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The Barque of Peter will not be righted…… December 11, 2012

Posted by Tantumblogo in Basics, Dallas Diocese, disaster, episcopate, error, foolishness, General Catholic, sadness, scandals, sickness.

…..and steered on a much safer, holier course, saving countless souls in the process, until the Church abandons the nightmare of regional and especially national episcopal conferences, and in a related matter, until all shepherds  begin to preach loudly and frequently (several times a year) on the evil of contraception.  For the latter, this matter must be addressed as it is the core moral evil of our time and is the largest single sin that separates what should be faithful Catholics from the Body of Christ. For the former, I am in good company as both Fr. Ray Blake and Mr. William Oddie have noted glaring problems with episcopal conferences in recent days.

The problem, in Fr. Blake’s mind, is that episcopal conferences, as they have developed, seem to be a focus not for action, but for inaction, and have usurped many functions which should be reserved to individual bishops – such as speaking out on various moral and faith-related issues of our day.  This has led to enormous bureaucratic inertia where the bishops seem to have difficulty acting at all, and when they do, it is generally in a very watered-down, “design by committee” manner that is often unedifying and sometimes even worse. We just don’t have the type of leadership that has been seen in the past from thousands of holy bishops.  Some of Fr. BlMany of our Bishops are holy and all are good men but I am convinced it is the
Episcopal Conference structure that keeps them from giving any leadership to the
Church and the country. However if the problem is not the Conference then we do
need to ask serious questions of our Bishops but they are not questions I can
ask publicly as a priest.

A Curial Bishop once told me that a few
Episcopal Conferences in the world give leadership but most frustrate it. In our
case the Bishop’s Conference certainly frustrates the accountability of
individual Bishops to their Presbyterates and their people, an accountability
which was in the vision of Vatican II, in its strengthening of the bond between
a Bishop and his diocese. The principle of subsidiarity meant that Bishops spoke
collectively only when really necessary and for “pastoral good”. However what we
have is that every action or more often inaction is based on collective
responsibility, which means no Bishop takes responsibility for much more than
minor administrative tasks in his own diocese. Little is their responsibility,
all is the collective responsibility of the Bishops Conference or particular
Commissions of the Bishops Conference.ake’s comments:

This is a very widespread phenomenon, and is in fact not only NOT what the Council intended, it is a direct assault on the normal role of the bishop as chief shepherd of his diocese.  In point of fact, the massive Church bureaucracies associated with all these conferences was set up by revolutionaries in the days after Vatican II, and has been used by those same revolutionaries since then as vehicles to further their radical agenda.  As I have noted in other posts, collegiality, far from empowering bishops, has actually stripped them of their power, influence, and leadeship ability far more than the most draconian of curial cardinals prior to Vatican II.

William Oddie emphasizes the fact the episcopal conferences are a total fabrication that appeared after Vatican II, have no root in Scripture or Tradition, and could be ignored by individual bishops at any time should they choose to do so:

What’s interesting here is Fr Blake’s analysis of exactly why this is so, which is one I have more than once argued myself: it’s the existence of the bishops’ conference as a bureaucratic entity (rather than as a spiritual body). It’s the bureaucratisation of our hierarchy — so that only the official episcopal spokesman in a particular area, as chairman of some board or other run from Eccleston Square, [equivalent of USCCB]  with its own lay secretary (probably an ex-priest or laicised nun), or on the other hand the archbishops speaking collectively (an extreme rarity) — may speak for the other bishops: this means that individual bishops have their own prophetic voice if not silenced then severely weakened……

……The fact is, however, that since episcopal conferences have no theological basis, individual bishops could still say exactly what they want to say at any time, whether the conference bureaucrats like it or not: and one or two have actually started to do just that….

Mr. Oddie then goes on to discuss a Bishop Davies who has led on the issue of gay marriage in England, where the Prime Minister seems set to ram this down the throats of the country and Church.  We’ve had bishops in the US that have spoken out on various issues in manners that have probably discomfited a number of their brother bishops, possibly even most of them.  Bishops Bruskewitz and Burke come to mind.

But Oddie establishes a critical distinction – if the bishops have been emasculated by episcopal conferences, that is because they have chosen to be.  Any bishop can at any time repudiate any ill-advised, watered down statement from the USCCB or any other conference they belong to.  That may make them unpopular, it may harm their “career,” but it can always be done, a local bishop has not only the right and the authority to proclaim the faith and morals of the Church, but he has a positive duty to do so. Far too many bishops have abrogated this responsibility and the results have been catastrophic.

If you don’t pray for your own bishop and many others every day, please do so.  Offer up Rosaries, Novenas, mortifications, Mass intentions, everything you can think of for your bishop.  They are under constant spiritual attack.  They desperately need our help by our prayers, and I think the laity must bear much responsibility for the lack of leadership in the Church, as the prayer life of so many Catholics is weak to nonexistent.  Please pray!


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