As the Tables Turn

May 2014

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Remember those days when a week wouldn’t go by without some American bishop publicly criticizing Pope John Paul II for being too rigid, too hardline, too reactionary? Think Raymond Hunthausen, Thomas Gumbleton, Rembert Weakland, Matthew Clark, Howard Hubbard. These outspoken prelates aside, the U.S. episcopacy of the 1980s and 1990s was, generally speaking, characterized by gently left-of-center bishops who took a softer, feel-good approach to Catholic orthodoxy than did the Vatican during the John Paul pontificate. Many of these prelates were groomed by ecclesial kingpins like Cardinals Joseph Bernardin and Roger Mahony.

Since the death of Cardinal Bernardin in 1996, the U.S. episcopacy has slowly but steadily taken a turn toward a more conservative-style orthodoxy, especially during the pontificate of Benedict XVI. With few exceptions, the older, permissive, liberal bishops, whose most obvious contributions were to water down the faith, were replaced by those whose leanings were decidedly more orthodox and traditional. Some prime examples come from California: José Gomez replaced Mahony as archbishop of Los Angeles, George Niederauer and later Salvatore Cordileone replaced John Quinn as archbishop of San Francisco, and Cordileone and later Michael Barber succeeded John Cummins as bishop of Oakland.

Gomez and Cordileone are arguably two of the most theologically (or pastorally, if you will) conservative bishops heading American dioceses these days. (For good measure, add in Bishop Robert Vasa of Santa Rosa, formerly vicar general for Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz in Lincoln, Nebraska, and an outspoken critic of Nancy Pelosi.) Mahony, Quinn, and Cummins remain icons of the liberal American Church of days bygone.

The tables have turned. Could they be turning back?

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New Oxford Notes: May 2014

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The new Archbishop of Chicago will be the point man in implementing the reaffirmation of the church's teaching on the family – specifically, Humanae Vitae, in its entirety – in what can only be described as a boiling cauldron of dissent in the Windy City.

We are, after all, members of the true church, and the synods will not teach error.

The new archbishop will also, of course, implement – or not – Canon 915 of the code of Canon law.

If that's not enough, he will face not only the wayward faculty and administration of Loyola University, the largest Catholic institution of higher learning in the country, but also a significant number of the members of the Board of Trustees of the University of Notre Dame who reside in the Chicago archdiocese.

These snakes, all part of the glorified Chicago Machine, are the same culprits who were responsible for the appearance of Obama at Notre Dame's 2009 commencement, and, adding insult to profound injury, his receipt of an honorary doctorate of laws.

They are the same snakes who also made sure that Rev. John Jenkins, CSC, would be reelected as president – the same Fr. Jenkins who has just encouraged Notre Dame athletes to “come out” as gays, transsexuals, lesbians – anything but orthodox Catholics (some of whom have actually been kicked off campus for advocating marriage).

The Chicago archdiocese is a snake pit.

Now, consider: Cardinal George has prophesied that his successor will die in jail.

And consider: Cardinal Burke often asks, "please pray for me: the snake strikes at the head."

If Cardinal Burke goes to Chicago, the prophecy of Cardinal George will likely come true. And it will not be the heathen, but the swaggering, dissident “Catholic” snakes, who make sure that he rots in jail.

He really does need our prayers.
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May 14, 2014 11:22 AM EDT
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