I received this column in an email yesterday, commenting on the insurance mandate and role of Catholics in a fallen (and accelerating downward) culture. The Church’s reaction to the mandate has been impressive to me, and I hope that waves of civil disobedience or retractions of all insurance provided to those working for Catholic entities will build steam and cause some change…
Note especially about the following Archbishop George’s chilling words. SNV has commented often about how the economy in on the path toward collapse, as well as the dangers of the state encroaching on liberty, slowly but surely. It is clear that we are in the midst of revelation, and that the banality and acceptance of evil is nearly total. Never have I heard such ominous words from an American ordained, especially one of rank. Thomas Jefferson said that we are never more than one generation away from tyranny. Archibishop George gives it two here. There is a war on Catholicism, and it is already well underway. Which side will you find yourself on as American culture does its best to deconstruct Catholicism?
Pray for our Bishops
Because they need it, theyneed lots of it.
And they need it now.
Many American bishops have publicly spoken out against the Obama administration’srecent declaration of war against the Catholic Church. So far, the response from the episcopate has been widespread, clear, and strong. We should allbe encouraged by the readiness on the part of these bishops to lead the American Church in this fight for freedom.
But we ought not takethis leadership for granted. So often it seems, when something Church-related gets us upset, we are all too ready and willing to focus our outrage onthe local bishop. Granted, the last ten years have certainly reminded us that bishops can make poor, even seriously harmful, decisions. And theaccounting for those transgressions is still underway.
But too often the bishops suffer our wrath over the fact that the state of theChurch (in our parish, our diocese, or our country) isn’t just the way we want it to be. Expecting faithful leadership from the bishop is onething. Calling up the chancery (which you have on speed dial) because Father Bob failed to mention Hell in his homily is something else.
It gets lonely at the top, or so they say.
The same thought has been echoed by high-ranking military officers, or theirbiographers, who speak of the “loneliness of command.” When you’re the top dog, or the top brass, or the top guy in the diocese, youget to call the shots. But that means that you also bear the responsibility, alone, for the shots you call.
In the case of bishops, itmeans that every day they are asked to make decisions, issue statements, and take actions with one thing in mind – the salvation of hundreds ofthousands, if not millions, of souls. That’s a sobering dose of responsibility. And as a bonus, these shepherds carry out their vocation withthe certain knowledge that no matter what they do, a good percentage of the souls they are charged with will be left disappointed, upset, or outraged.At them. That’s not a job anyone should envy. Certainly not one that we should take for granted.
A Chesterton quote, on St. ThomasAquinas, whose feast we just celebrated:
His experiences included well-attested cases of levitation in ecstasy; and the Blessed Virgin appeared to him, comforting him with the welcomenews that he would never be a Bishop.
Welcome news indeed. And now things just got really fun ifyou have “Most Rev.” in front of your name. At the end of the day (and that day, if we want to be precise, is August 1, 2013), the HHSmandate doesn’t force most of us (unless we own a small business) to do anything. The bishops aren’t so lucky. Yes, the laity have aresponsibility to engage this threat wherever and however they can. The ways for doing this are numerous and varied, and have been ably put forth onCatholicVote’s site.
But in most cases, the actual responsibility for the decisions that will need to be made regarding the cold hardconsequences of the mandate lies squarely on the shoulders of the bishops. Thus has it been, from St. Ignatius of Antioch to St. Thomas Becket. Thesesuccessors of the Apostles, these shepherds of souls, these men clothed in black cloth and human weakness have been called through the ages to standon the ramparts of the Church under siege and take the first blow from the enemy’s sword.
Thus has it been, and thus shall it be. The bishops will be the ones who will have to stand tall, just as St.Polycarp and St. John Fisher did before them, and say, with dire consequence, ”We cannot, and we will not.” And they will be the first tosuffer. One American prelate, Francis Cardinal George, the Archbishop of Chicago, made this stark and rather chilling observation of the current stateof affairs:
I expect to die inbed, my successor will die in prison and his successor will die a martyr in the public square.
Pray for them.
Here is a partial list of statments released by Bishops across the country in opposition to theHHS mandate:
Bishop Thomas Olmsted – Diocese of Phoenix, AZ:
Bishop Paul Coakley– Diocese of Oklahoma City, OK:
Bishop Richard Malone – Diocese of Portland, ME:
Archbishop Edwin O’Brien – Archdiocese ofBaltimore, MD:
Archbishop Allen Vigneron –Archdiocese of Detroit, MI:
Cardinal Roger Mahony– Archbishop Emeritus, Los Angeles, CA:
Archbishop Gomez– Archdiocese of Los Angeles, CA:
Bishop Paul Loverde – Diocese of Arlington, VA:
Archbishop Dennis Schnurr – Archdiocese of Cincinnati,OH:
BishopJoe Vasquez – Diocese of Austin, TX:
Bishop Kevin Vann – Diocese of Fort Worth, TX:
Bishop Kevin Ferrell – Diocese ofDallas, TX:
Cardinal Daniel DiNardo – Archdioceseof Galveston-Houston, TX:
Bishop William Medley –Diocese of Owensboro, KY:
Bishop Anthony Taylor – Diocese of Little Rock, AR:
Bishop Joseph Bambera – Diocese of Scranton, PA:
Bishop David Zubik – Diocese of Pittsburgh, PA:
Bishop Patrick McGrath – Diocese ofSan Jose, CA:
Archbishop ThomasWenski – Archdiocese of Miami, FL:
Bishop Daniel Jenky – Diocese of Peoria, IL:
Bishop James Conley – Diocese of Denver,CO:
Bishop Walter Nickless – Diocese of Sioux City, IA:
Archbishop Jerome Listecki – Archdiocese ofMilwaukee, WI:
Bishop David Ricken – Diocese of Green Bay, WI:
Archbishop Wilton Gregory – Archbishop of Atlanta, GA:
Bishop Peter Libasci –Diocese of Manchester, NH:
Bishop Frederick Campbell – Diocese ofColumbus, OH:
Cardinal-designate Timothy Dolan– Archdiocese of New York, NY:
Archbishop John Myers – Archdiocese of Newark, NJ:
Bishop William Callahan – Diocese of LaCrosse, WI:
BishopLeonard Blair – Diocese of Toledo, OH:
Bishop Paul Eitenne – Diocese of Cheyenne, WY:
Archbishop Robert Carlson – Archdiocese of St. Louis,MO:
Bishop Thomas Paprocki – Diocese ofSpringfield, IL: