We continue our trek with Our Lord and Savior during this most meaningful and mystical of weeks in the year. Yesterday we knelt near Him, seeing all too clearly what causes Him to weep so bitterly. How would one ever have the gumption to keep going with this overburdening grief swelling up so? One reason could be that Jesus sees the good that we do, He sees those who seek to remain obedient to His teachings and seek to uphold the doctrines and tenets of His Holy Church. That encourages the human persona in the God-Man to continue on the course He has chosen. Though to us it might seem a small consolation that could not possibly give Him that much stamina to stay the course, it is, in truth, our very determination to stay the course, to strive to live a virtuous life while all else is crumbling around us, that He lauds and blesses and gives hope for His Church.
For in doing so, in facing down opposition to His teachings, we throw ourselves willingly on the frontlines of the battlefront between God and satan. We show we are willing to carry our cross as He asks many times in the Gospels, specifically Matthew 10: 38, "And he who does not take up his cross and follow Me, is not worthy of Me. He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it."
Jesus returns to find Peter, James and John still asleep on the edge of Gethsemani. Together they leave the Garden of Olives. Just as darkness has descended on this evening, so also it has descended on our world and beloved Church today. In the distance there is a crowd moving toward Our Lord and His Apostles. Their lighted torches signal they are determined. The lighted torches of modernism could be seen in the distance in the 1800's and Blessed Pius IX and Pope Leo XIII warned us. Leo directly warned Cardinal James Gibbons, Archbishop of Baltimore and the rest of the United States Bishops on January 22, 1899 of the creeping cancer of "Americanism" and of their duty to teach and govern according to the tenets of Holy Mother Church. He specifically pointed out, "The rule of life laid down for Catholics is not of such a nature that it cannot accommodate itself to the exigencies of various times and places." He further emphasized that "there is even a greater danger and a more manifest opposition to Catholic doctrine and discipline in that opinion of the lovers of novelty, according to which they hold such liberty should be allowed in the Church, that her supervision and watchfulness being in some sense lessened, allowance be granted the faithful, each one to follow out more freely the leading of his own mind and the trend of his own proper activity. They are of opinion that such liberty has its counterpart in the newly given civil freedom which is now the right and the foundation of almost every secular state."
And this wise and holy Pontiff was just getting started. He went on to assert, "But such reasoning is evidently faulty, since if we are to come to any conclusion from the infallible teaching authority of the Church, it should rather be that no one should wish to depart from it, and moreover that the minds of all being leavened and directed thereby, greater security from private error would be enjoyed by all. And further, those who avail themselves of such a way of reasoning seem to depart seriously from the overruling wisdom of the Most High - which wisdom, since it was pleased to set forth by most solemn decision the authority and supreme teaching rights of this Apostolic See - willed that decision precisely in order to safeguard the minds of the Church's children from the dangers of these present times."
The 256th successor of Peter further emphasized, "These dangers, viz., the confounding of license with liberty, the passion for discussing and pouring contempt upon any possible subject, the assumed right to hold whatever opinions one pleases upon any subject and to set them forth in print to the world, have so wrapped minds in darkness that there is now a greater need of the Church's teaching office than ever before, lest people become unmindful both of conscience and of duty."
As we mentioned yesterday, have not many of our bishops today "become unmindful both of conscience and of duty" by their silence toward sin and their condoning of open dialogue that pours "contempt upon any possible subject"? Yes, we truly have wrapped "minds in darkness" and yet, our shepherds today do nothing to discern and discipline those who take "license with liberty." This stern warning by Leo is on record with the National Conference of Catholic Bishops. Just because he is no longer with us does not dismiss the urgency and importance of his words. He spoke from the Primacy of Peter, as did his predecessor in speaking against "liberal Catholicism" in America, and his successors Pope Saint Pius X, Pius XI, Pius XII, John XXIII, Paul VI and John Paul II. Yet the American bishops have not been obedient to the Bishop of Rome. 102 years later they still continue to give lip service to Papal utterances, but are slow to disseminate the teachings, let alone enforce them unless they cater to their agenda.
Just what Leo warned against, the chanceries have become. We have met the enemy and it is us. The mindset among the vast majority of American bishops is twofold, and both are prideful. First, they have strayed far from the letter of the Gospel and live by the spirit of it to suit their agenda and rationalize their lifestyle and the lifestyle of others. Thus begot 'cafeteria Catholicism.' Just as so few citizens expressed outrage at Bill Clinton's immoral trysts because by him doing it it somehow has justified their own infidelities, so also the same warped logic has permeated chanceries and clergy from seminary professors to cardinals. Truth be known, there are so many skeletons in the amchurch's closets that to express true outrage, to try to correct the sins, would call down wrath, repudiation and ostracization from the vast den of thieves and abusers who seek to undermine Holy Mother Church from within.
This is the underlying primary reason the bishops have not enforced discipline against Catholic politicians who overtly promote the culture of death; it is why so many bishops waffle on moral absolutes; and why they remain so silent and offer no resistance to the militant homosexual campaign that has overtaken the world, especially America and, sadly, the Church. We have been betrayed by the kiss of silence.
One way this has happened is the fact, that cleverly and insidiously, they have given an Imprimatur to one of the most vile sex education programs possible. It is called "Growing in Love" and to trace its origin follows a path of vice that lays guilty many whom we might have prior to have trusted and looked up to as wise and worthy shepherds. Yet, these wolves in sheep's clothing have besmirched their office before God and man. "Growing in Love" evolved from "New Creation," a sexual catechesis that infiltrated Catholic education in the eighties. Both programs were given the stamp of approval, the first by the late Archbishop James T. McHugh and the second by the current prelate in Dubuque, Iowa Archbishop Jerome Hanus, a Benedictine whose Order has been exposed in this country for having manufactured the "new thinking" seminaries where homosexuality was not only promoted, but practiced. It is the same congregation that has produced such modernist thinkers as Milwaukee's Archbishop Rembert Weakland. By their company you will know them. Read what Paul says in 1 Corinthians 4: 9-13. Enough said?
In "Growing in Love" the authors blatantly inject a tolerance for sodomy in their kindergarten series. Here is an excerpt: "People, who are gay, or homosexual, are sexually attracted to people of their own gender instead of the other gender. A man who is gay loves another man. A woman, who is gay, or lesbian, loves another woman. Some children grow up in families where the adults are homosexual partners, although people who are gay are not allowed to be legally married to one another..."
Now this followed a description of heterosexual relationship between man and wife and, in softening it to the politically correct term "gay" rather than what it should be called "sodomites" they have made it more alluring. Furthermore, there is no reference that God and His Church have always taught that sodomy is not only wrong, but perverse, but that up to now "homosexuality" has not been fully accepted because of "legal" matters. Considering the state of the world and the way the sodomy agenda is gaining state and federally, soon they'll be able to eliminate that. Look at the media today and television programs and you can see an acceptance of sodomy as just another alternative that is just fine. It was the wretched mind-numbing "Seinfeld" show that made popular tolerance of sodomy by the oft repeated phrase that has become part of the politically correct American lexicon: "...not that there's anything wrong with that." The envelope was pushed farther by "Ellen" and "Will and Grace" until today we have "Queer as Folk" on cable, soon to be adapted for network viewing. But that is an entirely different column for the future.
Back to the matter at hand and that is the association of the bishops with a known pro-abort, pro-sodomy publishing company. That would be Harcourt Brace which has contributed millions to Planned Parenthood, NARAL and that ilk. However, just as Disney developed tentacled companies to soften their approach and like HBO and Showtime have "family channels" to mollify those who object to their hard-core channels, so also Harcourt has developed Harcourt Religion Publishers. And the bishops have embraced them. Nevermind that Ignatius Press or another worthy publisher could easily have produced a series totally in line with solid Roman Catholic teaching, it would not be in concert with the aims of a vast majority of the bishops in America to tolerate sodomy and other sins of the flesh, including abortion! What we have written about "Growing in Love" is just the tip of the iceberg. There is so much more that would shock even the most hardened heart. Some have more appropriately labeled it "Growing in Filth" and it is this kind of material that our Catholic youth are being indoctrinated with. It is what tomorrow's leaders of our Church are being subjected to today.
Just as Joe Liebermann gave the pretense of lashing out at the Hollywood industry for the violence and sex they produce, while gladly taking campaign contributions and giving them a wink, and the anti-tobacco righteous rail against big tobacco while pocketing bribe money, so also the bishops put their stamp of approval on "Living the Gospel of Life" and, the longer this document is, the less likely it will get read. They have done their part, now they can wash their hands of any responsibility. Let the chips fall where they may, but don't rock the boat. All during the last presidential campaign the bishops used the Church-state separation card to shirk from taking a firm stand against the obvious pro-death platform of the Democratic Party. They fell back on the fact that they had published "Living the Gospel of Life" and that would be sufficient. Talk about doing things half-derriere! As we documented in our research this past November, only 58 sites out of the 233 Archdioceses and Dioceses that we personally researched had anything about the document. Far fewer spoke out strongly. As expected Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, OFM Cap. in Denver, Bishop John J. Myers in Peoria, and Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz in Lincoln clearly made the Church's position known by speaking out often and clearly, but they were in the minority. But many of these good bishops - the loyal shepherds who respect orthodoxy and Tradition - are being shouted down by those who openly promote the new liturgical aberrations, who encourage a tolerance for other lifestyles, who cave to liberal interests while suppressing orthodoxy in their sees. Anyone who has watched the Bi-Annual Plenary Conferences in Washington D.C. on EWTN can see how cleverly they couch their rationalization of the profane while putting up obstacles one after another to suppress good measures.
This brings us to the second point of how the bishops have buffaloed so many by falling back on the tired-old phrase, "we must be loving and patient." You can bet the majority of the modern bishops, who have rejected Leo's words, haven't been loving and patient when it comes to orthodoxy within their sees. They do nothing to stop the character assassination of those conservative priests who seek to uphold all the teachings of Holy Mother Church. By the way, that last terminology to Catholicism is what makes many liberals cringe. But to the world they put on airs of being tolerant. Why? Because this enables them to continue their course, to remain in their comfort zones that lead sorrowfully to great discomfort for the soul. But the more likeminded they can rally around them, the more they mask that discomfort and seek to nullify the ill effects, seek to normalize and legitimize their behavior. It falls in line with the old addage, "misery loves company." For a bishop to censure one under him or discipline those he is responsible for such as pro-abort politicians who vote to kill life in the womb on Friday and Monday, but go to Mass and Holy Communion on Sunday, that consecrated successor of the Apostles would have to be above the fray, be virtuous and guileless. Few, sadly, there are who meet these noble ideals today, who are not beholden to political and ideological interests within their own sees, many that are directly opposed to the true tenets of the Roman Catholic Church.
Therefore they have gone into a sandbagging mode we can only describe as pulling up the drawbridge and manning the turrets. By swelling the ranks, they are able to divert attention to other sins that to them "are far worse" and, in the order of priorities they seek to ferret out sins and aggressions that make their own faults and failures pale in comparison. Again, to address this they surround themselves with fellow aggressors who, in turn set up other committees to spread their mantra and provide yet another layer of protection from anyone penetrating the highest levels. This form of bureaucracy always has been the liberal's modus operandi. They seek out those like-minded offenders who have as much to lose as the first and, through this self-preservation method, help protect them from being exposed or their ivory towers invaded by orthodoxy. Those who are orthodox are tolerated in the outer court but never in the inner sanctum. An excellent example of this are not only many chanceries but the NCCB organization itself. Therein lies the culprit and they have been busy these past 100 years since Leo XIII's strong admonition, in which he also wrote:
"The underlying principle of these opinions is that, in order to more easily attract those who differ from her, the Church should shape her teachings more in accord with the spirit of the age and relax some of her ancient severity and make some concessions to new opinions. Many think that these concessions should be made not only in regard to ways of living, but even in regard to doctrines which belong to the Deposit of the Faith. They contend that it would be opportune, in order to gain those who differ from us, to omit certain points of her teaching which are of lesser importance, and to tone down the meaning which the Church has always attached to them.
"It does not need many words, beloved son, to prove the falsity of these ideas if the nature and origin of the doctrine which the Church proposes are recalled to mind. The Vatican Council says concerning this point; "For the Doctrine of Faith which God has revealed has not been proposed, like a philosophical invention, to be perfected by human ingenuity, but has been delivered as a divine deposit to the Spouse of Christ to be faithfully kept and infallibly declared. Hence that meaning of the sacred dogmas is perpetually to be retained which our Holy Mother, the Church, has once declared, nor is that meaning ever to be departed from under the pretence or pretext of a deeper comprehension of them. (Constituitio de Fide, Catholica, chapter iv.)
"From the foregoing it is manifest, beloved son, that we are not able to give approval to those views which give approval to those views which, in their collective sense, are called by some 'Americanism.' But if by this name are to be understood certain endowments of mind which belong to the American people, just as other characteristics belong to various other nations, and if, moreover, by it is designated your political condition, and the laws and customs by which you are governed, there is no reason to take exception to then name. But if this is to be so understood that the doctrines which have been adverted to above are not only indicated, but exalted, there can be no manner of doubt that our venerable brethren, the bishops of America, would be the first to repudiate and condemn it as being most injurious to themselves and to their country. For it would give rise to the suspicion that there are among you some who conceive, and would have the Church in America to be different from what it is in the rest of the world.
"But the true Church is one, as by unity of doctrine, so by unity of government, and she is Catholic also. Since God has placed the center and foundation of unity in the chair of Blessed Peter, she is rightly called the Roman Church, for "where Peter is, there is the Church." Wherefore, if anybody wishes to be considered a real Catholic, he ought to be able to say from his heart the self-same words which Jerome addressed to Pope Damasus" "I, acknowledging no other leader than Christ, am bound in fellowship with Your Holiness; that is, with the chair of Peter. I know that the Church was built upon him as its rock, and that whosoever gathereth not with you, scattereth."
As we can see, over this past century, most specifically the past thirty years or so, the bishops have scattered away from the Rock of Peter to something that is foreign to all loyal Catholics in America who seek to uphold the teachings handed down for centuries and contained in the great Deposit of the Faith. As they scatter they also gather in a mob scene collectively called the amchurch and descend on Our Lord as His Apostles shrink in fear from the intimidation wrought by these pompous torch-bearers. So also many orthodox Catholics have shrunk from their responsibility of challenging a doctrine that differs from the Deposit of the Faith. This has allowed the mob to move steadier toward total betrayal.
And so they advance, closer and closer, until face to face with Jesus, they shine the fiery torches in His face. Peter, still untouched by the Spirit, draws his sword and slashes at the ear of one. Christ bids him to put away his sword, that violence against violence is not the answer - a clear clarion of the Church to all Pro-Lifers that advocating the murder or physical harassing of abortuary personnel or pro-abortionists is not the answer either. It is a vivid point that separates the Old from the New Covenant. No longer is an eye-for-an-eye philosophy accepted. We are to love our enemies, but not tolerate what they do. And yet those who do tolerate sin draw nearer and the one whom so many had trusted as one of His Own, arches himself to plant a sinister kiss on the cheek of his Master, identifying to those who did not know Him that He was the one.
How many times have we discovered over the past thirty years this same scenario in our own parishes, our own dioceses that those whom we had trusted have not only betrayed us, they have betrayed Christ and His Holy Church? Sadly, too often to count. That is the predicament loyal Catholics find themselves in during this holiest and most solemn week of the year 2001. They are realizing that wherever they turn there are many, too many, of the Judases among us!