Secularism is an unstoppable force that has met the Church, an immovable object. Which will win?
Like many of you, my thoughts have been with Pope Benedict. I watched today as he left the Vatican and flew to Castel Gandolfo. Like many of you, I have a great filial love for him. We have been blessed by his pontificate. And I place no stock in the media innuendos and rumor-mongering concerning his retirement.
He prayed; God showed him that it was time to retire; he obeyed.
The Church has thus far held out against the rising tide of secularism: moral relativism, the liberal agenda regarding same-sex “marriage,” female clergy, and all the rest. But surely she cannot hold out much longer? It feels to most people that there is an ineluctability to the secular storm that has successfully swept the West and much of the rest of the world.
It wouldn’t take much. Just one pope getting in there and changing one dogma. The Church has old men and something called “Tradition,” but so what? The Anglicans appeared for centuries to have that too, and look at them now. Folding faster than a bad hand of cards. Human tradition isn’t strong enough to stop the progress toward Utopia that secularism is promising to bring the world. Neither are old men. Because they die, and younger men take their place, eventually men formed to understand how good secularism is for people, how true it is.
Yet the Catholic Church says No to divorce, No to contraception, No to same-sex acts, etc. She says No to these because of course she says Yes to life-long marriage, Yes to life-giving love, Yes to fruitful union and gift of self. Ridiculous anachronisms, says the secular world. Laughably archaic and even viciously hateful.
All it takes is one pope to get in there and reverse dogma. Not hard to do, as all Protestant denominations have fallen in one way or another. If Catholicism is false, as secularism knows it must be, then it will fall, too. If it is only human, as it must be, it will cave.
The stage is set. The battle lines drawn. A new opportunity opens before us with the retirement of Pope Benedict. A new pope will be elected. And while he may be “conservative” like Benedict, it is only a matter of time, secularism knows, before one will be an “enlightened” man, a man like President Obama for instance.
As Willy Wonka says, “the suspense is terrible; I hope it’ll last.”
But, the Immovable Object has not moved yet. Been about 2,000 years. When I was a Protestant, and anti-Catholic, I recall hearing the ridiculous doctrines about the Church not erring on faith and morals. I started looking into it, reading the anti-Catholic websites about this or that pope over the centuries.
But each case where the pope or Church had allegedly taught heresy as truth, was flimsy, weak. I knew there had to be an airtight, obvious example of the Church reversing dogma, or the pope officially teaching heresy, somewhere in history. Not just a pope or bishop privately holding some heterodox belief, but the Church proclaiming it with her full authority.
Alas, I never found it. And I was disposed to believe any credible example that I could find. I wanted to find such a case. Yet I didn’t. And the more I looked into them, the more I realized that the Catholic claims held up, even though I didn’t believe in the Catholic Church’s teachings. This was a question of self-consistency, not whether or not I believed in the Marian dogmas or not.
The Church’s self-consistency alone did not move me to Catholicism. But it disturbed me enough to keep looking. I smelled blood in the water, and just needed to find the dead animal to declare that the game was up on Catholicism. I looked and looked, read and read, talked to all my Evangelical friends, and came up with…nothing. It was then that I began to seriously consider that the Catholic Church might be what she claimed to be.
So I say, bring on the battle again. The Immovable Object cannot move. The unstoppable force is really stoppable. Christ dealt it a mortal wound long ago, and it is bleeding out the last drops in our era. Christ’s Church will soldier on past this current fight and take on the next challenger that comes.
It turns out that the astonishing, yet simple reality is that “you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”
Thanks be to God for His Church, and for Pope Benedict and the next Holy Father!