Summary: Our condition in our Church and our country is so far gone, that only heartfelt, deep, corporate Church repentance could mediate to some degree our impending punishment.

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Stand in the Gap!

"I have searched among them for someone who could build a wall or stand in the gap before me to keep me from destroying the land; but I found no one.Therefore

I have poured out my fury upon them; with my fiery wrath I have consumed them; I have brought down their conduct upon their heads, says the Lord GOD."

Ex 22:30-31

Back in the days of Daniel, King Belshazzar threw a drunken brawl for a thousand of his cronies and drank from the "golden and silver vessels taken from the

house of God in Jerusalem." They worshipped idols and profaned God’s sacred things at a sacrilegious feast. Then the hand of God appeared and His finger wrote on the wall, MENE, TEKEL and PERES. "When the king saw the wrist and hand that wrote, his face blanched; his thoughts terrified him, his hip joints shook, and his knees knocked."

Then Daniel was brought into the King’s presence to interpret the writing. This is what Daniel aid: "These words mean, MENE, God has numbered your kingdom and put an end to it; TEKEL, you have been weighed on the scales and found wanting; PERES, your kingdom has been divided and given to the Medes and Persians... The same night Belshazzar, the Chaldean king, was slain." (cf Dan 5) The time betwen the handwriting on the wall and punishment was very short!

We have had in our country three very dramatic events in the last 18 months. First we had 9-11, the World Trade Center disaster. Then we had the Catholic

Church scandals (our 9-11 warning.) Then we had the recent Space shuttle disaster. Are these events our hand writing on the wall from God? Is the Catholic Church in America and our nation being weighed in God’s scales of justice and found wanting? Are our days numbered? Scripture says judgment starts with the house of God. Since the hand of God is revealing the corruption and shame at the highest levels of the Church in America, that indicates that happy days are not ahead for America. Rather it indicates that shame, judgment and punishment are around the corner.

James Hitchcock, a founder of the Fellowship of Catholic Scholars, wrote an article recently entitled "Why the American Church can’t change" In it he states:

- "Some Bishops have stated publicly that they do not regard homosexuality as even relevant to clerical pedophillia, even though most clerical pedophilles

prey on boys."

- Dissenters and those sympathetic to dissent, are so deeply entrenched on all levels of American Catholicism that they are now in the process of exploiting to their own advantage, the most devastating manifestations of their position."

Dissent has been allowed by the Bishops to go unchallenged and unchecked for decades. From Humanae Vitae to Ex Corde Ecclesiae and lots in between, the

Bishops have "dissed" the Vatican. Theologians "diss" the Bishops, Priests "diss" the teachings of the Church and never speak about sin, death, Heaven

or Hell. People in the pews see all this and say, I guess I’m free to pick and choose what I want to believe. Dissidents have spawned dissidents. No surprise there. Fr. Richard John Neuhaus, the editor of First Things magazine says there are three things necessary to reform the Church, "Fidelity, Fidelity, Fidelity."

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