A bracing article by Susan Potts from the Remnant Newspaper.
In the days before the Changes, nobody used words like liturgy or eucharist or reconciliation. It was Mass and Holy Communion and Confession. Simple, straightforward words. Everyone knew what they meant. We didn’t talk about rubrics, and most laypeople didn’t know about ambos and aspersoria and thuribles. That was the priest’s business. Like a doctor, he had his professional lexicon, and it was really not our concern. We just followed along, confident that we were being led to Heaven.
That’s what we talked about then, Heaven and Purgatory, and what we had to do to reach the one and shorten the other. We shuddered to think about Hell, and so we didn’t talk about it much either. We just set about working out our salvation with fear and trembling, like St. Paul told us to do. All for the love of Jesus, the Glory of God, and the Salvation of souls, we used to say.
But you hardly ever hear about salvation anymore. The subject just doesn’t come up. Don’t you wonder why? Are Catholics that sure of Heaven, or is something else going on?
I think it’s the something else. There is a deep-seated reluctance in them to broach the subject. Something holds them back. It’s not that they’re silent. There’s plenty of vapid talk out there. But if you cut through the empty words and look below the surface of the mush that passes for theology, you’ll find the obstacle.
It’s a triple-walled mental block.
First, people don’t know what Heaven is anymore. Second, they don’t know what’s a sin and what’s not. And third, they don’t know what to do about that troublesome doctrine, Extra Ecclesia Nulla Salus. These three things make it nearly impossible to talk about salvation.
Consider the first obstacle. Too many years of agnostic priests and professors telling us that we don’t really know anything about Heaven has dampened supernatural faith and hope. Nothing seems clear. Questions aren’t answered; doubts are not dispelled. Retreats, religious education lectures, and classroom discussions often go something like this:
“Is Heaven a place?” a student asks.
The pedant-in-charge shakes his head, but says nothing. He strokes his chin and lowers his lids, pondering the question. Everyone waits.
“It is a state of being,” he says at last, carefully, as if he were imparting a deep truth.
The student persists. “But what does that mean?”
“We’re not really sure.”
The student sighs. He turns his head, looks out the window, and never brings it up again.
I’ve heard this sort of thing too many times. No sooner spoken, but the words evaporate, portentous as thin smoke. Nothing adheres to the mind; nothing cleaves to the soul.
Enough of this nonsense. Of course Heaven is a place, and those in authority should say so, loud and clear. What this supernatural place is like is beyond our imagination, but that doesn’t mean it’s not real. It is above nature, incorruptible; its substance endures forever.
I mean, come on, if Heaven is not a place, then where is Our Lord? What does He see through His beautiful eyes, and what does He touch with his Wounded Hands? And just where is Our Lady, the Immaculate Conception, she who was assumed body and soul into Heaven?
They’re not floating in some ethereal mist. We’re talking physical presence here. Someday, when we behold our King and Queen reigning gloriously in Heaven, it’s real faces we’ll see, real voices we’ll hear.
Retrieved June 13, 2018 from https://www.remnantnewspaper.com/web/index.php/articles/item/3931-where-have-all-the-catholics-gone