Friday, October 9, 2015

What Should Our Bishops Do?

Boniface over at Unam Sanctam Catholicam has just published a very good piece on the subject of the general failure of the conservative - one should rather simply say orthodox - forces in the Church to defend the same from the attacks of the progressives. While I recommend that you read the whole article, I'd like to highlight the counter-strategies he proposes, as I think they deserve a wide readership - particularly among our Priests and Bishops:

  • Vigorously punish heresy in their own dioceses. Keep strict watch on the activities of certain priests and suspend, dismiss or defrock those who clearly dissent from Church teaching.
  • Preach the truth boldly, including explicit condemnations of particular groups or ideologies, even condemning heterodox teachers or priests by name when necessary. Go beyond the typical non-offensive, wishy-washy bishop-speak.
  • Use the resources of a diocese to publish actual informative and instructional materials, not the sort of nonsense most dioceses put out.
  • Actually issue liturgical directives to promote tradition. The contemporary Church documents offer considerable leeway in how liturgy can be done; the upside of this is that the bishop is given the final call on all of these options. A bishop could easily say, "No guitars and drums at any diocesan Mass", or mandate sacred chant, or compel every parish to offer at least a monthly Traditional Latin Mass. Novus Ordo Masses must at least incorporate Latin and be said ad orientam.
  • Dismiss lay persons or members of subversive religious orders from their diocesan committees.
  • Actually use the tool of excommunication against dissident theologians and dissenting Catholic politicians.
  • Use resources of the diocese for meaningful (I stress meaningful) social activism. Example: One priest told me there used to be a scummy motel near his parish that was frequented by prostitutes. He raised some money, bought the motel, and had it torn down. What if the millions raised by our diocesan appeals were used for such uses?
  • Organize at the regional level and use their weight to push through appointments within the USCCB or elsewhere that were favorable to them while simultaneously using their influence to keep out liberal appointments.
  • Host guest-speakers friendly to tradition and forbid those who are not.
  • Forbid Catholic schools and hospitals from engaging in activities harmful to the Catholic faith and actually back up these directives with the appropriate force.
  • Fire all Catholic school teachers who are in immoral relationships.
  • Actually celebrate the Traditional Latin Mass and require all seminarians to know it and be comfortable with Latin.
  • Publicly censure books and films hostile or dangerous to the Catholic faith.
  • Mandate traditional arrangements in the architecture of sanctuaries and churches; stipulate that no parish has the right to undertake any renovations unless personally approved by him.
  • Promote priests who cooperate with this agenda and punish those who don't.
  • In short, never, never miss an opportunity to promote tradition and actively punish and repress liberalism. Speak the truth boldly but also use the weight of the office to silence, retard, dismiss or dispirit the liberal opposition.

Of course, actions such as these can only be carried out by those with the actual power to effect positive change, i.e. Priests and Bishops. Nonetheless, Catholic journalists and bloggers could accomplish a great deal if they were to focus more of their energies on helping inform their readership as to problematic areas requiring concrete action, and by encouraging and coordinating lay action and directing the same towards those responsible for bringing about the changes that need to happen. At the very least, we should not cease in heaping praise upon those Priests, Bishops and Cardinals with the guts to stand up for the Catholic Faith in the public square.

His Excellence Salvatore Bishop Cordileone

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