The Undead: those who have no need for the salvation that Christ offers.
Risk Factor #1: assuming one is alive when quite the opposite is true.
Identifying the Living and the Undead by their actions.
1. Lax liturgy is license to be lax in morality. A priest or bishop who plays loosely with the Liturgy is setting up himself and his flock for a fall. If a priest cannot stick to the script, what is he saying to his flock? There should be no surprise that priests who model dissent, even in little ways—which have a habit of becoming much bigger and more complicated viruses—that people under their care will soon be oblivious to the orthodox way to worship God. People perceive wiggle room as license to dissent. Wiggle room, like a loose nut on a bicycle wheel hub, will eventually lead to a weakening of the axle and the impairment of the wheel.
A relationship with Christ must acknowledge mystery. We can know God insofar as God, by His grace, reveals Himself to us in love for Him and His Church. As much as we might try, we can never box up that love. We cannot contain God in any neat little spiritual package of our own making. That does not mean, however, that we should not express that love as lovers do: 1) by celebrating faith with joy and dignity; 2) by living life joyfully in accord with God's commandments; 3) by inviting others into communion with God and His Church. Another word for that love is faith. Faith has boundaries, just as love does. Love that seeks to exploit others to satisfy one's selfish desires is hardly Christian love. How do we know these healthy boundaries? Doctrine identifies health and holiness. Doctrine identifies sin and death. Doctrine excludes error.
We know Christ by praying the Mass and by hearing Him in His word (Holy Scripture). We know Him by keeping His commandments, so we must know what those commandments are and what they require of us. We must strive to dispose ourselves fully to God's grace intellectually and physically because we are enfleshed souls created by God, not disembodied minds floating above our shoulders. Work our your salvation with fear and trembling, so Scripture reminds us (Philippians 2:12). Most people are living off the spiritual treadmill, it seems (your's truly, included, at times), judging from the weak witness of Catholics in the public square. Too many are seriously flabby when it comes to living the Faith.
People who have little or no sense of sin will have little sense of what constitutes true love and the sacred. Abuse and sin will run rampant in a community defined by permissiveness.
6. I Feel Good. In our diocese, it is now common to hear priests calling people to a "personal relationship with Christ", flavoured by a lot of me-first/God second language, while ignoring God's greatest gift to man: the Holy Eucharist. Holy Communion is the most intimate communion with God one can have with God this side of heaven. Yet, priests, evangelical and charismatic Catholics constantly stress a type of relationship with God that tends to fashion God in the image of some emotional caricature of Jesus, a teddybear god. Faith, for those of the "feeling" camp, is indeed a "felt" thing rather than a gift from God that engages the whole person, body and soul: intellect, memory and will. Feelings are elevated, practically deified. Catholic worship has become nothing more than a gathering of mumbling sycophants too weak to take up the challenge to live as Christ commands. Because feelings are fleeting, this kind of faith will not produce committed orthodox witnesses for Christ.
Perhaps the reason the architecture of Catholicism is literally and figuratively crumbling is that we are being given over to our feelings which are driven by that insatiable thirst to satisfy me. Me, me, me. We have forgotten that to be Christian is to die to self, to take up the cross and follow Jesus and thereby find ourselves in Christ. Instead, we are constantly reminded that God came to serve us/me—and HE did! But the important information that is frequently left out is that He came to serve us by saving us from sin and death and self centredness. That is the reason for which He came to serve us. He came to call us out of our sins and to embrace Him by embracing His commandments and to receive Him with utter humility in the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist. A soul polluted with entitlement is not properly disposed to receiving the King of Kings. A soul that does not recognize Jesus Christ on the cross (or in the Christmas crib) is a soul that will not recognize Him in the suffering of other people nor recognize Him in the moment each and every person faces Him after death. If one's vision is not prepared and purified by the Crucifixion and the carrying of one's own cross, nor will such a person recognize Christ in the Holy Eucharist.
7. Resist the zombies; shoot them in the head. The previous paragraph may seem unduly harsh. Put it this way—a heart that has stopped beating requires an electric shock to restart it. That said, some hearts fail to restart, and the Faith dies in them. That so many Catholics do not realize their spiritual hearts are dead in their chests means that the faithful are surrounded by a multitude of zombies in an ever growing apocalypse. The zombies have been fed a diet of dead flesh by zombie-priests. There can be no accommodation of the dead among the living.
Final word for the Resistance. Pope Benedict XVI was right to prophesy that the Church will become much smaller in numbers. It is becoming much smaller, and that is a good thing. The faithful in communion with Rome will increase as a percentage in the Church as the fallen leave. Authentic reform, then, will become easier because those remaining will have a stronger identity in Jesus Christ and more likely to repent of their sins and more likely to embrace the mission of the Church. The witness of the faithful, purified and strengthened, will be a great sign that attracts others to Christ.
That so many are falling away from communion with Christ and His true Church is sad, heartbreaking, really. Our joy, however, and hope is in the Lord Who remains faithful to those who love Him and keep His commands and know Him in the Holy Eucharist. Only those who keep the Faith and live as reforming sinners can hope to be in an authentic communion with Jesus Christ and His Church.