September 25 is the feast of the Divine Shepherdess. This devotion dates back to 1703, when Capuchin Friar Isidoro of Seville, a scion of Spain’s most noble families, experienced a mystical illumination in which the Virgin Mary asked him to spread devotion to her as Shepherdess of Souls. He commissioned a painting, preached this devotion, and it is well-known today in Spain.
This Marian invocation came to mind while pondering the widespread homosexual corruption we are seeing in the Church.
The present situation is truly tragic.
We need to put ourselves in the perspective of the Church that has long been in a process of self-destruction that is now in a very advanced stage.
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The Action of the Wolves
Ravenous wolves outside the flock are destroying of Catholic morality and doctrine. Through media and the culture, they have undermined Catholic morals and practice. They have promoted heresy and error, which lays the foundation for the physical abuse of sheep. They have infiltrated into the flock, in sheep’s clothing, and in all their undisguised hideousness. They made deals with certain shepherds.
As a result, the wolves have decimated the flock over the last few decades. The scandals served as catalysts that made the sheep feel unprotected by the shepherds. In face of the immensity of the crisis, the sheep are now exasperated and desperate. They are taking measures of self-defense which is entirely within their right. They are loudly complaining to the shepherds, some of which do not heed their cries.
Thus, many are now claiming the need to put the flock under the care of the sheep to fight off the wolves.
The Nature of Sheep
The good intentions of these sheep are praiseworthy. Indeed, some of these sheep are extremely competent and organized. They are movers and shakers that know how to get things done. However, they are limited in their ability to deal with this problem.
This is because a sheep is always a sheep. When confronted with wolves, even the most competent sheep will inevitably lose. Sending sheep into the dens of wolves will not resolve the problem. It is not the fault of the sheep, just the nature of the predators and all the resources of culture and society that support them.
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The Role of Shepherds
There is no doubt that many shepherds have not protected the sheep as they should. However, to change the structures of the flock by giving functions of the shepherds to the sheep is a quick road to disaster.
This is because a shepherd is a shepherd. He is equipped with the authority, skills and knowledge to deal with wolves. The shepherd’s office is endowed by God with graces and charisms to teach, govern and sanctify. Shepherds often have sheepdogs whose hatred of all things wolf is in their DNA. When a shepherd, even a weak one, seriously confronts a wolf, the wolf will almost always lose.
Dancing with Wolves
The worst thing about the present crisis is not that we are entrusting faithful sheep to other more competent sheep to stave off the wolves. Rather, many are proposing that the task be delegated to others who are not even part of the flock. They are asking independent observers, often friendly to the wolves, and who hate the flock, to oversee it. They are asking the government to get involved.
Yet worse, ex-members of the flock join the chorus asking that sheep oversee the flock. Wolves also demand that the Church be structured differently, and even promise their friendship should things change.
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What Wolves Want
The objective of the wolves is always the same regarding sheep. Wolves want to kill and devour sheep. To accomplish this purpose, they need to get rid of shepherds—even bad shepherds. The very office of shepherd is a symbol that frightens wolves. He is also an obstacle, since the shepherd guarantees the continuity of sacramental life that strengthens the sheep. As long as shepherds exist, there will be the possibility of good shepherds that will rise up and kill wolves.
Thus, wolves want sheep without shepherds. They want weakened sheep without grace. That is why they would suggest that sheep and non-sheep oversee the flock. That way they might ravage more easily the Church of Christ with their false doctrines and immoral behavior. They might also lead the faithful away from the verdant pastures which nurture the sheep.
The strategy of the wolves is to make the shepherds the common enemy of both wolves and sheep. The real common enemy of both shepherds and sheep should be the wolves.
The Separation and Mutual Hatred of Wolves and Sheep
A crisis like ours always happens when the Church tries to make a deal with the world—to peacefully co-exist with the wolves. In our particular case, it is much graver since we have sought to get along with the evils of the modern world with its denial of sin and adoration of progress.
Thus, we live in a world of intermingled sheep and wolves. It is a hypersexualized culture that destroys all morality and modesty. It is relativist world in which there are no absolute truths, moral norms or certainties. We live in a broken society in which the family and community are coming apart. Our secular society has dethroned God as the center of our lives.
That is why any real solution cannot be an administrative or regulatory fix. It will not be resolved simply with the dismissal or resignation of shepherds, however corrupt they might be. It must be a moral solution. We must return to a hatred of sin. We must again establish that healthy separation and mutual hatred between wolves and sheep. We must condemn immorality by working against the corrupt world. God must return to the center of our lives and be proclaimed in the public square.
We must return to orthodoxy at all levels inside the Church. It was not power, secrecy or authority that led to the scandals. It was the abandonment of orthodoxy in the Faith that created the conditions for abuse to happen. For without moral principles, the worst abuses and abominations are made possible—and indeed happened.
Indeed this is a crisis of Faith for which we have been justly chastised. Saint John Eudes notes that “The most evident mark of God’s anger, and the most terrible castigation He can inflict upon the world, is manifest when He permits His people to fall into the hands of a clergy who are more in name than in deed, priests who practice the cruelty of ravening wolves rather than the charity and affection of devoted shepherds.”
An Appeal to the Divine Shepherdess
The first step to solving the crisis is to recognize that anything short of a moral reform is not serious. We need to humbly admit that for decades our problem has been unholy shepherds, unholy sheep and cunning wolves. To change the structure of the shepherd and the flock will only play into the hands of the wolves.
The second step is to realize that Catholics, both sheep and shepherds, must do all we can humanly do to make this moral reform happen—and eradicate the wolves in our midst. That means rallying behind the faithful shepherds that uphold Church teaching and resisting all who do not.
However, given the immensity of the crisis, an intervention is needed.
That is why we must repair to that pasture where the Divine Shepherdess appeared. Our Lady at Fatima speaking to the three shepherd children brought a message of warning and hope. She warned us of the growing moral corruption and proposed solutions that we should take to heart. Above all, we must humbly appeal to the Divine Shepherdess that she intervene as promised and restore shepherds and flock bringing the triumph of her Immaculate Heart.