I had an eclectic mix playing and the windows down on my way to the Canon Law Conference that Card. Burke sponsors each year at the Shrine of Our Lady near La Crosse.
As I pulled in at my destination, the words of Stevie Ray Vaughn faded with the turn of the ignition key. Another, non-Stevie version sings: “Close your eyes and see the skies are falling.”
Right now terrible scandals rock the Church Awake. Terrible prospects face us.
For example, one popular commentator is calling for, pretty much, the resignation of all the bishops, founded on some informal polling that shows that – and I don’t doubt the numbers of his regular adherents – they are really angry and aren’t gonna take it anymore.
This feels like an important moment in the history of the Church in these USA, never mind the rest of the world for now. They’ll catch up. Believe me.
There is an adage from the classical corpus: Iustitia et ruat caelum… Let justice be done though the heavens should fall. Seneca gives the account of a Roman general, Piso, who condemned some legionaries to death for aiding a deserter to desert. But when they showed up with their companion, whom was thought to have deserted, the general dug his heals in and had them all killed because he had passed the sentence and, by the gods, he his sentence would stand and justice would be done though the sky should fall.
Some days ago I posted about the consequences of sweeping and dramatic action. For example, lets say that all the bishops should resign. Okay. I’m not saying that they shouldn’t. However, the ancient chess player awakes and thinks through the next board positions.
One person, ultimately gets to name bishops: Pope Francis.
Sweep all the bishops off the chess board, and Pope Francis gets to replace them. All. Of. Them.
That’s a consequence. One can argue if that is a good consequences or a not so good consequence. But, undeniably, it is a consequence.
Then what does the board look like?
This is in no way to say that there shouldn’t be consequences for bishops who have been complicit in slime.
This IS to say that a) be careful about what you wish for, ’cause you might get it and b) you had better have a plan for what you’re gonna get.
Maybe that is the sort of crucifixion the Church needs. The Passion had various inexorable stages. They culminated in unspeakable horror followed by exhausted bewilderment and then the unforeseen discovery of joy.
I’ve been with some of the best and most faithful canonists and civil lawyers that the Church has in these USA for a couple days. These are great and devout Catholics and they are in pain, but they are people of faith. Without violating even the slightest privilege of confidence concerning names and places, they have confirmed things that I’ve heard about for years from priests, lay people about the machinations inside the violet/lavender machine.
When some of these subjects come up, you can see the distress in their eyes. All of them have long term perspectives and faith in the indefectibility of the Church.
We have to have great faith in Christ now.
Do reparation for the sins of our brethren. Take on some mortifications.
Ask Our Lady Queen of the Clergy to guide us as the sky falls weeping around us.