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.


  1. Well said, I can only hope that they will act.

  2. Obviously, the priests at St. Joan's read your blog since they're fulfilling almost 100% of your suggestions. Honestly, Anita, since I live next door to them, I can testify with some authority that those three guys are working 24/7. It exhausting to witness.

    Bishop Barron has never been on my list of someone to take seriously. That's just me.

    As to the lack of catechesis? After 9 years of teaching catechism to 7th - 12th graders, and also teaching on the RCIA team (years ago for both), I can also say with some authority that instruction in the Catholic faith is shockingly about zero - or even below that.

    Check this out. So cool:

    1. Ha! I’m glad to hear SOMEBODY is listening to me! I have long maintained that the world would be such a better place if everybody would just listen to ME. I don’t doubt the priests at St. Joan’s are putting in more than their fair share of work. That’s what true shepherds with fatherly hearts do. Too many men in the hierarchy have the hearts, not of fathers, but of middle managers.

      I like that Rosary novena. I pray the Rosary every day for that same intention.

  3. Most bishops fear men more than God. They will answer for the "Eucharistic famine" most (but not all) caused in their dioceses. The ones who banned Penance and Anointing of the Sick even more so. Bishops will answer for following the secular Caesars and giving to the children of the Church a stone when they asked for food. I am ashamed to be a Catholic priest.

    1. If you are a Catholic priest, then you should direct your energies, not to being ashamed, but to redeeming the title and picking up the slack. Ask your bishop for the authority to say the prayers of exorcism over the diocese! I would feel a lot better if I knew priests were doing this in my diocese.

  4. I very much agree with you, particularly about the fact that the Bishops have abdicated their responsibility to 'teach the catechism'.

    He will quibble and equivocate because you haven't cited the bl---y conciliar documents 32 times but there has to be-- as you point out, he wasn't born yesterday-- a small still voice in his head telling him to shape up and be bold.

    1. Marc, so wonderful to read your pronouncement on all the documents of VCII.

      I assume you are speaking "ex cathedra?"

      There were abuses that came from some of the documents of the Council, but that is because they were hijacked, used as disinformation and heterodoxy and heteropraxis after the Council by errant and even heretical clerics, "theologians" and experts. What they actually say and what was fed to the faithful are two different things. Opinions became a twisted reality.

      But according to you somewhere along the line I guess the Church lost her way and was deprived of the Holy Spirit? Kind of like some protestants say, "The Church was the Church of Jesus, until Constantine got involved, or Peter Waldo came around or Luther came to know the true meaning of the Scriptures.

      You're entitled to your opinion but an opinion doesn't make something true. By the authority given to you by Christ, the Church is wrong and you're right. I get it now.

    2. Nostra Aetate and Dignitatis Humanae clearly contradict Church teaching. While its true they did hijack the documents, those two were clearly bad from the beginning.

  5. A modern Catherine of Siena. Excellent. Please keep advocating for us. I will pray for you.

  6. You don’t get it, Anita. You don’t just dismiss someone else’s issues or concerns. But then maybe you do. Compassion is a virtue.

    You seem to have all the answers: let me share the reality with you.

    An exorcism strictly speaking is not “done” over a place like a diocese but over individuals. You watch too many bad movies and TV shows. Don't get your theology from Hollywood.

    Instead,read a good commentary on Canon Law and the Rite of Exorcism instead.

    Do you find Church established criteria of possession in your diocese? Do you know what these are? You might think so but again your words betray you don’t know what you're talking about. Whole dioceses are not possessed even if there may be terrible things happening there. But this does not mean possession. Certainly, prayers of deliverance can be said over places.

    By saying that a diocese is possessed you discount the signs of God's grace and action in many faithful, devout Christ-loving priests, religious and lay folk. You don't have that right.

    It might be good to spend some of your energy wasted on ire and outrage in prayer.

    Since you are a lawyer and lay member of the Order of Preachers you might approach St Raymond Penafort.

    1. Anybody can come on here and claim to be a Catholic priest. You claim to be a Catholic priest. You don’t give a full name, and your blogger profile shows you with two blogs, one from 2014, neither of which has any content. You provide no information that makes it possible to check your credentials. That, plus the substance of your comments, makes me suspect you are not in fact a Catholic priest.

  7. Bishop Barren is controlled opposition. He's part of the Modernist cabal that have taken over the Church hierarchy.

  8. Am going to ignore From Khoury's comment insofar as it was addressed to me because he has ignored what I wrote, substituting his own nonsense.