What's the Plan?
We need a specific answer to a specific question. A vague generality just wont do. What's the plan? The number of pilgrims making their escape on the Catholic escape route from godlessness to paradise has been reduced from a torrent to a trickle. Fewer and fewer are going to Mass. Nobody is going to Confession. Vocations have dried up. Marriages are crumbling. Churches are withering and dying. The only sacrament holding its own is the sacrament of extreme unction and this is so only because the dead have no choice. What is the plan to turn the trickle back into a torrent? The floodgates are almost closed. What is the plan to re-open up the floodgates? Surely, there must be a plan! Is the plan to continue to let the old generals fight the last war with yesterday's tools, tactics and strategies? Is the plan to let the failed status quo continue? Please, tell me the plan to reverse the decline of the Church. Please tell me the plan to turn the trickle back into a torrent. I pray that it is not the same old sh%$. Catechesis is a vague generality. What is the specific plan? Until a specific plan is in place, we squander our resources by investing in the old generals who cling with a death grip to anachronisms that no longer work. What is the plan? We are diddling in the nitty-gritty of Christianity. The minutia of Christianity has swallowed up the pizzazz. The glass of Christianity is all water and only a dash of wine. It ought to be all wine. In our fervency to defend the Catholic identity, we have lost sight of the identity of Jesus. Nobody can see the Big Picture anymore. Our attention has been hijacked to sub-plots and away from the main plot. The old generals think that all elements of Christianity are equally important. They are not. I assure you. We can no longer differentiate between what elements of Christianity are more important and what elements of Christianity are less important. We no longer know the difference between steak and hamburger. The wheels of the Church have leaped off the track. It is a train wreck. How do we get the Church back on track? What is the plan? Surely, there is a plan?
The Call for a New Reformation
Who will arise to reverse the decline of the Church? Who will spring forth (Matthew 16:18)? Fewer and fewer are going to Mass. Nobody is going to Confession. Vocations have dried up. Marriages are crumbling. Churches are withering and dying. The only sacrament holding its own is the sacrament of extreme unction and this is so only because the dead have no choice. Traffic on the escape route from godlessness to paradise is vanishing. The torrent has turned into a trickle. The Church has become moribund - irrelevant - marginalized. Who will revive it? Who will make it relevant again (Matthew 16:18)? The status quo is not working anymore. The old generals are fighting the last war with yesterday's strategies and tactics. Their attachment to anachronism is the anchor that is pulling them down and the Church with them. It is causing them to lose the current war. Therefore, it is a waste of resources to invest in them. The world has changed and new solutions are needed to address its current problems. A new generation of leader is needed to take us into the future (1 Samuel 3). Who will come to reform the Church? Who will raise the Church from the dead?
Compstat and the Church
The New York City Police Department runs a program of self-criticism called CompStat by which it uses crime statistics to evaluate the job performance of its bosses. Given the deplorable Catholic statistics, if such a program were applied to the bosses of the Catholic Church, many heads would roll. Shall we wait until the number for Mass attendance falls into the single digits before the bosses of the Catholic Church are fired for incompetency?
The Conversation about God is Dead: The Problem and the Solution
Like a broken record, every word from the mouth of the Church is sin, sin and more sin. The Church is playing the same old song over and over and over again. The repetition has become tiresome. Yet, the Church is surprised when people tune out and switch to a different station. God is not dead. Indeed, God is very much alive. However, the conversation about God is dead. Killing the conversation about God is tantamount to killing God. The enemies of the Church know this. The Church does not. When we exclude God from the conversation, we empty the earth of the knowledge of God (Isaiah 11:9). God becomes a stranger to us. And nobody follows a stranger. Fewer and fewer go to Mass. Nobody goes to Confession. Vocations dry up. Churches wither and die. The trend is downward. Only when God stops being a stranger to us - when we establish and develop a relationship with him - when we get to know him - when he becomes a member of our family - when the Son of God becomes our brother, does the trend get reversed.
The Job of the Church
Is the job of the Church to keep sinners off the escape route from godlessness to paradise or to get sinners onto it? Is the job of the Church to bring sinners to the holy places that define the escape route or to bar sinners from them? Is the job of the Church to maximize the new exodus or to minimize it? Is the escape route a public highway, catholic in its scope, open to all including sinners or is it a private, limited access road reserved for the exclusive use of a sanctimonius subset of self-styled saints? Is the Church supposed to be grease for the wheels of the escape or an obstacle in its way? Is the Church supposed to facilitate our escape or frustrate it, filter it and foul it up? After Adam and Eve, like foolish children, ran away from their home with God in paradise and took us with them into godlessness, did God leave the door open, the porch light on and the welcome mat out in the hope we would return home after our exile in godlessness was over or did God shut the door after us and lock it? Who is your God and what is his Church?
The Less Catholic they are, the More Catholic they Claimed to Be
Like Donald Trump, the custodians of the escape route from godlessness to paradise have built a wall around it, have taken down the 'Open to the Public' signs and have posted 'Do Not Enter' and 'No Trespassing" signs on it. The escape route from godlessness to paradise was designed to be a public highway, catholic in scope, open to all including sinners. Its custodians. however, have tranformed it into a private, limited access, path reserved for the exclusive use of a sanctimonious subset of self-styled saints. The public highway is not open to the public anymore. The escape route is no longer catholic. All are not welcome. Many are denied access. Pilgrims are turned away as unworthy. Instead of maximizing the new exodus, the custodians are minimizing it. Yet, the custodians are surprised that traffic on the escape route is shrinking. Fewer and fewer of us are going to Mass. None are going to Confession. Vocations have dried up. Churches are withering and dying. After Adam and Eve, like foolish children, ran away from their home with God in paradise and took us with them into godlessness, God left the door open, the porch light on and the welcome mat out in hope that we would return after our exile in godlessness was over. He didn't put a screen on the door to keep flies and sinners out.
A Mistake has been Made. We have taught them to Read, Write and Think for Themselves!
The aristocracy of the Catholic Church taught the peasantry of the Church to read, write and think for ourselves. When we do so, however, the aristocracy of the Catholic Church takes a shit fit.. Disagreement between the peasantry and the aristocracy discombobulates the aristocracy. It makes them apoplectic. They put the gun in our hands but are surprised when we use it. Instead of taking a shit fit, please grow up. Stop treating us like children. Is it even possible for them to treat us as equals?
The vestigial arrogance of the aristocracy of the medieval, monarchical, and masculine Church is summed up in the 1906 encyclical of Pope Pius X titled “Vehementer Nos“, in which he denounced France for its passage of a law establishing the separation of church and state
“The Scripture teaches us, and the tradition of the Fathers confirms the teaching, that the Church is the mystical body of Christ, ruled by the Pastors and Doctors — a society of men containing within its own fold chiefs who have full and perfect powers for ruling, teaching and judging. It follows that the Church is essentially an unequal society, that is, a society comprising two categories of persons, the Pastors and the flock, those who occupy a rank in the different degrees of the hierarchy and the multitude of the faithful. So distinct are these categories that with the pastoral body only rests the necessary right and authority for promoting the end of the society and directing all its members towards that end; the one duty of the multitude is to allow themselves to be led, and, like a docile flock, to follow the Pastors.”
How anachronistic does Pope Pius X sound in “Vehementer Nos“! How medieval! If you wanted a docile flock that allows itself to be led, you should not have taught us to read, write and think for ourselves. You should have kept us stupid - ideologically colonized - bedazzled and overawed by superstition and mystery over which you claim the exclusive monopoly.
When the Church had the exclusive monopoly over thinking, it tried to jam doctrine down our throats by dint of omnipotence. This is a medieval not a modern tactic and it arises from a time when authority and hierarchy were rigid and unquestioned. Before we learned to read, write and think for ourselves, we docilely swallowed whatever they jammed down our throats. Times have changed. Now, we no longer docilely swallow. Instead, the Church's heavy-handed tactic triggers our gag reflex. We regurgitate. The command - obedience paradigm no longer works. It has been broken since the era of Adam and Eve but the aristocracy have never taken notice. A new approach, therefore, is needed. The appeal must be to our rationality. We must be persuaded. This dismays the medievalists. They have no confidence that their doctrine is persuasive. The modernists, however, are up for the challenge. In fact, they think an appeal to our rationality is the best way to go.
Rational people seek the sweetness of paradise and flee the sourness of godlessness. It is contrary to their self-interest to do otherwise. Therefore, instead of getting bogged down in the nitty gritty of Christianity, why don't you show us the sweetness of paradise and the sourness of godlessness? Shatter the illusions that hide them from us. Shatter them with the sledgehammer of truth as the blow of a hammer shatters glass. Shatter them so the truth can set us free.
The illusions that hide the truth from us are thin or thick depending on whether we are rich or poor. It is easy for the threshold of truth to shatter a thin illusion. It is hard for it to shatter a thick illusion. That is why Jesus said that it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God (Matthew 19:24). The rich have thick illusions that are hard to shatter. They have the means to ameliorate the shithole of godlessness. They can mask its stink with perfume. Moreover, they have difficulty appreciating the sweetness of paradise when they think that they already possess paradise. The weight of their wealth makes them settlers in godlessness instead of pilgrims. The illusions of the poor, however, are thin. You have heard it said that blessed are the poor. Without the heaviness of wealth, it is easier for the poor than for the rich to replace their sessility as settlers with the mobility of pilgrims. The poor are blessed because the illusions that hide the truth from them are easier to shatter.