Friday, April 4, 2014

Lame Excuses For Episcopal Cowardice

I'm on Facebook a bit and saw this on my wall.  I won't embarrass the individual who posted it by naming them, but will take the opportunity to pick this apart.  This may well be part of the "Francis Effect".  However, I recall the Holy Father encouraging us not to be afraid to "make a mess".  This person is not taking those words to heart.  Because I'm sure these erroneous notions are shared by many, I'll pick them apart.  First, here's the whole quote.

Catholics are not allowed to make demands that will only result in resentment against the Church. Our job is to do only those things which will bear good fruit. "Standing for principle" often results more in resentment than in good fruit. We must never sacrifice our principles, but at the same time we must not make demands of people that will cause them to resent us. Sometimes silence is better than standing for principle, in this regard. That is likely why so many of our bishops are silent on our principles. They seek to protect us from the backlash of hateful people who will respond by lashing out. Please keep this in mind before criticizing a bishop. They may or may not be making the correct judgment but it is not okay to just assume that they have bad reasons for silence.

First, we don't "make demands" in the sense that we spout only our ideas.  We are called to proclaim and witness to Jesus Christ and His sayings as promulgated through His Holy Catholic Church.  Some of Christ's words are demands.  For instance, there are the Ten Commandments.  There are Christ's teachings on life and its engenderment with all that it entails.  So yes, not only are we allowed to "make the demands" that originate in Jesus and His Church, we are positively commanded to do so.

Might such promulgation "only result in resentment against the Church"?  It might, depending on the disposition of the listener.  However, we can never say that will be the case for certain unless we make the attempt.  Who knows?  Perhaps that person will take our words to heart and come to saving repentance.  Even if we do, we have done what we are called to do.  Paul exhorts us to "preach the gospel in season and out of season".  Our Lord Himself, at the last discourse, reminded the Apostles that "if the world hates you, know that it hated me before you", and "as they treated the master so will they treat the slaves".  In other words, some resentment is part of the suffering we must endure.

Did the world resent Jesus?  Well, yes!  That's what motivated them to crucify Him.  Later that's what motivated the Romans to send the Christians to the coliseums, etc and has motivated persecution of Christians throughout the centuries.  I'm sorry, but this notion that "our bishops are silent on our protect us from the backlash of hateful people", while it's probably well-intentioned, is diabolical nonetheless.  Consider what Peter said to Our Lord in a weak moment and that Our Lord replied "get behind me Satan".

Truth be told, I wonder if the author of that "apologetics for cowardice" was trying to justify the Diocese of Charlotte's disgraceful treatment of Sister Jane Dominic Laurel?  I'll have more on this poor sister and how so many cowards threw her under the bus after she relayed Church teaching to Catholic high school students?  I'll have more on her in a future post.

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