“In times like these, it is helpful to remember
that there have always been times like these.”
Our friends at The Catholic Company
have a new interesting book that they’d like to share—
The Dark Years in Which the Faithful Thrived While Bishops Did the Devil’s Work
Given these days and times of scandal, mistrust, misdeeds shrouded by pure evil,
this is a rather timely read that I’ve now added to the ever-burgeoning pile of books
calling for my attention.
The Catholic Chruch, with the clergy leading the way, has become a pariah in the minds of many.
And with this deepening distrust and disgust, the global Christian Chruch is finding herself in the
crosshairs of being guilty by association.
Here is their enticing introduction of the book…
Sexual scandals and improper behavior
among religious leaders are nothing new.
“…the smoke of Satan has entered the
temple of God,”
said Pope Paul VI.
Believe it or not, St. Peter Damian wrote about the problem of active homosexuality
among the clergy over 900 years ago.
He warned that it was
“creeping through the clerical order…like a cruel beast within the sheepfold of Christ.”
Ever since Judas betrayed his Lord, there has been sin and scandal in the Church.
But this is not the time to despair.
In his astonishing, highly revealing and sometimes amusing book,
Church historian Rod Bennett offers some much-needed perspective to give us hope.
“My research, curiously enough, soon revealed a major key running under the minor;
and this was the striking fact that the Catholic laity…
often shone brightest just when their bad shepherds were at their worst.
God, in other words, had not left Himself without a witness.”
—Author Rod Bennett
These eye-opening pages introduce a number
of bad shepherds, showing us that corrupt church
leaders have existed since Christ established
the Church—and have not prevailed.
Instead, goodness has ultimately triumphed.
You’ll read about:
Pope Stephen VII, who so hated his late predecessor that he had him dug up,
put on trial, and flung into the Tiber.
Benedict IX, who bought and sold the papacy—twice!
Pope John XII, whose debauchery rivaled that of the corrupt emperor Caligula.
And here’s the powerful thing Rob Bennet will show you:
While these leaders were doing these evil deeds,
good Catholics not only survived—–they thrived.
They transcended their bad shepherds,
preserved the traditions, and served as the
foundation for a vigorous renewal of the Faith.
By bringing to light what’s happened in the past, this enlightening book shows that
restoration and renewal can happen again!
The notion of the governing Chruch going array while the faithful remain steadfast,
reminds me of a time in the middle of the 20th century when the
German Lutheran Chruch became the state Chruch of Nazi Germany.
And in essence became a pawn of Adolf Hitler…a vocal tool condoning evil propaganda.
Hitler knew that if he really wanted to plant his corrupted seeds within the hearts of the
German people, if he had the Church’s clergy acting as cheerleaders, the German people would be
more apt to listen and agree.
Yet there were committed Lutherans (Dietrich Bonhoeffer who, with a wealth of fellow clergy,
left the state puppet church creating the defiant Confessing Chruch) along with equally defiant Catholic
clergy mounted a counter voice of Truth.
The righteous know the Truth and hold steadfast despite the blanket of evil.
And so our friend the Wee Flea is also reviewing, as well as recommending, a new book—
a book about faith and God in our current troubling times.
God is Good for You—A Defence of Christianity in Troubled Times
by Greg Sheridan
A political journalist looks at the impact of Christianity in the West.
David pulls out a few quotable gems to wet our whistle.
“In Charles Murray’s seminal study of the white underclass in the US, Coming Apart,
he reports that the last thing that holds working class and impoverished communities together
is the local churches.
When they collapse, the communities collapse.
Does atheism explain the universe, life, including human life, consciousness and conscience?
Hyper- rational atheism gave us Nazism and doctrinaire Soviet communism.
Ultra-rationalism does not deliver you any moral compass.
(Kevin Rudd- Page 216).
If we abandon God, and the ethical imperatives that proceed from that,
we are in danger of ending up in an amoral morass,
where the sort of technocratic debates about whether certain human beings should be regarded
as sharing a common humanity, like the Soviet purges of “enemies of the people”
or the Nazi’s belief in the expendability of certain races, most particularly Jews, become possible.
You then land in an amoral jungle, animated only by some mud- begotten social Darwinianism.
This is because there was no longer a guiding moral authority.
These regimes could “reason” their way to any conclusion.”
(Kevin Rudd – page 217).
The only truly acceptable contemporary Christianity for Western political culture now seems
to be a Christianity which doesn’t mention God and which subscribes to conventional
elite wisdom on policy issues
The rule of law came out of a Christian mindset and defined the West.
The enemies of the West still define the West that way. Human rights have degenerated into
We are living now in a post-Christian society but still living on the legacy of Christianity
and that legacy is running down.
This could end in chaos.
For society to work you’ve got to have agreement about basic rules.
You want your rights but you have your responsibilities too.
If we don’t have consensus on the basic rules are we will find it hard to live in a society with each other…
That is a matter of great concern to me. I’m very concerned about where this experiment of being
a post-Christian society will end. It’s an experiment.
We haven’t been there before.
(Peter Costello – page 229).
Christianity doesn’t seek conflict for its own sake, but if it’s to be effective it must
know that conflict is the inevitable consequence of proclaiming its message.
It is also important to have always in mind that Jesus’s two greatest commands,
which he reiterates again and again, are to love God and to love your neighbour.
This does not, however rule out ethical conflict.
And so we hold fast to the knowledge that, as we have seen in ages past, when the going gets tough,
we of the Faith hold to our toughness and get going…
But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love,
endurance and gentleness. Fight the good fight of the faith.
Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence
of many witnesses.
In the sight of God, who gives life to everything, and of Christ Jesus,
who while testifying before Pontius Pilate made the good confession,
I charge you to keep this command without spot or blame until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ,
which God will bring about in his own time—-
God, the blessed and only Ruler, the King of kings and Lord of lords,
who alone is immortal and who lives in unapproachable light,
whom no one has seen or can see.
To him be honor and might forever.
1 Timothy 6:11-16
Amen! Love this.
I especially appreciate those mentions of “ultra rationalism” or “hyper rationalism,” and the problems they can lead to. That’s a tough thing to explain in a world gone a bit mad, because we assume the cure is just more reason and becoming ultra rational.
So true too, there is nothing new under the sun. I tend to assume “what is the world coming too,” and forget that life under a Roman occupation all the way down to the Holocaust were times of, “what is the world coming to?” I tend to say things like “we’re getting worse,” as if there is some golden age we’re straying away from. The garden of Eden was that place, but since we’ve kind of been on a downward roll,but God is still with us and faith continues to thrive in the world.
Thanks IB. I loved the stories as well…both of these books are great reminders that our woe is not a new woe.
I can’t even imagine what it was to be a Jew living in Europe during the war.
The constant fear of the pounding on your door in the middle of the night…a soldier ripping your child from your arms and tossing her or him away as if they were a piece of trash. I cannot begin to imgaine the sense of
emptiness, fear, loss and resignation.
And so I am quickly reminded that yes, things are crazy now but they have been crazier…all the whilde the human connection to The Creator not only survived but thrived…it was, as it remians today, the life line in the midst of evil.
I always need a good reality check when my senses are overloaded by our own current level of idiocy.