Many Catholics will either travel to Compostela during the extended Holy Year or may follow from home the progress of others on the Way of Saint James, the Camino de Santiago.
A Catholic pilgrimage is a journey of prayer and penance, and during this time when the Catholic Church is suffering from divisions, all Catholics taking part in Xacobeo 2021 could use this opportunity to focus on prayer and penance for the unity of the Church and the Bishop of Rome, Pope Francis.
Such prayer must include repentance of all rebellion and schism. In these pages which support my Walking Out of the World pilgrimage, I provide some links to resources for countering those divisive movements in the Catholic Church which are causing confusion and damage of trust.
Much of this has been magnified by tribal groups that have formed on social media, combined with political programmes designed to weaponize the Catholic vote, or promoting a particular conspiracy theory, such as QAnon or anti-vaccination obsessions.
The end result of all this is commonly felt on a very personal level by individual Catholics who are distressed to discover that many of their friends (socially or in church, home schooling groups, etc.) have started to believe strange and compelling ideas which have taken over their lives, and which lead to division and rancour.
It is not unusual now to hear from a fellow Catholic saying, “I can’t understand how X has now become convinced that a satanic New World Order is trying to stop her going to church!”
When we hear these things it is inevitable that they all come from some mad place on social media, when we explore the chain of communication. But in some cases – and this is much more serious – we find that influential people or organisations within the Catholic Church are openly promoting such ideas and ideologies.
There are even some in the Church hierarchy who engage in openly schismatic propaganda, such as Archbishop Viganò who is not only at war with the teaching authority of the Church but actively conspiring with people who want to damage social cohesion in the USA and Europe. How can that possibly be a Catholic project?
If we are going to raise these urgent matters in prayer – on our pilgrimage – and ask for healing and reconciliation, we first need to know where they are coming from, so we can use both our faith and our reason to address them, and that is the focus of these pages.
“Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;W.B.Yeats
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned…”