15 January 2019

Episcopal Resignation (2)

In the current period of crisis within the Church Militant, bishops and religious superiors commonly explain that they are unwilling to put their heads above the parapet and to criticise the current management of the Latin Church because they have, they feel, a moral obligation to stay where they are so as to to protect their subjects. It would be mere self indulgence to let off their own steam when others would have to do the suffering.

It is easy for those of you who, like me, who have no such obligation, to be critical.

But what about the position when a bishop is just coming up to the age of seventy five?

How do things stand then? If he speaks out, then, before breakfast on the morning of his birthday his resignation will indeed have been accepted. But, well, his card was probably marked anyway, and his resignation would pretty certainly have been accepted without a great deal of delay. The delatores would have done their job!

So why should he not be frank?

Why should he not be frank and decline to submit his resignation? [vide the previous section of this piece, posted a couple of days ago.]

Think of the scenes of mayhem and panic from the top to the bottom of the marbled halls, in the crowded bars and jacuzzis, of the Domus Sanctae Marthae!

Of course, it will not be difficult for Roman functionaries to devise some canonical way of hoofing him out. That handsome, youthful Cardinal Coco will know exactly how to do it!

There's nothing worse, after all, than Naked Tyranny!!

But ... there is something worse: covert tyranny! Bullies fixing things behind the scenes.

My Lord, there are worse things to do than to go out in a cloud of glory ... your Lordship is in good health ... and in good voice ... and articulate ... your Lordship could hit the headlines with a Vigano-style Testimony!!!

My Lord ... you know it makes sense.

Go for it!


Tony V said...

After watching the USCCB meeting in Baltimore, it occurred to me that if I were a US bishop I'd be talking to the lawyers to see who actually owns the property and what the legal basis for booting me out would be. The idea that a pope can deprive a bishop of his see strikes me as very problematic from an ecclesiologic point of view (notwithstanding that nearly all non-Chinese bishops these days are appointed by the pope, a separate but related problem). But what is the legal situation--keeping in mind that the US courts are reluctant to meddle in such matters, as we've seen with the PECUSA schisms.

I'm not advocating schism, but there are worse things.

Donna Bethell said...

Bravo! But why shouldn't every bishop, active or retired, make a Vigano-style testimony? They should all say what they know about their own behavior, coverups, and confidentiality deals and what other bishops have done if those bishops won't come clean (Matt 18:15-17). They don't need investigations to do this. Any bishop who refuses to make a statement should resign. If a bishop has nothing to say, he should state that for the record. This would put us a long way toward cleansing the Church and beginning to restore some trust in the hierarchy.

Thorfinn said...

From Rev. Bryan Houghton's continuously contemporary novel, Mitre and Crook - the response of an ailing, troublesome bishop to a gentle suggestion from Rome that he might step down:

Dear Archbishop Klushko,

I am deeply moved to learn that His Holiness should take a personal interest in the state of my health. It is true that I am not expected to live very long but my condition is more inconvenient than painful and my mind is in no way affected.

It is very kind of His Holiness to suggest that I should unburden myself of the care of my diocese. Please assure His Holiness that it the inspiration of his example which gives me the courage to labour in the Lord’s vineyard to the bitter end.

Believe me, my dear Archbishop,

Your Grace’s obedient servant in Dmno,


Mick Jagger Gathers No Mosque said...

How the great Roman, Alfredo Cardinal Ottaviano, publicly responded to Pope Paul VI's decision to decapitate Cardinals over 80 has some worthy observations:

According to the Pope’s November 24 Motu Proprio, beginning next January no eighty -year-old cardinal will be able to participate in the election of the Pontiff. Presently, these persons amount to twenty-five. Among them is
saintly Cardinal Ottaviani, who celebrated his eightieth birthday on October 29, 1970.

Question: What does His Eminence think about this decision of Paul VI?

Answer: More important than my personal opinion, which could be deemed biased because of my age, I should like to convey the feelings of canons, prelates, and even renowned hierarchs who are unaware of the current problems of the Church. Undoubtedly they all are impressed by this unusual and expeditious way of enacting this grave disruption in the high ecclesiastical hierarchy. This radical change was implemented without previous consultation with experts and specialists, at least to observe the formalities to a certain extent.

Question: Why did Your Eminence say "unusual?” Perhaps because no one expected such a big upsetting decision?

Answer: It is unusual that, through a Motu Proprio, without previous advice, the pages of the constitution Vacante Sede Apostolica and those of the Code of Canonical Law, which regulated the position of the cardinals, both as to the cooperation they owe the Pontiff for the rule of the world Church, and as to their most important ministry as top electors of the Head of the Universal Church, are suppressed. This Motu Proprio then, is an act of abolition of a multicentennial tradition. It rejects the practice followed by all ecumenical councils. Regarding the age limit [the Most Eminent Cardinal spoke calmly and composedly, without any sign of uneasiness], should old age be respected, we would be able to sow the seed whose fruits you yourselves would harvest. But here respect was laid aside. ... It is precisely the motivation of age which the Motu Proprio invokes to justify such a grave regulation. In fact, along the centuries, a principle was always deemed immutable, namely, that old people are a firm safeguard of the Church and its best advisors, for they are rich in experience, wisdom, and doctrine. If, in a given case, these gifts were not present, it sufficed to examine the circumstances concerning this particular person to determine whether disease or mental disturbance made him inept, this check belonging to skillful experts. In Holy Writ,” [the Most Eminent Cardinal was astonishingly bright], "the value of age and the aged are often mentioned. This shows how constructive are the cooperation and guarantee of advanced age in the administration of holy things and in right and efficient pastoral administration. In addition, let us not forget the glory of Pontiffs, who, in their old age, enlightened the Church with their wisdom and sanctity. Finally, when we cardinals are in our eighties, to our credit is a curriculum vitae full of merits, experience, and doctrines at the service of the Church. The Church cannot afford to lose these advantages by accepting only the cooperation of younger and less-experienced people.

Mick Jagger Gathers No Mosque said...

Question : Eminence, could not this discrimination of octogenarian cardinals by chance affect the Pontiff himself someday?

Answer: Certainly, for the same criterion must be analogically applied to the case of the sovereign Pontiff, be he an octogenarian or be his acts questioned due to age.

Question : Finally, Eminence: What was your impression about this decision of the Pope?

Answer: You will see. I felt flattered each time Paul VI, verbally or in writing, called me u il mio maestro ” (“my master”), but now this act of laying me aside completely is openly contradictory with his autographed letter of October 29. In that, he congratulated me for my eightieth birthday, using affectionate phrases and flattering felicitations for my long, faithful, everyday services to the Church.


Now, Prelates are fired and Popes take retirement and settle into the Old Popes Home in Rome and we all pretend that the slogan of the modern church -Everything is different, nothing has changed - is reasonable.

Dear Father. THANK YOU for these last two brave and necessary posts.

John F. Kennedy said...

I always have wondered why Bishops would submit a resignation when requested?

"You want me to submit a letter of Resignation? No! Why? I am a successor of the Apostles and NOT a employee of the See of Rome. I have a divinely appointed obligation to the People of God.

www.inquisition.ca said...


Ignatius, Cornwall said...

I fear I have little trust in the present-day episcopacy in the UK. I've heard them on the radio and seen them on TV. Mealy-mouthed. Mostly, they do not seem the valiant stuff of the martyrs. (Nor, perhaps, am I -- but I'm not a Bishop or Cardinal who is supposed to be bravely standing-up for the Faith unto death!) Nor do they seem particularly Catholic . . . . well, not exactly wet or trendy C of E image, but certainly not strong Catholic MEN like those chaps for whom the recusant families' priest-hole were fashioned. Our present lot are career men -- politician-like, tending towards the politically-correctly obfuscating waffle, rather than crying out loudly in defence of the millions of the murdered unborn or explaining the Dogmas of the Holy Faith.
Of course, there are worse. The clerical perverts and criminals, who consolidate their evil with the multiple sacrileges of hypocritically continuing in exercising their priesthood and receiving Our Blessed Lord's Body and Blood in a state of mortal sin -- although I suppose many have already become unbelievers. The poor Church in the U.S. seems particularly afflicted -- her bishops offenders of shielding them. And Rome? Seems full of wicked men and riddled with un-Christian corruption!! Germany -- half heretical, egged-on by . . . . BUT, ENOUGH!! In short, the Western Church is in a parlous state which has been growing at least since the Second Vatican Council, with its horrific, Protestantising "spirit" and culminating with the disgraceful manner in which she is being directed by the present Pontiff.
No wonder most of our U.K. bishops are such poor specimens of un-muscular Catholics -- AND perhaps we are fortunate that at least they are not as utterly rotten as those in some other places of growing ill-repute.

Christopher Boegel said...

Cardinals and Bishops of the McCarrick death cult.

PM said...

Benedict XVI's removal of Bishop Morris of Toowoomba, Australia, must have caused shockwaves. Having interviewed Morris at length, Benedict concluded that he was theologically incompetent ('sadly, his theological formation is inadequate for the office of bishop'). As Sir Arnold spluttered to Sir Humphrey, 'you can't start sacking civil servants for incompetence. You never know where it might end.'

Bernard Brandt said...

You know, I once thought that the verb επισκοπώ meant 'to oversee'.

Silly me. It would appear that most RC bishops are parsing it as 'to overLOOK'.

Cheers, Fr. H.