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It’s Not Just Germany

by Christopher A. Ferrara

The neo-Catholic critics of Roman Catholic "traditionalists" have a great deal to say against the "schismatic" Society of Saint Pius X. Bashing the SSPX seems to go hand-in-hand with rewriting the Message of Fatima: SSPX and Fatima are reminders of the dreaded pre-conciliar dark age which has given way to the refulgent "springtime" of Vatican II. (Oddly enough, the Vatican is more tolerant of SSPX these days than the lay neo-Catholics who so delight in bashing it. The Holy Father seems determined to achieve an agreement to "regularize" SSPX.)

Why is it that neo-Catholics have so little to say about the real problem in the Church today: endemic corruption, doctrinal rebellion and spreading apostasy in the supposed "mainstream" of the Church? The Holy Father himself, in the waning days of his pontificate, seemed to be striving to restore a proper balance in approaching the current crisis: offering to regularize SSPX on very nearly its own terms, while taking some action to expose (at long last) the condition of open rebellion among those who somehow avoid the charge of "schism" as they feign obedience and loyalty to the Pope.

The Pope’s "private letter" to the German Cardinals, leaked to the German press, only confirms what Fatima adherents have known for the past 40 years: much of the visible structure of the Church is in the grip of apostasy. As noted in a recent report, "In his letter, the Pope asks the German cardinals to take prompt action to curb improper developments within the Catholic Church in Germany." That is putting it mildly, as the Pope’s own letter immediately makes clear: "We cannot shut our eyes to the fact that more and more people are abandoning the active practice of the faith, or accepting only a portion of the Gospel and the teaching of the Church." As a result, while Catholicism in Germany "may appear strong on the outside, [it] has no inner vitality, and has lost credibility in the process." In other words, the Faith is practically dead in Germany.

Of course, the same is true throughout the Western world. While they are very quick to deplore the SSPX "schism" and the non-existent "offenses" of Father Nicholas Gruner, the neo-Catholics don’t seem to notice that most people who call themselves Catholic today no longer follow any papal teaching which cramps their lifestyles. These same people will, however, chant "John Paul II, we love you!" in football stadiums and plunk down their cash for papal CDs from In his letter to the German Cardinals the Holy Father declared that "Catholic families should be faithful to the spirit of Christian marriage, and must educate their children in the faith." But they aren’t doing so - not in Germany nor anywhere else in the West. What does this mean except apostasy?

Jacinta had a vision of the Pope sitting with his head in his hands, as people in the streets outside jeered and hurled insults at him. "Poor Holy Father," she said. Poor Holy Father indeed. The Pope’s letter to the German cardinals is crie de coeur from an ailing Pope who will soon leave behind a Church undergoing the worst crisis in its history. Every Catholic is obliged to pray that the Pope will take decisive action to turn back the tide of ecclesial destruction which the past 40 years of "reform" have unleashed upon us.

Yet while we wait for such action to be taken, the only priest in the entire Catholic Church currently facing a public threat of excommunication (in addition to his recently announced "suspension" on non-existent grounds) is Father Nicholas Gruner. And yet he has broken no law of God or of the Church and has upheld Catholic faith and morals for the whole of his 25 years as a Catholic priest. The abuse of Father Gruner is a prime example of why the Church is in crisis.