“A plague of misery on a scale never known before”

Phoenix Bishop Thomas Olmsted tells National Catholic Prayer Breakfast the disaster predicted by Pope St. Paul VI in the encyclical Humanae vitae has come to pass

Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted of Phoenix speaks April 23, 2019, during the National Catholic Prayer Breakfast in Washington. (Tyler Orsburn/CNS)

Bishop Thomas Olmsted of Phoenix called on a gathering of the nation’s Catholic leaders to stand up to the heresies of the modern age and defend the dignity of the human person, body and soul, as an integral part of defending the faith.

Speaking at the National Catholic Prayer Breakfast April 23, the keynote speaker said that the importance of the human body was at the center of a contemporary moral crisis, and crucial to presenting the Church’s teaching in modern society.

Olmsted said that he believes the “disaster” predicted by Pope St. Paul VI in the encyclical Humanae vitae had come to fruition. Quoting from an exhortation to the married couples of his own diocese, he said that the sexual revolution of the last century had caused humanity “a plague of misery on a scale never known before.”

The family, Olmsted said, was the sign that would defeat the heresies of the current age, all of which concerned the human body.  Whether in reference to the true nature of marriage, life, and gender, or the resurrection of Christ, when the dignity of the body is questioned, Olmsted said, the truth preached by the Church is cast aside, to the detriment of marriage and unborn children.

Sacramental marriage “stands now in the way of the gender ideology,” he said, insisting that Catholics must proclaim the truth and oppose attempts to weaken marriage and the family – attempts which “do nothing to strengthen our great country.”

“Look at the vociferous opposition to the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act,” said Olmsted, referring to Congressional attempts to legislate to require that doctors provide age-appropriate care for infants who survive late-term abortions.

“Where does this blatant disregard come from?” he asked. “From a hardened heart.”

Olmsted said it is the great duty of Catholics to “stand up for each child,” offering a courageous witness for life. This, he said, requires each person to “expand our hearts to receive that child” and to “stand in the breech left by hardened hearts.”

“We Christians, then, must stand up for this reality of marriage today, in our homes, and in the public square, despite the real risk of persecution for doing so,” he said.

“We can do this. We were made for such a time as this.”

Full story at Catholic News Agency.


  1. Love Bishop Olmsted’s phrase “dignity of the human person, body and soul!” Take a look around folks – notice all of the people disrespecting their bodies by allowing themselves to be grossly overweight and putting ugly tattoos on the temple of the Holy Spirit. Think about all the unhealthy food and surgery drinks we are consuming these days, also horrible vaping. It is a SIN!

  2. Lou Cumming says

    Right on, Bishop Olmsted. Now do as you say and publicly admonish those Catholic politicians at all levels who proclaim their Catholicity BUT then vote to allow abortion, SOGI ideas, and HR-5 now on the floor of the House.
    We laity await that show of courage!

  3. St. Christopher says

    The Bishop is a good man, one of few extant bishops who can be so described. However, it is important, Excellency, to focus on some other things, too: (1) contraception, where the evil starts; (2) the embrace of homosexuality, the Church must step up to this “disorder” and expunge seminarians and ordained who try to hide this; (3) ignoring Catholic Tradition, a true evil, from misapplying Catholic teachings, the Catechism, Scripture and the truest expression of the sacraments (i.e., the TLM); and (4) sexual license, fornication is a ticket to Hell, too; time to step up and tell the world where we stand as Catholics.

    • Sorry, but authentic Catholicism does not necessarily believe that the TLM is the “truest expression of the sacraments” at the exclusion of the Ordinary Form. The Mass — period — whether in the Ordinary or the Extraordinary Forms IS the truest expression.

    • Anonymous says

      I once heard Bishop Olmsted give a talk on restoring our Sacred Tradition in his Diocese! I thought that was great! He talked about his high esteem for the old Latin Tridentine Mass! And the priests who offer it in his Diocese! Wonderful! He also believes in Traditional Marriage and Family, and traditional roles of men and women– and I thought that was terrific! Would LOVE to live in his Diocese!

  4. I find the Bishop confusing. What three specific things –not generalities — would the Bishop advocate doing first?

    • If it’s anything like most parishes, the three things are:
      1) sign up for formed.org because they don’t offer real adult faith formation
      2) pray the divine mercy chaplet; why that’s so big now I don’t know, but everyone seems to be pushing it as the latest, greatest answer to all that ails the church
      3) spend time in adoration praying for the church and the world; hard to argue against that one

    • mike m.— don’t you think they should have started to fix things about 50 years ago— at the end of the 1960s????

    • mike m.— realistically— don’t you think they should have started to fix things about 50 years ago— at the end of the 1960s????

  5. J LaLanne says

    Bishop Olmsted’s comments addressing the “dignity of the human person, body and soul” are very much appreciated. Take a look around and observe how people are disrespecting their own bodies , the Temple of the Holy Spirit, by eating bad food to excess, drinking alcohol and using drugs. Many people are grossly overweight. Also, people adorn themselves with ugly tattoos. These actions are disrespectful of the gift of our bodies and are SINFUL. Wake up people!

  6. St Christopher: please stop spreading heresies and falsehoods. One form of the Holy Mass is not “truer” than the other. As the Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI Emeritus, taught – both the EF and the OF of the Mass are valid and beautiful. The presence of Christ in the Eucharist is not better or more “truer” in the EF Mass than the OF Mass.

    • St. Christopher says

      you and “jon” are of one, incorrect, mind (yes, censors, a response should be permitted on CCD). The point is not that the Novus Ordo lacks any authority; under the Doctrine of Indefectibility the NO is licit. The point — and you know this — is that the mandatory sentence of using the NO serves to further weaken the Church. What is needed is the infusion of full Catholic Tradition, including belief in the Real Presence, of which many Catholics are now ignorant, or reject. No falsehoods, and certainly no heresy. Failure to adhere to Tradition dooms the institutional Church. Vatican II and its implementation have been a complete disaster to the institutional Church. But then, the lame need to call out to Christ to be saved.

      • Totally wrong is SC–the resident apologist for the religion called “traditionalism.” The near mandatory use of the Mass of Paul VI did not at all “serve to further weaken the Church.” This is false. Rather, the Magisterium required its use in order to preserve UNITY in the Church by having one rite, not two! What would have indeed weakened the Church is half the Church using one Mass and the other half using another. You want to destroy the Church? Then divide it! That’s Satan’s agenda. And the folks today who use the TLM as a sort of wedge to divide the Church–separating themselves from the bishops and the Holy Father–are playing right into the Devil’s hands unbeknownst to them. Beware.

      • Anonymous says

        It is licit and valid and the Sacrifice of Christ on Calvary. The “NO” did not weaken the Church. It is the Will of God and God does not will to weaken the Church. There IS much ignorance of Catholicism among Catholics. The cause is in the family and in some of the clergy. Theologians, religious and lay people all have had a hand in this.

        • Anonymous says

          Many experts believe that the Novus Ordo Missae did weaken the Church a great deal– and thousands did leave the Church, after its implementation! After the Council– over 200,000 clerics resigned and left, too! Many felt that the New Mass was simply wrong! But who knows, if this was the Will of God?? No one can know that! And the New Mass was implemented — and fully supported!– by a Saint, for whom it is named– Pope St. Paul VI!!

          • Experts? Right. You mean pseudo-scholars who have made an industry out of lambasting the sacraments of the Church in the Ordinary Form, thereby veering themselves into heresy. We know their names; many of them have become blog-celebrities. They have much to answer for on the Day of Judgment.

          • Anonymous says

            No, Jon, not everyone thinks and believes as you do. There are always going to be differences of opinion among great scholars— you certainly are not among them. Many great Catholic intellectuals and scholars critiqued the Council. One was famed Dietrich von Hildebrand and his wife. Every scholar has their point of view.

          • Anonymous says

            jon, there are many scholars who existed long before your time, and they all had their own scholarly opinions on religious matters. And no, they did not write a computer “blog” — and did not “lambast” anyone. That’s silly! A scholar writes serious books and articles– and is very respected. There is one famous Saint — St. Padre Pio!!– who bore the holy Stigmata of Christ, and was granted permission from the Vatican, to lifelong continue to say only the old Latin Tridentine Mass. You might find his reasons for that very interesting!

          • Anonymous says

            Of course– we receive Our Lord in Holy Communion, at both the Old Latin Mass and the New Mass– a tremendous gift!!

  7. God bless Bishop Olmsted! Yes, the immature 1960s “sexual revolution” has caused humanity “a plague of misery on a scale never known before”. Sin causes death to body and soul.

  8. Bishop Olmsted left out one very important concept—-the fact that most American Catholic bishops (and those in Europe as well) have abandoned teaching of the faith at the pulpit. Ask yourself, when is the last time you heard a priest—or bishop—talk about the strengthening of marriage, the sin of adultery, or the immorality of birth control?????

    • Anonymous says

      My besetting sins are gluttony, sloth and anger-they never preach about those either.

    • Anonymous says

      I agree! Catholics need to be fully formed in Faith and Morals, and taught and guided daily, to practice our holy religion well! The clergy needs to be very excellent, and well-trained! .

  9. Lou Varini says

    Bishop Olmsted speaks as if he knew what was coming in this article just published this morning:


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