My province, Quebec, used to be one of the most Catholic places on Earth….and then the 1960’s came, and along with it something we call here the “Quiet Revolution” (think if the French Revolution, only without the guillontine). The population turned again the Church quite dramatically, and the period prior to the Quite Revolution has been termed “The Great Darkness” in the popular myth. There are a million and one stories of terrible persecutions inflicted upon the people by the priests, as though the Church was the root of all evil. Our poor bishops have been at quite a loss as to how to respond, because they are damned no matter what they do. If they defend themselves, the Church, or her teaching, they are simply denounced as wanting to “reassert” their “control” and bring people back to the Great Darkness. And if they are not denounced, they are simply ignored.
While I think the bishops (and, indeed, all the clergy) would do better the assert themselves a bit more strongly, I also think that the solution to this crisis in our society lies in the hands of the laity. It is up to the ordinary lay folk to shed some light in this supposed “Darkness”, because they cannot be accused of being evil clerics — they aren’t clerics! The bishops, I believe, have been hoping for exactly this kind of movement for a long time, and we are beginning to see the start of something with the publication of a new journal called Égards: revue de la résistance conservatrice.
My belief, though, is that the real apologetics power will come from the Catholics of my generation, who grew up after Vatican II and the Quiet Revolution. We can’t possibly be accused of nostalgia for the “Great Darkness”, because we weren’t even born yet! We did not live those battles….instead, we are picking up the pieces from them. I’m starting to get those strange coincidences come my way regarding this….young adults sharing with me their desire to undertake apologetics work, and just now an email I received with links to all kinds of apologetics resources. The Lord shows what he wants by the results — time to see what he wants with all of this.