This cri de coeur comes from a comment under another entry.
And what recourse do we laypeople have? Do we just have to sit around and remain silent because we do not have proper authority to speak up?
Priests and bishops are doing and saying every crazier things right now.
What to do?
In the religious services for the important eschatological feast of Tabernacles in the ancient Temple service in Jerusalem, there was a moment when one priest had to pour water from the pool of Siloam simultaneously as another poured wine into two drains near the great altar. It happened in about 95 BC that a Maccabean priest with Sadducee leanings poured the water on the ground instead of the prescribed place. The outraged people pelted him with their fruit offerings, his bodyguards intervened and, at the end of the day, 600o Jews had been killed in the Temple. That’s how they reacted to liturgical abuse.
In the time of the Arian controversy, people rioted in the streets over theological terms such as homoousios and homoiousios. That’s how they reacted to theological ambiguity.
In Augustine’s time in North Africa, a translation of Scripture with which the people were unfamiliar (Jerome’s!) provoked civil unrest. That’s how they reacted to sudden innovation.
These example serve to show how important the Faith was to people whose lives were still integrated, before faith and .. well… the rest of life were sundered and compartmentalized as they so often are today.
While no one around here will advocate physical violence in the face of heterodoxy or the sheer cowardly ankle-grabbing of some clerics in the face of secular pressure, lay people do not have to simply sit on their hands and worry.
I have been advocating for some time now that you start to form small “base communities” to study the Catechism of the Catholic Church and other helpful catechisms and sources. It’s one thing to scratch your head and wonder if something is right or not. It’s another to know the content of your faith well. I gave a conference a while back at the end of which, during some Q&A, a sincere and clearly pious woman made a couple statements about something being in the CCC that simply is not in the CCC. Sincerity is not the same as being well-prepared.
And once you are well-prepared, and you know your sources, and you know how – this is important – how to look things up, the start asking questions. Start asking and keep asking. If you don’t get answers, ask and ask and ask, Catechism in hand. If you get a question that is inadequate, go back and ask more questions. Don’t let your priests or bishops off the hook… not for a moment. Be the “troublesome widow” at their closed door. They are, after all, ordained and placed precisely with the mandate of teaching and explaining the Faith for the sake of the salvation of souls.
Read, review, study the Catechism of the Catholic Church.
I am a huge fan of Kindles (US HERE – UK HERE), but you should also have the BOOK, the material volume which you can hold in your hand and write in. Get the book, which you can flip around in and hold spots in with a couple fingers as you cross check.
Read it. Pick it up. Read portions every day.