Imagine this: a group of concerned Roman Catholic parents go to a bishop and say that members of a certain university under his jurisdiction have come out in opposition to the teaching of the ordinary universal Magisterium on sundry moral questions. These members, claim they, are corrupting the Catholic youth by promoting opposition to the Faith and the moral authority of Holy Mother Church.
Meanwhile, in some of the more conservative alumni circles of that university (and indeed there are some), a lament is being issued forth that the university can no longer claim to be Catholic, contrary to what it claims. They wonder why such defiance is being tolerated. And then some of them decide to pull out their endowments, giving it perhaps to an institution whose members are required by statute to seek a mandatum from the diocesan, after making the Profession of Faith.
And sermons will be preached out in the provinces, places where a Protestant is either a rarity or an antagonist, perhaps by those who are currying favor with the powers that be for the purple piping. Sermons I can imagine are full of polemic, the kind which have their echoes in the equally polemical tongues of some of my Christian brethren condemning the Theotokos and the cloud of witnesses. They will write to Rome and lead protest rallies in their part of the world, with probably half of the attendees bused in from their local schools.
And then the fall of the Old Establishment continues, the day someone dares issue an interdict. I will not hasten that day, but I fear that someone will try. But that would not happen, I hope. For if there is a danger in taking such extremities, it is the danger that more people will choose to be unchurched, or leave. Then perhaps real change would begin to happen to the Christian part of our country, which for centuries was only shallowly so.
The gates of hell will not prevail against the Church Christ founded, but whether I can still recognize it as Christ’s Church is a question that will be tested by the events of coming days.
Meanwhile, I will continue to read, reflect, and pray. And perhaps I will reflect on how Wittenburg was like on the day before the 95 Theses were tacked to that church door. And perhaps on how Constantinople was the day the Papal Legate walked in to find himself excommunicated as he decided to excommunicate them. I do not think this is the moment to claim anything similar is happening, but would it be idle talk to say that what happened in Wittenburg is happening today?