|Cardinal Wuerl laughing it up with the pretty people!|
I confess I laughed when I read the interview. Let's face it. To whom do you think Cardinal Wuerl speaks? Do you think he's spending a lot of time outside his chancery speaking to the ordinary people of the diocese or is his contact with them from the window of his lavish apartment on embassy row? (Oh look, somebody dressed in jeans and a t-shirt is going into the church to make a visit!) Here's a bit from the interview with my comments in red.
Question: I have a climate change question, but not about the environment. In your 10 years as archbishop of Washington, has the political climate changed? How about the climate in the Church?
Wuerl: I think up-close here in Washington we’re seeing the same thing everybody around the country is experiencing, which is that there does not seem to be a growing climate of engagement and cooperation. It seems that there is more political gridlock today then there was 10 years ago. There’s also the pronounced secularism that has increased across our culture in the past 10 years, which impacts strongly on the political environment. Including the secularized clergy, especially among the episcopate.
Nonetheless, I find that there is considerable space for engagement if one is willing to take the time and make the effort. Engage with whom? George Neumayr describes Wuerl's dereliction of duty here pointing out his fear of offending the "pretty people." Neumayr's not far off from my point of view. That the bishop will not discipline Nancy Pelosi and Joe Biden (two of the "pretty people") because he doesn't see himself as a "gatekeeper" speaks volumes. What, in fact, is a bishop's role if not to protect the flock by addressing public scandals with loving firmness? Jesus says, "Enter through the narrow gate." Isn't the bishop called to be at the gate screening the sheep to make sure no wolves enter the sheepfold?
When we come to look at the Church, I think there are two simultaneous currents.
By far the strongest is the enthusiasm for Pope Francis, his pastoral ministry and his invitation to people to stay close to the Church, even as they struggle with the many difficulties they face including, for some, a sense of alienation from the Church. I find more people open to talking about the really important elements of our faith and their relationship to God and the Church now than I did 10 years ago.
At the same time there is another undercurrent that is unhappy with the pastoral ministry of Pope Francis. For some, the starkness of his presentation of the Gospel, much like his namesake presented it centuries ago, is distressing....Pope Francis’ constant calling us to a self-examination of our faithfulness to the Gospel appears to be threatening to some - some very few. Really? This is setting up a straw man. Those who oppose the modernism of Pope Francis are "distressed" and "threatened." The implication is that those who resist the novelties of this pope are hand-wringing troglodytes who fail to recognize our modern St. Francis in the pope. As for those "unhappy with the pastoral ministry of Pope Francis," they include many Church leaders, canonists, professors, etc. If they are "few" they are the "happy few" who deeply love Christ and his bride, the Church.
Question: What do you see as the biggest challenges facing the Catholic Church in the United States and around the world today, and how should the Church confront those challenges?
Wuerl: ...Increasingly, in our country, those who find the Church’s teaching rooted in Sacred Scripture to be annoying have begun to refer to it as “discrimination” and, in some instances, to insist that the Church not be able to carry out her institutional ministries on the grounds that her message violates the rights of others. This is a new and very dangerous approach to the healthy pluralism that has always been a hallmark of our nation....
On another level, altogether related but far more tangible, is the violence directed to Christians around the world....What is disgraceful is the great silence in so much of the media, the entertainment industry and the opinion makers when faced with this horrible reality. Atrocities occur for two reasons: 1.) There are those who commit them; and 2.) There are those who remain silent in their presence. Isn't this ironic? A man who is silent about the violence and blasphemy against Christ in the Eucharist and those Catholic politicians committed to murdering babies in the womb condemns the silence of others. Cardinal Wuerl needs to remove the beam in his own eye!
Question: How would you summarize the reception that Amoris Laetitia has received in the United States, and is it making any difference in pastoral priorities and practice?
Wuerl: The embrace of Amoris Laetitia, its teaching, its invitation, its recognition of the human condition and its challenge to people to stay close to the Church as they struggle to walk with Christ has been extremely positive and widespread, particularly at the grass roots level. Whoa! Is he serious? AL has been condemned by scores of clerics, canonists, theologians, and ordinary laity for its betrayal of parents, for undermining the indissolubility of marriage, etc. It's been welcomed and heralded by all the "Catholic" dissent groups who want a church of anything goes.Cardinal Wuerl is typical of many of the American bishops. He coddles the rich and powerful in their scandal and excoriates the "rigid" faithful who refuse to call evil good and good evil. We need to pray very much for our bishops and the pope. The state of the world is a reflection on the dereliction of duty among both the clergy and the laity. Let's never fail to hold up our end by praying and fasting for the Church and the descendants of the apostles that they will act more like Peter and his martyred brethren and not like Judas.
One final note: Unless something changed in the past few days, Cardinal Wuerl has been completely silent about Joe Biden officiating at a "gay wedding." In fact, the bishops as a whole did nothing but make veiled comments about the scandal without ever mentioning Biden's name. Their pathetic statement needs to be seen in the context of their predecessors who defended the faith with zeal who weren't afraid to use the "charitable anathema" both to call back sinners to the faith and protect the flock from scandal.