(CCCB – Ottawa)… The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) will hold its annual Plenary Assembly, 19 – 23 October 2009, at the Nav CanadaCentre, Cornwall, Ontario. About 90 Bishops will be present to review pastoral activities of the past year and to discuss important questions and issues. They will also elect a new Permanent Council as the two-year terms of its current members have ended, including that of CCCB President Most Reverend V. James Weisgerber, Archbishop of Winnipeg. In addition to reviewing the work carried out over the past year by CCCB councils, commissions and committees, the Bishops will discuss a number of pastoral issues. In keeping with the Year of the Priest announced by Pope Benedict XVI, American theologian Dr. Richard R. Gaillardetz, Murray/Bacik Professor of Catholic Studies at the University of Toledo in Ohio, will deliver two presentations: on the impact of the Second Vatican Council on the priesthood and its reality today, and on the relationship between the ministerial priesthood and the priesthood of the baptized. Other issues to be discussed during the working sessions include Catholic identity in the public sphere, Catholic-Anglican relations, the role of Bishops in life issues, and the pastoral response to the poverty afflicting a growing number of Canadians. Lastly, the agenda will also include an update on the collaboration of Development and Peace with its numerous partners throughout the world, as well as on development projects funded by this organization that the Bishops of Canada founded in 1967.
A few comments on the above press release which was issued on Friday last week….
1) Gaillardetz: Despite the exposition of Gaillardetz as a notorious dissenter and his slanderous accusation of “maliciousness” against Dr. Robert Fastiggi, a faithful professor and theologian, from Detroit’s Sacred Heart Seminary, Gaillardetz will be delivering his two talks to the Plenary Assembly. I think this decision sets the tone for the week-long meeting of the bishops. Don’t expect, therefore, any real moves to address their fundamental problems. They’re giving every indication that they plan to circle the wagons and cover their ears to ensure that the facts don’t have any impact on their pastoral orientation. How sad. In the case of Gaillardetz, the lavender mafia within the CCCB has made sure that he gets to speak. Suffice it to say, a mandatum isn’t worth what it use to be. It has the same weight as the Nobel Peace prize. Today in the West and in the Catholic Church, honours and acts that were once considered sacred and honourable have become cheap and meaningless. Remember, folks, Ben Johnson got a gold medal too. Ben’s medal was worth as much as a mandatum is worth in today’s Catholic Church.
2) Role of Bishops on Life Issues: What role? The virtual non-existent role they have played for the past forty years? Or perhaps they mean the central role they played in ushering in contraception, abortion, and homosexuality? On the other hand, maybe they are talking about the future and a serious and real role with real money behind it? They already have an organization, COLF, which helps them tick the box as “doing something” on the life and family section of their pastoral scoresheet. In fact, COLF is the best venture they have ever engaged in, and yet it does not have the necessary support or resources to tackle the massive problems of abortion and other family breakdown issues. Is COLF’s Lenten goal $10M like D&P’s is? Is it even $1M? I doubt it. If the Catholic Bishops of this country keep supporting groups like UNICEF, and keep ignoring the massive problems at Development & Peace, the credibility and role of the Bishops on “life issues” will continue to be regarded as largely impotent and insincere. If you want to know where the disordered and imbalanced priorities of the CCCB are, just follow the money. That will tell you all you need to know. “Social Justice” has a lot more zeroes on the end of it than the efforts to end the slaughter of 1 billion human beings. Nooses and millstones…will be hot commodities at the Judgement.
3) Development & Peace: The official report by the Canadian Bishops exonerated the management of Development and Peace of any wrong-doing. Although Archbishop Collins effectively exonerated the investigative reports conducted by LifeSiteNews, it is unclear what the Bishops will be doing about Development & Peace. By refusing to act on the evidence earlier, they have put themselves between the proverbial “rock and hard-place”. If they don’t change course, the little moral authority they have left will be wiped out completely. If they do change course, we’ll have to ask the question as to why they didn’t listen to us in the first place, but continued to peddle false information, distortion, and lies for months. We should also remember the key role that Fr. Rosica and Salt + Light played in this affair. I only have a little hope that things will be put right, but even this little hope is not founded on the track record of these groups. It is a hope based on a prayer that they will turn around. I hope that I turn out to be wrong, and that I should have had more faith in the Church. O Lord, would that be a rebuke that I would welcome!
4) Catholic Identity in the Public Sphere: (H/T to Pro-Ecclesia for the Catholic Blogosphere “badge”. I’ve added the keys of St. Peter to emphasize the “Catholic” component.)
I am sure that there will be great pressure by the lavender mafia within the CCCB to try and undercut the Catholic blogosphere to ensure all the Faithful know that we don’t speak for the Church. But the Canadian bishops must clearly understand that if they had remained pastorally faithful to the Church’s teaching on human life, this controversy would never have erupted. It is by their pastoral negligence for the past 40 years (beginning with the Winnipeg Statement) and the subsequent D&P cover-up that this scandal has occurred. Moreover, they do not seem to understand that they are not fighting us at all. They are fighting the evidence. I hope some bishop clues the rest of them into that fact. If they want us to abide by the structural authority of the Catholic Church, they must conform their moral authority to it. To conform moral authority to a structural authority, however, requires a submission of mind and heart to the truth. The Catholic faithful are not supporting the Catholic blogosphere because we’re Catholic bloggers. They’re supporting us because we are reporting the truth, and permitting that truth to impact our judgements and decisions. The sooner the bishops of Canada figure out that it is the TRUTH and submission to it which gives real authority, the sooner they will be able to extricate themselves from this moral quagmire. On the other hand, if they think they can paper-over it with Communication directors and public relations efforts, or even worse, denunciations of the Faithful who are reporting the truth, they are going to be in for a rude awakening.
Their Waterloo has arrived.
p.s. By the way everyone, I don’t believe in praying for unity, forgiveness, and healing before it is time. Instead, as the bishops assemble, I will be praying for wisdom- the wisdom of one bishop ( just one bishop) – to recognize that the flock no longer wish to be identified with the useful idiots financing pro-abortion groups in the Global South. I’ll also be praying for just one bishop to have the holy courage to break ranks with the CCCB and to stop supporting Development & Peace.
That’s what I’ll be praying for.