Saturday, May 4, 2013

BLEAK TIME

"The Bishops of England, my Lord, would have snored through the Sermon on the Mount."

So said Sir Thomas More to his ecclesiastical interlocutors at his trial for high treason.  He would most certainly say that, and worse, about the bunch we have been living under for decade after decade after decade in this country and around the Catholic world.

A cursory look at the time-servers, politicians and flatterers recent Popes have been saddling the Catholic world with since at least the 1940s makes for depressing viewing.  There were a few shining stars who held high positions in the Church in this country for example but, sadly, many others were ill-fit for their honors and positions.  It was the same with the rest of the world. This is not a cheerful picture that is being painted.  But it is reality. Yet it is also a testament to the strength and truth of Catholicism that the Faith survived and even thrived at a time when its local leadership was anything but sterling.  Many Catholics become misty-eyed when they think that all was well and good under Popes like Pius XI and Pius XII forgetting the fact that the former committed some colossal blunders (re Action Francaise, for example, to name one) and that the latter gave us some fairly unappetizing Bishops during his reign while often refusing to take charge as the crisis that we are living through today was looming under his pontificate.  But as ineffectual and Americanist as the Spellmans and the Cushings have been, they have nothing on the Dolans, the Schonborns, the Wuerls and the Lehmanns - to name just a few of the current superstars - all of whom would make the venerable American Ecclesiastical hack John England look like St John Chrysostom by comparison.  Such a slew of mediocrities does seem to indicate God's supreme impatience with us.  What else would explain it?  To be sure there are exceptions to this unhappy rule and it would be an injustice not to point out that things are improving in certain dioceses in America as we write.  Some interesting men have been appointed in recent days.  This is cause for hope.  Yet we cannot run from this fact: that Catholics in the US have been saddled with some odd Episcopal characters whose familiarity with the Catholic faith is decidedly on the scant side and that we have the right to be concerned about the men whose job it is to teach ourselves, our children and our grandchildren the Truth.  To get right to the point, why would Pope Benedict, or any Pope, shower the likes of Dolan and Wuerl with honors and position?  These men might teach us how to wear baseball caps and cheese heads, or hob-nob with the scoundrels in Washington, but they are not teaching the True Faith in any clear, unambiguous and forthright manner.  Their Masses are frightful; their tolerance of pure evil is shocking.  It is incomprehensible.

It is also eerie.  Historians like Christopher Hollis and Hilaire Belloc wrote about the types of men who held high Church office in England right before the Reformation, whose worldliness and incompetence paved the way for that revolution against Christendom.  They might have been describing the seat-warmers in Episcopal robes in 2013,  the parallels are that exact.

[I suppose one could be kind and say with understanding that some of our modernist Bishops who generally dislike any ancient Catholic tradition have at least kept one ancient Episcopal tradition intact: like Our Lord's apostles, when trouble comes they all flee from Christ.]

To be even more specific and even more to the point, why is a homosexually disturbed dissident like Rembert Weakland still allowed to run around masquerading as an Archbishop when justice demands that he be either hidden away in a monastery in a remote part of the Catholic world where he can repent of his sins, or sit in prison for sexual assault and financial malfeasance?  The current Archbishop of Milwaukee, one Jerome Listecki, apparently finds nothing untoward about having this individual maintain a presence in the diocese he brought to disgrace and financial ruin, even to the point of delegating to him Sacramental duties from time to time.   Giving public scandal is apparently a topic that is a closed book to Archbishop Listecki.  And what about Rome?  Surely Benedict was aware of Weakland's transgressions.  Presumably Pope Francis is also aware of it. If so, why is Weakland still an Archbishop in good standing in the Catholic Church?  We wish to ask that again: why is Rembert Weakland not paying a price for his flagrant transgressions against the Faith and morals?  Could someone kindly explain? [And, no, I do not wish to hear those old chestnuts about the Pope being either "too busy" or somehow "a prisoner in the Vatican" to be able to use his supreme authority to rid the Church of the likes of Weakland, et al.]

In an excellent article on The Remnant website today, written by Chris Jackson, Dietrich von Hildebrand is quoted thusly:

"One of the most horrifying and widespread diseases in the Church today is the lethargy of the guardians of the Faith of the Church. I am not thinking here of those bishops who are members of the “fifth column,” who wish to destroy the Church from within, or to transform it into something com­pletely different. I am thinking of the far more numerous bishops who have no such intentions, but who make no use whatever of their authority when it comes to intervening against heretical theologians or priests, or against blasphemous performances of public worship. They either close their eyes and try, ostrich-style, to ignore the grievous abuses as well as appeals to their duty to intervene, or they fear to be attacked by the press or the mass media and defamed as reactionary, narrow-minded, or medieval. They fear men more than God. The words of St. John Bosco apply to them: “The power of evil men lives on the cowardice of the good.”

Jolly, fat Cardinal Dolan has not said much of late about the outrage, the satanic stink, that is about to come down on our heads from our own government.  Like many other prelates Cardinal Dolan says very little about sin, about final Judgment, about Hell.  In fact he says not very much at all about anything.  He does talk about gun control and poverty and global warming, about being civil and nice, about immigration and evangelization(?), but seemingly cannot be bothered overmuch with such trivialities as the One, True Faith or, Heaven forbid, mortal sin.

And then there is Donald Cardinal Wuerl.

Good God, what a ghastly knave.  Words fail me.  I am sorry.  I will content myself with quoting a highly-respected Catholic journalist in England who described this man to utter perfection.  He calls him "a posturing creep". 

It would not be right to neglect to mention a few bright spots in the episcopal desert.  There are a few good men in there.  Bishop Jenky who has spoken and acted courageously, Bishop Morlino, who tries hard under difficult circumstances to do the right thing, Bishop Devine who, at long last, put the smug, insufferable David Cameron in his place, the wonderful Bishop Athanasius Schneider who would make a great and glorious Pope I am certain.  There are others.  Most of the Bishops in the Middle East and the Holy Land know what it is like to defend the Faith.  And there are others who, coming from terrible 1960s backgrounds, are at last putting aside the guitars and tambourines and awakening to reality and seeing the wreckage around them.  I cheer them with all my heart.

And I am happy to report that Cardinal O'Brien has just been told by Rome to pack his bags and leave Scotland.  It's a sad end for him but a happy move by the Vatican.  It was needed, and it is just. [Thanks to Linen on the Hedgerow for the news.]

I cannot see, in this country at any rate, another statesman like Thomas More who would tell the Bishops to their faces that they would have snored through the Sermon on the Mount..  For one thing this is not a Catholic country and never has been and, I am afraid, is never likely to be.  The chances of another More in this land are, therefore, slim.  Not impossible but not very probable.  [Perhaps we get what we deserve.  Wisconsin has just elected an open sexual pervert to be one of its Senators, and Massachusetts continues to re-elect Barney Frank without fail.  And another political hack, also from Wisconsin, the rather laughable Paul Ryan, is signalling his presidential ambitions by now supporting homosexual unions and adoptions.   Do not look for much good to come out of that herd of swine called the U.S. Congress.]  And when the presidency, bureaucracy and judiciary is heavily stacked against right order, and now even common sense, the chances of another More surfacing is phantasmagorical.

What of the Church then?  Will it produce another John Fisher now? 

Actually, I believe the answer to be, "yes".  The fog is clearing here and there, making this a very real possibility. 

This is that great month of the year when we can implore our Mother, with renewed vigour, to ask the Father to cure the ills in His Church.

When we were children, and were afraid to ask Dad for something, we always went to Mum first (did we not?) hoping she would intervene on our behalf.  Seems like the thing to do now, no?

6 comments:

Richard Collins said...

Aged P - I read this post with ever increasing admiration tinged with a little Christian envy at the rhetorical style. It encapsulates all that is taking place in the Church today (and thank you for the unexpected link).

Aged parent said...

Mr Collins: You are too kind. But thank you.

jaxson corey said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Lepanto said...

It is truly difficult to understand why Gray, who never cost the Church a penny (except of course in substantial and undeserved salary and expenses) but did eventually 'man up' should be treated so differently from Weakland who blames the Church (!!) for putting him in a position of robbing it to pay his former lover to keep quiet.

Lepanto said...

Sorry, just re-read this, I meant ' 'O'Brien, who never...' Sorry

Aged parent said...

Thanks, Lepanto, for the clarification!

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