While there are so many good and faithful priests who do preach on the reality of sin and the need for reconciliation, there are also many who have no love for the souls under their care. As a consequence, these priests neglect the souls entrusted to them and make no attempt to stress the reality of sin and the need for ongoing conversion.
For such priests and their deluded followers, Jesus was little more than a moronic hippy who traveled the countryside preaching non-judgmentalism (who am I to judge*) and a "peace and joy" which includes putting out the welcome mat for any sort of evil or perversion.
When Jesus began His public ministry, He did so with the word "repent" (Matthew 4:17). And He advised the woman caught in adultery to "sin no more" (John 8:11). Likewise, in the case of the man cured at the Pool of Bethesda, Jesus advised him to "sin no more lest something worse befall thee" (John 5:14).When queried on the subject of how many would be saved, Jesus replied "few" because the "gate" to Heaven is "narrow" (Matthew 7:13-14). And while no one can pinpoint the precise meaning of the word "few," still, it is sobering that Jesus chose the image of a narrow gate.
Jesus is likened in the gospel to a stern master who has lazy servants flogged and murderous ones put to death (Matthew 21:41; Luke 12:47). And while it is true that Jesus is Mercy, He is also Justice. And for every parable illustrative of His mercy, there are three or four threatening divine retribution.
The Judgment Day is always described as a day of wrath and never as a day of rejoicing (Proverbs 11:4; Zephaniah 1:15; Sirach 5:10; Romans 2:5; Revelation 6:17). Why is this? If everyone (or even a large segment of mankind) is headed for Heaven, why does Sacred Scripture refer to the Judgment Day as a day of wrath?
The smug, self-satisfied "we-are-all-saved-already" attitude found in so many Catholic parishes is the result of the sin of presumption. Because there are priests who are betraying Jesus by refusing to preach on the reality of sin and the reality of Hell, a spiritual dry-rot has infected much of the Church. This is why nearly everyone receives Holy Communion at Mass but nearly no one goes to Confession.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church has this to say about presumption: "There are two kinds of presumption. Either man presumes upon his own capacities, (hoping to be able to save himself without help from on high), or he presumes upon God's almighty power or his mercy (hoping to obtain his forgiveness without conversion and glory without merit)." (CCC, 2092).
The words of Sacred Scripture remind us that such an attitude is very, very wrong: "Of forgiveness be not overconfident, adding sin upon sin. Say not:' Great is his mercy; my many sins he will forgive.' For mercy and anger alike are with him; upon the wicked alights his wrath." (Sirach 5:5-7).
If we are living a sacramental life, confessing our sins and receiving Jesus in the Eucharist as often as possible (at the very least on Sundays and Holy Days, which is our obligation) while praying each day for His grace and mercy, we have nothing to worry about. This isn't presumption. This is confidence in God's mercy as we strive every day to conform our will to His divine will. But God will not be mocked. He can neither deceive nor be deceived.
* "Who am I to judge." This unfortunate phrase used by Pope Francis has sown much confusion. Especially amongst liberal Catholics whose ignorance of Sacred Scripture is nothing short of appalling.
Does Pope Francis really want the Catholic world to believe that all judging should be left to God? If so, he is gravely ignorant of the teaching of God's Holy Word.
Judging isn't always sinful. It is only sinful when we judge another's interior dispositions, when we judge their soul. But we are entirely free to judge words, ideas and actions which fail to hold up when placed in the Lumen Christi (Light of Christ).
Sacred Scripture makes this abundantly clear: "should you not judge those inside the Church"? (1 Corinthians 5:12), and again: "the saints will judge the world and angels" (1 Corinthians 6:2-3), and again: "the spiritual man judges all things" (1 Corinthians 2:15), and again: "Let prophets speak and the others judge" (1 Corinthians 14:29).
Not all judging is sinful. This is just common sense. Our legal system is structured in such a way that when a person commits a crime, he or she is tried before a judge and sentenced (judged) if found guilty. Likewise, it is our right (and duty) to judge words, ideas and actions which are not in conformity with the Gospels or which fail to conform to the Magisterial teaching of Christ's Church and to expose these as fallacious and/or sinful. In so doing, we are not rendering a judgment against a person. We are following the teaching of the great Saint Augustine (Bishop, Father and Doctor of the Church), who said: "Interficere errorem, diligere errantem" - kill the error, love the one who errs. This killing of what is sinful or erroneous is necessary if our charity - our love of neighbor - is to be genuine. Otherwise, our love is counterfeit. It is a fraud.
Thank you Father McTeigue for providing your readers with wheat rather than chaff.