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Waiting for Ambrose

GUEST COLUMN

By Eric Jackson | September 2022
Eric Jackson is a software developer who lives in St. Paul, Minnesota, with his wife and their three children. His work has previously been published in Saint Austin Review.

One of the prime characteristics of the Catholic Church in our time is an almost complete absence of discipline. Prominent Catholic politicians publicly flaunt Church teaching — chiefly, though not exclusively, with regard to abortion — with scarcely a contrary word from their shepherds. Here Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco merits mention for refusing Holy Communion to U.S. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, who resides in his archdiocese. But this is the exception that proves the rule. The question isn’t why Cordileone has enforced canon law, but why such law is so seldom enforced — for anything.

Lack of discipline isn’t confined to wayward politicians. It manifests in relation to priests as well — and I’m not referring to the sex-abuse scandals. Most of us have had to deal with priests who mess with the words of consecration, omit the creed, or preach heresy during the homily. Sometimes, we have the misfortune of experiencing them all in a single Mass.

Recently, in a church in Chicago, two “married” men gave a homily during a Mass in which they spoke about their adopted children and “lamented the ‘bigotry’ of the Church’s moral teaching on marriage and sexuality,” as JD Flynn, editor-in-chief of The Pillar, put it (June 21). Blaise Cardinal Cupich, archbishop of Chicago, declined to comment on the liturgical irregularity. Perhaps he’s too busy cracking down on priests who offer Mass ad orientem, evidently a much graver liturgical scandal in the Windy City.

When confronted with such effrontery, perhaps we should do something about it. But what? Priests who — as I once heard while traveling — implore the women of their parish not to give up until the Church ordains women are not liable to respond favorably to correction from the laity. But what of the bishop? Might he be interested in knowing that one of his charges is filling the heads of the faithful with harmful lies?

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