POW! Bishop Barron says no one has told him what the laity expect our Bishops to do. Well, the author lets him know, in spades!
From V for Victory!
By Anita Moore
This is in response to your Word on Fire piece on the 24th inst. entitled, “Why 'What Are the Bishops Doing About It?' Is the Wrong Question.” In this piece, you address those who criticize you for not taking concrete action in response to the violent attacks on Catholic monuments. I beg you would allow me to speak plainly to you concerning your remarks.
In this article, you state:
Over and again, perhaps a hundred times, commentators said some version of this: “Well, bishop, making a statement is all fine and good, but what are you and the other bishops going to do about it?” Now almost none of these questioners made a concrete suggestion as to what precisely they had in mind, but I will gladly admit that there are certain practical steps that bishops can and should take in regard to such a situation. We can indeed lobby politicians, encourage legislative changes, and call community leaders together, all of which bishops have been doing. But what struck me again and again as I read these rather taunting remarks is that these folks, primarily lay men and women, are putting way too much onus on the clergy and not nearly enough on themselves.
You then go on to cite to the documents of Vatican II, particularly Lumen Gentium, to argue that the secular arena is primarily the province of the laity, whose business it is to bring to the world the teaching, direction and sanctification they have received from their pastors and bishops.
Let me tell you, Excellency, how this situation looks to us in the pews. One problem with the foregoing -- and it pains me to have to say this -- is that, for the past half-century, we have not been getting solid Catholic teaching, direction and sanctification from many of our shepherds. The Pew survey that came out last August, showing that a majority of Catholics disbelieve in the Real Presence, proves this. You yourself characterized this as "a massive failure of the [C]hurch] in carrying out its own tradition." I submit to you that this massive failure has culminated, not only in the existence of the present crisis, but also, during the course of it, in the conspicuous absence of most of our bishops. Most of you rushed to cancel public worship before the secular authorities did, without apparently seeking the least restrictive alternatives to deal with the coronavirus, and this during the holiest season of the year! Most of you went to ground, surfacing only long enough to lock us out of our churches, and anticipate the resumption of public Masses by prohibiting the reception of Holy Communion on the tongue. Some of you -- God help you -- ordered your priests to deprive us not only of Holy Communion and the Sacrament of Penance, but also Extreme Unction. Very few of you have raised a voice against discriminatory crackdowns on public worship by local authorities. All this is, quite simply, a scandal. We in the pews can exercise our civil remedies to protest the violation of our constitutionally guaranteed rights; but why should public officials take any notice of us when, by your silence, you, our shepherds, give the impression of being totally fine with it?
The other difficulty with your comments quoted above is that your puzzlement about what we want you to do in this crisis seems to be rooted in a purely worldly view of what bishops are for. It is true that we do need you to use the greater visibility that you have as heads of your local churches and to preach, denounce attacks and even get on the phone to the governor. We assume, in fact, that you have enough prestige with the secular authorities to have a better shot at getting direct access to the governor than any of us would, and we would like you to use that prestige. Most of us do not have the bully pulpit, or the moral authority that you have as successors of the Apostles, to admonish public officials who fail to work for the common good.
But it is not primarily in engaging the secular world that we most need you to be active. You well know, as St. Paul tells us in Chapter 6, verse 12 of his Letter to the Ephesians, that "our wrestling is not against flesh and blood; but against principalities and powers, against the rulers of the world of this darkness, against the spirits of wickedness in the high places." It is blindingly obvious that preternatural forces are currently running riot throughout the world. The frenzied attacks we are now seeing on peace and good order, on all sorts of civil monuments, on Catholic monuments, and on flesh-and-blood human beings, are clearly demonically driven. It is plain that the battle is not merely in the secular realm that is the province of the laity, and that the attacks on churches and statues of saints are really attacks on the Catholic Church for which they stand. Who ought to have something to say and to do about such things more than the bishops? More than anything else, we need you to take the fight to the real instigator of all this chaos: satan, the prince of this world. This, surely, is why you chose to receive Holy Orders in the first place!
In your piece, you state that nobody has given you any concrete suggestions as to what bishops ought to do in the present crisis. I don't think that you, who studied for many years for the priesthood, and who have been ordained for nearly a quarter of a century, really need my suggestions; but since you ask, I will tell you what I would like you and all bishops to be doing right now:
- Make yourself personally visible with public exhortations to the faithful, for the comfort and encouragement of your flocks. Put in appearances at your parishes. Right now, a lot of us are not even sure if our bishops, who are supposed to be our spiritual fathers, are alive or dead. We feel alone and fatherless.
- Break out your Rituale Romanum and pronounce blessings and prayers of exorcism over your dioceses, and select priests to join you in these efforts. Do this publicly, so that we can see you doing it and take heart.
- Go out to all your parishes, and every other important and prominent place in your dioceses, and clean house with holy water and exorcised salt. See that as many of the faithful as possible are equipped with these and other sacramentals.
- Organize and personally lead Eucharistic processions, especially to bad neighborhoods and places that have particularly suffered from rioting.
- Order regular 40 Hours in all your parishes and, where possible, encourage parishes to institute perpetual adoration. In fact, see that perpetual adoration is instituted in parishes in such a way that everyone in the diocese is within reasonable traveling distance of an adoration chapel.
- Proclaim days of fast and abstinence.
- Proclaim prayer campaigns, particularly of the daily Rosary. With all due respect, to say that we ought to be doing that on our own anyway is a cop-out. The idea is to get people to do it who aren't doing it now. This is what fathers are supposed to do!
Notice that these are all things that we in the pews cannot do. Only bishops, and their delegates among priests, can do them. If bishops and priests fail to do what they were ordained to do, and what only they can do, how will they explain this to God when the time comes for them to stand before Him in judgment?
Excellency, yours is an awesome and fearful responsibility, and I thank God for having made me a woman and thus given me the absolute certainty that such responsibility will never be thrust upon me. But I am floored by your weak response to those who are calling upon you to exercise the power and authority that is specially yours as a successor of the Apostles. This is not just a secular fight, purely within the lay domain. This is the gates of hell trying to prevail against the Church, and trying to do it right now. It is not merely a negative trend, but a deadly, dire emergency. We need you to do something about it. The good shepherd lays down his life for his sheep.
Be assured of my daily prayers for all priests and bishops.
Beautiful, and I would add one thing, protect the statues. State to the mob that they will be defended, and then defend them! Do not hide them, do not move them, do not jump into your bed and pull the covers up tight. Gather men to defend the statues night and day if needed. Hire security if you can't find them. We HAVE the money, it will not be needed forever. Those statues are important to the people, to Catholics. Do not let them be broken. They stand in for people, they stand in for Christ.ReplyDelete
We are tired of Catholic clergy who are so completely effeminate they have no fire in their belly for any confrontation, there's no zeal, no spirit. My God, the people need to see LEADERSHIP, and they need it today. Every cleric should be in a lot more fear of God right now than any virus or mob. They have a lot on the line, their own salvation. They have abandoned the sheep and forgotten why they are there. They need to remember.
And stop saying, when attacked "we PRAY for the people who did this...", and then let it end there. At this point that just sounds weak, and enough already. Hold people accountable! Tell them they will be charged and then do it. There comes a time when meekness is just glorified weakness. We are THERE. Pray, but stand your ground.ReplyDelete