Will the Church “die out for a period” until people improve?

Here is the claim made at the notorious website OnePeterFive, also found on the article author’s own blog:

“So, I do not know where to go from here because as I said this crisis is a crisis for me because I cannot solve this problem alone. I doubt very many people will read this, but if God wills this message to get out then it will. I believe the Church will die out for a period until we learn to obey the new commandment of Our Lord Jesus Christ. At this point, it is so hard to want to bring into the Church the wounded people of the world, even if I could convince them, because there is so little love. And that is what wounded souls need, love, not more wounds.”

The article at OnePeterFive is called My Crisis of Faith. Then at the author’s blog, it is called “See How They Love One Another“. So you can read the quote in those articles in context.

The author, Natasha Wilson, PhD. describes a crisis of faith in the article. Dr. Natasha Wilson also talks about a falling out she had with a fellow Catholic, and her concern that she has no influence over what Popes and Bishops might do:

“But most Catholics are worried, constantly, about things that are simply out of their control such as what the pope does or does not do, what their bishop does or does not do, etc., while their own families and communities fall apart around them. I fell into that trap for a while, but God gave me direct experience with the bishops and nothing that I did or said to them made a difference. If I cannot reconcile with someone that I have known for years, how in the world do I think I can influence a bishop or the pope with whom I have no direct contact?”

The currently in progress synod on synods is aimed at giving lay Catholics more influence in the Church. I don’t know if that will succeed, as it is ambitious and expects much of everyone. But I don’t share Dr. Wilson’s concern about influencing Bishops or the Pope. That is for God to govern.

What prompted this article was the startling assertion: “I believe the Church will die out for a period until we learn to obey the new commandment of Our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Such a claim is contrary to dogma and Scripture: “And I say to you, that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it.” (Mt 16:18).

Pope Leo XIII: “The meaning of this divine utterance is, that, notwithstanding the wiles and intrigues which they bring to bear against the Church, it can never be that the church committed to the care of Peter shall succumb or in any wise fail.” (Satis Cognitum 12)

There are also numerous teachings of Saints and the Magisterium that the Church shall never fail, even “for a period”. It is not possible for the Church to “die out” even for a time as the Church is truly the body of Christ, with Christ as Her head and the Holy Spirit as Her soul. Such a claim is contrary to dogma.

Bishop Vincent Gasser, 1870, Relatio of Vatican I (005): “For as the words of Christ, ‘The gates of hell shall not prevail against it’ (Mt. 16:16), are not bounded by time but will have authority until the end of the world, so the foundation of the Church on Peter and his successors ought always remain unshaken against the proud gates of those who belong to the nether world, that is against heresies and the builders of heresy, as Saint Epiphanius says.”

“Authority until the end of the world” — the Church cannot die out for a period.

Pope Leo XIII: “Jesus Christ, therefore, appointed Peter to be that head of the Church; and He also determined that the authority instituted in perpetuity for the salvation of all should be inherited by His successors, in whom the same permanent authority of Peter himself should continue.” (Satis Cognitum 11)

Pope Leo XIII: “It is consequently the office of St. Peter to support the Church, and to guard it in all its strength and indestructible unity…. Therefore God confided His Church to Peter so that he might safely guard it with his unconquerable power.” (Satis Cognitum 12)

“instituted in perpetuity…permanent authority” and “indestructible unity” with “unconquerable power” — the Church cannot die out, or become a corrupt teacher of heresy, or in any other way fail, even for a period of time.

Pope Saint Pius X: “Kingdoms and empires have passed away; peoples once renowned for their history and civilization have disappeared; time and again the nations, as though overwhelmed by the weight of years, have fallen asunder; while the Church, indefectible in her essence, united by ties indissoluble with her heavenly Spouse, is here today radiant with eternal youth, strong with the same primitive vigor with which she came from the Heart of Christ dead upon the Cross. Men powerful in the world have risen up against her. They have disappeared, and she remains. Philosophical systems without number, of every form and every kind, rose up against her, arrogantly vaunting themselves her masters, as though they had at last destroyed the doctrine of the Church, refuted the dogmas of her faith, proved the absurdity of her teachings. But those systems, one after another, have passed into books of history, forgotten, bankrupt; while from the Rock of Peter the light of truth shines forth as brilliantly as on the day when Jesus first kindled it on His appearance in the world, and fed it with His Divine words: ‘Heaven and earth shall pass, but my words shall not pass’ (Mt 24:35).”
(Jucunda Sane 8)

History proves this dogma right, in that kingdoms and empires have passed away, and the Church has remained, indefectible in herself and founded on the indefectible Rock of Peter and his successors.

Vatican I: “So then, just as he sent apostles, whom he chose out of the world [39], even as he had been sent by the Father [40], in like manner it was his will that in his Church there should be shepherds and teachers until the end of time.” (Pastor Aeternus, introduction, 3)

Until the end of time, the Church will not fail to continue and to teach and guide. Not even for a time will the Church “die out” or fail to be a true light to the world, no matter what one might think of some particular Bishops, or of one Pope or another. Christ invisibly guides the Church through Her visible leaders.

Vatican I: “That which our lord Jesus Christ, the prince of shepherds and great shepherd of the sheep, established in the blessed apostle Peter, for the continual salvation and permanent benefit of the Church, must of necessity remain for ever, by Christ’s authority, in the Church which, founded as it is upon a rock, will stand firm until the end of time [45].” (Pastor Aeternus, chap. 2, 1)

“must of necessity remain forever…until the end of time” The Church cannot fail, go astray, lead astray, or cease to be one and holy and universal and apostolic, not even for a day or a year.

Vatican I: “Therefore, if anyone says that it is not by the institution of Christ the Lord himself (that is to say, by divine law) that blessed Peter should have perpetual successors in the primacy over the whole Church; or that the Roman Pontiff is not the successor of blessed Peter in this primacy: let him be anathema.” (Pastor Aeternus, chap. 2, 5)

“perpetual successors…over the whole Church” implies that the Church continues in perpetuity. Dr. Wilson’s belief that “the Church will die out for a period” is contrary to the constant teaching of the Church, contrary to Scripture, and contrary to dogma.

And it was wicked for OnePeterFive to republish that blog post, giving it a larger audience, doing more harm to souls. A Catholic Christian editor should have approached the author about that assertion, to remove or reword it, or reject the article in its entirety otherwise. I am not accusing Wilson of formal heresy. But that particular sentence is material heresy. And the faithful need to learn that the Church can always be trusted, even if you are conservative or traditionalist and the Pope is liberal, or vice versa.

Ronald L Conte Jr.

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