|Curt Stoller commented on IF YOU SOW THE WIND YOU WILL REAP THE WHIRLWIND, THAT IS FUNDAMENTAL COMMON SENSE
I wonder if national bishops conferences destroy the sense of leadership and responsibility of individual bishops by fostering a clubbish mental attitude? George Wiegel, speaking of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops says: “The bishops meet in the ballroom of a large hotel, not in a religious house or institution. They wear business suites, and if one erases from the mind’s eye a sea of Roman collars, the meetings look like . . . meetings of the senior officers of a very large corporation. Weigel goes on to say that what is called debate is not really debate but is a series of poly monolgues governed by “two traffic lights [red yellow,green] which strictly warn a bishop when his speaking. . . time is running out.” [The Courage to be Catholic, 110]. He says that individual speeches often have little in common with speeches that have come before and that a real exchange of views is restricted to executive sessions closed to press and television.
In another place, Weigel notes that the design of the bishop’s national operation, led by Cardinal Dearden of Detroit was based on the recommendations of the management-consultant firm of Booz-Allen Hamilton, which specializes in corporate business. Deardon chose as his first secretary, Joseph Bernardin. It seems that Weigel thinks the entire “consensus” model of decision-making at the USCCB is a dismal failure. Reading between the lines, it seems that Weigel believes that the Vatican II empowerment of individual bishops has now become their emasculation at the hands of national bishops conferences. Not being privy to Weigel’s information I cannot say whether he is right, wrong or somewhere in between. Judging only by the USCCB voting guide, however, I am tempted to believe him since this document sounds very much like something written by a committee. Forgive me this observation, but the document brings to mind the Indian tale of a group of blind men who tried to describe an elephant by each feeling a different part of it. The result was a description that was not anything like a description of an elephant.
It sometimes seems as if the USCCB is caving in to a majoritarian prejudice. There is this idea that what the majority of Catholics think is somehow normative while what any minority in the Catholic Church thinks is somehow dangerous. What disturbs me is how the USCCB advocacy often scorns those Catholics who are trying to live according to Catholic orthodoxy. This is what is happening in the Anglican Church: Blessed are those who covet their neighbors goods and steal into the United States illegally. Woe to those who obey immigration laws and wait patiently for their turn to become Americans. Blessed are those homosexuals who live a life hostile to Christian values. And woe to those homosexuals who seek to live lives of purity and chastity according to the Gospel. Blessed are those who covet their neighbors goods and seek to gain them through political stealth. Woe to those who are content with what they have and do not envy their neighbors goods or good fortune. I am afraid the Anglican Church has given into this idea that because Jesus loved sinners, therefore He loved sin. There is this idea that Jesus loved swindlers, prostitutes, adulterers, thieves “because” He loved their sins. Someone today had the audacity to tell me that if Jesus were alive today, He would probably prefer the company of abortion doctors because Jesus was attracted to sinners. Jesus was attracted to sinners to save them from sin. He didn’t like sin for sin’s sake anymore than a physician loves diseases as diseases. Something I wonder whether some of this Anglican liberalism hasn’t seeped into the USCCB. If I am off base here I apologize.
During a homily, when a liberal priest says: “Jesus loved sinners;” I hold my breath. To just say that Jesus loved sinners is to falsify the Gospel by omission. When a priest says: “Jesus loved sinners,” the liberals in church are taking that as a complete thought. The orthodox Catholics are mentally adding that Jesus loved sinners in order to save them from sin. And the priest seems to be pleasing both groups. But are priests here to please the majority? It seems we are still only getting half of the message of Jesus. After all, the lost sheep was found and the Prodigal Son did come home. Yes, St. Matthew was a tax collector. But I seriously doubt that he kept that extorion trade going while he followed Jesus. Listening to modern homilies I sometimes get the impression that what is being taught is that God is so merciful that morality doesn’t matter anymore. Or that God is so merciful that the Gospel means nothing except that we should be polite and politically correct. Is that what Jesus and the martyrs died for . . . “I’m OK, you’re OK” ?????