Don’t be Chicken Little, be the Little Red Hen

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.

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15 thoughts on “Don’t be Chicken Little, be the Little Red Hen

  1. I gave up Facebook for Lent and I am feeling so much calmer. I was spending too much time, supposedly following Catholic doings in the world. In pausing to think things over I was see that in reading things on Facebook I was awash in Catholic gossip (and feeling like Chicken Little). I can survive without following links to someone’s opinion–an opinion that’s not even based on reality.

    I am taking to heart something a priest told me that Cardinal Burke said when he was in the area. He said that we should never give up. I don’t care what some blogger-with-an-agenda has to say on the subject.

    (OMM, you are not that blogger!)

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m embarrassed to admit that I don’t know much about my bishop. I know our former very liberal priest did not care for him, so that was certainly a plus for the bishop in my book! I know that he seems very reverent when he performs our Confirmation Masses. But other than that, I’ve only read little blurbs in the diocesan paper that don’t really say too much one way or the other?

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  3. What is this? It cannot be that you don’t understand what it would mean if the Church were to teach error from the Pope in alignment with the bishops as either solemn or ordinary magisterium. It would mean the Church is a lie. I know you know this. It is a blessing that your faith is so strong as to not be thrown off by what is going on in Rome, and I’m right there with you, but not caring about it is something different and dangerous. If we truly care for souls, we have a duty to shine a light on it. Calling it Chicken Little is a petty ad hominem worthy of a Patheos blog; OMM is better than this.

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    1. Wait! Patheos? Talk about ad hominems. LOL! Sorry, there’s a huge difference between Pathos and, say, Ed Peters: /canonlawblog.wordpress.com/2016/12/16/a-canonical-primer-on-popes-and-heresy/

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  4. The Peters article perfectly illustrates the point: “To be sure, all admit that in talking about popes falling into heresy we are talking a very remote scenario. Vermeersch-Creusen, Epitome I (1949) n. 340, “This sort of case, given the divine protection of the Church, is considered quite improbable.” Beste, Introductio (1961) 242, “In history no example of this can be found.”… So… it’s sort of a big deal that we are at the point of actually having to discuss this. But I’m already ashamed about the Patheos comment.

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    1. Meh. People discuss it all the time – probably with every pope. Heck, I just ran across an article on the 101 Heresies of John Paul II. Somehow, if we were not bound by the timeline, I think we’d see how much worse other ages had it and how the Church still did not fall nor did the popes teach heresy. The devil makes us anxious with such things. Again, no aid and comfort to the enemy! Head down and nose to the grindstone.

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  5. As someone who has resided within the Lincoln Diocese since 1995 and met Bishop Bruskewitz on several occasions, I can assure you that his successor, Bishop Conley, has continued to uphold what both Bishop Flavin and Bruskewitz did and continues to strengthen the faithful. Under his watch the beautiful new St. Thomas Aquinas Church and Newman Center on the campus of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln was built. He inaugurated the Newman Institute for Catholic Thought and Culture (a program that studies the Great Books and the humanities and also has a lecture series), and continues to encourage and pray the Mass Ad Orientem. This weekend I attended Confirmation for two of my nieces in the tiny hometown parish of my wife and spoke with Bishop Conley briefly at the reception afterwards. He was excited by the 24-hours of Confession at the Lincoln Cathedral that began at 6pm Friday night. He said he had taken a shift until late into the evening and brought a book along in case things were slow. He said he never had time to crack it open even once. The priests that stayed in the confessional overnight and into the early morning hours had reported the same.

    The Diocese of Lincoln is still a faithful diocese. I admit that at times it is really hard for me to understand the issues I read about in other parts of the country that to us can seem so foreign. But each year I travel around the Midwest due to my son’s baseball schedule and during Mass on weekends prior to games find myself grimacing at what I’m watching and hearing. I do see signs of complacency among my fellow Catholics here and we do have our issues as anyone does in this world, I also pray that they are able to appreciate what we have and resist the urge to “modernize” the faith.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I had heard good things. Probably should have focused on him too. I just don’t see him as attacked as the last two which is where my focus was. Having lived there for awhile, I can tell you that you have NO IDEA how bad it can be elsehwere. LOL! You’ve got it good!

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  6. I agree we must pay attention to our bishops and their misdeeds (I live under Wuerl). That does NOT mean that we are at liberty to ignore the Vatican, especially when the progressive push is emanating from the same. We must shine the light on it all, frustrating though it may seem. I’m hearing from too many friends that their attempts at teaching, parenting, etc are being directly undermined by Pope Francis and his never-ending desconstruction of our faith. I for one will carry on with both.

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    1. You’re not paraphrasing me well at all, Janet. I never said to “ignore the Vatican.” If you’ve read the blog before, I’m reasonably sure you can’t say that’s my suggestion.

      What I am saying is be like Burke! Don’t be like the Patheos crowd (on one side of the fence) and don’t be like those calling the pope a heretic (the other side). Most of us here love Burke but are failing to follow his example on his dealings with Pope Francis.

      http://www.catholicworldreport.com/Item/5292/cardinal_burke_no_i_am_not_saying_that_pope_francis_is_in_heresy.aspx

      https://onemadmomblog.wordpress.com/2016/12/16/a-canonical-primer-on-popes-and-heresy/

      You want to go further than these two gents or follow the Patheos crowd who feels they need to chew out anyone supporting the dubia, can’t help you. I can assure you that Cupich and McElroy are having fun watching you spit into the wind.

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  7. Hello MadMom.
    I’m back from Mass and all settled in with fresh coffee. I’ve found one advantage to having a Pope like Francis. I will share it with you. It helps with sorting thru the daily assaults of invitations to discern anew the old tried and true. It is a short and simple formula for maturing in the faith and it was given to us by a spiritual giant who did battle with all the forces of evil in her day including demonic varieties. Out of that fire and shining like the Light who guided her in her days and nights she gave us a wonder I’m sure you’ve heard before. For me, Pope Francis pushes me to put it into practice with vigor. It is called by some St. Teresa’s Bookmark:
    Let nothing disturb you,
    Let nothing frighten you,
    All things are passing;
    God only is changeless.
    Patience gains all things.
    Who has God wants nothing.
    God alone suffices.

    The “bottom line” of it, God alone being sufficient, reinforces for me why I bother at all with those things about me, to perfect my detachment from all things except God. I am consecrated to Jesus thru Mary according to the Montfort formula and St. Teresa’s little ditty helps me focus on Who’s opinion of me matters at the end of the day. So, when I’m surrounded by Chicken Little’s (beautiful and apt comparison BTW) and want to get my squawk on too, I pull back and practice detachment. It is a marvelous tool, but if it is never used, I would be just as crazy as the rest of them.

    Yesterday, I had the opportunity to try and explain the troubles caused by Amoris Laetitia’ now infamous eighth chapter to a lapsed Catholic over coffee. She reacted as if I’d just landed from Mars and was explaining the restless alien’s disputes over where to land on Earth. She truly didn’t understand why I should be so concerned until I quoted to her Pope Francis’ declaration that he will go down into history as the Pope who split the Church! She began to show some concern as well at that point. However, I needed to change the subject fast out of concern for her spiritual well-being. It is hard to not allow the scandal past the break I can be to it. I cannot allow scandal to spread its chancre to others thru me. That is just one of the challenges presented to me personally by Pope Francis’ careless remarks and actions. If I allow all the nonsense to get to me, I’m useless to Jesus. So, the bottom line has to be sufficient.

    God alone. Nuff said.

    God bless. Ginnyfree.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I totally agree. You have to battle error without flinging off into the oblivion. People with activist spirits can sometimes take it too far and start making judgment calls about, well, everyone. They become frenzied and kind of hyper-scrupulous for lack of a better term.

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  8. Well said,. There are too many people frothing at the mouth over Pope Francis. Too many just aching to call him a heretic, that he has caused a schism in the church. I think these are mostly the same people who called Benedicat a heretic, a modernist, etc, and this is just how they get their jollies. Who knows? Maybe Pope Michael just has 100 different disqus accounts. Make no mistake, this Pope is treading on some dangerous ground here. But it does not help when people exaggerate, vent their tiny little spleens, or go whacko entirely. Keep Calm and Carry on. The church always wins in the end anyway

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