These past few days have seen much discussion about the change of personnel at the Congregation for Bishops at the Vatican. This blog has commented on it during that time. It's no secret that I see this move as a detriment to the well-being of the Church. But I am also troubled to see some incredible naivete among faithful Catholics.
I've been involved in an email exchange these past few days with some good Catholics, some of whom are opining that this "must be God's will" and that we should be silent and prayerful in the midst of this. Some have gone so far as to opine that we who take a dim view of this matter "need to trust the Holy Spirit".
Today the American Life League released a piece that stated much of the same; in other words, while it rightfully says that we must pray and sacrifice for our bishops, it advocates that we remain silent. It goes on to link to a blog of Thomas Peter's which has this incredibly ridiculous statement: " If you asked me to pick who has a better working knowledge of the
makeup, demands, and expectations of the American episcopate right now, I
would say the state-side Cardinal Wuerl, not Cardinal Burke who has
been in Rome for half a decade at this point. So from one aspect, this
is a move towards efficiency."
Can Peters possibly be serious?? No doubt Wuerl has an idea of the "expectations of of the American episcopate". Why, hasn't Wuerl amply demonstrated his "working knowledge" in the way he flouts Canon 915, closes parish schools right and left, and expels priests who are faithful to Canon 915? His so-called "working knowledge" is NOT an asset! It will prove to be poisonous in the selection of future bishops!
Ladies and gentlemen, let's be clear about something, shall we? We have been promised by Our Lord that His Vicar will never solemnly promulgate error. But that's it! Never has Our Lord promised that all pontiffs will be wise. The Church's history has featured many popes who did much damage to the Church. While we hold the Holy Father in respect, we also do not hold him above question in matters of prudential judgment. One can be a good Catholic even if he/she raises eyebrows regarding these changes of personnel.
With the previous two pontificates (John Paul II and Benedict XVI) we've been blessed with clear doctrine and unambiguous teaching. It was a stroke of genius when Pope Benedict called Cardinal Burke to Rome and placed him on the College for Bishops. Now it's undone and there's no way a spin can be put on this.
In that discussion that I mentioned earlier, we were bandying about the idea of a public prayer vigil to thank Cardinal Burke for his service on that College and to express our dismay at his removal. Some in that loop advised against it, voicing fears that the media would make it look like Pope Francis is in their camp, and make us look like "right-wing kooks". Now if there's anything we in the pro-life movement should have learned by now, nothing will stop the media from twisting what we say and do so why now should we give a rat's rump about them?
Also troubling is this notion, call it "false humility" if you will, that this switch is in the perfect will of God and if we raise concerns, well, we've got to "trust God and wait in silence". I'm the first to admit that my trust in God is not perfect, but since when does "trust in God" mean that I must suspend my own intelligence (that God gave to me to used and ignore the obvious "writing on the wall"? News flash! Faith in God is not equivalent to putting on rose-colored glasses and refusing to see the harm perpetrated in front of our faces. Trust in God does not mean silently suffering in agony simply because it's the Pope who is making blunders and not simply some CINO politician. In the words of St. Catherine of Siena, Doctor of the Church: "We’ve had enough of exhortations to be silent! Cry out with a hundred thousand tongues. I see that the world is rotten because of silence.
Michael Voris has weighed in. As usual, he says it straight.