The Catholic Church in America is facing one of the worst crises in its history. As in all catastrophes, the landscape is mired in chaos and disorder. Torrents of newsprint have exposed the sexual-abuse scandals but also have devastated the confidence of the faithful.
The urgent calls for drastic reforms coming from all sides have only served to cloud the issues. The circumstances, however, demand clarity.
Bringing Clarity and Perspective
The American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family and Property (TFP) has just released a new book that boldly and succinctly states the Catholic principles and doctrines in question in the current fracas. The book aims to bring perspective and clarity into the debate.
The book, I Have Weathered Other Storms: A Response to the Scandals and Democratic Reforms That Threaten the Catholic Church, seeks to dispel the confusion and the climate of intense emotion that warps the debate and hinders a true solution to the crisis.
I Have Weathered Other Storms is the joint work of the TFP’s Committee for American Affairs, which put together the research and observations. It was published in mid-December by the Pennsylvania-based Western Hemisphere Cultural Society.
A Response, not Just a Report
As the title states, the book is much more than a report: It is a response.
It is a response to the sexual-abuse scandals that goes right to the core of the problem.
No discussion of the scandals can omit what has so often been omitted by the media: the reality that there is a profound crisis of Faith within the Church that spans decades.
The sexual-abuse scandals are but a symptom and logical consequence of this crisis. Citing saints and Doctors of the Church, the TFP response shows how sins against the Faith are chastised with unbridled sensuality and depravity.
No one can deny the scandals or the need for practical measures. No one can ignore the grave negligence and complicity of many bishops and clergy. However, too many seem to deny and ignore this root cause.
Any response must be a clear reaffirmation of the Faith and Catholic morality, especially regarding homosexuality.
The TFP book is an arsenal of Church doctrines and teachings designed to provide the reader with all the means for this reaffirmation.
Responding to the Reformers
It is also a response to those who clamor for democratic reforms in the Church.
Indeed, the work is a veritable broadside against those who would use this crisis to promote an agenda of reforms that contradicts Church teaching.
It tracks the leading figures and organizations that have surfaced during the debate. It refutes their calls for a “democratic” and egalitarian model of the Church.
Readers will see how reformists have turned victims into “survivors” and even “prophets” by applying the oppressor/oppressed dialectics used by liberation theology.
They will read how reformists have declared the death of the hierarchical “medieval Church,” in which, they say, the sacraments have been considered “magic” and priests “magicians.”
The TFP book is a clear and total rejection of the egalitarian and democratic church models that these reformists propose.
It cuts through the shoddy theology of reporters and the media hype, presenting the teachings of the Church’s Magisterium with all their crystalline splendor and beauty.
The book presents a full explanation as to why the Church is monarchical and hierarchical and not democratic. Readers can appreciate the beauty of this government and marvel at the enormous freedom that the Church in its present, Divinely-ordained governing structures gives to the faithful.
Readers will understand the glorious origins and reasons for clerical celibacy. They will see and admire all the theological-historical reasons for the impossibility of women priests.
Not Just Any Organization
The Church is not just any organization. It has indeed weathered other storms.
From their secular perspective, the media have no supernatural vision of the Church. They view and treat the Church like any large organization and the bishops as clerical CEOs.
The violence of the storm currently assailing the Church would likely bring down many a human institution, but not the institution supported by God’s own promises.
The TFP book seeks to reestablish the proper perspective of the Church among the faithful. While not denying the need for action, it presents the reassuring message that the Church will prevail in spite of this crisis.
As part of this perspective, the response cites saints and theologians who explain why Our Lord permits crises in His Church. He permits such tempests to roar so that the faithful may be purified.
Fortified with the material in this book, readers will be able to confront the ugly reality of the crisis and explain why the presence of sinners among the faithful, even among the clergy, does not taint the holiness of the Church.
This is not the first time the Church has suffered scandals. It is not the first time that reformers have sought to institute “democratic” reforms. It is unlikely to be the last time.
Handbook for Action
The TFP response is not intended to be just a reference work but a handbook for action.
Given that a proper understanding of the crisis is the first step toward its solution, this work manages to cover a vast amount of material in a relatively limited number of pages.
It analyzes the theological and practical elements of the crisis. It covers the scandals and the proposed “solutions.”
Thus, it is an invitation to action and prayer.
“Let us put the book to work and use it well!” the conclusion states. “We can speak out with courage and confidence, because citing the traditional teachings of the Supreme Magisterium of the Church, we cannot err.”
The work is already enjoying acclaim from noted ecclesiastical figures.
“Each chapter gives a very clear and accurate enunciation of the Church’s teaching. It is this teaching with which I have grown up and which I have held from my youth,” writes Bishop Robert F. Vasa of Baker, Oregon.
Father John Trigilio, President of the Confraternity of Catholic Clergy, writes: “Finally, an erudite, succinct and accurate diagnosis of the current sex scandal climate in Catholic America. I Have Weathered Other Storms is an intelligent analysis of the causes rather than merely the symptoms plaguing the Church today.”
Weathering the Storm
While the Church is weathering the storm of the scandals and reformist initiatives, the faithful are also weathering storms of their own. They must confront their own shaken confidence. They must respond to those inside the Church who want to change Church teaching. They must respond to those outside the Church who do not understand Catholic governing structures.
The TFP work seeks to help the faithful navigate in these troubled waters, reminding them that God permits these storms so that they might be strengthened.
Amid the storm, the Church will prevail. Did not Our Lord reassure the Apostles during the storm: “Why are you fearful, O ye of little faith?”
I Have Weathered Other Storms
TFP Committee on American Issues
Paperback – 180 pp. 20 illustrations (Paperback)
Western Hemisphere Cultural Society, (December 13, 2002);