Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Bishop Jenky hits the mark

I had never heard of Bishop Daniel Jenky before, but listen to this snippet of the stirring words he recently spoke to a group of Catholic laymen:
The Church survived and even flourished during centuries of terrible persecution, during the days of the Roman Empire. The Church survived barbarian invasions. The Church survived wave after wave of Jihads. The Church survived the age of revolution. The Church survived Nazism and Communism. And in the power of the resurrection, the Church will survive the hatred of Hollywood, the malice of the media, and the mendacious wickedness of the abortion industry. The Church will survive the entrenched corruption and sheer incompetence of our Illinois state government, and even the calculated disdain of the President of the United States, his appointed bureaucrats in HHS, and of the current majority of the federal Senate.  
May God have mercy on the souls of those politicians who pretend to be Catholic in church, but in their public lives, rather like Judas Iscariot, betray Jesus Christ by how they vote and how they willingly cooperate with intrinsic evil.

You really should read the entire text, because he doesn't forget to counsel a charitable approach and attitude. But start with this article at Catholic Culture (which is a darned good outfit to support, by the way).

This is the kind of appeal that can galvanize Catholic men to action. The namby-pamby stuff we're usually offered is useless to bringing men back into the service of the Church. All of us, but we men in particular, long to give our lives to something worthwhile in God's eyes, and to feel that we're in the company of our Catholic heroes of the past. 

Saturday, April 14, 2012

The kids are OK

From page 2 of this morning's San Jose Mercury News, an unexpected confirmation that marriage still makes a difference to children:

We can all sleep better at night. Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt are engaged to be married. [Pitt and Jolie have been "together", as they say, since 2005. - my note] ... The couple previously said they wouldn't marry until gay marriage was legalized nationwide, but have admitted to changing their minds in a recent interview. "And it seems to mean more and more to our kids," Pitt said in January.

Now, I don't know why it "means more and more" to their kids. Maybe the kids have finally realized that there's usually a big party when fabulously wealthy people get married, and they're starved for excitement. OK, not likely. Maybe it's because the kids are angling for a destination wedding in Bali. OK, not likely either.

Or maybe -- maybe it's because when all the shouting's over, there's something inside every kid that wants their parents to join themselves together in "the only institution that unites a man and a woman and any children who may result from their union."

Hey, could this be another example of what Al Gore meant when he told a roomful of students that they know things that their parents don't?

Friday, April 13, 2012

NOW can we please have our schism?

Back in the late sixties, right after Humanae Vitae was panned by many soi-disant sophisticated American Catholics, and Catholic colleges and universities had declared that they would no longer consider themselves bound to teach Catholic doctrine or even a Catholic viewpoint, a curious thing happened.

Well, actually, what was curious was what didn't happen. Discipline didn't happen.

Instead of applying a little firm pastoral correction to those rebellious Catholics, most bishops and the Vatican said, and did, almost nothing. The thought was, as I recall: "Don't risk a schism by making a big deal of this. Unity is everything. This will pass. You'll see."

Yes, we've seen. Not quite what was predicted, though. This didn't pass; instead, it got steadily worse.

The news today has given us yet another example: contrary to the wishes of their archbishop, several parishes in Seattle are refusing to allow parish property to be used in gathering signatures for Referendum 74, whose purpose is to overturn the Washington legislature's recent redefinition of marriage to include same-sex couples. In other words, to bring the law back into line with Catholic teaching, where it had been since the founding of Washington state.

Why the parish refusals? Because even the meek action of allowing others to collect such signatures would be "divisive" in these parishes' congregations, which are proudly said to be "open to all." Which, translated, means: "We've got lots of gay couples in our parish, and we don't try to help them with their particular temptations because we don't agree with the Church's teachings about homosexual acts anyway, so why should we make waves? Get lost, archbishop."

Of course, Archbishop Sartain didn't make matters easier for himself when he gave his own permission for the signature-gathering, by leaving it up to individual parishes. Maybe he misread his people, expected compliance, and was surprised at the opposition. Or maybe he was looking for a way to support the Referendum while not actually requiring any of his flock to do so, as perhaps he knew they would not. I don't know.

One thing's clear, however. As it did 40+ years ago, the familiar choice presents itself: will Catholic leaders finally insist on unity and obedience, and start getting the Church back on track? or will they close their eyes to error and evil again, and kick the can down the road?

The smart money would be on the cowardly second option; it's what most bishops have chosen in recent decades, after all. But that'll just make things worse, when the you-know-what finally hits the fan.

And it will. As dissent within the Church becomes ever more serious and more deeply embedded in Catholic parishes, schism is inevitable. Whenever the bishops finally decide to draw the line someday, the dissenters won't give up and obey. Instead, they'll double down, go public, try to wrest formal control of their parishes away from their bishops (with "Occupy" tactics, perhaps), and finally break away, perhaps in league with other schismatic parishes, to form a "New American Catholic Church."

The longer the day of reckoning is postponed, the stronger the dissenters will grow, and the worse the schism will be. Archbishop Sartain, to spare your flock even nastier things later, confront the schismatics now.