Cupich Wants a Retro New Ecclesial Season – Been There, Done That!

I set this letter from Cardinal Blase Cupich aside a few days ago. Kinda wish I had set it aside indefinitely. Just a waste of ink with the endless spin to tell us how much “they” care. 

The bishops’ retreat and a new ecclesial season

January 9, 2019

I am writing this as the retreat held for the Catholic bishops of the United States at our seminary in Mundelein concludes. The weeklong retreat was the idea of Pope Francis.

He recognized that the crisis of clerical sexual abuse had created a great deal of anger and confusion in our church and among the bishops. It is in such moments, he observed in his letter to us before the retreat, that “we need to be attentive and discerning, to free our hearts of compromises and false certainties, in order to hear what the Lord asks of us in the mission he has given us.”

I never had a problem with the retreat. That said, I think being locked in a room with a bunch of super angry parents would have made more of an impact, but that’s just me. I do have to focus on the message from the Holy Father I highlighted. Are they just now doing this??? I would think that this would have popped into their heads long before one is made a bishop.

Again, while I never had a problem with a retreat per se, the timing on this one smacks more of a pause on dealing with this issue hoping people will forget about it than a thoughtful way forward. Seriously, the “Let’s just wait to deal with this until we can have a retreat to contemplate something we somehow woefully missed before” really doesn’t cut it with the vast majority of people, or at the very least people with children.

The Holy Father sent us his personal preacher, Capuchin Father Raniero Cantalamessa. The 84-year-old priest told us that he had received lots of letters telling him what he should say to the bishops. While respecting the wisdom of the voice of the people, he agreed with the pope that in moments like this we need to discern what God is saying to us.

“What God is saying to us???” Seriously? I would think “Stop being perverts, protecting perverts, recruiting perverts, etc.” would be a no brainer. But, I suppose, since it’s been missed so far, the good friar might be right about going back to kindergarten on this.

Cantalamessa’s talks were both inspiring and encyclopedic. His grasp of Scripture and the rich tradition of the church allowed the bishops to hear truths we have long held but in a fresh way. I am pleased we have the texts to review in the days and months ahead, but I also carry with me a number of images he offered, which I want to reflect on.

How about reflecting on the image of a person abused by a priest, bishop, or cardinal? Seems like that might be the central image to focus on. Yes, the spiritual lives of a good chunk of these bishops and cardinals seem wanting, but this is ridiculous. If we have to go back to what should have been taught day one in seminary, then you’d think Cardinal Cupich might get a clue that the formation has been lacking for a long, long time in most areas of the country. Somehow I don’t think this is going to be his take away.

One was the difference between moving over water in a rowboat and a sailboat. The rowboat requires our effort, as we pull against the inertia of the water, relying on our own power and devices to steer the direction ahead. But believers are called to trust in the Holy Spirit to move us forward, much like the wind is needed for moving the sailboat forward.

With that image our retreat director asked us to reflect on our approach to challenges, not only this one, but in all cases. Do we see ourselves in a rowboat that makes everything depend on us, or are we attentive to the prompting of the Spirit to chart a pathway ahead? I can honestly say I am not satisfied by how I answer that question some days.

I will keep in mind what Cantalamessa said: “The wind is caught by the sail of prayer.”

Uh, I’d have to say many of you are not piloting a sailboat or even a rowboat. You’re more like the drug runner on a luxury yacht with someone else doing the “hard work” of ruining souls while you socialize with the elite and try to keep your hands clean. So, honestly, we’re not satisfied, either. We’d like you to be on the Barque of Peter. That, however, seems a little too much to ask.

 

He then shared another image to further develop this point. A professor lecturing on time management conducted a small experiment for his students. Taking a large glass jar, he placed tennis-ball-sized rocks in it until there was no room in the jar. “Is it full?” he asked. “Yes,” the students replied.

But, then he began pouring in small pebbles, rattling the jar until they settled in vacant spaces between the rocks. “Now is it full?” he asked again. “No,” they replied. Agreeing with them he then poured sand into the jar, filling up the spaces between the stones and the pebbles. Yet again, the professor asked, “Is the jar full?” Without hesitation, the students replied in unison, “NO!” “Correct,” replied the professor.

So he poured water into the jar until it was absolutely full. Then the professor explained. “What we learn from this experiment is that if we don’t put the larger stones in the jar first, we will never be able to fit all of them later.”

Cantalamessa’s point was simple. Our prayer life, our turning to God to discern where he is leading us, has to be the priority. For if we do not prioritize the discernment of God’s will, other concerns and voices will absorb our attention and render our decision-making impoverished and partial, especially in a moment of crisis.

I’m thinking the stories of the saints, Church teachings, etc. might have been a little more pertinent than time management stories from Facebook, but that might just be me. The problem is, some of you can’t seem to figure out what the big stones are even if they hit you in the head. If you’re going with Facebook memes, you might want to go with a simple flow chart of decision making. Some of you can’t get past the first branch correctly and probably should rethink your career (and I’m very intentionally using career because it seems more like that than a vocation for many of you)!

flow chart

 

His reflections also underscore our commitment to the protection of children and the healing of victims, which grounds all our responses to the crisis. We must make sure nothing ever crowds out that priority.

You and many other bishops and cardinals already blew that one! Let’s just remember you were the one that said there was more important things to worry about like “climate change.” The fact that you had to have that “underscored” just shows how completely out of touch you are with, well, Catholicism.

It is clear, however, that the Holy Father’s intentions in calling us to make this retreat expand well beyond this particular moment or challenge facing us bishops. Pope Francis wants us to see that we are in “a new ecclesial season,” as he calls it, that will require a new approach to our ministry.

I’m sorry, but the public relations tactic of a “new” anything is ridiculous. This is an abuse crisis of epic proportions. This isn’t time for a new buzzword or ad campaign for the Church. It’s time for repentance and reform. This is “old”, not new. The problem is, you guys spend so much time on spin and rebranding that you can’t just do what needs to be done. Sure, not all of you are doing that, but many are and the many are hampering the rest of us.

We cannot be “mere administrators,” but must take up the task of teaching those we serve “how to discern God’s presence in the history of his people.” As he remarked in his letter to us: “Amid the upset and confusion experienced by our communities, our primary duty is to foster a shared spirit of discernment, rather than to seek the relative calm resulting from compromise or from a democratic vote where some emerge as ‘winners’ and others not.”

Oh. My. Gosh! We’ve already discerned the immorality which led to abuse which led to the cover-ups is evil. Duh. Enough said. You’re the one who’s been trying to avoid it from day one. The US Bishops wanted to address the reality, but you and your cronies, Cardinal Cupich, managed to get it put on hold. I don’t care if it takes a democratic vote to clean up this mess. The only ones who do care are you and your buds who were going to be the losers because you are the ambassadors of evil and immorality. There most certainly should be a winner and loser. The winner should be GOOD and the loser should be EVIL. You want so badly to move your agendas forward that you are all willing to throw victims under the bus. We’ve had enough!

The task before us is to work together to find a way to embrace “the present situation, one that, most important, can protect those in our care from losing hope and feeling spiritually abandoned.”

If that was truly your goal you would have jumped on this long ago. All the psycho-spin you’ve spilled here does NOTHING to help those you’ve betrayed. We embraced the present situation about 17 years ago. Where have you been?

“This will enable us to be fully immersed in reality, seeking to appreciate and hear it from within, without being held hostage to it.”

If you haven’t been “fully immersed in reality” by now, you’ve missed whatever boat you’re supposedly on all together! The TRUTH which you seem to want to keep everyone from is freedom, not a hostage situation. You, Cardinal Cupich, are the one seeking to take hostages. You’ve been trying forever to make people a slave to their sins and you’ve been perfectly happy to keep the victims of abuse slaves to their captors. I’m pretty sure you’re hoping for full blown Stockholm Syndrome at this point. Sorry, we’re not falling for it. We will do everything possible to escape your trap.

We are not leaving this retreat with all the answers to the important questions facing the church in these days, but we are leaving with a renewed sense that it is time to turn in our rowboats for sailboats, and take our cue from the guidance of Christ’s spirit rather than our own efforts.

Well, let’s avoid YOUR efforts for sure.

We also come away reminded that we will need to keep our priorities straight. One other blessing from our days together is that it drew us closer to each other and to the Holy Father. One bishop told me, “Pope Francis was right to call us to take a retreat and it shows that he cares deeply about our ministry and the church in this country.”

Do you know how I know this was a complete waste of time? It’s because you have not mentioned sin once. You didn’t leave this retreat with anything. I’m sure those bishops and cardinals who truly long to guide Christ’s people are still longing for this, but you are just looking to get off the hook. You are simply looking for some good PR and are hoping words like “discerning” and “mission” are going to assuage the faithful. Wrong. These are the same things we heard almost two decades ago. You’re really, really counting on us being that stupid?

I have no doubt that just as the early church relied on Peter’s unique ministry to meet the challenges of the day, so we will draw strength and insight from our unity with his successor.

Ah, and there it is. If we are angry with you, somehow we are removing unity with Peter’s successor? Yeah, sorry. You can keep pushing this line but it’s not going to keep us from holding you accountable.

It doesn’t get said enough, but a huge thank you to the bishops and cardinals who are really trying to bring healing to the victims and to the Church. We’re praying you succeed. Please stay the course. #USCCB #DontMakeSameMistake

 

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The “Gotcha Game” Played by Fr. Martin

OK, OK, I’m back from my little vacation time full of family. I gotta thank those who sent me nice little notes wishing me Merry Christmas, wondering if I was OK, or downright chewing me out for disappearing for a few weeks. I appreciate them all, but I simply have to take a little break this time of year. It’s the only way to keep the muck from dragging me down. It’s also an injection of energy, because, make no mistake, I’m doing this for my kids,  future grand-kids, and the rest of my future lineage first and foremost.

So I’ve spent the last few days scanning the blogosphere to get a pulse. After spinning the wheel of immorality and dissent, I’ve landed on this. https://www.washingtonpost.com/religion/2019/01/08/opus-dei-paid-settle-sexual-misconduct-claim-against-prominent-catholic-priest/ I don’t have a critique of this article, per se, seemed pretty straightforward, but I do have some comments on the response to the situation.

First of all, a disclaimer: I am not a member of Opus Dei. I don’t have a problem with them and I’ve known several of their priests, members, and cooperators. Just not my thing, even though some of them are peachy. I’m not sure why the fangs come out whenever they are mentioned, but I just thought I’d cut down on the “you’ve been brainwashed” flogging I’ll probably get. Honestly, I’ve yet to experience the perfect order. I will say this, though, they ain’t Jesuits or anything close to them.

The main reason I’m writing about this is because of responses like our good ol’ friend James Martin, LGBTSJ. I mean, the guy seems positively giddy. Can you just imagine him pumping his fist and saying, “They caught a conservative, heterosexual abuser! Woot!”?

martinopusdei

Really, Fr. Martin? Is it that tragic to you? Methinks you are pretty darn pleased. What IS tragic is your “I got one!” attitude. First, while abuse is very systemic in the Jesuit order, it is not in the Opus Dei order. And, you’re still wrong. It is still very much a homosexual problem. 80% so. Msgr. Pope already schooled you on your cruddy logic in this area.  An outlier does not an argument make.
 martinopusdei2

I don’t think anyone has ever said there hasn’t been abuse in many different orders and dioceses or that it’s all homosexual priests. This is a constant red-herring Fr. Martin uses. His usual tactic is to take an argument not made and debate it.  What has been said is that it’s been an overwhelming problem of homosexuality. I think we’re up to 80% of the cases that we know of. Does that mean that there are some priests who don’t suffer from other deep-seated disorders? Of course not! This is an argument which has never been made. So, please. Do not let Fr. Martin’s ridiculous apologetics for the LGBTSJ crowd fool you. When homosexual priests who are supposedly in the minority are the majority of the problem, they are the majority of the problem.

And let’s talk about why abuse is not a systemic problem with Opus Dei priests as it is with other orders, like, say, the Jesuits. One abuser out of 2,000+ is one too many, but it is far better than most orders/dioceses. First of all, they vet their seminarians as the Vatican directives mandate. So what happened with Fr. McCloskey? Could have been something for which he always had a weakness. Who knows? The fact that he is suffering from what’s been deemed advanced stage Alzheimer’s might be an issue, though.

If you’ve dealt with someone with that dementia, you learn a few things. Alzheimer’s is a catch-all for dementia. Sometimes it is actually Alzheimer’s, but many times it’s another type of dementia, and they cannot tell unless they autopsy the brain after death. I had a loved one diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, but it was more than likely some other form of dementia because he lived WAY longer after the diagnosis than the typical patient and, in hindsight, the symptoms were present long before. People suffering from dementia lose a lot of their morality, personality, modesty, and sensibility, and they also do things they wouldn’t have thought of doing when they had all of their mental faculties. It also sneaks up on those who know them. Here’s hoping that was it. It’s really here nor there, but it’s an interesting turn of events and probably had zero bearing on how Opus Dei responded.

Next, Opus Dei only allows spiritual direction of women and minors in the confessional. In other words, they try to avoid causing scandal. Obviously, Fr. McCloskey didn’t follow that procedure and that was a problem, but I suspect that is one factor of why abuse is not a systemic problem with Opus Dei.

Lastly, Opus Dei acted swiftly. While they didn’t completely take Fr. McCloskey out of work, they did curtail it right away. We’ve heard of the main abuse victim, a second who was uncomfortable with his hugs, and third, thus far, unsubstantiated or detailed claim. Thankfully, whatever eye they kept on him before removing him completely from ministry seemed to protect women from further abuse. Compare this with the many, many other instances of abuse. Quite frankly, Opus Dei got it righter than anyone else. While they didn’t broadcast the news, they did help the woman, advised her to get help (legal and mental), and settled with her, which is why she’s apparently still Catholic and doesn’t seem to harbor ill-will, unlike the victims of the Jesuits and their ilk. In fact, in this CNA article she is quoted as saying that she is “very happy with how it’s being handled right now. They listened.” How many other victims have said the same about their response?!?!

martinopusdei3
Uh, yeah. They’ve actually shown remorse for the whole situation unlike many orders and dioceses. She wanted them to go public and they did after already helping her. Maybe you should use them as a model, Fr. Martin, instead of trying to use them to further your cause.

martinopusdei4

One last attempt to keep it in the spotlight. Again, Opus Dei’s formation and response should have been the model. To simply say “See! It’s not a homosexual problem at all! Heterosexual conservatives do it too!And it’s systematic across the entire priesthood!” is not even in the realm of reality. You should be looking at what they did right and why their percentages are so low compared with, oh, your order. It starts with the screening process and ends with a humble response instead of a massive cover-up of the problem. We’ve never said it was going to stem every possible evil scenario. Satan still finds a way, but it would certainly be a huge stumbling block for him. It starts with avoiding things that might cause scandal in the first place instead of running towards near occasions of sin like they are a playground to be enjoyed as long as one doesn’t pass the fictitious line they probably crossed long before they got there. This is the common sense the Jesuits lost long, long ago.

Say what you want about Opus Dei, but my guess is that other victims of abuse wish that the hierarchy of their abusers treated them with as much respect as the Opus Dei hierarchy treated these women. So many victims were treated horribly, disbelieved and lost their faith, but this approach would have helped them through the trauma. Thankfully, this woman was accompanied correctly. Their mission is to save souls, not to save their behinds.

Another thing, I know some are for defrocking abusers. Personally, I’m for holding them to a life of penance, reparation, and, hopefully, redemption. Defrocking is the easy way out. Quite frankly, jail is probably an easy way out, too. I don’t want them whiling away their days watching soap operas in the rec room. I want them to live an austere life of silent contemplation. Far more grueling.

Lastly, Fr. Martin, try as you may, you can’t make the reality go away that 80% of the abusers were homosexual. And before you whine for the umpteenth billion time that not all homosexual priests abuse, duh. Truth bomb – an overwhelming amount of them do. Time and again, popes have spelled out why homosexuality doesn’t work in the priesthood and shouldn’t be allowed, but you somehow think you know better. Deal with reality as it is, not how you wish it to be. And for heaven’s sake, stop cheering every time a female is victimized. It’s disgusting.

 

 

The Mitigating Circumstances Gamble

My primary job as a parent is to help my children get to Heaven.  Their spiritual being comes even before their physical well-being (not that we don’t strive for both).  Our priests also share in this duty. It’s why Christ gave them to us.  If my child were to take his/her life by suicide, heaven forbid, I would want everyone who comes to their funeral to know of the tragedy and pray for their eternal soul to be at rest in Heaven.  So, when I see tweets like this, I get furious.

suicidemartinsmall

Unlike Fr. Martin, I actually waited for the homily to be posted before diving into it, because there’s always another side to a story. Fr. Martin could have chosen the high-road in this case, but he does what he always does, he pits people against our faithful priests. Let’s look at what Fr. Martin calls a “pastoral disaster.”

Before I do, I do not blame Maison’s parents for any of this. Clearly, many priests and religious teachers along the way failed them. Their understanding of death, everlasting life, funerals, etc., are contrary to the reality that the Church teaches. While it may seem life Fr. Martin is my favorite whipping boy, I only use him since he’s the biggest mouthpiece for misguiding the faithful and attacking priests who do not. He can’t help but comment on everything. He’s constantly putting people’s spiritual AND physical well-being at risk, and here he’s doing it once again.

This is Fr. LaCuesta’s homily from young Maison’s funeral.

My heart goes out to you, Mr. & Mrs. [REDACTED], and to you [REDACTED]’s siblings: [REDACTED], to Grandma [REDACTED], to [REDCATED]’s many aunts & uncles & cousins. It is with great difficulty that I stand before you knowing the pain and anguish you are going through. But I am aware, as well, that I am only a humble, unworthy mouthpiece. I ask God to use my words to bring the light, comfort and healing you need.

Is there any hope to offer in this moment? Must we only speak of our profound grief, our indescribable sorrow, even our anger and confusion at how such a thing could have happened? Is there any word from God that might break into our darkness like a ray of light?

Yes, yes, a thousand times. If we Christians are right in believing that salvation belongs to Jesus Christ, that it does not come from us–and that our hand cannot stop what God allows for us, then yes, there is hope in eternity even for those who take their own lives.”

Uh, what part of this doesn’t express hope and mercy???

Having said that, I think that we must not call what is bad good, what is wrong right. Because we are Christians, we must say what we know is the truth – that taking your own life is against God who made us and against everyone who loves us. Our lives are not our own. They are not ours to do with as we please. God gave us life, and we are to be good stewards of that gift for as long as God permits.

The finality of suicide makes this all the worse. You cannot make things right again. Neither can [REDACTED]. And this is much of the pain of it all. Things are left unresolved, even if it felt to [REDACTED] like this was the only way to resolve things. You want to turn the clock back and say, “Please don’t give up. We can work through this pain together. ” But now you will have to work through this pain by yourselves, or with those close to you now who will need to lean on you even as you lean on them.

Is any of this not true??? If you know ANYTHING about suicide, especially the suicide of teens, you can see that it can often be infectious.  You’d also know if you pay attention to pop culture that it’s being glamorized in shows like “13 Reasons”, which I find demonic.  This is EXACTLY the homily I’d want my surviving children to hear. First, they need to understand that suicide doesn’t make the pain stop. It results from the lack of belief and understanding that God can help us. Yes, there can be mitigating circumstances, BUT Fr. Martin goes down a dangerous road to suggest that one is off the hook from culpability because they are depressed, mentally ill, suffered some trauma, or really any other thing. We simply don’t know, and to say that is a fact is claiming to know the mind of God.  We have the Ten Commandments. We don’t have the Thousands of Mitigating Circumstances. We only know what we know, and we have to beg for God’s mercy on the rest. Fr. Martin’s comment just makes it all the easier to embrace suicide.

How do I know this? I’ve had friends who have been suicidal. THE ONE THING that kept them from going through with it, despite bi-polar disorder, depression, trauma, etc., was their desire to go to Heaven and not hell. If they had thought for a moment, “Oh, I’ve been through x,y,z in my life, God will forgive me”, they very likely would have gone through with it. Despite all their perceived insurmountable odds, they didn’t want to gamble away eternal life with God by killing themselves. They didn’t thwart all of their hope like Judas. How many times have theologians stated that the ultimate condemnation of Judas wasn’t from handing Jesus over, it was because he refused to believe he could be forgiven and saved? This knowledge helped them continue bearing their many crosses. Thankfully, some have gotten through their “dark night.” I wish Maison understood that. I’m just guessing he didn’t, because his parents don’t seem like they understood, either.

On most people’s mind, however, especially of us who call ourselves Christians, on our minds as we sit in this place is: Can God forgive and heal this? Yes, God CAN forgive even the taking of one’s own life. In fact, God awaits us with his mercy, with ever open arms. Sacred Scripture says clearly: God proves his love for us in that while we still were sinners Christ died for us (Romans 5:8). God’s abiding mercy is what sets us to ask for it. Although God doesn’t dangle his mercy like a carrot, waiting for us to ask for it in order to receive it, we do have to believe in our hearts, express with our words, and show in our actions – that it is always there. God wants nothing but our salvation but he will never force himself on us, he will not save us without us. That’s how much he loves us. Because of the all-embracing sacrifice of Christ on the cross God can have mercy on any sin. Yes, because of his mercy, God can forgive suicide and heal what has been broken.

Again, if I were a parent at this funeral, this is EXACTLY what I’d want my kids to hear.  We need to avail ourselves of God’s mercy, and we need to pray for those who are having or who have had trouble doing so themselves. This is the Body of Christ, people! When people are weak and screw up even unto death, we pray for them and we learn from it.

Because God is merciful he makes allowance for the spiritual, mental, and emotional despair that leads to suicide. God is able to read the heart, to know the whole truth of a person’s life, and thereby to pass sentence with mercy. God knows something we must discipline ourselves to do in these moments – he knows not to judge a person’s entire life on the basis of the worst and last choice the person made. God can look at the totality of a human being’s life and celebrate all the good that came from it, even while taking seriously the tragic choice that ended everything. And then he shows his mercy and love in ways beyond our limited understanding.

FR. MARTIN! Why is it OK for you to say this but not Fr. LaCuesta??? This isn’t something new to priests who actually follow the teachings of the Church. Like I said, maybe you should check your tongue. The difference is Fr. LaCuesta tells us why we don’t give up hope and we don’t stop praying for young Maison. We must avail ourselves of God’s endless mercy, but Fr. Martin insinuates that all is good and that all we need to do is comfort those grieving. How does that motivate anyone to pray regularly for this boy? How does this keep anyone from thinking of doing the same thing?

Nothing can separate us from the love of God, the great St. Paul assures us (in that Reading we just listened to). Nothing – including suicide.

Who will bring any charge against God’s chosen ones? St. Paul asks. It is God who acquits us. Who will condemn? Christ Jesus sits at the right hand of God even now, interceding for this one who could not stand before God on his/her own. Truly, none of us can stand before God on our own. We all need Christ to intercede for us, to plead our case. And here’s the good news: Christ has never lost a case!

What will separate us from the love of Christ? St. Paul answers that question with a display of words that cover everything he can think of in so little space. Not death or life, not angels or principalities, not present things or future things, not powers or height or depth or any other creature will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

What did St. Paul leave out of that list? Nothing. He did not list suicide, but he did not list murder or gossip or greed either. He covered all of those things in the final flurry of words that includes anything else in all creation. No deed is too evil to be beyond the forgiveness of Christ. No tragedy is too great to separate us from the love of God.

So Maison is not out of God’s saving grace. What parent could have a problem with this message? It’s quite clear that Mr. and Mrs. Hullibarger have been taught so little about the Faith that they didn’t understand what a funeral is for. In fact, the Hillibargers didn’t even tell Fr. LaCuesta that Maison had committed suicide! Again, I don’t blame them, but to tear down Fr. LaCuesta isn’t right. He’s clearly the one who is putting the spiritual health and well-being of Maison’s friends and family first. This isn’t done by simply going over all the highs in Maison’s life. This is about getting people to pray for his eternal soul, to keep further people from following down his path of despair (maybe his family and friends), and to get people to avail themselves of God’s mercy.

If that is so, if the Scriptures can be believed, if God can be trusted even in this, then it gives us hope and guidance for how to manage our sorrow and anger and loss. We give it all to God. We hope…we can only hope. We do not carry it ourselves. We try to give thanks for the blessings of life we knew and shared with [REDACTED], with this child of God. And we remind ourselves that he is not lost to God who seeks to save all of his children.

And we see the good father offers more words of wisdom and comfort.

And so, we take great comfort and consolation in all this. Nothing-not even suicide-can separate us from the unconditional love of God. It is to this all- merciful love that we, through our prayers, entrust and continue to entrust the soul of [REDACTED]. Let us not deny him now of the help he needs most-our love expressed through our trusting prayers.

My dear friends, today, and in the difficult days to come, when darkness threatens to envelop and darken our hearts, let us raise high the bright light of our Redeemer and proclaim his saving mercy: Praised be Jesus Christ, now and for ever!

And more words of hope!

So, again, I ask Fr. Martin where this priest went wrong? This homily is precisely what it should be. I know priests who have given just about the exact same homily in the same circumstances! Parishioners should be lucky to have this priest do their funerals. People might actually avail themselves of God’s mercy! Sad the diocese pulled him from funeral services simply because of years of poor catechesis, and let’s just ignore people like me who would want a similar homily, too, since I’m quite convinced I’m not going straight to Heaven if I make it at all. I want lots of prayers. Sounds like the diocese goes along with this Fr. Martin comment:

“The purpose of the homily in the funeral rite is to speak about not only the person’s life but the resurrection and the promise of new life of that person,” he said. “It’s to offer consolation and hope to the family of the deceased.”

Actually, Fr. Martin, wrong! The entire funeral is to intercede for the dead (no matter how they died) as the Body of Christ and to comfort the grieving. Homilies are always supposed to be used to catechize and, in case of funerals, to teach people that as the Body of Christ we believe in hope and redemption and we can pray for this as the Body of Christ. What in the world could offer more comfort that??? Heaven is not promised to us unconditionally, and Fr. Martin acting as if this is so doesn’t help us to avail ourselves of God’s mercy. To do this, we need to understand that we NEED God’s mercy.

One last thing I’d like to touch on again is Fr. Martin and friends’ attempts to get the faithful to rely on mitigating circumstances in all facets of sin, not just suicide. It’s a toe–the-line way of living out the Faith and it’s incredibly dangerous to souls. We’re supposed to stay as far away from the line of sin as possible, yet Fr. Martin encourages people to dangle their toes over the line and, if they should lose their balance and cross it, well, mitigating circumstances, you know. It’s terrifying to see people encouraged to live the Faith this way.

Please join me in praying for young Maison’s soul and for the comfort and hope of his family and friends as well as the rest of the Body of Christ. And, if you are struggling with suicidal thoughts, please read Fr. LaCuesta’s homily and contact your local priest or National Suicide Prevention Hotline 1-800-273-8255 (TALK).  

 

 

 

Where Has All the Affective Maturity Gone?

Wow! I have been watching the Jesuit spin machine.  It’s been set on high the last few days. They have been in such a frenzy, they’re tying themselves in knots! The pope has been saying the exact same thing for years now and the liberals know it so I’m not sure it’s worth their effort. Yes, we have homosexual clergy and religious (and yes, he uses that title Fr. Martin so despises), but that doesn’t mean we should stop saying this is imprudent and knowingly let them get to their final vows and promises.

In new book on clergy and religious life, Pope Francis addresses homosexuality

<snip>

“The issue of homosexuality is a very serious issue that must be adequately discerned from the beginning with the candidates, if that is the case. We have to be exacting. In our societies it even seems that homosexuality is fashionable and that mentality, in some way, also influences the life of the Church,” the pope says in the book “The Strength of a Vocation,” set to be released Dec. 3 in ten languages.

What?  “Very serious issue”?   What happened to Fr. Martin and homosexuality’s “special gifts”??? No wonder why he’s working so hard to say that isn’t really what the Holy Father is saying.  I’ve sat here all weekend watching him tweet things like “disingenuous”, “not what he said”, etc. Poor guy, grasping at straws only to find they’ve been banned.

In an excerpt from the book, released Friday by Religión Digital, the pope said he is concerned about the issue of evaluating and forming people with homosexual tendencies in the clergy and consecrated life.

“This is something I am concerned about, because perhaps at one time it did not receive much attention,” he said.

He is right to be concerned. I’m not so sure it hasn’t been given much attention in the last few decades, but it is VERY concerning. Sadly, at least in American seminaries, huge efforts have instead been made to accommodate, recruit and enable homosexuality in the priesthood. In fact, I think it’s fair to say, in many areas heterosexual men have been drummed out of seminary under the “too rigid” canard. They’re the ones who had to sit down and keep their mouths shut if they had any hope of getting to their vocation. So, yes, I’d say homosexuality during formation got a lot of attention – just the wrong kind.

Francis said that with candidates for the priesthood or religious life “we have to take great care during formation in the human and affective maturity. We have to seriously discern, and listen to the voice of experience that the Church also has. When care is not taken in discerning all of this, problems increase. As I said before, it can happen that at the time perhaps they didn’t exhibit [that tendency], but later on it comes out.”

This has really got to rain on the LGBTSJ parade. He just said we have to listen to the experience of the Church which has consistently said that homosexuals should not be admitted to the clergy and religious life. He’s also suggesting serious vetting to make sure there is no homosexual tendency. Wow! Kind of sounds like what a huge chunk of people have been saying for YEARS!!! And here I thought we were super mean for saying that???

Still, let me tell you what the spin is on this is going to be: “Well, of course we have to educate people on integrating their sexuality and their vocation. It’s not that the pope doesn’t think gays should be in the priesthood, it’s just that they need to be educated.” 

“The issue of homosexuality is a very serious issue that must be adequately discerned from the beginning with the candidates, if that is the case,” the pope reiterated.

Francis recalled that one time “I had a somewhat scandalized bishop here who told me that he had found out that in his diocese, a very large diocese, there were several homosexual priests and that he had to deal with all that, intervening, above all, in the formation process, to form a different group of clergy.”

Umm, please note that the Holy Father didn’t say that this bishop was a big meanie nor that he was wrong to intervene in the formation process that allowed ordination of several homosexual priests. (Apparently Pope Francis didn’t get the memo from Fr. Martin that we are supposed to call them “gay”, not “homosexual”, because that’s their preference. He’s apparently as disrespectful as the rest of us.) Pope Francis is saying that this is what needs to be done.

“It’s a reality we can’t deny. There is no lack of cases in the consecrated life either. A religious told me that, on a canonical visit to one of the provinces in his congregation, he was surprised. He saw that there were good young students and even some already professed religious who were gay,” he related.

The pope said that the religious “wondered if it were an issue and asked me if there was something wrong with that.” Francis said he was told by one religious superior that the issue was not “that serious, it’s just an expression of an affection.”

Let’s take time to ponder this. Nowhere did the Holy Father nor the religious superior indicate that these religious who were homosexual were committing homosexual acts.  Meanwhile, Fr. Martin has been working overtime to equate “affection” with “homosexual acts” while at the same time telling everyone else, “the pope didn’t say that.” Well, hello, Fr. Martin! The Holy Father didn’t say the religious superior was wondering if it was OK for his guys to have homosexual sex! Geez.

“That’s a mistake,” Francis warned. “It’s not just an expression of an affection. In consecrated and priestly life, there’s no room for that kind of affection. Therefore, the Church recommends that people with that kind of ingrained tendency should not be accepted into the ministry or consecrated life. The ministry or the consecrated life is not his place.”

BOOM! No, it’s not another earthquake in Alaska. Several Jesuit heads just exploded all at once. Just for fun, I looked up “affection.” Nowhere is the definition sex of any kind nor is it a verb. Oops.

“af·fec·tion /əˈfekSH(ə)n/ noun

  1. a gentle feeling of fondness or liking”

 

We “have to urge homosexual priests, and men and women religious to live celibacy with integrity, and above all, that they be impeccably responsible, trying to never scandalize either their communities or the faithful holy people of God by living a double life. It’s better for them to leave the ministry or the consecrated life rather than to live a double life.”

Fr. Martin and buddies seem quite fond of trying to use this particular quote to say, “See!  It’s OK if gays are allowed to enter the priesthood or religious life as long as they keep their vows and promises!” This is not what Pope Francis is saying in the least. The Holy Father is acknowledging the sad reality that the poor screening (or, in my opinion, reverse screening) has allowed people to make vows and promises that weren’t suited to do so. Those who have been allowed to do so must live chaste, celibate lives and not cause scandal. Duh!  It doesn’t mean that we should keep the status quo of putting them in situations of temptation.   

The pope was asked in the book if there are limits to what can be tolerated in formation.

“Of course. When there are candidates with neurosis, marked imbalances, difficult to channel not even with therapeutic help, they shouldn’t be accepted to either the priesthood or the religious life, They should be helped to take another direction (but they should not be abandoned. They should be guided, but they should not be admitted. Let us always bear in mind that they are persons who are going to live in the service of the Church, of the Christian community, of the people of God. Let’s not forget that perspective. We have to care for them so they are psychologically and affectively healthy,” the pope replied.

Umm, he just paraphrased “Guidelines for the Use of Psychology in the Admission and Formation of Candidates for the Priesthood”, a document Fr. Martin and ilk would rather you didn’t know about, so please give it a read. 

10. It is possible that the candidate – notwithstanding his own commitment and the support of the psychologist, or psychotherapy – could continue to show himself unable to face realistically his areas of grave immaturity – even given the gradual nature of all human growth. Such areas of immaturity would include strong affective dependencies; notable lack of freedom in relations; excessive rigidity of character; lack of loyalty; uncertain sexual identity; deep-seated homosexual tendencies; etc. If this should be the case, the path of formation will have to be interrupted.

The same is also true if it becomes evident that the candidate has difficulty living chastity in celibacy: that is, if celibacy, for him, is lived as a burden so heavy that it compromises his affective and relational equilibrium.”

Just like Pope Francis, nowhere does this document say that one simply has to keep to chastity and celibacy to enter the priesthood. Evidence that one cannot is just one more reason to bar them from formation. Uncertain sexual identity and deep-seated homosexual tendencies are enough.

Another little document (and by little I mean big) that Fr. Martin and friends don’t want you to know about is “Instruction Concerning the Criteria for the Discernment of Vocations with regard to Persons with Homosexual Tendencies in view of their Admission to the Seminary and to Holy Orders”:

This document states that:

In the light of such teaching, this Dicastery, in accord with the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, believes it necessary to state clearly that the Church, while profoundly respecting the persons in question[9], cannot admit to the seminary or to holy orders those who practise homosexuality, present deep-seated homosexual tendencies or support the so-called “gay culture”[10].

Can you see why the LGBTSJ crowd and those that support calling them that might not want you to see this document??? Seminarians are not even supposed to “support the so-called ‘gay culture’” to be admitted to seminary, and we’ve got way too many priests already ordained who participate in “pride parades!” 

Why aren’t they supposed to be allowed? Oh, yes, there is one very good reason.

Such persons, in fact, find themselves in a situation that gravely hinders them from relating correctly to men and women

Both of these important documents on admission to the priesthood talk of “affective maturity.” We need to get this back into the discussion because it is very important, yet the homosexual lobby (can people really deny there’s one of these anymore?) doesn’t understand it in the least. I’m pretty sure I haven’t seen the term used in America Magazine lately, if ever. Pope John Paul II tells us what it is and why it’s a decisive factor for the priesthood in “Pastores Dabo Vobis” (emphasis mine).

In this context affective maturity, which is the result of an education in true and responsible love, is a significant and decisive factor in the formation of candidates for the priesthood.

  1. Affective maturity presupposes an awareness that love has a central role in human life. In fact, as I have written in the encyclical Redemptor Hominis, “Man cannot live without love. He remains a being that is incomprehensible for himself; his life is meaningless, if love is not revealed to him, if he does not encounter love, if he does not experience it and make it his own, if he does not participate intimately in it.(126)

We are speaking of a love that involves the entire person, in all his or her aspects – physical, psychic and spiritual – and which is expressed in the “nuptial meaning” of the human body, thanks to which a person gives oneself to another and takes the other to oneself. A properly understood sexual education leads to understanding and realizing this “truth” about human love. We need to be aware that there is a widespread social and cultural atmosphere which “largely reduces human sexuality to the level of something commonplace, since it interprets and lives it in a reductive and impoverished way by linking it solely with the body and with selfish pleasure.“(127) Sometimes the very family situations in which priestly vocations arise will display not a few weaknesses and at times even serious failings.

In such a context, an education for sexuality becomes more difficult but also more urgent. It should be truly and fully personal and therefore should present chastity in a manner that shows appreciation and love for it as a “virtue that develops a person’s authentic maturity and makes him or her capable of respecting and fostering the ‘nuptial meaning’ of the body.”(128)

Education for responsible love and the affective maturity of the person are totally necessary for those who, like the priest, are called to celibacy, that is, to offer with the grace of the Spirit and the free response of one’s own will the whole of one’s love and care to Jesus Christ and to his Church. In view of the commitment to celibacy, affective maturity should bring to human relationships of serene friendship and deep brotherliness a strong, lively and personal love for Jesus Christ. As the synod fathers have written, “A love for Christ, which overflows into a dedication to everyone, is of the greatest importance in developing affective maturity. Thus the candidate, who is called to celibacy, will find in affective maturity a firm support to live chastity in faithfulness and joy.”(129)

Since the charism of celibacy, even when it is genuine and has proved itself, leaves one’s affections and instinctive impulses intact, candidates to the priesthood need an affective maturity which is prudent, able to renounce anything that is a threat to it, vigilant over both body and spirit, and capable of esteem and respect in interpersonal relationships between men and women. A precious help can be given by a suitable education to true friendship, following the image of the bonds of fraternal affection which Christ himself lived on earth (cf. Jn. 11:5). 

Human maturity, and in particular affective maturity, requires a clear and strong training in freedom, which expresses itself in convinced and heartfelt obedience to the “truth of one’s own being, to the “meaning” of one’s own existence, that is to the “sincere gift of self” as the way and fundamental content of the authentic realization of self.(130) Thus understood, freedom requires the person to be truly master of oneself, determined to fight and overcome the different forms of selfishness and individualism which threaten the life of each one, ready to open out to others, generous in dedication and service to one’s neighbor. This is important for the response that will have to be given to the vocation, and in particular to the priestly vocation, and for faithfulness to it and to the commitments connected with it, even in times of difficulty. On this educational journey toward a mature, responsible freedom, the community life of the seminary can provide help.(131)

So, I’m just going to say it. I don’t see affective maturity in priests who are more focused on “coming out,” encouraging others to “come out”, etc. Instead, I see them acting in a manner that “largely reduces human sexuality to the level of something commonplace, since it interprets and lives it in a reductive and impoverished way by linking it solely with the body and with selfish pleasure.” JPII NAILED IT! Our priests need affective maturity so they can correctly relate to men and women. This is why I’ve said before that I don’t want my priests to consider themselves “gay priests” or “heterosexual priests.”  I just want them to consider themselves faithful priests. The pro-LGBTQXYZ clergy and religious are striving for the wrong title. They wouldn’t know affective maturity if it bit them in the behind.

  

 

 

Where’s Fr. Martin SJ?

Out @ St. Paul is one of James Martin, SJ’s favorite clubs. He re-tweets his pride for them quite often. He portrays them as just a benign, loving support group for those who are so oppressed by the Church simply for trying to be faithful Catholics that She needs to change for them. The reality is they completely support engaging in sodomy, entering into “gay marriages,” and engaging in the slander and detraction of Bishop Morlino, all while continuing to receive the Body and Blood of Christ. Let’s look at just two of their tweets from this last week and you can tell me how loving and moral they are.

First we have this…

outatstpaul

Harvey Milk was NO saint and no martyr for the Faith. To portray him as such is such a dishonor to saints, especially saints like Charles Lwanga. Milk was a homosexual man who sexually preyed on teen runaways who were homeless and resorted to prostitution.  He even encouraged boys to run away to join him in San Francisco. We’re not even talking about teens who were above the statutory age, which is really irrelevant but people are going to make the claim it is. He admits some of these relationships and/or parents intercepted his letters. Even his own biographer friend, Randy Shilts, wrote, “Harvey always had a penchant for young waifs with substance abuse problems.”  Sadly, at least one of his victims committed suicide years later. So, please, Fr. Martin and his buddies who talk about how we’re so mean or how horrible the abuse of minors is might want to zip it instead of trying to claim loving, moral superiority.  Of course, there wasn’t a peep from Fr. Martin to build his bridge and point out the Church’s position on this.

And then there’s this…

bishopmorlino

Bishop Morlino was NOT an opponent of LGBT people.  He was an opponent of the LGBT lifestyle. He LOVED people suffering from same-sex attraction so much that he spoke the hard truth to them. On the occasion of his death, to say that he was an enemy of anyone, that he hated anyone, that he committed calumny or persecution is disgusting. And still no peep from Fr. Martin on this one, either.

Out @ St. Paul is not some warm, cozy support group for those intent on living the chaste life. They’re not some group of persecuted who just want to be accepted so they can practice the Faith in peace. It is a militant group seeking to thwart as many of the Church’s teachings as they see fit. 

I call on Fr. James Martin, SJ, to condemn these scurrilous posts and tweets. I know he won’t, but it just shows, once again, show how fake his bridge overtures are. The bridge only leads one way – away from the Church that wants the best for all of us.+

 

Frustrated? Feeling Low? Deal!

Not to get all “mommy” on you but sometimes I feel like I’m dealing with the endless amount of dirty laundry and every time I feel like I might see the end of the pile, the washer or dryer breaks. Except it’s not really laundry right now. It’s the crud in the Church. It just never ends and we can’t seem to catch a break, right?  This is where I was this weekend with the death of Bishop Morlino right on the heels of the disastrous USCCB meeting.

Thankfully, I got the one two punch I needed to keep my chin up and move on. First of all, I hit confession. I admitted feeling a weeeeeeeee bit of frustration after hearing about Bishop Morlino’s death. I mean, really??? We have how many bishops and God chose to take him. Of course, my priest told me what I really already knew. He’s an even greater advocate for us now. My priest also reminded me not to be part of the problem. I also get that. It’s not like the Holy Father doesn’t score a small point when he mentions gossip even though my guess is he says it because he’d just like a little silence. “My side” has a problem with that sometimes, too.

Then it seems I got right out of the confessional and got a homily on speaking the truth. Yep! There’s definitely a balance there that those in the blogosphere have to get right. I’m sure I fall short on some days, but I’m still trying. And there’s also a message about not giving up on the truth and St. Paul and all that good stuff. Around this time of year, it’s mighty tempting just to take a super long vacation. I mean, I’m not getting paid to do this so crawling back into my Catholic cave is appealing. That said, I have a sneaking suspicion this is the devil trying to sideline me. This is not the time for any of us to let up.

Now let’s go back to my warning from the confessional and things about which I think we all need to be careful. I’m sure this isn’t going to be popular to hear for many and this blog post might not even see the light of day, but here goes.

Let me contend with the whole theory that the Pope isn’t the pope. I’m not going to say the assumption is wrong, although I suspect it is. It’s like people don’t remember we’ve had less than stellar popes that were still actually popes, just bad ones. But let me tell you why I think questioning whether Pope Francis is really the pope or calling him “Bergoglio” is a colossal waste of time and damages “the cause.” IT’S NOT OUR CALL!  Seriously, until Pope Benedict XVI rises up and says “Just kidding!” which is not going to happen, the only other person who can make that judgment is the next holy father. Now, he may in fact do so, but we’re wasting time on this one.  So much more energy could go elsewhere. Please note, saying the Holy Father is ambiguous or has a poor management style, etc., etc., etc., is not something out of our scope. I’m not even close to saying we have to sit on our hands and shut up.

Now, is there some way through canon law he could cease to be pope or be declared as such? People have been mulling this over for centuries and, who knows, there might just be a loophole there somewhere, but good luck with that.  And, really, can you imagine if someone tried to make this move?  I can’t even imagine the split in the Church then. Canon Law even says that the Pope can be judged if he deviates from the Faith and he can retire, but it never mentions who would be the judge when it says no one can judge the pope. It’s all so easy to wish this away with the “He can’t possibly be the REAL pope!” wish.  Get over it. All we have is this, which is why I’m sticking with my “We’re stuck waiting to see how that shakes out until the next pope comes along.”  

http://catholicplanet.org/councils/20-Pastor-Aeternus.htm
And since, by the Divine right of Apostolic primacy, the Roman Pontiff is placed over the Universal Church, We further teach and declare that he is the supreme judge of the faithful, [12] and that in all causes, the decision of which belongs to the Church, recourse may be had to his tribunal, [13] and that none may re-open the judgment of the Apostolic See, for none has greater authority, nor can anyone lawfully review its judgment. [14] Therefore, they stray from the right course who assert that it is lawful to appeal from the judgments of the Roman Pontiffs to an Ecumenical Council, as if to an authority higher than that of the Roman Pontiff.

If anyone, then, shall say that the Roman Pontiff has the office merely of inspection or direction, and not the full and supreme power of jurisdiction over the Universal Church, not only in things which belong to faith and morals, but also in those which relate to the discipline and government of the Church spread throughout the world; or assert that he possesses merely the principal part, and not all the fullness of this supreme power; or that this power which he enjoys is not ordinary and immediate, both over each and all the Churches and over each and all the Pastors and the faithful; let him be anathema.”

So, again, why are we wasting time on this?  We’ll know at some point in the nearish future.  Just call him by his title and move on to more concrete and valid points. It’s a distraction from some really valuable points.

We also really need to stop throwing out accusations where we have no proof.  For example, I completely think that Fr. Martin is probably suffering from same-sex attraction, but I really have zero proof.  Same goes for a few other priests, bishops and cardinals.  We do, however, have enough to be upset about with all the damaging FACTS of heresy, malfeasance, weird tweets.  Now, if you’re an investigative reporter, follow the leads, but until you get to the proof, focus on where you have proof.  I don’t have to sit around and wonder if Fr. Martin is SSA.  I do have irrefutable proof, though, that he’s not discouraging people and is even encouraging people to live active homosexual lifestyles and sooooo many other things (go ahead and search my blog). I mean, he’s stated tangible heresy and immorality.  I don’t need to know his attractions.  I need to show that he runs counter to the Church and why.  And, I can easily show that HIS way doesn’t work via his lifelong friend in a “gay marriage” who he’s never managed to get out of the active homosexual lifestyle.  So much for the bridge.  It’s ending exactly where we said it would.

There’s a few other areas where we need to reform and to focus like a laser on the truth that we can show with facts. We need to make sure we are acting in our purview and we need not usurp the authority we do not have.  Even if we are right in our suspicions, we will hang ourselves.  Investigate at will.  I encourage it, because uncovering facts are never a bad thing, even if the facts may show evil.  Just don’t get antsy to spill the goods.

I’ve seen many of you downtrodden over the state of the Church.  Personally, I think I’m living in an awesome time because, as history shows us, the hard times are how saints are made!  I think, for the first time in my life (I’m not that old so we’re not talking about the entire history of the Church by any means), people are paying attention. They aren’t asleep anymore.  It’s total and complete proof that God can take a bad situation and still bring about good.  I see it on the blogs, on Twitter, in the fasting and prayer, with statements some bishops and cardinals have made, etc.  People are making a stand for the Faith and are doing SOMETHING!  Seriously!  When have you seen many bishops asking us to fast, abstain and make reparations (much to Fr. James Martin, SJ’s chagrin)??? (And, yes, he did express anger that people would be asked to make reparation. It’s not a hunch!) So, don’t be disheartened!  Be thrilled to live in a time where the Church in our country has a pulse!

Let’s all follow Bishop Molino’s most excellent example and persevere to the end!  I’m a mom.  If I can stare laundry in the face day in and day out for decades, we can all do this together!  With God all things are possible!  Carry on!

 

No Sanity for YOU!

If you’re not keeping up with the news, here it is in a nutshell.  USCCB has their usual meeting and on the agenda is a code of conduct for bishops and a lay oversight committee.  As weak as most of us were saying this would be, the Vatican called in the Nuncio to the U.S. and basically said, no votes on anything. 

To say there’s a lot of ticked of Catholics today is an understatement.  The good old Vatican blindsided the USCCB.  It’s not like the Vatican didn’t know that we had our annual meeting starting when our bishops and cardinals were FINALLY given a meeting with Pope Francis.  It’s also no surprise that the Holy Father didn’t want discussion on the topic.  I believe he called everyone just to get together and pray.  So why the eleventh hour intervention?  More than that, why would he ever tell our bishops not to handle the crisis at hand and wait until February?  This. Is. Insane.

I am so sick of hearing the word “synodality” because, as I’ve said before, it’s a complete and utter farce.  I’m also sick of hearing how the laity needs to be more involved in, well, everything.  The actions today contradict both of the buzz phrases and that’s all they are.  They make for good PR but it should be clear to the stupidest person that this only applies to liberals, quite specifically, the Germans and their buddies.  If it has to do with them and their wretched ideas, it’s all about “synodality” and the laity.  If it comes to anyone trying to stem evil from overtaking the land, sorry, no sanity for you! Synodality and the laity can go to hell.

Ed Peters nailed it with this one little tweet.

Ed Peters

I cannot help get conspiratorial today.  What in the heck is going on? Are the liberals trying to put some grand plan together to gerrymander the February synod? What could the U.S. bishops come up with for THEIR territory that could possibly upset the Vatican apple cart?  Clearly some big panic was going on in Rome.

Also, I’m SUPER suspect of Cardinal Cupich’s statement.  Clearly this was not a shock to him.  He was completely prepared.  And, of course, whenever Cardinal Cupich sounds kind of sane, you know it ain’t off the cuff. He almost always spontaneously implodes off the cuff. So it certainly seems someone has a plan somewhere.  Besides that, Cardinal DiNardo confirmed that it came from the Congregation for Bishops and guess who’s in that.  Oh, yeah, Cardinal Cupich so please don’t tell me he or Cardinal O’Malley hadn’t a clue.  

Let’s look at the lengthy talk by our Nuncio.  It’s sad.  It’s pathetic and it flies in the face of EVERYTHING the Vatican has said as of late in regards to “synodality” and the laity.  That completely exposes all of the lip service we’ve been given the last 6 months AND forget collegiality.  We’ve got a dang  monarchy going on when something like this happens.

This is a long one.  Get some coffee.

ADDRESS OF HIS EXCELLENCY ARCHBISHOP CHRISTOPHE PIERRE

APOSTOLIC NUNCIO TO THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

UNITED STATES CONFERENCE OF CATHOLIC BISHOPS

NOVEMBER 12, 2018

BALTIMORE,MARYLAND

Dear Brothers in Christ,

I am happy to be with you once more here in Baltimore. I wish to thank Cardinal DiNardo, the President of the Episcopal Conference, as well as Monsignor Bransfield and the Staff of the USCCB, for the opportunity to address you. I assure you of the Holy Father’s closeness, prayers, and gratitude for your ministry. One year ago, we were celebrating the one hundredth anniversary of this Episcopal Conference. Despite some bright moments – the Fifth National Encuentro and the recent Synod on Youth – we must recognize that the year has been marked by challenges.

Nope.  The Youth Synod was just another awful “challenge” that we’ll probably have to deal with for years to come just like this abuse scandal.

Actually, the events of this past year, which we have lived and continue to experience, have been both challenging and sobering. With humility and apostolic courage, we must accept our responsibility as spiritual fathers, facing reality with the grace that comes from the Lord. The Church is always in need of renewal for the sake of her saving mission of mediating the presence of Christ in the world and this is impossible unless we rebuild trust among the People of God, a task, which, looking to the future, demands time, effort, sacrifice and, most of all, true repentance and reform on our part.

They can’t accept their responsibility and deal with the “challenges” (If I was a victim, I’d be a little more than miffed that the destruction of their souls, purity and faith is being reduced to a “challenge.”) because the Vatican won’t let them. Hello?!?!  The USCCB just got one big time-out. How is this supposed to help us regain the trust of our current Vatican regime.  Quite frankly, I never thought I’d say this but I’m beginning to have far more confidence in the USCCB than the gang in Rome.

REFORM AND RESPONSIBILITY: BEGINNING AGAIN FROM JESUS CHRIST

There are many calls for reform in the Church, particularly amid the present crisis. You yourselves have expressed a greater desire for accountability and transparency. Still, I am struck by the words of the French author Georges Bemanos:

“Whoever pretends to reform the Church with … the same means used to reform temporal society- not only will he fail in his undertaking, but he will infallibly end by finding himself outside the Church. I say that he finds himself outside the Church before anyone has gone to the trouble of excluding him or her. I say that it is he himself who excludes himself from her by a tragic fatalism … The only way of reforming the Church is to suffer for her. The only way of reforming the visible Church is to suffer for the invisible Church. The only way of reforming the vices of the Church is to lavish on her the example of one’s own most heroic virtues.”

Well, it seems that everyone has read the October Magnificat. Seriously, even Cardinal Mahony was quoting it.  I’m actually surprised the Nuncio didn’t quote the whole thing.  The problem here is, where does that leave the St. Catherines of the world?  It seems everyone want to pick the saint who makes it the most comfortable for them.  Saying the desire for accountability and transparency is somehow how not be the tactic because St. Francis, is just another way to say “Shut up and sit in the corner and pray.”  Oy. Cherry picking the saints is not going to help us in this day no more than cherry picking bible verses.  Firm resolve to sin no more and avoid the near occasion of sin is what’s going to get the job done.

If the Church is to reform herself and her structures, then the reform must spring from her mission of making known Christ, the Son of the Living God. Pope Francis says that “What makes obsolete structures pass away, what leads to a change of heart in Christians, is precisely missionary spirit.” (POPE FRANCIS, APOSTOLIC EXHORTATION EVANGELII GAUD/UM, 24 NOVEMBER 2013, 25)

Is this something new?  Nope.  So, apparently, maybe learning how to be chaste and moral priests and bishops has to come first before we can be missionaries??? I mean, it seems we’ve missed some basics long before we talk about the “missionary spirit.”  Do you really want priests and bishops running around the world molesting people?  Is morality an “obsolete structure?!”

There may be a temptation on the part of some to relinquish responsibility for reform to others than ourselves, as if we were no longer capable of reforming or trusting ourselves, as if the deposit of trust should be transferred to other institutions entirely. To regain trust it is not enough to simply preach words about responsibility, without living the difficulties of that responsibility, even in the face of criticism. When it comes to the responsibilities, with which we are charged – with children and the vulnerable at the forefront- we must show that we can solve problems rather than simply delegating them to others.

Holy Moses!  Isn’t this what a good chunk of the faithful been saying whenever the liberals say “More women! More laity!” Why is this suddenly uncomfortable for you? Oh, I know.  The laity has grown weary and are going to investigate the hell out of you all because we don’t want to see anymore victims of rape and molestation? That’s the sum total of it. We wanted you to do something.  We asked you to do something.  In fact, we BEGGED you to do something and you just passed the buck down the road and spewed out platitudes about women and the laity and now that the laity has said “OK, I guess we’ll have to do it!” It’s “Whoa!   Hold up a minute!  We don’t need “outside institutions!”  What the what?!?!?! Make up your ridiculous minds.

At the same time, there can be no question that the insights of experts, the contributions of time and professional skill of all the faithful, laity together with the clergy and so many consecrated women and men, are critical to carrying out our mission as Shepherds. Assistance is both welcomed and necessary, and surely collaboration with the laity is essential. However, the responsibility, as bishops of this Catholic Church, is ours – to live with, to suffer with, and to exercise properly. The People of God have rightly challenged us to be trustworthy.

Translation?  “We’ll let you be involved, laity, when it pleases us to do so.”  You want to be seen as trustworthy?  Stop the “we need the laity/we don’t need the laity” bipolar swings!  Just deal with the fact that you’ve made your bed and now you have to lie in it.  Start utilizing the good old transparency you’ve been flapping your gums about FOR DECADES now!  We don’t want a witch hunt.  Heck, I’ve seen priests put on “credibly accused” lists that are being released that were investigated by their order, the diocese they were in, the police and were totally and completely exonerated.  In fact, even the supposed victim’s families completely and totally recanted the stories.  So yeah, you releasing a bunch of lists doesn’t do a darn thing if you can’t even get them right.

Pope Francis never ceases to tell us that if we are to begin again, then we should begin again from Jesus Christ, who enlightens our lives and helps us to prove that we can be trustworthy! When Christ called Peter to be the Rock he told him that he would build his Church upon Peter’s confession of faith, promising that the gates of hell would not prevail! We are that Church, and in our own Profession of Faith we say that we believe in one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church – a Church undivided, holy because of its divine element, catholic as universal and apostolic because of its foundations in the teaching of the Apostles. As the successors of the Apostles, we cannot be other than with the successor of Peter. We, in communion with our Holy Father, are heirs to the promise of Christ. As heirs and successors, each of us, individually and collegially is called to a special responsibility to strengthen the faith of our sisters and brothers, especially in confronting the challenges before us.

And again, that’s what the proposition you guys shut down!

My brothers, in the past decades you have put in place structures for the protection of children and young people. But we all know that Ecclesia semper reformanda est! There is always more to do and we bishops must not be afraid to get our hands dirty in doing that work in the vineyard of the Lord. Moreover, allow me to remind you, in these challenging days, that the measures you have taken in the last years have been effective in training bishops, priests, deacons, religious and laity to be vigilant in the protection of youth. Those measures have been important, have set an example, and have led to a steep decline in the incidence of reported abuse today. There are some dioceses here in the United States that have been so thorough in their work that their training programs have become models for civil institutions. Those of you who have done good work are to be congratulated for your commitment as leaders, and for setting a good example for us all. At the same time, we must reaffirm vigorously that one case of abuse is one too many. Therefore, it is necessary, for the entire People of God, to remain vigilant.

Just more lip service.  Quite frankly, I’m not even sure if the incidences have gone down or some have just gotten better at covering it up. Remember, the latest flap is very much about how some managed to cover it up so well and how those guys are now in positions of power.

Despite the success of these efforts, there is not a corresponding increase in public approval of bishops, and given some recent revelations, perhaps none should be expected. Trust needs to be earned, not presumed. When protection of the young and vulnerable becomes not just a duty but a calling, when it is viewed as integral to the gospel not only to care for Catholics but for all in harm’s way, we bishops can rightly take our place as leaders looked up to rather than down upon with scorn. Of course, there is work to do, but do not be afraid to speak with pride of the work that has been done.

They were trying to earn it as best they can in this debacle but you told them to hold off. I cannot say that enough. We don’t care about the work already done when people like Cardinals McCarrick, Cupich, Tobin and Farrell all were promoted, not to mention the idiots at the Vatican.  That wiped out our view of anything good and the fact that you won’t allow our territory’s bishops to vote on something as simple as a code of conduct further looks horrific.

Indeed, as painful and humiliating as it may be at times, we can thank the media for bringing attention to this issue. There have been times when the media drew attention to precisely what we did not attend to ourselves. As said from the time of diplomacy in the Greek City-States, “Don’t shoot the messenger.” (And, as a Nuncio, I can assure you it is a phrase very dear to me!) It is also the case that an impression is sometimes left in the media that the Church has done little. That is simply not true, and we should not be afraid to refute this. We cry for the injustices perpetrated upon victims of abuse. We vow to fight a clerical culture that tolerates the abuse of authority. When abuse occurs, it is our sin and we must take it as such. These are not the sins of the media or the products of vast conspiracies. These are things we must recognize and fix. Our Holy Father has said it must end, and it must – not simply because he has said it, but because each of us in our hearts know that this is the only right thing to do.

Oh my gosh.  The Church has done a lot.  They’ve done everything to covering up the abuse, promoting the perpetrators and, most recently, they most certainly shot the messenger. You might not really want to go there, Nuncio. The right thing to do is what the PAPAL COMMISSION for the Protection of Minors said to do and release everyone from Pontifical Secrets in regards to abuse but it’s way more convenient to keep shooting the messenger.

Thus, we must see our failures clearly and not be discouraged if we feel the Church is somehow treated unfairly, turning upon ourselves as though the world is against us. This would-be self-referential behavior paralyzes rather than energizes. Christ and his mission demand we go into the world, not withdraw from it. At this critical moment in the history of the Church in the United States, I am confident that each one of us will be able to respond by going to and being with the people, showing them that we can be trustworthy. The path is clear and begins with Christ, the Way, the Truth, and the Life.

For heaven’s sake.  You might want to relay this message to the Holy Father because the “Great Accuser” schtick is getting really, really, really old.

From the Divine Master, we learn the proper use of authority through service. Seeing the imminence of the Passion and desiring to leave for the Apostles an example to imitate, He humbled Himself and washed their feet, commanding them to do the same: For I have given you an example, that as I have done, so you also should do. (JOHN 13:15).

So tiring.  Look, I’m a Pastor Aeternus groupie. This has ZERO to do with it. This isn’t about proper use of authority.  It’s about the improper use of authority.  You guys are the one who’ve been screaming clericalism, remember?

Rebuilding trust requires using our authority to serve humbly and to lead by example. Saint Charles Borromeo, a model for bishops, reflecting on the washing of the disciples’ feet, writes that:

“If we desire to consider entirely the things that are mystically contained in Christ’s example, we find the whole duty of an apostle expressed by him. He rose up from the Jewish supper. In like manner his ministers too must leave behind the lifestyle of the old man … and put on the new, rising from just knowing to putting it into practice, from the meal to labor, from letter to the spirit. They must lay down their garments, that is cast away all impediments to the virtues, that they may be able to labor strenuously and gird themselves with white linen, that is, integrity of life. Then they draw the water of saving doctrine and wash the character and conduct of their subjects with doctrine, the Sacraments, and example. This, our leader and standard-bearer Christ did, so that we might do the same. The disciple is not above the Master (Mt 10:24), nor is it fitting for servants of the humble Lord to be proud.’ (CHARLES BORROMEO, HOMILIA II, IN VOL. 1, JOSEPH ANTHONY SAX, ED. SANCTI CAROLI BORROMEI HOM!l/AE, MLIAN: JOSEPH MARELLUM, 1747-1748)”

 

Um, I think you’ve described the big, gigantic thing we’ve all been saying.  I agree this is very needed.  That said, it’s the opposite of what is happening and now what is being ordered not to happen.

Pope Francis asks us to be a synodal and humble Church, a Church that listens. We need to listen once more to the voice of Christ: For I have given you an example, that as I have done, so you also should do. The exercise of authority is a real service and governance should not be a privilege or a position, but a responsibility to be neither ignored nor totally delegated.

 I have never heard so many deaf people talk about listening. Nobody is listening to the view from the pew. If they were, Rome definitely would not have told our bishops to postpone doing something about the immorality in our country.

AUTHENTIC REFORM: LISTENING TO THE VICAR OF CHRIST

As the pilgrim Church journeys on in history, she recalls the words of the Savior: He who hears you, hears me. The Church listens to the voice of Christ. She also listens when the Vicar of Christ on earth, the successor of Saint Peter, speaks. Lumen Gentium’s third chapter takes up the role of bishops and collegiality, declaring “Just as in the Gospel, the Lord so disposing, St. Peter and the other apostles constitute one apostolic college, so in a similar way, the Roman Pontiff, the successor of Peter, and the bishops, the successors of the apostles, are joined together.” (cf. LG 22) “The individual bishops represent each his own church, but all of them together with the Pope represent the entire Church in the bond of peace, unity’ and love.” (SECOND VATICAN COUNCIL, DOGMATIC CONSTITUTION ON THE CHURCH LUMEN GENT/UM, 21 NOVEMBER 1964, 23)

And why is it that the Nuncio feels he needs to remind the USCCB of this?  Does anyone at all find this kind of a threat?  I know I do.

If we are together, in real hierarchical communion – hierarchical communion that permeates our hearts and are not merely words – we become the visible sign of peace, unity, and love, a sign of true synodality. In a recent audience, the Holy Father outlined three essential traits of bishops, which I believe can help us rediscover our own sense of identity and mission in the present situation: to be a man of prayer; a man of proclamation; and a man of communion.

Please, stop with the synodality. Thus far it’s been a lie. Honestly, it’s scary talk to be spending so much time on “real hierarchical communion” as if people who think that the Church is not handling the abuse crisis well  are somehow not in “real hierarchical communion.”  Like I’ve said before, I think we’re heading toward schism declarations.  I’m sure talk like this doesn’t make most of us comfortable.  For us, it’s like having to decide which parent to live with in a divorce.  It’s a horrible place to put us and, surprisingly, it ain’t the USCCB who is trying to bring us to the brink.

THE BISHOP AS A MAN OF PRAYER

In that audience, the Holy Father noted that the bishop, like Saint Peter and the Apostles, is “called by Jesus to be with Him. (cf. Mk 3: 14) There he finds his strength and his confidence. Before the Tabernacle he learns to entrust himself and so trust in the Lord.,  (POPE FRANCIS, AUDIENCE WITH PARTICIPANTS IN A SEMINAR ORGANIZED BY THE CONGREGATION FOR THE EVANGELIZATION OF PEOPLES, 8 SEPTEMBER 2018). It is important for us to regain our confidence that by the power of God and our cooperation with Him, we can face and meet any challenges.

“For the bishop,” the Holy Father continues, “prayer is not devotion but a necessity; it is not one task among many, but an indispensable ministry of intercession: each day he must lead people and lay their situations before God.” I am encouraged that you will have the opportunity to be together and to pray together on your retreat in early January, when you will have more time to contemplate the person of Jesus, to listen to His voice, to discern the path forward, and to intercede for your people.

Huh?  These guys are bishops. Do they really not believe this?  I don’t know about the Nuncio, but I watched a lot of good bishops call us all not only to prayer but to fasting and penance and it’s not like they just told us to do it.  They were right there with us.

THE BISHOP AS A MAN OF PROCLAMATION

In addition to being a man of prayer, Pope Francis recalls that the bishop should be a man of proclamation. The Apostles were sent to proclaim the Gospel to all the nations. How often the Holy Father exhorts us to be a “Church that goes forth”! This applies to us too!

In spending himself tirelessly for his people and for the Gospel, not living exclusively in an office, but among the people, the bishop proclaims the Word with a specific style. Hopefully, he follows the humble example of Jesus. The Pope reminds us that we are called to be “living memories of the Lord’ and warns against “being more concerned with form than substance, of becoming more actors than witnesses” and “of watering down the Word of salvation by proposing a Gospel without Jesus Crucified and Risen.”

How about giving talks as lame as this to the congregation?  Seriously.  This is a check off the box talk. It’s not even remotely acknowledging the elephant in the room.

THE BISHOP AS A MAN OF COMMUNION

The Holy Father also reminds us that the bishop is to be a man of communion, marked with “the charism of togetherness” – maintaining unity and solidifying communion. All of you are certainly aware of the polarization of American society today; it is a polarization that has sometimes affected and infected the Church and our parishes. The Holy Father states, echoing Saint Augustine, that “The Church needs union, not soloists apart from the choir or exponents of personal battles. The Pastor gathers: a bishop for his faithful, he is a Christian with his faithful.”

Let’s just pause here to note one phrase.  “The charism of togetherness.” Reallllyyyy???  When was this the pre-eminant charism of the Church?  That is a HUGE misunderstanding of the “one” in one, holy, catholic and apostolic.  Would we say the Church was suffering from a lack of the “charism of togetherness” when Paul withstood Peter or St. Catherine told Pope Gregory how it was?  Complete and utter agreement on everything in the Church is not needed for “one” to exist.

There’s a reason we’ve come to such a polarized place in America.  It happened because of weak, pandering leaders who chose platitudes over substance.  I agree that the situation in our Church is similar in polarization and for the very same reason. While we’ve always had periods throughout Church history, I’ve never seen it like this in my lifetime. Our Church leaders have made the same, sad mistakes as, say, Barrack Obama.  All style, no substance.

To accomplish this unity the bishop must love “weaving communion by being involved in the first person and by acting in a humble manner.” Part of being engaged and acting humbly involves listening. Last June, I said that spiritual fatherhood and effective evangelization require listening. The International’ Theological Commission recently noted the necessity of listening in discernment to build consensus among laity, consecrated men and women, clergy and bishops. And listening is curative; by listening, we begin the process of accompaniment. Spending time with the people and listening to their needs, we learn how to be better pastors. We are here to teach, but we can also be taught by our brothers and sisters.

Oh my gosh.  I feel like banging my head on a wall. Honestly, how many times can we pitch “listening” as the answer to everything without actually listening to a darn thing.

The recent Synod on Youth is an example of listening and of taking young people and their concerns seriously. The Fifth National Encuentro was exemplary in the art of listening in parishes, dioceses, regionally and nationally. Those who often find themselves at the margins were afforded the opportunity to express themselves to their pastors. For those present, who could not be moved by the event when bishops were seated around the table, exchanging ideas with young people?

Yes, it was a really nice photo-op and then a document was written with two-thirds of it addressing nothing the youth cared about at all. You know? Synodality.

Offering an attentive ear to priests is critical as well. We must remember that truly our priests need support and understanding. They must be listened to. As the Holy Father says:

“[The bishop] does not tire of listening … He becomes wholly one with his people and above all with his presbyterate, always willing to receive and encourage his priests. By example, more than by words, he promotes a sincere priestly fraternity, showing priests that they are Shepherds for the flock … ” (POPE FRANCIS, AUDIENCE WITH PARTICIPANTS IN A SEMINAR ORGANIZED BY THE CONGREGATION FOR THE EVANGELIZA TION OF PEOPLES, 8 SEPTEMBER 2018)’

Is this why it took so long for our bishops and cardinals to get a meeting with the Holy Father?  Because he felt that they needed an attentive ear?

Priests today are hurting. Many, having lived through 2002, are experiencing a trauma for the second time in their priesthood over the abuse crisis. Some are demoralized, while others are feeling angry or betrayed. Many are simply worn down with the burdens of ministry, the clergy shortage, and the suspicion under which they live. They are looking to you to be a father and brother who will listen -to their sorrows and joys – and who will empathize and encourage them to persevere. Listening to them and sustaining them is essential to responding to their concerns, so that they may be your joyful co-workers in the Vineyard of the Lord.

Again, our bishops were trying to throw out the idea that the whole issue of conduct starts with them and they were just squashed at the last-minute. They were at least trying to go for transparency with the lay review board.  Again, no joy there either.  I can’t imagine why anyone would be demoralized, angry or betrayed. (Sarcasm alert.) Our priests are the boots on the ground.  They hear it from the laity when they are happy or mad.  How do you think the thumping the Vatican gave the USCCB today makes them feel. So, please, stop.

The problems faced by the Church today are compounded by a clericalism, which can affect both clergy and laity, and which “corrodes communion.” In this regard, it is important to recall that it is the People of God for whom we (and our priests) have been ordained.

Well, on this one point we can agree.  Again, I can’t imagine how today’s thumping is going to do anything to change the problems we face today. It’s only going to reinforce the laity’s growing reality that you are going to do whatever you choose and when you choose.  Where’s the “listening” there???

Our Holy Father has spoken of the ills of clericalism from the first days of his pontificate. It is an illness, and it must be treated as such. An effective response to clericalism can emerge by offering special attention to clergy and to seminarians by “updating our processes of selection, accompaniment and evaluation” of candidates for the priesthood. (CF. POPE FRANCIS, “ADDRESS TO PARTICIPANTS IN THE COURSE FOR NEW BISHOPS OFFERED BY THE CONGREGATION FOR BISHOPS, 13 SEPTEMBER 2018). I am confident that the new Ratio Fundamentalis and your forthcoming Sixth Edition of the Program for Priestly Formation will confront the challenge, offering an integral formation for seminarians, helping them grow continually in discipleship and configuration to Christ.

With patience and concern, continue to spend time with your clergy and seminarians, listening, so that through prayer you may discern a truly effective pastoral response, conscious of the Holy Father’s reminder that you are “fathers, not masters, caring fathers … ” (POPE FRANCIS, AUDIENCE WITH PARTICIPANTS IN A SEMINAR ORGANIZED BY THE CONGREGATION FOR THE EVANGELlZATION OF PEOPLES, 8 SEPTEMBER 2018)

 

I don’t really know what it’s like in other countries.  In mine, we have a lot of newer bishops who have been left with quite a mess from leaders like Cardinal McCarrick, Cardinal Mahony, Cardinal Bernadin, etc., etc., etc.  And now you’ve given us a few more who worshipped them like Bishop McElroy, Cardinal Farrell, Cardinal Tobin, Cardinal Cupich.  Maybe, if you want real change, don’t give us more of the same.  Give us people who actually agree with what you stated above rather than cardinals like Cupich who demand that people apologize for him when he steps in it time and again. Don’t give us bishops and cardinals who bounce the faithful Catholic men as “too rigid.” And hey, maybe drop the whole use of “rigid” all together!

CONCLUSION

My brothers, we cannot run from the challenges that presently confront us. We must face them realistically and courageously, listening with open hearts to the voice of Christ and his Vicar on earth.

It would appear that the only ones running from the challenges are confronting us are people in the Vatican.  Our guys were ready to at least make an attempt to confront the problems or at least try to appear like they were doing so.  I know it was an honest effort on the behalf of some.

I want to assure you, not only of my prayers and solidarity at this difficult time, but also of those of the Holy Father. Just as the Lord gazed upon Peter, knowing his weaknesses but also seeing his potential, I remain confident that the Lord gazes upon us now and will offer us his strength to meet the challenges, which seem daunting.

We cannot be daunted or held back by the challenging task; rather, we must be concerned with the people and mission entrusted to our care along the path to holiness.

Then get out of the way!!!

The experience of the divine, even in small victories and experiences of grace and healing, gives us hope. Even if things seem dark, do not be discouraged but have hope. He is with us. He accompanies the Church. Dedicated to Christ and belonging to Him, as men of the Church, each one of us must be living witnesses to hope. I conclude with the words of Cardinal Henri De Lubac:

‘A man of the Church will always remain open to hope; for him the horizon is never closed. Like St. Paul, he will want to be full of rejoicing in his sufferings and will go so far as to believe himself called … to ‘fill up those things that are wanting in the sufferings of Christ … for his body which is the Church.’, knowing that in Christ he has ‘the hope of glory’.” (HENRI DE LUBAC, THE SPLENDOR OF THE CHURCH, TRANSL. MICHAEL MASON, DEUS BOOKS: GLEN ROCK, 1956, 155.)

Thank you for your attention!

I’m going to leave my bishops with a quote that rings more necessary in these crucial times:

We’ve had enough of exhortations to be silent! Cry out with a hundred thousand tongues. I see that the world is rotten because of silence.

~St. Catherine of Siena

I want to make one thing clear.  The Holy Father is totally within his rights to tell our bishops not to vote and to wait until February.  This is my point. It appears very hypocritical in the light of the constant call for synodality and collegiality and it doesn’t make it right to do so.