BISHOPS SHOULD ACT: MORAL LEADERSHIP REQUIRED SAYS PRIEST PUBLISHER
by Father Alphonse deValk
Tuesday, 09 August 11
TORONTO, Ontario, August 9, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) – The cultural warfare about the “normalization” of same-sex “marriage” and the homosexual lifestyle in Ontario’s schools is coming to a head. Our main feature in Catholic Insight’s July/August edition, “Canada’s public and Catholic schools under siege” provides a record, however inadequate, of what has transpired so far in Ontario. It also sets this battle in the context of international events which are rushing towards the same abyss. Finally, it documents Premier McGuinty’s personal efforts in how to subvert Canada’s school system.
Many Canadians continue to underestimate the willful determination, intolerance and even rage with which the partisans of “same-sex marriage” are determined to claim equality and thereby trounce traditional marriage. Alas they meet feeble resistance, not to mention open co-operation. Why is the Church’s voice so weak?
Within the Church there is the destruction wrought by 50 years of dissenting theologians, priests and bishops. Outside the Church, the secularization of society since 1945 has caused a huge apostasy. God seems superfluous and the Church unnecessary. Consequently, many have accommodated themselves to the new trends including the current homosexual culture.
A great weakness of many bishops today is that many will not carry out their duty to prohibit the abuse of the Catholic sacraments. Both laity and priests who publicly oppose major teachings of the Catholic Church are left untouched. While the sexual abuse of teenagers by homosexual clergy has brought changes, they have been a long time coming. A number of dissenting theologians have been brought to heel by local Doctrinal Committees or the Vatican but that, too, usually happens only after many years of delay.
Presently, however, a great difficulty comes with Catholics who no longer accept the full or, perhaps, any moral teaching of the Church, yet decide to remain to agitate for changes. Before the 1962-1965 Council they would have removed themselves from receiving the sacraments. Divorced Catholics who have contracted a new civil union for example, knew they still belonged to the Church even though they could not receive the sacraments.
Today Catholics, especially among politicians and teachers, publicly contradict the Church on contraception, or abortion, or support or live the homosexual lifestyle, yet continue to call themselves “Catholics,” and continue to receive the sacraments. In actual fact, they have cut themselves from the Church (see e.g. 1 John 3).
Canadian Prime Ministers Pierre Trudeau, Jean Chrétien and Paul Martin and Premiers Jean Charest of Quebec and Dalton McGuinty of Ontario are all Catholics who have ex-communicated themselves from the Church for publicly rejecting major moral teachings. Yet, none has been publicly told so by his bishop.
The theology of excommunication holds that bishops don’t actually excommunicate people: they simply declare that a person who claims to be Catholic but acts contrary to Catholic belief in a public way has already severed his or her ties to the Church. Bishops make this fact public to bring the culpable party to his or her senses in the hope he or she may repent from what they have done to themselves. An additional effect of speaking out publicly is that it strengthens the faithful.
The difficulty is that the majority of bishops refuse to carry out their part because they are divided on the issue. Instead of being publicly rebuked, Pierre Trudeau received a tremendous funeral broadcast nationally. Cardinal O’Malley of Boston went Cardinal Turcotte of Montreal one better by giving the renegade Catholic Ted Kennedy a nationally televised funeral with two priest-homilists declaring him to be in heaven!
Early this year New York Governor Andrew Cuomo who is divorced and cohabits with a TV hostess, was given Holy Communion at a well-publicized Mass celebrated by Bishop Howard Hubbard of Albany, as bold a defiance of Church law by a bishop as they come.
On June 24, 2010 New York’s State Senate made same-sex marriage legal with Governor Cuomo signing the Bill into law two hours later. A spokesperson for the Bishop of Brooklyn, where Cuomo has his domicile, announced when asked, “There are no plans to deny Holy Communion to elected officials at this point” (LSN, July 5). Also in New York, state state Senator, Jim Alesi, after voting for the SSM Bill went back to his diocese (Rochester, Bishop Clark) and reported he was warmly received. “When I went up to receive Communion, my priest embraced me” and gave me Holy Communion (LSN, July 12).
Good advice from Archbishop Charles Chaput of Denver, Colorado that Catholic schools should bar homosexual teachers, parents and their children is equally ignored. And there we have it. Obstructionist bishops don’t care. Good bishops mostly remain silent. And the laity get more confused and discouraged every day.
Fr. Alphonse de Valk is the publisher and editor or Catholic Insight magazine. This article has been re-published, slightly modified, from the July/August 2011 edition of Catholic Insight with permission.