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The Way Forward

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By Chris Sparks (Nov 26, 2018)
The following was first published in the Winter 2018-19 issue of Marian Helper magazine. View the digital edition or order a free copy:

The conflagration that erupted in June surrounding the former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick had gasoline tossed on it by the Pennsylvania grand jury report. Further fires have broken out in the Church in Honduras, Chile, India, and elsewhere.

It's bewildering to discover that so much had been wrong for so long. It's appalling that so many people have been hurt.

The night of the present age, characterized also by the dictatorship of relativism, the culture of death, social injustice, and abandonment of the faith, is deepening more comprehensively and swiftly than any of us had expected. But there is a well-lit, safe road through the encroaching night. That road leads to Calvary, but also through Calvary, to the tomb as well as the Resurrection. That way has been laid down by the Mystical Body of Christ, following in the footsteps of Jesus the Head, working under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.

That road is the path of the Gospel, the path of the Christian spiritual life, made possible by the Sacraments and prayer, walked by the saints and Doctors of the Church and mapped for our present age by ecumenical councils and the Holy Fathers, who've taught us how to proclaim the New Evangelization, building a culture of life, leading to a civilization of love.

The Church is guaranteed to survive till the end and to hand on the true faith, no matter how dire the sins of her leaders. Going by the Gospel, 100 percent of the clergy will at some point run from Christ and avoid sharing His suffering. At least one in 12 will flatly deny knowing Him, like Peter. At least one in 12 will be filled with the devil and betray Him, like Judas. And only one in 12 will be there at the foot of His Cross, like John.

Our leaders, called by Jesus, have included weak, sinful men from the beginning. But remember that with the coming of the Holy Spirit, those 11 remaining original apostles were transformed into bold, tireless witnesses to the Gospel of Christ, even to the point of martyrdom.

The Holy Spirit makes all the difference in the world. He abides with us, ready to act powerfully through the gifts and charisms He entrusts to the members of the Body of Christ. So let Him act.

Let's commit ourselves first to prayer and fasting for the Church and the world, interceding especially for the clergy and consecrated religious.

And then let's be sure we keep our eyes fixed on Christ by the renewal of our minds in the truth.

Through the Holy Spirit, the Church gives us sure teaching to guide us today, which can be found in:

• Divine Revelation (particularly as given in Scripture and Tradition);
• the pontificates of the Holy Fathers (particularly those of Leo XIII [1810-1903] and his successors);
• the teachings of the ecumenical councils (especially Vatican Councils I and II);
• the Catechism of the Catholic Church, "a sure and authentic reference text for teaching Catholic doctrine" (St. John Paul II, Fidei Depositum [On the Publication of the Catechism of the Catholic Church], IV); and
• the lives and the writings of the saints and Doctors of the Church, especially the Diary of Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska: Divine Mercy in My Soul.

As we live through God purging the Church and the Blessed Mother's Immaculate Heart triumphing over evil, "be not afraid." Let us resolve not to stay silent in the face of evil, and to ensure as best we can that abuse of the vulnerable will not happen again in Christ's Church.

So we need to take up the tools of our spiritual combat; hold on to the sure and certain teaching given by Christ through His Mystical Body; live that teaching, faithfully fulfilling the duties of our state in life; and, carefully discerning and obeying the inspirations of the Holy Spirit, speak out to our spiritual fathers, doing our part to reform the Church in response to the crisis.

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