The irresistible rise of the Third Church

Anyone who believes that God is at work in the Church should be aware of it

  • Fr Bill Grimm, Tokyo

These are the very early days of a phenomenon that will reshape Christianity forever, the coming of what theologians call the “Third Church.”

The “First Church” was that of the original disciples and the generations that followed them, centered on the Mediterranean and making the first missionary advances into lands and cultures outside of Israel.

The men and women of that First Church bequeathed to us many treasures: the New Testament, the core elements of our worship, our philosophical and theological systems and our commitment to engage in dialogue with the religions, philosophies and cultures of the world.

The missionary endeavors of those early centuries led to the development of the “Second Church,” centered in Europe. It was the Church of mass Christianity. Societies and cultures were shaped by the Christian commitment of rulers and people. The “outside world” of non-belief was geographically and psychologically remote and marginal to daily life. When it was encountered, it was often as an enemy, but always as an object of proselytization. We still live in that Church, but increasingly find ourselves moving in a new situation, a new Church, the Third Church.

This new Church has no geographic center because it is worldwide. The statistics tell the story. In 1910, 80 percent of the world’s Christians lived in Europe and North America. Today, a century later, the majority of us live in Africa, Asia and Latin America, with less than 40 percent of us in the West. In just five years between 2004 and 2009, the number of Catholics in Asia increased by nearly 11 percent.

The missionary thrust from Christ through the first and second Churches has carried us beyond borders of races, nations and cultures. For many Catholics, perhaps the first inklings of change came during Vatican II when photos of the world’s bishops showed faces from Africa, Asia and Latin America.

What is distinctive about this Church? Western Christians usually do not even notice how deeply their Christianity has been shaped by religious traditions and cultures that pre-dated the preaching of the Gospel in Europe. So too are the Churches of Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Pacific being shaped by religions and cultures that preachers of the Gospel encountered there.

That means ideas of God, of holiness, of worship, of community, of ministry — of everything that makes a Church — are gradually becoming radically different from what has been “normal” for more than a millennium and a half. Cherished and time honored traditions and formulations of faith are being called into question.

The Third Church lives in the midst of varied beliefs or unbelief, with little or decreasing political, social and cultural power. This is leading to new styles of worship, of theologizing, of community, of evangelization.

Since Christians of the Third Church, especially in Asia, are often a powerless and sometimes persecuted minority in their societies, they tend to view the role of the Church and its institutional forms from a different perspective from that of the West, where the Church is only now beginning to lose political, moral and intellectual power.

Asia’s Christians face questions that Western Christians have not faced in centuries, if ever. As they struggle to find answers to new questions, some of those answers will appear inadequate to those who faced and answered different questions. Some will actually be inadequate, as inadequate as Western theological formulas and practices. Our theology of the Trinity, for example, may take unforeseen directions as Indian Christians try to explain what we believe about God using Indian rather than Greek philosophic modes of thought.

On various levels, people in the Churches of the West (which are still in charge) have had mixed reactions to the coming of the Third Church. Sometimes, there is rejoicing that the Holy Spirit is working in new ways in new places. Sometimes, there is fear of the unknown and a refusal to allow others to make their own mistakes as the West made its own. Much of Catholic history since Vatican II can be read as a series of attempts to protect the Second Church from the changes that are coming with the Third Church. Many times, the phenomenon is ignored. But, love it or fear it, a new Church is being born. It will take several lifetimes, but eventually Christianity throughout the world will be different.

Yet, as the characteristics of this Third Church gradually but with increasing momentum develop, we continue to live in varying degrees within the Second Church. The result is a tension within the People of God, within our institutions and within ourselves.

The tensions in the period of overlap between the first and second Churches gave birth to creative and enduring ways to be Church (notably monasticism). Likewise, the transition period in which we live will, under the Holy Spirit, give birth to now undreamed of ways to be Church.

Centuries from now we will be looked upon as the early Christians of what will in the future be the normal, everyday way to follow and proclaim Christ. We may be envied for having lived in an exciting time of transition. We will be misunderstood. We may be vilified for getting so much wrong and bequeathing structures and ways of thinking, acting and worship that seem constricting and short-sighted. We will be grist for whatever may be the equivalent of doctoral dissertations.

Anyone who believes that God is at work in the Church should be aware of what is happening. We must pay attention to the Churches throughout the world, learning from them and praying with and for them. Reading and visiting (in some places this might only entail crossing town to a different neighborhood) are important tools. It would be a shame to miss one of the biggest events in the history of Christianity because we thought the way we have been is the way to be.

Fr William Grimm is the publisher of and is based in Tokyo

Man Dressed As Tabernacle

Man Dressed As Tabernacle At Halloween Party Ignored; Is Moved To Corner Of Room


Austin, TX–According to reports from several eyewitnesses moments ago, 27-year-old Austin man Emmanuel Dickens, who showed up to a Halloween party dressed as his favorite tabernacle, was promptly ignored and escorted to the corner of the room. The party’s host Thomas Martin told Eye of the Tiber that having the man there was “for some reason just kinda putting a damper on the fellowship thing” he was going for. “It’s not necessarily that he’s not wanted at the party,” Martin said.  ”It’s just that it’s a bit awkward when everyone’s trying to catch up and chit-chat, and he’s just standing there not saying anything.”  Kimberley Wilson, who also attended the party, reported that she had a pleasant, though brief, conversation with Dickens, but that it was difficult to focus on what he was trying say. “Well, no one else was talking to him, and he was relegated to the corner like he had some disease. I thought I’d say hello, but it’s kinda hard when everyone’s talking so loud. Not to mention the David Haas Pandora station blaring in the background. I couldn’t understand anything he was trying to say.” At press time, Martin was considering moving Dickens to another room altogether.

A Cardinal came to Dallas………..

A Blog for Dallas Area Catholics

……and stated that Vatican II signaled an embrace, or tacit acceptance of, modernism by the Church?  And not just any Cardinal, but the leading member of the group of 8 “super Cardinals” that are to advise the Pope on how to reform the Church?Maradiaga2

Well, he, Cardinal Oscar Maradiaga, the leader of Pope Francis’ new cardinalatial advisory body, spoke in Dallas at the University of Dallas Ministry Conference last Friday, to start explicating the Holy Father’s new Church “reform” agenda for the English-speaking world.  One must pray this agenda does not embrace certain aspects of the Cardinal’s speech, which are detailed below.  Louis Verrichio feels the mask is dropping, and what we are confronted with is a flag-waving modernist, which Louis incredibly confirms with a world-exclusive pic.  The below is from the Cardinal’s speech (I add emphasis and comments):

The Second Vatican Council was the main event in the Church in…

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NSA Spied on Future Pope

US ‘spied on future Pope Francis during Vatican conclave.’Pope Francis delivering a speech during a meeting of the world's cardinals

Pope Francis delivering a speech during a meeting of the world’s cardinals Photo: AFP
By , Rome

6:35PM GMT 30 Oct 2013

The National Security Agency spied on the future Pope Francis before and during theVatican conclave at which he was chosen to succeed Benedict XVI, it was claimed on Wednesday.

The American spy agency monitored telephone calls made to and from the residence in Rome where the then Archbishop Jorge Mario Bergoglio stayed during the conclave, the secret election at which cardinals chose him as pontiff on March 13.

The claims were made by Panorama, an Italian weekly news magazine, which said that the NSA monitored the telephone calls of many bishops and cardinals at the Vatican in the lead-up to the conclave, which was held amid tight security in the Sistine Chapel.

The information gleaned was then reportedly divided into four categories — “leadership intentions”, “threats to financial system”, “foreign policy objectives” and “human rights”.

At that time, Benedict XVI was Pope, suggesting that the Vatican may also have been monitored during the last few weeks of his papacy.

The allegations follow a report on Cryptome, a website that gathers intelligence on surveillance and national security, which claimed the US intercepted 46 million telephone calls in Italy between Dec 10 2012 and Jan 8 January 2013.

The monitoring of communications, including emails, continued after Benedict’s resignation in February and encompassed the election of Pope Francis.

“It is feared that the great American ear continued to tap prelates’ conversations up to the eve of the conclave,” the weekly magazine said.

It added that there were “suspicions that the conversations of the future Pope may have been monitored”, but provided no hard evidence or quoted sources for the claim.

Archbishop Bergoglio was of interest to US diplomats and intelligence agencies as far back as 2005, when he was mentioned as a possible candidate for the papacy after the death of John Paul II.

According to US State Department cables released by WikiLeaks in March this year, the US embassy to the Holy See drew up a profile of him, describing him as a “wise pastor” who had been praised for his “humility”.

Brent Hardt, the embassy’s charge d’affaires, discussed the future Pope as one of 16 possible candidates, noting that he “has been reluctant to accept honours or hold high office and commutes to work on a bus.”

The US agency also intercepted telephone calls relating to the selection of a new head of the scandal-ridden Vatican bank, Panorama said.

The NSA was also reportedly interested in intercepting communications relating to the 2012 Vatileaks scandal, in which Paolo Gabriele, Benedict’s butler, was caught stealing sensitive documents which lifted the lid on power struggles and alleged corruption at the heart of the Holy See.

Asked about the espionage claims, Federico Lombardi, the Vatican’s spokesman, said: “We have heard nothing of this and in any case we have no concerns about it.”

The American embassy to the Holy See referred queries to the State Department in Washington.

Leaks by Edward Snowden, the fugitive former US intelligence operative who has been granted asylum in Russia, have suggested the NSA conducted extensive spying on several European countries in addition to Italy, including Spain, France and Germany.

The revelations have seriously strained relations between the US and its European allies and trade partners.

Separately, reports claimed on Wednesday that the NSA secretly tapped into the main communications links that connect Yahoo and Google data centres around the world, enabling it to collect information from hundreds of millions of user accounts.

The NSA’s “acquisitions directorate” sends millions of records every day from Yahoo and Google networks to data warehouses at the agency’s headquarters at Fort Meade in Maryland, according to The Washington Post.

It then analyses the information it gathers with a project called MUSCULAR, which is operated jointly with GCHQ, its British counterpart.

In a statement, Google said it was “troubled by allegations of the government intercepting traffic between our data centres, and we are not aware of this activity.”

A Yahoo spokesman said: “We have strict controls in place to protect the security of our data centres, and we have not given access to our data centres to the NSA or to any other government agency.”

Gen Keith Alexander, the NSA director, dismissed the report, saying the NSA is “not authorised” to do this and instead must go through a court process”.

USCCB youth refugee materials

USCCB youth refugee materials updated to address gay, transgendered youth – makes no reference to the moral law

Bridging Refugee Youth and Children’s Services (BRYCS), a project of the United Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Migration and Refugee Services, has updated and expanded its training to workers in federally-funded refugee resettlement programs, in part to “address the needs of particularly vulnerable groups of children, including youth who may be gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgendered.”

The training is intended for those who work with youth in the custody of the US Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Refugee Resettlement / Division of Children’s Services.

The revised Tier One Training Manual – copyrighted by the United Conference of Catholic Bishops, and published with the assistance of a Department of Health and Human Services grant – notes that “it is important to be alert for homophobic remarks among the staff. If any are made, discuss in a non-judgmental way how these kinds of remarks may make a young gay resident feel.”

If a “boy teases another boy, saying that he is gay, standing too close to him, and so forth, it would be a form of sexual harassment.”

“Exploring Complexities” – the new Tier Two Training Manual, also copyrighted by the United Conference of Catholic Bishops, and published with the assistance of a Department of Health and Human Services grant – presents a scenario in which two male minors are “rubbing each other with their feet on the other’s genital areas.”

The training advises:

After allowing the staff to discuss this, you can suggest that the young men should learn not to engage in sexual contact in the residence, and they should develop a stronger sense of sexual boundaries – to keep sexual activities private, even after leaving the residence … 

You can mention that young people engage in sexual behaviors for all kinds of reasons, including to relieve tension or boredom, for the thrill of breaking rules and doing something prohibited, because they are lonely and want to connect with another person and sexual activity is one way to establish a connection, and simply because they are easily stimulated at that age.

In another scenario, three young men have reported that another minor male resident has been exposing himself to them on different occasions. The training advises:

Presuming these reports are true, why would Telmo engage in these kinds of behaviors? It is possible that he has simply never been taught appropriate sexual boundaries … While Telmo needs to understand that he should not expose himself to others and should keep from touching other residents inappropriately, he should not be shamed or humiliated for his actions. If Telmo continues to engage in these kinds of behaviors he may need to be transferred to a more restrictive setting.

The BRYCS manual makes no reference to moral law or the practice of virtue.

Man of Action, Pope Francis, leaves exposition of doctrine to others

The Knots of the Pastor Bergoglio

He was the one who imported from Germany to Argentina the devotion to the Blessed Mother “untier of knots.” To his studies he preferred the care of souls. And today he is doing the same: he is leaving to others the exposition of doctrine. As in the case of communion for the divorced and remarried 

by Sandro Magister

ROME, October 29, 2013 – Since he was elected pope, Jorge Mario Bergoglio  has been constantly under the gaze of the world, which is scrutinizing his every action and word.

But his previous biography is yet to be as well known.

The book by Nello Scavo “La lista di Bergoglio” has lifted the veil on the role of the young Jesuit during the Dirty War of the military dictatorship:

> The Jesuit Who Humiliated the Generals

But still little is known about the six years during which Bergoglio was superior of the Argentine province of the Society of Jesus, between 1973 and 1979, and about the real motivations that led to his subsequent marginalization, until his exile in the peripheral Jesuit residence of Córdoba,  as a simple spiritual director.

It was in one of those difficult years that Bergoglio went to Germany “to finish his doctoral thesis,” as his official biography on the Vatican website succinctly puts it.

It was March of 1986. Bergoglio would be turning 50 in December.  For the subject of his doctoral thesis he had chosen Romano Guardini,  the great German theologian who was a master for two future popes, Paul VI and Benedict XVI, two of whose books Bergoglio had read and admired above all: “The Lord,” on the person of Jesus, and “Der Gegensatz,” published in Spanish with the title “Contrasteidad,” highly critical of the Hegelian and Marxist dialectic.

But from how his transfer to Germany took place and how it was interrupted after only a few months, with the abandonment of the doctoral thesis, it can be deduced that Bergoglio undertook that voyage more at the orders of his Jesuit superiors than out of his own spontaneous will.

In his autobiographical interview “El Jesuita,” Bergoglio would later recount that in Germany, every time he saw an airplane take off, he dreamed that he was on board, going to Argentina. Such was his desire to return to his country.

The archives of Romano Guardini were in Munich, while the theological faculty at which Bergoglio would defend his doctoral thesis was the Sankt Georgen in Frankfurt.

But he did not limit himself to shuttling between these two cities. From Munich one also can go quickly by train to Augsburg.

And it was there that his German transfer radically changed in character.
In Augsburg, in the church of the Jesuits, dedicated to Saint Peter, there is a venerated Marian image: the Blessed Mother “untier of knots.”
In it Mary is depicted untying the knots of a ribbon held out to her by an angel, which another angel is receiving from her with no more knots. The meaning is clear. The knots are all that complicates life, difficulties, sins. And Mary is the one who helps to untie them.
Bergoglio was deeply struck by this Marian image. When he returned to Argentina a few months later, he brought with him a good number of prayer cards with the Blessed Mother “untier of knots.”
His doctoral thesis was abandoned at its birth, and even the thought of Romano Guardini did not leave a lasting imprint upon Bergoglio. In the interview with Pope Francis in “La Civiltà Cattolica,” in which he dedicates ample space to his authors of reference, Guardini is not there.

But in exchange, thanks to his stay in Germany in 1986, Bergoglio unknowingly brought a new Marian devotion to birth in Argentina.
An artist to whom he had given one of the prayer cards acquired in Augsburg reproduced the image and offered it to a parish of the working-class Barrio de Agronomía, in the center of Buenos Aires.
On display in the church, the image of Mary “desatanudos” attracted a growing number of devotees, converted sinners, and marked an unexpected growth of religious practice. To such an extent that after a few years there was a well-established tradition of a pilgrimage to the image, from all over Buenos Aires and from even farther away, on the 8th day of every month.

“I never felt myself so much an instrument in the hands of God,” Bergoglio confided to a Jesuit confrere who was his disciple, Fr. Fernando Albistur, now a professor of biblical studies at the Colegio Máximo di San Miguel in Buenos Aires.

Fr. Albistur recounts this in a newly released book edited by Alejandro Bermúdez, with interviews with ten Jesuits and ten Argentine laymen who are longtime friends of Bergoglio.

And he is not the only one. In the same book, Fr. Juan Carlo Scannone, the most authoritative of the Argentine theologians and a former professor of the young Jesuit Bergoglio, also relates the same episode.

In Scannone’s judgment, the instance of the Blessed Mother “untier of knots” helps us to understand more deeply the “pastoral” profile of Pope Francis and his accentuated attention to the “people.”


Bergoglio has never been a theologian, much less an academic. Among the theologians he says that he likes Henri De Lubac and Michel de Certeau. But not because he has assimilated the overall positions of the two, which moreover are very different. He almost always cites only one of De Lubac’s books, “Meditations on the Church,” and almost always only one passage from this: that against the “worldliness” of the Church.

Also as pope he is above all a man of action, of pastoral action. Those who have known him up close and have been friends with him for years – like the twenty interviewed for the book by Alejandro Bermúdez – see in him exceptional qualities of command and noteworthy strategical abilities. None of his actions, none of his words, is ever left to chance. And his priority is the pastoral care of the “people” entrusted to him, who since he has become pope have been extended to the whole world.

His preaching is intentionally suited to this profile. It is primarily addressed to the common people, to the weak in faith, to the sinners, to the faraway. Not as a whole, but as if the pope would like to speak one-on-one with each of them.

Just as in the Gospel Jesus is very demanding in the commandments but turns to individual sinners with mercy, so also Pope Francis wants to be.
On disputed questions, on birth, on death, on procreation, he is of undisputed doctrinal orthodoxy: “The view of the Church is known and I am a son of the Church,” he bluntly stated in the interview with “La Civiltà Cattolica.”

But he leaves the exposition of doctrine to others, and reserves for himself the merciful style of the care of souls.
The most striking example of this joint action came a few days ago, when on the disputed question of communion for divorced and remarried Catholics Pope Francis set to work the prefect of the congregation for the doctrine of the faith, Gerhard Ludwig Müller. Who in an extensive article in “L’Osservatore Romano” reiterated from top to tail the reasons for the ‘no’ to communion:

> Divorced and Remarried. Müller Writes, Francis Dictates

Archbishop Müller is one of the few heads of the curia whom Francis has confirmed in his role. A man, therefore, who has his complete trust. To whom he has not hesitated to entrust also the task – in the same article – of dispelling the interpretive ambiguities born from some of the formulations concerning “mercy” and “conscience” used by the pope himself in his public conversation.

The inauguration of this twofold communicative register – in this case, of the pope and of his guardian of doctrine – almost entirely escaped the notice of the media, still dazzled by the presumed “openness” of the former. But it is likely to be repeated with other issues.
And perhaps it will permit the untying of an interpretive knot of the current pontificate: that of the apparent distancing of pope Bergoglio from his predecessors in confronting the “anthropological challenge.”
Pope Francis explicitly referred to the Blessed Mother “untier of knots” in the first part of the meditation he gave on October 12 in Saint Peter’s Square, on the Marian day of the year of faith, in the presence of an even more famous Marian image, that of Fatima:

 “Mary’s faith unties the knot of sin…”
Alejandro Bermúdez (edit.), “Pope Francis. Our Brother, Our Friend”, Ignatius Press, San Francisco, 2013.

Bergoglio’s Ignorant Attack on Traditional Catholicism Intensifies


[A shocking screed lacking discretion, distinctions and prctical knowledge. But he gave it, anyway!]

October 17, 2013. ( In his daily morning Mass, Pope Francis talked about Christians who turn their faith into an ideology. He explained that this makes people hostile and arrogant, and pushes them away from their peers. The root of such behavior, the Pope said, is a lack of prayer.


“The faith becomes ideology and ideology frightens. Ideology chases away the people. It creates distances between people and it distances the Church from the people. But it is a serious illness, this Christian ideology.”Pope Francis also added there is a difference between praying and simply saying prayers. People carried away by ideology, he concluded, do not pray, rather repeat memorized prayers. The faith passes, so to speak, through a distiller and becomes ideology.And ideology does not beckon [people]. In ideologiesthere is not Jesus: in his tenderness, his love,his meekness. And ideologies are rigid, always. Of every sign: rigid. And when aChristian becomes a disciple of the ideology, he has lost the faith: he is no longer a disciple of Jesus, he is a disciple of this attitudeof thought… For this reason Jesus said to them: ‘You have taken away the key of knowledge.’ The knowledge of Jesus istransformed into an ideological and also moralistic knowledge, because these close the door with many requirements.”“The faith becomes ideology and ideology frightens. Ideology chases away the people. It creates distances between people and it distances the Church from the people. But it is a serious illness, this ideology in Christians. It is an illness, but it is not new, eh? Already the Apostle John, in his first Letter, spoke of this. Christians who lose the faith and prefer the ideologies. His attitude is: be rigid, moralistic, ethical, but without kindness. This can be the question, no? But why is it that a Christian can become like this? Just one thing: this Christian does not pray. And if there is no prayer, you always close the door.”   “When a Christian does not pray, this happens. And his witness is an arrogant witness.” He who does not pray is “arrogant, is proud, is sure of himself. He is not humble. He seeks his own advancement.” Instead, he said, “when a Christian prays, he is not far from the faith; he speaks with Jesus.” And, the Pope said, “I say to pray, I do not say to say prayers, because these teachers of the law said many prayers” in order to be seen. Jesus, instead, says: “when you pray, go into your room and pray to the Father in secret, heart to heart.” The pope continued: “It is one thing to pray, and another thing to say prayers.”

“These do not pray, abandoning the faith and transforming it into moralistic, casuistic ideology, without Jesus. And when a prophet or a good Christian reproaches them, they the same that they did with Jesus: ‘When Jesus left, the scribes and Pharisees began to act with hostility toward him’ – they are ideologically hostile – ‘and to interrogate him about many things,’ – they are insidious – ‘for they were plotting to catch him at something he might say.’ They are not transparent. Ah, poor things, they are people dishonored by their pride. We ask the Lord for Grace, first: never to stop praying to never lose the faith; to remain humble, and so not to become closed, which closes the way to the Lord.”



There’s been a lot of talk lately about proselytizing, the “new evangelization,” etc. Many of these same people who think the Church has it all right now say that the Church was broken pre-Vatican II. That no one understood the Latin Mass and it had to go. That the rigid Church turned off non-Catholics and that the firm stand against false ecumenism was a barrier to great conversions of non-Catholics. 
A priest reader of Rorate recently saw a 1959 version of the Kenedy Directory (now The Official Catholic Directory) for sale and purchased it. As the priest tells us: “Much to my joyful surprise, there was a beautiful tribute page to Pope Pius XII, this being the first Directory published after his death.”
For those who say we are now living in the greatest age of the Church, let us consider the numbers below. They are remarkable, to say the least:


While all these numbers may make one yearn for the Church of old, a few of them are truly staggering for the modern mind to comprehend in today’s Catholic-lite world: a 200+% increase in American converts; a nearly 250% increase in seminaries built; a 200+% increase in seminarians; and a 50% increase in priests. All of this happened over Pius XII’s glorious 19-year-reign. 
While we would never criticize the canonization of a saint, we can say, looking at these numbers, that there may be one venerable former pontiff who is conspicuously missing from the lineup on April 27.
Posted by Adfero 

“Vatican II meant an end to hostilities between the Church and Modernism” – ‘Vice-Pope’ Card. Oscar Rodriguez ‘restarts’ the Catholic Church

The Council’s “Unfinished Business,” The Church’s “Return to Jesus”… and Dreams of “The Next Pope” – A Southern Weekend with Francis’ “Discovery Channel 

Over the weekend, something rather extraordinary happened on these shores… and with Halloween upon us, it’s a particular treat to share around.

Even if Father Francis feels his limits in English and won’t likely make it to the US for another two years, to get things rolling in the meantime, the Pope sent his frighteningly-fluent principal adviser to light up the scoreboard. 

To put it another way, the last time a Roman pontiff’s Salesian top op came to lay out the program for the Stateside Church, it was two and a half years into the pontificate. Under the new regime, the same cycle took all of seven months.

Then again, for those who’ve been paying attention to the substance of things in an extraordinary moment, the speed should come as anything but a surprise – Bergoglio & Co. are well aware that time is short… while the vision to be implemented is sweeping.

As the scene’s already been well set before, let’s just get to it: below you’ll find the text of a 5,500 word-keynote and audio of another 40-minute talk given during a two-day Southern swing by the coordinator of Francis’unprecedented “Gang of Eight” (or “C-8”), Cardinal Óscar Rodríguez Maradiaga of Tegucigalpa, on no less a topic than “The State of the Church” through the lens of the New Evangelization

Respectively delivered on Friday at theUniversity of Dallas Ministry Conference in Irving and Saturday’s closing assembly of Miami’s year-long Archdiocesan Synod, while the same copy was initially slated for both events, the globe-trotting, sax-playingHonduran “super-cardinal” veered into a heavily-improvised reflection on the latter stop which turned the Miami speech into something very different – and, indeed, considerably more raucous (even Pentecostal). Still, if you’re looking to grasp the concepts at play in these days and the “future reformations” yet to come, you’ll want to take the time and effort to read and listen alike and in full.

Along those lines, given the state of things in more places than we’d like to think about, wishing that this package not be casually pieced up and the context hacked to bits in parts beyond can almost feel like hoping against hope. Still, it’s worth another try – not only do readers deserve better in seeing the full picture, but in an age when we’re blessed with freedom from copy-inches and time-limits, to respect the integrity and nuance of content, especially of this significance, doesn’t just tell the story as was intended to be heard, even more, it’s simply the decent thing to do.

Ergo, from this side, ’nuff said – beginning with the audio of the Miami talk (featuring spontaneously-singing Cubans and shouts from the crowd), then to the Dallas text (all emphases and highlights original), here’s the vision of this pontificate through the eyes of the closest thing Francis has to a “Vice-Pope.”



I thought I toiled in vain: “Where is my success?”

“Though I thought I had toiled in vain, and for nothing, uselessly, spent my strength, Yet my reward is with the LORD, my recompense is with my God.” 
-Isaiah 49:4 
The following is an excerpt from the book,Jesus King of Love, by Fr. Mateo Crawly-Boevey (1970). If you believe that your work has not been crowned with success and the lack of apparent progress in what are you are doing or in what you hoped to do is not panning out the way you anticipated, please take a few minutes and read the following excerpt: 
The spirit of faith:
Opposition has always been and ever will be the divine seal upon all our works. Such contradictions come only when God wills that they should and last only as long as He permits. Such storms have never ruined a work dear to God when the thoughts of the apostle were inspired by a great spirit of faith. We must confess with sorrow that this spirit is sometimes greatly wanting. It is not our lack of money or human support that many excellent works have no real life. So the apostles of Enthronement should carefully avoid attributing an exaggerated importance to wealth and high patronage. In our work, money and influence are not all. Relegate them to the background. Jesus will provide. When the glory and the love of the Sacred Heart are at stake, I beg of you, do not weigh the cost in money only. The saints never triumphed in this way. 

Our Lord said to St. Margaret Mary, “I will reign in spite of My enemies.” This “in spite of” has given courage to many inexperienced and timid apostles who [once] believed too much in the power of Satan and his followers. The power of the wicked comes from the power of the good. The issue of the fight mostly depends on fidelity of our Lord’s friends. “O you of little faith,” Jesus said to His apostles. He might well say the same to those who tremble when menaced by the enemy. 

It is the lack of faith that makes us long to see our work crowned as quickly as possible with striking and brilliant success and to desire that it should be known and published abroad that these grand results are to be attributed to us. 
It is a lack of faith to expect to reap at eventide what we sowed at dawn and to seek for admiration and applause whole professing purity of intention. Dear apostles, ask Jesus for a great and living faith that you may not betray his confidence, for He expects many victories from your spirit of faith. 
I firmly believe that there is no such thing as failure in good works when they are undertaken and carried out by a true apostle. If by failure we mean the ruin of our own plans, however good, then there may be and even ought to be failure. God would not be what He is if He had promised to set His seal on any wild idea of ours, however hones and honorable our intentions may have been. If, however, my only purpose is the glory of God, I will not mind being disappointed in my projects. By upsetting them, God will not destroy the true spiritual results of my apostolate. The King of Love will be glorified and that is enough for me. The failure was mine and only apparent; the victory was His, a real, effective and complete one. Blessed be Jesus, the true Victor! I have come out of that combat humble and wounded. He has come out with palms and laurel wreaths. Praised be forever His Most Sacred Heart. 

It is the lack of faith to be easily discouraged. Difficulties are so indispensible to divine works that if there were none we should have to invent or provoke them in order to ensure the victory. We forget that Jesus does his best work in times of tribulation provided we believe that He is faithful and all powerful. During the early persecutions, bishops, priests, and faithful were put to death by the thousands. The persecutors sought to destroy the infant Church. They might have succeeded had those early Christians reasoned as we do and taken too much thought for the morrow, saying in their dejection, “If we die who will care for souls and for the altars? God has forgotten us. Woe to us! Woe to the Church!” But they did not speak thus, they died with a hymn of victory upon their lips. If we could only believe as they did in the Savior’s affirmation, “I have overcome the world,” what miracles we should work in spite of exterior obstacles, and our own incapacity and failings. Man has changed into means of communication even the greatest of obstacles, such as the sea, the air, and the mountains. How much more should our faith invent means of turning every difficulty to the glory of God. If we have labored for many a weary day and night without making any apparent progress in our works, we must humbly acknowledge this is because of our sins, and launch out into the deep with immense faith letting down our nets in the name of our Lord… 

Believe in the loyalty of the Heart of Jesus. He may well treat you as He did the woman of Canaan, making you ask and suffer many times to test you, but His Heart cannot deceive nor be deceived. Knock once again and He will open to you. God has His own times. Let us hasten the coming of the hour of grace and mercy by believing with invincible faith. Do not stand arguing like St. Thomas, “Blessed are they who have not seen, and yet have believed,” for they are the only true apostles and they alone will one day experience that the word of the Lord shall not pass and that His Heart, the fountain of mercy, is divinely faithful. Say to Him humbly again and again, “Jesus, I believe, but increase my faith.”

Posted by Joe