Yesterday morning I had a phrase flash through my mind and it kind of struck me dramatically. I don’t claim any supernatural revelations, of course, but neither do I disavow that Christ does speak to His followers – sometimes in very profound and unmistakable ways. In this case, I was in my car driving to work and the phrase
“MEN OF CONTRADICTION”
came into my head. It was very bizarre and unexpected. What does this mean, I wonder? Rather mysterious, I’d say. What does this mean, Lord?
And then I understood.
As ‘Bust readers know, the Catholic bishops in this country have been making some noise recently about Michael Ignatieff’s support for pushing abortion in the developing world while conveniently ignoring that they are just as “guilty” (if not more so) than he is.
It’s a kind of moral schizophrenia. Some politicians have a personal pro-life view, but they hold to a public pro-abortion position. The bishops too suffer from the same kind of schizophrenia, except that their condition is a pastoral one. On paper, they oppose abortion, but in practice – in their pastoral application of the teaching – they actually are quite silent on the subject and even promote it in some cases.
In the case of the Bishops, that schizophrenia started with the Winnipeg Statement. The statement was a contradiction of the Church’s teaching and it has always been considered a dissent from the Magisterium. And yet, when called upon to defend their treacherous statement, the bishops simply repeat that it was a “pastoral application” of Humanae Vitae, and that it was totally in line with what Humanae Vitae taught. That, of course, is absurd if language has any value or meaning.
And so we live in a contradiction in the Church today. Our bishops – who act more like politicians than fathers – are missing in action on the life issues in large part because their witness is a contradiction. They say they support Humanae Vitae but are largely absent from the Life issues and in many, many cases actually help perpetuate the culture of death.
As long as the Winnipeg Statement exists unrepented, we will continue to see the Men of Contradiction preaching one message while scandalizing us with the opposite message.