Ralph Martin gets it.
I remember Ralph Martin from a prophecy he received in 1975 regarding the coming purification of the Church, given at St. Peter's the Monday after Pentecost:
“Because I love you, I want to show you what I am doing in the world today. I want to prepare you for what is to come. Days of darkness are coming on the world, days of tribulation....Buildings that are now standing will not be standing. Supports that are there for my people now will not be there. I want you to be prepared, my people, to know only me and to cleave to me and to have me in a way deeper than ever before. I will lead you into the desert...I will strip you of everything that you are depending on now, so you depend just on me. - Read more here.
Ralph Martin's prophecy fits hand in glove with the prophetic view of the Church made by Ratzinger as a young priest, long before he was a cardinal or pope:
“The church will become small and will have to start afresh more or less from the beginning.
She will no longer be able to inhabit many of the edifices she built in prosperity. As the number of her adherents diminishes…she will lose many of her social privileges…. As a small society, [the Church] will make much bigger demands on the initiative of her individual members…." - Ratzinger
Unfortunately, the rot is wide and deep...
I came across Ralph Martin's recent letter on FB this morning. He looks the problem straight in the eye.
The Archbishop McCarrick case may prove to be the "straw that broke the camel's back." It may make the bureaucratic, carefully worded, evasive statements that have come from our leaders finally address sin and repentance, instead of the mere policies and processes they typically focus on. Could it be-finally-that the revelation of the long-term sexual harassment of seminarians and priests that never stopped Archbishop McCarrick's rise in the hierarchy will be so totally repugnant that real repentance may actually start to happen? I have never prayed more for the pope and our leaders than I have in the last several years, and we all must continue to do so. More about that later.
Unfortunately, the Archbishop McCarrick case is certainly only the "tip of the iceberg." The cumulative effect of revelation after revelation of immorality in high places is devastating. First, a number of years ago, a cardinal from Austria was forced to resign over homosexual activity; then, more recently, a cardinal from Scotland resigned over sexual harassment of seminarians and priests; and then the archbishop of Guam underwent a canonical trial in Rome over the sexual abuse of minors; and now cardinals in Chile (one of whom is on the pope's Council of Cardinals that oversees reform) are under heavy suspicion for covering up homosexual abuse in their country. In fact, the whole bishops' conference of Chile, acknowledging complicity in not taking seriously reports of a bishop's cover up of sexual abuse, recently gave their resignations to the pope, and he has so far accepted several of them. The pope himself at first stubbornly backed the appointment of this bishop and dismissed the victims' pleas as "calumny" and "gossip." And before we could absorb this news, there was news of an archbishop in Australia getting a prison sentence for covering up abuse on the part of a priest. And just today, as I am writing this, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court has ordered the release of a grand jury report implicating more than 300 "predator priests" in six of the eight Pennsylvania dioceses involved in the sexual abuse of minors over many years.
Unfortunately, the rot is wide and deep and years of covering up abuse (and the concomitant reluctance to really preach the Gospel and call people to faith and repentance) and its ultimate exposure have injured the faith of millions. How shocking and tragic was it to see tens of thousands of Irish people in the streets of Dublin wildly celebrating that they could now legally kill babies!!!! Just when the Irish bishops needed to speak most strongly on fundamental moral issues, their credibility was destroyed when it was finally exposed that they had covered up abuse for decades. Satan is indeed like that wild boar Scripture talks about that rampages though the vineyard of the Lord because the hedges of protection have been destroyed (Ps 80:12-13). The corruption, ineptitude, and cowardice runs wide and deep, and its effects on the eternal salvation of millions, and the destiny of nations, is devastating. - Finish reading here.
Ralph Martin points out this is not the first time the Church has faced such a crisis of decadence and corruption, he cites the Dialogue of Catherine of Siena, I would also mention St. Peter Damien's efforts and influence at the beginning of the Second Millennium - c1049 - to cleanse the Church of the epidemic of sodomy among the clergy. None of these, nor the prayers of those who cry out to heaven for justice were ever accused of self-righteous Pharisaism, condemning the sinner while justifying themselves in the process. Corruption and decadence is a deadly rot which destroys souls. It is not limited to progressives and liberals, it infects conservative as well as traditionalists alike.
Of course we need to repent and do penance with the entire Church, no doubt about that. I recall a traditionalist blogger once expressed suspicion over my writing because I always wrote about penance and our need to do penance - that is still my style. She thought it odd, even questionable, apparently thinking I was a crack-pot blogger. Though she was right about that. But the time of penance is here, more important than ever. Though priest and prophet forage in a land they know not, we can sit alone and in silence, praying and hoping in the Lord, encouraging one another as we ought to do.
The Church is going through a radical purification under the chastising hand of God.
Ralph Martin includes very good advice in his Letter, advice we can all follow and remain steadfast in the Lord:
We need to go about our daily lives, trying to live each day in a way pleasing to God, loving Him and loving our neighbor, including the neighbor in our own families. We need to look to ourselves, lest we fall.
We need to remember that even though we have this treasure in earthen vessels (or as some translations put it, "cracked pots"), the treasure is no less the treasure. Don't throw out the baby with the bathwater! Baby Jesus is the treasure, and He is still as present as ever and still as ready to receive all who come to Him. And the Mass! Every day, He is willing to come to us in such a special way. Let's attend daily Mass even more frequently, to offer the sacrifice of Jesus' death and resurrection to God the Father, in the power of the Holy Spirit, for the salvation of souls and the purification of the Church.
We need to remember that the Catholic Church is indeed founded by Christ and, despite all problems, has within it the fullness of the means of salvation. Where else can we go? Nowhere; this is indeed our Mother and Home, and she needs our love, our prayers, and our persevering in the way of holiness more than ever.
We need to remember that there are many truly holy and dedicated bishops and priests, and we must pray for them and support them. They need and deserve our support. - R. Martin