Friday, June 26, 2020

Dear Bishop Barron

Your Excellency:

This is in response to your Word on Fire piece on the 24th inst. entitled, Why 'What Are the Bishops Doing About It?' Is the Wrong Question.  In this piece, you address those who criticize you for not taking concrete action in response to the violent attacks on Catholic monuments.  I beg you would allow me to speak plainly to you concerning your remarks.

In this article, you state:
Over and again, perhaps a hundred times, commentators said some version of this: “Well, bishop, making a statement is all fine and good, but what are you and the other bishops going to do about it?” Now almost none of these questioners made a concrete suggestion as to what precisely they had in mind, but I will gladly admit that there are certain practical steps that bishops can and should take in regard to such a situation. We can indeed lobby politicians, encourage legislative changes, and call community leaders together, all of which bishops have been doing. But what struck me again and again as I read these rather taunting remarks is that these folks, primarily lay men and women, are putting way too much onus on the clergy and not nearly enough on themselves.

You then go on to cite to the documents of Vatican II, particularly Lumen Gentium, to argue that the secular arena is primarily the province of the laity, whose business it is to bring to the world the teaching, direction and sanctification they have received from their pastors and bishops.

Let me tell you, Excellency, how this situation looks to us in the pews.  One problem with the foregoing -- and it pains me to have to say this -- is that, for the past half-century, we have not been getting solid Catholic teaching, direction and sanctification from many of our shepherds.  The Pew survey that came out last August, showing that a majority of Catholics disbelieve in the Real Presence, proves this.  You yourself characterized this as "a massive failure of the [C]hurch] in carrying out its own tradition."  I submit to you that this massive failure has culminated, not only in the existence of the present crisis, but also, during the course of it, in the conspicuous absence of most of our bishops.  Most of you rushed to cancel public worship before the secular authorities did, without apparently seeking the least restrictive alternatives to deal with the coronavirus, and this during the holiest season of the year!  Most of you went to ground, surfacing only long enough to lock us out of our churches, and anticipate the resumption of public Masses by prohibiting the reception of Holy Communion on the tongue.  Some of you -- God help you -- ordered your priests to deprive us not only of Holy Communion and the Sacrament of Penance, but also Extreme Unction.  Very few of you have raised a voice against discriminatory crackdowns on public worship by local authorities.  All this is, quite simply, a scandal.  We in the pews can exercise our civil remedies to protest the violation of our constitutionally guaranteed rights; but why should public officials take any notice of us when, by your silence, you, our shepherds, give the impression of being totally fine with it?  

The other difficulty with your comments quoted above is that your puzzlement about what we want you to do in this crisis seems to be rooted in a purely worldly view of what bishops are for.  It is true that we do need you to use the greater visibility that you have as heads of your local churches and to preach, denounce attacks and even get on the phone to the governor.  We assume, in fact, that you have enough prestige with the secular authorities to have a better shot at getting direct access to the governor than any of us would, and we would like you to use that prestige.  Most of us do not have the bully pulpit, or the moral authority that you have as successors of the Apostles, to admonish public officials who fail to work for the common good.

But it is not primarily in engaging the secular world that we most need you to be active.  You well know, as St. Paul tells us in Chapter 6, verse 12 of his Letter to the Ephesians, that "our wrestling is not against flesh and blood; but against principalities and powers, against the rulers of the world of this darkness, against the spirits of wickedness in the high places."  It is blindingly obvious that preternatural forces are currently running riot throughout the world.  The frenzied attacks we are now seeing on peace and good order, on all sorts of civil monuments, on Catholic monuments, and on flesh-and-blood human beings, are clearly demonically driven.  It is plain that the battle is not merely in the secular realm that is the province of the laity, and that the attacks on churches and statues of saints are really attacks on the Catholic Church for which they stand.  Who ought to have something to say and to do about such things more than the bishops?  More than anything else, we need you to take the fight to the real instigator of all this chaos: satan, the prince of this world.  This, surely, is why you chose to receive Holy Orders in the first place!

In your piece, you state that nobody has given you any concrete suggestions as to what bishops ought to do in the present crisis.  I don't think that you, who studied for many years for the priesthood, and who have been ordained for nearly a quarter of a century, really need my suggestions; but since you ask, I will tell you what I would like you and all bishops to be doing right now:

- Make yourself personally visible with public exhortations to the faithful, for the comfort and encouragement of your flocks.  Put in appearances at your parishes.  Right now, a lot of us are not even sure if our bishops, who are supposed to be our spiritual fathers, are alive or dead.  We feel alone and fatherless.

- Break out your Rituale Romanum and pronounce blessings and prayers of exorcism over your dioceses, and select priests to join you in these efforts.  Do this publicly, so that we can see you doing it and take heart.

- Go out to all your parishes, and every other important and prominent place in your dioceses, and clean house with holy water and exorcised salt.  See that as many of the faithful as possible are equipped with these and other sacramentals.

- Organize and personally lead Eucharistic processions, especially to bad neighborhoods and places that have particularly suffered from rioting.

- Order regular 40 Hours in all your parishes and, where possible, encourage parishes to institute perpetual adoration.  In fact, see that perpetual adoration is instituted in parishes in such a way that everyone in the diocese is within reasonable traveling distance of an adoration chapel.

- Proclaim days of fast and abstinence.

- Proclaim prayer campaigns, particularly of the daily Rosary.  With all due respect, to say that we ought to be doing that on our own anyway is a cop-out.  The idea is to get people to do it who aren't doing it now.  This is what fathers are supposed to do!

Notice that these are all things that we in the pews cannot do.  Only bishops, and their delegates among priests, can do them.  If bishops and priests fail to do what they were ordained to do, and what only they can do, how will they explain this to God when the time comes for them to stand before Him in judgment?

Excellency, yours is an awesome and fearful responsibility, and I thank God for having made me a woman and thus given me the absolute certainty that such responsibility will never be thrust upon me.  But I am floored by your weak response to those who are calling upon you to exercise the power and authority that is specially yours as a successor of the Apostles.  This is not just a secular fight, purely within the lay domain.  This is the gates of hell trying to prevail against the Church, and trying to do it right now.  It is not merely a negative trend, but a deadly, dire emergency.  We need you to do something about it.  The good shepherd lays down his life for his sheep.

Be assured of my daily prayers for all priests and bishops.

Monday, June 22, 2020

Why the Bishops Are Letting the Mobs Destroy Statues

In his latest video, about the destruction of statues of Bl. Junipero Serra in California at the hands of howling mobs of satanic tools, Taylor Marshall asks a good question: where are the bishops while all this is going on? Why aren’t they out there denouncing this destruction?  Why don’t they do something substantive about it?

What we are seeing now is the chickens of aggiornamento coming home to roost.  The point of aggiornamento was never to open the modern world up to the influence of the Church, but to open the Church up to the influence of the modern world.  And the defining characteristic of modernity is the rejection of God, and therefore the rejection also of man as a creature made in His image and likeness, possessing a high dignity that is worthy of respect.  What could possibly go wrong?

The modernist experiment has created churchmen who are not champions of Jesus Christ and His Church, but little men who occupy themselves with vain and worldly pursuits like global warming, women’s ordination and the accumulation of vast wealth, and leave the flocks to be picked over by the wolves.  Since modernism teaches us to place the city of man ahead of the City of God, it has left us, not only with men who have made themselves irrelevant, but also with men who are entirely in the tank for the Church’s secularist persecutors.  

When the Church is full of enemies and weaklings from within, she is defenseless against attacks from without.  We saw this graphically illustrated during the coronapanic, when Catholics all over the world were deprived of Mass and the Sacraments during the holiest time of the year, while secular pursuits were allowed to continue.  We are seeing it graphically illustrated now, when the enemies of Christian civilization are trying to overthrow governments here and abroad by force of violence.  We are seeing that the iconoclasm aimed at monuments to civic figures was never going to stop there, but ultimately has as its goal the destruction of the Catholic Church.  And we are seeing that decades of modernism within the Church has left the gates of the sheepfold wide open to the wolves.  

Of course we have bishops doing nothing about the wanton, demonically-driven destruction of monuments to saints!  Why should this come as a surprise, when, for decades, bishops have themselves been in the forefront of destruction of the Church and her treasures?  Who is it that has been bulldozing altars, tearing down statues and Communion rails, whitewashing frescoes and filling dumpsters with beautiful vestments and vessels and altar missals?  Who is it that has been building churches that look like warehouses and factories, instead of monuments to the supernatural?  Who is it that has supervised the wrecking of the liturgy, replacing Latin with street vernacular and chant with campfire ditties and Broadway show tunes, and turning the priest around to face the people as if he is doing a nightclub act?  Who is it that has failed to safeguard the flocks against bad teaching, until substantial numbers of Catholics contracept, divorce and remarry, shack up, accept same-sex “marriage” and disbelieve in the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist?  Who is it that has been trying to filter traditional Catholic men out of seminaries?  None of this has been the work of Antifa or Black Lives Matter.  This has been the work of men within the Church.

After all this, should we really wonder why, when hordes of hooting barbarians pull down statues of one of the founding fathers of Catholicism in the United States, the local bishops are taking no action?  Why would they take action?

In modernism, we thought we were getting this shiny new ideology that would allow us to make our peace with the world and yet remain Catholic.  We thought that we were all grown up now and mature enough to have things our own way, and that having our own way was the path to true happiness.  We thought we could make our enemies love us by divesting ourselves of our spiritual weaponry and disregarding the “outdated” warnings of our forebears and presenting ourselves unarmed and vulnerable.  Now we are being allowed to learn, in the school of hard knocks, that “updating” the Church really only means making it easier and more convenient for our enemies to take us out.  We are having to learn from experience that the prince of this world is still a liar, and that his minions that hated the Founder of our Faith before us, still hate Him, and us.  We are having to learn that it is not the Church that needs to fall into line with the world, but the world that needs to fall in line with the Church.  And we are having to learn that the modernist ideology has neither help nor consolation to give us in times of crisis.

That, I humbly submit, is the answer to Taylor Marshall’s question.  And I humbly submit also that we need to begin to deserve to have God send us true shepherds.  Step one is to do as our Lady asked at Fatima over a hundred years ago, and start praying the Rosary every single day.  As Taylor Marshall is fond of saying, and he’s absolutely right: if you’re not praying the Rosary every day, you’re not on the team.