Thursday 19th September 2019

Home » Featured Today » Currently Reading:

A Book Review… “Knavish Imbecility”: A Great Study Of Bad Shepherds

May 23, 2019 Featured Today No Comments

By JEFF MINICK

Bad Shepherds, by Rod Bennett, published by Sophia Institute Press, 2018; 148 pages. Order at www.sophiainstitute.com or call 1-800-888-9344.

“The Catholic Church is an institution I am bound to hold divine — but for unbelievers a proof of its divinity might be found in the fact that no merely human institution conducted with such knavish imbecility would have lasted a fortnight” — Hilaire Belloc, as quoted in Rod Bennett’s Bad Shepherds.

+ + +

As a history major in college followed by two years of graduate study in medieval history, a teacher of history for twenty years, and a lifelong reader of history and biography, I can affirm that one of the greatest of Clio’s gifts is perspective.
Visits to the past bring to the present a perspective we otherwise lack, an understanding absent in news reporting and the windy rhetoric of contemporary politics.
If we know a bit of history about the Middle East — and I know only a bit — if we have investigated in however cursory a manner the sweeping changes the religion of Muhammad brought to that part of the world, the division in Islam between Sunnis and Shiites, the reverence of the Koran that permits no reformation, the story of the state of Israel in the last hundred years or so, then we grasp more fully the conflicts in that region and the difficulties in ending the hatred and vilification that infect so many of those who live there.
The same holds true for our own country. Every day our press and our politicians sound the alarm bells: America is bitterly divided, we live in the worst of times, our nation is sexist, racist, and opportunistic, our past is befouled with hatred and oppression, we are going down the tubes, never before was the American experiment in such jeopardy.
Really?
Let’s jump into a time machine, zip into the past, and look at pioneers killed by cholera, snakebite, or the scratch of a nail. Let’s stop by a farmhouse serving as a hospital during the Civil War, and listen to the screams of young men whose arms and legs were amputated without anesthesia and thrown into a pile of limbs in the muddy yard outside. Let’s hit the Depression of the 1930s, when my dad’s family lived in a house with a dirt floor in Pennsylvania in the middle of winter.
History can act as a balm, reminding us of that old adage, “I complained I had no shoes, until I met a man who had no feet.” To know something about the travails of our ancestors is to realize that in many ways we live in a golden age, a time when even the poor in America possess material advantages undreamed of by medieval kings.
In Bad Shepherds: The Dark Years in Which the Faithful Thrived While Bishops Did the Devil’s Work, writer and history buff Rod Bennett offers Roman Catholics hope for our present crises in the Church by looking at past scandals and divisions. Through these excursions into history, we see that the Church has often undergone various tribulations, some of them far more outrageous and ugly than the ones facing us today.
In his Introduction, Bennett tells readers that he is sharing his stories of “bad shepherds” not to dismay or dishearten his fellow Catholics, but to place the current sexual, theological, and financial scandals of our priests and bishops in perspective.
“It’s my conviction,” he writes, “that if more of us realized just how bad our shepherds really can get — and have gotten through history — we might, for lack of surprise, be better fortified when these new Judases turn up in our day.”
To help us become better fortified, Bennett whisks us through the Arian scandals of the fourth century, conducts a tour of the “barbarian bishops” in the centuries after the fall of the Roman Empire, and pauses in the fourteenth century to show us the schisms, heresies, plagues, and nationalism that wounded the Church and the idea of “Christendom.” We next touch down among the Protestant rebels and avaricious kings of the sixteenth century, and then view the betrayals of many French clergy before, during, and after the French Revolution.
Again and again, in these times of crises, boatloads of bishops and priests betrayed Christ and their Catholic faith. Those who did so acted from venality, pride, greed, sexual desires, political expediency, and occasionally, ignorance and stupidity.
An example of the last point: We Catholics may lay the blame on Martin Luther for the revolt against the Church, but as Bennett points out, the Pontiff’s theologian wrote a summons to Luther before his break with the Church calling him “a loathsome fellow…a son of a bitch, born to bite and snap at the sky…with a brain of brass and a nose of iron,” insults guaranteed to rouse more rancor and drive the wedge deeper between Rome and those Germans supporting Luther.
Not exactly the language of reconciliation.
In his Afterword to Bad Shepherds, Bennett reminds his fellow Catholics: “Individual popes certainly may, with some effort, alienate our affections eventually, may even drive us — as did Urban VI and John XII — to throw up our hands in resignation.”
When we reach that terrible place, Bennett recommends we take as our role model St. Thomas More, who at the foot of the scaffold before his martyrdom confessed, “I die the king’s faithful servant, but God’s first.”
Bennett also reminds us of the many bishops, priests, and especially the laity who remained faithful to the One True Church in all her troubles, including difficulties similar to the trials we are witnessing today.
The worst of times in Church history, as Bennett points out, have produced great saints — Athanasius and St. Catherine of Siena come to mind — who fought tooth and nail against corruption and heresy. He urges the laity to remain in the Church, to help with it purification, to embrace their Faith, and to pray.
“All the crimes of Church history,” he writes of our present situation, “are raising their horrible heads again — politics in the Curia, unbelief among the clergy, unchastity in the seminaries and the monasteries, resistance to reform — and we the laity, a ‘Royal and Catholic Army’ sworn to King Jesus, cannot go back to business as usual.”
Bad Shepherds reminds us of the many past struggles within the Church, and encourages us to pray and work for “a cleansing of the House of God and a vigorous renewal of the Faith.”
Highly recommended.

Share Button

2019 The Wanderer Printing Co.

Twitter Feed

Load More...

Missouri AG refers 12 former Catholic priests for potential prosecution after abuse probe

Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt announced Friday that his office had referred 12 former Roman Catholic priests for possible criminal prosecution following a 13-month probe of how diocesan leaders handled allegations of child abuse. The investigation reviewed personnel records for every priest serving…Continue Reading

Cardinal Burke, Bishop Schneider call for prayer crusade, cite dangers of Amazon Synod

Cardinal Raymond Burke and Bishop Athanasius Schneider have issued an eight-page declaration warning against six “serious theological errors and heresies” they say are contained in the Amazonian Synod working document, and calling for prayer and fasting to prevent them being approved. Cardinal Burke, patron…Continue Reading

Leader of Jesuit order: Satan doesn’t exist as ‘personal’ reality, only ‘symbolic’

August 22, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – The devil is a not a personal reality but a symbol for evil, the head of the Jesuit order said this week. Satan, the devil whom the Catholic Church says was behind the fall of…Continue Reading

American Catholics Must Stand with Hong Kong

The autonomous territory of Hong Kong is in a fight for its life. For over two months, the citizens of Hong Kong have persisted in protesting an attempt by the Hong Kong chief executive to impose an amendment to the…Continue Reading

German archbishop in Auschwitz: Stand up against hubris of the politically powerful

Krakow, Poland, Aug 14, 2019 / 02:31 pm (CNA).- On the eve of the 80th anniversary of the German invasion of Poland, a German archbishop has called for a stand against hubris and arrogance of those in political power. Speaking…Continue Reading

Vatican ‘struggling to put out fire’ of public scandal over JPII Institute purge

ROME, August 15, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — The “firefighters for the new direction” being taken at the John Paul II Institute in Rome are “struggling” to put out a blaze of public scandal, as controversy sparked by a recent purge of professors threatens to reach the door of the Pope’s…Continue Reading

Survey on Catholic belief in the Eucharist prompts calls for better catechesis

Washington D.C., Aug 10, 2019 / 03:32 pm (CNA).- After a recent survey found that two-thirds of Catholics do not believe Church teaching about the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist, Catholic commenters are stressing the importance of better…Continue Reading

Apple News bans LifeSite without warning: says it ‘shows intolerance’

July 31, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – A little over one week ago, Apple approved LifeSiteNews’ application to publish our news on their Apple News platform. Today, without warning, Apple News abruptly reversed course, telling LifeSite that they had deleted our channel and all…Continue Reading

Kamala Harris’ “Medicare for All” Plan Will Force Americans to Fund Abortions

Democrat presidential candidate Kamala Harris released her own Medicare-for-all proposal today. Just like the proposal handed down by pro-abortion presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, Harris’s plan would force Americans to fund abortions. Harris confirms her plan will cover abortions in an…Continue Reading

Pew report: Only half of America’s Catholics know what the Church teaches about Communion

WASHINGTON, D.C., July 26, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) ― Do only half of America’s Catholics know what their Church teaches about Holy Communion? In a recent report called “What Americans Know About Religion,” the Pew Research Center suggested that Catholics are divided…Continue Reading

Pro-Life Businessman Michael Lindell, Creator of MyPillow, May Run Against Pro-Abortion Ilhan Omar

Michael Lindell is a pro-life businessman and the creator of MyPillow, a successful invention and company in its own right. Lindell was responsible for helping to fund production of the popular movie “Unplanned,” but now he’s turning his attention to…Continue Reading

Tucker Carlson: big business is now at war against your family

July 15, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – The first thing to note about Tucker Carlson is that when he’s on stage and riffing on his irritations, he is hilarious. He began his keynote speech at the National Conservatism conference in Washington, D.C. on Monday…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 . . .

Initiative of Prayer and Fasting from now through October 2019

A call has been issued by Card. Burke and Bp. Schneider to fast one day a week and, daily, to recite one decade of the Holy Rosary in the lead up to, the prosecution of, and the immediate aftermath of the upcoming Synod of Bishop which will deal the Amazon. The Instrumentum Laboris or “working document” for the Synod

Pope Francis invites religious, political leaders to sign ‘Global Pact’ for ‘new humanism’

ROME, September 13, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — In a renewed and enthusiastic endorsement of globalism, Pope Francis has announced he is hosting an initiative for a “Global Pact” to create a “new humanism.” The global event, set to take place at the Vatican on May 14, 2020, is themed Reinventing the Global Educational Alliance.  According to a Vatican statement issued on Thursday, Sept. 12, the Pope is inviting representatives of the main religions, international organizations and various humanitarian…Continue Reading

Rochester diocese, facing flood of sex-abuse claims, files for bankruptcy protection

ROCHESTER, N.Y. – The Roman Catholic Diocese of Rochester, facing potentially huge judgments for past sexual abuse by its priests and other ministers, filed for bankruptcy protection Thursday. “This was a very difficult and painful decision,” Rochester Bishop Salvatore Matano said at an afternoon news conference that detailed the action. The diocese filed its petition for Chapter 11 reorganization in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Rochester at about 9:30 a.m. The petition estimates the diocese’s…Continue Reading

A New Church?

St. Peter Claver was born at Verdu, Catalonia, Spain, in 1580, of impoverished parents descended from ancient families. He studied at the Jesuit college of Barcelona, entered the Jesuit novitiate at Tarragona in 1602, and took his final vows on August 8th, 1604. While studying, the young religious was influenced by St. Alphonsus Rodriguez to go to the Indies and save “millions of perishing souls.” In 1610, he landed at Cartagena (modern Colombia), the principle slave market of the New World, where a thousand slaves were landed every month. After his ordination in 1616,…Continue Reading

Pope Francis’ in-flight press conference

popef105

(Vatican News) Press conference on the flight back from his Apostolic Journey in Southern Africa: Pope Francis recalls the joy of the children he met and affirms that the State has the duty to take care of families. He says that xenophobia is “a disease” and asks that people’s identities be preserved from ideological colonization. He speaks of the criticisms he receives and replies to a question on schismatic temptations with: “I pray that schisms…Continue Reading

Advertisement3

K Of C State Council . . . Helps Sponsor Cardinal Burke’s Upcoming Detroit Address

The State Council of Knights of Columbus made a generous donation to help Call to Holiness bring Raymond Cardinal Burke to speak at a dinner on October 26 outside Detroit. The cardinal’s celebration of Mass on the following day will contain all of the ceremony appropriate for a prince of the Church. Cardinal Burke was…Continue Reading

A Book Review…. Falling In Love With God

By DONAL ANTHONY FOLEY Awakening Your Soul to the Presence of God: How to Walk with Him Daily and Dwell in Friendship with Him Forever, by Kilian J. Healy (Sophia Institute Press, 127 pages, paperback). Available at www.sophiainstitute.com or call 800-888-9344. This version of Awakening Your Soul to the Presence of God is a reprint…Continue Reading

Pope Francis In Mauritius: Do Not Pit Economy Against Environment, Poor

PORT LOUIS, Mauritius (CNA) — Do not let economic development in Mauritius be at the expense of the country’s young, poor, and environment, Pope Francis told authorities, civil society, and diplomats. “Since its independence, your country has experienced a steady economic development that should certainly be a reason to rejoice, but also to be on…Continue Reading

When The Obvious Is No Longer Obvious

By DONALD DeMARCO The late Fr. James Schall, SJ, was a great admirer of Samuel Johnson and, by his own admission, read something from Boswell’s Life of Johnson almost every day. Dr. Johnson was one of the most formidable figures of literature and life of the eighteenth century. He made lasting contributions as a poet,…Continue Reading

After Bolton, Trump Goals Remain Unrealized

By PATRICK J. BUCHANAN The sudden and bitter departure of John Bolton from the White House was baked in the cake from the day he arrived there. For Bolton’s worldview, formed and fixed in a Cold War that ended in 1991, was irreconcilable with the policies Donald Trump promised in his 2016 campaign. Indeed, Trump…Continue Reading

Advertisement

Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

The Real Presence

By FR. JOHN A. HARDON, SJ (Editor’s Note: We are reprinting Fr. John A. Hardon’s commentary on the Real Presence with the kind permission of Inter Mirifica. All rights reserved. (As is widely known and as has been reported in The Wanderer, a recent survey shows that only a minority of Catholic believe that Christ is truly present, Body and…Continue Reading

Become Friends With A True Friend, Jesus

By FR. ROBERT ALTIER Twenty-Fifth Sunday In Ordinary Time (YR C) Readings: Amos 8:4-7 1 Tim. 2:1-8 Luke 16:1-13 In the second reading today St. Paul asks us to pray for everyone, especially for kings and those in authority. Two reasons are given for this: first, so we can live quiet and tranquil lives in dignity and devotion. Second, because…Continue Reading

A Leaven In The World … Dear 30 Million Catholics OnLeave

By FR. KEVIN M. CUSICK Our present catechetical emergency requires all hands on deck. The new evangelization proposed by Pope John Paul II and carried forward by Benedict XVI targets the over 30 million baptized and lapsed Catholics, or as they are sometimes affectionately called, “Catholics on Leave.” Many of the faithful are returning through the Church’s most powerful means…Continue Reading

Catholic Replies

Q. There appears to be some speculation that Pope John Paul I was murdered during the Vatican Bank/Mafia scandal in the late Seventies, especially in the actions of Jean-Marie Cardinal Villot, who appeared shortly after the Pope’s death and essentially was responsible for cleaning and removing all possible evidence from the Holy Father’s bedroom. Your input, please. — R.B.K., via…Continue Reading

Founding Professor . . . Laments “Destruction” Of John Paul II Institute

(LifeSiteNews Editor’s Note: The following is an English translation of the “Public Statement Concerning the Turmoil Surrounding the Pope John Paul II Institute for the Family in Rome,” released on August 28. (The “Statement” was addressed to: Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, Great Chancellor of the Institute; Monsignor Pierangelo Sequeri, President of the Institute; Cardinal Giuseppe Versaldi, prefect of the Congregation for…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… St. Simon De Rojas

By CAROLE BRESLIN The subject of this article lived in a time of great saints, great Spanish saints, so it is not surprising that he is little known. St. Ignatius of Loyola (1491-1556) who wrote the Spiritual Exercises, St. Teresa of Avila (1515-1582) who reformed the Carmelites and wrote The Interior Castle, and St. John of the Cross who wrote…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… Child Martyrs Of Tlaxcala

By CAROLE BRESLIN Viva Cristo Rey! This was the call of the Cristeros (1926-1929). Many Mexican saints were martyred during that massive and demonic persecution of the Catholic Church. One young man, José Sanchez del Rio, was only 14 years old when he died for his loyalty to the faith. He had refused to deny Christ, even under torture. Three…Continue Reading

Advertisement(2)