Tag Archives: Bishops

How Could Our Church Leadership Let It Get This Bad?

Book cover showing the back of a Catholic Cardinal's hat while smoke swirls around it.

I’m reading Phillip Lawler’s new book, The Smoke of Satan:  How Corrupt and Cowardly Bishops Betrayed Christ, His Church, and the Faithful…And What Can be Done About It (Available at TAN Press ).  For those of us who have managed to pull our heads out of the sand and acknowledge that the Church is indeed facing a crisis of massive proportions, one of the questions we often find ourselves asking is this:  Why didn’t the Bishops and the Popes DO something?!?! 

Bishop after bishop assures us with wide-eyed breathless sincerity that “Gosh!  I had no idea that Father X or fellow Bishop Y or Cardinal Z was doing that!  I’m as shocked and disturbed as you are…” And far too often, the tangible evidence backs up their claims, no matter how implausible they seem.  Some of them, perhaps, really are clueless rubes that had no inkling that such evil was taking place under their noses or in the diocese next door.  If that’s the case, then they’re lousy leaders at the very least.  Others knew full well what was going on, and took “plausibly deniable” steps to suppress knowledge of the crimes.  Still others (Lord help us!) may have been active participants in the evil.

“See no evil.  Hear no evil…”

But there are also too many clerics and prelates who simply convinced themselves that nothing bad was actually happening.  They have been behaving like those “See no evil, hear no evil” monkeys we are all familiar with.

None of the above postulated explanations are very reassuring.  Regarding the third category of clergy, Mr. Lawler offers the following explanation in his book:

Two common human traits strengthen the tendency to avoid problems.  One is the normal desire to avoid unpleasant confrontations.  The role of a pastor is to unite, not to divide, and most priests are not aggressive personalities.  The other, closely related factor is the willingness to give everyone the benefit of the doubt.  In combination, unfortunately, these two characteristics–healthy and even laudable in themselves–can produce a sort of cockeyed optimism or willful blindness, a stubborn refusal to recognize reality.  We want to see virtue in others, and sometimes we can only see if our eyes are shut tight.

Sexual Abuse, Doctrinal Dissent, and Denial–They’re all linked.

“OK,” you say, “so we have some real jerks in our parishes and dioceses.  Why didn’t the Pope do something?  Pope Francis seems weak in this regard, but what about Pope Benedict XVI or Pope Saint John Paul II?  And not just regarding criminal conduct, but what about all the heresy, disobedience, and doctrinal dissent?”  That latter part of the question is crucial.  Although it may not appear to be linked with the current lavender mafia/sex abuse crisis, believe me:  it is!

Mr. Lawler continues:

For the sovereign pontiff, pastor for the universal Church, there is another consideration that weighs against stern disciplinary measures.  The duty of the Roman pontiff is to preserve unity among the faithful.  If he cracks down on abuses–any sort of abuses–the pope, any pope, might risk dividing his flock.  If he demands that recalcitrant priests and theologians end their dissent from formal Church teaching, they may choose instead to leave the Church, bringing their followers with them.  Rather than risk schism, the pope may choose to accept an uneasy truce between Catholic factions that seem irreconcilable.  This, it seems clear, was the path chosen by John Paul II and Benedict XVI.

This tendency, this reluctance to address a problem head-on has been with us for some time, as Mr. Lawler points out:

If Church readers are prone to overlooking current problems, they are equally likely to downplay past failures.  Despite the grave losses that Catholicism has suffered during the past fifty years–the thousands who have left the Church, the families that have broken apart, the priests and religious who have forsaken their vows, the parishes and schools that have been closed–bishops remain reluctant to calculate the total damages and identify the root causes of the disaster.

In the years following Vatican II, thousands of priests walked away from their duties to begin a new life in the secular world.  When they left, there was no formal announcement.  The rumor mills buzzed, but there was no explanation of their departure.  They simply disappeared…Wouldn’t a healthier institution have been more forthright, admitting that these young priests had deserted their ministry?…for those who embraced a false optimism or willful blindness, it seems pointless to dwell on painful memories.  Far better to speak confidently about the future!

Just be glad the USCCB isn’t running the FAA.

Imagine a series of disastrous airliner crashes, one after another, and now try to imagine the Federal Aviation Administration delicately avoiding any mention of the crashes or investigations into their causes, but instead blithely opining about how much air travel safety is improving, and how bright the future for the airline industry looks!  Pretty darn absurd.

But that’s the attitude what passes for Church leadership these days is taking.

 

 

Badges???

Man saying "I have a Catholic website." Second man at table replying "You'll need a badge."

Vatican observers did a double-take when they read Paragraph 146 of the final approved Youth Synod document.  While there’s plenty to be found in the document which will curl the hair of most traditional/orthodox Catholics, Paragraph 146 is a whopper in its own right.  It speaks to the need for creating “certification systems for Catholic websites, to counter the spread of fake news regarding the Church.”

Say what, now?

You mean something like the electro-magnetic web-based Internetty version of a Imprimatur or Nihil Obstat kind of thing for web content?

Sounds like a swell idea…what could possibly go wrong?

It’s one thing for the Church to put her seal of approval on Catholic publications advising readers that they’ll find nothing doctrinally offensive or heretical in a book or some such.  The Church should have been doing more of that…assuming, of course, that it would be the heretical or quasi-heretical stuff that would get the flashing red warning light associated with it.  These days, you’re probably more likely to get clotheslined by a Vatican theologian for actually supporting the Magisterium as it existed prior to this pontificate.

I think most of us can imagine what’s really behind the Synod’s report calling for ‘badges of approval’ for Catholic websites:  they want to suppress dissent.

Well, I don’t know many of my fellow Catholic internet dudes/dudettes who are thrilled with that idea.  It’s not hard to imagine that outfits like Church Militant, LifeSite News, the Lepanto Institute and The Remnant would be early targets of such a “certification process.”

Dear Youth Synod Document writers/ghost-writers/stooges, we have a message for you:

Read more about it here–>  https://www.churchmilitant.com/news/article/vatican-looks-to-censor-lay-catholics

“I’m Viganò!”

Hand forming the "V for victory" sign. Next to it are the words "V is for Vigano"

V_is_Vigano_GOOD_2

The hunt is on for the “renegade” Archbishop!  In the wake of his bombshell eleven page letter which named quite a few names, more than a few high-ranking prelates are ticked off.  According to some press reports, the Vatican is actively seeking the whereabouts of Abp. Viganò, and has dispatched agents to locate him.  Fearing for his life, Abp. Viganò has  gone into hiding.  From an undisclosed location, Viganò has written two additional letters.

Pray for Viganò’s safety during this time of crisis.  Pray that his allegations be investigated fully, and pray to Our Lady that our beloved Church will emerge from this present tribulation stronger and holier!

Wolves in Shepherd’s Clothing

Cartoon depicting a wolf dressed as a shepherd leading sheep astray based on Matthew 7:15

In The Burden: A Warning of Things to Come, a wonderful volume of poetic prophesies written by Paul Thigpen and inspired by Divine Scripture, you will find a poem titled, “The Shepherds.” In this tremendous work, Dr. Thigpen issues a very harsh reminder to the faithful that some who pose as Shepherds, are in reality doing the bidding of Satan in an ongoing spiritual battle here on earth.

We the laity often remain silent in the sight of the obvious evils within; perhaps our silence is borne out of fear and intimidation, or a bizarre felling of deference to the flawed mortal sporting a miter. Either way, silence in the face of that which is wrong, brings about a degree of culpability. Culpability of which I do not wish to be a part. Whether it be ambiguous teachings, or the absence of moral teaching; when those entrusted with Shepherding the flock, either foster or allow to persist feelings of ambivalence or error within the congregation, they are not only paving their own pathway to Hell, but they are charting a course for countless souls to follow to pits of eternal damnation.

We, the laity, have an obligation to make use of the Gifts of the Holy Spirit: Fear, Piety, Fortitude, Knowledge, Understanding, Counsel and Wisdom, to combat evil from wherever it comes, in the name of Jesus Christ as we set our sights on the True Evangelization and the eternal Salvation of all who would receive. Thigpen

I highly recommend, “The Burden.” It is available at TAN or Amazon. ISBN-13: 978-0615780436. Kindle price is $3.95 and paperback is $7.95

 

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