|Heinrich Hoffmann 1824-1911 Jesus teaches the teachers. He still does, but are they listening?|
Editor's note: I've highlighted particular passages and added comments in red.
Leading Sheep to the SlaughterSome bishops even quietly praise dissent by delaying the disciplining of dissenters until their erroneous teachings become widely disseminated and accepted. [This is particularly true of dissenters promoting the homosexual lifestyle. Even before Fr. James Martin, the darling of the gay community, there was Fr. Robert Nugent (deeased), Sr. Jeannine Gramick, Fr. Richard Sparks, Fr. James Schexnayder (deceased), and many others who continue to damage the faith and scandalize the faithful. Nugent and Gramick were finally disciplined by CDF, but continued their scandals. Most have never been disciplined. Priests who "come out" are often cheered by their clueless congregations.]
Although such pastoral practices over the past five decades have tended to deny it, the fact remains that there is a serious need for having solidly orthodox teaching and discipline to guide the faithful in these times of major cultural changes. And the content of such teaching needs to be clear, concise and consistent. Only in this way will pastors and catechists be able to assure the faithful that the Church does indeed teach and submit to the same truths always and everywhere.
My concern, though, goes beyond ensuring the proper operation of the official structures of the Church. Beneath the bureaucratic bungling that has seriously compromised the credibility of the Church, I am worried that some more sinister dynamic may be at work. Specifically, I cannot help but to wonder if there is a demonic dynamic, which is subtly manipulating the clergy into collegial collusion with culturally acceptable evils. Such collusion tends to camouflage cowardice under the guises of a false prudence, a codependent compassion and a dishonest humility, which, in turn, coalesce into a politically expedient tolerance of both doctrinal error and moral evil. It is enhanced by stressing the importance of valuing subjective pastoral judgment and respect for malformed consciences above objective accountability of all to the whole truth of God. Sad to say, these perspectives have even been ratified at various gatherings of bishops, where those driven by zeal for the truth and the salvation of souls have been either consigned to obscurity or outvoted by those championing the “moderation” of spiritual mediocrity. [Recall Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz who stood alone in Dallas to call for a review of the relationship between dissent and the sex abuse scandals. He couldn't even get a second to his motion!]
I am in no position to determine whether the participation of any particular Church leader for this collusion is deliberate, unwitting or acquiescent. But I can say with certitude that many continue to suffer deeply from the de facto consequences of such collusion with the socially accepted evils of our day.
Sad to say, this diabolically orchestrated dynamic seems to reflect a macabre Mafia practice of contracting for a man to be killed while he is in the act of committing a mortal sin, thus ensuring both his death and his eternal damnation. To ensure the damnation of souls, the operation of this demonic dynamic entails four steps:
1) Church officials issue teachings and policies that clearly inform the faithful that specific points of Church doctrine, morality and liturgical discipline are serious matters, for which they will be held accountable on Judgment Day;
2) Church officials then tolerate, or even encourage, practices by clergy and laity, which clearly violate these objective truths of the Faith and the rightly-formed consciences of the faithful;
3) Church officials proceed to abuse, marginalize or undermine the credibility of Catholics, who insist on the discipline needed to promote respect, at least in the public forum, for the objective truths proclaimed by Church teachings and protected by her laws; andThis demonic dynamic became quite evident in the pederasty scandal that so dramatically came to light around the world over the past twenty years. But, while expensive and embarrassing lawsuits have driven the hierarchy to attempt to remedy this one symptom of the demonic dynamic, the dynamic as a whole has been allowed to metastasize, with only token resistance, in numerous areas of the Church's life and spirituality.
4) Church officials not only proactively cater to the demands of those cynically questioning or attacking legitimate Church authority, but even go so far as to publicly honor such people, because they selectively support and promote some aspects of the Church's social teaching. [Joseph Cardinal Bernardin was a master at proclaiming Church doctrine and then undermining it with the spurious "follow your conscience" never making the distinction between a formed and unformed conscience. Unfortunately, Pope Francis does exactly the same thing on a larger scale. Recall his honoring Italian abortionist Emma Bonino and Dutch abortion activist, Lilianne Ploumen. And, of course, many U.S. bishops also honor those, like Fr. James Martin, who attack the faith on a regular basis.]
Thus it is that, by continuing to clearly inform the faithful of their serious obligation to follow the prescribed teachings and disciplines of the Church, Vatican and diocesan officials guarantee that these people clearly know that certain practices and teachings are evil. They thus ensure that the faithful will be in conscious collusion with evil, as they are forced by carefully contrived circumstances to renounce the graces of their Confirmation by going along with sacrilegious abuses of the liturgy and the Blessed Sacrament or by tolerating those ridiculing certain sacred doctrines of the Faith at events sponsored by Church officials.
These same officials, when pushed by the faithful, sometimes do admit that such abuses are serious, but are slow or negligent in decisively correcting them. Instead they often assert that "compassion" and “tolerance” are more pastorally expedient than the harsh discipline of truth. [Many of those with the obligation to "teach, govern, and sanctify treat truth with the same disdain as Pontius Pilate. The Church appears to be in the grip of the Modernists who believe truth must conform to the age rather than the age conform to the truth.]
Aside from grooming the faithful for eternal damnation, this disintegration of Church discipline has had another serious effect. It calls into question both the eternal authenticity of Church doctrine and the objective validity of the whole sacramental discipline of the Church. For example, there have been baptisms, wherein the correct matter and form were not used. Such abuses include infants being baptized "in the name of the Creator, the Redeemer and the Sanctifier", or by having only the rear end of their naked bodies dipped into the water, or by having one person say the baptismal formula while someone else pours water over the child. In such cases, though, the offending parties are frequently disciplined in a way that neglects requiring them to ensure that those invalid baptisms be properly validated. Thus, they are led to believe that the Church supplies validity to invalidly celebrated sacraments. Church leaders, therefore, through the cowardice of collegial collusion, have been giving the impression that the objective matter and form of a sacrament are not important, just so long as people feel good and empowered by the way it was celebrated.
All this is tending to give many the impression that psychology (how things are perceived to be) rather than ontology (how things really are) is the foundation of the Church's life, worship and teaching. Thus what is subjectively relevant to a person, rather than what is divinely revealed has increasingly become the norm endorsed by the collegial collusion for the spiritual formation of the faithful.
For over fifty years, we have witnessed not only this dallying in the demonic dynamic of collegial collusion in the obfuscation of truth, but also the tragic, expensive, scandalous and sacrilegious consequences of such collusion in the life of the Church. I pray that the Holy Spirit may graciously guide myself and all Church leaders to a more docile and decisive reverence for the whole truth of God, so that we can break free completely from subservience to the tyrannical ultimatums of secularism and moral relativism. As clergy, we need to encourage all each other to remember that we have been entrusted with a sacred duty. And our bishops, occupy the chairs of the Apostles, must fulfill their ministry by always be firmly ensconced in those chairs. They need to faithfully and lovingly teach, sanctify and rule the Church in ways that are clear, concise and consistent with the whole truth of Christ. Thus, even a little self-induced sedevacantist on their part (e.g., “I do not want to alienate people by seeming to be too decisive or dogmatic on this issue, so I will merely teach and sanctify, but not rule”) is intolerable for them, since they have been consecrated to minister as successors of St. Peter and the Apostles.
May God, in His compassionate mercy, grant that all of us clergy become more united in our docility to the whole truth of the Gospel. And may the Holy Spirit graciously infuse in us the grace to more fully appreciate the seriousness of our obligation to use modern high-speed communications to expeditiously investigate and decisively correct any liturgical, moral or catechetical abuse, which molests or deforms the consciences and characters of those who want to remain faithful to the whole truth of God.
In summary, we must note that no Church community can grow in holiness as long as its leaders allow appeals to ambiguity and obfuscation. Such appeals only serve to perpetuate the perverted pastoral practice of informing the faithful, and then betraying and abandoning them, in order to appease the cynical sophists of secularism. And the promotion and perpetuation of such confusion with regard to clear teachings of the Church denies people access to that authentic conversion, which is required for souls both to be delivered from evil and to grow in the reconciling righteousness whereby, in Christ, we are given access to the Kingdom of God. Denying souls such access to God’s gracious and regenerative mercy is the ultimate injustice.