The Heart of the Matter: Looking for Causes

Part 1 of 14 – This series of columns is based on the work of Fr. Chad Ripperger that analyzes the spirits of the past six generations and how those spirits have affected the Church.  We only ask that you consider whether his descriptions are true in a general sense, even if they do not describe you or people you know.

Why is the Church in decline in this part of the world?  We all notice it–including those outside the Church.  Within the Church we shake our heads and wring our hands as we recall bygone days.  And there are a thousand suggestions of “Here’s what we need to do…”  These suggestions usually focus on a symptom and not the cause.  For example, someone may say, “We don’t see as many young families in church; we need to reach out to young families.”  That certainly addresses a symptom, but it does not address the root of the problem: why are young families not interested in the message of eternal salvation?

Something indeed has happened.  Going to church on Sunday used to be part of our culture.  Norman Rockwell captured it in some of his paintings.  And before that, the Frenchman Alexis de Tocqueville wrote about it as he toured America in the mid nineteenth century.  So what happened?  Can we identify the root of the problem?  Fr. Chad Ripperger, whom I know personally, has offered some profound insights that dig as deeply as anything I have heard into the roots of our decline.  In the next few columns, I will be quoting from an article he wrote in 2012 titled “The Sixth Generation.”  He offers a great deal to think about as we seek to address a generation that is not interested in our message.

The topic of this article is the generational spirits of the past five generations. Demons invert the order established by God and they often do so by mimicking the things of God. God assigns each person a Guardian Angel, which is common knowledge among Catholics. Many Catholics, however, do not know that the pious tradition also tells us that God assigns Guardian Angels to families, corporations, certain buildings, churches, parishes, states, countries, and regions. Demons do the inverse. By the permissive will of God, certain demons afflict families, corporations, parishes, countries, and regions. But one area often overlooked in this discussion is how demons invert the order established by God in relation to a particular generation. (all quotes from Latin Mass magazine, summer 2012)

Do not conform yourselves to this age but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and pleasing and perfect. (Romans 12:2)