I have just seen Fr Zed's post quoting a theologian friend quoting Cardinal Burke. All three write splendidly and are making exactly a point I made in my earlier post, just today.
It is so true that the heterodox are very much better at organising than the orthodox. Remember how the Rhine Confederacy sprang its early coup at Vatican II, and how long it was before the Coetus Internationalis Patrum got organised. And with what results.
Orthodox Catholics do need to get noisy. Like you all did during the Arian Crisis, when so many of the Bishops, good Company Men, needed a bit of prodding. Do it again now. You are the Plebs Sancta Dei, and you each have the Anointing (Chrisma) of the Holy Spirit (See First Letter of S John 2:18-27).
Not long ago, a priest working in the Roman Curia told me how it is that poor bishops get nominated. Enquiries are sent out asking about priests who are on the lists for consideration. Orthodox people send conscientious and honest assessments. Heterodox people decide which hopeful is their best 'party candidate', and then give him a totally glowing, completely uncritical, write-up.
The heterodox know exactly what they want, and they are ruthless in going for it. They are driven by a very determined Spirit whose name you know.
When did you last write to your Bishop? When did you last encourage a friend to do so?
30 May 2016
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"When did you last write to your Bishop ?"
About two years ago, Fr, I wrote to two Bishops to complain bitterly about the state of The Liturgy.
Neither Bishop bothered to reply.
Says it all, really.
I hear you, Zephyrinus, but which of them did you invite to dinner?
I don't know who the three candidates recommended for the recently filled vacancy of my archdiocese were, nor how their names were selected, but it has been widely reported that the person who was eventually named as archbishop, a fellow named Blase Cupich, was not on the list of three names that was submitted to our beloved Holy Father.
I probably won't be writing any letters to Bishop Blase. However, my wife and I recently wrote a letter of support to a local priest who has courageously defended Church teaching on things like marriage and has been targeted for hate mail as a result.
I'm sure Father Zed and Cardinal Burke mean well, but by definition heterodox bishops who were selected by others who are heterodox will be neither receptive nor responsive to letters from the orthodox. Isn't that the lesson of V2 and its aftermath? "Renewal" over the heads of the faithful?
In past years I did favor my local ordinaries with my thoughts from time to time, without ever receiving the courtesy of any response. I have to assume that if they meant to encourage support from the like of me, they would have responded in some way.
Oh, my goodness, Father we used to write and write in the 70's and 80's. When they wouldn't let my son make his first Confession before his First Holy Communion because the priests and nuns in our parish said, "They cannot sin, they're too young." I wrote the Apostolic Delegate here in the U.S. and showed the letter to our Pastor, etc. but they all said, "We disagree, respectfully." Then, after many, many years of writing I heard a Shepherd and followed, Archbishop Lefebvre! Christ NEVER left us orphans!! Deo Gratias!!!
They cock their pens
And write their pappy,
Spill their ink
On trees once sappy.
They do not fight
With soul and might,
They'd rather sit
And letter write,
Oh, these, our lords,
Who give their lives
For bloody petitions.
Back when I was part of an EF-promoting group, I wrote a very amicable letter to each bishop in my country, offering my group's assistance with EF-related doings. I only ever received a reply from one of them (the most hereodox of the bunch) simply informing me in 2-3 sentences that I had made a mistake in his title and that the army had no need of such things.
Fr H, cold comfort farm awaits laity who look for support from a large percentage of orthodox prelates of our time. Was it not their very silence post-Vatican 11 regarding the activities of the self-proclaimed ‘loyal dissenters’ of the past fifty years that has brought the Church to its knees? Even less comfort awaits those orthodox prepared to depend upon the outcome of a game of Papal thrones. If a young dynamic and courageous orthodox Pope were elected next, what difference would that make? The Bergoglio,Kasper et al types would simply carry on as before. When will some person of substance call Pope Francis out to his face? Does not anything less amount to fiddling while Francis happily burns Rome ? What sort of Church is unfolding for my four grandchildren under the age of six? What will it benefit them if orthodoxy prevails in a hundred years time?
Write to my bishop? Not a recommended option here in this diocese (Richmond). The bishop has a strict policy of simply forwarding any letter to your parish priest. Chain of command, you know.
In our day too many orthodox Catholics conflate obedience with passivity. They see challenging the leadership as too Protestant (or something), not something good Catholics do. "St. Catherine had a calling to challenge the pope, I in my humility submit to the hierarchy and trust in Providence." Etcetera.
They complain a lot, and then make a virtue of timidity.
I blame excess centralization and a "high theology" of ordination. The locals have little part in the traditioning process anymore. It breeds passivity.
The Greco-Slavic churches have many problems, but this is not one of them. Their congregational streak and "lower theology" of ordination doesn't breed that passivity. With them, lousy enthronements have consequences. Of course they are given to schisms - perhaps there is a via media.
It has always been so with that element of the heterodox in the Church. Pride is one of the seven deadly sins after all.
My own line, and I in no way a theologian, is to start with the Teaching of the Catholic Church as expressed in the Magisterium and be clear about that. Then we can decide how to deal with the undoubted problems which exist around that. If we slip up then we have Confession, and a firm purpose of amendment to deal with that slip up.
What we cannot accept as Catholics is that the doctrine of the Church be changed either in declaration or in practise or in implication.
As has been said before, no one has to be a Catholic. It is a matter of individual choice!
I write my Cardinal Archbishop at least once a year, using the annual Appeal envelope, and explain that I will not contribute to his campaign until he does his job of defending the Holy Eucharist from reception by politicians who are notoriously pro-abortion. Until then, I will give directly to worthy charities. I guess he doesn't care about my money because he has never responded or reformed.
I have ceased to subscribe to the Rhine conspiracy theory even if it a convenient label. It is true that the Germanic tribes adapt well but with a hundred thousand foreign service men in their country, at the time of the Council, it is difficult to take the conspiracy seriously today despite decades of brainwashing on the subject.
It might be more accurate to describe the "Germans" as proxy warriors in 1962. A similar process can now be identified in the Middle East today but unlike against the Catholic Church, the proxy war against Islam has failed.
I wrote a couple of years ago to a most orthodox and energetic bishop (not of my own diocese) who had been undermined by his national bishops' conference - or rather, by its PR-releasing secretary - in a matter where he had affirmed the Catholic faith and its moral teaching by upholding Canon 915, yet the Bishop's Conference 'decided' rather to uphold the personal sensitivities of the national politician who had complained to the Archbishop of his 'ill-treatment' by the bishop i.e. the bishop's courageous censure of him in a letter the politician had publicised.
I wrote to the faithful Bishop to express my heartfelt thanks for his principled action. I was teeth-clenchingly reticent about my views on the proclamation by the Bishops' Conference. This required a usefully penitential degree of self-restraint.
My letter was certainly only one of many to the Bishop at that time, yet I received very quickly a most courteous personal reply from the Bishop's secretary assuring me that the Bishop had indeed read my letter and greatly appreciated my words of support and encouragement.
I will not say in which country this happened. It is irrelevant. The curious may research the Archdiocese of Outopos.
Fr. mentioned "prodding" as in the days of Arius. I think we're a little beyond dinner invitations at this point. Begin with letters. If that fails, then....
My first letter to a good bishop in 1969 resulted in his arranging a meeting of other concerned Catholics with the Bishop's superintendent of schools to remove the new catechisms we knew would destroy the faith of our children. The superintendent monsignor agreed but said he couldn't make the newly independent religious sisters obey, so that was that! Another time, my lettter to a liberal bishop reminded him of his public promise in the secular newspaper that he would give traditional Catholics an indult Catholic Mass, and only through the grace of God and a willing Irish priest was that successful. I've found threats usually work better with a bad bishop if he knows other Catholics are aware of your statement or letter. I once publicly threatened a bad bishop if he again interfered with our prolife activities to influence our state legislature. A successful threat can be realistic denial of his resources or bad publicity for the bishop, and of course should be used only when nice communications accompanied by prayers do not prove successful for a serious request. Repeated threats and shouting are resented by by most people, but they are even more distasteful to a bad bishop. Sometimes it works when nothing else can.
John Vasc is right: it is as important to express support for faithful Bishops and priests as it is to call out the straying. I recently seized an opportunity to speak to my Bishop, to thank him for "holding the line" with respect to the recent kerfuffle about teaching on marriage, and I think he was pleased (and somewhat surprised) by my words - which made me wonder what kind of opinions his mailbox usually contains!
Wrote Sayedna at the beginning of his pontificate to wish him many years and ask if he could put Seraphim of Sarov on our calendar. He said he didn't have the power to do so, but if I wanted to pursue the matter, I could write the Holy Synod in Antioch.
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