A while ago, I stopped writing for Catholic365. It was not intentional. However, what I wanted to write was becoming too inflamed. Every piece that I started was about the Church and politics and I was angry. Angry that everything seemed to be going wrong at once and there seemed to be so little we could do about it. I didn’t want to be controversial.
Well, now I think that I was wrong to step away. A great non-event happened in the Church last week. It was the 2021 meeting of USCCB in Baltimore, MD. At the meeting, nothing of any consequence happened. One would think that with everything going on in the US, that this meeting would have been filled with dramatic moments as the Shepherd’s of God’s people raised multiple alarms about the dire state of the faith and our country.
What we got was a silence so profound as to be heartbreaking.
It's hard to tell which is in more dire condition, the Church, or our Country. In actuality, the two problems are inherently intertwined. A 2019 Pew Survey showed that only 30% of Catholics believe in the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist. Apparently, at the time this “shocked” the Bishops of the United States. So much so that they did exactly nothing about it until they arrived in Baltimore two years later. At which time, they did … next to nothing.
The bishops issued a teaching document, which as a practical matter, almost no one will read. What could they have done? How about moving all the tabernacles back to the center of every Church in the United States? That one act alone would prompt people to ask “Why?” and that would be the start of a teachable moment. Imagine what could be achieved if we also reinstalled the altar rails and ended communion in the hand.
Of course, the document said nothing about the dozens of prominent Catholic politicians that receive the Holy Eucharist while in a state of public mortal sin and scandal due to their support and funding of abortion. Dozens of articles have been written about this issue and there is no need to rehash those arguments here. However, an equally evil scandal is the spread of socialism among mostly the same politicians who defile the Eucharist. Just like you cannot be pro-choice and Catholic, you cannot be socialist and Catholic. Socialism is expressly atheistic and anti-family, yet barely a voice is raised opposition as socialist policies are implemented and quickly inflict ruin on the country and the economy. When inflation raises the price of everything from milk to gas it’s the poor and marginalized who feel it the most. Maybe the bishops are hoping the growing numbers of people online at the food pantries will read the new document on the real presence.
These same politicians infect our public schools with transgender ideology and critical race theory to indoctrinate our children. It should not come as a shock to anyone that Catholicism is diametrically opposed to these ideologies. Yet again, the Bishops fiddle while Rome burns. Was there a teaching document from the USCCB? I must have missed it.
But wait! There’s more … the slow drip, drip, drip of revelations about the sexual scandals continues. Strikingly absent are resignations, public confessions of wrongdoing, and asking for forgiveness by the clergy involved. I thought we believed in confession. In contrast, if a priest happens to make a splash on YouTube with an orthodox homily they are quickly canceled. This has become such a regular phenomenon that the laity has established an organization to support these priests.
The silence of Bishops is truly astonishing. It is, however, sadly understandable. As many people with more information and access than me have pointed out the culture of the Bishops is dysfunctional, they are really not about “doing” anything. Sure, there are things like Catholic Charites, Work Camp, and Seminaries but these things have been there for decades and mostly continue because of their own inertia. The people that did it last year just do it again this year and so they continue. These are good things and good people, many of them, empowered by the Holy Spirit, truly bring Christ to those in need. However, none of this is truly changing the direction of the Church or the Country.
What is needed now is BOLDNESS. What we need now is for the “good bishops” to step up and be bold. If one Bishop is bold, others will surely follow. We have seen this in the secular world. When the government began to mandate the vaccine, some businesses refused, filed suit, and others followed. Last week, there were simultaneous protests against vaccine mandates and lockdowns by people in twenty-five countries.
“'I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm and neither cold nor hot, I will spew you out of my mouth.” Revelation 3:15-16
For too long even the “Good Bishops” have been cold. The “Good Bishops” are known as such because they have tried to speak out against the evil and errors that are prevalent in the Church and society. However, despite some strong statements the trajectory has not changed. It is no longer enough just to speak out. While always important, it is not even enough to call for prayer and fasting. If a Bishop believes in the real presence, if he believes in heaven and hell, he must act.
What can a Bishop do? In times of great crisis, even small acts can be heroic. As mentioned above he could:
Move all the tabernacles back to the center of the altar in every Church is his dioceses.
He could install communion rails in every Church.
He could ban communion in the hand.
He could mandate that every Church in his diocese has one priest offer the Traditional Latin Mass every week.
He could hold a rally on the steps of his state or local capitol and publicly excommunicate every pro-choice and socialist politician and specifically require that they publicly recant their prior positions before being readmitted to the Church.
He could reduce or waive tuition at Catholic School for any parishioner whose children and being taught transgender ideology or critical race theory in public schools.
He could let pro-life, anti-socialist, and anti-CRT, pro-freedom, and liberty politicians speak at Church on Sundays leading up to elections.
He could accept into his dioceses any priest that has been persecuted and canceled for orthodoxy.
For a long time, we have hoped and prayed that our Lord would do something dramatic to cleanse the Church and our Country from what is obviously a demonic influence. Well, I firmly believe, that out there somewhere is a Bishop who is being called to do just that. It is time for that Bishop to answer that call of the Holy Spirit.