I lived in England for twenty five years, and one of the greatest benefits from living in the damp lands was that you had to be immersed in history. Everywhere you went were the reminders that these people had lived through two world wars. Furthermore, their culture had survived a thousand years of Christian upheaval in one way or another. They had lived through another thousand years before that of paganism, cultural clashes, warfare, the rise and toppling of empires, and for another two thousand years before that their damp lands were peopled with primitive native peoples whose culture, religion and worldview is lost to us except for mysterious standing stones, neolithic burial sites and strange artifacts.
I would therefore recommend to any Catholics who are in turmoil because the present pope isn’t to their liking or their church is not what they want or their bishop unsatisfactory to read some church history. Eamonn Duffy’s history of the papacy Saints and Sinners is a good one. When you read history of the church you’ll realize that turmoil and trouble have been with us since the time of the apostles. Might as well get used to it.
Does that mean you shouldn’t be upset or worried? No. Does that mean one should be complacent about heresy, corruption within and persecution from without? No. Be worried. That’s okay if it leads you to pray more.
What is troublesome is how much time people spend biting their nails and grumbling and posting angry blog articles or getting all worked up into a tizzy about stuff they can’t really do much about anyway.
This is one of the reasons I’ve started my new blog The Suburban Hermit –to get people to spend some time away from the church politics headlines, away from the head banging and nail biting and to try to build their life with Christ and deepen their life of prayer.
More time in work, prayer and reading (the Benedictine formula) will bring stability to your life. You’ll come to realize again, but at a heart level, that God is in charge. He loves his church. Everything will be all right in the end, and you can breathe easy.
So read history. Pray more. Be at peace.