As long as I’m writing letters…
I’ve been sitting on this one for a while. There are really a couple of topics to cover here. There’s Amoris Laetitia and then there’s the diocesan priests who have been every bit the lemmings as the marchers in the “Women’s March” in many subjects but especially, as of late, in Amoris Laetitia. Let’s look at the latter first. I’m going to use my own diocese as an example of what happens in many dioceses in the country. To those fortunate to live in very humble and obedient areas, please try to keep the glee to a minimum and pray for those of us who do not. You are blessed.
In a perfect Catholic world, our Bishops would be our commanders-in-chiefs and our priests would be their loyal generals leading us in battle against the culture seeking to ruin us. Instead, what do we have? Well, in most dioceses, we’ve got alternative hierarchical structures that more resemble the mafia with various nefarious mob bosses seeking to control the power in their territory and, quite often, they are working to undermine the power of the guy in charge. So, yes, in many dioceses we have parallel universes. Of course, the local bishop may still be a commander-in-chief or he could be the godfather. We’ve had both here in my time on the planet. The godfather is gone from our diocese, but the mob bosses held over from those days haven’t joined the army. They’re still scrapping for the control they once had and they’re really taking it out on their lackeys, coaxing them under the bus in hopes of regaining control.
Now let me give you an example using Amoris Laetitia to explain all of this. On December 6, 2016, Bishop Barber of the Oakland Diocese held a priests’ study day on Amoris Laetitia and brought in Bishop Mark O’Connell, J.C.D, from the Archdiocese of Boston. What happened during this day and subsequent days illuminates how the “mob bosses” work in our diocese. So what happened? These guys here (it’s always these guys, and it’s been these guys forever. Sigh…) are part of the “mob boss” crew:
Your scorecard – Fr. Dan Danielson, bottom right; Fr. Jim Schexnayder, partially eclipsed behind Danielson, and Fr. Jay Matthews, left.
Now, I wouldn’t normally put Fr. Jay in the “mob boss” category but he is rector of the cathedral parish and has been trying to depress and frighten the congregation over Trump’s win/Hillary’s loss, so I’ll just give him a promotion. There’s probably a few others I missed (Fr. Richard Mangini might be in the background but the picture isn’t the sharpest, so we’ll just go with these guys for now).
Fr. Dan Danielson came to kingpin status under Bishop Cummins and has been reticent to relinquish that title. In these parts, he was the one notorious for doing “lesbian friendship blessings” AKA fake weddings back in the late 90’s (or at least that’s when he was caught). He’s a very charismatic chap and really has spent much time “grooming” the priests of the Oakland Diocese (grooming is actually a darn good word for it). More recently, he waited until the bishop was out of town and put his ridiculous thoughts on overturning of Prop 8 seen here: http://www.catholicvoiceoakland.org/2015/10-05/forum1.htm
Fr. Jim Schexnayder of NACDLGM and CALGM (If I actually tried to give you his whole biography, it would take way too long, so I’m going to leave a few things here for you.)
So back to the meeting. From what I understand (and no, I wasn’t there, because I’m not on staff nor do I wear clerics) the two bishops did a great job clarifying Amoris Laetitia for the priests of the diocese. Were all of them there? Sadly, no. Also, sadly, many of those who missed it were the ones who most definitely needed it, because our little “mob bosses” have been “educating” them for far too long.
Also, from what I understand, at this meeting, our little “kingpin” tried to float the idea ON MORE THAN ONE occasion that personal conscience gets to decide what is and what is not sin and whether or not they can receive Communion. From all accounts, the bishops clarified that Amoris Laetitia does not say that, and it sounds like they came up with a great analogy to illustrate the point. I think they used the death penalty or such. I can’t remember what was relayed to me, but it was almost two months ago and I’m just getting around to it now, so I’m just going to pick something that will resonate with the “appalled at all things seamless garment” crowd. In other words, the bishops found something that is something so appalling that the liberals wouldn’t agree to the “let personal conscience decide” theory. In other words, checkmate.
I’m going to give another example that I just ran across: torture. Dear priests who think personal conscience gets to decide sin, do you think this is the same for those who commit torture? Hmmm??? Do ya? My thought is that you’re getting mighty quiet right now trying to figure a way around this. What the Church is really saying is that sin is not dependent on whether or not YOU find it sympathetic or abhorrent, which is what you’re trying to do with Communion for the divorced and remarried.
Now, had all of the priests of the diocese come to this meeting, I think they would have found these types of examples helpful.
So back to our diocesan “mob bosses.” Do you know how “mob bosses” usually get their dirty work done? They get their lackeys to do it so they can skate on any and all punishment. They keep their hands “clean”, so to speak, but they throw their lackeys under the bus to get their mission accomplished. My guess is that’s what happened here in one very next Sunday’s bulletin: http://www.catholicvoiceoakland.org/2015/10-05/forum1.htm
In the document, the pope appeared to side with theologians and bishops who had proposed an “internal forum” in which a priest or bishop decides jointly with the individual on a case-by-case basis if he or she can be fully reintegrated and receive Communion.
Whoa ho! Did someone miss a meeting???
Yes, ladies and gentlemen, six short days later, this magically appears. Coincidence? Seriously, if you’re going to skip a meeting on the topic of Amoris Laetitia, a document that’s been hotly debated, might you not want to find out what your leader says about it before posting an op-ed in your bulletin? Did you just rely on what was relayed to you by the mob bosses who tried so hard to push the false integration theory? My guess is yes.
So what’s the moral of this tale? Dear priests, stop being lackeys in the family business! You are being thrown under the bus by and for the bosses, and we’ve seen it happen over and over for years. They’re not the loving brothers they are supposed to be. Understand that some of your fellow priests want power and won’t think twice about using anyone or anything to undermine their commander-in-chief to get it. Open your eyes! Do you really want to be like the lemmings who attended the “Women’s March?” At least in the Diocese of Oakland you’ve got a bishop who is on the side of all of us – you, me and even the mob bosses who are trying to get rid of him. I have not seen a more patient and loving man. I’m sure many of you have similar bishops. You need to choose who you follow very wisely. Souls are at stake.