The sad reality of cowardly bishops all too indifferent to the trampling of Catholic values is exposed with beautiful regularity on the Catholic blogosphere. Distressing as these news are, their diffusion is a meritorius work as the renewal of the Church is herewith helped and encouraged. Oportet ut scandala eveniant.
This has now become normality. We live in a world where Nancy Pelosi has the effrontery to call herself an “ardent Catholic” and to relentlessly put forward an abortion agenda without fearing any excommunication.
Thankfully, this is not always the case. There are still shepherds (few and far between, I admit) able to use harsh words to bring their sheep in contact with the brutal reality of the great discrepancy between Catholic values (that is: God’s law) and the secular mentality. This has happened in South America, where the recent approval of so-called same-sex marriages from the Argentinian Senate led to strong reactions from senior clergy both in Argentina and in Peru. CNA reports that the Archbishop of Buenos Aires, Jorge Mario Bergoglio, calls the legalisation of so-called same-sex marriages “a war against God”.
A war against God. Just imagine what would happen if such expressions were used here in Europe! The scandal of the secular classes would know no bounds and those who do not believe in God in the first place would be among the angriest.
Still, we can’t put all the blame on the secular society. Such claims would appear so astonishingly harsh in Europe, because the European shepherds meant to make them have relinquished their role a long time ago. Christianity has been considered by them, for now many decades, something you just don’t talk about or do so in very vague and uncontroversial terms – like “peace”; who doesn’t like “peace”? – whilst utterly avoiding the controversial issues they are supposed to care for in the first place.
Democracy will not give Catholics everything they want, but a self-professed abortionist should never be allowed to pursue her agenda and call herself Catholic at the same time. In some countries unpleasant legislation will be passed, but this shouldn’t happen without an open, hard fight.
Some Argentinian, Brazilian and Spanish bishops are now beginning to show the way. They are beginning to affirm Catholicism when Catholicism is uncomfortable rather than harmless consensus. They are right not only from a religious point of view but from a political one, too.
In a democracy, you pander to the interests of every minority which manages to get loud and obnoxious enough. The ugly truth is that vocal minorities are perceived as being ready to make their own votes dependent from having their way, whilst the lazy majority is seldom ready to switch alliances because some minority got soon forgotten concessions. Therefore, politics become the art of the pandering to minority interests. Take Muslims and deviant minorities. They have mastered the minority game and are now ruthlessly milking their “angry minority status”, creating the appearance that they are united (which they aren’t) and that the minority members aren’t largely indifferent (which they are).
Catholics could easily do the same. Five million Catholics could easily scare every Prime Minister into obedience, if they were led by courageous bishops looking for a fight instead of shunning it. The argument that the vast majority of Catholics are basically not so engaged does not stand: this is the case by every other minority, too.
We need to import to Europe the courage and clear words of Bishop Bergoglio; we need to make expressions like the one he used more often heard, and more seriously considered; we need to create a climate in which the mere idea of touching Catholic interests is seen as rather stupid.
To do this, we need brave bishops.
This illustrates all the scale of the problem.