There has been a lot of controversy roiling the Catholic Church lately.

Pope Francis’s alleged liberal leanings were recently questioned by a group of four cardinals in what is known as a dubia (Latin for “doubts’) regarding the Pope’s recent encyclical Amoris Laetitia.

One of those cardinals, Joachim Meisner, was recently relieved of his senior position within the Vatican. Hours after receiving the news of his dismissal, he died in his sleep.

Pope Francis removed Meisner, along with three other conservative-minded members of Church leadership, thereby decreasing the amount of opposition to potentially liberal policies.

Meisner was close friends with former Pope Benedict, and the predecessor to Francis sent a special note to honor his friend at his funeral Mass. However, the note contained some startling language for members of the Catholic Church.

Here is the incredible part from the former Pope’s comments:

We know that this passionate pastor and shepherd found it particularly difficult to leave his post, especially at a time in which the Church stands in particularly pressing need of convincing shepherds who can resist the dictatorship of the spirit of the age [Zeitgeistes] and who live and think the faith with determination. However, what moved me all the more was that, in this last period of his life, he learned to let go and to live out of a deep conviction that the Lord does not abandon his church, even when the boat has taken on so much water as to be on the verge of capsizing.

Whoa. It should give pause to Catholics, and all Christ believers, when a former Pope warns that the Church is in danger of going under.

Benedict’s words carry great weight, and his observation is very acute. The Church is currently debating various issues related to sexuality, marriage, divorce, globalization, and economics. Politically-left and politically-right factions are discussing these issues with increasing urgency. There is talk of a potential schism occurring, depending on where Francis leads the Church.

It’s no secret that in Europe and America, the liberalism within popular culture is having a great effect on the Church. Benedict is warning pious observers to not give in to the popular will, and to stand strong for the Church’s values, history, and witness.

All believers in Christ, regardless of if they belong to the Catholic Church, should heed these words.

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