Faithful Catholics in the US have been both stunned and gratified by the recent show of episcopal strength in dealing with the heretical nonsense of “Catholics” in public life who clearly misrepresent the Church’s teaching on vital issues. To date, more than fifty bishops have spoken out about this kind of misconduct or issued guidelines about voting at this critical juncture in our nation’s history. The trend is truly heartening. Let’s pray that it continues! Much more could be done, of course, but I am grateful that more bishops are standing up to strengthen and protect the faith of millions. Many have been longing for this show of valor from our fathers in the faith — and yes, they are our spiritual fathers. When they are strong, we are strong; and when they are weak — the flock is ravaged by wolves.
A few bishops deserve special mention. A good example is Bishop Jaime Soto of Sacramento, CA, who stood up before the misnamed “Catholic Gay and Lesbian” conference last month and proclaimed the Church’s natural law teaching that homosexual acts are mortal sins. A whole group walked out of his speech in protest, and he was reviled afterward for daring to present Catholic teaching to them. The organizer of the conference actually apologized to the attendees for the talk! Bishop Soto made no apologies though. Likewise, San Diego Auxiliary, Bishop Salvatore Cordileone, has been the strongest champion of the legal effort to define marriage as between one man and one woman to combat the radical homosexual lobby in California.
Nor can we fail to mention the strong pro-life stances of Archbishops Burke (now in Rome) and Chaput (Denver) as well as Bishops Vasa (Baker, OR), Farrell and Vann (Dallas, TX), Martino (Scranton, PA) and Mallooly (Wilmington, DE) who are representatives of a group of other bishops who have made their voices heard forcefully on the Catholic voting issue.
It is not just in the US, however, where bishops have been applying their authority in an astonishing fashion. Here are just a few more of the good things happening around the world in the episcopal college:
- The Bishops of Canada issued a statement criticizing the bestowing of Canada’s highest honor, the Order of Canada, on extreme abortionist Henry Morganthaler as if he were an example of all that makes Canada proud. Cardinal Turcotte of Montreal actually returned his own Order of Canada medal as a sign of protest to this mockery;
- John Cardinal Njue of Nairobi, Kenya recently issued a marvelous, hard-hitting pastoral letter to his Archdiocese concerning the efforts to legalize abortion in that pivotal African country which to date has been such a stronghold against the culture of death;
- The Philippines Episcopal Conference came out forcefully against the US- and UN-inspired Reproductive Health Bill which attempted to legalize every form of perversion on that Catholic populace; the bill was subsequently defeated but the bishops know that theirs is a regular battle in which they must engage for the souls of their people.
Thankfully, there are many more examples of episcopal courage that we could add to the reflections but suffice it to say that there seems to be a new wind blowing through the College of Bishops all around the world these days. Perhaps that wind is originating from Bavaria, but whatever its origin, let us continue to pray for our bishops and priests who are always on the firing line between the culture of life and the culture of death. We also need to thank them personally when they speak out in order to encourage them to do even more! Now that the example has been set, let us hope that other bishops and priests will have the audacity of our hope in Christ to go out and do the same!