In a two-part column published on the Catholic Culture blog, conservative journalist Phil Lawler declared, “I quit … I can’t do it anymore.”
The “it” to which Lawler refers is “reporting and writing about scandal within the Catholic Church.” He went on to clarify:
“The scandal” in the Church is actually three related scandals: the scandal of sexual abuse of children by priests; the scandal of widespread homosexual influence in the clergy; and the scandal of bishops who are more interested in protecting their positions than in defending the faith.
Having read Lawler’s entire valediction, it is clear that he is fixated on sexual scandal. It is as if he is blindfolded to the fundamental and far greater problem; namely, the post-conciliar doctrinal and liturgical crises.
“I’ve spent 25 years studying how the Church got into this mess,” writes Lawler.
In that period of time alone, more than two-thousand parishes in the United States have closed, and the homo-clerical scandal is far from the primary cause; rather, it is because much of what has been presented to us as “the Church” – not just in the U.S., but globally – is barely recognizable as Catholic from either a doctrinal, moral or liturgical standpoint.
Good intentions aside, Phil Lawler provides a shining example of the mindset that I described in an article of last year:
I would argue that the current homo-clerical moral crisis never would have reached such depths had the doctrinal crisis inaugurated at Vatican Council II not happened first. The mere suggestion is beyond consideration in the minds of most neo-conservatives, who, among other things, have been anesthetized into complacency by a combination of the “hermeneutic of continuity” deception and a form of ultramontanism that effectively places the pope beyond any meaningful doctrinal reproach – most notably as it concerns John Paul II.
Given that Lawler is unable or unwilling to identify the actual problem at hand, it comes as little surprise that his thoughts concerning the remedy are likewise off-base. Speaking directly to bishops and cardinals about their “sacred duty,” he writes:
To restore the Church, you must first restore your own credibility. Drop the damage-control approach. Stop fearing the truth, start telling it, and demand that others do the same. Face the fact that right now, the credibility of Catholic bishops ranks somewhere between that of used-car salesmen and telemarketers—and with reason! And you are charged with the duty of proclaiming the Gospel, carrying on the mission of the Apostles, introducing the world to the Word. You must make the elimination of corruption, the restoration of credibility, your top priority. If you don’t nothing else that you do will matter.
The above will likely strike many as perfectly sound, but let us consider:
Q: Even if every single bishop takes Lawler’s advice and ceases doing damage-control, starts telling the truth about the scandal, and makes the elimination of corruption and the restoration of their own credibility their top priority, what would remain?
A: An earthbound quasi-political social justice organization that is working hand-in-hand with the United Nations and other enemies of Christ the King toward the establishment of a One-World government and One-World religion based upon the tenets of humanism. (NOTE: This description of Modernist Rome predates the Bergoglian occupation by some six decades.)
In other words, “the restoration of the credibility of the Catholic Church” that Lawler identified as his “top priority” won’t be brought even one inch closer to fruition thanks to his efforts. Though it evidently eludes him, the reason is simple:
The “gospel” proclaimed by the hierarchs of the conciliar church is little more than secular humanism deceptively dressed-up in religious verbiage; it is not the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Nor is the mission of the conciliar church the one that Our Lord entrusted to His Church – this being precisely how scandal came to permeate the institution in the first place.
In fact, we can say (along with +Archbishop Lefebvre) that the institution that has been operating out of Rome for the past six or so decades, presenting itself to the world as the Catholic Church, is a counterfeit.
Sadly, Phil Lawler, like so many other conservatives, has bought into the deception hook, line and sinker; writing in conclusion, “Of this much I am quite sure: The leadership in reform will come from the Catholic laity.”
Sorry, Phil, that’s not the Church established by Christ. Leadership in His Church comes from the top down, starting with Himself; His authority made present and visible in the person of the Roman Pontiff, His Vicar, to whom He has given full power to tend, rule and govern the Universal Church.
The laity can no more lead the way in fixing the present crisis than a toddler can restore order to his childhood home when mom and dad are off on a drunken sabbatical. The best we can do is to labor for personal sanctity while warning our brothers and sisters about the evil of their elders; pointing the way to safety to the extent that we are able.
“Somehow our bishops must be shocked out of their complacency, compelled to recognize the crisis, convinced to purge the corruption from within their own ranks,” Lawler insists, his frustration clearly palpable.
“And somehow,” he continues, “we, the loyal Catholic laity, must do the shocking, the compelling, the convincing, the demanding.”
As of yet, unfortunately, Lawler himself does not recognize the crisis. Last year, however, there were some hopeful signs that his awareness may be growing. In his book, Lost Shepherd: How Pope Francis is Misleading His Flock, he wrote:
I did my best to provide assurance – for my readers and sometimes for myself – that, despite his sometimes alarming remarks, Francis was not a radical, was not leading the Church away from the ancient sources of the Faith. But gradually, reluctantly, I came to the conclusion that he was … I found I could no longer pretend that Francis was merely offering a novel interpretation of Catholic doctrine. No, it was more than that. He was engaged in a deliberate effort to change what the Church teaches.
What Lawler fails (or refuses) to acknowledge is that Francis is not the first hireling to mislead the flock; that operation has been well underway for more than sixty years.
In conclusion, Phil Lawler seems to be a sincere man who is slowly coming to the realization that the corrupt, scandal-ridden institution headquartered in Rome, as well as the men who are leading it – up to and including Jorge Bergoglio – have no genuine interest in carrying out the mission that Christ gave to His Church. Indeed, none of them – the institution included – are truly Catholic.
Let us pray for him, that his eyes may one day be opened to the point where he will write:
I did my best to provide assurance – for my readers and sometimes for myself – that, despite its alarming propositions, Vatican II was not radical, was not leading the Church away from the ancient sources of the Faith. But gradually, reluctantly, I came to the conclusion that it was … I found I could no longer pretend that the Council was merely offering a novel interpretation of Catholic doctrine. No, it was more than that. It was a deliberate effort to change what the Church teaches.