Saturday 3rd June 2023

Home » Featured Today » Currently Reading:

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

December 3, 2020 Featured Today No Comments


A Church in Crisis: Pathways Forward by Ralph Martin, published in 2020 by Emmaus Road, Steubenville, Ohio (

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.

Twitter Feed

Unable to load Tweets

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


Today . . .

Pontifical Academy for Life president calls medically assisted suicide ‘feasible’

Washington, D.C. Newsroom, Apr 23, 2023 / 15:02 pm Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, president of the Pontifical Academy for Life, has spoken in support of legalized medically assisted suicide, calling it “feasible” despite the clear teachings of the Catholic Church against it. “Personally, I would not practice suicide assistance, but I understand that legal mediation may be the greatest common good concretely possible under the conditions

Supreme Court Temporarily Blocks Lower Court Ruling Banning Mail-Order Abortions

The Supreme Court has temporarily blocked a lower court ruling banning mail-order abortions and putting safety measures in place to protect women who are currently being injured at high rates by the abortion pill. The high court made the decision to allow but sides in the legal battle the chance to provide additional information and to allow it to more fully consider the case next week. Also, another federa judge issued a contrasting ruling that…Continue Reading

A Call to Action for Parents . . . Minnesotans Wake UP! The Insanity in This State Continues!

">Cardinals Burke . . . SAME-SEX UNION BLESSINGS?

Longtime teacher fired after discussing God in classroom, challenging ‘evil’ LGBT school policy

(LifeSiteNews) — A longtime public school teacher in Idaho was let go earlier this month for being unafraid to mention God in the classroom and voicing his objections to a pro-LGBT policy designed to promote “transgender” ideologies among young people.  Ian O’Connell, a Catholic teacher who served as a substitute in the public institutions of Caldwell School District for over 20 years, spoke on February 13 about a proposed “gender identity and sexual orientation” policy that…Continue Reading

Feminist Professor Who Vandalized Pro-Life Table . . . Gets Fired After Holding Machete To Reporter’s Neck

By MICAIAH BILGER WASHINGTON, D.C. (LifeNews) — A New York City art professor accused of vandalizing a pro-life student display and later threatening two journalists with a machete has been fired from her job.Shellyne Rodriguez, of the Bronx, was an adjunct assistant professor of art at Hunter College, a public, taxpayer-funded school under the City…Continue Reading

A Symptom Of Urban Crime’s Toll On College Students

By ARMSTRONG WILLIAMS In recent years, there has been a surge in violent crime in our nation’s capital, and unfortunately, our college students have not been spared. This issue has become symptomatic of a larger problem that plagues urban cities across the nation, where college students are being robbed and carjacked, all at gunpoint. As…Continue Reading

San Quentin Prison And School Choice

By TERENCE P. JEFFREY When I was a boy, I spent some time inside San Quentin State Prison and got to know a few of the inmates there.The San Rafael Little League played its games in that prison and a group of inmates known as “trustees” umpired them.The grounds of San Quentin were considerably larger…Continue Reading

Stumbling Toward Heaven?… Will Biden Repent Of His Evils Before A Serious Fall Could Harm Him?

By DEXTER DUGGAN Does Joe Biden understand the generosity that God continues to extend to him and his allies who keep trying to drag nations into degeneracy and death?Even though Catholics have come to expect the promotion of awful immorality by some of the U.S.’s most powerful reputedly Catholic politicians — all of them left-wing…Continue Reading

As His Cause Moves Forward… Joseph Dutton’s 180th Birthday Celebrated

By PEGGY MOEN Bishop Larry Silva of Honolulu was invited to Stowe, Vt., to help celebrate the 180th birthday of Joseph Dutton, according to a report in The Hawaii Catholic Herald by Patrick Downes, editor. If canonized, Dutton will be the third saint honored for service at the Hansen’s disease settlement in Kalaupapa, Molokai, the…Continue Reading


Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

Catholic Replies

Q. Jesus said, “Amen, amen, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you do not have life within you.” When will Catholics be able to drink from the cup again? — D.L.H., Iowa.A. The practice of receiving Jesus under both the species of bread and wine was halted during…Continue Reading

In The End, Faith Alone Counts

By FR. KEVIN M. CUSICK Appearances can be deceiving. This overworn adage is so because, human nature being what it is, we must be often reminded of the foolishness, and sometimes the danger, of judging reality purely by what is palpable to our sense of sight. To our eyes, the seeming solidity of the Earth upon which we tread and…Continue Reading

Pondering A Forgotten Virtue: Vengeance

By MSGR. CHARLES POPE (Editor’s Note: Msgr. Pope posted this commentary May 22 on his website, and it is reprinted here with permission.) + + Most of us think that vengeance is merely a vice. And, given improper intentions, or excess or misguided application, it can indeed be a sin and a vice. However, as we read in Scripture, “Vengeance…Continue Reading

Minnesota Legislature Repeals . . . Protection For Born-Alive Infants, Support For Pregnant Women

ST. PAUL — The Minnesota legislature on May 22 approved an Omnibus health bill that repeals a bipartisan measure protecting newborns and a bipartisan program supporting pregnant women who want to carry their babies to term. It also rescinds a number of longstanding laws surrounding abortion. As of this writing, Gov. Tim Walz was expected to sign the wide-ranging bill,…Continue Reading

A Mystery To Ponder For All Eternity

By FR. ROBERT ALTIER Solemnity Of The Most Holy Trinity (YR A) Readings: Exodus 34:4b-6, 8-92 Cor. 13:11-13John 3:16-18 In the readings today, we hear about several attributes of God: grace, mercy, kind, faithful, slow to anger, fellowship, love, and peace. It is also important to note that whenever God is spoken of, it is clear that there is only…Continue Reading

The Devil And The Democrats

By FR. DENIS WILDE, OSA States such as Minnesota, California, Maryland, and others, in all cases with Democrat-controlled legislatures, are on a fast track to not only allow unborn babies to be murdered on demand as a woman’s “constitutional right” but also to allow infanticide.Our nation has gotten so used to the moral evil of killing in the womb that…Continue Reading

Crushed But Unbroken . . . The Martyrdom Of St. Margaret Clitherow

By RAY CAVANAUGH The late-1500s were a tough time for Catholics in England, where the Reformation was in full gear. A 1581 law prohibited Catholic religious ceremonies. And a 1584 Act of Parliament mandated that all Catholic priests leave the country or else face execution. Some chose to remain, however, so they could continue serving the faithful.Also taking huge risks…Continue Reading