There are reasons to believe that we are now entering the biggest crisis the Church has faced[National Catholic Register] There is a fairly common recognition among historians that every 500 years the Church has faced some kind of horrendous crisis. This is no kind of Nostradamian numerical prophecy, but a noticeable, rough pattern.
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Around the first 500 year mark of the Church, the West was being crushed under the political implosion of the corrupt Roman Empire and the onslaught of barbarian invasions. Hence began the Dark Ages, wherein the Church did well just to survive in the following centuries.
The next crisis bubbled up around the year 1000. The papacy had been deeply corrupted by Italian nobles in the previous century — so much so that the historians refer to this period of papal venality in the 900s as “The Pornocracy.” A string of good popes, Cistercian reformers, helped draw the Church out of its own mire in the 11th and 12th centuries.
And then, of course, there was the Reformation, commencing in 1517. Last fall I published a book marking the half-millennium anniversary of the Reformation, The Reformation 500 Years Later: 12 Things You Need To Know. One of the things that especially Catholics needed to know is how bad the popes and cardinals had been in the century leading up to Luther — otherwise the Protestant reaction to ecclesiastical corruption 500 years ago might seem like an unwarranted, peevish reaction of a disgruntled monk, Martin Luther.
And now, here we are in 2018, right on time, 500 years after the Reformation, steeped in another major crisis. As the depth and breadth of the ecclesiastical corruption now unfolds before us, the question is not whether we are in a crisis, but how bad a crisis we happen to be in.
It’s big. Perhaps the biggest so far. Why?
The current systematic embrace of sexual disorder among the bishops and cardinals—even those in the Vatican itself—creates theological disorder. Sexual scandal leading up to the Reformation was sordid enough, but it did not then result in attendant theological malformation. But things are different now because all too many in the hierarchy desire a fundamental change in the Church’s doctrines on sexuality. Grace builds on nature, the supernatural on the natural. If those in charge of guarding doctrine embrace sexual disorder, theological disorder must be bent to fit. Sexual libertinism needs theological liberalism as its theological complement.
This article continues at [National Catholic Register] Every 500 Years, the Church Faces a Crisis — Is This the Worst Yet?