Current Affairs

Steve’s segment starts 24:00 minutes into the show.

The questions are multiple. What is happening to the Church? Why aren’t Rome and the bishops doing something about homosexual clergy? Why should I stay with the Church with all the confusion and lack of action with Pope Francis and the Vatican? I am angry and don’t know what to do!

Teresa and Steve talk frankly about these matters and give the overall picture — and — encourage Catholics to stay, be proud and to act!

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Screen Shot 2019-02-26 at 10.03.28 AMThis should be the norm, not an extraordinary event. Bishops should act more like shepherds than politicians. Finally a bishop steps up and says, “NO!”

Bishop Thomas J. Paprocki of Springfield, Illinois says Senator Dick Durbin is “cooperating in evil” and persisting in “manifest grave sin” because of his abortion advocacy and must therefore “not be admitted to Holy Communion until he repents of his sin.”

For the whole refreshing article, click here. (Thanks to my good friend Tom Govern for sharing this with me.)

To read the excellent Catholic World Report article, click here.

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The Eight Stages of the Rise and Fall of Civilizations

by Steve Ray on February 14, 2019

Written by Msgr. Charles Pope and posted October 12, 2016 on Community in Mission

Cultures and civilizations go through cycles. Over time, many civilizations and cultures have risen and then fallen. We who live in painful times like these do well to recall these truths. Cultures and civilizations come and go; only the Church (though often in need of reform) and true biblical culture remain. An old song says, “Only what you do for Christ will last.” Yes, all else passes; the Church is like an ark in the passing waters of this world and in the floodwaters of times like these.

For those of us who love our country and our culture, the pain is real. By God’s grace, many fair flowers have come from Western culture as it grew over the past millennium. Whatever its imperfections (and there were many), great beauty, civilization, and progress emerged at the crossroads of faith and human giftedness. But now it appears that we are at the end of an era. We are in a tailspin we don’t we seem to be able to pull ourselves out of. Greed, aversion to sacrifice, secularism, divorce, promiscuity, and the destruction of the most basic unit of civilization (the family), do not make for a healthy culture. There seems to be no basis for true reform and the deepening darkness suggests that we are moving into the last stages of a disease. This is painful but not unprecedented.

Sociologists and anthropologists have described the stages of the rise and fall of the world’s great civilizations. Scottish philosopher Alexander Tyler of the University of Edinburg noted eight stages that articulate well what history discloses. I first encountered these in in Ted Flynn’s book The Great Transformation. They provide a great deal of perspective to what we are currently experiencing.

Let’s look at each of the eight stages. The names of the stages are from Tyler’s book and are presented in bold red text. My brief reflections follow in plain text.

  1. From bondage to spiritual growth – Great civilizations are formed in the crucible. The Ancient Jews were in bondage for 400 years in Egypt. The Christian faith and the Church came out of 300 years of persecution. Western Christendom emerged from the chaotic conflicts during the decline of the Roman Empire and the movements of often fierce “barbarian” tribes. American culture was formed by the injustices that grew in colonial times. Sufferings and injustices cause—even force—spiritual growth. Suffering brings wisdom and demands a spiritual discipline that seeks justice and solutions.
  2. From spiritual growth to great courage – Having been steeled in the crucible of suffering, courage and the ability to endure great sacrifice come forth. Anointed leaders emerge and people are summoned to courage and sacrifice (including loss of life) in order to create a better, more just world for succeeding generations. People who have little or nothing, also have little or nothing to lose and are often more willing to live for something more important than themselves and their own pleasure. A battle is begun, a battle requiring courage, discipline, and other virtues.
  3. From courage to liberty – As a result of the courageous fight, the foe is vanquished and liberty and greater justice emerges. At this point a civilization comes forth, rooted in its greatest ideals. Many who led the battle are still alive, and the legacy of those who are not is still fresh. Heroism and the virtues that brought about liberty are still esteemed. The ideals that were struggled for during the years in the crucible are still largely agreed upon.
  4. From liberty to abundance – Liberty ushers in greater prosperity, because a civilization is still functioning with the virtues of sacrifice and hard work. But then comes the first danger: abundance. Things that are in too great an abundance tend to weigh us down and take on a life of their own. At the same time, the struggles that engender wisdom and steel the soul to proper discipline and priorities move to the background. Jesus said that man’s life does not consist in his possessions. But just try to tell that to people in a culture that starts to experience abundance. Such a culture is living on the fumes of earlier sacrifices; its people become less and less willing to make such sacrifices. Ideals diminish in importance and abundance weighs down the souls of the citizens. The sacrifices, discipline, and virtues responsible for the thriving of the civilization are increasingly remote from the collective conscience; the enjoyment of their fruits becomes the focus.
  5. From abundance to complacency – To be complacent means to be self-satisfied and increasingly unaware of serious trends that undermine health and the ability to thrive. Everything looks fine, so it must be fine. Yet foundations, resources, infrastructures, and necessary virtues are all crumbling. As virtues, disciplines, and ideals become ever more remote, those who raise alarms are labeled by the complacent as “killjoys” and considered extreme, harsh, or judgmental.
  6. From complacency to apathy – The word apathy comes from the Greek and refers to a lack of interest in, or passion for, the things that once animated and inspired. Due to the complacency of the previous stage, the growing lack of attention to disturbing trends advances to outright dismissal. Many seldom think or care about the sacrifices of previous generations and lose a sense that they must work for and contribute to the common good. “Civilization” suffers the serious blow of being replaced by personalization and privatization in growing degrees. Working and sacrificing for others becomes more remote. Growing numbers becoming increasingly willing to live on the carcass of previous sacrifices. They park on someone else’s dime, but will not fill the parking meter themselves. Hard work and self-discipline continue to erode.
  7. From apathy to dependence – Increasing numbers of people lack the virtues and zeal necessary to work and contribute. The suffering and the sacrifices that built the culture are now a distant memory. As discipline and work increasingly seem “too hard,” dependence grows. The collective culture now tips in the direction of dependence. Suffering of any sort seems intolerable. But virtue is not seen as the solution. Having lived on the sacrifices of others for years, the civilization now insists that “others” must solve their woes. This ushers in growing demands for governmental, collective solutions. This in turns deepens dependence, as solutions move from personal virtue and local, family-based sacrifices to centralized ones.
  8. From dependence back to bondage – As dependence increases, so does centralized power. Dependent people tend to become increasingly dysfunctional and desperate. Seeking a savior, they look to strong central leadership. But centralized power corrupts, and tends to usher in increasing intrusion by centralized power. Injustice and intrusion multiplies. But those in bondage know of no other solutions. Family and personal virtue (essential ingredients for any civilization) are now effectively replaced by an increasingly dark and despotic centralized control, hungry for more and more power. In this way, the civilization is gradually ended, because people in bondage no longer have the virtues necessary to fight.

Another possibility is that a more powerful nation or group is able to enter, by invasion or replacement, and destroy the final vestiges of a decadent civilization and replace it with their own culture.

Either way, it’s back to crucible, until suffering and conflict bring about enough of the wisdom, virtue, and courage necessary to begin a new civilization that will rise from the ashes.

Thus are the stages of civilizations. Sic transit gloria mundi. The Church has witnessed a lot of this in just the brief two millennia of her time. In addition to civilizations, nations have come and gone quite frequently over the years. Few nations have lasted longer than 200 years. Civilizations are harder to define with exact years, but at the beginning of the New Covenant, Rome was already in decline. In the Church’s future would be other large nations and empires in the West: the “Holy” Roman Empire, various colonial powers, the Spanish, the Portuguese, and the French.  It was once said that “The sun never sets on the British Empire.” Now it does. As the West began a long decline, Napoleon made his move. Later, Hitler strove to build a German empire. Then came the USSR. And prior to all this, in the Old Testament period, there had been the Kingdom of David, to be succeeded by Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, and Rome.

The only true ark of safety is the Church, who received her promise of indefectibilityfrom the Lord (Matt 16:18). But the Church, too, is always in need of reform and will have much to suffer. Yet she alone will survive this changing world, because she is the Bride of Christ and also His Body.

These are hard days, but perspective can help. It is hard to deny that we are living at the end of an era. It is painful because something we love is dying. But from death comes forth new life. Only the Lord knows the next stage and long this interregnum will be. Look to Him. Go ahead and vote, but put not your trust in princes (Ps 146:3). God will preserve His people, as He did in the Old Covenant. He will preserve those of us who are now joined to Him in the New Covenant. Find your place in the ark, ever ancient and yet new.

This video of psalm 121 is sung in an ancient language and manner, but its message is still current:

I lift mine eyes to the Mountains from whence cometh my help (Psalm 121).

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Where Have All the Christmas Carols Gone?

December 25, 2018

I’m not that old. I’ll only be 64 years old this month but I still remember when the frosty month of December was filled with marvelous Christmas carols. It was like magic when the first snow covered the ground and the melodies sprang to life and everyone knew them, believed them and sang them with […]

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“Some Men are Born Eunuchs” … fascinating article about castration and today’s even worse practices

December 19, 2018

Some Men Are Born Eunuchs . . . Anthony Esolen WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 19, 2018 [Before you begin reading, this was published in “The Catholic Thing” today. I highly recommend people sign up for their insightful daily emails about the state of the Church today.] Some men are born eunuchs, some become eunuchs for the kingdom […]

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Why Many Consider Cardinal Pell’s Conviction a Sham

December 15, 2018

After guilty verdict, questions raised about Pell trial By Ed Condon Cardinal George Pell, prefect of the Secretariat for the Economy, outside Rome’s Hotel Quirinale, March 3, 2016. Credit: Alexey Gotovskiy/CNA. Washington D.C., Dec 14, 2018 / 04:00 pm (CNA).- After reports of a guilty verdict emerged in the trial of Australian Cardinal George Pell, […]

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BREAKING: Abp. Viganò urges U.S. bishops to confront sex abuse as ‘courageous shepherds’

November 13, 2018

ROME, November 13, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) — Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò today issued a brief message to the U.S. Bishops, urging them to confront sex abuse as “courageous shepherds” rather than “frightened sheep.” The U.S. Bishops are currently in Baltimore at their much-anticipated fall annual meeting at which they were expected to vote on concrete proposals […]

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Are You a Schismatic if you Disagree with the Pope (e.g., Cardinal Burke)?

November 7, 2018

A note on the other kind of schism Canon Lawyer Ed Peters. November 7, 2018 Most Catholics correctly, but incompletely, understand schism as “the refusal of submission to the Supreme Pontiff” (1983 CIC 751). Overlooked here—perhaps because it is much rarer than is typical ‘anti-papal schism’ and is harder to spot when it does occur—is […]

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Maybe a Better Illustration for the Pope to Use

October 2, 2018

In some of his recent homilies and comments the Pope has suggested he is being like Jesus when he retreats to “silence.” When Jesus was at trial before Pilate he kept his mouth closed and was silent. Pope Francis has made it clear that this his position regarding the charges against deviant and sinful clergy, […]

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Winning on Abortion; Losing on LGBTQ

September 30, 2018

According to recent surveys it looks like we’re losing the war an LGBTQ. Here is a survey of the major religious institutions and their change and acceptance between 2007 and 2014. The trend is not good. St  Paul wrote, Rom 1:26  For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did […]

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Bishop Barron: Why Remain Catholic? Why Not Cut and Run?

September 5, 2018
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Former Apostolic Nuncio to Washington DC calls prelates out — naming names and exposing corruption to the highest levels including Pope Francis

August 26, 2018

UPDATE Sunday morning:  Bishop Strickland of Tyler Texas responds to the letter below. A courageous Bishop… I hope other bishops follow his lead (write your bishop to do the same). UK Spectator aticle here. (Picture: Pope Francis greeting the perverted predator knowing what he was according to the letter below.) UPDATE COMMENT Sunday Evening: This continues […]

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“Grand Jury Report Debunked“ by Bill Donahue

August 17, 2018

For the the sake of objectivity, I am posting this interesting critique of the recent Pennsylvania Report on sexual scandal in the Catholic dioceses of Pennsylvania. I am not agreeing with everything in this article, nor am I unaware of Donahue’s association with Wuerl. I am simply posting this because I consider it important to […]

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Who Speaks for God on Morals? Many Choose their Church Like they Choose a Restaurant

August 13, 2018

We have a “church” near our house that is making it comfortable for anyone to join no matter who they are, what they believe or what they practice. They say it is our job to accept and love, to be nice, not to judge. “Celebrate Diversity!” Celebrate Diversity is a slogan of acceptance, multiculturalism, non-judgmental […]

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“Braco the Gazer” Stares at You! World’s Gone Mad!

June 18, 2018

There is the old saying that, “If your mind is too open your brain may fall out.” Or stated another way, “If you don’t stand in something, you’ll fall for anything.” St. Augustine said that we were created with an emptiness in our soul that only God could fill. But for people who have rejected […]

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Farewell, “Catholic” Spain and Secular Europe… While in the United States…

June 4, 2018

Scary statistics from Europe – percentages of people who claim no religion. The big surprise is… Spain, where atheists, agnostics, and those without religion are now at 30 percent of the population and have reached that level in a very short time. To measure how overwhelming secularization has been in Spain, it should be enough […]

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