Archbp. Wuerl on Catholic identity

From CNAMy emphases and comments.

Archbishop Wuerl calls on Catholic institutions to act in ‘practical solidarity’ with bishops

Washington D.C., May 16, 2009 / 01:12 am (CNA).- Encouraging Catholic universities and other institutions to act within the structure of the Church, Archbishop of Washington, D.C. Donald W. Wuerl has warned that those institutions which ignore legitimate instructions from the bishops weaken the Church’s "practical communion.[I think the bishops are gearing up to do something.  They didn’t really do anything before the Notre Shame scandal… but they are being goaded into motion.]

Writing in a Tuesday column in the Catholic Standard, Archbishop Wuerl noted periodic media reports about Catholic institutions apparently behaving at odds with their Catholic identity. He said the incidents often prompt discussion about the unity of the Catholic Church and how Catholic institutions relate to the broader Church.  [The new code word for the bishops is now "discussion" regarding Notre Dame.  Watch for it it in future articles and reports.]

"Institutions that are recognized as Catholic and that exercise their ministry and activities as a part of the Church and in the name of the Church are not independent from the Church," he said. Such institutions must "live and act" within the structure of the Church, working "in solidarity" with the bishops who are responsible for preserving the unity of the Church.

He noted that contemporary Catholic thought, following Pope John Paul II’s Apostolic Constitution "Ex Corde Ecclesiae,"  [NOW they are getting interesting in Ex corde Ecclesiae!] increasingly reaffirms the Catholic university as an "integral part" of the Church. The Catholic university must look to the bishops, especially the local bishop, to authenticate its claim to be "an expression of the faith and mission of the Church."

Archbishop Wuerl characterized the U.S. bishops’ 2004 document "Catholics in Political Life" as a "practical judgment" about the path that best serves the unity and teaching of the Church, with the local bishop being responsible for its application.

Though some disagree with a bishop’s application, Archbishop Wuerl said, "Communion in and with the Church obliges its members, even in practical decisions, to support the legitimate exercise of a bishop’s responsibility… Otherwise, the unity of the Church becomes a theoretical consideration and the role of the bishop, who has the responsibility of unifying, is diminished."

The archbishop cited the directive of "Catholics in Political Life" that Catholic institutions should not honor those "who act in defiance of our fundamental moral principles."  [This is all very round about…]

Though Archbishop Wuerl did not explicitly mention the controversy over Notre Dame’s invitation to President Obama, the passage he quoted has been frequently cited in the debate.

Bishop of Fort Wayne-South Bend John D’Arcy cited the same passage in a letter to Notre Dame’s president, saying he should have been consulted about the school’s invitation to and honoring of the U.S. president who supports permissive abortion policies.

Archbishop Wuerl said the bishops’ document was "all the more significant" because of a contemporary mindset that suggests the bishops are "just one among many voices" offering direction and guidance to Catholics and the wider community "in the name of the Church.[And not a very important voice at that.  But now some bishops are really standing up and discovering their voices.]

When any Catholic institution chooses to disregard a legitimate instruction, the archbishop explained, "it weakens the Church’s practical communion and fails to recognize the authentic role of the leaders of the Church."  [He says "disregard".  I say "defy".]

"Public honors are different from the internal affairs of a university, such as the formulation of its budget, the advancement of faculty or the regulation of normal student activities," he continued. "Honors are a public declaration in the name of the institution. They therefore automatically [and here it is…] invoke the institution’s self identity and very mission.[This is about our identity! CATHOLIC IDENTITY.  If we don’t know who we are, we can’t engage the public square.]  Such action necessarily touches on the school’s relationship to the whole Church community and its leadership."

John Paul II’s "Ex Corde Ecclesiae," the archbishop said, helps to refocus on what it means to be an institution not only academically excellent and culturally engaged, [See?  They are starting to get it.] but also one that is active specifically from its Catholic identity and heritage.

Archbishop Wuerl closed his column with a call for renewed attention to how institutions may meaningfully express their ecclesial communion, Catholic identity and "practical solidarity" with the bishops.

I have been hammering at this for how long now?  Since before Summorum Pontificum?

This is all about our Catholic identity.  

This is the battle ground.

More and more figures in the Church are starting to speak explicitly about our Catholic identity.

Thanks be to God.

Pray for them and for me, for here the hammer will fall the hardest.

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  1. Peter says:

    It is a joy to behold seeing that our shepherds are starting to remember what it is they pledged at their consecration and that hey finally start DOING it. Deo gratias!

    One issue however, seems to be not addressed at all by the bishops – one of canonical standing of Fr Jenkins and the university’s status as Catholic. Surely Fr Jenkins should be warned and then suspended a divinis at least. And the local bishop should have the right to withdraw his – and the Church’s – recognition of the uni as Catholic, on the grounds that it has abandoned its mission. Why, then, has nobody even threatened the university and Jenkins with any punitive action yet? Why are his order Superiors sitting on their hands? In normal circumstances, the Provincial would order Jenkins to withdraw the invitation, apologise for causing a scandal and if he were not to listen, he would face suspension…?

    It’s all jolly and well doing the talking – which has to be done an is edifying, but will someone finally sort Jenkins and the university board out right and proper? An there are ways to do it. Somebody please use them.

    Can. 808 No university, even if it is in fact catholic, may bear the title ‘catholic university’ except by the consent of the competent ecclesiastical authority.

    Can 810 §2 The Episcopal Conference and the diocesan Bishops concerned have the duty and the right of seeing to it that, in these universities, the principles of catholic doctrine are faithfully observed.

    Can. 1371 The following are to be punished with a just penalty:

    1° a person who, apart from the case mentioned in Can. 1364 §1, teaches a doctrine condemned by the Roman Pontiff, or by an Ecumenical Council, or obstinately rejects the teaching mentioned in Can. 752 and, when warned by the Apostolic See or by the Ordinary, does not retract;

    Can. 1369 A person is to be punished with a just penalty, who, at a public event or assembly, or in a published writing, or by otherwise using the means of social communication, utters blasphemy, or gravely harms public morals, or rails at or excites hatred of or contempt for religion or the Church.

    Law is there – but it has to be applied.

  2. Tito Edwards says:

    It is good that even the reluctant Archbishop Wuerl is realizing the problems of a “do-nothing” approach with a hostile secular culture.

    We certainly need to know who we are before we can actively and creatively engage with the world.

    Kudos to Archbishop Wuerl for acknowledging this.

    The real test now is if there is any actionable follow-up on these statements.

  3. Kat says:

    Peter, I had the same thoughts. You spoke them much better than I could. I too am so happy to see the bishops getting a backbone and voice on these important issues; but it befuddles me that no disciplinary action can seem to take place and the whole thing just be stopped. The Catholic Church was set up by Our Lord with a hierarchy for a reason. Why a university fails to be under any meaningful hierarchy is beyond me. Rome should be able to force Fr. Jenkins’ superior to do the right thing.

  4. Mark VA says:

    Excellent, excellent letter from Archbishop Wuerl. Those of us who are not suffering from an identity crisis, must stand firm in our solidarity with the authentic Magisterium of the Church, as embodied by the Pope and his Bishops.

    Any attempt to legitimize an alternate magisterium leads to an inauthentic expression of Catholicism and schism. History is filled with such wreckage.

  5. My son is graduating from Catholic University in Washington this weekend. Yesterday, during the Honors Convocation, CUA president Fr. O’Connell pointed out that this convocation of students affirmed that a university can be dedicated to being both intellectually rigorous and visibly, proudly, and unashamedly Catholic…everyone in the room knew what he was talking about…
    Father’s speech isn’t yet available from the web site of the university, but his homily from later in the day (his reference to Notre Dame is a bit more oblique there) is:

    Fr. O’Connell’s Baccalaureate Mass homily is here.

  6. Fenton says:

    I wonder if the last 40 years of elevating the laity to an almost-priestly level (EMOHCs, etc) has led to the belief among many in the laity that the bishops are just like us, but a little older…the deconstruction of the hierarchical nature of the post-concilliar Catholic Church (especially in the US) may have led to this.

    Not that His Excellence has got his brain around Ex Corde Ecclesiae, can we expect the same about Canon 915?

  7. Scranton Catholic says:

    Maybe this is an example of God drawing good from bad. Honoring Obama was wrong, but a wake up call, and now the Bishops will start bringing other institutions into line.

  8. Frank H says:

    Fr. Z, what do you mean “…here the hammer will fall hardest” ?

  9. David says:

    Sadly, our bishops have almost no moral credibility in the mainstream media anymore, thanks to the child-sexual abuse scandals. Any time I read an article about a bishop standing up against abortion, same sex marriage, or other issues of public morality, there is someone who brings up the scandal within the first couple of comment posts, which then dominates further discussion. Similar situation on talk radio. It’s pretty depressing, and I wonder what it will take for the bishops to regain their credibility.

  10. RichR says:

    Can I say something general about the “Catholic identity” without appearing off-topic?

    Just as the Israelites wanted to be like other nations, we Catholics have, for so long, wanted to be like other Christians so much that many of us have a distaste for anything that “divides”.

    I consistently see a link between good catechesis and a hunger for uniquely Catholic worship. People who had to endure meager CCD in the 80’s usually exhibit very sharp distinctions within their “class”: those who discovered the truths of Catholicism, and those who just coasted on the “Jesus-Loves-You” message of the 80’s.

    The former group has usually found the road again through Scott Hahn, EWTN, etc… They may discover the Traditionalist movement, but most do not. Even so, they know they were denied a Catholic identity (worship, prayer, paraphernalia, etc…), and they want it for themselves and their own kids.

    The latter group is a whole different situation. Though not universal, there are many things I see among these Catholics. Many do not know basic Catholic doctrine. They see themselves as “Christians that go to Mass”. They get their formation through the Left Behind novels or some other Protestant publication their Christian friends gave them (maybe in hopes of converting them). They see no concern in sending their kids to the VBS at the local fundamentalist Church. They may be embarrassed if they bring a Baptist friend to Mass and the friend asks about the statues in the sanctuary, the pomp and ceremony, or why they can’t go to Communion. These Catholics may get their formation by “Bible studies” ala Fundamentalism (which means, they get together, read a passage, and “pool their collective ignorance” to divine what this means – as my Baptist-convert, now-Jesuit friend would tell me). So their convictions are not led by the Magisterium, but by “the Spirit”, which means they are Rationalists.

    It is this last group that presents us a HUGE re-evangelization opportunity. We should be eager to share uniquely-Catholic books, tapes, magazines, etc… to expose them first to the dogmas of the Church. After they start to learn solid, meaty doctrine, they, too, will hunger for authentically, undeniably Catholic worship.

  11. magdalene says:

    Yes, I agree that perhaps we are beginning to see some good brought out of this scandal. And even though only about 70 of the bishops have stepped up to say that recognizing and honoring a pro-abortion politician is wrong (and meanwhile other Catholic colleges are doing the same), when was the last time a significnt number of our bishops stood in solidarity for the teachings of the Church in such a public manner?

    I wrote my bishop to commend him and he wrote back in defense of the bishops that are silent. Yet I know of a holy priest that says up to 70% of the bishops voted for that politician. The numbers would be about correct. The silence on the part of some does indeed lead one to wonder if they are on the side of life.

    For those who claim specious ‘peace and justice’ values. The first justice is the right to life and the first peace should be in the womb.

    The new poll shows America is becoming more pro-life and realizing that the right to life, liberty, etc. is basic. So maybe those politician that vote with whatever way the wind blows will start to go that way (even if personally opposed?)

  12. Jim of Bowie says:

    I glad to see that my Bishop has finally said something about the situation with Catholic universities, but I would like to see him give a much more ardent defense of the faith. I do not understand why the bishops or the Holy See can’t do something to stop it. Think of the scandal the Note Dame invite is causing. Archbishop Burke says that a person voting for Obama has committed serious sin. But think of the mindset of the many Catholics or did vote for him. They can now say my vote must have been a good thing. After all the top Catholic university is honoring him. This is grave scandal.

  13. RBrown says:

    A very good letter from Abp Wuerhl, but it seems he doesn’t think that giving Communion to pro-abortion politicians has any effect on Catholic identity.

  14. Father Anonymous says:

    Wuerl = Politician

  15. Ricky Vines says:

    RBrown: you have an eye for contradictions.

    Father Anonymous: how can we get an apostle instead of a politician?

  16. TerryN says:

    “I have been hammering at this for how long now?”

    Indeed you have and you’ve done a superlative job – seriously. I finally “get it”. Definitely – I’m praying for you very much.

  17. Papabile says:

    Look, H.E. Wuerl really does not want this fight, and he will make every effort at the next general meeting of the USCCB to steer it to “discussion” and undermine any direct approach.

    In fact, I bet they create an “ad hoc” committee to study this problem, and put out a milquetoast statement in the meantime.

    The Bishops who have criticized the actions of the University still do not constitute a majority in the Conference, so look for them to kick it down the road for “study”, etc.

    Having worked at the USCCB (when it was the NCCB),based on my experience, I believe a large percentage of the Bishops are simply narcissistic cowards. They need to be “loved” by secular society, and need to be considered “intellectual”. That makes those of us who actually adhere strongly to the tenets, doctrines, and dogmas of the Faith embarrassments to them.

    I am not happy about that, but I think that is where we are at.

    The second reason they cannot afford to address the Notre Dame issue directly is that, for years, the Bishops have made a point of ignoring and considering the Cardinal Newman Society a thorn in their side. They have worked aggressively witht he Association for Catholic Colleges and Universities since the 1990’s to insulate their universities from the Newman Society’s influence.

    For those of you who remember Monika Hellwig, one need only to go back and look at how the Cardinal Newman Society was regularly referred to as a far right wing organization…blah…. blah….. blah….

    The Bishops are committed to an approach to Universities that is diametrically opposed to the dynamically orthodox approach.

  18. Denise says:

    A truly Catholic university knows how to promote genuine dialogue. The Catholic University of America Columbus School of Law will be sponsoring a forum at the National Press Club that offers Professor Douglas Kmiec and Professor Robert George the opportunity to discuss life issues and the proper response of the pro-life citizen. The discussion will be moderated by Professor Mary Ann Glendon.

  19. LCB says:

    I accidentally posted this in the thread about Fr. offering mass, and meant to post it here. Whoops.

    It is not well known that, during the French Revolution, the Cathedral of Notre Dame was taken over. It was turned into the first “Temple of Reason.” A woman was selected, and enthroned upon the altar, where she would sit.

    The French Revolution began in 1789 (various events are pointed to as the “start” of a Revolution, but it was set in motion through a financial crisis and the Estates-General of 1789).

    When the Revolution began, over 95% of the French were Catholics.

    In 1790/1 special oaths were required of clergy (which the Pope did not permit, but many clergy took anyways), essentially making them employees of the state.
    In late 1792 a serious de-Christianization program was undertaken, to be fully enacted in 1793.
    In 1793 the attack on God and His Church reached full stride. A new calendar was implemented, eliminating all Saint’s days and Feast days. The word “Sunday” was banned. The Sabbath was eliminated. Priests and Bishops were lynched in the streets. Church bells were forbidden to be rung. Crosses were forbidden to be displayed. Priests were forced to give up their letters of ordination, were forcibly deported, or forced to marry and cease priestly ministry. All Churches were closed.

    In late 1793 the persecution became worse. Priests who refused to denounce Christ and His Church were legally killed on sight. Lifetime pensions were offered to priests who took an oath denying the Church and renouncing their priesthood.

    And on November 10th, 1793, the Cathedral of Notre Dame was taken over. It was turned into the first “Temple of Reason.” A woman was selected, and enthroned upon the altar, where she would sit.

    Two weeks later, November 24th 1793, the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass was forbidden entirely.

    Bl. Basil Moreau is rolling in his grave.

    It can happen here.

  20. TJM says:

    Archbishop Wuerl stated a lot of fine things here. PLease note that Bishop Trautman has now joined the fight. So I would not worry too much about the USCCB. When Notre Dame loses a bishop like Trautman, they’ve lost. Trautman will not be easy to push around, as we know, from the ICEL translation debate. Tom

  21. Gail F says:

    RichR, great post. That is exactly what I see.

    We are all fed up with prevarication from the bishops on all kinds of issues, but I think it is naive to expect them all to suddenly leap up and become ideal bishops together. Nothing like that happens in real life. I think what has been happening in regards to Notre Dame is a great start and if the bishops keep on in this way we will see a large but slow change that will, over a period of years, result in a stronger church where none of this junk happens. It took years for things to get this out of whack and it will take years to get things back in line (if indeed the bishops work hard at that), much faster in some places and much slower — if at all — in others.

    As far as Fr. Jenkins goes, I think we all have to remember that the bishops frequently take a more Roman approach to these things. It’s American to want heads to roll. It’s Roman to ease problem people into positions with nice titles but no power or prestige, or at least that’s how I understand it.

  22. Gail F says:

    Denise posted this:

    “A truly Catholic university knows how to promote genuine dialogue. The Catholic University of America Columbus School of Law will be sponsoring a forum at the National Press Club that offers Professor Douglas Kmiec and Professor Robert George the opportunity to discuss life issues and the proper response of the pro-life citizen. The discussion will be moderated by Professor Mary Ann Glendon.”

    THAT is a dialogue, and one that should prove very interesting to hear.

  23. Lee says:

    Appearing in Oregonian’s op ed pages this morning is James Carroll’s massive article, “The Ongoing War Against Modernity- Obama, Notre Dame and Fundamentalism.” You could say he has a problem with Catholic identity.

  24. Irenaeus says:

    “NOW they are getting interesting in Ex corde Ecclesiae!”

    As an outsider (evangelical prot), I’ve noticed that things in the Roman church grind slow, but they do grind, and grind fine. Things have a way of getting planted that sprout, blossom, bloom, explode later, much later. Hopefully here too.

    Father, what DID you mean about the hammer falling hardest here?

  25. TJM says:

    James Carroll is an ex-priest, a left-wing loon, and not a credible source for anything Catholic. Tom

  26. I am sorry but this is my Archbishop attempting to give cover to himself because he has done NOTHING, and I mean NOTHING about ND. He had had Susan Gibbs, the PR person for the Diocese say something and that was every very weak. He does very little about honors given to pro-abortion politicians in “Catholic” universities in his own diocese. Trinity College, IMHO, is no longer Catholic and no longer advertises it as such. Georgetown Univ. regularly honors pro-abortion and pro-gay politicians. Voice of the Faithful regularly meets in at least two churches in the Diocese — one run by the Jesuits and the other by the Diocese.

    Sorry, folks. This is just the Archbishop doing just enough to say he did something, when in fact, he is doing NOTHING.

  27. Papabile says:

    To further expand on AWashingtonDCCatholic’s statement…..

    One need to go no further than Trinity College’s statement upon giving honorary degrees to Nancy Pelosi and Kathleen Sebelius.

    Now, in all fairness, they did this before H.E. Wuerl was enthroned in the Archdiocese. Cardinal Newman Society (CNS) protested this at the time (see ) CNS also protested when Trinity held a special Mass for Pelosi just 2.5 years ago when she was enthroned herself. In all fairness, H.E. Wuerl occupied the seat then.

    But we still have the following popping up, with nothing done about it by the archdiocese:

    Now, I know Susan Gibbs, and I have detected a few comments about her, here and there, in the comment boxes. She is an entirely faithful, pro-life Catholic, who has a very hard job. I wouldn’t wish it on anyone. People should lay off on her.

  28. Ricky Vines says:

    Re: Papabile ‘s “I believe a large percentage of the Bishops are simply narcissistic cowards. They need to be “loved” by secular society, and need to be considered “intellectual”. That makes those of us who actually adhere strongly to the tenets, doctrines, and dogmas of the Faith embarrassments to them.”

    If they allow scandal to happen e.g. having pro-abort pols receive communion, then the laity need to respond by fraternal correction, by reporting them to the Vatican and by withdrawing financial and volunteer support. We cannot be jaded and disillusioned by them because our children’s Church depend on what we do in these situations.

  29. ron simeone says:

    As a practicing Catholic in a traditional Latin Mass parish in the Archdiocese of Washington, I am very disappointed with Archbishop Wuerl’s tepid reponse. I agree we need Catholic identity and we need our Ordinaries to speak with a strong and clear voice, to unite us,to support us,to pray with us and be less concerned with saying what is “politically” correct.

  30. John6:54 says:

    Again this just talk about doing something. When is someone actually going to do something that consists of something more than a written statement.

  31. Ricky Vines says:

    Re: John6:54’s “Again this just talk about doing something. When is someone actually going to do something that consists of something more than a written statement.”

    FYI, I contacted the chancery about this and had an email exchange with the communications director. When the collection basket comes my way, I just pass it on. And if the next demonstration will be in D.C., then check my site for pictures because I will be there.

  32. Brendan says:

    I have been really saddened by the events at Notre Dame. Now, I hope that the bishops will use this as a catalyst to finally implement and enforce Catholic identity at colleges and universities. I pray that the bishops can take such a tragic situation and turn it around for the glory of God.

    As a student at a “Catholic” college, enforcing school to actually be Catholic can’t come soon enough.

  33. Papabile says:


    I didn’t mean to come off as “jaded and disillusioned”. I honestly am a very upbeat guy when it comes to the Church and its health. We have the guarantee from our Savior Himself that the gates of Hell shall not prevail, and I believe it!

    I’ve got 4 children myself, so am quite invested in where things are going.

    It doesn’t change my opinion of a great number of the Bishops. Having worked at the NCCB (now USCCB) and seeing the time they waste on political games, and the fostering of public personae that are in contradiction tot heir actual ones, it’s hard not to believe that most of them are narcissistic cowards.

    And yes, there are many, far too many, for whom it is important to be “loved” by the public and secular media. They thrive off of it, in much the same way many politicians do. And when you know, and work for these people, you can see it. Whether you recognize it is an entirely different matter. Some are simply blind to it.

  34. Brian says:

    Archbishop Wuerl said the bishops’ document was “all the more significant” because of a contemporary mindset that suggests the bishops are “just one among many voices” offering direction and guidance to Catholics and the wider community “in the name of the Church.”

    The bishops are finally realizing this is a turf war and a power struggle.

    Some bishops have addressed the ND scandal for the right reasons, i.e., defending the Gospel of Life.

    Some bishops are simply angry that ND willfully misrepresented or disobeyed a USCCB document, which to these bishops has “magisterial” authority just like a document from Rome. They are reasserting their power, not because its the right thing to do, but because its a power struggle.

    But these latter bishops also claim that the Pope is “just one bishop (just the bishop of Rome) among many equal bishops.” I heard that locally in regards to Summorum Pontificum.

    This is getting interesting.

  35. michigancatholic says:

    Darned slow on the uptake, but by golly, we’re getting there. The final show of faithfulness is starting to become heartening; the stupidity getting here has not been. Can’t the Vatican give prospective bishops an IQ test or something BEFORE they appoint them?? Good grief. What has it been now–20 years–that housewives and guys who serve sandwiches have been saying this on a daily basis?

  36. Irenaeus of New York says:

    Fr Z,

    I am rather surprised you deleted my post, and attempted to block my ip merely for pointing out how inconsistent Wuerl is.
    My post was on topic, neither was it offensive. Did you read something into it that wasnt there?

    On the one hand Wuerl is worried about Catholic identity, when on the other hand, he diminishing it by allowing those who publicly support abortion and the culture of death to receive Jesus in the Eucharist.

    If he truly believed in the Real Presence he would not have allowed that.

    I think that was a fair comment to make, and I think many would agree with me.

    You obviously disagree vehemently enough to make an attempt at banning me.

    I dont really care so much about you blocking my ip (since that is impossible), since I get random ip’s with a masked mac.

    I wish I could apologize, if I said something unfair… but I didnt.

  37. Ricky Vines says:

    Papabile: no problem. we’re on the same page.

    This MAY be a preemptive move to ensure that the next pro-life battle does not happen in Washington D.C. where a legion of pro-abortion pols, including Sebellius, Pelosi & Biden legitimize and promote abortions.

    It is the next outrage that must be addressed because Abp. Wuerl does not want to deny them Holy Communion despite their support for abortion.

  38. michigancatholic says:

    Well, what’s happened is a predictable thing. We’ve finally started to reach a sort of decision point where the smaller stuff falls away and what is, is. Predictably, rather fewer of these bureaucrats in the USCCB want to destroy the normal business of the church than even they have supposed. They’re starting to find that although it’s fine to act out and be the class clown, when it means you’re out of the business of being feted and listened to, living high on the hog, having people think your hat isn’t funny, yada yada– well, it’s not so good. I hear brakes starting to slam everywhere. =D

    You know that old hippie song, “You don’t know what you’ve got til it’s gone?” Yeah, that.

    Even the most pompously twisted (oh, let’s not pretend!) of them knows, I’m sure, that if they can’t get people to listen to them any better than they have this year, it means something major, a dramatic worsening. Listen, you can be a team player, take your rightful place and really run a big organization of people working together pretty much correctly, OR you can be the spoiled brat king of all you survey even if all you survey is next to nothing because you’ve been evacuating it. That’s the choice they’ve now got because of the malfeasance of the majority of the USCCB for years. And they deserve it, even if we don’t.

    I suspect, also, that now (to add injury to insult) we will see fits and starts of this for a while. The power of denial is an awesome thing. I don’t expect to see a crowd of new heroes anytime soon. BUT, apparently we are starting to get a glimmer of *COMPREHENSION*. Finally. (And what’s really appalling is that it had to get this bad before they realized it. D-u-u-u-h.)

    BTW, this is not a fluke. There’s this interesting logical game where people who are ideologically opposed can sincerely argue the same thing for what sounds like the same reasons–when the common underpinning of the ideological divide is threatened. {This is NOT the same thing as the common ground baloney. Think about it carefully.} This dynamic can be trusted. When that happens the ground will give way, and we will be out of this deadlock we have suffered for 50 years. Under enough pressure, the only way is to gravitate toward the Truth because anything else will cost too much. We are there, or we will be soon.

    Thank you, Anonymous Priest, for your honest comment. Yes, Wuerl = politician. A mediocre one at that. And he’s far from the only one we’ve got.

  39. Bob K. says:

    Quote from FrZ: “The new code word for the bishops is now “discussion” regarding Notre Dame. Watch for it it in future articles and reports”. The code word for Fr Jenkins should be “sacked”!. Plain and simple!. Ship him off to a secluded monastery in the Middle East, so he can repent!.

  40. RBrown says:


    Re your comments on your experience with bishops: For 40 years the names on the terna were men who commonly embraced the detente with secular culture (or could fake it). Cardinal Ratzinger considered this strategy–treat enemies of the Church better than Catholics and clergy who wanted Latin liturgy–a failure.

    Of course, there were some bishops who slipped through the cracks of the detente litmus test. They have been fortified by the election of BXVI.

  41. michigancatholic says:

    Papabile, you said of the bishops: “They need to be “loved” by secular society, and need to be considered “intellectual”.”

    Ok, this is funny. Is this supposed to be the comic relief in this otherwise somewhat somber thread?

    The bishops need a reality check worse than anyone I’ve ever seen if they worry about these things. In the teaching world, we call this particular deficit “a lack of metacognition” — not knowing what you don’t know. [ Visions of Britain’s Got Talent flash before my eyes.]

    Perhaps in the case of the bishops (and the people who work in church offices), it’s a case of not getting a sense of where the general population is and where you are in relation to it. At. All. The most they ever reach at any given time, you know, is about 10% (incidentally it’s the 10% they are ashamed of–and who are wary of them). The rest either hate them from the get-go (prejudice, press coverage, sex scandals, Dan Brown etc) or simply aren’t paying any attention anyway. [A few are actively exploiting them, which isn’t love, it’s being used, but for the reasons stated here that doesn’t even work very well.]

    I don’t know. Are they operating on the old Boston Catholic paradigm or what? Nothing works that way any more. 100 years has passed, for pete’s sake.

    Consider this: There are people who’ve never entered a Catholic church building and there are thousands–no, millions–of them. In the USA. And millions more that have only gone there for a funeral or two. And millions more, including baptised Catholics, who don’t know what a bishop looks like in person because most bishops are holed up in the chancery nearly 100% of the time & they don’t teach.

    Now, it is true that the Catholic church has the truth about salvation and reality. That doesn’t, unfortunately, mean that representatives of the church are at the center of everyone’s conscious existence, as history has shown over & over, simply because most people don’t make that connection. Call it the human condition.

    I’d say that it’s more possible for the secular society to turn on the church as an enemy, than come to love the church on a non-Catholic basis, the way we’re going. And what happens to the Church, of course, would happen to the bishops who are inextricably bound to her, whether they like that idea or not.

  42. ed palinurus says:

    Ditto on the “politician Wuerhl” comments. As bishop of Pittsburgh, he sat silently when Catholic Duquesne
    University gave a doctorate to hardcore pro-abortion advocate Marian Wright Edelman. And, yes, this issue
    is of one piece with the “giving Communion to openly pro-abortion politicians” issue, regarding which the
    Archbishop has been a leader — unfortunately, in the wrong direction. Here’s to agreeing that we pray for
    him and all the bishops.

  43. dan colgan says:

    There seems to be a pattern after elections and the recent ND debacle are over the silent majority of Bishops come out of their bunkers and suddenly discover their sworn duty as protectors of the faith. Their timing seems to be a little askew. It would be refreshing if they could muster the courage to tackle problems when there is time to effect the results.

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