Future evaluations of the current state of the Catholic Church, once the fog and mist of the present is swept away by time, will include a study of the various factions that have caused the enormous problems within the Church during the 18th through the 21st centuries (if we can assume that the present crisis will even be resolved in the 21st century).
But perceptive people can see that the present disaster in Catholicism is caused by Modernism, that "synthesis of all heresies", as St Pius X noted. How the various Vatican factions currently exercising power deal with Modernism is the reason for these reflections.
It is not easy to pinpoint all of the various factions, sub-factions, and sub-sub-factions involved. It is simpler to generalize a bit while still keeping close to the facts of the case. Let us make an attempt to identify these various groups and what they are trying to accomplish.
In Rome today there is still a very small but hard core group who are trying to do what Christ commanded, and who take the Virgin Mary's words at Cana seriously: "Do whatever he tells you". They comprise a definite faction albeit a small and weak one who, events seem to show, have very little influence in those events. Among these men are no doubt sinners, but sinners who know they have sinned and have done the necessary things to make peace with God via the Sacraments. Their sins, whatever they are, do not prevent them from fighting for the Faith as much as they can. They know that a Catholic who sins is a hypocrite, but they also know that Confession and penance remove the hypocrisy. So they do what they can with the little influence they have.
Only God knows why He has allowed to be reduced to nearly nothing the strong, Catholic voices in Rome. He has His reasons, which will unfold in the future.
The next group, larger than the first, are the hierarchical figures who want to be solid Catholics and want to see the Church aright again but lack the courage to act. This writer has often dismissed these types and called out their cowardice. In calling out this lack of backbone however it is not to be supposed that these fearful ones are doing nothing. Surely they are praying for an end to this unholy mess and that is far from ineffectual. And surely they are deeply hurt and disgusted in their hearts at what has become of the Church they love. They look on helplessly, most of them, as the train wreck becomes worse and in near despair turn to prayer. They sit in silence as one horrendous statement or action after another emerges from some of the highest authorities in the Church and they are tortured inside by it all. Some will awaken before it is too late and start to act or speak, others will prefer to wait for someone else to speak up before they muster the courage to follow.
We can hope that as the dark clouds get darker above St Peter's they will find courage.
Our third faction is without doubt the largest. These are the time servers, the toadies, the go-along-to-get-alongs, the bored, the silly...even the ludicrous. They are mere employees of a corporation, "yes men" who will never rock the boat, never contribute original thoughts, never think of anything other than being efficient paper-pushers. The Sacraments are very "ho-hum" to them; why bother with all this mumbo-jumbo, they might say to themselves. Confession is such a bore to them so they don't bother with it, or if they do it is mere perfunctory chit-chat with a priest friend. This group, too, is riddled with effeminate types, And worse. They are cowards and lick-splittles to a man who would rather sell their mothers into white slavery than be caught dead defending the Faith. They are nonentities, team players and trained seals. They are a cancer in the Church but a cancer that could, with proper treatment, be healed. Death relieves the Church of some of them regularly but unfortunately another one just as vapid will replace them. When they die there will be few to mourn them for their whole lives have been nothing but an empty cassock, servile to power and nothing else. They are deadly to the Faith.
Who will miss these men? Only God knows.
As we look at the next faction, not as large as the previous one, we should know that these kind have always been lurking around in God's Church. However, throughout the history of the Church rarely have we seen such so dedicated to the destruction of Catholicism as it has been practiced for 2K years, and never have we seen so many, and so many out in the open, unafraid to be nailing their colors to the mast. Throughout the two millenia of the Roman Catholic Church these types have taken many forms but it is only relatively recently that they have coalesced, organized if you will, into an extremely powerful, extremely deadly force bent on an insane mission to fight the will of God. These are the Modernists.
We can date the first rumblings of this cult to the early 19th century. In those years of gestation it grew into such a formidable force that even a Pope of Rome, Pius IX, would for all intents and purposes do their bidding...that is, until he got wise to them and rejected them, thank Heaven. It was the Modernists whose black hands were responsible for more than a liberalization of Catholicism; their finger prints were all over the revolutionary movements in Europe and the New World. They were not stupid; they knew that the Church must change first before their crazed "New Order" of all things could be realized. That, they concluded, is where the real war and weakening had to be concentrated.
But for some reason, we don't know why, God took a hand and put their plans on hold, for a time. St Pius X assumed the throne of Peter. The Modernists were most definitely pushed back by this unforeseen event (they wanted Rampolla, their "Cardinal protector", to be the next Pope) and despite Pius' efforts to root them out the majority of them simply went into "hiding", becoming a sort of episcopal "converso", outwardly practicing the Faith but inwardly betraying it. They sat quietly and bided their time, waiting for new opportunities to present themselves. And eventually they did. The time was right to strike boldly, and strike they did. To any but the most obtuse it must be clear by now that the patient Modernists have won - temporarily, as Catholics know, but won nonetheless. They have not completely achieved their desires but they have certainly changed the Church into something utterly the opposite of what it was from the time of Christ to Advent, 1969. The facade is still there, tarnished and besmirched, but is still there. The structure, however, is fairly close to crumbling, and will crumble further if God allows things to take their inevitable course. A grim picture, yes. But isn't it important to face facts squarely?
In closing we must note one more faction, perhaps the smallest but not one to discount. It is shocking to even think about such men and women. Our minds cannot or will not grasp this reality. We must. This final faction though small in number has to be reckoned with: they are the ones who do the bidding of the satanic forces. I don't know how much is true or how much is made up of the sensational fiction published by some well-known writers about diabolic practices in Rome. We don't need modern writers to write sensational exposes of this stuff; we have great historians like William Thomas Walsh who can unearth real stories of diabolical activity among religious (see his Isabella of Spain). If it can happen in the fifteenth century it can happen now.
It is unnecessary to overemphasize the influence of the diabolists; if they didn't exist the Modernists would be sufficient to get the job of destruction done. But let us not be naive either. They have sold their souls to the Devil and want to bring the Church down with them. That is the reality of their twisted thinking. Yes, such people do exist.
The historians of the future will, we are certain, make sense of all this.