Wednesday 17th August 2022

Home » Featured Today » Currently Reading:

A Book Review… A Helpful And Comprehensive View Of The Church Crisis

December 3, 2020 Featured Today No Comments

By JIM M. VALOIS

A Church in Crisis: Pathways Forward by Ralph Martin, published in 2020 by Emmaus Road, Steubenville, Ohio (www.emmausroad.org).

Every once in a while a book is written that casts a high-beam into the dark night so that a way forward is shown. A Church in Crisis by Ralph Martin is one such book. Nearly forty years since his groundbreaking book, the Crisis of Truth, Dr. Martin analyzes the more nuanced and subtle dimensions of the current exigency in the Church and culture.
As a seasoned theologian, appointed as a consultor to the Pontifical Council for the New Evangelization by Pope Benedict XVI, Martin brings a level of expertise to a subject that is sorely needed at this time. If there was ever a moment in history when a comprehensive and thoroughly documented perspective was needed, that moment is now.
Martin’s perspective focuses on the crisis as it relates to Scripture, the problem of universalism, the current iterations of the sexual revolution, aggressive environmentalism, and globalism. He calls the Church (all the baptized) to take appropriate steps to begin repairing the damage and to a heartfelt repentance. I found the message to be both sobering and eye-opening and it drew me to prayer and reflection.
The message of the book elaborates on the problem of selectively editing and omitting certain uncomfortable scriptural passages from the liturgy. This can have a profound effect, over time, on the Church and it caused me to pause and ponder this concept as I read. Although Martin does not discuss the misguided Johnson Amendment from 1954 that has had a chilling effect on the preaching of pastors, he does address the fact that solid preaching is often hindered by fear and other factors.
Dr. Martin reminds us that: “We need to recover our confidence in the truthfulness and reliability of Sacred Scripture” (A Church in Crisis, p. 56). St. Paul himself clarifies that Scripture is useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction and training in righteousness (2 Tim. 3:16). As Dei Verbum clearly teaches:
“Since, therefore, all that the inspired authors, or sacred writers, affirm should be regarded as affirmed by the Holy Spirit, we must acknowledge that the books of Scripture, firmly, faithfully and without error, teach the truth which God, for the sake of our salvation, wished to see confided to the sacred Scriptures” (DV 3:11).
Skepticism concerning the reliability of God’s Word is at root in many of the current issues regarding moral issues, the role of conscience, and the Sacrament of Marriage.
The contemporary problem of universalism is compared to a virus in the book, as many theologians have caught this “pandemic” today. The positions of the two most prominent theologians that lean toward universalism are reviewed: Karl Rahner and Hans Urs von Balthasar. Ralph Martin makes a compelling case against this view that all or most will be saved based on many scriptures, several councils of the Church, and the longstanding belief of our faith that has endured to this day in our official teaching.
Since universalism is not merely an academic question, Martin points out that it can cause an overemphasis on worldly concerns besides the eternal consequences:
“Unfortunately, a number of developments in Rome seem to be influenced by this reigning presumption that everyone will be saved in the end. The dominant focus on worldly concerns and the reappearance of a variety of liberation theologies, along with frequent talk about saving the earth, hint at this” (A Church in Crisis, pg.77).
This point is well taken as it seems that the Church at times can appear as a giant social service agency and get off course from the primary mission of saving souls that our Lord entrusted us with in the Great Commission. The almost exclusive harping on the horizontal dimension of the Gospel needs to be addressed and the recognition that it is very possible to lose one’s soul needs to be preached again in a widespread manner.
Dr. Martin also explains that the new iterations of the sexual revolution demand total adherence by all in the culture. Proponents of these novel ideas demand this submission to their viewpoints or individuals risk being labeled an enemy or “hater.” These new concepts require the clear and solid teaching from the Church. Instead, as he rightly indicates, the Church seems to be sounding an uncertain trumpet:
“It is most unfortunate that just at the moment that the world most needs a clear word of warning from the Church about the consequences of abandoning the natural and divine laws governing human sexuality, the high dignity to which God has raised marriage and sexuality, and other important moral issues such as suicide, the Church seems to be wavering and reluctant to speak clearly” (A Church in Crisis, p. 101).
As John Paul II often communicated in documents such Christifideles Laici and others, we should not be afraid but share the Good News because we have the answers in the Gospel to the longings and needs of the human race. And this Good News has answers for the sexual revolution too. Thus I felt that this chapter was particularly important because of widespread confusion among the faithful regarding homosexuality, transgenderism, and fornication. Also the relative silence or uncertainty in the face of these new iterations fails to take the Fatima message into consideration that the last battle of our epoch will be on marriage and the family.
In the chapter on environmentalism and globalism, Dr. Martin highlights that liberation theology is unfortunately making a comeback in the Church after enthusiasm for the ideology waned following the collapse of the Soviet Union. One leading proponent even claims to be an adviser to Pope Francis:
“One of the most famous and influential of these priest-theologians was Leonardo Boff, an ex-Franciscan priest who now writes liberation theology as a layperson and claims to be an adviser to Pope Francis” (A Church in Crisis, p. 149).
Furthermore, the hyper-focus on environmentalism by Church leaders is well documented in the book as well as the appearance, at several Vatican-sponsored conferences, of Jeffrey Sachs. He is a well-known associate of George Soros. Both Sachs and Soros are known globalists who promote abortion and contraception in developing countries “to slow down population growth” (A Church in Crisis, p. 156).
Personally, I found it troubling to learn about Jeffrey Sachs’ substantial recent involvement at the Vatican but also the unscientific basis for the stated aim to “slow down population growth.” This past summer, Elon Musk, South African founder of Paypal, Tesla Motors, and Space X, stated “that the biggest problem the world will face in 20 years is population collapse . . . ..not explosion, collapse” (Patrick Madrid Radio Show, August 12, 2020).
When I learned the views of Elon Musk and others regarding population collapse, I found it added to Martin’s views in his chapter on environmentalism and globalism. For many years, Church leaders have forecast or seen many populations beginning to drop below replacement level and yet globalists often seem more committed to their ideology than to good science. The Church has much wisdom to offer here, but the current orientation seems more aligned with the spirit of the world.
I found A Church in Crisis a compelling read indeed and believe clergy at all levels and laity alike will benefit from its wisdom. It gave me a more comprehensive view of the crisis and yet it was a helpful reminder that we all play a part in the resolution. I believe this work will impact the Church at large for great good if the message is heeded. The respectful tone, the genuine call for prayer and action, the need to overcome pastoral passivity on all levels, the call to reclaim the Word of God in Sacred Scripture and authentic Catholic renewal were key on a personal level.
Perhaps the book is best summed up in the chapter “A Time for Action” on the need for orthodoxy and the good fruit it will bring:
“A main thrust of this book has been that the truth of the Gospel must be clearly grasped, lived, and proclaimed so that healthy Christian life may exist and grow” (A Church in Crisis, p. 385).

Share Button

2019 The Wanderer Printing Co.

Vatican and USCCB leave transgender policy texts unpublished

While U.S. bishops have made headlines for releasing policies addressing gender identity and pastoral ministry, guidelines on the subject have been drafted but not published by both the U.S. bishops’ conference and the Vatican’s doctrinal office, leaving diocesan bishops to…Continue Reading

Biden says Pope Francis told him to continue receiving communion, amid scrutiny over pro-abortion policies

President Biden said that Pope Francis, during their meeting Friday in Vatican City, told him that he should continue to receive communion, amid heightened scrutiny of the Catholic president’s pro-abortion policies.  The president, following the approximately 90-minute-long meeting, a key…Continue Reading

Federal judge rules in favor of Gov. DeSantis’ mask mandate ban

MIAMI (LifeSiteNews) – A federal judge this week handed Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis another legal victory on his mask mandate ban for schools. On Wednesday, Judge K. Michael Moore of the Southern District of Florida denied a petition from…Continue Reading

The Eucharist should not be received unworthily, says Nigerian cardinal

Priests have a duty to remind Catholics not to receive the Eucharist in a state of serious sin and to make confession easily available, a Nigerian cardinal said at the International Eucharistic Congress on Thursday. “It is still the doctrine…Continue Reading

Donald Trump takes a swipe at Catholics and Jews who did not vote for him

Donald Trump complained about Catholics and Jews who did not vote for him in 2020. The former president made the comments in a conference call featuring religious leaders. The move could be seen to shore up his religious conservative base…Continue Reading

Y Gov. Kathy Hochul Admits Andrew Cuomo Covered Up COVID Deaths, 12,000 More Died Than Reported

When it comes to protecting people from COVID, Andrew Cuomo is already the worst governor in America. New York has the second highest death rate per capita, in part because he signed an executive order putting COVID patients in nursing…Continue Reading

Prayers For Cardinal Burke . . . U.S. Cardinal Burke says he has tested positive for COVID-19

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — U.S. Cardinal Raymond L. Burke said he has tested positive for the virus that causes COVID-19. In an Aug. 10 tweet, he wrote: “Praised be Jesus Christ! I wish to inform you that I have recently…Continue Reading

Democrats Block Amendment Banning Late-Term Abortions, Stopping Abortions Up to Birth

Senate Democrats have blocked an amendment that would ban abortions on babies older than 20 weeks. During consideration of the multi-trillion spending package, pro-life Louisiana Senator John Kennedy filed an amendment to ban late-term abortions, but Democrats steadfastly support killing…Continue Reading

Transgender student wins as U.S. Supreme Court rebuffs bathroom appeal

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday handed a victory to a transgender former public high school student who waged a six-year legal battle against a Virginia county school board that had barred him from using the bathroom corresponding…Continue Reading

New York priest accused by security guard of assault confirms charges have now been dropped

NEW YORK, June 17, 2021 (LifeSiteNews) — A New York priest has made his first public statement regarding the dismissal of charges against him.  Today Father George W. Rutler reached out to LifeSiteNews and other media today with the following…Continue Reading

21,000 sign petition protesting US Catholic bishops vote on Biden, abortion

More than 21,000 people have signed a letter calling for U.S. Catholic bishops to cancel a planned vote on whether President Biden should receive communion.  Biden, a Catholic, supports abortion rights and has long come under attack from some Catholics over that…Continue Reading

Bishop Gorman seeks candidates to fill two full time AP level teaching positions for the 2021-2022 school year in the subject areas of Calculus/Statistics and Physics

Bishop Thomas K. Gorman Regional Catholic School is a college preparatory school located in Tyler, Texas. It is an educational ministry of the Catholic Diocese of Tyler led by Bishop Joseph Strickland. The sixth through twelfth grade school provides a…Continue Reading

Untitled 5 Untitled 2

Attention Readers:

  Welcome to our website. Readers who are familiar with The Wanderer know we have been providing Catholic news and orthodox commentary for 150 years in our weekly print edition.


  Our daily version offers only some of what we publish weekly in print. To take advantage of everything The Wanderer publishes, we encourage you to su
bscribe to our flagship weekly print edition, which is mailed every Friday or, if you want to view it in its entirety online, you can subscribe to the E-edition, which is a replica of the print edition.
 
  Our daily edition includes: a selection of material from recent issues of our print edition, news stories updated daily from renowned news sources, access to archives from The Wanderer from the past 10 years, available at a minimum charge (this will be expanded as time goes on). Also: regularly updated features where we go back in time and highlight various columns and news items covered in The Wanderer over the past 150 years. And: a comments section in which your remarks are encouraged, both good and bad, including suggestions.
 
  We encourage you to become a daily visitor to our site. If you appreciate our site, tell your friends. As Catholics we must band together to rediscover our faith and share it with the world if we are to effectively counter a society whose moral culture seems to have no boundaries and a government whose rapidly extending reach threatens to extinguish the rights of people of faith to practice their religion (witness the HHS mandate). Now more than ever, vehicles like The Wanderer are needed for clarification and guidance on the issues of the day.

Catholic, conservative, orthodox, and loyal to the Magisterium have been this journal’s hallmarks for five generations. God willing, our message will continue well into this century and beyond.

Joseph Matt
President, The Wanderer Printing Co.

Untitled 1

Catechism

This Past Week in The Wanderer . . .

">

Are We Blundering into a Military Conflict with China? The Left Wants to Abolish Everything . . . The House Just Voted to Abolish and Repeal the Defense of Marriage Act!

Today . . .

Toyota Sponsors Lesson on ‘First Steps’ of Drag Artistry for Children

Toyota sponsored an event for “LGBTQ+ Youth” that featured a performance from a drag performer and a workshop on “the first steps of becoming a fabulous drag performer.” The event, called “Models of Pride,” was hosted by the Los Angeles LGBT Center and was intended for those 24 years and younger. No minimum age was listed on the website. The Los Angeles LGBT Center described it as “the world’s largest free conference for LGBTQ+ youth…Continue Reading

Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb Signs Abortion Ban to Protect Unborn Babies

The Indiana legislature has become the first in the nation to pass an abortion ban after the Supreme Court overturned Roe. The measure went to Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb, who signed the bill into law almost immediately on Friday night. Earlier today, the Indiana state House approved a bill to ban most abortions and tonight the state Senate voted to confirm the changes to the initial bill 28-19. With Holcomb’s signature, the law will go…Continue Reading

Southern Maryland parish forbidden to offer traditional Latin Mass after investing in quarter million dollar renovation and decoration for the purpose

Nightmare and heartbreak. Parishioners of Saint Francis de Sales in Benedict, Maryland, devoted to the Church’s traditional worship, installed a new pine floor, painted altars and gradines, hung chandeliers and lamps, and painted a monumental mural. And more. After an extensive professional renovation and painting of the church’s entire 100-year-old plaster interior walls and ceiling. 

Bishop urges Catholic educators to see importance of the Eucharist

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Addressing Catholic educators at an annual national conference, Bishop Thomas A. Daly of Spokane, Washington, urged them to make sure their work was always rooted in the importance of the Eucharist. The bishop, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Catholic Education, said schoolteachers should help their students more deeply appreciate the sacrament amid the current National Eucharistic Revival.

” A Misunderstanding” ?BISHOPS WILL ALLOW LESBIAN TO FOSTER A CHILD

From The Washington Post:  An unmarried lesbian will be allowed to foster a child after the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) let a lawsuit alleging discrimination go unchallenged, suggesting single LGBTQ adults may be able to foster through Catholic organizations while same-sex couples generally continue to be banned.

Bloodlust

By CINDY PASLAWSKI Back when my husband was in boot camp in early 1970, his group of draftees was being trained for combat. Bayonet practice was particularly onerous to him. With every thrust, the guys were told to yell, “To kill! To kill!”The anti-Roe v Wade privacy decision protests swirling continuously around our nation remind…Continue Reading

1 In 10 U.S. Households In 2019 Worth More Than $1.3 Million

By TERENCE P. JEFFREY Ten percent of the households in this country at the end of 2019 — just before the COVID-19 pandemic hit — had a net wealth of more than $1.3 million, according to a report published last month by the Census Bureau.There were also definite patterns among households that had higher wealth…Continue Reading

The FBI Doesn’t Seem To Care Enough To Explain Their Trump Raid

By NEIL PATEL From the moment Donald Trump came down the escalator to formally step onto the political stage, America’s leading establishment figures have misjudged what was happening. Most still refuse to think deeply about what drove such massive popularity for Trump. Some of it was his focus on issues, such as extended wars in…Continue Reading

“The Viruses Among Us”

By BARBARA SIMPSON Have you grown tired of it yet? The news — radio, TV, print, Internet, and whatever else there might be — has been filled lately with information about and warnings against the monkeypox virus.To read what is being reported, you would think that monkeypox is the only virus that humans have to…Continue Reading

Who Won The Taiwan War Games?

By PATRICK J. BUCHANAN When House Speaker Nancy Pelosi defied White House signals that she not stop in Taiwan on her valedictory tour of Asian capitals, she ignited the worst diplomatic U.S.-China row in decades.And how did last week’s collision turn out for the United States?Writes The New York Times:Speaker Pelosi’s trip to Taiwan began…Continue Reading

Advertisement

Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

You Can’t Take It With You… But You Can Send It On Ahead

By MSGR. CHARLES POPE Part 2 (Editor’s Note: Msgr. Charles Pope posted this essay on July 30 and it is reprinted here with permission. Because of the essay’s length, we are presenting it in two parts. The first part appeared in last week’s issue.) + + The Illusion of Wealth — The parable goes on to say, And [the man]…Continue Reading

Least Of The Least

BY FR. ROBERT ALTIER Twenty-First Sunday In Ordinary Time (YR C) Readings: Isaiah 66:18-21Heb. 12:5-7, 11-13Luke 13:22-30 At the end of the Gospel reading today our Lord says something that is simultaneously hopeful and terrifying. He tells us that some who are first will be last and some who are last will be first. For those of us who more…Continue Reading

Catholic Replies

Q. The Vatican II document Sacrosanctum Concilium (n. 36) says that Latin is to be preserved in the Roman Rite, and it goes on to say that the people should be taught to sing or say in Latin the parts of the Mass pertaining to them. So, is there anything wrong with softly saying those parts of the Mass in…Continue Reading

The Freedom To Be Catholic

By FR. KEVIN M. CUSICK News of my parish’s imminent demise in the wake of the death-dealing Traditionis custodes has spread through the Internet and at least one Catholic video news source of the independent sort. Many of the so-called “official” sources like to pretend we don’t exist.One news outlet used a video of mine about a transgender children’s story…Continue Reading

You Can’t Take It With You… But You Can Send It On Ahead

By MSGR. CHARLES POPE Part 1 (Editor’s Note: Msgr. Charles Pope posted this essay on July 30 and it is reprinted here with permission. Because of the essay’s length, we are presenting it in two parts. The second part will appear in next week’s issue.) + + Five teachings on wealth from the Gospel of the 18th Sunday of the…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes . . . St. Therese Of The Little Flower

By DEB PIROCH “Let us accept all from the hand of our good Father, and He will keep us in peace in the midst of the greatest disasters of this world, which pass away like shadows. In proportion to our abandonment and confidence in God will our lives be holy and tranquil. And where this abandonment is neglected, there can…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… St. Michael, Slayer Of Dragons

By DEB PIROCH Where there is evil, there is the Devil, and where there is good, there is God. It is high time for the world to make this connection in an era when the family unit is rapidly dying, leading to all sorts of destruction. Some children don’t even know their parents, angry teens engage in gang violence, and…Continue Reading

Advertisement(2)