Many in the mainstream media have failed to see the obvious concerning Pope Benedict XVI’s trip to the United Kingdom, the truth of the Catholic Church has won out. The Pope of Christian Unity (as he is often called by the blogging Father Z) is reaching out to serious minded Christians. The Holy Father is asking them to unite as they once were under the leadership of the Successor of Saint Peter. Now I realize Pope John Paul II went to the UK, but the Anglican Church is in a far more dilapidated condition than it was then. In addition, I am aware that many in the United Kingdom, and Western Europe for that matter, have little to do with religious matters, but the same could be said in the early days of the Roman Empire. Against all odds, three centuries later Catholicism would be the dominant faith. It can happen again.
The Holy Father is about to beatify John Cardinal Henry Newman. He was a towering figure in the 19th century state run Anglican Church. He came to the Catholic Church and gave us this memorable quote; To go deep into history is to cease to be Protestant. I am not bringing this up in the spirit of triumphalism but in the spirit of truth. Christ promised us that the gates of hell would not prevail against the Church, and though it has been through many rough patches (we are currently in one) the truth is winning out. (Matthew 16:15-20.)
For more on the Breaking News Story involving Al Qaeda’s Plot to kill Pope Benedict XVI in London Click Here. The link will include a recent article I wrote regarding Al Qaeda’s Little Reported On War Against The Catholic Church.
Now I realize that the mainstream media will try to connect the Abuse Scandal with Pope Benedict XVI, when he was Cardinal Ratzinger. However, try as they might it won’t work for we have their own words praising then Cardinal Ratzinger for his role in putting a stop to the evil that was perpetrated by the very people who often wanted to change the Church. What these people wanted to change the Catholic Church into can be seen in the UK right before their very own eyes; a liberal church whose members are leaving Anglicanism as if it were a sinking ship. In the UK, there are more people who attend Friday prayers at their respective mosques than attend Anglican Church services on Sunday morning.
Yet, the mainstream media tells us we should be like the liberal worldwide Anglican Communion. So many have left Anglicanism that Pope Benedict XVI has had to create a special Personal Ordinate for the clergy who want to enter the Catholic Church. Have you ever heard this on your cable news channel or read about it in the New York Times? Yet, the first hint of bad news in the Catholic Church and we are greeted with a Breaking News banner. What is happening right now concerning Pope Benedict XVI’s visit should be breaking news, but it is not? Why is that? (If you enjoyed the last paragraph, you may want to read; The Jesus the Professional Left Chose To Ignore.)
The reason we don’t hear about the Anglican implosion and so many coming home to Rome is the same reason we don’t hear about the growth in vocations in orthodox minded Catholic dioceses and religious orders (both men and women.) The truth would be too hard to take for a mainstream media and a liberal entertainment culture that would have to admit that their lives were based on the whims of the modern world.
For Catholics, all of this is made manifest in ordination numbers. 64 to 6 and 14 to 4 stand out. What does this mean? In 2006 when writing my book, The Tide is Turning Toward Catholicism, I noted that even though the Diocese of Rochester had more Catholics than the dioceses of Lincoln and Omaha combined, Rochester had 6 men studying for the priesthood while Lincoln and Omaha had 64. That same year of 2006 Denver had 14 young men ordained to the priesthood (eleven in May and three earlier in the academic year) while Los Angeles had four; a staggering statistic when one considers that the Archdiocese of Los Angeles has 4,300,000 Catholic residents compared to 385,000 Catholics for the Archdiocese of Denver.
In 2006 Los Angeles and Rochester were led by two of the most liberal prelates in the Church, while Omaha, Lincoln and Denver were led by three of the more conservative bishops in the US, a revelatory statistic to say the least. For more on this read my columns, If You Want the Political Left to Run Governments, Look at What the Religious Left Has Done to Religion, (Left It In Tatters,) along with my article, The Coming Open Rebellion Against God.
Perhaps that is why so many in the mainstream media and entertainment culture are so miffed at Pope Benedict XVI when he uses the term; The Dictatorship of Relativism. They know the Catholic Church has survived for 2,000 years, infinitely longer than one will remember the words of Richard Dawkins, Saul Alinsky, Lady Ga Ga or the latest political or entertainment personality that come our way and disappears into the mists of history.
Pope Benedict XVI’s official state visit began with a meeting between him and Queen Elizabeth II. In 1953 when her reign as sovereign began, the Anglican Church in the UK had one of the highest rates of church attendance in the Western World. It was their golden era and their teachings were in line with literary heavyweights the likes of CS Lewis. Now they have one of the lowest rates of church attendance in the western and their teachingss are more in line with that of the 1970s pop star Sir Elton John. Though to be fair to Sir Elton, he appears to be to the political and theological right of the Church of England when it comes to Sharia Law in the UK. CS Lewis would have surely thought that it was an unseemly crude joke to say that the spiritual leader of the Church of England, the Archbishop of Canterbury (Dr. Rowan Williams) was quoted as welcoming Islamic Sharia law to the UK. Truth certainly can be stranger than fiction.
Though they preach tolerance and openness, the Dictatorship of Relativism is truly that, a dictatorship. They would rather individuals be enslaved to their own addictions and passions and call it a lifestyle rather than treat the affliction. When a pop star falls from grace, they are all too often literally left by the side of the road, their fellow pop star glitterati wanting nothing to do with them. Damaged goods though they may be to the pop culture world; enter the Catholic Church who is always ready to take in more prodigal sons and prodigal daughters.
The Catholic Church has always cared about the individual. When the Roman Empire said all matter of sexual practice was fine with them so long as you didn’t challenge the Emperor, the Catholic Church didn’t say; whatever floats your boat. They stood up to the a morally bankrupt way of life and said no; sexual abandon destroys the individual, it doesn’t build them up. The Church followed the teachings of Christ and his Apostles and tried to reach out to those hopelessly caught in the evil one’s grip.
During the Roman Empire the illegal Catholic Church also ran the first unofficial Adoption Agencies. The faithful risked their own lives for unborn children they didn’t know, all the while helping the prostitute birth mothers of these children start their lives over again. Though illegal the Catholic Church would be responsible for ending abortion, which was widespread in the Roman Empire. The fearless humanity of the faithful shocked the well heeled in Rome, eventually even changing their hard hearts.
Some 1,200 years later King Henry VIII launched a war on the faithful all because Pope Clement VII wouldn’t give him a divorce. Though dealing with corruption and enough of her own interior problems, the Catholic Church still tried to save England from itself.
Think about this fact; there were but a few courageous individuals who stood up to the king, Saint Thomas More and Bishop (Saint) John Fisher being the most notable. However, out of fear, many went along with the King Henry VIII. The Church could have said to the remaining faithful, sorry about your luck, but it did not. The newly ordained in Rome were eager to go to England. It is said that when the Jesuits in Rome received their assignments, those assigned to England jumped with joy, knowing in all probability they would be martyred. However, they rejoiced knowing that they like Christ would suffer to bring the lost home. (For those of you who think Catholicism wasn’t popular in 16th century England please read Eamon Duffy’s The Stripping of the Altars.
Countless Jesuits and members of other religious orders were martyred; some on the docks of southern England and some who secretly made it inside of England to celebrate Mass for the faithful and comfort them during their great time of suffering. Catholics in the United Kingdom, along with those in Ireland who Britain viciously conquered, would not be allowed to celebrate Mass until the early 1800s. Even in the early 1900s, Catholic processions in London were often forbidden to take place for fear that “Papist crowds could implore the populace to engage anti social acts.”
The fear of what we see happening with Pope Benedict XVI’s visit was always in the anti Catholic’s subconscious. Today in the UK, practicing Catholics outnumber practicing Anglicans. Dynamic UK Catholicism can be seen worldwide on the web as described by two of England’s most famous blogging Catholics, Father Tim Finigan & the Catholic Herald & Telegraph’s Damian Thompson.
Following the 1529 Marburg Colloquy, after Martin Luther exchanged some pretty unpleasant words with his Protestant Reformation brethren on their lack of belief in the Eucharist, Luther would never meet with them again. When told that Our Lady of Walsingham in England and other Catholic shrines to the Blessed Mother had been destroyed, Luther said demonic forces had entered the Reformation. He stated that those responsible were surely going to hell. It is said that on his deathbed, he confided to some of his confidants, What have I done, Christianity is no longer One Faith as Christ commanded. Yet, today the Catholic Church reaches out to his followers along with those of his colleagues. (For more on the Blessed Mother being purged from Christianity, read this article)
Today, it would easy today for the Catholic Church to say to the United Kingdom; King Henry VIII’s ego got you into this mess, now get yourselves out. Yet, the Church reaches out like the Father to the Prodigal Son. It would also be easy for the Catholic Church to say something similar to the members of the 40,000+ various denominational and non denominational churches that dot the United States landscape. However, it doesn’t. Like the Father in the Prodigal Son, the Catholic Church reaches out to welcome them home. Sadly, too many slap the very hand that could save them.
Yet, the Catholic Church keeps reaching out her hand, this time further East to the Orthodox Church. For some 1,300 years the faithful have been under attack by radical Islam. Many have left for the west, but the Holy Father still reaches out for the faithful in the Middle East and North Africa to come home. Because of this outreach, the Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church haven’t been this cordinal since the First Crusade. All this while the Blessed Mother reaches out to the Islamic world, much of whose ancestors were at one time Catholic. (If these last few sentences interest you please read this article.)
Jesus said you shall know the tree by its fruit. After breaking with the Church, King Henry VIII started his own church and married and divorced many wives along the way, he even beheaded two of them. For those who lived through that dark era when the king rampaged though his castle killing foe and friend alike and allowing sinister forces to destroy a shrine to the Blessed Mother that he often visited, it must have seemed like the end of the world. (The destruction of Our Lady of Walsingham’s shrine was lamented in Sir Philip Howe’s The Wrecks of Walsingham.)
However if they could see what we see, it might come as a shock that the Church could once again have a prominent role in their land. Perhaps the great cloud of witnesses in heaven (Hebrews ch. 12,) are at this very moment, cheering on the Holy Father as he lives up to his unofficial title; The Pope of Christian Unity.