Saturday 29 May 2021

Deadly Indifference - Eric Sammons - How the Church Lost Her Mission, And How We can Reclaim It

Deadly Indifference: 
How the Church Lost Her Mission, 
And How We can Reclaim It
Eric Sammons 
ISBN 9781644132500
eISBN 9781644132517

I have yet to read anything from the pen of Eric Sammons that was not very well done. From some of his excellent non fiction works such as Holiness for Everyone and Be Watchful to his wonderful fictional short story, The Profession. But as much as I love his other works, this is the most important work he has written to date. It is a book that should be in every Catholic home, School and church library. I would love to see a benefactor come forward and gift a copy to every bishop in North America. This is a book that has the power to shape, change and renew the church and through that the world. 

This book is much needed in the church today. And I can only imagine would the would could be like in 5 or 10 years if this books is widely distributed, read, and applied. The chapters and sections in the volume are:

Foreword, by Bishop Athanasius Schneider

I. Church Teaching on Salvation 
      What Is the Mission of the Church?
     “Outside the Church There Is No Salvation”
     Proclaiming the Only Ark of Salvation
     Can a Non-Catholic Be Saved?

II. The Emphasis Shift
     Making a Shift
     From Proclamation to Dialogue
     From Unique to One among Many
     From Warning against Errors to Promoting Commonalities

III. The Theological Aftermath
     The Salvation Spectrum
     Salvation Optimism: The Inclusivists
     Many Paths to Heaven: The Pluralists
     Defending the Tradition: The Exclusivists

IV. The Practical Aftermath
     The Church of Ecumenism
     Dialogue Supplants Proclamation
     Being Together to Pray: The Assisi World Day of Prayer
     Throwing Caution to the Wind
     Pope Francis Accelerates the Shift
     “Willed by God”: The Abu Dhabi Declaration

V. The Impact
     Changing Our Beliefs
     Failure of the New Evangelization
     The Sad State of Today’s Catholic Parish

VI. The Way Forward
     Understanding Church Teaching on Salvation
     Bring Back the Old Evangelization
     Renewing the Parish
Appendix A: Can Catholics Criticize Popes and Councils?
Appendix B: U.S. Catholic Statistics — 1970-2019

Once I got going this book was very hard to put down. But to be honest, I hesitated about picking it up. I was well aware that it would not be an easy read. The text is masterfully done, and it is very accessible, but the content is very convicting. In the forward Bishop Athanasius Schneider states:

“Indeed, in our day war is almost everywhere stirred up and fomented against the revealed truth of God and against the primary mission of the Church to proclaim it strenuously and unambiguously.”

And he concludes the introduction with:

“May this book have a wide and beneficial reach and with God’s grace enkindle in the minds and hearts of its readers an unshakable love for the truth and the Church, because in her as St. Augustine says, “instead of victory, is truth; instead of high rank, holiness; instead of peace, felicity; instead of life, eternity.” (Civ 15:1)”

The description of the book is:

“In captivating detail, Sammons explores why the New Evangelization was destined to fail and explains how the decision to de-emphasize the Church's exclusive role in the process of salvation inevitably led to mass abandonment of the sacraments. He identifies how certain teachings were ignored or toned down--leading to their sudden collapse--and how progressives elevated ecumenism over evangelization and supplanted proclamation of the Gospel with "dialogue."”

And that is what you will find. An honest critique of some of the ways the church has gone wrong, and clearly and statistically shows the consequences. He highlights very clearly what church teachings are ignored or barely touched upon. And he sheds light on progressive ideas that have been elevated and celebrated. 

The book will receive mixed reviews. Some will hate it and decry it with a vengeance. Others will praise it with out question or critique. But most should approach it with an openness to the Holy Spirit’s leadings, and they will find much of worth and value in this book. It might not be a book we want, but it is definitely a book we need! 

Another excellent volume from Sammons pen. And one that is much needed today. 

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2021 Catholic Reading Plan!

Books by Eric Sammons:
Holiness for Everyone: The Practical Spirituality of St. Josemaria Escriva
Who Is Jesus the Christ?: Unlocking the Mystery in the Gospel of Matthew
The Old Evangelization: How to Spread the Faith Like Jesus Did
Be Watchful: Resist the Adversary, Firm in Your Faith
The Jesse Tree: An Advent Devotion
Bitcoin Basics: 101 Questions and Answers

The Profession

Contributed to:
Ecumenism and Interreligious Dialogue
The Passion of St. Edward, King and Martyr
The Sacrament of Confirmation - Presenter's Guide

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