When Your Bishop Is Your First Enemy
The Remnant has an excellent article from Michael Matt about the necessity to “unite the clans” and stop demanding total frontal attack from everybody. I found the article so convincing that I would like to touch on something that has been touched upon on this blog a couple of times, but is, I think, worth repeating.
It is a sad reality of the Novus Ordo Church that, if you want to be a priest as God intended, your Bishop will be your first enemy. With the exception of a few fortunate cases, here in the West it is fair to say that a Priest who want to say it as it is concerning a lot of stuff (say: from sodomy to concubinage, and from drug addiction to more common forms of gluttony) would see the usual old harridans and badly lived men complaining to the Bishop for the “insensitive” world, who have caused such a grave shock to their niece Shoshana, who lives in sin with her “fiance”, or their nephew Dawn, who has discovered that God has made her lesbian, and who is father to judge and be oh, oh, oh so cruel?
Woe to the priest daring to, actually, be unapologetically Catholic about this. If his Bishop doesn’t silence, or punish the priest because the Bishop himself is a liberal, or a flaming queen, he will do it because he is, himself, terrified of the liberals, and flaming queens, over his head. You have read how this ends too many times to doubt the veracity of this.
It is sad, but accurate to say that a good Catholic priest is now forced to live in hiding from all the people who can easily destroy him, starting from his Bishop. I see these priests now and then, and I listen to their homilies with the utmost attention. You can literally draw a line in the homily when the priest thought “more than this, and it will be dangerous”. And when the good priest is gone, who will care – in all the ways he can – for the souls of the parishioners?
It is bad. I have often the impression that all too often, the best a priest can do is to build his homily around principles which the Pewsitters have to know, without mentioning them explicitly. Because if you do, you are too obviously a Catholic, and there will be people in your very church (if not today, tomorrow or in three years) bent on your destruction. It is as if the homily were a minefield, and the principles of the Depositum Fidei as many land mines. The priest needs to go from the one side of the field to the other, without touching any of the landmines but still making clear what the direction has to be.
I do not envy these priests, or the blogger priests, of which I have read several that are really engaged, but predictably prudent.
I do, however, draw a line at the Bishop. The Bishop is the one on which the entire diocese hinges. The Bishop is a successor of the Apostles. The Bishop is the one upon which the denunciation of heresy primarily depends. The buck clearly stops there.
Also, think of the numbers. Priests can be neutralised by the thousands without the world really noticing. Two dozen bishops out of many thousands ready to fight the fight would cause an earthquake, one or two hundred of them and Francis would very possibly not survive it (hint: Bishops are, in their great numbers, cowards. When they see the tide going the other way, countless of them would run to defend the… winner).
When you hear the next “I would like to say more” homily (they are easily recognisable, because the homily is still entirely orthodox and hints at a strong Catholic content, which is never delivered), say a Hail Mary for the poor priest, that he may be put in the position to give better spiritual food to his sheep.