A Layman Advises Laymen to Hide Under the Table

September 2006

In a New Oxford Note (May 2006), we said: "The problem isn't so much the dissenting Catholics; it's the people on our side who will do nothing, or even abet the liberals.... It's the betrayal of the modcons [moderate conservatives] and the neocons that is the worst betrayal." In that New Oxford Note we gave you a perfect case in point.

And we have another one. Leon Suprenant, President of Catholics United for the Faith (CUF), in the May/June issue of Lay Witness (the official publication of CUF), says: "A Church that is serious about being universal (i.e., 'catholic') has to face the challenge of holding fast amidst diversity.... This can be a particular challenge when those in authority in the local Church seem to be part of the problem. What is the laity to do under those circumstances?" Suprenant answers with four points:

(1) "We can't control the actions of others, but we surely can take it upon ourselves to strive to become saints. At the judgment, we will not be asked about our bishop or pastor, but we will be accountable for what we did with our own talents." However, as Pope Felix III said, "Not to oppose error is to approve of it." Or as Edmund Burke said, "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing." Yes, depending on our talents, God might ask us if we stood up to a cowardly bishop or a dissident or weak-kneed pastor. Suprenant seems to think that saints are mild and gentle. However, St. Paul rebuked St. Peter to his face. St. Catherine of Siena challenged her pope. St. Thomas Aquinas said, "When the faith is in imminent peril, prelates ought to be accused by their subjects, even in public." When the majority of the Catholic bishops were Arians, St. Athanasius fought and defeated the Arians -- and is the crisis in the Church today any worse than it was in the Arian crisis? You will notice that all these figures were saints, some of the greatest saints in Church history. As Dietrich von Hildebrand says in The Devastated Vineyard, "Should the faithful at the time of the Arian heresy...have limited themselves to being nice and obedient to the ordinances of these bishops instead of battling the heresy? Is not fidelity to the true teaching of the Church to be given priority over submission to the bishop?"

(2) Suprenant says: "Offer it up." Yes, you can offer it up, but you can take action as well. God is not just your errand boy.

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New Oxford Notes: September 2006

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It would be appropos to mention the words of St Teresa of Avila. "God has no one to speak for Him in this world except us etc. St Peter Canesius, St Robert Bellarmine were adamant on the subject. What comes to mind is we should not bury even one talent given us by God. Posted by: mike hurcum
August 31, 2006 08:28 PM EDT
I agree that the faithful are called upon to speak and act against the heresey of the hierarchy. Sometimes the opportunity comes in small, quiet ways. A very unusual opportunity presented itself to me one day, in the confessional, of all places. The priest brought up women's ordination and how he supported it. I told him that their were mystical reasons against it. He countered simply, by saying: "I'm not a mystic". Neither am I, so I suugest that we all pray for prudence, before we act. Posted by: Caroline
September 01, 2006 11:40 AM EDT
I liked the article after "removing the planks from my own eyes." I do not wish to be accused of being holier than thou by deluded neo-con Catholics. However, I call it "burying one's head in the sand." As a social scientist who has studied this problem for 10 years and as a board member of CUF I believe that the reason why bishops "fear men instead of God" is that many are in a state of mortal sin and fear exposure by speaking out - since that is how the media silences those who have the courage to speak the Truth these days. Speaking as a former high school seminarian in the early 1970's, it must be kept in mind that many unsuitable candidates were ordained to the priesthood in the 70s, 80s and 90s as the vocation crisis deepened. Seminaries generally took anyone as the law of supply and demand ruled the day. The good guys left as they figured out what was going on but the many who made it in had serious character disorders. Since the "inmates were running the institutions" (seminaries) other seminarians were malformed. Now, is it any surprise that many of the ones who made it in are bishops? Is it any wonder why the priesthood is dominated by homosexuals or weak, effeminate men? Yet, many continue to "bury their heads in sand", including Leon Suprenant and pretend that things are getting better. Posted by: gwolak
September 12, 2006 12:13 AM EDT
A Call To Arms! It's Off To War We Go And It's About Time! Posted by: gespin3549
September 22, 2006 08:07 AM EDT
I agree that we should notify the good bishops and the Holy See when the dissenters are on the loose. However, it seems that - most of the time - when notification is given, nothing happens. Richard P. McBrien and his ilk continue to poison the minds of university students and those gullible enough to read their books and articles. What happens to most of these dissenters, even after many years and decades? Nothing. Absolutely nothing. Does the Holy See know about him and all the others? Yes. Does the Holy See know about parishes like the one in San Francisco that encourages homosexual promiscuity? Yes. What is the result of that notification? Nothing. Absolutely nothing. THERE is the biggest problem. That lack of action on the part of the Church authorities contributes to lack of reporting on the part of the laity. The mindset becomes, "Why should I keep harping about it if they won't do anything about it?" It doesn't excuse lack of effort on our part, of course, but it does bring up a good point. I'm not so sure that lack of action on the part of concerned laity comes from a weak spine as much as it stems from the result of the weak spines of those to whom the violations are reported. When the justice system routinely does the slap-on-the-wrist routine to criminals, it shouldn't be surprising that underreporting of crime will follow. That sheds more light on the authorities than on the citizens. Posted by: geddyfann
January 30, 2008 12:39 PM EST
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