A Time of Crisis

Everywhere, Catholics who love the faith & are usually dedicated to evangelising efforts are turning their attention to the growing scandals in the Church. It seems like everyone is posting advice on how to deal with scandal and crisis. People talking about leaving the Catholic Church for Orthodoxy or the SSPX or why you shouldn't.

You know it's bad when people like Matt Fradd, who usually stay out of Church polemics, are regularly commenting on the mess we are in:

Over the weekend I got into a discussion about the Pachamamma scandal at the Vatican. These things rarely go well on Twitter which is not the best medium for nuanced debate. With that in mind, I always try to avoid taking a position & try & listen to alternative explanations. Unfortunately, with Mike Lewis of Where Peter Is, this is very difficult, firstly because he seems confused himself and is quite happy to proffer different explanations depending on the context:

Objectively it really seems Mike is driving division: he is very much pushing a "them and us" narrative:

I gave up quite quickly after it became clear that "truth" included flat out denials that the Pope referred to the carvings as Pachamama and that everyone at the Synod knew they weren't Pachamama but a determined group decided to push the narrative that they were (Italian Bishops certainly seemed certain it was Pachamama as did the Argentinians).  

A more reasonable position in the discussion was that the Pachamama carvings represented Mary and Elizabeth, symbols of life, by indigenous Catholics invited to the Vatican. When they decided to make themselves part of the process, even the Pope looked clueless and the Pachamama stuff was pinned on this by Europeans with no concept of what was going on trying to work it out.

But there are huge problems with this version of events, not least how it was handled and transmitted by the Vatican itself. Not to mention the inclusion of this chap:

Even if you are prepared to accept that there is some possible version of this that is acceptable some how (and I don't think I am) the very best one could reasonably say is that it was a disaster in terms of optics and evangelisation. What did it bring except division, confusion and to diminish the reputation of Rome? It is hard not to see it as syncretic and inappropriate for a faith which seeks to introduce an objective truth which dispels pagan myths. It scandalised the faithful and it scandalised the world with many Protestants seeing it as proof of the corruption of the Gospel by Rome.

These problems are so obvious, it is impossible to understand the vehemence with which Mike Lewis is prepared to condemn Catholics hurt by this as "illogical and slanderous". But he is certainly taking his lead from the Pope. A Pope who seems to have real hatred for faithful Catholics who take the doctrine of the Church seriously. A Pope who is increasingly referred to as an abusive Father. A Pope who's reign feels like one long crisis for Catholics. A Pope who plays fast and loose with tradition, canon law and standard procedure. A Pope who promotes his friends, especially if they are mired in scandal:

A Pope who encourages dissenters from Church teaching, and condemns those who treasure it.

A Pope who preaches mercy, dialogue, openness, but when the bishops he blamed for having to impose the changes fail to go along with his edict, he concocts ever more draconian measures to clamp down on faithful Catholics.

As someone who has worked in evangelisation in the Church for a number of years, this all makes absolute sense to me in a way because it is all you see. Those who are closed to the Holy Spirit, those who are deeply personally at odds with Catholic doctrine constantly work to close down areas of spiritual growth in the Church unless it fits with a certain narrative.

This is a time in the Church where the laity are defending the Church and the bishops are defending sin.



  1. Leaving for Orthodoxy. Moving away from a faithless spouse to an adulteress, BRAVO!!!


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