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These are not easy times for Catholics.
I’ve received a lot of emails from people, and had a lot of conversations over the last several weeks with Catholics on the brink of despair.
How could this happen? What is going on? What are we going to do?
I share your pain and confusion…deeply.
And while I’m horrified by daily revelations about the cancer that is eating our Church alive, I also know that Christ is King and His Church will endure.
In this episode of the Art of Catholic I’m going to weigh in on where I find myself coming down in all of this. And I want to provide some food for thought and prayer as we continue to watch all of this unfold.
It’s my desire to give you some hope and a plan of action.
The crisis isn’t going away. It shouldn’t go away. It needs to be dealt with immediately.
But I also want to remind you why the Catholic Church is, and will always be, holy…in spite of humanity’s best attempts to muck it up.
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Thank you so much for this episode – it was right on the mark and so encouraging. God bless you and your work!
Thanks, Michelle. Keep praying (and please offer some up for me if you think of it). God bless you!
Thanks Matt, I feel really sad for converts too. In almost all cases, you leave everything behind, even family to follow God’s call home. Many of you are then ostracized by the people you love the most.
Sir Alec Guinness became Catholic because when he was wearing a cassock for a film on Fr. Brown, a child he didn’t know, without any apprehensions, grabbed his hand and walked with him since he thought he was a priest. That trust in our spiritual fathers in lost today. Unfortunately, good priests are being spat upon because of the bad ones, and many of them would feel alone in this. There are hushed talks of cover ups here in India too.
I beg to differ on the analogy with the Bread of Life discourse. In the Gospels, people left Jesus because they couldn’t accept something He said – yes, in their eyes he was wrong because they though He was promoting cannibalism but objectively he wasn’t. In the present case, what some of the clergy have done is objectively wrong – “wrong” doesn’t even do justice to what they’ve done. If people leave, I really can’t blame them. It is these clergymen who are causing little ones to stumble.
I’m glad to hear the St. Paul Center’s decision on re-recording Cardinal Wuerl’s parts in your Bible studies. I’m actually confused about this. I have a book of his I haven’t read yet (The Light Is on for You: The Life-Changing Power of Confession). Should I read it or just throw it away now? I was planning to read Amoris Laetitia among other books (Humanae Vitae, First Comes Love) in preparation for my wedding, now I’m not sure if I should stay away from anything written by our Pope given the allegations against him. I’m confused if I should stop sharing the monthly Pope video with family and friends which explains the month’s prayer intentions.
Hi, Ashwith. I understand your point, but I also think the Bread of Life discourse was more than just “objectionable” in the eyes of the Jews. They heard it as blasphemy and sacrilege. It was in direct contradiction to what they thought to be held in the Mosaic Law. And realize that I’m not trying to make a direct analogy. The deeper point is that people were walking away from Christ because of a large obstacle to belief and trust.
With regard to Cardinal Wuerl’s books. I haven’t read that particular book, but all the books by him that I’ve seen have been fine. I wouldn’t necessarily conflate what’s going on here with what is written. You’ll have to make your own decision on Amoris. I’m not a fan.
God bless your marriage!
Thank you for the advice Matt! I’ll keep away from Amoris too.
Thank you for your wishes too! Please do remember us (my fiancee’s name is Johanna) in your prayers. 🙂
Your words are right on. My thoughts exactly! I’m a cradle Catholic and will be so till the grave and beyond, God willing! My faith depends on Jesus Christ and the church He established.
Amen to that, Theresa! God bless you and help others keep the faith. It’s all there is!
Michelle said what I would so I will not repeat that truth, I will add thank you for your witness and steadfastness for those who are thinking of fleeing … continue to speak out for our Lord and his Church. God Bless from an unworthy listener.
We’re all unworthy, Dan. That’s the scandal of the Gospel. Keep the faith, my brother, and pray, pray, pray. God bless you.
Wow, that has been the absolutely most helpful and encouraging of words I have encountered in this whole mess, and I’ve been reading and listening to a LOT of words. Matthew took all the crap and put it all in perspective. Yes, I’d heard these things, but not this WAY. If you are discouraged and ready to turn in your Catholic card, wait. Give yourself 26 minutes to listen to this and THEN decide. OK?
Thank you, Jill! God bless you!
Wow! Right on target! Thanks!
Your thoughts on the scandals facing the church has enlightened me on how to regard the church founded thru Jesus, the religious, my fellow Christians and myself. After listening to you, my heart felt light- a heavy burden had been lifted.
Though, I didn’t for a moment consider leaving the church, I am angry, hurt and disappointed with the people (those priests and cardinal) who abused & hurt the souls entrusted to them to shepherd. May the guilty be punished as I pray for total healing of the victims. My eyes remain focus on Jesus, the reason why I am a catholic. Thank you Mr. Leonard
You are very welcome, Maribelle. I’m so glad the Lord used me to bring you comfort. This Church is the greatest thing in this world…because it is Christ himself. God bless you.
May the Lord Jesus Christ continue to bestow His Grace upon you… You are His voice of faith and forgiveness… May God bless.
Thank, Mat. God bless you, too, and may he bring healing quickly.
Most people I’ve encountered in person and on social media seem to be hanging in there, but beyond angry about the situation. I’ve put out notes of reassurance that their anger is justified, asking that they just don’t let it cause them to sin.
I’ve tried to show how Satan has *always* attacked the Church from without and from within, and I give a few examples like the Roman persecution and the Cristeros war for exterior attacks and early heresies, the Great Schism, and the protestant revolution for internal attacks. I remind them that Jesus promised the gates of hell will not prevail against His Church, but Satan didn’t say he wouldn’t try his damnedest.
I’m so glad to listen to this. It has strengthened my faith even more and I’m ready to defend my Catholic Faith. Thanks so much Mathew and may the Good Lord continue to inspire you . God bless.
I’m so glad it was helpful, Cathy. God bless you, too!
Thank you for the strong testimony of faith and encouragement to flagging spirits. I sent it to my contacts. I also sent them the link to the Holy Father’s letter to the People of God, August 20th.
I felt a bit saddened by your saying of Amoris Laetitia “…I am not a fan…” to which our beloved brother in India responded “I will keep away from Amoris…”. See what an influence your words have? He may miss much else from the Petrine ministry of Pope Francis I.
I appreciate the great evangelizing work the St Paul Center is doing and have the two DVD sets of the Bible and Mary and on the Sacraments so, kudos and thanks. God bless you richly.
But when it comes to unity with the head, I have no doubt where to lean. “Omnes cum Petro ad Iesum per Mariam.” Am reading Georges Chevrot’s Simon Peter and am inspired all the more to love the visible head of the Church and Vicar of Christ. Was he weak? Yes. Did he make some mistakes? But of course. Even in judgement, to the point where Our Lord calls him Satan.
Now more than ever, we need to pray fervently that God protects Pope Francis from falling into the hands of his enemies. Because one of Peter’s duties was to strengthen his brethren. If his arms are flagging like Moses’s we need to provide the props to keep them up so that the family of God is not overcome by the army of the enemy.
With prayers and sincere fraternal affection.
Adelheid in Brazzaville, Congo
Dear Adelheid, thanks so much for your note. I appreciate your kind words and gentle admonition. My comment about Amoris wasn’t intended to cause our brother to not pay attention to anything coming from this papacy. His was a question directed specifically toward one document with which (in my opinion) has some issues. It is not an infallible teaching and we are allowed to charitably disagree on many areas that do not pertain to doctrine. But again, it certainly is never my intent to cast any aspersions upon the Holy See itself. Regardless, perhaps some nuancing would have been helpful. Thank you and God bless!
Adelheid, thank you for showing so much concern. You show that we are kinsmen in Christ through Baptism! 🙂 I still do respect the office of the Pope and any infallible teaching that our Holy Father establishes. I’m just confused about Amoris because it has been a cause for controversy in the past so I wanted advice from someone who knows about the faith. Recent events have made me more confused so for now, I’m praying for our church.
If it is of any comfort for you, my conversion (or reversion) to the Catholic Church, among many many other issues, happened at a confessional during the Jubilee Year of Mercy. I don’t think that was a coincidence. I thought that was God showing me that He did indeed establish the Papacy 🙂
Thank you sooo very much, it’s like you read my heart and soul. I could never have expressed my feelings and thoughts as you have done so beautifully. I have been praying so hard for my fallen away Catholic family and those who have not entered our beautiful church yet, then when this terrible news broke I was heartbroken and thought well, it’s hopeless now. I didn’t know how I was going to defend our holy church. I will cling to and cherish your talk and share it with whoever will listen. May God Bless you always,
Yours in Christ, Linda
I’m so glad it was helpful, Linda. My heart is breaking, too, but we always have to remember it’s Christ’s Church. It’s his Bride. And it is through His grace alone that we will be healed. Hang in there and remember that Christ loves your family and friends even more than you do. His grace can overcome any obstacle. Just keep praying. God bless you.
Thank you Matthew for your indepth analysis of the situation. Satan must really be mad and has really waged war on the church. He has attacked the core, the clergy. We the faithful have to stand up with prayer as our weapon while the clergy is sifted and purified. The multitude of canonized saints particularly during the recent centuries must have annoyed Satan. The church is going to come through stronger because Jesus is the Head.
Totally agree, Ndimu. God bless you and keep praying!
Matt, since you already intend to make some changes in your superb video series, may I suggest you take a second look into the history of Our Lady’s appearances? Review the history of Nuestra Señora del Pilar in Zaragosa, Spain. It may have taken place in 40 AD.
Lawrence, while it would be fun to do more research and add more “nuggets”, there is only time (and money) to redo the Scripture portions of the series so that I can get it back out to people who want to study about Our Lady in Scripture. Thanks for the suggestion, though. God bless.