. Certainly, the ever-growing number of pilgrims of the Ways of St. James, St. Martin, St. Olav, St. Michael, and others, as well as the revivals of the shrines of such as St. David, St. Alban, St. Cuthbert, and even the Holy Host of Wilsnack must bring us joy.

But where the other four joys are human in nature if Divine in inspiration, the Fifth Joy seems like a direct response from Heaven — and a decisive blow against the Fifth Wound, the Faith’s seeming unreality at the hands of theologians. Part of it involves the swarm of new Saints since St. John Paul II’s day. Regardless of the prudence or otherwise of that Pontiff’s alteration of the canonisation process, the necessity of thoroughly vetted miracles has remained in place. That so many such events have passed the rigourous muster is something to be rejoiced over — as is the beatification of such laymen as Emperor Charles of Austria, Giuseppe Toniolo, and Pier Giorgio Frassatti. One may make the same ecstatic comments regarding Pope Francis’ crop of canonisations and beatifications; One wonders if a Pope less beloved by the secular media could have managed to canonise St. Junipero Serra. But in any case, we have forgotten how extraordinary every beatification and canonisation is, thanks to the required miracles.

Nor has Our Lady been silent in recent years. Although it seems that Medugorje is about to be condemned, Church authorities have approved those of Ile Bouchard, France; Kibeho, Rwanda, Akita, Japan, San Nicolas, Argentina; and several others. Of course, there are any number of claimed apparitions at any time — the Church usually approves few and condemns many, based upon rigourous investigation of the claims. But most if not all of those approved in recent years involve messages hearkening back to Our Lady’s appearance at Fatima in 1917 — messages containing warning which in their totality appear to encompass both the Crucifixion in which the Church is now engaged, the chastisement the World shall suffer because of it, and how one can save one’s soul in the midst if it all. But in addition to these developments is another source of joy; the use of modern science in evaluating the miraculous, as exemplified by the wonders the electron microscope and various other instruments have discovered regarding the tilma of Our Lady of Guadalupe.

The same sort of technology has revealed all sorts of astonishing facts about the Shroud of Turin and the Sudarium of Oviedo. One particularly interesting fact is that both funerary cloths have the same blood type — AB Positive. This is especially engaging, since it is the also the blood type of the Eucharistic miracle of Lanciano, which has revealed other bizarre data to modern science. Had that event, which involved the transformation of bread and wine into literal blood and flesh (the latter being heart tissue) only occurred once, back in the 7th century when a priest saying Mass experienced doubt in the Real Presence at the moment of Consecration, it would be amazing. But it has happened again five times in the past quarter century! As at Lanciano, the blood is always AB Positive, the flesh is always heart tissue. Just to add a Marian touch, although human DNA is detectable, it cannot be mapped because there is only one strand; mapping requires two, which is of course the result of having two physical parents — which according to the doctrine of the Virgin Birth, Our Lord did not.

What do all these miraculous events tell us? They reveal the Fifth Joy of the Catholic Church of to-day. Despite the maunderings of theologians and the hatred of the world as expressed by media and government, the Catholic Faith is literally and completely true. If none of these miracles were authentic, it would not affect the truth of the Faith; but if any single one is, then atheism and the rest collapse. Moreover, from this single Joy all the others move from being interesting developments to absolutely important events, and the Five Wounds become more annoyances than fatal blows. The age of miracles has not passed, and Our Lord confirms His work and teachings as once He did on the roads of Galilee and Judaea.

This is not to say the Way of the Cross and the Crucifixion are not the fate of the Church and her members, nor that much that is horrible has not yet to be endured. No doubt it does. But we know of a certainty that beyond the Cross lays the Crown, that the Holy Grail reposes yet in sanctuaries too pure ever to be fouled by man or Satan. Of course we must throw ourselves as zealously into the combats of this age as ever did the Saints and heroes of times past. But we also can know — if we do our duty and follow Our Lord’s commands — that we shall meet merrily with Him, Our Lady, our predecessors, and all the bright company of Heaven in Paradise.

  • Carl Phillips

    Thank you, Charles, for your excellent analysis. As a teenager and college student during Vatican II, I could smell a rat but could not quite put my finger on it,and all the Catholics I knew, myself included, just took it like sheep. The results were disastrous, and I have long felt that we would make no progress at all until that generation of priests were dead. However, I have been heartened in recent years, if not by the Universalism and Semi Pelagianism of the laity, at least by a seeming increase in the quality of the new priests. Your article summarizes quite well the problems that have occurred and also gives hope for the future. Thanks!

  • Bonifacius

    Thank you for this article! I would tut-tut only one thing: no mention of the Divine Mercy devotion, which is very traditional and very popular.

  • Tweck

    Baptism of Desire is affirmed by Trent. It is necessary to have at least the implicit desire for the sacraments in order to be saved. Also, unbaptized infants were unbaptized through no fault of their own. The teaching that people who, through no fault of their own, do not enter the Church by normative means, can still be saved, is a teaching that goes back to before Vatican 2 as well. It’s clearly stated in the Catechism of St. Pius X.

  • unam_sanctum

    Great essay and worthy links, Charles.. I spent a full hour absorbing it all..
    The Divine walks a line between showing and free-will preserving;
    for what free-will would remain after a full showing ? …none but His.

  • gaeliclass

    excellent article…… should be read by every catholic..