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Here’s How A Bishop Might Be Thinking

February 3, 2018 Frontpage No Comments

By CHRISTOPHER MANION

A bishop might be thinking: I keep hearing from the supertrads. They aren’t so persistent, and certainly not so vulgar, as the social justice left, but they are bothersome.
Yeah, my congressman a one hundred percent pro-abortion Catholic. He helps us out with the government funding, but the supertrads want me to excommunicate him. They demand that I “follow canon law” and publicly condemn him as a public scandal.
Oh really? And just who is going to support me? When Fabian Bruskewitz excommunicated a whole lot of dissidents 22 years ago in Nebraska, many of them renounced their errors and returned to the fold. So what? It might have helped their souls, but it sure didn’t help him. He didn’t have any friends at the conference, that’s for sure.
Remember when he suggested that we “study the causes of the sexual abuse and cover-up scandals” at our meeting in Dallas in 2002? His motion didn’t even get a second. He was an outcast. Turn the page.
Excommunicate them? The first thing they’d do is retaliate. Look, this is a mean and dirty bunch. They don’t apologize, they get even. All I need is to give them an excuse to “reopen the wounds of the scandals” and invite another barrage of harassment from the usual suspects. Cardinal Mahony had it right — stonewall, pay off the lawyers, pretend to apologize, and blow off criticism, even if it comes from your archbishop successor. You can go vote for the new Pope in Rome and brag about it on your blog.
Bishop Bruskewitz couldn’t do that. He stayed home.
So the supertrads complain that I won’t answer their letters. Well, if Pope Francis doesn’t have to answer his mail, why do I have to answer mine?
And there’s another problem. Our experts at the conference tell us that the Democrats might take over both houses of the Congress in November. Well, if we start excommunicating pro-abortion Catholic officials, we’re gonna envy Bruskewitz. If our experts are right, Pat Leahy will be the chairman of the Senate Committee on the Judiciary again — and he is one of the most prominent pro-abortion Catholics in the country.
For now, we’ve got Leahy tamed (yeah, I know, the supertrads say he’s tamed us). He helps us out, and a friendly bishop or two helps him out. But start excommunicating Nancy Pelosi, Dick Durbin, Joe Biden — and Leahy? Fat chance. All we need is a bunch of subpoenas from Leahy “inviting” us to discuss the problems of the conflict between federal and state statutes of limitation regarding sexual abuse. Under oath, of course.
Just what good is that gonna do?
As Cardinal Dolan affirmed: “Most [bishops] don’t think [Canon 915, forbidding manifest public sinners from receiving Communion] is something for which we have to go to the mat.” Glad he said it, and not me, though. I’ve still gotta keep them intimidated.

Humanae Vitae Time,
Come — And Gone

The bishop continues his ruminations: The supertrads want me to teach Humanae Vitae, even throw a party on its 50th birthday this summer. OK, just what is that going to accomplish?
For three generations now since Vatican II, we’ve had zero catechesis. In the 1950s, when I was in grade school at St. Mary’s, we learned the Ten Commandments and the Baltimore Catechism thoroughly, thanks to Sr. St. Bridget (and she was a saint!) — but in seminary, and then in grad school, we were told that those teachings were for folks who never went any further in their religious (oops, I mean theological) education. . . . They said that we were now adults, and they challenged us to probe more deeply into the nuances of it all.
And of course my teachers at the NAC [North American College] told me that Humanae Vitae would eventually be overturned anyway. In fact, that may be exactly what Pope Francis has in mind with this new commission he’s got working on it. Frankly, I don’t think he’s gonna actually overturn Humanae Vitae, I think he’ll just give it a shot of Amoris Laetitia and let everybody “follow their conscience.” And look — people who are sure that God wants them to sleep with their second spouse just like they did with the first one (to whom they’re still married) are flooding my chancery with demands that I validate their new “marriage.” I’m sitting on them for now, but I can’t sit here forever. Something’s gotta give.
And what am I supposed to tell my priests? They didn’t have Sr. St. Bridget. In fact, they didn’t have much of anybody. The good ones — and thank God I do have some good ones — had to lay low for years to keep clear of the Gay Lobby (I am so grateful to Francis for nailing that term). But the rest? When I was appointed here, the chancery was full of gays. Somehow they seem to like running things instead of doing pastoral work — they certainly like to go for the “choke points” where they can pull the strings. That’s what got my predecessor in trouble — the priest in charge of “Child Protection” had to…well, that’s water under the bridge now.
Humanae Vitae? We’ve got a laywoman who teaches NFP. I’ll send them to her.

Politics Is The New Gospel

The bishop further reflects: And then there are the conservatives — what a pain. They’re easy to ignore, but they still bug me. They’re not like the supertrads. They don’t care about Canon 915; all they care about is money. They complain that our website’s social agenda is taken verbatim from the Democrat Party’s platform. Well, so what? Pope Francis has asked us to “reach out to the peripheries.” Okay, just how am I supposed to do that dragging the ball and chain of capitalism, greed, and selfishness like a bumper sticker? Sure, Pope St. John Paul defended the free market, but he was Pope. Anyway, now we’ve got a different Pope.
Come to think of it, the closer I get to the peripheries the more I find people who’ve been brought up learning about the glories of condoms and socialism since kindergarten — not only in public schools, but a lot of our own. Whatever happened to the nuns like Sr. St. Bridget, anyway? She was always begging us to pray that God would send her to the missions . . . and sure enough, He did. But now the few sisters I’ve got left are praying that I’ll host the Nuns on the Bus when they come through town hustling our local media.
Yes, I know I could forbid their using the name “Catholic” in my diocese, but what good would that do? All I need is another wave of bombast from the media. Good grief — I barely survived their last campaign when I fired their favorite monsignor. Like clockwork, they trotted out all those heretics at the only Catholic college in the diocese. But what am I supposed to do? If bishops in dioceses with prominent Catholic universities don’t do it to them, how in heaven’s name can I do it here?
And now we’re supposed to concentrate on the youth. Come on, they been taught contraception all their lives, from kindergarten on up. They’re saturated with porn and sex. Now I’ve got two options: I can say, “Kids, I’m over here standing on solid Catholic doctrine, devoted to truth and beauty, and dedicated to teaching you the glories of the faith. Come join me.”
Or I can say, “Kids, show me where you are. Let’s start there.”
If I reach out in their language, I’m reaching out in the language of the culture — yes, it’s the secular culture I admit it — but I’m also getting a lot of support from the secular culture’s institutions, especially the media. If I can talk in the language of the social justice gospel, maybe I won’t alienate them. Maybe then, if they like me, if they trust me, they might be open to hearing about the rest of the Gospel.
Sure, it might not work. But if I’m an outcast, like Bruskewitz, I’m not going to get anywhere.

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