“When one wants to destroy religion, one begins by attacking the priest, because where there is no longer a priest, there is no longer a sacrifice, and where there is no longer a sacrifice, there is no more religion.” These words of the Curé of Ars offer the best commentary that can be made of current affairs in the Church in 2019.
St. Jean-Marie Vianney is affirming the close relationship that unites the priest, sacrifice and religion. In his day people could still remember the priests massacred by the Revolution and the priests who had taken the oath of allegiance to the civil constitution of the clergy. From within and without the Church, the priest was attacked so that there would no longer be a sacrifice, no longer be a religion, except that of the goddess of Reason, seated in Notre-Dame de Paris, in the form of an actress in a red Phrygian cap. The Curé of Ars used to say, “Leave a parish without a priest for 20 years: people will begin to adore animals.”
Today, sacrifice has come under attack from without and within. The consumerist world rejects the spirit of sacrifice in order to satisfy its appetite for enjoyment: pleasure, money and pride, as St. John tells us. Unfortunately, in seeking to open the Church to the modern world, the conciliar aggiornamento has set the spirit of sacrifice aside, just as it has relegated the tabernacle to the side-aisles: the altar has become a table, the Mass has become a meal. The salvation of the planet is preached from the pulpit, along with the welcoming of migrants…The Curé of Ars taught his flock:
All the good works in the world together are not equivalent to the sacrifice of the Mass, because they are the works of men, and Holy Mass is the work of God.
It is time to realize that the priest without sacrifice leads straight to a religion without priests, to a Church without vocations, to churches without parishioners. We see all these evils today, and they overwhelm us. The Curé of Ars had the solution: “Oh! How good it is for a priest to offer himself to God as a sacrifice each morning.”