The entire world seems to be rejoicing that the now celebrated football team and their coach in Thailand have been rescued from almost certain death by what initially seemed an impossible project.
The boys and their coach had entered a cave and penetrated deep into its interior with what was probably considered a harmless intention. However, they soon discovered that they were trapped by their lack of precaution and then by the inexorable forces of nature. Being four kilometres from the mouth of the cave and unable to swim through the ever-rising flooding, there could be no conclusion other than that they were doomed to perish.
So how were they rescued? To begin, there was outstanding leadership from the Thai official in charge who was able to summon skilled specialists, scuba divers, engineers, electricians and so on. In addition, numerous skilled personnel, military and lay, medical and technical, from many countries in the world rushed to volunteer their expertise.
Current ideologies weren’t part of the mix, eg gender equality, political correctness, equal opportunity, etc …. the only criteria were excellence and experience.
It might be a good moment to learn from what has been achieved and compare that with the current state of our Church. Many of the baptised are living what might be called fake Catholicism. This exists at the highest levels. It is evident in the standard of teaching and the style of living.
Many have entered an alluring cave in search of pleasure and self-satisfaction, exploring areas that are inviting yet full of hidden dangers where one can all too easily become trapped, or a sudden turn of events can entrap them. There appears no way out, their souls are doomed to spiritual death.
Is there a way out? The only way is the way to God. Well-wishers and social workers are insufficient. The need is for skilled teachers of the faith who are configured to Christ through prayer and sacrifice.
These teachers need to be experienced experts who have discovered the means to negotiate the caverns of peril through knowledge of correct procedures and self-discipline. In other words, faith and practice. In this way and with such a standard of competence, lost souls, like the lads in the cave, can depend on those who have the task to lead them out of their captive state to re-install them in the fresh air and light of grace.
Just as the Thai people had Navy Seals, the Church needs rigorously trained priests and religious, solely dedicated to the person of Christ and focused on teaching carefully all that will nourish and protect those entrusted to them.
Under a dedicated leader they will identify all possible risks to the faith and make sure every adverse possibility is known and avoided. Aware that these souls have been weakened spiritually and mentally, they must shore up their health and then lead them out personally by means of their own spiritual stamina and example. Then the lost souls now found will be handed over to others competent to insulate them for a time from outside interference until they are strong enough by themselves to resist future temptation.
The current malaise in the Church cannot be overcome easily. A genuine diagnosis of the situation is urgent and must be done now because time is running out.
The food and oxygen of the faith are the Sacraments. These cannot be contaminated otherwise they will poison rather than lead to health. Accordingly, only those who have faith are to be baptised.
Only those who practice their faith should be confirmed. Only those in the state of grace may be given Holy Communion. Only those who have a proven suitability and complete theological and spiritual training should be ordained. Only those who accept the Church’s teachings on marriage should be married. Only those with proven orthodoxy must be chosen for spiritual leadership as bishops or cardinals.
Good intentions are insufficient.
Come Holy Spirit and enlighten the hearts of your faithful and enkindle in them then fire of your Love.