October 9, 2015

Bishop Olmsted's Clarion Call to Catholic Men: The Apostolic Exhortation "Into the Breach"

Phoenix bishop Thomas Olmsted is urging the Catholic men of his diocese (and everywhere) to do battle with forces of evil that are "killing the remaining Christian ethos in our society and culture, and even in our homes." His Apostolic Exhortation "Into the Breach" calls men to stand up to threats against the Church, the traditional family and the values taught by Christ. (See video below and the Into the Breach website for more.)

Drawing on the military language used abundantly by Saint Paul in the Bible, Olmsted tells men that they have the privilege to be "soldiers of Jesus Christ and to do battle with the devil," who "is waging a fierce battle on masculinity and fatherhood in our day."

The bishop, in a powerfully worded letter, also invites them to respond to God’s call to enter the fray and there to "experience the joie de guerre of being soldiers for Christ." From the exhortation:
The world is under attack by Satan, as our Lord said it would be (1 Peter 5:8-14). This battle is occurring in the Church herself, and the devastation is all too evident. Since AD 2000, 14 million Catholics have left the faith, parish religious education of children has dropped by 24%, Catholic school attendance has dropped by 19%, infant baptism has dropped by 28%, adult baptism has dropped by 31%, and sacramental Catholic marriages have dropped by 41%. This is a serious breach, a gaping hole in Christ’s battle lines. While the Diocese of Phoenix may have fared better than these national statistics, the losses are staggering.
One of the key reasons that the Church is faltering under the attacks of Satan is that many Catholic men have not been willing to “step into the breach” – to fill this gap that lies open and vulnerable to further attack. A large number have left the faith, and many who remain “Catholic” practice the faith timidly and are only minimally committed to passing the faith on to their children. Recent research shows that large numbers of young Catholic men are leaving the faith to become "nones" – men who have no religious affiliation. The growing losses of young Catholic men will have a devastating impact on the Church in America in the coming decades, as older men pass away and young men fail to remain and marry in the Church, accelerating the losses that have already occurred.
These facts are devastating. As our fathers, brothers, uncles, sons, and friends fall away from the Church, they fall deeper and deeper into sin, breaking their bonds with God and leaving them vulnerable to the fires of Hell. While we know that Christ welcomes back every repentant sinner, the truth is that large numbers of Catholic men are failing to keep the promises they made at their children’s baptisms – promises to bring them to Christ and to raise them in the faith of the Church. ...
Into the Breach - Official Trailer

Men, do not hesitate to engage in the battle that is raging around you.

The battle that is wounding our children and families, the battle that is distorting the dignity of both women and men. This battle is often hidden, but the battle is real. It is primarily spiritual, but it is progressively killing the remaining Christian ethos in our society.

Are you ready to step into the breach?


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