When he was here, the pope called for the protection of the natural environment. That call came about 40 years after atheists and agnostics ratcheted up the then low profile green movement into world prominence. Why this discovery of the environmental peril by the pope at five minutes to midnight? Why will we have to wait for the next pope to admit that having lots of children is not good for the environment either?
The fact is that the church has no genuine interest in the natural environment nor animal welfare nor prison reform nor any other enlightened movement. Concessions are made only when the back is to the wall. There is a disinterest in our trying to make this a better world. (A distinction has to be made here between the conservative bishops and those priests with their feet on the ground and who often act on their own initiative.)
The belief is that there is an afterlife - and it lasts for eternity. Relative to eternity, the time we spend on this Earth is nothing. This world only exists for us to prepare for the next. Many thousands of Catholics over the centuries have spent their adult lives in monasteries and convents where almost every waking moment was devoted to getting to Heaven. Much of the pre-Protestant Reformation thinking lives on.
However, the disinterest in quality of life could not possibly be total. The medieval teaching that misery was good for your soul, won’t wash today. The faithful, on the whole, do not want to live lives of sacrifice while their non-Catholic neighbours are enjoying life.
As Jesus was worldly enough to expect people to help each other, for centuries the church has shown some interest in our physical and emotional needs rather than simply our spiritual needs. Today’s examples are the St Vincent de Paul Society and the establishing of hospitals (which are now receiving funding from the public).
The visible charity work can be a distraction. The non-religious should be aware of what the real agenda of the church is: the church is here to assist us in passing the tests we need to qualify for Heaven.
The changing church is a weakening church
The strength of the Catholic Church was that it was unchanging. This is what separated it from the Protestant churches. It was the rock shaped by God Himself. There is a core which is untouchable. Outside of the untouchable core, change can occur - but only after everything is done to avoid it. The bishops know that the more the change, the less credibility the church has, and the weaker its grip on the faithful becomes.
We observed an example of a conceded change last week at the World Youth Day celebrations. By tapping into the potential of crowd dynamics, the Catholic Church has taken a page out of the Pentecostal’s book. There was music which sounded nothing like hymns and there was the waving of national flags. The overlay of the traditional trappings of the church looked out of place. It was obvious to old Catholics that the church was losing its grip.
The plummeting number of priests is a terminal illness
In 1950, daily Mass had good attendance and the churches were nearly full to hear Sunday Mass. There were two million Catholic priests in the world. By 2000, many churches were not even opening on Sundays. As the speed of the fall is accelerating, the church will have become unrecognisable well before 2050.
At the foundation of the church is a priest in every parish. When ordained, it is believed that the priest receives mystical powers to change bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ at Mass. He can also anoint the dying and hear confession. Even if its very survival is at stake, the church will not select members from the congregation to administer these three sacraments.
Pedophilia has done irreparable damage
In the minds of many, the title of “Catholic priest” is now synonymous with “pedophile”. Benedict XV1 has inherited a problem bigger than any since the Protestant Reformation - and it is just as irreparable.
At the very beginning, somebody told the story that the birth of Jesus was a virgin birth ((immaculate conception). This was not only biologically impossible, but the necessity to have the mother of Jesus not engaging in the sex act, defined sexual feelings to be essentially grubby.
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