By FR. KEVIN M. CUSICK
New information has come to light in the past week about Fisher-More College, provided by a former board member, which has caused this writer personal regret for having spoken out in these pages about the recent suppression of the Traditional Latin Mass there. There are two sides to every story. The lesson is hard-learned about speaking out in certain cases where one cannot be sure one has all the facts.
I jumped to the defense of Taylor Marshall in the Fisher-More case, a very sympathetic figure and publicly well known, as against the president who is known only by name and who has not gone to the Internet to promote himself now or in the past. Mr. Drumm has responded to Marshall’s self-justifications with more information that paints Marshall in a significantly less positive light and raises questions about his credibility.
At Fisher-More, it appears, some employed there may have been working more for themselves than for the college. It also appears that the besieged and self-sacrificing president Mr. King may have been calumniated.
It is better if I choose to say no more at present beyond this effort at self-correction and to offer prayer while asking others to do the same. The college appears to have so many self-interested souls undermining it that it may not be long for this world.
In preparation for the upcoming synod in Rome on the family some bishops’ conferences, or persons working for such conferences, have chosen to publish the results of the preparatory survey for the synod proposed by Rome. Other bishops have made it clear that they will not publish the results, as that was not requested by Rome as part of the preparatory process. It turns out that in the Church as elsewhere we are not to make public on our own authority what begins as private information.
Anyway, the Irish bishops’ conference has announced that they will be among those who are not making public the results of the survey gathered in Ireland. At the same time, however, there was a lone voice heard above the din as the archbishop of Dublin sounded a disgruntled note.
Critiquing a person’s words for the sake of the faith while being very careful to avoid going beyond that is the duty of us all, especially of priests. Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin made a statement in connection with the survey on family life, saying in effect that being Catholic is just too hard: Catholic teaching on birth control, cohabitation, same-sex relationships, and divorce is “disconnected from real-life experience of families — and not by just younger people,” Martin said.
Let’s think about this for a minute: birth control, cohabitation, or more properly fornication, and same-sex relationships, or more properly sodomy, are sins. Divorce under some circumstances can be sinful, but not necessarily so, although it is always damaging and a scandal given that the Church presumes in favor of valid marriages. So, in effect, what Archbishop Martin is saying here is that the Church is wrong to teach that people should not sin? His words are demoralizing at best and scandalous at least.
Also troubling is his choice of the casual adoption of euphemisms of a relativist and worldly nature rather than using the language of the Church to describe these moral issues.
Well, Jesus’ cross was hard: That’s what’s hard, Archbishop Martin. Jesus had a really bad day on the cross so Christianity wasn’t really easy for Him, either. The Catholic faith is not a placebo for people who want to say they are Christian while buying their comfort; we already have that in the thousands of ecclesial groups that borrow the name of Christ while changing for convenience the contents of what it means to follow faith and morals as revealed by Christ.
There are more and more of these ecclesiastical “amoebae” splitting and re-splitting every day in open scandal against the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Christianity is the cross and so it is not supposed to be comfortable, and the cross is the very source of grace so that we are able to live the hard teachings of Jesus Christ.
As to the archbishop’s comments about the “disconnected” nature of some Church moral teachings from real-life experiences, I would offer him a challenge. Those same people entrusted to his pastoral care may very well be disconnected from the cross. One of the pastoral challenges and opportunities of priests and bishops is to support, equip, and sustain their faithful people in a connectedness with the cross. Perhaps the archbishop might consider a diocesan mission on the cross of Jesus Christ in order to lead himself, his priests, and people in that direction. That would certainly qualify as compassionate care of those suffering from the effects of divorce and immorality.
As far as supporting our people, it is usually the case that pastors encourage their people to do the right thing rather than complaining about how difficult it is to do what is right. Divorce is easier; throwing away commitments and relationships is not hard; marriage is hard. I’d like to hear a bishop talk about that. Those who are faithful to the Lord and to one another are deserving of our utmost love and support.
For a pastor to publicly state that Christian teaching against sin is just too hard, is “disconnected” from the real lives of people, is saying nothing more eloquent than that those people are not living Christian lives, while self-damning if the speaker is a pastor of souls.
Let us keep Archbishop Martin and all of our bishops in prayer, as they will need God’s help, facing as they do increasing martyrdom for the courage to simply speak the truth.
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