Bishop Brian J. Kennedy, O.S.B.
The modern church is a combination of politics and religion, paganism and Christianity. The modern church places entitlements above service; Law above Grace. It is a man made institution that exists counter to the church of the Apostles. It is most properly called the counter church.
Wrapped in the mantle of religion, politics becomes holy and an exercise of divine authority. The divine right of Kings becomes the divine right of clergy to change and nullify God’s Word, to meet the needs of their political agenda. Religion becomes impotent as the power of politics becomes solidified.
Like the Rabbi who blesses pork and calls it fish, the modern church blesses pagan practice and calls it Christianity. Paganism has succeeded in the church more than Biblical Christianity could ever hope to prosper. Pagan practices appeal to the emotion, not the mind. Emotionalism has been allowed to replace the Holy Spirit.
Beautiful to look at, lovely to hold; pagan practices can give that warm, cuddly feeling sought by those lacking spiritual discernment. Apparitions on demand, supposed visions from heavenly personages combine to give a false sense of security to those on the precipice. Millions call good, bad; and bad, good. Millions call error, truth; and truth, error. Millions go to hell with the blessing of the counter church.
There is an old adage that says it is not what you look at that is important, but what you see. People naturally seek a moral compass and direction from the “leaders of the church”. As the people see clergy dressed in the attire of the Imperial Roman Court or the clothing of the Byzantine Empire they are suitably impressed with this ostentatious demonstration of presumed authority.
When these regal authorities speak, the world listens. The claims to divine authority, evidenced by their vestures and clerical adornments, are amplified by titles designed to impress. The people are told not to question, just obey. Pay, pray and obey becomes the express ticket on the glory train. As they look, they no longer see a man before them but a quasi divine authority with the power to save or condemn.
Forced to admit to the human frailties of these leaders as they are discovered having immoral sex with persons of the same or opposite gender, stealing from the church funds and living private lives inconsistent with their divine vocation and calling; seeing the clergy often living the good life of the rich and famous off the back of the church faithful who sacrifice to donate “for the good of Holy Mother Church”, the aberrant behavior and scandalous events are seen through rose-colored glasses.
Rather than admit that Satan and all that is evil have entered into the church, even to the highest levels, the abomination is seen as a ‘personal moral lapse’ of the individual clergy. When the evil is so all pervasive and extends to the entire world; when new cases of clergy sexual abuse or theft is seen as a cliché it is no longer a personal moral lapse; it is a sign of a corrupt institution, it is a sign of the counter church. The clergy are much too busy expanding their power base or satisfying their basest instincts to be of service to the church or a shepherd to souls. The Holy Spirit has left the building.
The church established by Christ sets man free; the counter church established by man makes bondservants of all. It is not numerous laws that will set man free; it is the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit.
BISHOP FULTON J. SHEEN WRITES ABOUT THE COUNTER CHURCH