Sunday 20th January 2019

Home » Frontpage » Currently Reading:

Bishops In A Bind

July 29, 2017 Frontpage No Comments

By CHRISTOPHER MANION

Is “government charity” really charitable? Is “social justice” justice at all?
Consider the Good Samaritan. He wasn’t a government bureaucrat. He helped people voluntarily — with his own money.
The man in the ditch undoubtedly thanked the Good Samaritan. But here’s the secret of Christian charity: A Christian Samaritan answers the injured man, “No, thank you, for giving me the opportunity to serve a brother in Christ.”
Thank you — thank you.
Has a government bureaucrat ever thanked you?
Christian charity is a theological virtue — as St. Paul says, “the greatest of these is caritas” — charity.
Justice is also a virtue, a cardinal virtue.
And like all virtues, charity and justice are voluntary.
On the other hand, today’s ideological brand called “social justice” is mandatory. It isn’t justice at all, because it is not voluntary.
“Social justice” always requires government force. Even if they call it “charity.”
If you’re good at math, look at it this way: “Social Justice minus government force equals zero.”
So “government charity” is an oxymoron. The government can’t love — it can only command.
The very notion of something called “mandatory charity” is Doublethink, right out of Orwell and Big Brother.
But it is also a dagger aimed at the heart of true, voluntary charity.
After all, we can hardly call it virtuous to take money from a man by force, give it to a third party, and pat ourselves on the back for our generosity.
But that’s what “social justice” does. All the time.
And this temptation has become so much a part of American political life that even many Catholic bishops and intellectuals have fallen for it.
Voluntary charity. Mandatory “social justice.” These two opposing visions of virtue are in conflict today in the Catholic Church — and that conflict has a history, a rationale, and a troubled future.
In the nineteenth century, our bishops’ pastoral letters warned of sin and Hell. With voluntary contributions large and small, those bishops and their flocks built thousands of churches, schools, convents, and orphanages.
One hundred years ago, The Catholic Encyclopedia defined charity the old-fashioned way: “public charity is more mechanical; less sympathetic; more wasteful; it encourages people to claim public relief as a right”; and, most important, it “inflicts a mortal injury upon the spontaneity of charity and the sense of personal responsibility towards the unfortunate.”
That view of charity slowly changed in the first half of the twentieth century; after Vatican II, it was quickly turned upside down.
Enter the “seamless garment.” Exit preaching on the unpopular truths of Humanae Vitae.
And today, now that we’ve graduated from charity to “social justice,” we’re closing churches, schools, and convents by the thousands and selling them to mosques, corporations, and casino operators.
And all these once-revered institutions have gone into the tank, big time, for government funding — to the tune of hundreds of billions of dollars over the past fifty years, all told.
Why? Because it’s easier to get money from politicians than from voluntary donors.
And why is that?
It’s not their money.
In his Through the Eye of the Needle, a brilliant history of charity in the late Roman Empire, Princeton historian Peter Brown explains.
Briefly put, Rome’s wealthy nobility vied with Caesar to give more “corn” (wheat) to the masses. These secular leaders did so because, in return, they would be rewarded with “glory, honor, and gratitude.”
Consider our current day. When Catholic welfare agencies annually receive hundreds of millions from their government paymasters, who gets the credit?
Not the bishop — he’s just running an NGO funded by federal contracts.
Not the Church. It’s not her money.
Not the faithful. They pay their taxes with a gun to their head. They gain no merit in Heaven for that.
The answer is, none of the above.
The politician gets the “glory, honor, and gratitude.”
And no politician gives away our money for nothing.
When the politician gives the bishops taxpayer dollars, what does he get in return?
It’s simple. (And politicians love simple).
The bishops warmly bestow upon the “generous” (with our money) politician the Catholic “seal of approval.”
And what if the generous politician is pro-abortion? After all, canon 915 requires that such perpetrators of manifest scandal be denied the Eucharist. For that question, Timothy Cardinal Dolan has a ready answer. “Most [bishops] don’t think it’s [canon 915] something for which we have to go to the mat,” he told Cruxmag.com three years ago.
In 2006, Theodore Cardinal McCarrick of Washington effectively said: The bishops certainly weren’t going to bite the hands that feed them!
“After all,” he told a gathering of Canada’s bishops, “[taxpayer] money is needed for Catholic hospitals, charities and education.”
Let me put it another way. If the price is right, we won’t follow canon law.
Yes, the priceless imprimatur of Holy Mother Church is sold for a measly few hundred million dollars a year.
One is reminded of Peter Kreeft, who once observed that Judas was the first bishop who ever received a government grant.
There are two questions here: First, why does the federal government want to take over Christian charity? And second, why would our bishops ever let it happen?
Well, the government part is easy. The Catholic Church is government’s major competitor. To tyrants, we’re the enemy. Holy Mother Church is the last bulwark of freedom against tyranny. And her role includes defending us against what Pope Benedict calls the dictatorship of relativism.
Right now, in the West, the Church is the only institution left that will defend the family, marriage, and sexual morality — and, as Pope Benedict wrote the past week, the barque of Peter is taking on water, almost capsizing. That’s why the Vatican bureaucrats got mad at Donald Trump’s historic speech in Poland — because he defended Christendom, the Church, the family, and Western civilization more than the Vatican does!
Take a look around you. Who else is?
But wait — what’s wrong with government charity? Are you against social workers?
Well, Mother Teresa once pointed out that her sisters were not social workers. “We worship Christ in the Blessed Sacrament for four hours every morning, and then we go out and find Him all day in the gutters of Calcutta,” she said. “Social workers can’t do that.”
They can’t do that here, either. These days, if a government social worker, school employee, Army chaplain, or physician even mentions Jesus at work, she’s likely to lose her job. Even go to jail.
The government that punishes these simple acts of Christian charity is the same government sanctioned and applauded by bishops who are desperate to keep the federal money flowing to their welfare bureaucracies.
The bishops are in a bind. Their hands are tied by “golden handcuffs” — and alas, their lips are sealed as well.
It’s up to the laity to free them.

Share Button

2017 The Wanderer Printing Co.

Twitter Feed

Wow—first, Dreamers shafted by Obama, who enforced DACA w/o congressional approval & failed to ensure them a permanent path to citizenship, and now they’re left hanging by Pelosi & her ilk. Maybe Dems don’t care about them as much as they pretend to?

BBC Breaking News on Twitter

“Trump offers Democrats deal on immigration in bid to end shutdown but top Democrat Pelosi calls it "unacceptable" https://t.co/edz3WEREm3&#8221...

twitter.com

it is striking how so many advocates of abortion in public life cling to their frayed fabric of fantasy and repeat the mantra — “I’m personally opposed but. . . .” https://t.co/TwIrf7G6GT

Load More...

Priest gives pulpit to homosexual partners to share ‘witness’ story prior to Sunday Mass

Update Jan. 18, 2019: St. Joan of Arc pulled the video this morning of the two homosexual men giving their pre-Mass presentation. We are now using a source for the video provided by Complicit Clergy.  MINNEAPOLIS, MN, January 17, 2019…Continue Reading

China’s crackdown on Christians continues

Beijing, China, Jan 15, 2019 / 02:01 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- A campaign by the Chinese government to ‘Sinicize’ religion is ongoing, with detention and indoctrination of Muslims in the far west of the country, and the closing of underground churches…Continue Reading

Cdl. Wuerl will not celebrate youth Mass prior to March for Life

WASHINGTON, D.C., January 16, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Embattled Cardinal Donald Wuerl will not celebrate the Archdiocese of Washington’s January 18 Mass for Life, which is scheduled to occur before the annual March for Life. Instead, Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio to…Continue Reading

Support Archbishop Viganò on his 78th birthday!

January 16, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, the former Apostolic Nuncio to the United States, turns 78 years old today. Born in northern Italy, Archbishop Viganò was ordained to the priesthood in 1968. He spent the next several…Continue Reading

Cdl. Burke: Pope Francis’ response to abuse crisis is ‘more confusing than anything’

January 14, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Cardinal Raymond Burke told German TV in a January 8 interview that Pope Francis’ response to the abuse crisis is “confusing.” Cardinal Burke stated that Pope Benedict was “very clear on this [matter of abuse],”…Continue Reading

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau Trashes Pro-Life People: You’re “Not in Line With Society”

Justin Trudeau, Canada’s radically pro-abortion prime minister, blasted pro-life advocates Wednesday amid a nation-wide outrage about barring pro-life groups from a federal grant program. “An organization that has the explicit purpose of restricting women’s rights by removing rights to abortion,…Continue Reading

Cardinal’s trial puts French Church in glare of Catholic abuse scandal

The Roman Catholic archbishop of Lyon goes on trial on Monday charged with failing to act on historical allegations of sexual abuse of boy scouts by a priest in his diocese. Cardinal Philippe Barbarin is the highest-profile cleric to be…Continue Reading

Trudeau to issue new coin commemorating decriminalizaton of gay sex

OTTAWA, January 4, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Canada’s prime minister Justin Trudeau has granted the Royal Mint permission to release a new one-dollar coin designed to commemorate the 50th anniversary of his father’s decriminalization of homosexuality. Trudeau’s government approved the coin…Continue Reading

CARDINAL CUPICH KEYNOTE SPEAKER FOR DISSIDENT PRIESTS’ CONFERENCE

ST. LOUIS, Mo. (ChurchMilitant.com) – Cardinal Blase Cupich is slated to be the keynote speaker at the annual conference for a notorious dissident priests’ organization. The annual assembly of the Association of U.S. Catholic Priests (AUSCP) will take place in June 2019, and…Continue Reading

Vatican spokesman, deputy, resign over strategy differences

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) – The Vatican spokesman and his deputy resigned on Monday over disagreements on strategy, ending a year of upheaval in the Holy See’s communications structure. A brief Vatican statement gave no reason for the resignations. Spokesman Greg…Continue Reading

Chinese city bans public displays of Christmas, cites ‘clean city’ as reason

LANGFANG, China, December 19, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – A city in China has issued a sweeping ban on Christmas-related decorations, public celebrations, and advertisements, claiming it’s necessary to keep the city clean for an upcoming awards contest. Christmas is not an…Continue Reading

Priest: Pro-LGBT rainbow rosary promoted by Fr. Martin ‘comes from the pit of hell’

December 17, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – During a radio interview about the pro-homosexual “social justice” rosary that Fr. James Martin has been promoting, Fr. Donald Calloway prayed for Martin’s “radical conversion” and that the Jesuit might “repent of the things he has…Continue Reading

Untitled 5 Untitled 2

Attention Readers:

  Welcome to our website. Readers who are familiar with The Wanderer know we have been providing Catholic news and orthodox commentary for 150 years in our weekly print edition.


  Our daily version offers only some of what we publish weekly in print. To take advantage of everything The Wanderer publishes, we encourage you to su
bscribe to our flagship weekly print edition, which is mailed every Friday or, if you want to view it in its entirety online, you can subscribe to the E-edition, which is a replica of the print edition.
 
  Our daily edition includes: a selection of material from recent issues of our print edition, news stories updated daily from renowned news sources, access to archives from The Wanderer from the past 10 years, available at a minimum charge (this will be expanded as time goes on). Also: regularly updated features where we go back in time and highlight various columns and news items covered in The Wanderer over the past 150 years. And: a comments section in which your remarks are encouraged, both good and bad, including suggestions.
 
  We encourage you to become a daily visitor to our site. If you appreciate our site, tell your friends. As Catholics we must band together to rediscover our faith and share it with the world if we are to effectively counter a society whose moral culture seems to have no boundaries and a government whose rapidly extending reach threatens to extinguish the rights of people of faith to practice their religion (witness the HHS mandate). Now more than ever, vehicles like The Wanderer are needed for clarification and guidance on the issues of the day.

Catholic, conservative, orthodox, and loyal to the Magisterium have been this journal’s hallmarks for five generations. God willing, our message will continue well into this century and beyond.

Joseph Matt
President, The Wanderer Printing Co.

Untitled 1

Interview With Cardinal Burke . . . Discriminating Mercy: Defending Christ And His Church With True Love

Cburke3

  By DON FIER (Editor’s Note: His Eminence Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke, Patron of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta and Founder of the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in La Crosse, Wis., graciously took time out of his busy schedule to grant The Wanderer a wide-ranging interview during a recent visit to the Shrine. Included among the topics…Continue Reading

Developing Lives Of Peace After The Heart Of Mary

By RAYMOND LEO CARDINAL BURKE (Editor’s Note: His Eminence Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke delivered the address below at the 32nd Annual Church Teaches Forum, “The Message of Fatima: Peace for the World,” Galt House, Louisville, Ky., July 22, 2017. The address is reprinted here with the kind permission of Cardinal Burke. All rights reserved. This is part one of the…Continue Reading

Catechism

Today . . .

Pope Francis issues decree suppressing ‘Ecclesia Dei’

ROME, January 19, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – As had been anticipated for several weeks, Pope Francis has formally suppressed the pontifical commission charged with keeping traditional Catholics united with the Successor of Peter, and has transferred its duties to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF). In a “motu proprio” signed on Jan. 17 and released today (see full text below), the Pope decreed that the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei be abolished, but that all of its work “of vigilance, promotion…Continue Reading

Trump promises to veto any abortion legislation in March for Life address

trump

WASHINGTON, D.C., January 18, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – In a surprise appearance, President Donald Trump addressed pro-life advocates at the 2019 March for Life, telling them that “every life is worth protecting” and that he will veto any legislation that crosses his desk that “weakens the protection of human life.” “Today, I have signed a letter to Congress to make clear that if they send any legislation to my desk that weakens the

How to watch March for Life 2019 LIVE

WASHINGTON, D.C., January 18, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Today, marchers will gather on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., for a series of speeches and music before marching to the Supreme Court building, where Roe v. Wade forced all 50 states to allow abortion in 1973. EWTN is offering live coverage of the 20

Vatican: Abuse summit to help bishops know ‘what they need to do’

Vatican City, Jan 16, 2019 / 06:08 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Just over a month ahead of the much-anticipated February meeting on sex abuse, the Vatican said the summit’s goal is for bishops to leave the meeting knowing clearly what it is they need to do to stop the abuse of minors. According to a statement by papal spokesperson Alessandro Gisotti Jan. 16, the February meeting “has a concrete purpose: the goal is that all of…Continue Reading

Archbishop Viganò urges McCarrick to publicly repent in new open letter

ROME, January 14, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — With a tone of fraternal and priestly charity, Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò has written an open letter to former-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, encouraging him to publicly repent of his sins and thus to save his soul. In the brief letter, dated January 13, 2019 and published in English and Italian (see full text below), Archbishop Viganò has also sought to persuade McCarrick that he has a unique opportunity to greatly benefit the Churc

Advertisement(2)

Is Bolton Steering Trump Into War With Iran?

By PATRICK J. BUCHANAN “Stop the ENDLESS WARS!” implored President Donald Trump in a Sunday, January 13 night tweet. Well, if he is serious, Trump had best keep an eye on his national security adviser, for a U.S. war on Iran would be a dream come true for John Bolton. Last September, when Shiite militants…Continue Reading

Pope To Diplomats . . . Remember Transcendent Dimension Of Human Persons

By HANNAH BROCKHAUS VATICAN CITY (CNA/EWTN News) — Upholding the dignity of the human person and the rule of law are essential for good politics, Pope Francis said January 7 to the diplomatic corps accredited to the Holy See. Such politics promote the common good and establish and maintain peace between nations, he said, by…Continue Reading

An Answer To A Sedevacantist Wannabe

By FR. JOHN T. ZUHLSDORF (Editor’s Note: Someone who is “seriously considering adopting some form of sedevacantism” wrote recently to Fr. John T. Zuhlsdorf, and Fr. Z posted his reply on his January 7 blog. The question and answer are reprinted here with permission.) + + + Quaeritur: Father, I’ll get straight to the point:…Continue Reading

Critics Warn… New Mexico Bill Could Allow “Suicide Tourism”

SANTA FE, N.M. (CNA/EWTN News) — Proposed legislation in New Mexico could legalize assisted suicide in the state, and may even allow for the prescription of deadly drugs outside the state via telemedicine, and by health-care professionals other than physicians. Deacon Steve Rangel, associate director for the New Mexico Conference of Catholic Bishops, said the…Continue Reading

The Case Against The Sign Of Peace At Mass

By REY FLORES O Lord Jesus Christ, Who said to Your Apostles: “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give you,” regarda not my sins but the faith of your Church, and deign to give her peace and unity according to Your will: Who live and reign God, world without end. Amen. — At…Continue Reading

Advertisement

Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

The Theological Virtues — Charity

By DON FIER As we reflected last week on Pope Benedict XVI’s brilliant critique of the crisis of hope in the modern world as set forth in his 2007 encyclical Spe Salvi (SS), we saw that for many, “hope in the Kingdom of God has been displaced by hope in the kingdom of man, the hope of a better world…Continue Reading

Catholic Replies

Q. It is my understanding that if a priest is removed from active service, the bishop continues to support him financially. Am I right? Is there a similar obligation if the priest is laicized? I would suppose there is no such obligation of support if the priest decides he doesn’t want to be a priest anymore and walks away. Does…Continue Reading

His Bride Is The Church

By FR. ROBERT ALTIER Second Sunday In Ordinary Time (YR C) Readings: Isaiah 62:1-5 1 Cor. 12:4-11 John 2:1-11 In the readings for the past three weeks, the Church has given us the three traditional events which manifested our Lord’s divinity. The word Epiphany means manifestation. These manifestations took place thirty years apart, but were celebrated together because they point…Continue Reading

A Leaven In The World… The Wall And Abortion: No Moral Equivalency

By FR. KEVIN M. CUSICK The March for Life event each January draws thousands of pro-life Americans to Washington, D.C., to witness for the weakest and most defenseless among us, preborn boys and girls who cannot speak on behalf of the sacredness of their lives in the face of legalized abortion which, in some cases, threatens their existence at every…Continue Reading

The Authority Of Bishops . . . The Hierarchy Of Orders In The Catholic Church

By RAYMOND DE SOUZA, KM Part 8 It is a well-known fact that the Church today is going through a crisis, especially in faith, as can be seen as early as 1985 when Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger allowed the publication of The Ratzinger Report. I believe that Benedict XVI was the only Pope in Church history whose mind was already well-known…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… St. John Calabria

By CAROLE BRESLIN St. Teresa of Calcutta answered a call within a call by founding the Missionaries of Charity to help the poorest of the poor in Calcutta, India. Soon her apostolic endeavors to serve the most destitute of persons spread throughout the world, while she said that the greatest poverty is in the West where people do not know…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes . . . St. Anthony Of Egypt, Abbot

By CAROLE BRESLIN While we can understand that God is infinite, it is difficult to comprehend the stretch of such infinity. Certainly our finite minds cannot begin to comprehend it. Hence, since our minds are finite, the more we have cluttering our minds with worldly affairs such as possessions, relationships, and activities, the less time and room we have in…Continue Reading