At a recent retreat in Albuquerque, we were reminded — if we needed any reminding — of Catholicism’s inherent and timeless anointing.
That came by way of the six priests who were in attendance. Their presence, especially when they prayed over us, bequeathed a tangible anointing.
And so it is, in these time when the Church is rollicked by various attacks, that we need to remember the Foundation of Grace. No scandal will ever destroy that. The grace is paradisical.
But try the devil does.
Mull it over.
Catholicism is assaulted by atheism. Those who don’t believe in God take special aim at Christianity’s Mother Church. This can be anything from academia to the court systems the media. Humanists and secularists despise Roman Catholicism above all religions. Statues of Mary and Jesus are ordered removed by neighborhood alliances.
Agnostics don’t much care for us. These are perhaps the “nones” who, if they are going to adopt a spirituality, too often choose non-denominational prosperity mega-churches or slouch into the New Age.
Satanists scrawl their graffiti on our fine-hewed granite. Statues are beheaded or otherwise vandalized.
Communists? They’re still out there.
The Church is assaulted by other religions. Around the world, Muslim and Hindu radicals slay, maim, or imprison Catholics — blow up entire churches — whenever the opportunity avails itself. That’s quite daunting, when one considers that there 1.3 Muslims and 900 million Hindus in the world.
Now toss in spiritism: those of an occult or New Age bent are by their very DNA antagonistic to Catholics.
And consider rivalries: within the Christian faith are endless divisions, many of which take aim at Catholicism, attacking everything from the Eucharist to Confession to the Blessed Mother. Christian versus Christian — and more often than not, the Christian is Catholic. How many televangelists and mega-pastors have blasted the Church? How many have declared the Blessed Mother an idol. Twenty-five percent of Americans are classified by the Pew Survey as “evangelical.”
The Orthodox? We’re getting along better with them, but differences and tensions remain. And within Catholicism itself?
Of course, we have the Pius X and sedevantist factions that do not recognize the Pope. Even actor/director Mel Gibson (The Passion of the Christ), while using Rome and Catholic media for publicity, as a Traditionalist privately rejects Rome. (Does the Church have any friends?)
And then there are mainstream Catholics who these days are split into conservative/liberal camps. Battles over thinly veiled politics boil over. Divide and conquer, is Satan’s strategy.
Toss in also the state attorneys general who are investigating Church scandals and one wonders how possibly could the Church survive.
Yet survive it does. Survive and, when dust settles, thrive. The gates of hell never prevail.
Doesn’t that tell the whole story?