As the drama of “the synod of synodality” unfolds I have just finished re-reading Chesterton’s Everlasting Man. The final chapter on the perpetual resurrection of the church is a fantastic must read for our times. Chesterton points out how time and again in the church’s two thousand year history she has been weakened from within by heresy, apostasy, immorality and corruption and attacked from without by persecution, revolution and dissent. Each time, seemingly out of nowhere and beyond all the imaginings of those who had already written her obituary, the Catholic Church rises, Phoenix like from the ashes.
In the second century Gnosticism and Manicheanism undermined the faith with a dualistic worldview that proposed that the material world was evil and the spiritual was superior. Eventually Orthodoxy triumphed.
The Arian controversy in the fourth century was a movement that de-divinized the Lord Jesus Christ–and this is important–not blatantly, but ambiguously. The Arians were the intellectuals, the elite, the establishment Christians. They had the Emperor on their side and boasted the majority of bishops in their camp. The world groaned to find itself Arian, but Arianism–that lukewarm, lily livered religion of the anti-Christ was eventually defeated and Orthodoxy rose up again. Full blooded, spirit filled Christianity could not be defeated.
The Albigensian heresy was a warmed up version of Gnosticism. Holier than thou believers headed for the hills, tried to enforce celibacy and extreme fasting while allowing sexual license on the side because, for them, the physical realm was inferior. Albigensians died out. Orthodoxy bounced back.
Renaissance humanism and Protestantism (influenced by Nominalism) rose up and it looked like Catholicism was finished. The Counter Reformation surged forward in an incredible wave of renewed faith and devotion and missionary effort in the New World.
Enlightenment rationalism and liberalism of the eighteenth century brought in its wake the bloodletting and persecution of the French Revolution. The religious revivals of Methodism, English Evangelicalism and the Tractarian movement along with the revival of Catholicism in France was the pendulum swinging back.
Where are we now? We are facing what I call the Waning of the West or it might be called the Waste of the West. The Catholic Church in Europe, the UK and the establishment church in the USA has fallen for the Arianism of our times otherwise called “Moralistic, Therapeutic Deism” All the same characteristics as ancient Arianism are there. The heretics intentionally use ambiguous language to obfuscate their ideas to water down dogma and “modernize” the church. These present day Arians do not say the Lord Jesus is only human, but they wish to operate his church on purely human motivations, intentions and gimmicky plans. Like their fourth century counterparts they are members of the church and civic establishment. They sit in their cathedra, wear red cardinal’s hats, occupy chairs of theology, sit on papal commissions, Vatican dicasteries and religious-ecumenical think tanks. They network with globalists, population control advisors and wish to include non-Catholics and nonChristians in their plans for a New World Order.
The entire enterprise will come to nothing. Nothing. It is a paper tiger–a human gimmick without the inspiration of the Holy Spirit and it will fall flat. I am old enough to have seen these same plans of man for the church being dreamed up. They all have had extensive PR campaigns, trendy logos, plenty of stock photos of happy people going to church, and it all falls flat. I remember there was a “Decade of Evangelization” during which church attendance plummeted and over the years there were umpteen unmemorable campaigns for this worthy cause or that.
They fall flat–like this synod of synodality will fall flat–because it is imposed from above by people who (ironically) say they are opposed to clericalism. It will all fall flat because the people themselves don’t believe in it, don’t care about it and (for those who are even paying attention) can see through it. The Catholics I see who are working the hardest for the faith are ordinary folks in the pews who are busy in the pro life cause, working in the Vincent de Paul food pantry, teaching in the Catholic school, home schooling their kids, forming home groups, study groups and prayer groups. They are the cornerstone of the church. They are faithful, joyful and entrepreneurial. They are founding and funding radio stations, schools, colleges, evangelizing apostolates, non profits to help the poor, missionary efforts, publishing houses, apologetics and spirituality websites, building new parish churches and schools and living the faith in a supercharged way. These are the grass roots Catholics and they don’t buy in to the modernist dissent going on in the high levels of international Catholic discussions.
They can see this is a plan by a gang of dissenters, academics and prelates to change the church. Even if the dissenters should push through the most radical changes in Catholic teaching it will fall flat because they cannot impose lies, heresies and opinions contrary to Catholic truth on the ordinary people in the pews. The people will not push back or rebel. They will simply ignore the whole parade.
It will fall flat, but not before great damage is done. I can’t foresee what the damage will be, it may be that they will effectively destroy the institutional Catholic Church in the waning West, but I doubt it. Instead the established Catholic Church in the pocket of the globalist cabal, the politicians and the politically correct elite, will operate as the religious face of the anti-Christ movement. It will become the church Fulton Sheen predicted: a Church without the cross, without the power of God–simply a reservoir of religious ideas, moral platitudes and bland human attempts at “spirituality”.
That may happen, and if it does I can foresee from where the resurrection will come and what it will look like.
I see it in my Twitter feed from two priests in Malawi. There the churches, the seminaries, the convents and religious schools are overflowing. The resurrection will come from the South. John Allen’s important book The Future Church predicts what this church will look like. It will be young. It will be brown and black and Asian. It will be Spirit filled, It will believe in miracles and wonders. It will believe the Bible and the historic faith. It will uphold historic Catholic doctrine. It will be uncompromising in its support for the family. It will be fully Catholic.
If you are interested, I have recorded a ten part podcast discussing Allen’s book. Go here.