Those who have attentively read Iota Unum, Romano Amerio’s magisterial study of the doctrinal chaos in the Church since the last Ecumenical Council, will never, I think, forget its ending. After 750 pages of analysis almost incredible, and painful, in its objectivity and patience, a supernatural afflatus seems to touch the old man in his final pages, and he speaks as if by personal right those words spoken once by Isaias in Jerusalem:-

Custos, quid de nocte? Custos, quid de nocte? Dixit custos: venit mane et nox. Si quaeritis, quaerite; convertimini, venite.

(Watchman, what of the night? Watchman, what of the night? The watchman has said: the morning comes, and so does the night. If you are seeking, seek on; be converted, come.)

Iota Unum was published in 1985, still within the first generation of the great chaos. Twenty eight years have passed over us since then. What news now of the night? Last week has been not untypical. We have heard the president of the German bishops’ conference advocate the heresy that women can receive the sacrament of Holy Orders {not so, apparently: see first comment}, and the official ‘spokesman’ for the Holy See and and the President of the Pontifical Commission for Eucharistic Congresses both declare that friendships rooted in unnatural desire should receive the benefit of law. More to the point, no one expects for a moment that these eminent churchmen will be publicly rebuked by the vicar of Christ, let alone suspended a divinis. 

There are gleams of hope? Of course, and there always will be, since God loves His people. Yet for the moment, the night is still upon us. Is it the dawn or deeper gloom that lies ahead? None can  say.

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