With the results of the November 2012 presidential elections, America’s “real” Catholics got a big “wake up” call. They found themselves, for the first time since the 1950’s, to be a minority unable to have any significant impact on the direction or policies of their country. So what do they do?
Wake Up Call — Hunker Down
As a child of the Great Depression and living through WWII and all the wars that followed, I probably have a different perspective than all you younger folks. I say “hunker down”.
To digress – In my childhood and young adult years this country was dominated by WASPs (white, Anglo Saxon, Protestants). Catholics were discriminated against and looked upon as superstitious, ignorant, sometimes crude and with an immigrant mentality. We Catholics had to mind our ‘Ps and Qs ‘. In the world we guarded our words and actions but in our hearts we were fiercely loyal to Jesus Christ, His Blessed Mother and all the precepts of our Church. We rarely entered Protestant churches and never participated in any of their services. (Today’s young people don’t understand this and think Catholics were the discriminators, but they didn’t live through our times so they ‘don’t have a clue’).
So what do we do? Hunker down and dig in. Learn what the world is really all about and where the truth really lies. Make a serious effort to change your thinking and the way you live. This is very hard to do because it’s so comfortable to just go along with the crowd but you need to shake yourself – wake up and make a change. I’m speaking to myself as much as to any of you. I’ve lost my way to a degree but I have the advantage of many years of life experience, the gift of faith that through struggles and trials has managed to grow stronger and being in situations that made me become autodidactic about my faith and the Catholic Church. What I have learned is the Catholic Church has the answers to all of life because Jesus Christ gave it to them over 2000 years ago. He gave them a mandate to preserve these answers – these truths and to spread them to the ends of the earth. And they have done this very well even though the world (Satan’s territory) would have you think otherwise. They tell you most of the Popes were evil, corrupted men. Not so. A very few did go the way of the world but even they never changed a basic truth that was taught by Jesus because Jesus told St. Peter, the first Pope, “Thou art Peter (meaning rock) and upon this rock I shall build my church” and promised “the gates of hell shall not prevail against it”.
Preserving God’s truth has been very well accomplished by a branch of the Church known as the Magisterium. The Magisterium is an office within the Vatican with the express mandate to preserve the purity of the faith. It was with us from the earliest years of the Church when St. Peter and St. Paul met in Jerusalem and recorded our basic beliefs which you can read today in the Apostle’s Creed.
In my lifetime we haven’t had a bad Pope and a few have even been embraced by the world at large. I think of Good Pope John XXIII. Everyone referred to him as “The Good Pope”. He wanted to refresh the Church and make it more understandable and welcoming. So he called a gathering of all the leaders of the Church and even leaders of other religions for input. A good example of why he wanted to do this is a story told to me by a Catholic friend whose mother-in-law fiercely hated Catholics. Now that the grandchildren are grown, it has come out that she was secretly telling them they weren’t Catholics – Catholics were bad – only their mother was Catholic. It also came out that the reason for this hatred was that when she was a little girl, she had a best friend who was Catholic and told her that she couldn’t go to heaven because she wasn’t Catholic, only Catholics could go to heaven. The truth is nobody – nobody on this earth knows who reaches heaven – only God knows. This was the kind of ignorance Pope John wanted to change . He never wanted to change any of the basic tenants of the Church. Unfortunately, he died shortly after he convened the Council, and it was usurped by members (I think under the influence of Satan) who sent out messages of skewed teachings. These messages were quickly picked up and disseminated under what was called “the spirit of Vatican II” and we all thought the Church had changed her teachings. The truth is none of the documents that came out of the Council changed a single teaching of our Church that had been with us from the time of Christ.
Pope Paul VI followed Pope John XXIII and by the time he realized the misconceptions that were floating out there he was weakened by an unsuccessful assassination attempt but he did make a valiant attempt to correct things and issued an encyclical ‘Humanae Vitae’ on human life. There was a tremendous uproar against this encyclical that said life begins at the moment of conception and people can’t play God and decide when it begins, how it begins and when it ends. Even some priests spoke against the encyclical and I remember myself being very disappointed that we couldn’t use artificial contraception and just blend in with the rest of the culture.
Pope John Paul II, who was extremely charismatic and admired by all the world, was elected Pope after John Paul I lived only thirty three days as Pope. John Paul II’s pontificate was filled with world crisis, mostly Communism which wanted to stamp out the Catholic Church, and he dealt very successfully with these global events but also started us on the road to eliminating false teachings. He did this by what he termed ‘The New Evangelization’. (The New Evangelization theoretrically relates to those who have drifted from the Church or those who have been baptized but not sufficiently evangelized – those who have not been taught the true beliefs of the Catholic Church. The New Evangelization includes documents and teachings on the correct underpinnings of government, the economy, social relations and solidarity).
Following John Paul II we have our current pope Benedict XVI. He is a renowned philosopher, theologian and above all teacher. I look upon him as a most beautiful gift from God who can teach us the right path to reach our eternal salvation – the glories of heaven.
So hunker down and dig in. Go to your local parish where they will all be having good programs implementing ‘The New Evangelization’. If you can’t get to a parish go to the Internet. Don’ t get waylaid by sites promoting women’s ordination and other falsehoods. There are excellent Sites teaching the truth – www.yearoffaithboston.org – is one and there are many more. You can go right to the source – www.annusfidei.va – where you can learn a lot. I will be right there on this journey with you, and because I’m probably much older than most of you reading this, will be happily greeting you as you enter through ‘The Gates of St. Peter’.
Until we meet again – love Jesus Christ, love His Blessed Mother, love His angels and saints and love His Church and all its’ teachings.