By Joseph Matt, Wanderer, June 27, 2019
Amidst all the chaos, scandals, ambiguous interpretations, and assaults on Catholic teaching within the Church today — it is difficult not to be discouraged as a Catholic. The continuing barrage of scandal and apostasy emanating from the highest positions in the Church occurs on a weekly basis.
The forces of evil and the tide of our culture at times can seem overwhelming.
One could easily conclude by reflecting on many of today’s headlines that there appears to be little hope for a stronger and revitalized Church in the days ahead. But by taking a closer look beyond the typical news from the Vatican or the USCCB, we can see some pockets of light where true Catholic leadership is showing its face. It will be leadership like the following that will ultimately be required for the Church to rise above the miserable state in which she currently resides.
“It is clear that the laity long for the bishops to stand up strong as their leaders in society and are ready to follow behind us, if we take the lead.” Bishop John Keenan
Raymond Cardinal Burke, despite not having been answered for almost three years on the Dubia, continues to forge ahead espousing the Truths of the Catholic Church. He did so most recently along with Bishop Athanasius Schneider — joined by another cardinal and two archbishops — by issuing an eight-page document titled, “Declaration of the truths relating to some of the most common errors in the life of the Church of our time.” It affirms Church teaching on 40 Catholic truths — many of which are challenged by some in the Hierarchy of the Church.
In light of the extreme abortion law recently passed in Illinois, Bishop Thomas Paprocki of Springfield, Ill., responded with the following declaration:
“I declare that Catholic legislators of the Illinois General Assembly who have cooperated in evil and committed grave sin by voting for any legislation that promotes abortion are not to present themselves to receive Holy Communion without first being reconciled to Christ and the Church in accord with canon 916 of the Code of Canon Law.”
Responding to the wave of “gay pride” and LGBT celebrations and parades during “pride month,” Bishop Thomas Tobin of Providence, R.I., declared on Twitter: “A reminder that Catholics should not support or attend LGBTQ ‘Pride Month’ events held in June. They promote a culture and encourage activities that are contrary to Catholic faith and morals. They are especially harmful for children.”
Bishop Thomas Daly of Spokane, Wash., in a February letter to his diocese, said:
“Politicians who reside in the Catholic Diocese of Spokane, and who obstinately persevere in their public support for abortion, should not receive Communion without first being reconciled to Christ and the Church.”
Bishop Joseph Strickland of Tyler, Texas, recently came to the defense of his brother bishop (Rhode Island Bishop Thomas Tobin) who was under assault from LGBT activists and mainstream media after he told Catholics that they should have nothing to do with homosexual “pride” events.
He has also been outspoken on multiple fronts when necessary — emphasizing Catholic teaching when it is required.
Most recently, a decree issued Friday, June 21 by Archbishop Charles Thompson of Indianapolis stated that Brebeuf Jesuit Preparatory School “can no longer use the name Catholic and will no longer be identified or recognized as a Catholic institution.” This decree was issued because of the school’s refusal to dismiss a teacher due to his marital status with another man who does not conform to Church doctrine.
Also, Scottish Bishop John Keenan — known for his outspoken leadership in pro-life and rosary initiatives throughout the UK — was one of the key prelates who was instrumental in the UK court order to halt the planned forced abortion of a disabled woman. In a recent LifeSiteNews interview, the bishop had this to say: “It is clear that the laity long for the bishops to stand up strong as their leaders in society and are ready to follow behind us, if we take the lead.”
These are some examples of the courage required and the sort of leadership needed from our shepherds, if our Church is to restore its prominence in the war for the souls in a culture that is totally opposed to our beliefs. There are many more instances of faithful priests who labor behind the headlines, routinely tending to their duties of saving souls and administering the sacraments who continue to provide true witness to Christ’s Gospel.
Shepherds like those above and the faithful who go unmentioned need our prayers and support as more and more are needed to take a stand for Christ. The continuing collision course our culture is on with the Truth will soon require those silent shepherds to take a stand. Silence among fellow shepherds and clerics is not an option — those who sit in silence as their peers do the heavy lifting are fast becoming the problem and very soon will be faced with the reality of having to answer this timely Scripture quotation from Matt. 12:30: “He that is not with me, is against me: and he that gathereth not with me, scattereth.”
Yes, it is rare today when a shepherd stands to speak the Truth and we as lay people have an obligation to stand with them when they confront the evils of our culture and proclaim the Gospel. It is shepherds like these who stand tall against the onslaught of the Godless culture overtaking our society — providing us with pockets of light at a time when our Church is lacking in true leaders who unabashedly proclaim the Word of God.
Good leadership is contagious and maybe the Church will be rebuilt one shepherd at a time. Let’s not let these shepherds stand alone.
Article first appeared at: https://catholiccitizens.org/wp-admin/post.php?post=87708&action=edit