29 January 2012

Bishop raises an alarm. . .too late?

Bishop Jenky of Peoria, IL tells it like it is!  WOW.  I've never read a more direct description of our current political position in this country:

[. . .] As your Bishop, I now believe it is critically necessary to raise an alarm among the faithful regarding growing threats to our religious freedom due to the increasing steps toward radical secularization taking place in Illinois. Beside the abrupt exclusion of Catholic Charities from childcare and adoption services and increasing attempts to intimidate Catholic healthcare, I am also concerned about possible future moves that could be made against the independence of our Catholic schools and other public ministries of our Diocese. Eventually it may come to pass that our fidelity to the Gospel of Christ and to Catholic tradition may place us in direct conflict with recent legal definitions of the State of Illinois. There are certainly some in our state whose commitment to aesthetic secularism is so intense that they may well try to restrict the Church’s role only to the sacristy and sanctuary.

I am especially scandalized by some “Catholic” politicians who willingly collaborate with efforts to restrict the civil liberty of the faith tradition from which they were originally sprung. Many of those in office who were taught to read and write in Catholic schools, now seem entirely indifferent to the consciences of those Catholics who live their faith. On Ash Wednesday, they like to be conspicuous with crosses on their foreheads, but the true Cross of Christ seems far from their hearts and minds. They enjoy parties on March the 17th and wearing green sweaters but in effect are ashamed of Saint Patrick’s unwavering zeal for the Catholic Christianity. They like photo opportunities with the hierarchy, but break their word to them without a moment’s hesitation. They may still use the rituals of Catholicism to mark their happy and sad occasions, but apparently would sell their soul for a vote or a dollar. What does it benefit a person to gain the whole world but lose their soul (Mark 8:36), but eternal loss for the sake of public office in Illinois is an extraordinarily foolish deal with the devil. Such people certainly need our prayers, but they should no longer be able to take our friendship or our support for granted [. . .]

I respectfully submit to Bishop Jenky that the lack of action on the part of his episcopal brethren in disciplining "Catholic" politicians has given these wayward souls the distinct impression that they can slap on green hats and parade their ashes and backslap Cardinals at fundraising dinners and still vote for abortion, gay "marriage," and ObamaCare w/o consequences.  

It is well beyond time for our bishops and pastors to stop inviting these political leeches to public celebrations of Catholic cultural events.  Whether or not individuals should be denied communion is a much more delicate and complicated matter.  However, declining invitations to fundraising events, parades, etc. is not.  The Bernadin Experiment in secular engagement has been a failure, a horrible failure, and our shepherds need to repudiate it before we all find ourselves under judgment.

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  1. Anonymous9:49 AM

    I think that the "outcry" from some of our bishops is waaaaay too little and waaaay too late. This is the fruit of the dissent against Humanae Vitae back when it was written in '68.

    Dr. Eric

  2. Anonymous10:05 AM

    His Excellency decries the rampant secularism in the country and then in the same letter states that the Feast of the Ascension will be moved to the 43rd day after Easter instead of being celebrated on Thursday where it belongs according to the decree of the USCCB. This secular problem is caused by their own laziness.

    I have no sympathy for the bishops when they created this mess in the first place by being weak and accommodating.

    Also, why should the 60,000,000 Catholics in the United States who use contraception care if the Obama Administration forces Catholic agencies to fund contraceptives? It would appear that the Sixty Million Catholics in America who contracept approve of Sebelius' newest move.

    Dr. Eric

  3. Dr., I agree with you. Let's keep in mind though that most of the bishops currently serving are not influenced by the Bernadin model of engaging the culture. I also agree that H.E. should keep Ascension were it belongs.

  4. Anonymous1:57 PM

    I wrote both of our US senators and our congressman today and have signed several petitions on the subject. All of us should do the same. If enough people raise their voices, I believe it can be changed.

    I am, as others have mentioned, glad to see our Bishops standing up so strongly. However, I share your concern that it may be too late and I cannot help but ask the same question that you have raised which is, where has this been in the past?

    I am of the opinion that too many within the Church have made their bed with certain politicians for decades in an attempt to promote a type of social justice which appears to be a violation of Church teaching on Subsidiarity. To make a long story short, we are now reaping what we/they have sewn.

    Hopefully this issue can serve as a clarion call for our bishops, priests, religious, and faithful to stand up and start fighting for the faith. I know it scares me. In addition, hopefully this will inspire our Bishops to teach the faith, even on social issues, with great clarity.


  5. Re Jason's "I am of the opinion that too many within the Church have made their bed with certain politicians for decades in an attempt to promote a type of social justice which appears to be a violation of Church teaching on Subsidiarity. To make a long story short, we are now reaping what we/they have sewn.


  6. Ruth Boll, DVM8:13 PM

    I can see myself having to put my beliefs on the line and dropping health care insurance if as an individual I am not allowed to follow my conscience. I am of the single vocation and can afford to put my life on the line to stand for truth and right. But not only do we need to stand up for these 'rights' but our clergy needs to make sure that people understand the 'whys' of the church teaching about abortifacents, contraceptives and sterilization. Everyone is afraid to talk about this and consquentially the wonderful teachings of the church are not known or practiced by otherwise faithful Catholics. So many who are against abortion does not realize the abortifacent nature of most contraceptives... Our church needs knowledge--not indignity alone on this subject.

  7. Anonymous11:08 AM


    Yep. Socialization of things, even with good intention at the outset, has rarely, if ever, not led to a decrease in liberty. You would think we would learn that at some point.

    To be fair, I understand the temptation to try to socialize things and make them better for the poor and disadvantaged. However, to date, it has always come with a decrease in liberty. In addition, allowing the government to take over and help the poor is, in my humble opinion, a violation of our own personal obligation to help others. The person responsible for helping the poor is ME and I must not pawn that off on the government to do it for me. When we do, two things happen: 1) I am abrogating my own personal obligation to help others and to see Christ in them; 2) the government does things with my money that I don't want them to (this could be waste and inefficiency; or it could rise to the level which we are now seeing of outright hostility to our beliefs).

    As Dorothy Day put it: "The Church must REFUSE to abandon the poor to Holy Mother the State".

    I hope, really really hope, that our bishops are now seeing the truth of this...