All Glory, No Guts?

I sense a rant coming on.

The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) put out a press release this week:

Major Canadian delegation will be in Rome for the Canonization of Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha

(CCCB – Ottawa)… The Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha will be canonized by Pope Benedict XVI during a solemn Mass in Saint Peter’s Square in Rome, October 21, 2012.  Blessed Kateri will be the first Indigenous woman from North America to be canonized. Approximately 1500 Canadian pilgrims are expected to participate in the celebrations in Rome, the majority from the First Nations and other Indigenous communities, as well as 17 Canadian Bishops.
Salt + Light Television will broadcast live both the Canonization Mass and the Mass of Thanksgiving. (Source)

There’s nothing wrong here, of course. Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha was an amazing young woman, full of faith, compassion and humility. It’s always a great joy to celebrate the life of a Saint and to give thanks to God for the wonderful blessings He poured out on her, and on us through her intercession. We should definitely celebrate this event.

But the excerpt above got me thinking. Do you notice how the bishops can massively mobilize when it’s time for a celebration, but how so many of them languish at glacier speed when it comes to sacrifice, like say, the annual March for Life? Ottawa is a lot closer than Rome, and you don’t even have to change your currency or dig out those pesky voltage adapters. Yet, there seem to be a million impediments and excuses when the March rolls around each year. Um… er… uh… I already have a commitment for… er… the Blessing of Vehicles at St. Ford parish. 

Maybe his Grace should bless a vehicle and drive it down the 401 to the March.

Some bishops attend faithfully each year and have become fixtures on the pro-lfe circuit, like Archbishop Prendergast and Cardinal Collins. God bless ’em. But for most of the CCCB, it’s more miss than hit. I don’t have an official count, but somehow I doubt that we got 17 bishops at the March for Life in Ottawa this past May.

And Salt and Light TV sure didn’t broadcast it live, unlike EWTN which broadcasts the U.S. March for Life live through TV, radio and live streaming on the Internet. Was Father Thomas Rosica too busy with other projects, like interviewing that excommunicated dissenting ex-priest and calling him “a faithful, deeply devoted Catholic?” Everybody has their priorities, I suppose.

In the case of the Alberta bishops, we’re talking about receding glacier speed, since they actually boycotted the March for Life in the last two years. We had more pro-aborts than Alberta bishops showing up at the March.

They can sure talk the talk. A month before the March, back in April 2012, the CCCB issued Elements of a National Pastoral Initiative for Life and the Family. It called for “Participation of members of the CCCB in the National March for Life (Ottawa) and comparable local events, and encouragement addressed to all members of the Church to participate.” Looks awesome on paper, eh? But it seems that most bishops discarded their own memo with the junk mail. They probably placed it in the same trash bin as the excellent brochure published by their own pro-life organization, the Catholic Organization for Life and Family (COLF), that explains that the morning-after pill and birth control pills can be abortifacients — you know, those same pills that the CCCB covers as part of their staff health insurance plan.

That’s why we shouldn’t get too excited when we see promising promises on paper. We’ve seen more lip-service than you can shake a chapstick at.

Ostensibly, Christ has many friends in His glorious Resurrection, but darn few in His Crucifixion.

It’s all very sad. Bishops have been given amazing authority and spiritual gifts to accomplish great things, if only they would move beyond the role of diocesan administrator and become the Apostles they’re supposed to be.

So it’s with mixed feelings that I’ll be thinking about soon-to-be Saint Kateri this weekend. While she certainly deserves the pomp and circumstance, I suspect that this humble virgin would have preferred that the Canadian bishops save their Air Miles for the March for Life.

Saint Kateri Tekakwitha, pray for us.

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