At First Things more good advice has been offered to their collective Excellencies before their upcoming plenary meeting, which begins next Monday. Just the other day, another piece of advice was extended by a writer at The Catholic Thing. HERE
However, at First Things, the director of the Augustine Institute, Jayd Henricks, has pointed words. He is also a former senior staffer at the USCCB, so he knows what he is talking about.
Let’s see a sample with my usual treatment:
There is, however, something wrong with how the body of bishops functions as an assembly and how bishops relate to and interact with one another. Far too often, fear appears to govern what is done or not done by you as a body. There is the fear of disunity, fear of conflict, fear of disrupting a superficial collegiality, and today, more than ever, fear of Rome. Though the pressure you face—each in your dioceses and together as an assembly—is intense, the bottom line is that it sometimes appears that many of you are governed by fear of each other and of the institutional order more than by the fear of God.
It has also been my observation that your work as an association of bishops leads many of you to value the appearance of unity over adherence to principle. This habit, in turn, leads to patterns of conflict avoidance. In some instances, this is the path of charity. Conflict and division are not good things. Far too often, however, I watched good men back away from conflict when what was needed was confrontation and forthright debate. This culture of fear enabled the likes of Theodore McCarrick to attain power and to scheme and maneuver at the highest ecclesial and political levels.
All serious observers of the Church see that the current ecclesiastical situation stands on the edge of a cliff. It seems to me that there are two dominant camps among the bishops in the United States, and perhaps worldwide. One regards the Church as a platform for political interests. My professional experience taught me that this group includes key authorities in Rome. The other regards the Church as a pastoral reality. This second group, while genuinely desiring to serve, is reluctant to address critical issues if doing so would entail conflict with Rome.
The curial advisors of the Holy Father have failed to understand the nature of the present crisis. They have chosen a path that only exacerbates it. [It could be that they do understand it and they chose that path with that understanding in mind.] They have failed to undertake a swift and full investigation of the McCarrick case. The Vatican’s failure to act is now aggravating the real harm done to the Church. In the end, however, the faithful in the United States will hold you—and not the curial officials—responsible for what does or does not happen in the wake of the most recent scandals.
I urge you to petition forcefully for an open investigation led by the laity. Do not allow a false notion of unity to prevail, a false unity in which your integrity as bishops is sacrificed to expediency.
There is quite a bit more, which you should read over there.
As far as that point about curial advisors is concerned, …
… I am more and more of the mind that, beyond the usual and always valid explanation of sheer incompetence, real malice has been revealed.
I say “malice” because those involved seem to hate what the Church has been and, by their directives and their urgings around Francis, they want to transform the Church into something it has never been and which Christ never intended.
You can get more of what I mean by going back to what I wrote in June 2017 about the vision of one of the key players in Francis’ dugout, the creeps-inducing and plagiarist Víctor Manuel Fernández. Call to mind the “governing principles” – or Four Guiding Postulates – Fernández included as ghostwriter of Evangelii gaudium. One of them concerns constant conflict of positions which will, over time, produce lasting change.
If you want to understand what Francis and Co. are doing, you have to review those things that I linked.