The buck stops with the bishops! |
Michael Cain, editor
Loyal Catholics throughout America have to be encouraged with the news in today's issue of the get tough policy of Pope John Paul II with the German bishops. Now many might say, wait, he's chastising the bishops. Why should we take delight in that? There are several reasons, first of all the Bishops of the United States might be delighted that it was their fellow prelates of the Motherland, not them...yet. We are delighted because hopefully this is the trend His Holiness is going to take in putting an end to the abuses that have continued in this country as well despite Papal warnings. We are delighted that the Holy Father is beginning to separate the wheat from the chaff.
Let's compare. The Pope's letter warns that German Catholicism is threatened by secularization. If that's happening in Germany, imagine what he would say to the American bishops?! Consider that in the majority of Catholic colleges in America secularization has completely taken over. Dissident theologians and modernists rule the curriculums. There is an obvious defiance of Rome's Ex Corde Ecclesiae in bringing Catholic institutions in line with Catholic thinking. What a novel idea, Catholic universities teaching Catholic ideals! But that is an invasion on the liberal thinking, on the rights of the student and the professors. We can't have that, they say. If they feel that way, such as Father Steven A. Privett, S.J., new president of the University of San Francisco who has dismantled the orthodox St. Ignatius Institute, and Georgetown University who, for the first time in their history have selected a non-Jesuit to head the university, then we have a suggestion: break from the Church affiliation completely. The Pope warned the German Magisterium to assure that Catholic theologians toe the line and that proper orthodoxy be taught in the seminaries. If you are going to call yourself a Catholic institution, then by gum you better be fully Catholic in everything! That's what the Pope is telling the German bishops. What a novel idea.
John Paul II has insisted that the bishops not allow their people to give in to "the spirit of the age, or resignation." Well, if the Vicar of Christ realizes that's a problem in Deutchland, then it's out of control in America! That's the core of most of the problems in the Church in the United States today. Since Vatican II, with very few exceptions, the United States Bishops and their politically correct liberal-oriented democracy of NCCB have sold out to society and truly resigned from instilling true Catholic doctrine. Proof of that stems from the fact they allowed ICEL and dissidents to control the ebb and flow of the "spirit of Vatican II" with no controls whatsoever and no enforcement of stopping the abuses. These have been well documented throughout the past thirty-five years. In fact, rather than resisting the abuses, rather than trying to patch the leak in the dam, they ennabled the floodgates to be swung open and the wave of protestantized liturgical measures to engulf America's parishes, further confusing the Catholic population. Where do you think girl altar servers originated? Where do you think the concept of 'general absolution' came? In fact, had not a few good bishops spoken out when they did, we fear "Always Our Children" might have been grandfathered in as legitimate tolerance of homosexuality.
If the Pope thinks Germany has problems, we've got news for him here in the good ol' US of A! There are very, very few orthodox seminaries left in the states. Outside of Peoria, Lincoln, Arlington and a few other sees such as Denver and New York City, the seminaries are barren. The Benedictines, Dominicans, Jesuits and other orders are in ruins because they have turned many of these places of formation for consecrated men into havens for homosexuality. Our own diocese of San Diego is just an inkling of this problem.
As many experts far more knowledgable and informed than I have confirmed, there is a huge, huge homosexual problem in the clergy today. We're not talking about priests only, but bishops. There are many documents of proof on these, but we are not on a witch hunt. That we'll leave to the Holy Father. We only wish there weren't quite so many of them because it greatly hinders not only the Church today but tomorrow as well. There are bishops who are hiding the deep dark secret and the longer they do, the longer they cover it up by promoting more of their ilk, the greater the damage, the greater the sin. If you don't believe there's a problem then ask yourself: why else would they allow gay agendas to be promoted in the seminaries? Why else would they permit good young men, who express a penchant for living their faith as they should and expressing an abhorrance for deviant behavior, be singled out as psychologically 'unfit' for the priesthood? Show me an orthodox young priest who honors his vow of celibay and I'll guarantee you he had to go 'underground' and put on a facade in order to get through the program. Thank God some have. We know a few of them and they are stronger for it and the hope of the future for the Church in America.
I can also tell you that these problems the Pope is addressing to the German bishops cropped up after the Second Vatican Council. More proof of the barren fruit of Vatican II. If the Pope wants to reap the harvest in America, he's going to have to truly weed out the chanceries where lurk so many who have no intention of heeding Rome, no intention of heeding Christ's teachings, no intention of being obedient to the Church or God's laws. They have their own agenda in place and God help anyone who disturbs their comfort zone. Look around you. How many former or modern nuns are in charge in your diocese? How many are totally in conformity with the Holy See? Ask them about orthodoxy? If only you had a camera and could capture their quizzical or infuriating look. How dare you challenge them. Many in the chanceries falsely think they are part of the Magisterium. What's even sadder is that their bishops don't correct them.
Values and Catholic ideals are sacrificed at the parish level to accommodate the cultural society of today. Catholics are being encouraged to compromise their principles for the sake of tolerance. Many of the bishops and pastors in the U.S. have wimped out and have not truly been called on the carpet...yet. Can't make religion difficult. In many dioceses bishops have gone out of their way to cater to occult and new age practices, while putting up a strong resistance to any liturgical practices that hinge on traditional orthodoxy. There are so many red flags in these sees that a bull would be dizzy.
The Holy Father chastised the German bishops for allowing Catholics to accept "only a portion of the Gospel and the teaching of the Church." He cautioned them that this shallowness "may appear strong on the outside, but has no inner vitality, and has lost credibility in the process." If His Holiness is worried about Germany over this, he must be pacing his quarters at night over the U.S. Here the 'cafeteria catholic' is commonplace. That was a given ever since 1968 when Americans roundly rejected Pope Paul VI's "Humanae Vitae". Rather than insisting on compliance, Paul VI retreated because he had no support of America's bishops. Oh, they spoke out, but talk is cheap. Very few took any action and so a precedent was set. Ever since then, the bishops on the whole have camped out in their ivory towers and failed to act. This is only too evident in their inactivity to back their Pro Life stance. As we have written so often, if they really meant what they say, if they really were intent on upholding Catholic doctrine, they would have long ago sent out strong edicts to pro-abort 'Catholic' politicians to abandon the culture of death or else! Now it is time for the 'or else' in the form of excommunications. If not, how can they gain any respect from the faithful? Isn't that what His Holiness is referring to in his words of giving in to "the spirit of the age, or resignation"? If the bishops don't act then they are indeed giving in, they have resigned their duty.
The Pope also talks about "the collaboration of priests and laity in pastoral work." Again, if he's concerned about these abuses in Europe, he's got to realize it's out of control in the United States. Refer to a few paragraphs above about the prominence of liberal nuns and ex-nuns in the chanceries. Look at the sanctuary at your Sunday Mass. In many parishes the sanctuaries are overrun with laity while the priest sits. They're preparing the bread and wine at the Offertory, so that all the priest has to do is get up from his sedalia "to do" the Lavabo (note we can't say pray the Lavabo because the way many do is not a prayer but something they "have" to do). The laity is right up there at the altar during the Agnus Dei. They're receiving Holy Communion with the celebrant rather than after, and they're distributing Holy Communion in droves then coming back to the side where they just leave the consecrated blood until after Mass when they all go up to consume it together, talking up a storm of chit-chat. But how can you blame the laity if the pastors allow these abuses to continue? How can you blame the pastors if the bishops allow these abuses to continue? The Pope wants this rectified "because a renewal of hope for the Church is impossible without a renewal of the priestly ministry and consecrated life."
Yet many authorities we have contacted have admitted these abuses are going on but they are low on the totem pole because the bishops have so many bigger problems in their dioceses. I wonder why! Could it be because they did not heed the warning signs years ago? Could it be because they have relaxed discipline? Could it be because they consider their calling merely a career, not a vocation to the consecrated life? Could it be that priests have told this editor that they think it's okay because their bishop hasn't corrected them? Read the rubrics and GIRM and they'll find the answer to that. Gee, aren't priests college grads? You'd think they'd have more smarts than that. But it's comfortable. Ahhhh! Could it be many bishops and pastors have sold out to society..."to the spirit of the age"?
The Holy Father is trying to rein in the abuses that are going on in Germany. Those are like a tide pool compared to the overflowing river of wrongs in the American Church. John Paul II has been patient long enough. He's got it right and the sooner he chastises the United States Bishops the better. They have to realize and accept, as they are looking over their shoulders waiting for the boom to be lowered, that
the buck stops with the bishops!
For past editorials, see CATHOLIC PewPOINT Archives
March 14, 2001
volume 12, no. 73
CATHOLIC PewPOINT commentary