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A Layman Advises Laymen to Hide Under the Table

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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