Up at the Register: How to Be Catholic When Your Bishops Are Not. I am not gentle in this one. A faith that depends on eyes-half-shut and pretending all is well in the Holy Catholic Church will not withstand the present onslaught, unless you’re extremely expert at lying to yourself. I don’t think lying to yourself is a good option.
Meanwhile, let’s talk about praying for your bishop. Here’s a thing to understand: Your bishop was chosen for his cowardice.
Perhaps over the years you have wondered why your bishop seemed unable to accomplish much of anything. You might have wondered why every statement out of the diocese was more watered-down than a glass of ice cubes on a summer afternoon. You might have wondered why your parish and diocesan leaders seemed to find the clear and certain teachings of the Catholic faith just. so. difficult. to. praaaaactiiiiiiiiice.
Now we know. It turns out that in the eyes of the Church’s top leaders, fecklessness in a bishop is not a bug but a feature.
With Cardinals like McCarrick at the helm, it’s a miracle the clergy accomplish anything at all.
Well, God can use that.
Because you know how God shows off? By doing His work through the crappiest instruments He can get.*
Are you a terrible person? Then God can use you. You can pray things like, “Lord, I am almost as wretched as my faithless, weak-kneed toad of a bishop, and so I know what dreadful danger he and I both face. Indeed, were I in his shoes, I might be even worse than he. After all, Satan hates bishops even more than he hates me. Under full attack from the enemy, I’m not sure I’d last half an hour. So if you could somehow spare us both from eternal damnation, and maybe even accomplish a few miraculous acts of virtue through us, I’d be most appreciative.”
Alternately, if you aren’t already praying from the Liturgy of the Hours, give it a look. A sample from this morning:
Lord, listen to my prayer:
turn your ear to my appeal.
You are faithful, you are just; give answer.
Do not call your servant to judgment
for no one is just in your sight.
The enemy pursues my soul;
he has crushed my life to the ground;
he has made me dwell in darkness
like the dead, long forgotten.
Therefore my spirit fails;
my heart is numb within me.
I remember the days that are past:
I ponder all your works.
I muse on what your hand has wrought
and to you I stretch out my hands.
Like a parched land my soul thirsts for you.
Lord, make haste and answer;
for my spirit fails within me.
Do not hide your face
lest I become like those in the grave.
In the morning let me know your love
for I put my trust in you.
Make me know the way I should walk:
to you I lift up my soul.
Rescue me, Lord, from my enemies;
I have fled to you for refuge.
Teach me to do your will
for you, O Lord, are my God.
Let your good spirit guide me
in ways that are level and smooth.
For your name’s sake, Lord, save my life;
in your justice save my soul from distress.
Chicken Soup it is not.
Editing notes on the Register piece:
- If I could do it over, I’d write “feckless simpering” instead of “simpering fecklessly.” Sometimes we aren’t perfectly concise in our haste.
- I regret that I did not write myself out a list of synonyms for the word “putrid,” as it occurred to me I should. I woke up this morning with the stark realization that I had missed quite a few.
Well, that’s how it goes sometimes. We live to write another day.
Artwork courtesy of Wikimedia, public domain. Bouguereau, I had know idea you had this in you!
*Hence the existence of bloggers.