"Signs of the Times"?
by Nelson Hertel
September 8, 2017
Gloria.tv reports that Pope Francis’ “World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation” is a failure.
“Liturgies of the Word,” presided by the Pontiff, were held to commemorate the World Day of Prayer in 2015 and 2016. But last year’s observance was a disaster, with hardly anyone showing up for the event at St. Peter’s. The unprecedented and very visible number of empty seats was something unthinkable for a papal event. Wanting to avoid similar embarrassment this year, the Vatican cancelled the ceremony, no doubt anticipating a similar lack of participation.
The ‘Day of Prayer’ was nevertheless (ostensibly) held throughout the world on September 1, although there is a noticeable lack of references online to local ‘celebrations.’
In his General Audience held on August 30, Pope Francis referenced the upcoming Day of Prayer, stating: “The day after tomorrow, September 1, the Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation will be celebrated. For this occasion, my dear brother Bartholomew, Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, and I have prepared a Message together. In it, we invite everyone to assume a respectful and responsible attitude towards Creation. Moreover, we appeal to those who occupy influential roles, to hear the cry of the earth and the cries of the poor who suffer most from ecological imbalance.”
The Joint Message of the Pope and the schismatic Greek patriarch (see: “Joint Message of Pope Francis and Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew on the World Day of Prayer for Creation”) is a typical document of the post-conciliar era: man-centered, equivocal, and lacking real substance.
Incredibly the Joint Message makes reference — albeit a distorted one — to “the restoration of all things in Christ,” (Ephesians 1:10) the motto of Pope St. Pius X whose feast we just celebrated on September 3. St. Pius X’s first encyclical E Supremi, as well as the whole of his pontificate, were dedicated to this restoration, in its true sense.
The contrasts between the two Popes are unmistakable. Let us compare two statements, the following taken from the Joint Message:
“Indeed, an objective of our prayer is to change the way we perceive the world in order to change the way we relate to the world. The goal of our promise is to be courageous in embracing greater simplicity and solidarity in our lives.”
And this excerpt from E Supremi:
“Oh! when in every city and village the law of the Lord is faithfully observed, when respect is shown for sacred things, when the Sacraments are frequented, and the ordinances of Christian life fulfilled, there will certainly be no more need for us to labor further to see all things restored in Christ. Nor is it for the attainment of eternal welfare alone that this will be of service — it will also contribute largely to temporal welfare and the advantage of human society.”
As Our Lord admonished us, “Seek ye therefore first the Kingdom of God, and His justice, and all these things shall be added unto you.” (Matthew 6:33) The present Vicar of Christ does not recall to us the necessity of fulfilling our primary duty in this life, namely the adoration and love and obedience to Almighty God and His Divine Law.
No, we are not reminded in the midst of overwhelming and unrelenting secularism to “seek first the Kingdom of God.” Perhaps that is too uncomplicated, too clear, and too out-of-date. After all, we are now “enlightened” and believe in de facto universal salvation: everyone goes to Heaven single-file, no questions asked. The only grave sins today are solemnly-nonsensical proselytism, judging others, and carbon emissions!
We are instead exhorted to change the way we perceive the world and change the ways we relate to it; we are asked to be courageous in embracing greater simplicity and solidarity in our lives. Whatever that means, it is totally unrelated to the voluntary poverty vowed by religious who heroically do so (and much more) in order to grow closer to God and sanctify themselves.
Having lived for several years in Rome and in southern Italy, I have witnessed firsthand the continued adulation of Italians for Pope Francis. “Quanto è bravo, questo Papa!” — “What a good Pope he is!” is constantly repeated, as they go on to praise his purported humility and kindness. Many turn on their televisions or radios to watch or listen to his Wednesday audiences and Sunday Angelus addresses, as they prepare and eat their lunches.
Yet these same people unashamedly disregard what Francis says about ‘protecting the environment’, and ‘caring for creation’, as they think nothing of casting garbage into the streets or on their sidewalks. They continue to ‘contribute’ in various ways to ‘polluting’ the air with their vehicles or burning different things in the countryside. Proof enough that people will not take the Pope seriously if he is not speaking of the important issues that he should, namely those related to the Faith and morals!
As Our Lord prayed on the night of Holy Thursday for St. Peter, the first Pope, so must we pray for Pope Francis: “But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and thou, being once converted, confirm thy brethren.” (Luke 22:32).
For, despite the billions of people not finding themselves in the Catholic Church outside of which there is no salvation, despite the countless millions of poor souls who ignore Our Lord and refuse to submit to His commands, Pope Francis ignores the Great Apostasy. He chooses instead to forsake the true solutions to real problems, and wastes many words on futile themes.
As Our Lord told Sr. Lucia in May 1936, “Pray, pray a great deal for the Holy Father.” And referring to the Consecration of Russia — necessarily the first step for the restoration of all things in Christ and the establishment of the Social Reign of the Divine King — “He (the Pope) will do it, but it will be late.”
May Pope St. Pius X intercede for Pope Francis, that he be given and cooperate with the necessary graces of rediscovering and submitting to the Truths of the Faith, steering the barque of Peter as he should, and finally consecrating Russia at long last.
Let us also ask Our Lady of Fatima for Her maternal guidance in (re)learning, loving and living the Catholic Faith, recalling that God did not create us for empty, humanistic or secular purposes. We were not meant to be philanthropists. We were not made for the purpose of being custodians of the world, but — as our basic Catechism teaches us — to know, love and serve God in this world and to be happy with Him forever in Heaven.