YOUNG people are deserting the Catholic Church in droves, and the only way to bring them back is to go back to basics and warn them that hellfire really exists and awaits them if they don’t embrace the faith.
That’s the view of Pete Baklinski, above, a Canada-based editor for LifeSiteNews. In an op-ed published yesterday (Thursday) he rubbished a plan unveiled by American bishops’ to reach out to lapsed young Catholics and the “unaffiliated”, saying it can only result in “disastrous failure.”
Why? Because the bishops’ five-point plan includes attracting young lapsed Catholics by highlighting the Church’s commitment to “social justice” which, of course, young people in particular set great store by.
Baklinski dismissed the “social justice” aspect of the plan by saying:
The Catholic Church does not exist to promote social justice, although such justice is certainly part of the Church’s good works.
He’s also sceptical of other points in the plan, including highlighting “the beauty of the Church” and harnessing “new media” such as Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and the like to put the Church:
In contact with the unaffiliated, the former Catholics, the atheists, the agnostics so they can see the good things that the Catholic Church is doing.
The Catholic Church was founded by Jesus Christ to provide man the only road to an eternal life of happiness with God after death. The Catholic Church, by means of God’s saving grace working through the sacraments, is the only road to heaven, an eternal life of happiness in communion with the Triune God.
This is the sole reason for the Church’s existence and the reason she does what she does.
Outside of the Church there is no salvation. Outside of the Church there is only suffering, misery, loss. Outside the Church there is only isolation. Outside of the Church there is hellfire and damnation.
“Lord, to whom shall we go, you have the words of eternal life,” Peter once told Jesus. The same holds for the Catholic Church. The Church alone of all religions, institutions, organizations, has the words of eternal life and offers the road to eternal life. Until Catholic shepherds get this message right, there is no reason for anyone to belong to the Church.
Do Catholic shepherds want to get young people going back to Church? Start preaching to them about what will happen to them if they leave the barque of Peter. In Noah’s time, only those on the ark were saved. The same holds for our times: Only those in the Church will be saved. Hell exists. Those who die in a state of unrepented mortal sin are condemned to hell by Divine justice for eternal punishment.
If our shepherds don’t believe this, then they are false shepherds who don’t hold the Catholic faith. And, they are certainly in no position to be teaching young people about why they should return to the Church. It was because Catholic shepherds were off message in the first place that young people left in droves.
Baklinski’s diatribe came in the wake of a video posted in April by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) to highlight the real crisis of young Catholics fleeing the Church en masse.
Led by Bishop Robert Barron, above, Chairman of the USCCB’s Committee on Evangelization and Catechesis, the video proposes what it calls “effective avenues” for reaching out to young people and bringing them back – avenues, which it says, largely come from listening to young people.
Baklinski concludes his op-ed by saying:
The answer is rather simple: Start prophetically proclaiming the truth of our faith that the Catholic Church is the only means of salvation and that without her in your life, you will die in your sins and suffer for all eternity. “Fear of the Lord” is a path that opens to “love of the Lord.” And once someone loves the Lord, they are delighted to follow his ways, including attending Church regularly …
Shepherds will find their voice once they start preaching this truth. This is the “magic bullet” that Bishop Barron and every bishop needs to start using from every pulpit, every platform they have.
Until the bishops get this right about why the Church exists, all their programs, all their efforts will move from disaster to disaster.