And therein lies the difference between present-day apostates and those of Fathers era. Even his most ignorant classmates knew more about the Faith, and therefore what they left behind when they walked out of the Church, than today’s brightest students.1
Apostates of yesteryear may not have practised what the Church preached but, unlike today’s, they surely did not preach what they practised. The ‘shoving in and pulling out’ not only stopped some of the weeds from growing but enabled both practising and lax Catholics at least to recognise weeds, even when they were flourishing in the garden of their own soul. This was a wonderful grace because one cannot confess what one cannot comprehend. Today, on the other hand, the weeds themselves are often watered with affection because, you see, depending on “circumstances” they may not be weeds at all — the weed of sodomy yesterday becomes the blooming rose of a fulfilling homosexual orientation tomorrow.
As a consequence of this relativistic approach, the great majority of Catholics under 35 years of age unconsciously regard “weeds” and virtue as synonymous.
And so the confessionals lie dormant.
Who would guess at such an outcome from a “life experience” catechesis euphorically described by Father at one point during his Bowling Club address as:
. . . a very, very beautiful opportunity to soak up Scripture and what the whole Jesus and Sacraments are about in a way they haven’t done for centuries and centuries and centuries.
Father wasn’t fooling anyone — at least not that evening. Too many of his attentive audience had observed its impact on their own children and they knew full well that the end result of experiential catechetics is nothing less than diabolical.
Any number of examples could be produced to prove the point. Take the following exchange between Michael Jones, the editor of American Fidelity magazine, and a young Catholic student. It occurred in late 1989 when Notre Dame University hit a new low, even by its own pace-setting standards, with the on-campus screening of The Last Temptation of Christ. Like proponents of experiential catechetics, many of the Notre Dame staff took the view that, in the final analysis, the maturity of the students would see them through the movie. “The students here,” wrote one Professor, “are not infants in need of being sheltered, but mature adults capable of discerning fact from fiction and personal interpretation from truth.” According to Jones this was, of course, the general view of the students he talked to, including people like Ms Cando Sheridan, a second year student at St. Mary’s College:
When I got down to specifics (by this time I had seen the movie and she hadn’t) she was ready to pursue them headlong to their logical conclusion and thereby give a pretty clear indication of the effect Catholic education is having on Catholic youth who attend Catholic colleges and universities. What exactly were the views of these “mature adults capable of discerning fact from fiction?” Was it wrong, for example, to depict Jesus and Mary Magdalen having sexual intercourse?
“No,” she responded, “a sin is something that is totally against God’s creation. Sexual intercourse is not something that is against God’s creation because God created individuals to reproduce that way. Now whether Jesus did or not I can’t say.”
At this point I brought up the fact that the Church considers any sexual intercourse outside of marriage a sin.
“I still don’t see anything wrong with that. That is a natural act … I don’t involve myself in that, but I believe that what each individual does is up to themselves and not to be molded into something just because it’s an accepted thing in society…………