The sky is crying.

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.



About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in "How To..." - Practical Notes, Our Catholic Identity, The Coming Storm, The Drill, The future and our choices. Bookmark the permalink.


  1. boredoftheworld says:

    The resignations need to start at the top and move down through the ranks. Pope Francis should resign while simultaneously emptying the college of cardinals of every appointment he’s made and any cardinal who looks fishy. The remaining electors (all five of them?) should drag Benedict (kicking and screaming) back where he’s supposed to be. Now that we all clearly see the magnitude of the rot and malignancy, every Catholic who still believes in God must push the Pope to do what must be done. Start the clean up wholesale, the Chilean bishops showed us we can do it in bulk. Souls are at stake.

    I’ve remained “serenely detached” for almost 20 years because that’s what I was told to do. All five of my children have been so poorly served and ill prepared by the people playing church that my wife and I are locked in a daily battle to rescue our own kids from the clutches of banality and actual evil of people who are supposed to be helping us. No more.

  2. Joy65 says:

    Is this the “dark night of the soul” for the Catholic Church? Do we need to go through this to truly remember WHO our God is and What He has done and will continue to do for us? Is this the test like Peter when he stepped out of the boat to go to Jesus, of will we keep our eyes on God or start thinking about the severity of the waves rocking the boat and the strong winds and start to sink? We say we believe but do we really? Is this our moment of truth in each of our lives in regards to our individual Faith? Is this the “PROVE IT” time for each of us?

    JESUS told us HIMSELF that He would remain with us until the end of time! He said He would not leave us orphaned. He said the gates of hell would not prevail over His Church! I believe Him and I believe His Catholic Church is still here, still strong, still holy and that She has many devout good holy Priests serving in Her. I believe She has MANY Faithful Catholics who know, love and serve God. Are we perfect, of course not. Do we doubt, sure. Are we scared, of course. We are like the Apostles way back in the BEGINNING when they hid because they didn’t have a clue. We have FATHER SON AND HOLY SPIRIT WITH US 24-7/365. We have the One Holy Catholic Apostolic Church. We have the Sacraments, we have the Eucharist, we have Mass. HE IS WITH US. We can not take our eyes off of him and give in to satan’s plots and ploys.
    Yes, there are HORRIBLE things going on in our Church today. Yes things are being done from those in authority that are hurting us down to our core. Yes there are people on the inside in high places that have their own agendas. There are men and women who want to make God’s Catholic Church into their own Catholic Church—–nothing even close to each other. Should we ignore their efforts? Should we turn a blind eye? Of course NOT. This is the time to “pick up our swords”—Rosaries, hours of Adoration, frequent Mass, LOTH, DAILY UNceasing prayer. This is a SPIRITUAL BATTLE! This is a battle we lay people as well as the clergy MUST FIGHT and FIGHT CONSTATNTLY. We must not tire, we must not give up, we must not throw our hands up in despair. The BATTLE WILL BE WON but we MUST do our part, not sit on the sidelines and just watch others do it for us. If we don’t fight now, will we be able to fight later? Will there be anything to fight for is we let things just go on and sit on the sidelines.

    The One Holy Catholic Church is OUR CHURCH—–IF we love Her we need to fight for Her with our every breath and every ounce of will we have. GOD BE WITH US Father Son Holy Spirit, Mother Mary, all Holy Saints and angels surround and protect us from satan and all his evil ways. Amen!

  3. Lurker 59 says:

    Though as wretched and horrible as the prospect will sound, the whole sordid mess needs to be dragged into the open. This can only be done when clergy, and laity who know, start naming names. Simply defrocking bishops isn’t going to help as that leaves the mechanisms in place that promoted and allowed this abuse. This needs to come into the light of day, stories need to be told, charges made, and justice delt. And it isn’t to put the Church through a passion to root this all out. Cutting out the disease isn’t passion but rather healing — the presence of the rot is the passion and its removal is the alleviating of the passion.

    A wife abused remains in passion and suffering while her husband remains to abuse her. She is let down from her cross when she speaks her story and the State lays hands on her husband. The Church is the spouse of the bishops, of the clergy, who stand in the place of Christ, the Bridegroom. Clergy abused by clergy, clergy abusing the Church. Time for this crucifixion to end, time for the passion to give way to healing.

  4. Karteria says:

    Rahm Emmanuel is infamously attributed with saying ‘never letting a crisis go to waste.’ However, the Evil One is the originator of the policy and uses it well as can be seen in this crisis. He is scattering the sheep and the shepherds.
    Whether this long-in-the-making crisis is a manifestation of Leo XIII’s vision or the Alta Venditta or the vision of Daniel, at its core, it is Satan directing the acts of the offenders and their defenders, i.e. spiritual warfare.
    So, every proposed remedy (resignations, removals or withholding donations), apparent merits notwithstanding, needs to be prudently weighed for possible unintended consequences. If God is chastising his Church, as I believe he is, then, as in the 80 years of the Arian heresy, he will provide us with a new Augustine in his time.

  5. Atra Dicenda, Rubra Agenda says:

    I dont want a witch hunt. I want 5-8 brave bishops to lead and show voluntary transparency on the McCarrick/gay/lavender/abuse issue. Say what you knew as rumor or knew as fact and shame everyone else too cowardly to speak up.

    Say it now, get the poison out. Get all of it out. Its all gonna be known, now or at the Final Judgement these prelates supposedly believe in. We are all gonna know then, every one. Leech the sickness and let’s all move on now. Start healing now.

    I dont think anyone has to abdicate unless they personally abused someone, some might be prudent to abdicate for a variety of reasons…I get the feeling in the USCCB there weren’t a few who knew about Uncle Ted. If the USCCB is just another old boys club to stroke eachother’s ego (or other things) and climb power ladders and release documents on immigration and the environment while the Church collapses in shambles…dissolve it.

    But we laity, and I think good and younger priests, too, need to feel things are transparent and there is no more hidden rot before we can all move on together. We need to purge the scandal all at once and for all. Enough is enough.

    We need to move forward healing together.

  6. Atra Dicenda, Rubra Agenda says:

    I am a surgeon. There is a line from the movie The Mission. Spoken by the Cardinal narrating at the time, he speaks of the times at need when a surgeon, in order to save the body of his patient, must cut away the dead flesh or the dying limb. When it comes to this issue, I dont think the Body can limp on anymore on these rotting dead limbs. It’s too much scandal, too much…

  7. LeeGilbert says:

    With the downfall of His Wretchedness Theodore McCarrick, and the stupefying, appalling tale of his rise to power despite two sizeable settlements paid out to his victims en route, one unhappily finds himself wishing Pope Francis would remind this prelate of his dignity as a human being and as a man by installing a guillotine in Piazza San Pietro and lopping off his head.

    Then there is the realization infallible that many people in the Church on the east coast either knew or should have known of his predatory proclivities. Cardinals Farrell, Wuerl, O’Malley, Cupich and Dolan come to mind, together with Bishop John Myers. One of the greatest evangelists of our time, Mel Gibson, a layman, said of an enemy, “I want his intestines on a stick.” Gibson is no saint ( except comparatively), but in this context, his quote comes to mind unbidden. So are we infuriated laymen accumulating confessional matter when we speak and think in this way? Then the confessionals of the entire world must be on fire! the confessionals of the United States, of Chile, of Honduras, of Austria, of Australia, and on and on..

    Enough is enough, your Excellencies, your Eminences, your Holiness. The homosexual culture among you needs to be utterly extirpated, not promoted. Yet you do promote it, tolerate it, wink at it, manage it, hide it. Moreover, seemingly, there is no remedy for our wound. To whom shall we go if you will not listen?

    Yet . . .is there anything standing in the way of our asking the Head of the Church, Jesus Christ, to summon to his tribunal all sodomites of every priestly rank, whether to the tribunal of the confessional there to be absolved and begin a life of chastity, or to their final judgment, so that one way or another His Church will be utterly purified?

    Is there?

    Analogously, when he was falsely accused of sodomy by those who wanted the great assets of his order, the elderly Grand Master of the Knights Templar, Jacques de Molay, cried out to the Lord in court asking Him to summon to His court those responsible for his death. Within the year two of them died and appeared before the Lord, there to be judged equitably, one of them Pope Clement V who died within a month. and later that year Philip the Fair in a fall from his horse. “It is a terrible thing to fall into the hands of the living God,” yet into His hands they fell.

    Now at issue is not merely the reputation of one man, but that of the episcopate, of the presbyterate, and of the whole Catholic Church for that matter, and to recover it divine intervention is a must.

    Yet we [at least in the the traditional blogshere] want so little, and then ask it of obtuse bishops. We want resignations, demotions, defrockings. Then we “go nuclear” and threaten to turn off the money. It is beyond ridiculous. We want to win a spiritual war with political or economic means. At this point we need and cannot do without manifest divine intervention of the sort that makes the hair stand up on the back of the neck, that, or a spirit of penitence and compunction that falls on the entire Church and has us all weeping for our sins and rising up full of grace once again. We cannot go on as we have been, that much is clear.

    [That said, this isn’t an either/or situation. There can be both monetary strategies and also spiritual campaigns at the same time. As a matter of fact, there must be material and spiritual together. Grace builds on nature. We achieve our ends by grace and elbow grease.]

  8. WVC says:

    Where is our Cluny? Is it the FSSP? Some conglomeration of homeschool families? Christendom or some of the other actually Catholic colleges?

    Perhaps it’s all of the above?

    Give your support, both spiritual and financial, to those organizations that will rebuild the Church and to those men who will be doing the rebuilding (and perhaps the creative destruction that precedes the rebuilding). We, as laity, have to put our money and our prayers where it matters most, and maybe that means cutting the cable subscription or dropping Amazon Prime or something like that.

    Most of all, focus like a LASER on raising one’s children to be authentic men and women who understand holiness BUT ALSO understand the ways of this world. Until we learn to be as clever as serpents while we’re also innocent as doves, we will continue to be on the losing side.

    No time for sitting around feeling sorry for ourselves. Life, time, the history, and the future of the Church is before us. Never mind the maneuvers – advance wherever and however you can.

  9. Arthur McGowan says:

    The “dark night of the soul” is an experience had by people who are far advanced in holiness. It is not (as the phrase is used 99% of the time) the experience of misery and turmoil caused by sin.

  10. Elizabeth D says:

    Re: “Do reparation for the sins of our brethren.”: The McCarrick etc nauseating scandals lend so much meaning to my penitent life that it is even in a strange sense consoling and encouragement to live my vocation. Well McCarrick is not consoling, Christ is.

  11. vandalia says:

    The idea that [Whose idea?] we need to worry [?] about long-term consequences is precisely what got us into this mess: [No. We need to think about the consequences and be ready for them.]

    “Well, Msgr x is fooling around with teenage boys, but no one else really knows, and if we get rid of him the collections will go down and the diocese will be stuck with the mortgage on the Church.”

    “Well that Cardinal is a creep, but if we do something about it the fundraising will fall dramatically and we won’t be able to finish that dome at the Shrine.”

    Orthodox Catholic theology teaches that the morality of an act is derived solely from “the object, freely chosen.” If you are worried [that’s your word, “worry”] about consequences, you are at the very least well down the road to Proportionalism; and that is bad.

    Any time someone talks about the consequences, strategy, the “big picture” or something like that, you can be sure that Satan is close. [And anyone who shoots without aiming is just plain STUPID.]

  12. Joy65 says:

    God have mercy on us and on the whole world and PLEASE LORD help Your Church and all who serve in Her and belong to Her.

  13. Benedict Joseph says:

    The very first to resign should be the one who appoints. He maintains Maradiaga and crew, elevates Ticona to the cardinalate, et al., ad infinitum. The evidence of gross abuse of office cannot be brought to memory it is so lengthy.
    Maybe we need a Church without a pope for a year. No one to provide legitimate cover or fraudulent cover for the apostasy which is rampant. We are in poorly masked chaos. The fragrance of fifty-six years of theological chaos needs to penetrate deep into the olfactory receptor – real deep and for a protracted period of time. The stench of sexual abuse and misbehavior was long enabled and maintained by an abandonment of the faith. The worldwide episcopate need fight this out with no referee but the perennial Magisterium of the Church itself. Those who abide by it remain. Those who perceive other points of view more credible follow them – elsewhere.
    Yes, it sounds outrageous even as I write it. But the papacy is serving as cover and has for a long time. These men need stand on their own two feet and without fear make their character known, own it, be responsible for it, shoulder accountability. It can’t be done when there is one running interference for them – legitimately or otherwise.
    The bishops want power? Take it. They will – to use a term used with the wink and the nod in monastic life – “self-select.”
    Let them “self-select” for a year, and the survivors enter into an adult conclave with manly integrity of heart, mind and soul and chose a pope who is willing to live and die for the perennial Magisterium of the Church – the pearl of great price given to us by Christ Jesus, sustained and nourished by the Holy Spirit.
    A little pre-apocalyptic “wheat from the chaff.”
    Can this get any worse? Only if we don’t let it play out without foxholes.

  14. MitisVis says:

    What is missing is a proper vehicle to achieve the just ends. To ask for resignations is useless as the last thing the guilty will do is own up and admit all. Resignations across the board would be disastrous. Some of our faithful bishops have also suffered
    tremendous hardships at the hands of these vipers and as a reward have been dumped into impossible situations. We need those good bishops.

    As I see it we need three areas of action. First would be investigations by lay professionals and secular professionals into known abusers and miscreants for their contacts and allies, rooting out all the connections with money and power. Sadly we have quite a list (such as Weakland and Ryan etc). Second, we need a similar body to investigate current bishops starting with freezing the USCCB assets and working their way down. Scandal almost always involves money and power of one sort or another.
    Third, we need another group to descend upon the seminaries and clean them out. This third group should include orthodox priests and bishops as well as professional laity such as Dr. Rick Fitzgibbons, Fr. Murray etc. and reorganize and establish sound seminaries.

    However, to accomplish this or any other reasonable idea would require the cooperation and consent of the Vatican for full access, and I don’t see that coming. Supporting our good parishes and institutions but withholding all other money until something reasonable is instituted, combined with devout lives, prayer and sacrifice are our only options at the moment. And trust in our Lord that it just may be we need to endure all this for a greater good.

  15. benedetta says:

    “The sky is crying” by Stevie Ray Vaughan — very apt Father. Right now is such a demoralizing time. The situation is depressing, and the responses from officialdom do little to encourage to hope.

  16. Chuck4247 says:

    If all of the bishops resign, wouldn’t that include the Bishop of Rome (aka Pope Francis)?

  17. WVC says:

    I’d like to suggest that the discussion of forced “resignation” of clergy by the laity is NOT a healthy thing. It is, perhaps, even playing into Satan’s hands? He plays long term, while we have panic d’jour’s. Do you really think the answer to today’s problem is to do potentially irreparable, permanent harm to the authority of the hierarchy of the Church? Do you really think anyone save Satan will benefit from creating a precedent where we, the laity, go about inspecting bishops and having the power to fire them? Someone go ask the Protestants how that worked out for them.

    Hysterics appears to be the flavor of the day, be it reacting to political news, ecclesial news, or whatever some random yokel blabs on Twitter (truly the Devil’s own tool if ever there was one).

    Deep breaths, and before charging around with cudgels calling for resignations I ask what have we laymen done WITHIN OUR OWN SPHERE OF RESPONSIBILITY to address the problem? Have we made sacrifices? Fasted? Prayed? Supported those good parts of the Church in ways that are sacrificial? (be it with money or with time and talent) And if you’ve done all of that, is there anything more you can add? Sorry it may not seem all that exciting – it actually is if you understand what you’re doing and why. Thinking it’s the laity’s job to fire bishops is little better than thinking it’s the laity’s job to put on mitres and changing doctrine.

    We will be judged based on our direct responsibilities. My opinion on whether or not Bishop X of a Diocese I’m not even remotely close to should be fired or not will be very low on the list come Judgment Day. How I raised my family, served my friends and parish, and made my appropriate sacrifices (prayers, fasts, etc.) for the good of the Church will much more heavily weighted.

    Sometimes we forget that yammering on the internet is often not much more than yammering on the internet. It can be good to vent. It can be good to hear other points of view. It can be good to expand one’s knowledge. But for laymen to start talking about forming committees to lay waste to entire country’s worth of bishops – this cannot possibly be a good thing.

    Incidentally, it’s not as if the Church has not previously had widespread corruption problems within the upper echelons of the hierarchy (and even of a sexual nature). Perhaps going back to our history books and looking at how those problems were ultimately solved is an important lesson? I mentioned Cluny earlier for a specific reason.

  18. boredoftheworld says:

    I must rear my ugly head again to be more direct. Before my first child was born my wife and I were concerned that the professional church people were going to be a danger to our children. I was convinced that we’d have to spend a great deal of time deprogramming our kids after religious ed programs. I thought the kids would quickly realize that their parents took the whole religion thing much more seriously than the officials did. I knew the people who were supposed to back us up would ridicule our beliefs and practices and attempt to (not to put too fine a point on it) deliver my children to hell.

    Then 2002 happened and I thought we would see significant improvement. Only we didn’t and we all know we didn’t and all of us who bought into the “it peaked during the 80s” dance number not only look like fools… it’s reasonable to suspect that we are exactly that. We had a trial run of what’s coming 16 years ago and we blew it then. We must not repeat the same set of mistakes.

    Pray, pay and obey? Those who continue to chant that insanity are, in my eyes, complicit enablers.

  19. Dismas says:

    Lots of ideas, many with questionable repercussions. Here’s an idea. Pool some money together with other angry laymen (-men referring to species before sex, and gender is best at describing boats, but I digress) and hire a private eye. Snoop or even spy on your bishop, and if possible, notorious bishops of questionable moral conviction.

    Yes, it has come to this. Had our grandparents known, perhaps they would have done as much, and spared us our current woes, but today and its troubles belong to us. Most of all, remember that our wrestling is not against flesh and blood….

  20. Kathleen10 says:

    Ahh…yes, we can dream. If God asked me my opinion and what I would do if I were Him, I’d probably say send a meteor and get it over with, but that’s the impatient Irish in me. That’s how I know God is not Irish, he has not yet sent a meteor. If I could I’d get a holy pope actually Catholic. That seems to work well when it happens. Pope Leo XIV.
    Whatever happens, we cannot continue like this. We have turned a corner. The Old Boys (Whatever) Club cannot continue. They believed up until maybe Thursday they were immune, untouchable, impervious. I doubt they are all thinking that anymore. It’s clear this time is no 2002. I love, truly love, the idea that they are nervous. I hope they are. They should be.
    Some don’t think Mass attendance or the offertory should be on the table. I’d say if we don’t put everything on the table, particularly the few weapons we have, then things will just continue as they are, and be prepared to do it all again in 2025, if God lets us live that long.
    We are sick of pederasts. We won’t support them in their evil deeds.
    We are sick of homosexual priests. We won’t support them in their evil deeds.
    We are sick of Communist Bishops. We won’t support them in their evil deeds.
    We are entirely and completely sick of Rome. Don’t get me started, apostasy AND promotion of an Islam invasion…good grief.

  21. kurtmasur says:

    Perhaps it is the Holy Spirit itself who is bringing us this opportunity to clean house? Perhaps 2002 was originally meant to be the time to clean up but we squandered it then and that is why now we are being given this opportunity again?

    If indeed, for example, many seminaries continue to this day to be sabotaged by certain individuals who don’t even believe in the Magesterium of the Church, then I am pretty sure the Holy Spirit is not content with just standing there and letting things be, hence the opportunity we are getting now in 2018.

    As Pope Francis has often taught during his papacy: we should let ourselves be surprised by the Holy Spirit!

  22. jaykay says:

    Atra Dicenda says: “There is a line from the movie The Mission. Spoken by the Cardinal narrating at the time, he speaks of the times at need when a surgeon, in order to save the body of his patient, must cut away the dead flesh or the dying limb”

    True, very. In the film, the Cardinal was himself a very conflicted figure. If you recall, in the chilling last scenes he reflects on the great injustice he has permitted to be done, in the name of weltpolitik, or the 18th century version thereof. He looks into the camera (at himself) and…

    A great film, true art. So many paralells to our own times, it seems.

  23. Marion Ancilla Mariae II says:

    To adapt the famous question and answer by G.K. Chesterton:

    Q. “What is wrong with the Church?”

    A. “We are.”

    For the last forty or fifty years or so, according to polls and surveys, the majority of the laity have gradually let go of their parents’ and grandparents’ ways of being Catholic, and have become instead of the compromising, contracepting, cosmopolitan, desacralized, immanentist, cafeteria Catholic variety of Catholic

    People, this way of being is simply Not. Good. Enough.

    And when we the laity go off the rails like this, and insist on continuing to wallow in the mud and the filth at the bottom of the ditch we’ve fallen into like this, then why should it surprise us that God will send us so many Church leaders who, instead of lifting us up and out and leading us back to the strait and narrow, will be happy instead to keep us company in the mud and the filth?

    It is a train wreck. I feel sad for the good priests and bishops who are stuck with this disaster.

    I don’t know how the Church in the United States will ever recover. I know the gates of Hell will not prevail against the Church as a whole, but that promise of Christ doesn’t necessarily apply to each and every locale in which the Church has been established. The once-thriving Church in North Africa was conquered by the Muslims during the 8th century, and was wiped out. The Church in Ireland seems in the process of being wiped out, and unless a miracle occurs, it would seem that there will be only a scattering of active Catholics – and mostly of Polish extraction – left in Ireland in a couple of generations.

    And us? What about us? Where will our children and our grandchildren be?

  24. nine man morris says:

    This is a great post, Father Z! As a rowdy denizen of that ‘other popular commenter’, I believe you have a very good sense on your feelings of the laity, especially the more faithful sort. Your warning about the chess board is appreciated and gives one a shudder. Why couldn’t that person, the piece replacer, also not be part of the sweep? Is that possible?

    And do you have any comments about what’s becoming known as Pope Benedict’s prophecy of the future church?

  25. rinkevichjm says:

    The problem is we have a pope like Paul VI. he means well but communicates poorly. The teaching on capital punishment is a prime example of this. Rather than speaking about how all the better judicial systems are corrupted from within by political bias and fail to justly determine who properly committed a crime and cannot repent (see former att. Richard Fine explain this issue and therefore, only the conscienceless would attempt to impose it and the church insists the faithful inform their consciences properly about that.

  26. Kerry says:

    Dear Marion Ancilla Mariae II, from this link:

    Robert Reilly interviewed James Schall, “Sense and Nonsense, A conversation with James Schall”, in 2007. From that interview come these quotes.

    Robert R. Reilly: “What is the most important thing you teach?…”
    James Schall: “…the most important thing I assume in teaching is that students be themselves docile…To be teachable means that a student first realizes in his soul that he does not already know too much…”

    Robert R. Reilly: “What is the hardest thing to teach, in the sense of the receptivity of the students to it?”

    Schall: “One is tempted to say “the truth.” Chesterton’s famous quip…All disorder of the world originates in disorder of soul. If we do not learn this truth, nothing else will much matter; we are bound to get it wrong, because we choose to see things wrongly. Thus, if we do not know we have a soul, if we are just a bundle of emotions and drives, we will never be sufficiently free of ourselves to see what is not ourselves. No freedom is more precious than that of seeing clearly, delightedly what is not ourselves…The Holy Father recently spoke of the degree to which habits and customs in a culture could obscure or even eliminate our awareness of the right order of the soul.

    (Now skipping down several paragraphs…)

    Robert R. Reilly: Can you inoculate students against this influence? How?

    Schall: “… Tracey Rowland, in her important book Culture and the Thomist Tradition , has shown that within a culture itself are already operative principles and presuppositions that, if we are not specifically aware of them, will serve to direct our efforts in the way of the habits within the culture. If these habits are disoriented, the person who assumes that the culture is morally neutral will find himself going along with the presuppositions of the culture to his own detriment. We forget the enormous attraction of prestige. If it is in an important journal, or on a famous television program, or the normal presuppositions of a famous university, we will assume that this view is on the cutting edge. But this is surface. In this area, there is no saving of someone who won’t be saved. What I try to do, rather, is to introduce students to books and authors who are articulate, intelligent, and persuasive, so that they will begin to see that intelligence is not wholly on the side of disorder of soul. Students, I think, are really crying for some guidance or hint of what else is there. They are astonished to find so much whose existence is not even hinted at. But someone has to give them a start. It does not take much to arouse a suspicion in their minds that they have not heard the whole story.”
    Much more article appears there at the link than here; there be gold there. And at the Institute of Catholic Culture are several excellent talks from Robert Reilly.
    Pax Christi

  27. LarryW2LJ says:

    My personal opinion, which amounts to a hill of beans, is that it is not necessary or desirable that all bishops in the USA resign. Maybe it is just naivete on my part, but I still believe that the holy, committed and dedicated bishops outnumber the ones who have gone astray.

    The ones who have gone astray do need to go. Who is to determine that; and how will it be done? God will find a way. Again, some may think of me as naive for thinking this way; but up until now, He has slowly started to peel back the layers of the onion for us, so that we can see how badly things have become.

    God will lead us through this mess. I have no idea how. He knows – and that’s all that matters. For my part, I will continue to pray, go to Confession once a month, and go to Mass every Sunday and Holy Day, fast and give alms. It’s all I can do.

    “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”

  28. Marion Ancilla Mariae II says:

    Thanks for the link, Kerry. Good read! I especially liked this very succinct line: “We who understand the abidingness of the Fall cannot be overly astonished at widespread unbelief and corruption.”

    As for me and my house,
    We will serve THE LORD!

    – Joshua 24:15

  29. Gregg the Obscure says:

    quoting a line from a different and lesser-known song: “How long will the wicked reign over my people?”

    I’ve long attributed that line to political authorities. Now I increasingly attribute it to ecclesiastical authorities too. Even ones of whom I once had a high opinion. I increasingly understand Dante’s fierce reaction to betrayers.

  30. GregB says:

    It looks like we are living through the lawlessness as foretold in the Bible.

  31. SemperServusDei says:

    The “Tears of St. Lawrence” seem oh so appropriate this year…

    [Ain’t it the truth!?]

    Fr. Z's Gold Star Award

  32. KAS says:

    I find myself disgusted with our bishops more than angry. The bishops are existing in a swamp of a bureaucracy that could turn very dangerous if they attempted to thwart it and some of them LIKE it.

    Our good priests are getting their spiritual asses kicked and cannot count on their bishops to help them– but we can add prayers to prayers, good deeds to good deeds, pain offered up, and many Masses and Rosaries for them.

    We can take on ourselves what we can do for ourselves.

    WE cannot fix this, but God can fix it. But He insists on our participation to get it fixed. Our participation. Ours to teach our children, ours to decide where to put the donations to do the most good, ours to refuse to participate in bad catechesis, ours to live the Faith no matter what goes on around us, ours to attend Mass with great reverence for God no matter how horrible the liturgy, ours to let Christ shape our actions in our culture.

    Ours to study the deposit of the Faith from the trustworthy sources–get them while they remain in print! Remember the early Church could pull from its own numbers men to be priests to replace martyred priests–do WE all know the Faith well enough for that?

    Pray for the souls of the bishops. Think of their saved souls making heaven because we prayed for them to be ripped from the clawed grip of the devil. Would that not be sweet?

  33. Pingback: McCarrick Watch: Friday Edition – Big Pulpit

  34. robtbrown says:

    Marion Ancilla Mariae II says:

    To adapt the famous question and answer by G.K. Chesterton:

    Q. “What is wrong with the Church?”

    A. “We are.”

    He died in 1936, years before the Protestantization of the Church under Paul VI.

    Its true the laity have abandoned the Church, but to paraphrase Malcolm Muggeridge: It’s as if Bishops and Priests have stood at the doors of every Church, beating everyone with a club who wanted to enter?

    In the Church it is the responsibility of the hierarchy to support and defend the Patrimony of the Church. Paul VI and his supporters did not. Further, they often persecuted anyone who did.

  35. The Masked Chicken says:

    I hesitate to make this comment, because I know it will get picked apart by those more informed than I, but naivety often breeds boldness, so, here goes…

    I was reading an article by Phil Lawler at LifeSite News regarding Bishop Scharfenberger’s idea to let the laity investigate the bishops, when several things occurred to me and formed the basis for one way to truly shut down the homosexual abuse crisis.

    It occurred to me that we have to take the bishops out of the equation, all together. The laity do not have the canonical authority to do that and appeals to Pope Francis to grant that authority are likely to produce nothing. All of a sudden the ideas of the Church Militant, of chain-of-command, of the good of society coalesced and it occurred to me: sexual abuse, indeed, any abuse, is an evil and may always be appealed to a higher authority all the way up to God for a swift judgment, but what happens if the abuser appears to be someone in the chain-of-command who is supposed to be speaking for God? In other words, sexual abuse by someone at a next higher level of the clergy is not only sexual abuse, but spiritual abuse and let me tell you, the psychological understanding of spiritual abuse is so thin that a bed-ridden mosquito could poke a hole through it. Sexual abuse is treatable, in most cases, but sexual abuse confounded with spiritual abuse has no good treatment until the spiritual component is overturned by someone of a higher spiritual authority and that seldom happens. My purpose is not to explain the psychology of spiritual abuse and the damage it can do on the soul, but to explain how it might be stopped.

    The Church is NOT a field hospital. Pope Francis’s analogy is misguided. The Church is a military battalion, charged with fighting for the souls in the world. The true field hospital is the confessional – that is where the spiritual wounds are treated so that the soldiers can return to the battlefield.

    The Church is the Church Militant – the fighting Church. Now, any military has a chain-of-command and so does the Church, but what the U. S. military has that the Church doesn’t have is a Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) to assure good order and conduct. The Code of Canon Law from 1917 was a little like it, but the 1983 Code just isn’t he same.

    So, I asked myself, if a junior officer were seduced by a senior officer, how would it be handled in the military? Likewise, I asked myself why the Church turned heretics over to the civilian authorities for the death penalty – it was because heretics presented a threat to the good order and discipline of society-at-large, as well as the Church. Then it hit me – so does sexual abuse, particularly if confounded by spiritual abuse, so the matter should be turned over to civilian authorities for prosecution, not after, but BEFORE the Church tries the case. The Church makes spouses get a civil divorce before a request for an annulment can be filed. Why not do the same for sexual abuse?

    Here is how things would work:

    1. A hotline is set up to local civil authorities so that someone who has been abused by someone in a religious context can report it. Baked into law is a non-reprisal statute to protect the whistleblower, at this stage.

    2. An Article 32 (UCMJ) hearing is convened by the municipality, presided by a Catholic judge, who may have the advice of a Canon lawyer, to see if enough credible evidence exists to go to trial (unlike a grand jury, the judge makes the determination to go to trial). If there is not enough evidence, matters are dropped and the people are free to go. The diocese picks up the tab for the clergy.

    3. If the matter goes to trial, then a non-Catholic jury except for one is selected, to avoid interference from the bishops or the Vatican, with one juror being a Canon lawyer to inform the other jurors of Catholic technicalities and to insure that the Catholic voice is heard. If a Canon lawyer is unavailable to sit on the jury, one may be brought in to advise the Prosecution (the defense may have recourse to their own advisors).

    4. The evidence and arguments are produced. The trial proceeds.

    5. If the finding is not guilty, the priest or bishop is returned to active duty and the diocese pays all legal expenses. There is a non-reprisal statute in place, so the priest is not subject to a loss of position.

    6. Immediately upon a not guilty finding, the accuser is handed over for a separate Article 32 hearing to see if there is enough evidence to support a charge of perjury. If so, trial commences. If the accuser is found guilty, it is a mandatory prison sentence.

    7. If the finding is guilty, the priest or bishop is sentenced and the diocese does not pay for his legal fees, but may provide payment for the accuser (as fixed by the jury). No out-of-court settlements are permitted and no non-disclosure agreement are permitted, period. Everything must be on the record.

    8. If, in the course of the trial, the bishop is implicated in a cover-up, a separate Article 32 is immediately convened and the bishop, if evidence is found, may be tried as a co-conspirator.

    This way, the matter of justice is kept out of the Church’s hands until the very end, where they might impose additional Canonical sanctions against the guilty clergy.

    The only thing this does not get at is the homosexual networks since these involve consent and not rape. One cannot, sadly, use existing laws to deal with this, although RICO laws might be given a shot.

    To break up the homosexual networks no homosexuals should be allowed into seminaries, period. Modern societies have been conditioned to ignore homosexuality, so this ruling would have to come from either a Bishop’s conference or the Vatican. Good luck with that. There are some who might disagree, but a homosexual priest does not mirror Christ’s spousal relationship with the Church in the same way as a heterosexual priest. Just as none of the Apostles were women, neither were any of them homosexual.

    So, I’m sure I’ve said things both idiotic an controversial in this comment. As I say, I am naive, but if one doesn’t throw out new ideas, how will one be able to separate the good from the bad?

    The Chicken

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