Bring it on, Modernists.
The world looks pretty frightening for the Church these days. Christians are being martyred around the world, whether it be by Communists in China or by Islamic radicals in the Middle East. Meanwhile, Western society is becoming ever more anti-religious, and the Church is facing increasing threats by secularists in many countries, including in the United States. As big as these external threats are, yet larger ones exist within the Church. Bad priests and religious educators have led, and continue to lead, untold numbers of Catholics astray; partially as a result, there are large numbers of Catholics who have either left the Church entirely, or who are Catholic in name alone, or who are lukewarm or heretical.
This picture can seem rather bleak. Fortunately, the Church has weathered such storms – and worse – before, and we have the example of our forebears to see how to survive. Consider, in particular, St. Pius X, who died 100 years ago. As I’ve mentioned before, Pius didn’t want to become pope, a fact he made no secret of. In fact, he talked about it openly in his first encyclical, E Supremi, giving two reasons: his own unworthiness, and the grim situation of the society of his day:
3. Then again, to omit other motives, We were terrified beyond all else by the disastrous state of human society today. For who can fail to see that society is at the present time, more than in any past age, suffering from a terrible and deeprooted malady which, developing every day and eating into its inmost being, is dragging it to destruction? You understand, Venerable Brethren, what this disease is – apostasy from God, than which in truth nothing is more allied with ruin, according to the word of the Prophet: “For behold they that