New Year: Old Mantras
Apart from the vexing certainties of death and taxes, there are two persistent war cries the Catholic faithful will just as certainly endure throughout the coming year: "Change!" and "Youth!"
"Change" (for change's sake), constitutes the raison d'être of the neo-Modernist hegemony. England's Bishop Conry, who embodies the cult, kicked off his episcopal tenure in 2001 by citing "change" 10 times in a one-and-a-half page Pastoral! For others, too, it is a near pathological addiction. As a repentant arch-liberal cleric once explained to the present writer: "I would wake up in the morning thinking about what I might change next. In full flight it fed off itself. You would change what you had just changed!"
Ever poised on the tip of the forked liberal tongue, "change" has been launched at the besieged orthodox like a WMD-tipped missile for nearly 50 years. How we yearn for a blessed respite. Alas, the rise of Pope Francis has merely provided fresh impetus. Secular and ecclesiastical liberals are cock-a-hoop at the "change" (read "breath of fresh air") he has supposedly ushered in to every aspect of faith and practice. The unholy mantra looks set to reach new, preternatural levels.
As for "youth," its continued dumbing-down and flight from the pews will not dampen the perennial chant that it represents the great hope for the Church. The last WYD extravaganza only served to give new life to that contradictory claim. The most level-headed orthodox commentators were carried away at the sight of 3 million gathered at the final papal Mass in Rio. "Even for jaded journalists World Youth Day came as a surprise," wrote one. "The Pope, the new Pope, the first Latin American Pope, was there. It was a time of joy." He further enthused that "Apart from promoting piety and enthusiasm World Youth Day helps to give Catholic teachings, however counter-cultural, a firmer intellectual foundation. [...] It is also sure to spark greater commitment to evangelism."
If only! In fact, "enthusiasm" apart, those typically naive and muddled observations are woefully wrong on every count. For there are few worse false-flags of our supposedly "vibrant" future than a WYD mardi gras (cf. “The Great Distraction,” Aug-Sept 2008; “World Youth Day: From Catholicism to Counterchurch,” Oct. 2005).
How utterly refreshing, then, amid all the delusional gushing about "youth," to read the ensuing report from a renowned mainstream publication that finally faced the distressing reality of WYD. Of course, many more excruciating incidents alien to Catholic faith, sensibility, dignity and decorum could be added to its truthful summary. (The "swaying prelates" spring immediately to mind; their belittling of the episcopal office now preserved in blasphemous perpetuity on YouTube, alongside the sordid revelation that the "youth" who choreographed their cringeworthy gyrations has posed for a homosexual magazine.) Still, on behalf of those traditional voices long raised against WYD scandal and sacrilege, Christian Order congratulates Catholic World Report for swimming against the tide of neo-conservative hype which hitherto has drowned out all objections.
The next step is to recognise that the few positives cannot possibly compensate for negatives so plentiful and egregious as to dictate the shutting down of the WYD franchise altogether. The constant appeals to damage limitation — as if the bi-annual jamborees could somehow be made a little more Catholic and a little less vulgar over time — were always specious. Yet the endless scandals continue to escape the cheersquad. "After Rio, it’s clear that Christianity is not about to be consigned to the dustbin of history," crowed the aforementioned commentator. But the Faith is not a numbers game. Especially when the vaunted WYD millions are the most worldly, ecumenised, abjectly ignorant generation in the history of the Western Church. The hapless progeny of clueless parents who were themselves betrayed by faithless bishops and clergy, even with the best will and enthusiasm in the world, our present crop of "youth" lack the spiritual, intellectual, parental and clerical wherewithal to "spark greater commitment" to anything of Catholic substance. Never mind a New Evangelisation!
In 2014, therefore, as the Year of Faith reverts to the Year of the Same Old Same Old under a deeply troubling papacy, let us very simply renew our commitment: to pray; to work; to stay informed; to keep punching for Christ and His Holy Church!