Saturday, 2 March 2013

The Church and Human Weakness

Since the Pope Emeritus resigned there has been much speculation on the internet (not so much in the Press - which is strange) about the reasons for his decision. Accepting what he has said there has, nevertheless, been suggestions that "difficulties" in the Vatican as well as elsewhere have made his former position intolerable. There seems now to be clear evidence that, however bad it may or may not be, the situation within the Vatican is not good. There seems to be strong evidence of infighting and even moral corruption.

The Church is (as I always remind people) "semper reformanda" (always in in need of  reform ...NB NOT Reformation!). Christ's promise, which is now ringing in so many minds and ears, that the "gates of the underworld" will not prevail against His Church is, to my mind, not so encouraging as another promise, "Lo, I am with you, even until the end of the age" That Christ is with us is indeed our great consolation. he said, "I will not leave you orphans". I have often quoted this over the last 38 years of my priesthood, and I believe it.

As someone else has remarked, Christ promised the Church survival but not protection from disaster. For myself I am glad that an infected wound is being lanced. I keep remembering a quotation from the BBC series about the Emperor Claudius; "Let all the poisons that are lurking in the mud hatch out".

In my priestly life I have moved from naive ignorance into another kind of naivety and then into a more mature awareness of evil and human frailty. I have seen cruelty in my priestly life - cruelty perpetrated by people who should have been kinder and more understanding. I have seen abuses of power and I have heard of people who have been hurt by the offhandedness of some bishops and priests. I am aware that some things have been known that should have been acted upon and I am also aware of injustice in the treatment of some priests and laity. Clergy cannot ever hide behind any facade, least of all one of "special knowledge" or some kind of misplaced authority. The reform of the Church must involve all of us and it should begin in the Confessional and in a sincere renewal of purpose in accordance with the Will of God.


  1. I believe that the Pope Emeritus' position was forseen by Bl. Elizabeth Canori-Mora - especially when taken into consideration with the lightning strikes on St. Peter's Basilica just hours after he announced his abdication:

    On 22nd March, 1814, Bl. Elizabeth was praying for Pope Pius VII, when she suddenly had a vision of the Holy Father being persecuted by a pack of "wolves": During this vision, she saw the pope:

    "surrounded by wolves who plotted to betray him… I saw the Sanhedrin of wolves which surrounded the Pope, and two angels weeping… when I asked them why they were sad and lamenting, looking upon Rome with eyes full of compassion they responded, ‘Wretched city, ungrateful people, the justice of God will chastise you.’”

    Bl. Elizabeth continued to receive private revelations concerning the plight of the pope, and on 16th Jan 1815, she stated that angels showed her:

    “many ecclesiastics who persecute Jesus Crucified and His holy Gospel under the guise of doing good… Like furious wolves they scheme to pull the Church leader down from his throne.” Then she was allowed to see the terrible indignation these wolves aroused in God. “In terror I saw the blazing lightning bolts of Divine Justice fall about me. I saw buildings collapsing in ruins. Cities, regions and the whole world fell into chaos. One heard nothing but countless weak voices calling out for mercy. Countless people will be killed. [I saw that God was] extremely angry with those who persecute Him. His omnipotent hands were holding bolts of lightening, His face was resplendent with indignation and His gaze alone was enough to incinerate the whole world.”

    But her prophecies aren't without hope, because after this, she foreseen the rise of the Angelic Pope of various Cathoic prophecies. This could be related to the "Worthy Shepherd Prophecy" of Bl. Tomasuccio de Foligno (13th cen), who appears to have predicted that a Pope who would heal the "Great Schism" between the Eastern Orthodox and Roman Catholic Churches would be elected by "around twelve years the millennium shall have passed...":

    By about twelve years shall the millennium have passed when the resplendent mantle of legitimate power shall emerge from the shadows where it was being kept by the schism. And beyond harm from the one who is blocking the door of salvation, for his deceitful schism shall have come to an end. And the mass of the faithful shall attach itself to the worthy Shepherd, who shall extricate each one from error and restore to the Church its beauty. He shall renew it."

  2. Emmet, thank you. I sincerely hope these prophecies are correct. I will be something of an ecstatic joy to witness the re-unification of the Church! Please God may it happen soon.

  3. Dear Fr Abberton,
    Once again all these messages confirm our need for repentance.
    It also reminds me of the vision of Pope Leo XIII when the prayer to The Archangel Michael was initiated.

    Are we not truly testing the patience of Almighty God?
    How many more indications do we need before doing anything?
    Should we not cease to be "lukewarm" and eventually rejected?

    Thank you again Father for making us aware of the surrounding dangers.