This Michael Voris video is, I must say, rather harsh even for his standards. Which is not bad, actually, as the present situation justifies in my eyes a good dose of harshness, and then some.
The basis of Voris’ message is that the bishops can’t pass the buck and blame the modern times, or the media, or the situation they have found for the lack of orthodoxy we see all too often in Catholic parishes. It is exactly the duty of the bishop to react to modern times (times have never been “old”, in fact, and every age has always had its own challenges and difficulties), to pay attention that his priests behave orthodoxy, to take care that Catholic teaching is correctly – and actively – represented in the media however possible, and in general to take care of the souls of his diocese.
It is true that, as Voris points out, things are not so extreme as they used to be and one must admit that there is no Liberation Theology around, neither has Pope Benedict to confront a bishops’ rebellion remotely comparable to the Dutch Schism, or to the Winnipeg Statement. Still, there is a lot of nonsensical waffling around, convenient espousing of fashionable ideologies and, most importantly, almost complete blindness towards heterodox priests, heretical theologians and politicians who are Catholics in name only.Voris makes two concrete examples regarding “homo masses”, but the same complaint can be made regarding, to name just two, abortion or contraception.We will not have any meaningful resurgence of Catholic thinking in the West, until the Bishops start to do their job properly collectively and not only with the courageous initiative of a small number of brave men not fearing unpopularity.
The only integration of Voris’ thought that I would like to make is that if it is undoubtedly true that the bishops are responsible for what happens in their own dioceses, it is equally honest to admit that the Popes are responsible for the quality of the bishops. It is not that those appointed were noted for their own courage and/or orthodoxy and then magically became cowardly and/or heretical after the fact. Rather, the bad quality of many of today’s bishop can be directly attributed of the bad quality of the appointments. This simple fact must – unpleasant as it is – be brought at the very centre of the debate if we want to avoid the situation in which Popes ask their bishop to behave well, whilst appointing people predisposed to behave badly. In this respect, it is i my eyes cleat that an awful lot must be accomplished still, and that Pope Benedict’s papacy can be – again, in this respect – archived as a missed opportunity.
I’d have to ask a theologian whether it is ok to call very bad bishops – as I seem to understand the word from the video – “bums”; but frankly, I wouldn’t say that they haven’t deserved to some clear words anyway.