Christ Among Us? The Roots of a Crisis
Anthony Wilhelm's Christ Among Us was published by Paulist Press in 1967. The second edition I reviewed surprisingly, and unsurprisingly, received a Nihil Obstat by Rev. Edward Ciuba and an Imprimatur by Most Rev. Peter Gerety. Gerety at the time was the Archbishop of, take note, Newark. Can anything good come from Newark? The book helped set the table in the Church to where we are today. That being a Church in crisis.
I present to you several snippets from just one chapter (21) of Christ Among Us. Please read through these quotes carefully.
"Some [unmarried] couples feel that they have a deep, mature and permanent commitment to one another before the marriage ceremony - and often it has its consummation in the sexual union - and in the judgment of the couples this is not wrong. […] Priests who are counselling couples, while they must present the Church's ideal regarding this, also realize that what is a beautiful and attainable ideal for one couple may be deeply frustrating and disruptive for another. Each couple, in dialogue with God, will have to do what they are capable of. […] Yet, we must face the fact that individuals and their moral capacities do differ; while there are objective moral norms to guide us, not everyone can follow these equally" (p. 323-25).
"Also masturbation has been considered wrong through the centuries […] it is an almost inevitable experience for adolescent boys - and contemporary studies bear this out. […] To be avoided is worrying over masturbation as a great, serious wrong, on the one hand, and on the other, taking it too lightly with little or no attempt at personal discipline" (p. 329).
"Often homosexuals can do nothing about their condition, but must accept and live with it. The sin in a homosexual relationship, as with all sexuality, comes when it is a stunting process, a lustful or mutually narcissistic escape from the responsibility of human growth. Most confessors today would urge their actively homosexual penitents to do what is possible for them, and to never lose hope, consider themselves pariahs, or give up the eucharist because of this" (p. 330).
"How many children a couple should have is something that only they, in dialogue with God and one another, can determine" (p. 330).
"In practice there are circumstances in which couples feel that they cannot now comply with the pope's teaching. The standard the Church proposes is not possible for some. […] Their conscience tells them that great damage would be done to their marital love and perhaps to the children they already have, if a child were to come at this time - or that to bring more children into a heavily populated world is wrong. In effect, today many Catholic couples - and certainly the great majority of young people - feeling justified in conscience in using contraceptives. Vatican Council II recognized their situation:..." (Gaudium et Spes is then quoted out of context, p. 332-33).
Discussion Questions: "Can you understand the place of sex in marriage, and why there can be a development in the Church's teaching on birth control?" (p. 341).
N.B. I quoted from one chapter. This doesn't even begin to go into the heresy presented by Christ Among Us on the Eucharist.
The same language and tactics exist today. Morality is an ideal. We surely cannot all attain it. God wants us to be happy. Dialogue with God. You must follow only what you think is possible. Consider, for example, Fr. Thomas Rosica (speaking at a lecture in Windsor, Ontario): "Doctrine changes when pastoral contexts shift and new insights emerge." Or Cardinal Marx of Germany who has insisted that doctrine "can develop over time," and that we need a "pastoral effort" to overlook sin because "[e]xclusion is not in the language of the Church." No, there is nothing new under the sun. The crisis of the Church in 2018 was planted many years prior. We simply are reaping its benefits now. Which diocese declared bankruptcy last week? Who's next? Why are vocation and marriage numbers plummeting? How come our churches are becoming empty? No need to worry though, Christ is among us...
So the next time you are in a church and you notice Christ Among Us, understand that the book is a symbol of truth... the truth being that liberal Catholicism has brought about this mess, and liberal Catholicism continues to bring about this mess.
And then take the book home and burn it.