It was the philosopher George Santayana who described Modernism thusly: "Modernism...is the love of all Christianity in those who perceive that it is all a fable. It is the historic attachment to his Church of a Catholic who has discovered that he is a pagan...The Modernists are men of the Renaissance, pagan, pantheistic in their profounder sentiment, to whom the hard and narrow realism of official Christianity is offensive just because it presupposes that Christianity is true...As for Modernism, it is suicide. It is the last of those concessions to the spirit of the world which half-believers and double-minded prophets have always been found making; but it is a mortal concession. It concedes everything; for it concedes that everything in Christianity, as Christians hold it, is an illusion." But because the Magisterium faithfully passes down the Tradition of Catholic Teaching received from the Apostles, Santayana, commenting on the modernists' opposition to Rome, notes, "The modernist feels himself full of love for everybody...except for the Pope."
And one might add: those Catholics who are faithful to the Tradition of Catholic teaching.
In an essay on the meaning of evangelization, Father Vincent Miceli, S.J. wrote,
"Being the work of God and man in cooperation, it must ever be a thrilling and
awesome adventure. We can say, however, that this sanctifying activity
proclaims Christ to those who do not know Him, preaches the Gospel to them
through catechesis and missionary sermons, confers Baptism and other sacraments
and tirelessly exhorts converts to scale the heights of sanctity. Jesus
Christ, Himself, the Good News of God, was the very first and greatest
evangelizer. He proclaimed an absolute Kingdom of God, making everything else
relative. He proclaimed salvation, namely liberation from sin,
Satan, death, a liberation that bestowed upon sinners returned to God grace,
resurrection in immortality and glorification in the triune God. He proclaimed
the price man must pay for his salvation, namely that men must gain Heaven by
violence, i.e., through a life of penance, toil, and suffering accepted in the
spirit of the Suffering Servant of God. And above all He proclaimed that man
must undergo that interior renewal which the Gospel calls metanoia,
that is the radical change of heart and mind which destroys 'the old man of sin'
and creates 'the new man of grace.'"
Fr. Miceli then explains that there
are obstacles to evangelization. He writes, "St Thomas Aquinas teaches that
three things are necessary for a soul to find, follow and embrace Christ.
First, a person must know what he ought to believe. Second, he must know what
he ought to desire. Third, he must know what he ought to do. Now ignorance is
the first great obstacle to evangelization. Catholics, therefore, should grow
in a profound knowledge of their Faith through a constant reading and reflection
on the Gospels and a faithful following of the teachings of the Magisterium.
Only thus will they come to appreciate the Catholic Faith as a gift of God that
is true, good and beautiful. They then will be moved by the Holy Spirit to
bring non-Catholics to share this gift from God with them..."
surveying the Catholic Church in the United States, Fr. Miceli writes,
"Unfortunately, the fact is that the Church in the United States, instead of
being the crusading, courageous, evangelizing society Christ founded it to be,
has become a cream-puff chaplaincy to the converted - and because of this
attitude is failing to hold on even to these...How are we to stir up again the
spirit of evangelization? Pope Paul VI in Evangelii Nuntiandi gives us our
'On us particularly, the pastors of the Church, rests
the responsibility for reshaping with boldness and wisdom, but in complete fidelity to the content of
evangelization, the means that are most suitable and effective
for communicating the Gospel message to the men and women of our times.'" (Fr.
Vincent P. Miceli, citing Pope Paul VI in Evangelii Nuntiandi, No.
Note this passage. What does Pope Paul VI mean by "complete
fidelity to the content of
evangelization"? The Holy Father means that pastors of the Church must offer
the men and women of our times what Pope Benedict XVI has said is the entire plan of God. That is to say, the full content of Catholic teaching -
including, and especially, those hard truths which the world does not want to
hear but which faithful Catholics must share with hurting souls who wander about
without a shepherd. This is what evangelization is all about!
And because I insist upon preaching these hard truths, I am shunned at my own parish and not even permitted to apply for the diocesan priesthood! Just recently, Pope Francis said that, "In Buenos Aires I used to receive letters from homosexual persons who are ‘socially wounded’ because they tell me that they feel like the church has always condemned them."
It's good to see that the Holy Father is concerned for homosexual persons who have not always been treated with "respect, compassion, and sensitivity" as the Catechism calls for (2358). But what about faithful Catholics whose vocation is rejected outright simply because they preach the hard truths - what Pope Benedict XVI referred to as "the entire plan of God" - and who also insist, along with the Catechism, that homosexual persons (like everyone else) "are
called to fulfill God's will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to
unite to the sacrifice of the Lord's Cross the difficulties they may encounter
from their condition"?
Not long ago, I was part of a group of Catholic bloggers accused by the Boston Archdiocese of "harming community" by opposing dissent from revealed Catholic teaching as well as a "Gay Pride" Mass. See here. How much longer must faithful Catholics tolerate such nonsense?