A comment to my previous post inspired these thoughts. Apologies in advance if they are more disjointed than usual.
There is no small irony in the fact that to most (not all) traditionalist Catholics the Church is a shell of her former self. Instead of “the pillar and ground of truth,” she favors an endless discussion. Instead of proclaiming herself against false religions, she is open to ecumenical dialogue. Religious liberty, not the reign of Christ the King, is the order of the day and instead of the Latin tongue expressing dogma and liturgy, a washed-out vernacular conveys a supposedly watered-down Mass. You would think that the Church had not only become palatable to the world, but a joke as well. Next to the Unitarians and the United Church of Christ (sic), could there be a greater ecclesial laughing stock? Ah, but that is the perception of the trads; it is not the view of everybody else.
The Catholic Church remains, rightly or wrongly, the epitome of medievalism in the eyes of popular culture (American or European). If you didn’t know any better (and some don’t), you would think the burning of witches and the torturing of Jews was the order of the day. Why, don’t you know, Pope Pius XII singlehandedly orchestrated the Holocaust? African men with AIDS are ordered, on pain of death, to have unprotected intercourse with their wives and, when he’s not clubbing baby seals, Pope Benedict XVI is busy signing off on transfers of pedophile priests to remote-town parishes where the local yokels feed their prepubescent boys to the lecherous yearnings of unrepentant predators. That is the Catholic Church, or so a certain tall tale goes. Hatred of women is a virtue, and the greatest vice is daring to question the sacred dogma that the Pope can, by an infallible act of sheer will, make it rain (albeit a spiritual rain us sinners rarely get to see).
All hyperbole aside, there is nothing more indicative of our present state of affairs than the manner in which the Catholic Church, even after the needless surrenders made at Vatican II, is still perceived as the quintessential outmoded throwback to bygone eras before ours, the one of “enlightened humanity.” To those who claim to be “in the know,” the Church limps on and weakly hurls platitudes against an indifferent world. To those dwelling outside, she remains a potent force in service to the most supreme evil: the belief in Truth.
Darker days are inevitably ahead.