I have to admit, I’ve been ignoring Catholic news lately. It’s just too exhausting with half of the faithful cannibalizing each other and the other half running around like Chicken Little. The frenzy has been a bit too much, and guess what? In my little world, it doesn’t mean a darn thing.
I’ve now lived under three different popes that I can remember. (I’m too young to remember JPI and his predecessors.) Every single one of them made some sort of cataclysmic mistake that supposedly ruined the Church forever. Sorry, I just don’t get my knickers in a bunch that easily, and I’m certainly not going to be the one that makes the liberal dissenters smile. I’m sure the Cupiches and McElroys of the world are smiling like the cat that ate the canary right now, and that’s what really, truly bugs me to death.
Seriously, don’t you think they’re laughing at the confusion over Amoris Laetitia? I’m sure they think it’s hysterical watching the Catholic pundits right now. You’ve got those bending over backwards to say, “Everything’s fine! Nothing to see here!” You’ve got others calling them papolators. You’ve got some, I’d say rightly and respectfully, asking for clarifications, and others calling them schismatics with no evidence whatsoever. Still you have others saying you can’t even be concerned in the slightest. I’m sure all carry some truth and some error at this point, but the worst part about it is watching the Kaspers and his club reveling in it. Can we just stop?
I think we can all agree (I’m talking faithful Catholics here) that there is some confusion going on here. If you don’t, just leave this site now. No use in discussing it further. Most of us would like some clarification from the Holy Father. That said, let’s just look at the scenarios in front of us. Let’s say Pope Francis decides never to make a formal clarification and just keeps issuing comments which contradict the liberals. Yes, I suppose it makes their life blissful because they can then feign ignorance until the cows come home. That said, what if the pope did issue a clarification? It would then be status quo as usual for the faithful. With a wink and nod, the liberals will still continue to muddle the truth and lead people astray. When it comes right down to it, the Burkes and Chaputs of the world are going to teach the truth as they have always done, and the Cupiches and McElroys of the world will continue their mission to make everyone comfy and cozy in their sins. Either way, the faithful under the wink-and-nod-dissenters are going to suffer as they always have – terribly. The local bishop really affects our day to day Catholic life which is why who you get and don’t get is terribly important. Think about it. Your kids may not know what the flap is about Amoris Laetitia but they might be sort of led astray when the local bishop dons a Barney costume at the end of Mass (and, yes, real story).
It’s also very interesting to note that, if you look at the Chaputs and Burkes of the world, there are plenty of people who are going ballistic on their behalf, but if you look at them, they look like they’re getting plenty of sleep. They aren’t fomenting on the reign of terror of Pope Francis. If they aren’t, why are we? Again, this just gives aid and comfort to the enemy.
Now, is Pope Francis my favorite pope in the history of the Church? No. Do I wish he did things differently? Yep. Do I lie awake at night thinking he will be the end of the Church? Now that would be ridiculous. Do I pray for him? Yep. People often ask me why I don’t write about this or that thing that Pope Francis did. My answer: What would it matter? First, a lot of it is “fake Catholic news” or soundbites. Second, I’m far more concerned with what the bishops in my country and my diocese do. Like I said, no matter what happens with the dubia, the crazy are going to keep doing crazy. I mean, seriously, look around! Bishops were pushing birth control and “gay marriage” with some pretty clear teaching on the subject. That’s where I’m willing to expend my energy. If we can’t influence the people around us and communicate the Faith in a way that’s clear despite what happens in the Church and in the world, we’ve dropped the ball. Same goes for our local bishops. Do we really think that cannibalizing each other and running around screaming ‘’The Church is falling!” is going to get it done? Please. Fix it yourself in your own little world and stop making the liberal dissenters smile.
Need an example? For years, Lincoln, Nebraska, was one of the few super faithful dioceses in the country. Bishop Flavin and Bishop Bruskewitz kept their heads down and taught the Faith, while many other dioceses in the U.S. were “experimenting.” They didn’t worry about what was going on in my little, influential, dissenting diocese here in California (or in Flavin’s case, Weakland’s diocese). They stomped on dissenters in their own little area, no matter their bent. They made Church teaching abundantly clear and all, but the dissenters, loved and followed them. It was downright weird talking to people in that diocese. They knew the Faith. That diocese has produced at least four other bishops. I’m betting their dioceses are all lucky (and we most definitely lucked out getting one around my parts)! Both those bishops could have ranted and raved about their popes not doing x, y, and z and letting them ruin the Church, but they didn’t. They just did their job. That’s what we need. We need bishops who are going to do their job no matter who is attacking them. In Flavin’s case, it was Archbishop Rembert Weakland. In Bruskewitz’s case, well, really, who wasn’t attacking him? He got it from all sides.
So, if you really want to know where we should expend our energy, it’s with our bishops. You should be dogging those that lead people astray. Don’t make it easy on them to get away with it. And the good bishops? You should be encouraging them to lead like they don’t care about getting fired, removed, given some fancy title somewhere remote, etc. It drives me crazy to see a faithful bishop back off because, well, the optics are that they’re scared about their jobs. I get it, you can’t lead the faithful if removed from the job– or can you? I seem to remember many a leader leading from a prison cell. And I’m sure many of those backing off where they should be going ahead are also trying to keep the low-hanging fruit from hitting the ground but I’m not sure why pausing on the truth would achieve this goal. Truth is love and conveying it and practicing it should be the priority. I’m unaware of the teaching that says back off the truth if becomes a PR nightmare.