While it was a worldly force that may have found its way into the Church regardless, modernism, the mother of all heresies, a philosophy that eschews the supernatural aspects of the faith, began creeping into the Church early in the last century. That is, if not all the way back to the “Enlightenment.” Regardless, it was finally powerful enough to exert its influence in the 1960s, coinciding with the Second Vatican Council. As the world became post-Christian and less supernaturally aware in the decades following the counsel, this toxic worldview spread within the Church with less suspicion and increasing vigor.
There is much to lament concerning our leadership within the church. Their systematic failure to protect innocent children against predatory clergy, one Bishop’s decision to console those predators over reigning down fury in a just and merciful manner, Cardinal Wuerl’s choice to hire PR firms and high powered attorneys when his failings came to light, and the Vatican’s self-congratulating back slaps for the moral culture not being much worse in the midst of this latest crisis are to name a few. What appears abundantly clear, on top of the laundry list of issues that should distress us, is that we are being led not by Shepherds but by bureaucrats. Our institutional church exchanged its mission as the mystical Body of Christ at some point in the twentieth century, be the exact moment at Vatican II or not, for the earthly respect of princes and kings and the crony kickbacks typically reserved for mafiosi.