I know very little about the French Church, but I do wonder whether it is appropriate to assume too quickly that the Bishop of Quimper has been "massacred" in any sense that calls into question the role of the Holy See.
The known facts suggest that Bishop le Vert may have perhaps been drive to resign by tendencies within his diocese or even among his brother bishops; or, possibly, that he may have been driven to a breakdown.
We have no way of knowing. What I have just written may bear no relation whatsoever to the truth. But, if something like this has happened, there is nothing new about it. Remember Chur. Remember the words of Benedict XVI himself at his Inauguration, about the Wolves who might drive him to desert the flock. The Wolves, as Gerry Adams once said about the IRA, have not gone away.
It is far too easy to hint that Rome or even the Holy Father himself may be the culprits. I think we should put such facile temptations right out of our minds, and not drop hints which are probably unjust. Things are probably more local and more personal. Any moderately confident person can disregard Rome: remember the 'liberal' Bishop of Toowoomba, who simply ignored any letters from Rome, and had quite a run for his money. Much more difficult than enemies across the Ocean or the other side of the Alps are the malevolent within a bishop's own diocese, even malevolent clergy, whom he is consecrated to love and to serve as their unloved Father. And if he is made conscious that his brethren in the Episcopate sympathise with the Wolves, how much more intense the pressures may be. And, if the circling Wolves are successful in harrying him into any state of weakness, how easy it is for them to move in for the kill.
I think the mere possibility of such things may be a sign to all of us that orthodox bishops may be under fearful pressures of which we know little. And divisive events such as Synods can only make matters worse, as the Wolves target any bishop who bears witness to the Deposit of Faith, the Tradition handed down from the Apostles. Just imagine what it must be like, for example, to be an orthodox bishop in Germany.
Prayer, and public support, and intimations to an orthodox bishop of love or even just of plain appreciation, are things we can deliver.
24 January 2015
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Common wolfish tactics in the States:
- A diocesan or Catholic school employee contracts a civil marriage to someone of the same sex; they are terminated for publicly opposing Church teaching; media frenzy quickly turns spotlight onto the bishop.
- A bishop is involved in cleaning up the remains of the abuse scandal inherited from his predecessors. In this messy business, no matter what he does -- testifies, doesn't testify, pays out too much, doesn't pay enough, accepts responsibility for the failings of others or the reverse -- he can easily be vilified in the media.
Now the bishop has 'lost the confidence' of the diocese; donations are withheld; regardless of the justice of the charge, "Wouldn't the diocese be better served by a fresh start?"
One organization has even published a hit list of bishops to target.
How wonderful for these bishops to be persecuted for Christ, but we pray they are allowed to continue their faithful apostolates through age 75 for the good of their flocks before gaining the crown. (And Fr H's advice to support them is well taken.)
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