Catholics and Today’s Thought

For the sake of her mission, the Church needs to re-emphasize her opposition to basic aspects of today’s world. But how far should that go?

(Image: Andrew Dong @apdong | Unsplash.com)

How should Catholics think about the modern world?

Basics don’t change, so on the whole our attitude toward the world should be the same as it’s always been. That’s complex, but not mysterious. God created the world, so it’s essentially good, and we should try to do what’s good for it. But it’s fallen, so a great deal of caution is needed.

Even so, today’s world thinks it’s special. We know better than our ancestors, and the world they left us isn’t worth keeping. So if we want to transform marriage, the population of the Western world, and the very nature of what it is to be a man or woman, we should go right ahead. The more we change things the better it’s thought to be.

Such a view is remarkably arrogant, and not likely to end well, but its influence among educated and responsible people shows that the modern world is indeed different in some way. But how?

To start with obvious points, we have the modern natural sciences, which give us much more exact knowledge of the physical world. That knowledge facilitates modern technology, and the result is that we are much richer materially. People live longer, communication and transportation are quicker and easier, and whatever can be manufactured is more readily available.

We also have more systematic, uniform, and comprehensive methods of organizing social life. These methods, together with material prosperity, have generally made day-to-day life less cruel, violent, and subject to vicissitudes of disease and poverty.

These changes all have to do with increased control over the material conditions of life. Even so, the most important aspects of the modern world are intellectual and even spiritual. The material changes depend on changes in the way people think about things.

Serious and responsible people today are technocrats. They reject the contemplative ideal of knowledge and natural law understanding of morality, and view thought and action as ways of getting things organized so that we get what we want as much, as equally, and as reliably as possible. And the way to do that, they think, is through technology and industrial organization.

The Church hasn’t been able to deal effectively with that situation. She likes knowledge and material progress, but doesn’t believe that modern natural science is the model for all knowledge, or that the point of thought and action is helping people get what they want. And she worries that the technological approach to getting things done, as exemplified by fast food, the EU, the pop culture industry, and the modern welfare state, tends to squeeze out practices and institutions that are as basic to human well-being as the family, the Church, and inherited cultural tradition.

Nor are the benefits of modernity unequivocal. Statistics suggest that violent death has become less common as modernity has taken hold, but developments like the communist movement and the two world wars make such benefits seem unreliable. So modernity reduces everyday disorder at the cost of sporadic catastrophes of unpredictable magnitude. Who knows how it will play out?

At a less dramatic and more everyday level, modernity separates people from their natural, social, historical, and spiritual setting. Transgenderism tells us our bodies have nothing to say to us. Nor do traditions and social conventions, which are now dismissed as stereotypes. Religion has become optional and private, with no connection to truth or authority. And human connections are considered a matter of private choice, to be kept up only while all parties agree.

Such attitudes have become basic to public morality: anything else is thought oppressive. But that has meant a radical decline in family life, cultural community, and religious belief and practice. So people are cut adrift, and fall into various addictions, obsessions, and ideological delusions. The last are a serious problem even among the educated and successful. Such people mostly keep their private lives in order through everyday prudence and devotion to career, but they still need to orient themselves with regard to the world at large.

Modern technological thought gives them no intelligent way to do so. It can’t talk about good, evil, or the purpose of life, only about satisfaction, dissatisfaction, and who gets more than whom. The result is a view of man, society, and morality whose destructive results we see around us, and has no principle of moderation to keep it from going to extremes.

The Church once pressed vigorously her objections to such tendencies. More recently her voice has been somewhat muted and her interpretation of secular initiatives and aspirations insistently optimistic. Humanly speaking, that’s not hard to understand. It’s hard to keep arguing with power and an ever-more-pervasive system of social organization propagated by education, economic life, print and electronic media, and what now counts as expertise.

The consequences are pervasive. More and more, Catholics feel ashamed of what the Church has been. They treat the Faith as subjective opinion, take the natural sciences and opinions of media personalities as the model for knowledge, accept current social trends such as those relating to family life, and believe that inclusion, tolerance, support for human aspirations, and human rights as currently understood are the key points of morality.

What does such a Church add to the world? The ceremonies, sacraments, and formal doctrines remain, and are a great help to some people, but for most they have lost their connection to a way of life and understanding of the world that is taken seriously.

For the sake of her mission, then, the Church needs to re-emphasize her opposition to basic aspects of today’s world. But how far should that go? The Church has never objected to modern science and technology, for example. She just doesn’t want people to identify them with knowledge and rational action as such, and objects to using them in ways contrary to natural law.

As the example shows, basic practices are often less the problem than the outlook associated with them. But what parts of the modern outlook should be rejected? We are told we need to accept modern insights. But moderns want clarity, public verification, and certified expertise, while insight by its nature is hard to pin down. So it’s not clear what modern insights would look like or how they can be distinguished from the ingrained attitudes and prejudices of the present day.

A lot of what’s at stake has to do with social and moral issues. The modern world, for example, is thought to have discovered freedom, equality, and tolerance. But how much of the supposed progress is real or based on insight? From the news it appears that social divisions are growing, social controls are becoming more intrusive, and respected public figures harbor more and more contempt and hatred for large parts of the population. And in any event belief in the essential unity of humanity isn’t new, nor is the belief that man is free and his decisions important. Those views have always been basic to Christianity.

The most obvious thing that’s changed are the institutions and relationships considered authoritative. Family, church, local community, and inherited culture have been downgraded to irrelevancy and replaced by money and bureaucracy. From that point of view the emancipation of women seems less a matter of new insights than replacing the network of social relations that once gave them a place and way of life with paid employment and social programs. It’s not obvious how many are better off as a result.

Similarly, religious freedom seems mostly a matter of changing what is considered sacred. When the West was Christendom it was criminal to deny or minimize the importance of the Resurrection. Now that Christendom has become the EU, other past events have taken on a sacred and exemplary status that is guarded by the criminal law. What has changed in principle?

Modernity has increased human power and so made great achievements possible. But power combined with arrogance and narrowness of vision are likely to lead to ultimate catastrophe. A thoughtful response to current trends is necessary, slogans are useless, and the depth of the problem suggests that much will have to be be put in question. Under such circumstances, we can only do our best and trust in God.

About James Kalb 80 Articles
James Kalb is a lawyer, independent scholar, and Catholic convert who lives in Brooklyn, New York. He is the author of The Tyranny of Liberalism(ISI Books, 2008) and, most recently, Against Inclusiveness: How the Diversity Regime is Flattening America and the West and What to Do About It (Angelico Press, 2013).

18 Comments

  1. I don’t know how you can say the World is good? “God created the world, so it’s essentially good, and we should try to do what’s good for it. But it’s fallen, so a great deal of caution is needed”. Today we are more gun driven than ever before to where school mass murders are happening on an increasing basis. I would bet that if we took a survey of the current population they would say the earth is not good.

    They middle east is fraught with human suffering… Syrian women and children being chemically murdered by dictator Bashar Assad and few are willing to confront him. Poor American and Russian women held their breath when Donald Trump was in town. Some role model. Our mismanaged Congress passed a tax cut bill that does not attend to the middle class and, in particular the poor.

    Our clergy has assumed a new role called “cover up” and Pope Francis appears to be falling from his promise to “clean house”. The Vatican dwells on more the use of contraceptives than attending to the pedophilia scourge. How can Marcus Grodi say welcome home when the roof is leaking?

    • Today we are more gun driven than ever before to where school mass murders are happening on an increasing basis. I would bet that if we took a survey of the current population they would say the earth is not good.
      No, we are not. Deaths as a result of gun violence are down, school shootings are not becoming more common and London–in wonderful, gun free Britain–has surpassed NYC in terms of violent crimes committed.

      We cannot address issues when they are approached with hysteria.

      They middle east is fraught with human suffering… Syrian women and children being chemically murdered by dictator Bashar Assad and few are willing to confront him. Poor American and Russian women held their breath when Donald Trump was in town. Some role model. Our mismanaged Congress passed a tax cut bill that does not attend to the middle class and, in particular the poor.
      First, on Assad, I don’t think we know the whole story. The bishops in Syria say the rebels are staging attacks. Why would they lie?

      Creation is good. Mr. Kalb is correct and God affirms it. A man can kill but that doesn’t make man evil. I could batter my wife with my hands; I could also give her hug or hold her hand when she’s scared or make her dinner: how we use our hands doesn’t make them good or evil. A scalpel can be used to cut out infection or to cut out a baby: that doesn’t make a scalpel nor the metal it’s made of “evil”.

      As for woman holding their breath when Trump is town: what does that even mean? So the guy does immoral things and may even be amoral. Has he ever been accused of rape? Again, hysterical claims don’t lead to conversation and tend to only further entrench opposition.

      Our clergy has assumed a new role called “cover up” and Pope Francis appears to be falling from his promise to “clean house”. The Vatican dwells on more the use of contraceptives than attending to the pedophilia scourge. How can Marcus Grodi say welcome home when the roof is leaking?
      The cover up is not new and despite the abhorrent possibility of ongoing abuse, it’s declining. One may be equally concerned that over 10% of children at public schools claim to have been sexually assaulted at school. What do we about this?

      Again, the hysteria is unfortunate because it then makes comments that attempt to provide context look as if somebody is defending evil. So I’m not defending evil when I say that it was 1-2% of priests committing pedophilia (though ephebophilia comprised the preponderance of incidents) and the number is down substantially more.

      That being said, there is a lot going on in the world. The Church cannot confine herself to one issue. So even though the child sex abuse scandal still requires attention and an extremely watchful stance, the Church cannot shutdown and keep quiet about everything else.

    • “They middle east is fraught with human suffering… Syrian women and children being chemically murdered by dictator Bashar Assad and few are willing to confront him. ”

      The U.S. and Israel are mainly responsible for the suffering in the Middle East, not Assad, who protects Christians, helped destroy the U.S. and Israeli-backed Isis, and is beloved by his people. The so-called gas attacks are false-flag terrorism or are just, as is the most recent one, staged hoaxes. Over 1,000,000 Muslims have been killed due to the same U.S. lies about Iraq, and now it’s the same all over again. Illegal aggressive warfare, the worst war crime possible, with Catholics cheering it on.

  2. Catholics and Conservatives who are active in the political realm need to make clear what their political endgame is.

    It’s no longer enough to just bemoan all the changes that Progressives and Secularists have brought about and are working to bring about.

    James Kalb, author of this article, shouldn’t just bemoan that fact that the U.S. Supreme Court has radically transformed marriage.

    Mr. Kalb needs to tell us exactly how, in his view, the ideal society would treat LGBT people, in both law and custom.

    For example, does Mr. Kalb want all LGBT people forced back into the closet, as things were back in the 1940s and 1950s? If so, please say so. If not, please explain.

    Progressives and Secularists tend to think that all us Catholics and Conservatives are Hitler or Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in disguise.

    We can solve this only be being specific about our political endgame for LGBT people and Progressives in general.

    • “Mr. Kalb needs to tell us exactly how, in his view, the ideal society would treat LGBT people, in both law and custom.”

      Why? If you’ve read much of Mr. Kalb’s writings (and he’s been writing monthly for CWR since 2012, so there’s no lack of material), you would see that he not only upholds Catholic moral teaching and social doctrine, but that he has thought about both quite deeply. Which means—and I don’t wish to put words in his mouth or pen—that he believes that all people are created in the image and likeness of God, all people deserve the respect due to them because of the “unalienable dignity” given them by God (cf. Compendium of Social Doctrine, 35-37), and that those who struggle with same-sex attraction (an inclination that “is objectively disordered”) should be “accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity” (CCC 2358).

      The “ideal society” would, I think, agree with what the Church says in her Compendium of Social Doctrine:

      Homosexual persons are to be fully respected in their human dignity [505] and encouraged to follow God’s plan with particular attention in the exercise of chastity[506]. This duty calling for respect does not justify the legitimization of behaviour that is not consistent with moral law, even less does it justify the recognition of a right to marriage between persons of the same sex and its being considered equivalent to the family. (par 228)

      Thus, an ideal or simply sane society would not promote homosexuality as a good thing, would not claim that transgenderism is natural and normal, and would not act as it sexual relations outside of the bonds of marriage are harmless or even “good”.

      You write: “Progressives and Secularists tend to think that all us Catholics and Conservatives are Hitler or Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in disguise.”

      I’m not sure that’s true, but there is some truth to it. Which does not speak of well of the historical, cultural, and philosophical literacy and depth of most Progressives and Secularists, does it?

      “We can solve this only be being specific about our political endgame for LGBT people and Progressives in general.”

      The “political endgame,” this side of heaven, will always be messy and complicated, but it must take into account the true nature of the common good, which is for individuals, families, and communities (as well as institutions) to be ordered toward truth and goodness. Which means, ultimately, that they encourage, or at least not impede, the free pursuit of truth and goodness (see Compendium, 394, for instance).

      Catholic social doctrine, in the end, is ordered towards and is focused on The End: “With her social doctrine, the Church aims ‘at helping man on the path of salvation.’ This is her primary and sole purpose.” (69). For more of my thoughts on that, see this 2016 post.

      • Carl E. Olson: Thank you for your very well-stated explanation. I had no intention of impugning the good reputation of Mr. James Kalb. He’s a fine writer.

        In defense of my proposal, I’d like to add a few remarks in response to what you (Mr. Olson) wrote:

        Part of the problem that I see is that Catholics are just ONE PART of the overall political Conservative Movement. Catholics probably will never be in control of the Conservative Movement in the U.S. Evangelicals are all over the map regarding their idea of a political endgame regarding LGBT people. So we Catholics are apt to be dragged along in a political movement that contains some elements that we don’t like. There is no Catholic political party in the U.S.

        Another part of the problem is that many Catholics feel perfectly free to ignore the parts of Catholic Social Doctrine that conflict with Conservative Movement’s consensus political doctrine. Haven’t we all observed this? In the U.S., there is a very low opinion of Catholic Social Doctrine. Mr. Olson shows great respect for it, but I find this a rarity.

        Another part of the problem is that the Catholic Church has a long history, and in most of that long history the Catholic Church has endorsed or approved of the savage, brutal treatment of what we now call LGBT people. Their human dignity was NOT respected during most of the history of the Catholic Church. Their “inalienable dignity” was very much alienated for about 2,000 years, wasn’t it, with the Catholic Church doing little or nothing to protest or intervene?

        Progressive and Secularist people know this history.

        So, I think we must be fair, and see that Progressive and Secularist people are sincerely AFRAID that Catholics and Conservatives will return to the age-old custom of savage, brutal treatment of LGBT people.

        This fear is at least one reason Hollywood seems to put an LGBT couple in practically every TV series and movie. They see this as a sort of “inoculation” that will help prevent the return of Medieval Times (which still exists in Saudia Arabia, Iran, etc.)

        Conservatives and Catholics tend to characterize Progressives and Secularists as having purely wicked, purely perverse motives as regards the matter of LGBT people. But is that entirely fair?

        Is it wicked and perverse to not want to go back to Medieval Times as regards LGBT people? Alan Turing, a famous and important scientist, was arrested and prosecuted for having homosexual relations with a 19-year old in 1952. That’s not very long ago.

        So, my claim is that we can allay the fears of Progressive and Secularist that our political endgame is that we want the Alan Turings of today to be arrested and prosecuted for homosexual acts.

        We can and should (because of almost 2,000 years history) constantly make clear that we do not want a general return to Medieval Times are regards LGBT people, alleged witches, heretics, etc., and do not want a return even to the state of things in the 1940s and 1950s as regards LGBT people.

        That’s why I have been thinking that every time that Catholics and Conservatives decry or complain about the LGBT agenda of Progressives and Secularists, they should realize how this is heard by Progressives and Secularists, and how it makes them AFRAID for the very lives of LGBT people.

        Catholics and Conservatives can easily make a brief statement that makes very clear what their own political endgame is regarding LGBT people. But they hardly ever do. Amidst all the outrage there’s usually no specification of the political endgame that the outraged writer or speaker has in mind.

        I wish this would always be done to allay the fears that we are all secret Hitlers.

        (I believe that it’s a historical fact that Hitler himself was a secret Hitler for many years. Those who voted for the Nazis in the early 1930s has no idea that the Nazis would ever carry out genocide, carry out wars of aggression, or set up a permanent dictatorship. In those early years, most Germans thought the Nazis just wanted to end the political street fighting, end the threat of Communist Revolution in Germany, restore social order, fix the economy, end unemployment, and rebuild the German military strength.)

        • How can there be an endgame, an ideal solution, when you’re dealing with human disorders? It seems to me the basic problem is that people have no idea what sex is about and what its proper role in human life would be. That’s why they think Hitler comparisons make sense. It all seems irrational to them.

          If they had that basic understanding then social attitudes would adjust based on that and whatever else seems important. Exactly where they would end up I have no idea. It’s like asking me where I think the stock market will be in ten years. For a short discussion of my views on the basic point see https://www.crisismagazine.com/2018/sexual-morality-rejected.

    • Again Bartolomé de las Casas, your defense of the LGBT movement is touching and well thought out. Your explanation of your position on it in a comment to an earlier article was complete and I suspect most if not all would be in agreement with you as am I. Having noted that, my question is why does Mr Kalb have to explain further about the changes in marriage today beyond saying same sex marriage is beyond the pale? Does he need to go into detail on all the points he brought up about the world today to be understood?
      Your contributions are respected by this board I’m sure, and I’m more curious than anything as to your negative reaction to this article. Thank you.

      • Bill A, thank you for your kind comments.

        I’m not aiming to denigrate Mr. Kalb. He’s a fine writer.

        Consider this hypothetical: Suppose a man whom I slightly know drives up to my house in a make and model of a car that I happen to really love, and he says, “Jump in! Let’s go!” Because I really love the car, I am really tempted. But if I am wise, I will ask this question: “Okay. But exactly WHERE will we be HEADED?”

        In general, I have become mistrustful of political movements and political activists. Often they aren’t what they’re cracked up to be.

        Deception is a key tool that football quarterbacks have at their disposal, and the same is true of political activists and leaders.

        “Satan, the one DECEIVING the whole world.” Revelation 12:9

        I no longer assume that the political Conservatives are necessarily the good guys.

        I assume that only Jesus Christ is really a purely GOOD GUY. Only Jesus Christ is fully human and fully divine.

        Only people who really obey Jesus Christ can be trusted, in my view, and they are getting rarer and rarer, especially in political circles, I think. The lust for power, fame, status, and wealth is what I see driving most or many political actors. And some political actors are just swept away on a wave that they’ve never stopped to really examine.

        I don’t want to see a repeat in the U.S. of what happened in the 1920-1940s in Europe. The virtuous desire in that earlier time to crust the Marxist menace lead directly to another menace that was at least as evil.

        We may be seeing in the next decade a return to the general treatment of the LGBT people that was in force in the 1940s and 1950s. This may be coming, as a counter-reaction to the U.S. Supreme Court decision on gay marriage. This may be coming, and there may be nothing we can do about it. But at least I don’t want to see Catholics giving their approval to this. Catholics can uphold the moral truth without approving of savagery, brutality, or cruelty.

        And yes, I conclude that the treatment of LGBT people in times prior to the 1960s/1970s was unjust and unChristian.

        I hold the view that the mission of the Church is to preach the truth and welcome into the Church those willing to obey the truth. Those who refuse to obey the truth regarding homosexual sexual activity are meant to be excluded from the Church–but not excluded from the general society. (And yet, even as I write this, I have doubts about whether I am really getting this correct. Hopefully others wiser than I will state a better way of viewing all of this.)

  3. Attorney Kalb identifies the major issue facing the Church in the mod world, “The Church needs to re-emphasize her opposition to aspects of today’s world. But how far should that go?”. That is actually being addressed perhaps more radically than most assume. Excerpts from a Sandro Magister article by Prof Roberto Pertici, Is this the End of Roman Catholicism: “An initial response to this crisis situation was provided by the Ecumenical Council of Vatican II. In the idea of ​​Pope John XXIII who had summoned it, he had to open a pastoral ‘aggiornamento’, that is to say to look at the modern world with a new optimism, in other words to finally let his guard down: he did not. It was more a matter of continuing a secular duel, but of opening a dialogue and arousing a meeting. According to Kasper to achieve this, it is necessary to finish once and for all the transcendence of the Tridentine ecclesiology and that of Vatican I. Vatican Council II opened the way but its reception was controversial and had not been linear. Hence the role of the current Pope: Francis. Some people are scandalized by the fact that in Poland, the interpretation of ‘Amoris laetitia’ which will eventually come into force will be different from that of Germany or Argentina concerning the communion of divorced-remarried. But Francis could answer that these are various facets of this polyhedron that is the Catholic Church which could sooner or later be added – why not – the churches post-Lutheran reforms, precisely in this spirit of ‘diversity reconciled’. On this road, it is easy to foresee that the next steps will consist in a new conception of catechesis and liturgy in an ecumenical sense, and here again the path that will have to be traveled by the Catholic part will be much more demanding than that of the party. ‘Protestant’, given the different starting points, as well as a weakening of the sacrament of order in its most ‘catholic’ aspects, that is, ecclesiastical celibacy, after which the Catholic hierarchy will finally cease to exist to be this ‘bureaucracy of singles’ described by Carl Schmitt”.
    If we examine events wholistically rather than in isolation it does appear Pertici’s critique is correct. For Catholics who don’t intend to jettison Christ’s revelation for a new Gospel paradigm of Church adaption to the world it’s become increasingly necessary to address the larger picture. With faith and courage.

  4. I think that Mr. James Kalb’s main complaint in this article is that the Catholic Church has had especially poor leadership for many years now.

    Given the hierarchical and sacerdotal nature of leadership in the Catholic Church, it seems that’s there very little that lay people can do about this.

    The basic premise of the theory of Apostolic Succession is that the bishops won’t fail us.

    But what if they do fail us? What then?

    I’ve heard many answers to this, but I’ve found not one of them to be really satisfactory.

    How about you?

    • As an ordinary foot soldier priest Bartolomé my options are limited to what I’m now doing seeking to bolster the faith of the Laity on the Internet and by preaching. Last night Robert Royal noted the Pontiff wishes to relax “Rules” while there is widespread laxity in a world and Church that is post truth. Too many have bought into the Pontiff’s agenda or are complacent. I’m convinced renewed sanctity in accord with Apostolic Tradition will save if not the majority at least some. Ideas will not change the course of events. Witness coupled with prayer and sacrifice might.

      • Well said, Fr Peter Morello. I agree that giving up or becoming demoralized is not the right course of action or state of mind. Even so, I am pretty demoralized myself. And see this demoralization pretty widespread among Catholics. Lord have mercy on us all!

    • The lack of church leadership may be part of what Kalb seeks to address, but I don’t think it is his main point.

      His main point (and he is one of the few attempting to get to the root of these problems today) is:

      How best can the church speak to, evangelize, etc. in a culture (much of which is good, but much not) which rejects its authority and instead is driven (often unconsiously) by a kind of radical individualism, bolstered at every turn by an all-pervasive consumer capitalism that more often than not cajoles state, public and media power to defend its interests?

      This is difficult terrain. Kalb points the way, in that we must first attempt to get to the bottom of ‘what is wrong’ with our current thinking. You could do worse than read Solzhenitsyn’a Harvard address of 1978. He was warning the West about this.

      Your own example of LGBT etc. is a classic example of this (speaking as a historian BTW, you are engaging in ‘presentism’, i.e. judging the past through the ‘values’ of today). The statement that the church always persecuted people with same-sex attraction is false, as no such concept of LGBT as an individual or collective identity existed as such until about 40 years ago. The church’s stance on this matter is clear (and there is no ‘political endgame’), the church’s position has always been clear in this area, as in others: ‘love the sinner, hate the sin.’ That this issue was always there is not in any doubt. St. Paul ‘unfashionably’ spoke out about it to the church in Corinth. As far as I am aware, both St. Ambrose of Milan and St. Anselm of Cantebury were what would nowadays be called ‘gay’, but at the same time they were not. The notion of defining one’s whole life and social identity by one’s sexual proclivity would have been ludicrous to them. It is a difficult area for the church pastorally at the present time, as it was in Corinth, the 1st century’s equivalent of San Francisco, but there is no other way.

      As Catholics, you are correct that we can never ‘place our trust in princes.’ We are coming under attack because as in late Roman times, like the Jews, we are not conforming. This is a huge shift from even fifty years ago.

      We are perhaps in an era equivalent to the boat on the Sea of Galilee during the storm. Not a comfortable place to be, but perhaps we should be honoured that Our Lord has chosen you and I, and Kalb and Olson and many others unknown for this particular ‘hour’

  5. The problem is not “modernity,” it is the state and the “anti-culture” culture that it fosters in order to promote itself. And the Roman Catholic Church has indeed compromised with the state, even recognizing it as a valid political order, when it is a political disorder. Does that mean that there is a human solution to the problem? No. But the Roman Catholic Church should recognize the problem for what it is. Until it does it will not know how to resolve issues with parish life, the lay vocation, broader social or political issues etc.

  6. Without true reform of the Church where it confidently asserts all the truths of God regarding doctrines and morality, lay footsoldiers who just rely on the visible authority the Catholic Church, will not change society. Neither can they change the politicians. Perhaps seeing our weakness, we could look at outstanding apologists such as St Vincent Ferrer, named the Angel of the Apocalypse. Vincent led the life of a penitent. He preached solely on death, judgment, hell or heaven. Crowds of 30,000 gathered to hear speak for hours. He converted hundreds of thousands of jews and muslims.he began public preaching at age 49. Finished at 70. Nows time for us to begin with ourselves.

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