The only time in the New Testament when the apostles of Christ…later to become the first bishops… turned collegial came at Gethsemane after the chief priests and Pharisees arrived to arrest Jesus. The four gospels agree and say the same thing:
“they all fled.” [Hat tip: Michael Voris].
Of course that was before the intercession of the Holy Spirit. After the coming of the Holy Spirit most of them held so courageously for the Church they went on to martyrdom. Since then things have been, oh, so-so. For example when England turned Protestant with a vengeance (sufficient enough to behead Thomas More) all the bishops fled…accepting the clerical domination of the King instead of the Pope, except one—St. John Fisher.
Introduction of the Red Hat for cardinals or princes of the Church is supposed to signify that they are to shed blood for the Church, as red as their hats. How many cardinals have done so? Uh-uh-uh. I haven’t done that thorough a research job on it but I believe we’re still waiting for the first one.
Martyrdom, schwartyrdom…forget the heads being lopped off: what are just a little offering of courage. I mean taking a stand that because of political correctness might get you a bad notice or two in the secular press?
Let’s consider the most politically correct issue of the day—acceptance, indeed even glorification of homosexuals.
So what happened as the lame duck Congress considered repealing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”? Not a word from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, nary a mention on their website despite the fact that approbation of homosexuality attesting it’s just another lifestyle choice is antithetical to Catholic teaching and is a mortal sin.
But when the DREAM Act was being considered…the bill that would reward illegal immigrants and motivate others to break the laws as well…the USCCB website was filled with pleas for passage and scores of bishops interceded with the Congress. The difference? Supporting rewards for illegal immigration is politically correct; opposing the sin of homosexuality is not.
They all fled.
There has never been a time in this writer’s long memory when the Catholic bishops…with very few exceptions… have been as gutless and as spineless as they are now—imbued with Rotary Club pseudo p. r. values instead of conscience. I think it’s caused by “collegiality” of sameness imparted by their trade association (the USCCB)…an organization perfected to a political instrument and staffed with political hacks by the most duplicitous of prelate of them all, Joseph Cardinal Bernardin. As his favored creation, it has advanced not just cowardice but decadence. The details of Bernardin’s so-called “epiphany of courage” with charges of sex-abuse volunteered by an ex-seminarian suffused with AIDS have been suffocated in ambiguity. They have been perfumed up for a speech by of all people Eddie Burke which should tell you something.
But the denouement for me about Bernardin has always been this.
As his coffin was being wheeled down the aisle at Chicago’s Holy Name Cathedral you will remember the sacrilegious “Gay Men’s Chorus” sang his requiem—performing at his final request. The request was made after he had received his final earthly consolation from Eppie Lederer aka Ann Landers, of course. Who in the name of God, preparing to meet his Maker, would recruit the “Gay Men’s Chorus”…whose very formation is antagonistic to the fundamental teaching of the Church…. for the task of serenading God to accept the body in the bier except one who wished to give a kind of irreligious finger to the Church?
What does that tell you?
Now since we don’t know his final disposition saying a prayer for Joe Bernardin is advisable. But hey shouldn’t it be imperative to disband his enlarged creation the USCCB which has through spurious “collegiality” emasculated subliminally the work of the individual bishops? How about somebody suggesting that? Everybody hiding under the bed with timidity? Nope, we’ve already had a taker….one of the better bishops, Fabian Bruskewitz of Lincoln, Nebraska. See, bishops aren’t all wimps!
And how about Thomas Olmsted, the bishop of Phoenix who just stripped the label “Catholic” from the abortion-providing St. Joseph Hospital? Congrats Bishop! Now what about removing “Catholic” from De Paul which is offering a Queer Studies minor and thumbing its nose at the Church all the while advertising itself as the “largest Catholic University in the U.S.? Well you see uh-uh-uh I mean uh-uh we’re going to parse-parse-parse that one indefinitely.