By Sarah Mac Donald - 23 October, 2018
The editor of Alive newspaper has warned that the Catholic Church is suffering from an “inferiority complex” and a “huge neglect” and “perversion” of its core teachings.
Dominican Fr Brian McKevitt told Mass-goers in Medjugorje earlier this month that the Church has been suffering from a massive inferiority complex for the past 60 years.
To many, the modern, secular, liberal world looked bright, shiny, in touch and cool, while the Church in contrast looked old, a bit shabby and often out of touch. As a result, there was a loss of confidence within the Church.
“We have lost confidence in the Gospel that we preach; we have lost confidence in the salvation that we proclaim; we have lost confidence in the hope that we are offering to the world. We have diluted the teaching of the Church and watered it down,” he chided.
He warned that “if we water down the teachings of the Church, then they are no longer the teachings of the Church – it is a fake gospel”.
The friar outlined the way in which the Church’s teaching could be watered down; these included focusing on “the nice teachings” and neglecting the difficult parts, “such as the parts that say we must keep the ten commandments”, the parts that say “pick up your cross and follow me”, the parts that say “every one of us faces judgement when we die. The parts that say we are called to eternal salvation, but we can also reject that call”.
Some go even further and “twist the teaching of the Church” and “proclaim their own opinions rather than the teaching of the Church,” he warned.
Fr McKevitt hit out at bishops and priests who do that, describing them as “wolves in sheep’s clothing”.
Referring to the “vast numbers of Catholic people who have given up the practice of the faith”, he challenged: “How could people who really believe in the Gospel, who really believe that the Gospel is good news – how could they give up the practice of the faith? How could they fail to hand it on to their children?
“I hear people say that the young people today don’t go to Mass, they don’t practice the faith, but they are really good people. If they are not going to Mass, if they are not worshipping God, if they are not handing on the faith to their children – then they are not good people,” he criticised.
He said that the Church’s response to the “massive loss of faith” was a shrug. “This is the age of the shrug – ‘what can we do about it?’” He questioned where the Church’s strategy was for going after the lost sheep.
The Dominican friar said another symptom of the Church’s loss of confidence was the neglect of the mission of the Church.
“There are millions of people in this world who have never even heard of Christ; so why isn’t the Church on fire about bringing the Gospel to them? Why are we just saying it doesn’t matter – it does matter. Salvation matters. We have to become a missionary church once again.
“So many of our missionaries ended up talking about development, justice and peace, creation – and those things are good. But ultimately it is salvation that matters; it is getting people to heaven that matters; it is proclaiming Jesus Christ risen from the dead that matters.”
In relation to the shortage of priests in the Church, Fr McKevitt said it was no wonder there was a shortage, as no young man would want to join “an outfit that doesn’t even believe in itself or doesn’t believe in its own mission”.
He also lamented that so many Catholic institutions are no longer Catholic but Catholic in name only.
“So many of our Catholic schools are not handing on the faith to children, they are betraying the parents who send their children for a catholic education.
“So many of our Catholic voluntary organisations have simply become ‘do good’ organisations, they have lost the sense of their mission.
“So many of our Catholic hospitals are no longer Catholic. In Ireland a number of Catholic hospitals have said that they will kill unborn babies – what kind of a Catholic hospital would cave in so simply and easily to such a dreadful evil?” he challenged.
He stressed, “We are either orthodox traditional Catholics or we are not Catholics – whatever else we may be.”