The Fall of Rome

December 18, 2023, will go down in history as the date on which the die was cast: the date on which the church renounced the gospel’s right to call us to repentance; the date that, more than any other, signals the church’s implosion in the West.

Of course, long before this fateful date on which Pope Francis signaled his approval to the “blessing of same-sex couples,” indications abounded that not all was well in the state of Denmark. The pope’s mercurial behavior, including his tendency to sow confusion with off-the-cuff one-liners on controversial topics, had long been an area of concern to faithful churchgoers.

Added to this were recent developments, such as the pope’s odd fixation upon stamping out Tridentine Latin Masses, which draw thousands upon thousands of faithful young Catholics to church every Sunday; counterintuitive appointments, such as that of Victor Manuel Cardinal Fernández as prefect of the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith; vindictive censures of conservative Catholics such as Bishop Joseph Strickland and Raymond Cardinal Burke; as well as the deployment of the Synod on Synodality in directing the church to take her cue from groups such as “remarried divorcees, people in polygamous marriages, LGBTQ+ people, etc.”

Though each of these issues is troubling, the history books will give them mostly just a passing glance. By sharp contrast, Fiducia supplicans, issued on December 18 and approved by Pope Francis, is absolutely earth-shattering. It is hard to imagine anyone doing more damage more effectively to the Catholic Church and to Christianity as a whole than Pope Francis has done with this declaration. Unless radically critiqued and reversed, its guidelines will signal the demise of Western Christianity.

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