Continuing with this week’s theme of how the Canadian bishops are not doing their jobs in teaching the faith and admonishing dissenters, I’d like to bring another example to your attention. As regular readers know, Socon or Bust is no fan of President Obama. Most of Obama’s policies are awful, especially on life and family issues. But I must concede that his actions this week provide a simple and direct example of how our bishops should be dealing with gross negligence and misconduct within the Church. Consider this:
Early this week, Rolling Stone magazine published an interview with the U.S. military general leading the American war in Afghanistan, General Stanley McChrystal. In the interview, the general mocks the vice president as a nobody, calls National Security Adviser James Jones as a “clown” and says that President Obama is uncomfortable with military leaders and unengaged on defense policy. He also seemed to question the president’s military strategy. Read more here and here.
Obama got a copy of the article on Monday night, June 21. On Wednesday afternoon, the general got his butt kicked at the White House and was fired. It took 40 hours to fix the problem. The general was flown in all the way from Afghanistan to meet with the president face to face. Some key quotes from Obama:
The conduct represented in the recently published article does not meet the standard that should be set by a commanding general.
But war is bigger than any one man or woman, whether a private, a general, or a president. And as difficult as it is to lose Gen. McChrystal, I believe that it is the right decision for our national security.
I’ve just told my national security team that now is the time for all of us to come together. Doing so is not an option, but an obligation. I welcome debate among my team, but I won’t tolerate division. (Source)
You may not agree with Obama’s decision, but he certainly displayed leadership and determination in quickly quashing dissent in an area (i.e. war) where national unity is crucial.
Contrast this with how Canadian bishops deal with dissenters and heretics. Dissent has been growing for 40 years and the bishops have done little or nothing. For example, Fr. Raymond Gravel, the former Bloc Québécois MP, is famous for his dissenting views. I could name a bunch of other priests that I have known through various parishes, but you’ve probably never heard of them because they aren’t as visible as Fr. Gravel. Last month, while Cardinal Ouellet was busy trying to defend the unborn, Fr. Gravel was busy stabbing the Cardinal in the back:
“I cannot subscribe to these suggestions,” said Fr. Raymond Gravel, a priest and former federal politician well known for publicly criticizing the Vatican over the Church’s teachings against homosexuality. “I find it deplorable that a man who is a cardinal, archbishop of Quebec, would hold views like these. It’s as if women were nothing and what is important is to save their fetus, however it was conceived. We are dealing with rape here.” (Source)
For years this priest has been publicly disdaining Church teaching on homosexuality and abortion. As an MP, he voted against pro-life legislation. In 2004, he was so bold as to state: “I am pro-choice and there is not a bishop on earth that will prevent me from receiving Communion, not even the pope.” (Source)
Yet, his own bishop has not disciplined him. He’s been vomiting this crap for years but he’s never suspended. He keeps merrily exercising his parish ministry of confusing the faithful.
Why not take a page from the Obama playbook? Let’s look at those quotes from Obama and rephrase them slightly to illustrate how they could easily be applied to a guy like Fr. Gravel:
The conduct represented in the recently published article of Fr. Gravel in recent years does not meet the standard that should be set by a commanding general Catholic priest.
But war the new evangelization is bigger than any one man or woman, whether a private, a general, or a president lay person, priest or bishop. And as difficult as it is to lose Gen. McChrystal Fr. Gravel, I believe that it is the right decision for our national security the good of the Church.
I’ve just told my national security team the other priests in my diocese that now is the time for all of us to come together. Doing so is not an option, but an obligation. I welcome debate among my team, but I won’t tolerate division.
Was that so hard?
Obama demonstrated what everybody already knows: if an organization is to maintain any coherence, unity and sense of direction, hierarchy needs to be respected and grave violators must be reprimanded. It’s true about sports teams. It’s true in any company. It’s true within government ministries. It’s true in any military. It’s true in schools. And it’s definitely true in the Catholic Church.
The bishops understand this. They are intelligent men. They just choose not to act. As long as they fail to do so, the Church will continue going downhill. In the case of Fr. Gravel, the situation was so bad that the Vatican intervened in 2008 and forced him to resign as MP. They threatened to laicize him because he was publicly opposing Church teaching as an MP. What a huge embarrassment and vote of non-confidence for Fr. Gravel’s bishop, Gilles Lussier of Joliette, to have the Vatican go over his head and do his job for him. It’s as if you arrive at work one day and find the CEO of your company sitting at your desk doing your work because he doesn’t trust that you can do the job properly yourself. Ouch.
But almost two years have passed since then and Bishop Lussier has let his dissenting priest to keep defecating in public. The Vatican can’t micro-manage 400,000 priests worldwide. There isn’t enough man-power in Rome. That’s why this authority has been delegated to bishops.
Dear bishops, I beg you, please assume your responsibilities.