by Br. Alexis Bugnolo
When I began living my traditional franciscan vocation more than 20 years ago, I was invited by two zealous Catholic laymen to join them in their apostolate of street-evangelization on the streets of South Boston.
Their apostolate only had one goal: seeking the salvation of souls.
No one appointed them to this apostolate. They did what they did out of love for the Sacred Heart of Jesus. And they were organized. They had times and places where they knew there were more souls to catch. They had purchased in bulk — and even printed their own — tracts explaining the Catholic Faith or urging the practice of virtue. They had tracts against suicide, alcoholism, sodomy etc..
It was a courageous apostolate, standing outside in all kinds of weather and enduring with patience all the nasty things that those who hate God, Jesus or the Catholic Faith are wont to say.
Generally speaking, however, those not interested in hearing the Gospel simply would ignore us.
But no one reacted with greater disdain and anger that those with not normal inclinations on the streets of South Boston, when you offered them a tract on “How to cure yourself”.
These laymen did not mince words. And in those days you still could speak like a Catholic without risking jail. Here at WordPress, I dare not be so frank. But I am sure you understand what I am trying to say.
The reason why I mention this is that here at Rome, when I hand out information about Pope Benedict’s Renunciation I see a similar reaction, and it is very disturbing.
Yes, the Catholics of Italy, South America, Africa and the Orient all receive the information with joy and gladness. By “all”, I mean about 85%. That is a great sign of hope for the Church!
But the Catholic men of the United States who are seminarians immediately express the most cold disdain. Of them only about 5% accept the information, the rest refuse.
I think Catholics in the United States of America should take great care to warn their Bishops about the kind of men they send to Rome. If they do not care about truth, nor about who is the true pope, then what will they care about in the Church of the next generation when these seminarians become Bishops?
This disdain I believe is the fruit of the “recognize and (and not really) resist (except to raise money)” lunacy which has gripped all those clergy and talking heads who make money off speaking authoritatively in the Public Forum about the Faith.
It is not surprising that men who act like Protestant Ministers should be supporting notions which lead to the separation of Catholics from the Pope and from the Catholic Faith, or engaging in daily attacks on the Papacy as if it were the whore of Bablyon.
To call good evil and evil good is the sin against the Holy Spirit. As Our Lord taught, however, one incurs this sin precisely when one calls His Authority the source of evil and attributes to His Authority the workings of the Devil.
Catholics need to wake up and start asking what kind of spirit is behind the news outlets and talking heads they read on-line. Because it is the same spirit I see on the streets of Rome and which I saw on the streets of South Boston: hatred for the truth.
We know by Divine and Catholic Faith that a true Pope will never teach error. If the man we think is the pope does teach error, then we better examine the reasons why we think he is pope, because we are certainly deceived on some point.
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