Who Will Speak for the Lost Sheep Now?

The following excerpts are from an article on Crisis Magazine’s website. Dr. Esolen teaches Renaissance English Literature and the Development of Western Civilization at Providence College. His latest book is from Sophia Institute Press, Reflections on the Christian Life.

Forgive me, Lord, if I use your words for an admonitory parable. You said to the Pharisees, “What man among you, having a hundred sheep, and learning that one of them has wandered into the wilderness, will not leave the ninety nine and go after the lost sheep? And when he has found it, will he not call his friends and say, Rejoice with me, for I have found the sheep that was lost?”

That is why you came among us, to call sinners back to the fold. Not to pet and stroke them for being sinners, because that is what you mean by “lost,” and what you mean by “dead,” when you asked us to consider the young man who had wandered into the far country. The father in your parable wanted his son alive, not dead. The son said, “Father, I have sinned before heaven and you. Now I am not worthy to be called your son.” He spoke but the truth, and that truth set him free.

So I am looking at a world in a shambles. We do not have Pharisees who preen themselves for having followed the letter of the law and missed its soul. We have Pharisees who preen themselves for disobeying the law, even the most serious admonitions of the law, even your own clear words on marriage and divorce, while presuming to have discovered a soul-of-the-law whose existence has eluded two thousand years of martyrs, saints, popes, bishops, and theologians. “I thank you, O God, that you have made me a sinner and a publican, and not like these others who set their aim so high.”

In this world that I see, there is no sheepfold left. “What man among you, having a hundred sheep, and seeing the fold smashed and hirelings among the flocks, men who, while wolves are tearing the bellies of the sheep, are themselves roasting mutton on spits, will not leave the ninety nine and go into the wilderness to find one, and when he finds it dead already, will not hold his head high and say, Well, I did my best!”

Shepherd or Hireling?
Shepherd or Hireling?

It will be said that the one—the unrepentant or semi-repentant sinner, the one who wants to have the faith on his own terms—is “marginalized,” a word I detest, but which may serve my purposes this once. If adults in immoral sexual relationships are “marginalized,” Lord, let me speak up now for people who do not even make it to the margins, for the poorest of the poor, for people who have no advocate at all.

Let me speak for the children of divorce, who see their homes torn in two, because of a mother or a father who has shrugged away the vow of permanence. I see them straining to put a fine face on it, to protect the very parents who should have protected them, to squelch back their own tears so as not to hurt those who have hurt them. Who speaks for them, harried from pillar to post? Who pleads their case, whose parents conveniently assume that their children’s happiness must depend upon their own contentment, and not the other way around? Where is my Church’s apostolate for the children sawn in half, while the Solomons of our time looked the other way?

Let me speak for the children thrust into confusion, to justify the confusion of their parents or of people in authority over them. Here is a boy whose father is absent or aloof. He needs to be affirmed in his boyhood, but he shies away from the other boys. Then sidles the teacher into the garden of his boyhood to suggest to him unrealities that he cannot understand. …

Let me speak for the children exposed to unutterable evils on all sides. Here is a girl at age twelve who has seen things on a screen that her grandmother could never have imagined. She is taking pictures of herself already, and making “friends” among the sons and daughters of Belial. This is happening under our very eyes. She goes to the drug store and must confront magazines for “women” blaring out their headlines about sex and what without any irony goes by the name of “beauty,” and nobody says, “Why should this be?” Who speaks up for her innocence? Where are the leaders of my Church, helping her to become a gracious and godly Christian woman, rather than a poor self-prostituted wreck, more cynical about the opposite sex at age twenty than the hardest thrice-divorced old woman would be? Who pleads for her protection? Who notices her?…

Let me speak up for the young people who do in fact follow the moral law and the teachings of the Church. Many of these are suffering intense loneliness. Have you bothered to notice? Have you considered all those young people who want to be married, who should be married, but who, because they will not play evil’s game, can find no one to marry? …  Do you care, leaders of my Church? Or do you not rather tacitly agree with their fellows who do the marital thing without being married? Do you not rather share that bemused contempt for the “old fashioned” purity they are trying to preserve?

What help do you give them? Do you not rather at every step exacerbate their suffering, when by your silence and your telling deeds you confirm in them the terrible fear that they have been played for chumps, that their own leaders do not believe, that they would have been happier in this world had they gone along with the world, and that their leaders would have smiled upon them had they done so?

You want more? More people who do not merit a footnote? What about the men and women abandoned by their spouses? Have you stood up for their rights? What about the innocent men who, after they have been abandoned, become in effect slaves to a corrupt and lawless regime? Have you stood up for them? Founded a society for mutual support?

Who speaks for the penitent, trying to place his confidence in a Church that cuts his heart right out, because she seems to take his sins less seriously than he does?

Venturing forth into the margins, my leaders? You have not placed one toe outside of the plush rugs of your comfort. Do so, I beg you! Come and see all those whom the Lonely Revolution has hurt. Leave your parlors and come to the sheepfold! [Dr. Anthony Esolen, Crisis Magazine]

The modernist heresy now is in control of the Church and the “Kasper Agenda”  prelates are lauded by the world  for their “mercy” but it is a false mercy, which fails to comfort the victims of the sins that Pope Francis and his cadre ignore. Broken marriages hurt children. True mercy would help parents sustain their marriages and protect their vulnerable families. True mercy would support Christian youth to live chaste lives and make wholesome choices.

In the past few weeks since Pope Francis engineered his Synod, it has been gratifying to see the beautiful response of so many good people, such as Dr. Esolen, Archbishop Athanasius Schneider, Cardinal Pell, Cardinal Burke, even to bloggers and mainstream Catholic journalists.

Please continue your penances and prayers, especially the Rosary!

Immaculate Heart of Mary, we place our trust in thee!

Viva Christo Rey!