For behold the sovereign the Lord of hosts shall take away from Jerusalem, and from Juda the valiant and the strong, the whole strength of bread, and the whole strength of water. The strong man, and the man of war, the judge, and the prophet, and the cunning man, and the ancient. The captain over fifty, and the honourable in countenance, and the counsellor, and the architect, and the skillful in eloquent speech. And I will give children to be their princes, and the effeminate shall rule over them.
One thing we have to realize about this week's Supreme Court catastrophe is that it is not merely calculated to bring down the wrath of God upon us. This is the wrath of God.
We have lain under God's wrath for many years now, and most of us can't see it. Many of us -- maybe most of us -- are positively pleased with the way things are going, both within and without the Church. That is part of the punishment.
The Church is filled with bad priests and bishops. Sorry, but I just do not subscribe to the Pollyanna view that most priests and bishops are good and that it is just a few bad apples that give the rest a bad name. If that were true, the bad apples would be swiftly dealt with and would have no influence. But the reality is that they are not dealt with at all, and run riot throughout the Church, doing incalculable damage. Good priests and bishops are vastly outnumbered by those who, at best, are negligent, and at worst, are devoid of the Catholic faith and actively seeking to stamp out faith in their flocks. Even most of the good ones are a mixed bag. We have, in our time, hardly any outstandingly holy priests, and these are despised and persecuted by their own people and by the bad bishops who are over them. This is a chastisement, as St. John Eudes declared:
The most evident mark of God's anger and the most terrible castigation He can inflict upon the world are manifested when He permits His people to fall into the hands of clergy who are priests more in name than in deed, priests who practice the cruelty of ravening wolves rather than charity and affection of devoted shepherds....When God permits such things, it is a very positive proof that He is thoroughly angry with His people, and is visiting His most dreadful anger upon them. That is why He cries unceasingly to Christians, "Return O ye revolting children ... and I will give you pastors according to My own heart". (Jer. 3:14,15) Thus, irregularities in the lives of priests constitute a scourge upon the people in consequence of sin.
A wicked secular government is also a sign of God's wrath. We as a nation gleefully threw ourselves into the arms of a lawless president who is an enemy of this country and all the ideals enunciated at her founding, who rules by executive fiat, who has swept away the last remnants of constitutional government and the rule of law, and -- make no mistake about it -- has pitted himself irrevocably against the Catholic Church. We suffered an unmitigated defeat the day he was elected, and many of us still don't know it.
Why is this part of the punishment? Consider the story of the Exodus out of Egypt, where we read repeatedly about the hardening of Pharaoh's heart:
And the Lord said to Moses: Behold I have appointed thee the God of Pharao: and Aaron thy brother shall be thy prophet. Thou shalt speak to him all that I command thee; and he shall speak to Pharao, that he let the children of Israel go out of his land. But I shall harden his heart, and shall multiply my signs and wonders in the land of Egypt, and he will not hear you: and I will lay my hand upon Egypt, and will bring forth my army and my people the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt, by very great judgments. Exodus 7:1-4.
The excellent gloss in the Douay-Rheims Bible explains what God means here:
I shall harden: not by being the efficient cause of his hardness of heart, but by permitting it; and by withdrawing grace from him, in punishment of his malice; which alone was the proper cause of his being hardened.
Every thinking person ought to find this frightening. Spiritual blindness is a punishment for continually hardening our hearts against the graces God sends us. To be so steeped in sin as to not recognize it for what it is is to be foreclosed from repentance and conversion; and if we persist in that state until death, we are damned. Sometimes God even permits people in this state to be surrounded at the moment of death by others who make sure they are cut off from the Sacraments and confirmed in their errors to the end. That is why it is so horrible that the popular culture supports the gay lifestyle. In the name of "compassion," society hermetically seals its practitioners into their prison of lust, cutting them off from their only real avenue of retreat, until they die, despairing.
There are some delusional Catholics who think that, if only we just believe, any minute now, God will just swoop down and rescue us from our dire straits, as though we are somehow entitled to such. Scripture is indeed full of promises that God will rescue us from disaster, and we even have the example of the Ninevites, whom God decided to spare from destruction. But the Ninevites were spared because they listened to Jonah's warnings and repented and did penance. If we want to be spared, we must do likewise; there has been no shortage of warnings. But so far, it seems, we are going to continue to ignore them.