The Devil roars, and his victims find themselves impotent in their efforts to stop him as he slowly but surely and bit makes the world dance under his whip. We, his victims, find ourselves stymied at every turn, unable to even protect our own children from the machinations of his henchmen. All the levers of power are now seemingly guided by his hand. We needn't catalog them.
Why, then, do the good find themselves impotent against him? I suspect that the answer is that God is going to allow us to stew in our own juice for a little time longer.
The Fiend runs the world, for he is the prince of this world. A common expression of Catholics in ages past when some misery or another overcame their country was to exclaim that "the Devil has the country by the throat". Indeed. A perfect expression to describe our present situation. Some countries are still trying to fight him in certain ways but even they are constrained by an umbrella of malignancy that hangs over the entire earth. I hasten to add that America is not one of those fighting countries; on the contrary, our nation is blissfully accepting the yoke of the Evil One and rejoicing in it. We only delude ourselves if we reject the obvious.
But let us face the fact calmly and recognize that this is the true situation. The devil has most of the world by the throat and Our Father in Heaven is permitting it, for the moment. Where does that leave us?
It is tempting to answer that question by saying, "I haven't got a clue". And in one sense, I haven't. The Sentimentalists will smile benignly at me and reassure me not to worry, that "God has everything under control". Yes, indeed He does, but I suspect not in the way our sentimental friends would like to believe. While there is a grain of truth in the attitude of these kindly folks, that we should put our trust in God and just keep living our life, that attitude often does not wish to confront the stark reality that is this: we are being hit on all sides with evil so breathtaking, and so malignant, that we cannot be accused of cowardice if we find ourselves trembling a little at the sheer power of the demonic forces. But, again, where does that leave us?
It leaves us, hopefully, with the realization that it will be the Church that will overcome the forces of The Enemy and no one else. Only the Church. It will have to be, hopefully soon, a Church united, though, and at the moment the Devil has taken care of that, too. Turmoil infests the Church from top to bottom and there is treason in high places, clearly the work of the prince of the world whose every move is designed to unleash confusion and create division. Can we stop denying that there is treason in high places? Some Catholics cannot abide such a thought. They are akin to the Catholics of the 60s who were so disoriented by the strange Paul VI that they had to concoct a theory that there was an impostor in the Petrine Office and that what we were witnessing were the actions of a perfect double to Montini! Yes, that really did happen (you younger Catholics may not remember that particular nonsense).
The devil's success in this sphere has been nothing short of spectacular. Pride has been his weapon of choice since Genesis and he has honed that weapon well in the ensuing epochs. How many treasonous clerics, or lukewarm Catholics, can not trace the origin of their disorder to pride? Avarice, yes; lust, decidedly so. But pride trumps them all in the end and usually finds itself embedded in all the other vices somewhere. We now have "pride" festivals and parades celebrating sex perversion, a telling marriage of pride and lust if there ever was one.
Yes, the Church will overcome it all when, and only when, enough Catholics - including Catholic priests, nuns and Bishops! - take their religion seriously, so seriously that God will finally grant through the intercession of his Mother, the utter destruction of the devil's plans for us. The serpent's head will be crushed under the heel of a Certain Woman....if and when enough Catholics start behaving like Catholics. Behaving like Catholics does not mean falling into the errors of papolatry or lukewarmness, or rash judgment or the constant presumption upon God's mercy. Hard, unpleasant facts will have to be faced sooner or later, and if that means we have to help a sodomite extricate himself from his sin, or stand firm in the Faith when being attacked by those in the Church who are supposed to be protecting us, or find ourselves more often in the Confession line instead of the Communion line then that is the way it is going to have to be. If that means politely telling our Bishops that they have no right whatsoever to impede the ancient practices of the Faith, liturgical or otherwise, and if that means rising from our tuffets and finding parishes who will work with us to restore some of those ancient practices then that is one of the jobs, albeit hard, that will have to be done. Being respectful to those in the Church who hold authority does not mean accepting their injustices, by the way. If we do accept them we again relegate ourselves to impotence in the face of manifest cruelty.
The cold winds blowing from Rome right now will make it much, much more difficult to do our part to restore order in the Church. Pray for these "shepherds in the mist" that God will either bring them to their Catholic senses whole and entire, or replace them if needs must.
Right now, for reasons only God knows, we are being tested by injustice, by the brickbats of sycophants, by ineffectiveness in the fight against an unprecedented onslaught of evil and by the apparent abandonment of our own shepherds. We are not the first to have faced such things. But God did not leave us without weapons. I would like to suggest that we use them like we've never used them before.
And lest we forget, He does show us what can be done from time to time when times become particularly tough. There was once a 14-year-old girl in France.....