All the evils of the world are due to lukewarm Catholics.
— POPE ST PIUS V
I know your works, I know that you are neither cold nor hot; I wish you were either cold or hot, but because you are lukewarm, neither hot nor cold, I will vomit you out of my mouth, for you say I am rich and affluent, and have no need of anything and yet you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind and naked. I advise you to buy from me gold refined by fire so that you may be rich, white garments to put on so that your shameful nakedness may not be exposed and buy ointment to smear on your eyes so that you may see. Those whom I love, I reprove and chastise. Be earnest therefore and repent.
— BOOK OF REVELATIONS CHAPTER 3:15-19
Before I begin, let me say this to you: Today, with the help of God’s Grace, I am going to try to speak with complete honesty. At times, I may be somewhat painfully and brutally frank. Some of you, may not like what I have to say. NO MATTER! Tough times demand tough talk and tough love. If I offend anyone, I apologize in advance, but there are certain things that I believe have got to be said, things that have for too long been left unsaid. At this point, I feel like we priests have nothing to lose. St. Paul wrote, “My brothers, have I become your enemy by telling you the truth?”
I believe there is a sense of urgency that must prevail among men and women of faith if the church in this country is to continue in any kind of effective way. If we are going to turn this evil around, one thing is for sure, it is not going to be easy. Unless you have been living on another planet for the last year, you know that the Church in America has been most gravely wounded by scandal. Archbishop Fulton Sheen use to compare the Church to Noah’s Ark:
It is carrying the remnant of the faithful to salvation through the storms of life and the flood tides of evil in the world.
With all those animals within Noah’s Ark for all that time, you can bet there were times when the smell got pretty foul. So it is with the Church, things smell pretty bad right now with the kind of scandals that stink to high heaven. There is hardly any talk of evangelization because everyone is talking about scandal. These scandals of the most shocking and abominable kind are perpetrated by consecrated souls who incredibly carried them out with the full knowledge of Church authorities who simply chose to do nothing to stop them. May God have mercy on their souls! New evangelization is stopped dead in its tracks. It is stuck in the mire of corruption. We have instead of a new springtime in the Church, a cold winter of unbelief.
St. Paul said, “Who is led into sin and I am not indignant?” Something must be done about it. I am appalled by it all, but I am not surprised or shocked by it. Anyone who knew anything about what has been going on in the church and the seminaries for the past 40 years could have seen this
day coming long ago. It was entirely predictable and it was preventable!
My patience is wearing thin with those who would minimize and trivialize the gravity, the enormity and the devastating effects of these scandals on the Church. Some respond in a non chalant way saying, “We will always have scandals; Oh well, don’t worry about it, things will work out. It will all blow over soon enough, God will work it out. No big deal, business as usual.
The idea that there is nothing we need to do to correct this situation right now is abominable. Please don’t tell me that scandal, moral corruption, dissent and depravity have got to be business as usual in the Church, the NORM for us Catholics. If we are going to sit back and accept this, there is something wrong with us! Let me use this analogy. Suppose you are at home one day with your family and all of a sudden the children come running into the living room shouting to you that your house is on fire. What would you do? How would you react to that? Would you sit there calmly and say, “Oh well, there have always been fires, don’t worry about it, somebody will put it out, eventually it will burn itself out.” Is that what you would say? How many of you would react that way if your home was on fire?
Friends, the Church is our spiritual Home and our home is in danger! Yes, Christ promised that the gates of Hell would never prevail against his church but He did not promise it would survive here. Think of all the countries around the world, all those Nations that were once entirely Catholic and now, the True Faith is dead. Think of North Africa and all the places in Asia Minor where St. Paul preached; think of Scandinavia, think of England, Scotland, Holland, and Northern Germany: Don’t think it can’t happen here! I tell you it can!
Scandal causes the loss of souls
This is the worst thing that can happen in the order of creation! Nothing you can name in the order of God’s creation is worse that the loss of souls. The buildings may still be standing, the walls still may be erect, but there is a killer contamination inside. It is for this reason that the Saints and Doctors of the Church were in total agreement that scandal involving unchaste priests is the worst thing that can happen to the church.
What would Christ do? The Gospel shows us that Our Lord took a very, very hard line against scandal. Some of His most severe words in the Gospel were directed to those who cause scandal. Christ took a hard line and we must also.
“But he that shall scandalize one of these little ones that believe in Me, it were better for him that a millstone should be hanged about his neck, and that he should be drowned in the depth of the sea. Woe to the world because of scandals. For it must needs be that scandals come: but nevertheless woe to that man by whom the scandal cometh. And if thy hand or thy foot scandalizes thee, cut it off and cast it from thee. It is better for thee to go into life maimed or lame, that having two hands or two feet, to be cast into everlasting fire. And if thy eye scandalizes thee, pluck it out and cast it from thee. It is better for thee, having one eye to enter into life, than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire.”
St. Thomas Aquinas taught that the lay faithful have the right, the absolute right to expect and demand not only sound doctrine but also good example on the part of the clergy and Church leaders. And, if they don’t get it, they also have the right to press for the reform and the removal of corrupt elements. If we don’t do this, we deserve what we get. God will punish both the men who do evil and the good that do nothing to stop the evil.
The scandals, the corruption, the unrelenting media coverage and the Church’s public disgrace lead to a purification. It is a purifying fire that, God willing, will bring about good but it is much, much more than just purification. It is also a judgment. It is nothing less than the Hand of God upon the Church in this part of the world for forty years of infidelity, corruption, disobedience, dissent, affluence and, I might add, arrogance: Forty years of lukewarm Catholicism!
We are going to have to be very careful, lest God vomit us out of His mouth. God willing, the damage done by the scandals will purify the clergy, the seminaries and the universities from a certain amount of corruption. The Protestant revolt and the Reformation had that type of effect. Historians are in total agreement that the primary cause of the Protestant schism was the corruption of the Catholic clergy. The Protestant movement ultimately forced the Catholic clergy to reform themselves, but still the damage was done.
We live with the terrible effects of the Reformation every day of our lives. Back in the 16th century, St. Robert Bellarmine said, “The Protestant revolt is a punishment from God because of the sins of priests.” St. John Eudes, apostle of the Holy Eucharist, said, “The surest sign that God is thoroughly angry with His people, is when He allows them to fall into hands of a corrupt clergy.”
My brothers and sisters in Christ, you must know that the priests who commit these abominations and do things that would make prostitutes blush, are men who had long ago rejected True Catholicism. Long ago, they bought into the mind-set of the sexual revolution. They failed to hold to the Church’s timeless teaching of the sanctity of marriage, human life and sexuality.
With the rejection of the Sixth and Ninth Commandments, the rejection of chastity, comes the mentality that one can simply follow his own conscience. Animal activity is accepted as normal. The Church’s timeless teaching against abortion is thrown out. Self satisfaction takes precedence over God’s Law, over life itself.
Watered Down Catholicism
How long has it been since you heard a good sermon on sexual morality? Many bishops and priests no longer believe in sexual sin. People are sick and tired of lukewarm watered down Catholicism. They are sick of superficial, boring and non- committal Catholic preaching. They are sick of being fed false doctrine or no doctrine at all.
They are sick of a lack of sound catechesis for our young people. They have had enough of the rotten sex education programs which do nothing but incite young people’s natural curiosity and tempt them
to solve it by personal experience. They are sick of the lack of teaching about sin, virtue, and vice, the Commandments, Confession, family life and sanctity.
They are tired of leaders who won’t make moral judgments publically and stand up and defend the Faith as they are obligated by Christ to do, and who seem to fear everyone’s judgment but God’s!
Moral authority is like muscle tissue. Muscle tissue, if never used, will atrophy and die. This is our present condition. Our people are tired of shepherds who seem to protect the wolves rather than the sheep! They have had enough of the modernist mush! New Age nonsense has been shoved down their throats in place of the true Faith. People are fed up with the superficial spirituality of butterflies, banners and balloons. They have had enough liturgical abuses and irreverence at Holy Mass.
The Council of Trent states, “Where there is irreverence, there will be corruption.” Scandal follows corruption, like night follows the day. There is not now nor has there ever been a New America Church. It is a sham and a lie. If we don’t put an end to it, God will, sooner or later, one way or another! Call it anything you like. It comes in many different forms, by many different names and in many different disguises:
• Lukewarm Catholicism
• Cafeteria Catholicism
• Theological Modernism
• Liberal American Catholicism • Rationalism or Relativism
Whatever you choose to call it, it is a fatal disease. It is a killer! Ultimately, it leads to paralysis of faith and
the ruin of souls.
Lukewarm Catholicism, in all its various forms, can be rooted in many things: weak faith, loss of faith, moral laxity, habitual sin, lack of prayer, pride, material prosperity, spiritual sloth, sheer laziness, worldliness, whatever; but its mindset seems to have permeated everywhere and almost everything in Catholic life today, in one degree or another. It has crept into Catholic Schools, Bible Studies, RCIA programs, Religious Ed programs, Chancery offices and liturgical preaching.
If you recognize the signs of Lukewarm Catholicism, if you see some of the symptoms in yourself or your home, in your family or in your parish, wherever you may see it, please, my brothers and sisters
in Christ, the time has come to do something about it! Make changes in your life. Rebuild your interior castle with the seven habits of sanctity.
Seven Daily Habits
It is the work of a life-time and requires our determined effort and cooperation with God’s Sanctifying Grace through the Sacraments. If we are to have robust Spiritual health, we must develop these SEVEN DAILY HABITS. The Morning Offering, Spiritual Reading, the Rosary, Holy Communion, Mental Prayer, the Angelus and daily examination of Conscience. These seven habits must take priority in our lives for they are more important than meals, sleep, work or recreation.
The Church is mortally wounded in this country. Friends, don’t put it off. Don’t count on others to do it for you. Our time may very well be short. Archbishop Sheen used to say that, before the hand of God comes down upon the world, it always comes down upon the Church.
Surely, the hand of God is upon the church today. What’s going to happen to the world, God only knows. I fear that it will not be pretty.
What is wrong with the Church? Let’s take a mirror and look into it. When you come right down to it, we are what is wrong with the Church. I am what is wrong with the Church. You are what is wrong with the Church. We failed to take seriously God’s call to holiness of life. And, now, all of us have got to light our candles and stop cursing the darkness, and try to turn this evil around.
The situation is critical! Just look around you. Do you need more evidence or proof to convince you that God is, in reality, a low priority in the lives of people, in your own life and in your family?
- Is your daily life characterized by spiritual sloth, TV, iPAD, computer, addiction to technical gadgets, time wasted, and toleration of habitual sin?
- Is there a lack of devotion in your life, compromise with the world, and silence in the face of sin, error and evil?
- Is there lack of charity (LOVE), foul language and gossip in your home?
- Does your wardrobe reflect the standards of modesty given by the Church?
Does the best of your time, talents and energy always seem to be expanded on the chase after more money, more material possessions, honors and recognition?
“Sports” is one of the great idols of modern times. In the Old Testament, God punished the Israelites when they turned to Idols. They worshiped Baal. We don’t worship Baal any longer; now we worship the God of Ball: Baseball, Football, Basketball, etc!
Rebuild the Church
It is time to rebuild the Church. Let every man and woman who loves the Church do everything in his or her power to rekindle the fire of the Holy Spirit where it has been snuffed out by lukewarm Catholicism. Christ said, “I came to cast a fire upon the earth, and long to see that flame enkindled.” Are you going to light that fire?
Begin by making Christ once again King of your home. Then, start by restoring reverence in our churches. It can be done! Don’t say that there is nothing that you can do. You can still pray! If the priests will not listen to you, pray, pray and pray more that God will change their hearts or remove them! IT WORKS!
If we don’t believe in the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist, we might as well close down our churches and rent out the space. Much of the liturgical experiment has failed. We are not holier and not more Christ-Centered; in fact, we are facing a generation of young people who have largely lost their faith because we have not given them the precious gift that is at the heart of Catholicism; the Real Presence of God in the Most Blessed Sacrament.
Holy Mass has simply become a drama, a vehicle for whatever agenda is currently popular. The church building is no longer a place of encounter with God but a social center, not a place of prayer, rather
a place of chatter. We have lost the sense of the sacred which has always been the hallmark of Catholic worship.
The behavior of many in Church is outrageous. When Mass is over, it is impossible to spend time in prayer. The noise level reaches a pitch that one would expect at a sports event. Christ is forgotten on the Altar, indeed, if He still resides there. We are teaching our children by what we do and the way we are behaving, that there is nothing special about the Sacred Host. The dethronement of the Blessed Sacrament has resulted in the enthronement of the clergy. The Mass has become priest centered and people centered.
I have lived with lukewarm Catholicism all my life. When I was growing up, I can’t remember ever hearing anything at Mass, or anything from the pulpit to get me fired up about my Catholic Faith. There was nothing to make me want to love more, know more and pray more. I seemed to me dead, yet it
was so rich, incredibly sublime and beautiful. Many of us never knew that. I feel like we were cheated of the beauty, the majesty, the eternal truth of our Faith and the glory of our Sacred Worship. We must not repeat the mistakes of the past. Now is the time to get it right.
God said to the prophet Jeremiah, “Cursed are those who do the work of the Lord halfheartedly.” If you say you love the Church and you can’t get fired up now, you never will. There is something wrong. I want to ask all of you to do everything in your power to defend Her:
Stand up! Speak up! Rise up to put an end to lukewarm catholicism!
St. Padre Pio said, “Be firm in your resolution, stay in the ship in which Christ has placed you. Let the storm and the hurricane come. Long live Christ! You will not perish. What is there to fear? Let the world turn up-side-down, let everything be in darkness, smoke and noise, GOD IS WITH US!”