Below is a list of things which I think have seriously undermined the Church. Destroying the Liturgy is one thing, sexual and financial scandals another, these have been discussed ad nauseam. Here are, to my way of thinking some other culprits, equally effective in both the East and the West ....
- Romantic fiction. Romance is dangerous. Loving a creature in themselves is always dangerous. It is idolatry. True human love is sacrificial and always looks to the Greater Good, and leads to knowledge of God. Romance and the belief in the goodness of a creature as simply that, a creature, is dangerous. Romance tells us feelings can change the world. Yeuch...
- Charles Dickens's A Christmas Carol. Gosh that book is dangerous. It turns Christmas into something fluffy about being nice to each other. It does virtually nothing to endorse the Incarnation as the source of our salvation, it denies the might and power of God. That Marleys' ghosts could change how Scrooge acts is direct contradiction of Scripture: think the rich man and Lazarus. Only the cross can change us. Oh, but it all FEELS soo good and soo cosy. Yes that is precisely the problem. Now Christmas has become one sentimental, fluff-fest with a sprinkling of something supernatural and sparkly, where we can feel good about feeling good. Don't be taken in brothers and sisters, this is dangerous stuff.
- Belief in Intelligent Aliens. It is getting increasingly difficult to convince people that intelligent aliens don't exist. They don't. They have no role in the economy of salvation therefore they don't exist. Say this and you are considered backward. What about all the EVIDENCE that they exist? There isn't any. There have been undoubtedly some strange experiences that people have undergone. Those experiences are real, but in trying to pin them on encounters with alien intelligences is where the fallacy lies. There are things which are more intelligent than us, that can manipulate us and seek to destroy us, but they are not creatures from another planet. As soon as you start believing in aliens, man ceases to be special, ceases to be made in the image and likeness of God, ceases to be loved especially by God. The universal significance of the Incarnation, Death and Resurrection of Our Saviour is eroded. We are geocentric and more significantly Christ-centric, that is what makes the Earth special, not to be worshipped, but special nevertheless. Heliocentricism is an absurdity, the Sun is not special. Space is very big, very very big, it has no geometrical centre, the ONLY centre is theological: Man and God.
- Progress and Evolution. The history of the Church is one of increasing persecution, increasing fragmentation, increasing darkness in the world, increasing difficulty in living the faith, increasing clouding of the truth. There is no triumph of progress. There is only the Triumph of the Cross. Progress and the theory of evolution must be decoupled, that is where the bad science lies. Evolution is an incomplete science, there is change that occurs over generations, it can be observed and scientific method can be used to chart it. There is nothing wrong with evolutionary theory per se. It is only scientism which links this to some "good", some rational "progress", some time dependent objective..... this is where the rot lies.
- Revolution. Closely aligned to ideas of progress is the concept of things being revolutionary, fresh, new, and radical; breathed into this time and this space for the benefit of mankind. It is a myth and a very dangerous one, modern Catholicism has been completely swamped by it and the Church is seriously undermined as a result. Our faith tells us that which is fresh is that which is eternal and unchanging.
- Being reactionary. The alternative to being a revolutionary is often seen as being reactionary. Don't fall for this. Revolutionaries feed off reactionaries, don't give them their life blood. To be a reactionary is often seen as equating to being a traditionalist, it isn't. True Tradition isn't reactionary, it pays no heed to the revolutionary, it is superior in every way, it does not even engage in battle with the revolutionary, it is safe and secure in itself, even to facing death.
- Being anti-science. There is nothing in science which contradicts the Truth of our Faith. It is scientism which makes false claims about science and sets it out to be something it isn't, something salvific. Knowledge of science is vital, especially its limitations.
- Taking sides politically. I really don't think you can ever say that one political party is better than another in terms of how it fits in with the our life as members of the Church of God. You can be in politics and be a Christian but you cannot wear the badge, you cannot call yourself a Conservative Christian or a Christian Socialist any more than you can call yourself a feminist Christian or an environmental Christian or a gay Christian or indeed a straight Christian. But we can fight, we can fight where we see our Faith being undermined by the state, just never trust a political process to assist in any way. All politics has progress at its root, therefore it is all wrong.
- Eastern Pagan Mysticism. Autoeroticism with smells, chants and strange symbols..... don't go there, but if you have come from there because it brought you to the Truth: thanks be to God!
Llanthony Priory in S Wales, not I gather wrecked by the Reformation but by lax discipline and too much rich food.