In America, are the institutions surrounding more than 2,000 years of history imploding before our very eyes? There are a number of items we should look at to see if we have benefited.
Our religion — has it been corrupted from the Vatican on down to the bishops who control the diocese and the priests that are in short supply?
Our economy — has it grown with fewer unemployed and with the middle class expanding?
Our national security — will we have more attacks like Sept. 11?
Our language and culture — have they changed, for the better or worse?
I like to tell the story of the rich man named Dives and the poor man named Lazarus, full of sores, who tried to fill himself with the bits of food that fell from the rich man’s table.
Lazarus dies and goes to heaven, the rich man dies and is in great pain in hell. The rich man tells Father Abraham to send Lazarus to his father’s house to warn his five brothers about hell. Abraham tells the rich man that his brothers have Moses and the prophets to warn them. The rich man answers: “That is not enough, Father Abraham, but if someone were to rise from the dead and tell them, then they would turn from their sins.” Father Abraham answers, “If they will not listen to Moses and the prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone were to rise from the dead.” (Luke 16:30-31)
Jesus “rose from the dead,” and 2,000 years later, we are still not convinced, worse than Dives, still denying our wickedness while reading Luke.
To me, hell would be to die and see my ugliness perpetrated on my family — “for the evil that people do lives after them.” Hell to me would be “to care most when you are most powerless.” When you’re dead, you are the most powerless. We have to care most for the people we love while we are still “alive.” This is similar to the rich man who cared most when he was dead.
Today, priests are not like Moses and the Prophets, they are not telling the parishioners about sin. Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen said it best: “The worst thing in the world is not sin, it is in denying that we are sinners. Sinners who deny sin, deny thereby the remedy of sin and thus cut themselves off forever from him who came to redeem.”
Sadly, no one goes to confession any more; however, everyone goes to communion. Isn’t that strange. Years ago, the priest knew how many hosts that would be given out at Mass, because he knew how many went to confession.
I would like to write about the imploding of the institutions that I talked about above, but it would be to long of an article.
Carlo Olivero, Dalzell