The Church is facing real and serious difficulties. Bishops and theologians have serious disagreements about the meaning of the Gospel; about what is true, and what is not. Some Catholic institutions seem to be faltering in their sacred mission, or even willfully betraying it. Leaders of the Church must answer serious questions about their approach to sexual abuse, about the Church's relations with atheistic states, and about their commitment to the Church's unchanging doctrinal teachings. And beyond all that, faith itself is faltering in the west, and once-Christian societies seem to have come under the ever-stronger grasp of relativism's dictatorship.
Difficulty begets confusion, and confusion can beget despair.
At CNA, we report on the Church's trials and struggles, and on the Church's victories and graces, because the Lord calls us, and all Catholic media apostolates, to a prophetic mission. Our call is to tell the truth, as best as we can. We hope to dispel confusion by revealing the truth, even when that truth is difficult to face. And we hope that knowing the truth will be a source of encouragement, and an inspiration for believers to know that holiness really matters.
The Church has always faced grave difficulties. Blessed John Henry Newman wrote that "the whole course of Christianity from the first, when we come to examine it, is but one series of troubles and disorders. Every century is like every other, and to those who live in it seems worse than all times before it. The Church is ever ailing, and lingers on in weakness...Religion seems ever expiring, schisms dominant, the light of Truth dim, its adherents scattered."
As they travelled with Jesus, the apostles jockeyed for position and favor. Paul and Barnabas suffered a great rift. The Church has endured schisms, heresies, and leaders without virtue.
Struggle and difficulty are the ordinary vocation of the Church. We imagine that things were better in some bygone era, but in truth, they weren't. Though the problems may have been different, they were no less real, and no less grave.