Is it just me or are we witnessing an unusual number of controversies among Catholics these days? Scarcely a week goes by without a fresh conflict illustrating how the majority of baptized Catholics don’t have a clue of what the Church really teaches, and how they get very angry when faithful Catholics get in the way.
This past week it was the planned trip of a Catholic teacher and 52 students to campaign for Obama.
The week before we saw the francophone youth wing of Development and Peace pulling out of the fall education campaign.
A week earlier was the outburst of Pope Lauren Broten, who apparently thought that her position as Education Minister somehow granted her ministerial authority to define Church doctrine on abortion and homosexuality.
One week earlier was the Fr. Rosica interview of Gregory Baum.
Just prior to that was the Den of Dissent conference at the University of St. Paul.
On and on it goes, with no end in sight. In almost every instance, you get a very familiar sequence of events:
- Mr. or Mrs. Clueless Catholic or Dissenter does something in horrible opposition to Church teaching
- Mr. or Mrs. Faithful Catholic is outraged and protests
- Mr. Bishop is AWOL
- Mr. or Mrs. Clueless Catholic or Dissenter gets off the hook, with no visible reprimand or consequence, leaving the majority of nominal Catholics who witnessed the controversy to be misled.
I’m convinced that God is flushing out these issues so that we’re forced to deal with them. And soon.
To me, the most stunning example of how the bishops are killing us softly with their silence came in the wake of John’s original post on the school trip. Socon or Bust received a flurry of comments on that post, many from students supportive of the teacher. One comment supporting the teacher included this nugget:
“Catholicism is not defined by one issue only. There are many other issues that make it difficult to choose, as evidenced by the US Conference of Catholic Bishops not recommending one candidate over the other.”
You couldn’t synthesize the root of the problem any more concisely than that.
When you have Dalton McGuinty openly flaunting dissent, with virtually no correction expressed by either Fr. Rosica or the men endowed with the authority to represent what the Church really teaches, what else is a rational human being supposed to conclude except that these dissenters hold positions that are considered legitimate within the “big tent” of Catholicism?
Faithful Catholics among the laity don’t have the same influence as a bishop. Let’s get real. As much as we try, there’s no way we can fully make up for their omission. Why? Firstly, because a bishop has received supernatural grace, as a successor to the Apostles, to instruct the faithful and cast out error in ways that we’ll never fully understand this side of heaven. And secondly, because the laity don’t have any official teaching office and cannot speak on behalf of the Church in any official capacity. So our views can be easily written-off as those of the “ultra-conservatives” or “Taliban Catholics”.
The laity can still play a very important role in damage control that can ultimately spare many souls. We can also be instrumental in shaking the bishops out of their slumber (e.g. D&P). But it’s only when the clergy gets turned around that we’ll be firing on enough cylinders to regain some lost ground.
The U.S. is years ahead of us on this front. The open persecution launched by Obama’s HHS Mandate has forced many clergymen out of the closet. It looks like God has a similar plan for Canada, notably through the GSAs. So far, the response of the bishops has been very weak, so expect a deeper encroachment by the government very soon.
Yes, God is stirring the pot to force the hand of his sleeping Apostles. I can’t wait to see what happens next week. 🙂