|Choosing the hard path: Athanasius contra mundum.|
I know it's easy for me to say this. I also know that what I am about to say will sound harsh. But I am going to say it anyway. Those of you to whom this does not apply know who you are, and know I am not talking to you. If it does apply to you...you also know who you are.
I hear it often said that, despite the headline-making scoundrels in the hierarchy of the Catholic Church, there are nevertheless many faithful bishops, priests and deacons.
Where are they?
As I shade my eyes with my hand and scan the ecclesiastical landscape, straining my sight toward the horizon, I find it hard to make very many of them out. As I cup my hand to my ear, listening with all my might for the rolling thunder of the Gospel, I hear an isolated voice here and there; but mostly, what I get is the chirping of crickets.
You orthodox men in Holy Orders, why are so many of you undetectable? Why are you hiding? What are you afraid of?
Are you afraid of being suspended? Are you afraid of being called on the carpet by the bishop? Are you afraid of trumped-up accusations? Are you afraid the contributions will dry up? Are you afraid of the powerful feminist crowd at the chancery? Are you afraid of being transferred to a remote corner of the Dry Tortugas?
Of course, nobody wants to have to face any of these things. But facing up to such was part of the deal you signed up for; and in the Sacraments of Confirmation and Holy Orders, you were given the supernatural assistance and the authority you need to do it. Why don't you use these? Can you really serve the Church from under your beds? Are you really doing your flocks and the Church any good by neglecting the graces you were given, and allowing yourselves to be muzzled in order to avoid repercussions?
Redemption and salvation are founded upon suffering. Does Christ not enjoin us to take up our crosses and follow Him? St. Paul rejoiced in his sufferings, filling up those things that were wanting in the sufferings of Christ in his flesh, for His Body, which is the Church (Colossians 1:25). And Tertullian is credited with the saying that martyrs are the seedbed of the Church. Has the Church ever taken root in a mission field, from Rome to the Americas, that was not first consecrated by the suffering and even blood of Christians, especially priests? What if these martyrs had refused suffering?
If you men in Holy Orders have to suffer for Christ's sake, do you honestly suppose God cannot make anything out of your sufferings? Do you honestly suppose God will not support you in doing the right thing? Do you honestly suppose He will not reward you for doing the right thing, either in this life or in the next? Have you forgotten about the supernatural order, in which your sufferings draw down graces upon your flocks? Put it another way:
Do you do your sheep more good by suffering unjustly; or by letting us see you stand around, mute and impotent, wringing your hands, while the wolves run riot amongst us?
I get that you have to pick your battles. But many of you have gotten so used to passing up opportunities to fight in the name of "picking your battles" that now there is no battle you will fight. Many of you have gotten so used to keeping your mouths shut that now silence is your default setting, even when you should speak up. So the wolves do whatever they want, secure in the knowledge that there will be little or no push-back from the shepherds.
Let me ask you this: what if ALL the priests who labor under the rule of modernist bishops did the right thing? If these bishops order you to suppress the Gospel you were ordained to preach, are you bound to obey them to that extent? They can't send you ALL to the Dry Tortugas. What if ALL faithful bishops did the right thing without fear or favor? Even if they take ALL of you out, do you really think your courageous example will not inspire others to spring up to take your place?
We live in a time when charity has run cold and very many Catholics -- even many who attend Mass on Sundays and Holy Days -- simply do not believe the content of the Catholic faith. This is obvious from the way they conduct their lives. Our enemies outside the gates do not fail to notice this, and to plan accordingly. This is no time for you who are supposed to be shepherds to be shrinking violets. By keeping your head down and your mouths shut, men in Holy Orders, you avoid repercussions -- for now. But the repercussions that you avoid for yourselves fall on your sheep. How do you expect to explain this to God, when you stand before Him in judgment?