“Do not let the great emptiness of Khazad-dûm fill your heart, Gimli, son of Gloin. For the world has grown full of peril and in all lands, love is now mingled with grief.”
- Galadriel, The Fellowship of the Ring
Last Saturday, while most of the Catholic laity were unaware of Nuncio Vigano's revelations, I witnessed a very enthusiastic Vigil Mass. One where the joy of participating in the Eucharist was obvious on the faces of the people in the communion line. It was a beautiful thing to witness.
However, this Saturday night, at Vigil Mass, you could cut the grief in the air with a knife. With the refusal of our Pope to even acknowledge the accusations against him and other credible sources coming forward since to confirm those accusations, many of the lay faithful and the priesthood are having their faith questioned by non-Catholics, at best, and some are even being accused of agreeing with the decisions made by the accused Pontiff and Cardinals, at the worst.
On Saturday, I had the privilege of having a nearly two hour phone call with a friend who could not understand how I could still be committed to pursuing the Catholic faith in the light of all that is going on. It's a fair question and one to which the answers are not easily understood by those who do not believe Christendom existed before the year 1517.
I've addressed the historical information in multiple other blog posts and I won't go into it here. But what are we, as Catholics, to do?
On twitter, we are demonized as people who protect child-molesters and sexual abusers. The media has mostly been protecting the Pope and the liberal clergy that support the cover-up, oddly enough. Our protestant friends accuse us of heresy.
How are we to react? Are we to abandon the faith? Are we to just submit to a man that has covered up horrendous crimes? Are we to just say "whatever will be will be!"?
To get a little into nuance, there is a difference between what a Pope decrees 'ex cathedra' (from the chair) and the things he does or says when he's not acting in that official capacity. However, that nuance, while large to Catholics, matters little to a large part of Christendom that believes they serve as their own interpreters of scripture and follow the teachings of no-man other than Christ himself.
Today, I've had this scene, from the Lord of the Rings, stuck in my head.
I think this scene sums up well the feeling of a large part of the laity. The Fellowship of the Ring, having just lost Gandalf, their wise leader, felt lost and direction-less. Specifically, Gimli who had fallen into the great emptiness of Khazad-dûm, felt overwhelmed by grief. He received encouraging words from Galadriel, which I quoted above.
This past week, my reading centered around a letter that Mother Teresa wrote on March 25 of 1993. In it, you find the passage below.
[How do you approach the thirst of Jesus?... "Repent and believe", Jesus tells us. Repent of what? Our indifference.] - Mother Teresa
So what are we to do? Repent. Repent of your indifference.
While the leadership remains constituted of sinful men, you can trust in the fact that our doctrine has not been compromised. We are not like the Protestants who constantly concede the core tenants of the faith to remain culturally relevant.
You can trust that Christ declared to the Apostles that the gates of hell would not prevail against the Church founded upon Peter. You can trust that just as Christ overturned the tables in the temple, he will be faithful to continue to clean out the wickedness that has infiltrated our leadership.
But that requires that you not remain indifferent. It requires that you make your hands and your feet and your mouth and your life available to him.
Repent of your indifference and write your Archdiocese and the Vatican. Go to mass and support your Priest. They need to know you care and that you appreciate the life of poverty and service they have chosen.
Lastly, I leave you with some encouraging words written by Pope Paul the VI in 1964.
"For besides intimately linking them to His life and His mission, He also gives them a sharing in His priestly function of offering spiritual worship for the glory of God and the salvation of men. For this reason the laity, dedicated to Christ and anointed by the Holy Spirit, are marvelously called and wonderfully prepared so that ever more abundant fruits of the Spirit may be produced in them. For all their works, prayers and apostolic endeavors, their ordinary married and family life, their daily occupations, their physical and mental relaxation, if carried out in the Spirit, and even the hardships of life, if patiently borne—all these become “spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ”. Together with the offering of the Lord’s body, they are most fittingly offered in the celebration of the Eucharist. Thus, as those everywhere who adore in holy activity, the laity consecrate the world itself to God." - Lumen Gentium
Peace Be With You