Québec bishops seeking to sabotage D&P reforms?

Last week’s article in Le Devoir about the Development and Peace controversy revealed many interesting pieces of information. John already presented key facts here.

I’d like to draw your attention to two paragraphs near the end of the article where they discuss the position of some Québec bishops on D&P (original French on the left, my translation on the right):

Jugeant «insupportable et scandaleux» un mouvement comme LifeSiteNews, Claude Lacaille, un ancien des favelas d’Amérique du Sud, a récemment invité les évêques du Québec à «élever le ton» à la Conférence des évêques du Canada. À y prendre la défense de D&P. Et surtout, «la défense des personnes qui ont opté pour les plus petits». À en juger par les confidences de quelques membres de l’épiscopat, la tâche ne sera pas facile.

D’aucuns, en effet, ont sondé leurs collègues évêques, pour constater, non sans regret et découragement, que parfois les positions à la CECC sont non seulement «radicales», mais «bien arrêtées», voire «incrustées» à propos de Développement et Paix. Des déclarations publiques, peut-on croire, durciraient les choses au risque de diviser les évêques encore plus. Il faudra donc attendre l’assemblée générale des évêques du Canada, l’automne prochain, pour voir, selon le mot d’un d’entre eux, «si quelque chose peut bouger».

Considering a movement like LifeSiteNews to be “unbearable and scandalous”, Claude Lacaille, a veteran from the shantytowns of South America, recently invited the Bishops of Québec to “raise their voice” at the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops. To defend D&P. And especially, “to defend people who have sided with the little ones.” Judging by the confidences of some members of the episcopacy, the task won’t be easy.

Indeed, some have scoped their fellow bishops and realized, not without regret and discouragement, that sometimes the positions at the CCCB are not only “radical”, but “firm” and even “entrenched” with regards to Development and Peace. Public declarations, it is believed, would harden things to the point of further dividing the bishops. We will need to wait until the general assembly of the Canadian Bishops next fall to see, according to the words of one of them, “if something can move.”

This part of the article provides useful intel from Fr. Claude Lacaille, a Québec priest and former missionary. Who is this man? He’s part of a liberal group of Catholics in Québec called Culture et Foi (which means Culture and Faith). I actually met these people face to face in a small meeting many years ago. They were trying to recruit young people from the local parish into their movement. They are hardcore dissenters. Nothing I said to them made any impact. Based on their website, they haven’t changed one bit. They support a woman’s right to choose abortion and they mock Cardinal Marc Ouellet for his pro-life positions. They subscribe to Liberation Theology (Fr. Lacaille actually wrote an open letter to Pope Benedict to challenge him on this issue). They endorse the homosexual lifestyle and gay marriage. They support the ordination of women. They’re essentially clones of Fr. Raymond Gravel.

While I applaud Fr. Lacaille for his good deeds in the shantytowns, that doesn’t give him a license to dissent. In any case, I don’t want to focus on him. He seems to be well connected with Québec bishops and he reveals some interesting stuff. As indicated in the excerpt above, he exhorted Québec bishops to defend D&P against the pro-life reforms that we’ve been praying for over the last two years. The Québec bishops, in turn, are disappointed and discouraged that the CCCB seems firm in its resolve to reform D&P. We then learn that some Québec bishops will be looking to derail the train at the Plenary Assembly of the CCCB this fall. They concede that the task won’t be easy.

This is not surprising. Regular readers of Socon or Bust know how bad the Church is suffering in Québec. If you actually live in Québec, I extend you my deepest sympathies. We already suspected that the snail-pace of reforms at D&P was due to obstruction by some bishops. Now we have confirmation. And it seems to be coming mostly from Québec, where D&P was founded and where the main head office is still located. I doubt that the bishops from the rest of Canada are 100% behind the reforms. For example, we saw how hard Archbishop Weisgerber of Winnipeg worked to keep the wool over our eyes.

Based on the excerpt above, the strategy of the bishops of Québec is to work in secret, avoiding public statements which they know will lead nowhere.

I almost laughed when I hear the CCCB’s position on D&P being characterized as “radical”, “firm” and “entrenched”. I guess that if you’re a hyper-liberal bishop, any smidgen of orthodoxy may come across as “radical”.

Or perhaps we’re underestimating the impression that good men like Archbishops Prenderast and Collins are making behind closed doors among their brethren. Perhaps they are exerting relentless pressure for reforms. I pray that this be true. In any case, it’s reassuring to hear that there is some firm resolve by at least some part of the episcopacy for real change.

Let this information serve as a reminder that the enemy is already well established within the gates. The battle is not won, but we clearly have the momentum on our side.

4 thoughts on “Québec bishops seeking to sabotage D&P reforms?

  1. Thanks for the background information, Steve. I wouldn’t have known what to make of that article without your first-hand knowledge of who those people are.

  2. “The road to Hell is paved with the skulls of priests and the floor of Hell is paved with the skulls of bishops”.

    There has been much discussion about who first made this observation. Who cares? Such discussion is a neat way of avoiding the truth of the observation. We forget our church history in not remembering how common has been corruption and cowardice in the episcopacy; how often did bishops compromise and join the politicians since the days of the first century when they ended as the chief local centralizing force after the collapse of the Roman Empire. How often they were chosen by the local politico, how often they took to themselves the resources of several dioceses. They have developed a taste for power and comfort.

    What reason is there to expect change? Of which of our bishops can it be truthfully said that they would willingly lead their sheep into the Coliseum? Or go into the Coliseum alone? We end with such priests as Fr. Jenkins of Notre Dame who seems to believe that he has the authority to defy his bishop. He is but one of many who recognize that our bishops have by and large abdicated their episcopal responsibilities; they hide within the corridors of the bureaucracy of the USCCB. They forget that each and every one of them must give a personal account of his diocese, of his sheep, and not of the diocese across the river or the diocese of Timbuctoo. The sheep cry out to heaven. The Lord will hear them. He prefers His sheep to His bishops.

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