But our deacon, God bless him, did not blush or stammer as he described how students pray the rosary together. In the months of Our Lady (May and October), he said matter-of-factly, they keep 48 hours of adoration in front of the Blessed Sacrament. Among their many prolife activities, he continued, they witness and pray at the local abortion clinic. And all this in a regular diocesan high school! Even ten years ago, very few school principals would tolerate, let alone take pride, in the Eucharistic and Marian piety of their students. Most suffered pressure from diocesan liturgists and school officials, from priests and bishops, to downplay the Catholic nature of their schools. Devotional piety was mocked in most diocesan liturgical commissions, and Catholic schools felt impelled to follow their disdainful example. That is changing. How refreshing to hear a deacon speaking normally about the Catholic devotion of his students!
I looked around at the other priests in our deanery meeting. Most were wearing their collars and speaking respectfully of the Pope and the saints. I can remember many a diocesan meeting in years past where priests in polo shirts would sit around ridiculing saints, devotions, and the Holy Father. Perhaps we have turned a corner, at least in the Church in America. Perhaps we have regained our balance as the number of “John Paul II” priests begins to outnumber the so-called “Vatican II” priests. Perhaps lay evangelical apostolates like EWTN, Catholic radio, apologetics magazines, and Catholic websites, and the many faithful charismatic movements of the last thirty years, has turned the tide among those still practicing their faith.
The imbalance and confusion of the last forty years is passing. Authentic Catholicism endures; the Body of Christ will not be thrown down for very long. No one can sink the Bark of Peter, not even her captains and seamen, her bishops and priests, even if they will have temporarily lost their balance.
The Ship is righting herself and none too soon. She faces a massive black storm of an all-pervasive secularism on the horizon. Towering dark waves loom ahead, waves that will try to crush and sink any last bit of Christianity in our culture. But we are not afraid, because we know that no one, and nothing, can sink Christ’s Church.