2024: The Path Forward for Catholics

January 03, 2024 00:31:18
2024: The Path Forward for Catholics
Crisis Point
2024: The Path Forward for Catholics

Jan 03 2024 | 00:31:18

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Hosted By

Eric Sammons

Show Notes

Catholics have been debating how to react to the crisis in the Church for some time now: Should we ignore Rome and focus on our family/parish/community? Or should we actively resist the scandals and corruptions coming from the Vatican?
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Episode Transcript

[00:00:16] Speaker A: Catholics have been debating how to react to the cris in the church for some time now. Should we ignore Rome and focus on our family, our parishes, and our communities? Or should we actively resist the scandals and corruptions coming from the Vatican? That's what we're going to talk about today on crisis point. Hello, I'm Eric Sims, your host and chief of Crisis magazine. Okay, so it's a new year and. [00:00:37] Speaker B: I am using new software to stream. [00:00:40] Speaker A: This actually is working. So hopefully somebody out there can hear me and this is all going great. I will say. I discovered, like literally seconds before I went online that I didn't have the proper level of access to do a 1080 full high definition stream. So I think this is at 720. I literally didn't know that until I hit go live. So there's that. So that might actually be better because then you won't see my face quite as clearly, which is probably a good thing. But anyway. Okay, so before we really get started here, I want to encourage people to smash that like, button. Subscribe to the channel. We recently went over 10,000 subscriptions subscribers on YouTube, and I really appreciate that. Also, you can follow us on social media at Crisismag at all the various places. Subscribe to our email newsletter, just go crisismagazine.com and you'll see a place you can do that. Also, our fundraiser is over. Our end of year fundraisers, obviously, it's the beginning of the year, so our end of year fundraiser is over. And I just wanted to mention, I want to thank everybody. We topped our goal by a significant amount. And I really do appreciate that. That allows us to continue to offer everything that we offer for free. And that's what we're here to do, is offer for free and let people do that. Okay, I can hear you. Thank you, Joseph. And also I find I can actually see your comments. That's a good thing as well. Okay, so we have a new year. Last week I did a podcast on 2023, talked about why I thought Pope Francis, that was the year he went too far. It was a look back. Now, at the beginning of the year, it's often common to look forward, and that's what I want to do here. But I want to specifically look at a specific topic in the church debate. I see in the church a lot among Catholics in this time of cris when we have so much confusion. Okay, I just have to stop because Anthony wanted to join in the new year and said, sorry, eric, the software hasn't made you any less boring. And that is probably true. Thank you, Anthony. But I'm still probably about 15 times more exciting than your podcast avoiding Babylon, or as I call it, avoiding that podcast. Okay, so for those of you who don't know Anthony, he and I are frenemies, and so that's why I bring him up here. But I want to talk about this debate going on in the churches. How should we react to the cris going on in the church today? And I see this often on social media. I see this online. I see this among. In real life as well, more importantly. And there's two kind of extremes that we see for how to react to that, which I'll talk about in a second. But I think we have to be honest, first of all, and recognize, and that's part of this debate, is it recognizes this, that we live in a time that can cause great anxiety among Catholics. To pretend otherwise is to lie to ourselves, to gaslight others. We live in a time of crisis. We have a pope who is extremely confusing, and that's a charitable interpretation. We does. We have so many church leaders that don't seem to care about spreading the gospel most directly. We all know countless people who have left the church that no longer practice catholic faith. We see the difficulties others have in deciding to become Catholic. We might ourselves even have doubts about the catholic faith. And so we live in this time, and it's a time of anxiety. And 2024, I don't think, is going to cause any less anxiety. I think it's very likely that Pope Francis will not live throughout this entire year, just due to his age. We might have a new conclave, so there'll be anxiety about who the next pope is going to be. [00:04:50] Speaker B: Many of us are afraid of the. [00:04:54] Speaker A: Possibility of being appointed to our diocese, which could cause on what community you live in, things like that. And there's anxiety beyond the church, of course. I mean, the 2024 presidential election in America is a cause for anxiety. Who knows what's going to happen there? So I think we just recognize that. And so we have to ask ourselves practically, how do we respond? And like I said, I think there's two extremes that I think, and when I say extremes, I don't necessarily mean that in a bad way, because I think we live in a time of extremism where extremism is a virtue in many ways. It can be a vice, but it can be a virtue as well. So, practically, how do we respond? I think, on the one hand, we have, basically, I call the off grid option, where you decide that you are. [00:05:43] Speaker B: Going to can't change what's happening and. [00:05:47] Speaker A: Change what's going on in the church. So you focus on the local, you focus on your family, you focus on your community, your parish, and you simply don't worry about all the shenanigans going on in the church. You're not constantly trying to find out what's the latest scandal, how to criticize it. You're not on social media debating these topics. You're working on your personal holiness and building up your local community. We have an article coming out of crisis pretty soon about living like a medieval peasant. In fact, I chuckled, because just today, Timothy Flanders, our friend over at one Peter five, he has an article called the medieval peasant option. [00:06:28] Speaker B: And I have an article coming out. [00:06:31] Speaker A: Cris, not by me living like a medieval peasant. We did not coordinate that at all. I had no idea he was going to publish that. He didn't know about mine. But that's basically an idea that you live like a medieval peasant. You just focus on local, you don't care about what's going on in the greater church. That's option one. Option two on the other extreme is basically the idea that, no, you need to know what's going on in the church, and you need to actively resist. [00:06:59] Speaker B: It, because if you let evil collate. [00:07:04] Speaker A: If you let it operate within the church, it has nothing to stop it. And that we are called as disciples of Jesus Christ, to fight for the truth, to fight for justice, to help other people understand what's going on in the church and to fight against those who are actively trying to undermine the faith, even if they are church leaders. We put pressure on them. So that's the other extreme. And so therefore, you have these two options of where to go. And I've seen this debate a lot within catholic circles. I mean, this is something that I think is a real life issue that a lot of us deal with. I know I deal with it. I'll be the first one to admit I deal with it. And so I think it's something we have to recognize now. First, what I want to do is I'm going to give kind of the criticisms against each of those options, each of those options, and then explain why I think what I think is the best path forward. So criticism of option one, the head in the sand, would be the critical way to look at it. The off grid option, so to speak, is that, first of all, Catholics aren't quietest. Quietism was a movement within Protestantism centuries. [00:08:25] Speaker B: Ago that basically was, you are passive. [00:08:30] Speaker A: About everything going on in the world. [00:08:32] Speaker B: And you just trust in the Holy. [00:08:35] Speaker A: Spirit, because we are called to do things. We're not just called to be silent. Here's another criticism. Is silence in the face of injustice is itself unjust. If, for example, I see my neighbor's house being broken into and I do nothing about it, I don't call the police, I don't get out my shotgun or anything like that. I just do nothing. I have done my neighbor harm. I have done him wrong. And likewise, if we have friends, family members, loved ones who have left the church or struggling going on with the church and we do nothing about it, then we've done them a wrong. Also, another point to recognize, another criticism of option one, the off grid option, is that we might ignore what's going on in the Vatican, but they're not ignoring us. This is particularly true if you are in a latin mass community. How many latin mass communities have been shut down by what's going on in the Vatican? By the Vatican? In fact, just in the past couple of weeks, I think I've solved six different latin mass communities have been shut down or are getting shut down this month. So as much as you might want to say, I'm just going to focus on my local community and I'm going to leave them alone in Rome. They're not going to leave you alone. So doing nothing can have, and you're still going to get touched by it, and you have to deal with that. So this idea, you focus on your parish, you might not be able to, because your parish might not exist, at least as you know it. So essentially, the criticism of option one, the off grid option, is that we're simply connected. We're all connected. And so you can't act like what goes on in Rome has no impact on you and your soul, but also on those you love. So you can't just put your head in the sand. Now, the criticism of option two, the kind of activist option, I guess we could call it the storm the Vatican gates option, is that it can make us where we easily lose our peace. We easily get to the point where we no longer are able to really have the peace of Jesus Christ, the peace that comes from Jesus Christ. We're always in a state of anxiety. We're always in a state of battle, of confrontation, of conflict. That's not healthy. Not saying we need to run from conflict, but at the same time, a criticism of option two, the storm the gates option, is you can't live like that constantly. And in our social media age, it actually is possible to live like that constantly, from the moment you get up in the morning to the moment you go to bed at night. But that's not healthy. It will very much could end up. You lose your faith. We've seen it before in public situation from public figures, and I think we all know people who got consumed with the crisis, with the scandals going on in the church, and they ended up leaving the church. Just yesterday, I think it was on social media, there was a tweet going around, some woman talking about how her family had decided to leave the catholic church and become orthodox. And it essentially was what you would expect. She just couldn't accept the claims of the Catholic Church when the pope was acting as he was, and so they became orthodox. Another criticism of option two, the storm the gates, is the fact is, it's not our duty as lay Catholics. I'm speaking mostly to lay Catholics, but I think priests, this applies to on some levels as well. It's not our duty to run a church. God did not call us to be bishops. He did not call us to be part of the hierarchy. He called bishops. He called the pope. It's their duty to do that. It's not our duty. My duty, my vocation is to my wife and my children. Primarily, that's my key vocation, not to fix the problems in the church. So I think that's the big criticism of option two, the storm the gates, activist idea. Now, before I get into kind of my own thoughts on the path forward for Catholics, how we navigate this, the two options of, do we go whole hog off grid, whole hog, storm the gates or somewhere in between? I do want to kind of just bring up something. I don't really talk personally here, but I think I will in this case. I think it touches us each personally. I don't really want to do this job. I don't really want to be the editor in chief of a magazine called Crisis. The fact is, if I had, my dream when I went off to get my master's in theology, was to one day become a college professor of theology at a catholic university, to debate things in the classroom, theological topics, to teach people about our faith on a high level, to do things of that nature, at the very least, I wanted to be one of those people you see that have maybe podcasts or they write books that are non controversial, that basically just talk about the truths of the faith. I admire those people, and I think they do worth good work. I mean, not maybe all of them, but I think that's something necessary always in the church. If I had my brothers and I just chose for myself, that's probably what I would want to do. But the fact is, I kind of realized that this is just something that has to be done by somebody. And so if I just simply ignore. [00:14:44] Speaker B: It. [00:14:47] Speaker A: And just assume somebody else is going to do it, then nobody will, because I do feel like on a certain level, I was called to do this. I got the job of crisis. I didn't apply for it. They came to me and asked me, do you want to run crisis? And I wasn't looking for a job. In fact, just three years ago tomorrow is when I started at Crisis magazine. It's January 3, 2024 right now. But three years ago tomorrow is when. [00:15:15] Speaker B: I started as the energy. [00:15:21] Speaker A: I did not go looking for it. [00:15:22] Speaker B: I did not for a job. [00:15:24] Speaker A: I was happy what I was doing. [00:15:26] Speaker B: Something that God was calling me to. I just want to make it clear. [00:15:32] Speaker A: That I understand that there's a need for the crisis in the church, but I understand that a lot of people have no desire to do it, and it's not really an attractive thing to do. And so it's something that we just. Some of us have. I feel like somebody has to do it, and I feel like this is something God called me. I hope that he eventually calls me to do something else. I don't want to make it sound like I don't like my job. I actually do. I love what I do. At the same time, though, it's not something that. [00:16:09] Speaker B: It's something I wish wasn't necessarily so. [00:16:14] Speaker A: What is the path forward? [00:16:16] Speaker B: I would say for Catholics, we are. [00:16:20] Speaker A: All called to stay informed, monitor what's. [00:16:26] Speaker B: Happening, but let it consume. [00:16:32] Speaker A: So we in the church and in. [00:16:33] Speaker B: The world, we stay informed of them. [00:16:36] Speaker A: But we don't let it consume us. We balance lifestyle between focus on the local, understand the global, to use those type of terms. And if we're unsure of how to. [00:16:50] Speaker B: Balance that, we should always lean towards. [00:16:53] Speaker A: Option one, the off grid option, to staying out of things, a safer method. [00:16:59] Speaker B: In a lot of ways, people say cowardly. [00:17:04] Speaker A: It's not what I. For our soul, and our souls are what's most important. There is the greater danger of losing your soul by going the activist route. The more activist route than there is going, the more off grid option. So I would argue, yes, you should. If you're going to lean one way. [00:17:25] Speaker B: Lean towards the focus on the local. [00:17:29] Speaker A: Let me talk practically, though, about this. How do you actually do this? [00:17:34] Speaker B: I think first and foremost, and I've. [00:17:38] Speaker A: Said this a million times more and I don't care. You have to have a life. If you spend more time on social media debating what's going on in the church than you do in prayer each. [00:17:50] Speaker B: Day, you're off balance, period. [00:17:55] Speaker A: You need to spend more time in. [00:17:56] Speaker B: Prayer than you do on social media. [00:18:02] Speaker A: This myself, by the way, all these. [00:18:03] Speaker B: Suggestions, I'm not claiming to do these perfectly. [00:18:05] Speaker A: I'm just saying this is what I strive for. [00:18:07] Speaker B: I find when I meet. [00:18:11] Speaker A: These ideals. [00:18:12] Speaker B: That things than if I don't, that's a prayer. [00:18:17] Speaker A: And like I said, it has to be more than your social media consumption. And that comes to the second point, which is you have to limit your social media consumption. I know this is something people hammer home a lot and people just don't care anymore. I mean, you're watching a video on YouTube right now or you're listening to on a podcast. So in one sense you're breaking what I'm saying. [00:18:35] Speaker B: I'm not saying don't do it at all. [00:18:40] Speaker A: We've run articles about this, a crisis, and they usually don't do well because the people who are going to read them are people who don't limit often. So they don't want to hear that. But I'm going to beat this drum because I think it's important. [00:18:51] Speaker B: The people I know personally who have. [00:18:54] Speaker A: Left with their faith are the ones who are the most consumed the most into social media. They wake up in the morning and the first thing they do is they. [00:19:00] Speaker B: Look at their phone and they doom scroll. [00:19:04] Speaker A: If you do that, I can almost guarantee you're going to leave the church. Almost guarantee it. So I do think we have to limit that. I do all these different things myself. I have lots of things because I don't trust myself. So like for example, I only do social media in my office, at home, usually on my computer. I don't have it on my mobile phone. I use a light phone most of the time. I do have an iPhone that doesn't have cell coverage. And so I sometimes use that to take that somewhere for something. I don't have social media on there because I don't want to be picking it up. I don't have it around the house, like sitting in my living room with my kids and all of a sudden I have to pick up and doom scroll. So these are the type of things that are very important. Remember, social media algorithms are made to make you mad because they found that the angrier you get, the more likely you are to continue scrolling, to continue being on social media. You don't get on social media to feel fluffy, to feel good about yourself. You get it to get mad. You do it to get mad. I mean, that's what they want you to do, because they know you're going to come back more and more. So that's the next thing. So first, prayer life. Second, social media limitations. A third practical point, I would say, is know your church history. Know your church history, people. We have a tendency, I think everybody has this tendency all throughout time, is you think your time is the worst time ever. I'm not saying there aren't certain aspects of today's world that are not terrible and are terrible. That might be the worst, but on a whole, this isn't the worst time necessarily to live as a Catholic. I mean, let's say you're in America. You probably have mass available to you close by now. Yes, there's a problem with latin masses being shut down, a lack of Reverend Nova Sordos, whatever the case may be. But we actually live in a time where you could move somewhere where you could get to a latin mass that was not available to people so easily being able to access it. Bishop Schneider talks about living in the Soviet Union, and they couldn't get the mass for years. So I don't think we can talk about how terrible it is when we don't recognize there's certain other ways. It was terrible at other times. If you really know church history, you know this. You know, there are times like, for example, the great western schism, when there was two or three different men claiming to be pope. Were 40, lasted for about 40 years, like 39, something like that. You could have theoretically lived your entire life, let's say you die at the age of 38. You could have lived your entire life not knowing for sure who the pope was. We have a terrible pope right now. [00:21:49] Speaker B: Yes. [00:21:50] Speaker A: You could have not even known who was legitimate pope. You could have had saints debating who it was. And I know we kind of have that today with some people saying Benedict was really the pope, even after he resigned. But the point is, that was a terrible time. So there are other bad times. So know your church history, because what that does, it puts today in perspective. You know, okay, we have a terrible pope. We've had terrible popes. Yes, maybe he's more terrible in certain ways than any other pope. Maybe he's not. But the point is, you know, there's been times that have been very trying for Catholics, very difficult. So that's the third thing. Another thing is that, and this is the one I think is probably the most important. It kind of ties in all this. Don't let your practice of catholic faith get out of balance. What do I mean by that? The balance between seeing the good and the bad. It's easier, it's human nature to focus on the bad. Like I said, social media gears us to focus on the bad. So we have all these things that make us focus on the bad and we don't see the good. So, for example, looking your own life in your own parish, for example, like, I love the fact in my parish, I see all these babies being born, new babies being baptized. I see people in the conversion class becoming catholic. I see young people getting married, them having babies. This is just a beautiful thing that, because it's common, I think we forget how important it is and how beautiful it is and put that on a balance, on a scale, so to speak, with the evil. You see with Father Rupnik, for example, being allowed to practice the faith, with Bishop Strickland being removed, with Pope Francis throwing out directives about blessing same sex couples, stuff like that. On a whole, I think we need to recognize the good and see that and recognize this is our catholic faith being lived out. This is God working directly in the souls of men and women. He has not forgotten us. He has not forsaken us. When we see this directly and we recognize and we're grateful for it, I think it really does make a difference and allows us then, when we see all the bad, to keep it under balance, to keep it. The reality is God has not forsaken us. Yes. If your traditional mass parish you've been going to for years, maybe even decades, has get shut down, I'm not saying you should be like, oh, it's not that bad. Of course you're going to think it's awful, and you should because it is awful for you. And I'm not going to try to minimize that, but still recognize the good that is happening in your community, in your life. Recognize that and understand that. So I think that balance, and this is another thing. Like, you see people go down the path and they always focus on the bad, and that ends up leading them out of church. Now, one of the things I think is, I know I'm going to harp on social media again, but one thing I've noticed is if you look at my tweets, just me, for example, on Twitter or x, wherever you want to call it, I would guess that a preponderance of them are more negative in tone. I do post good things that happen in my life and in the church. I try not to be all negative, but I tend to more tweet about negative things. And I think it's because of just the nature of Twitter and the nature of kind of how things work. And I think we have to recognize that's just part of reality. That's not my whole life. I don't think about these things all the time. It's not like I'm constantly thinking of doom things and I post about those only. I just typically don't always post like, I have a lot of good things going on in my personal life, but I don't like posting personal things. I don't post about my kids very much because there's crazies out there. I don't want them to know about my family. And so that's something to remember is even if you follow accounts that post negative things, that doesn't mean they're negative about everything. They think everything's negative in the world, and you shouldn't either. So I think this balance is what we need to have. And then finally, as far as kind of practical ways that we should our path forward, I think we should recognize that exactly how you practice this is specific to you. These are prudential decisions that will be based upon your personality and how you kind of do things. They're not going to be the same for everybody. Some people are going to lean more towards their personalities. Let's focus more on local, focus more on kind of keeping our head down, not worrying about what's going in. Rome and others are going to be more focused. They're going to be more activist in mentality, personality more like, I need to do something, I need to speak out, I need to help the church overcome this crisis. And I think it depends on your personality and what you feel God is calling you to do it. So don't get on somebody else if they don't do as much as you or if they do too much, you think compared to you understand that everybody is a little different. If you have a good friend that you think is spiraling, why can't I not say that word? Spiraling? Yes, spiraling. If you have somebody like that, in the sense that you see them really getting too down on everything and really starting to get negative about everything, yeah, reach out to them, help them out. I'm not saying don't do that, but I am saying don't try to apply what you think is the best way to how to respond to the taste crisis. Don't think that applies to everybody. There needs to be that balance. So I think we need to do that. Okay. So I think hopefully that helps some understanding this, how we go forward on this. I also want to just make it clear. I think this helps me, so I want it to. Hopefully it'll help you. I do believe this is a time of testing. I think it's a time the Lord is testing us. Frankly, I think for over a generation, we have not been faithful to him on a whole. I'm not saying individuals haven't. I'm not saying we haven't had saints, but I think on a whole, Catholics have not been faithful to him. And he's withholding some of his protection. He's withholding some of it. I think this is something, if you look at church history, you look at salvation history, Old Testament, New Testament, church history, you see this is the case that God will do this sometimes. And so I think that's the time we're in right now. And so it's a time that we are called to greater faithfulness, the graces we can receive and the merit we can earn. And, yes, we're not Protestants. We do think we can earn merit, I think can be greater than other times in the church when it's harder to be a practicing Catholic, it's more grace filled, and you can earn more merit, which means you can help save more souls. So if you are able to be faithful, if you are able to maintain your practice of the catholic faith during. [00:29:06] Speaker B: This time. [00:29:09] Speaker A: I think it can be more beneficial for souls than if you do it in a time where it's easier to be catholic. Remember that when you feel doubts, when you feel like. I think things are kind of falling apart here. I'm not quite sure if it's really worth it. Remember, that's when our Lord is calling you to a deeper faithfulness that will help souls offer up this time of testing for others. And so I would just say that both quietism and activism are contrary to Catholicism. Both of them are not in keeping with the catholic spirit. I think there needs to be a balance, but is a spectrum. So some people will lean more towards the off grid living, some people more towards the activist living. Know yourself, like I said, if in doubt, lean towards the off grid because it's safer for your soul, but just kind of know yourself, know how much is happening. You are called to be an apostle, not an activist, but an apostle. So you have at least a duty to your local community, your local people around you, to be able to share the faith, explain it, which means you have to know something about what's going on in the church. You can't put your head in the sand completely, but how much you do that and how big of a platform you want to do that on I think is up to you and what God is calling you to. So I think that's the path forward for 2024, a time of confusion, scandal, crisis in the church. And I think this is what we need to each do. We need to continually look at ourselves and say, okay, what is the best way forward for us? What is the best way to respond to this crisis? And I just ask that you pray for me that I continue to do God's work, and if it's not what he wants me to do, that it gets all shut down. And I pray for you that all the people who follow Christ's who donate to us and our supporters, that we continue together to do God's work and to give glory to him. Okay, that's it for now. Until next time, everybody. God love.

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