Monday, October 10, 2011

Episcopal Backbone Alert

Good news regarding episcopal backbone: for one thing, Bishop Robert Molino in Madison, WI, has joined Bishop Olmsted of Phoenix, AZ in ending the distribution of Holy Communion under both kinds in his Cathedral parish. In a statement in the Cathedral parish bulletin, Msgr. Kevin D. Holmes notes that:

"I knew (as many of you do) that Communion under both species was first introduced, on a limited basis, after the Second Vati-can Council, and that it has become much more common since. What I did not know was that the widespread American practice of offering both species at most Sunday Masses began here under an indult (special permission) given by the Vatican in 1975, which expired in 2005."

Wow. No one noticed that the indult had expired?! Well, someone did. Msgr. Holmes also notes that the bishops did apply for an extension, but it was denied. DENIED.

So, for, lo, these many years, our bishops have continued to operate as if a decision from Rome (two decisions, actually) really didn't make any difference at all in American liturgical practice.

A friend of mine commented: "So in effect for six years, the USCCB has been refusing to follow the decision from Rome. I find this interesting, especially in light of the perception that if you only desire the Latin Mass or attend mass at an SSPX chapel, you are in some double secret crypto schism. The duplicity is obvious and ridiculous. How can the faithful take local ordinaries and their administration seriously when they refuse to follow or ignore direction from the Vatican?"


But another bishop is also showing a little backbone: in an interview with CNA, Bishop Samuel J. Aquila of North Dakota has warned that the time is coming when we will no longer be "free to preach the truth from the pulpit or to present Catholic teaching".

The article goes on to quote Bishop Aquila as saying that Catholics “will have to stand for the truth” and “speak clearly to the truth no matter what the cost.” Regarding the possibility of civil disobedience, “Either we’re going to have to enter into conscientious objection and say we won’t do this or we will need to cooperate – which we cannot do and still be faithful,” he said.

Personally, seeing a bishop actually engage in justified civil disobedience for the sake of the Truth taught by the Catholic Church would do my soul a lot of good. I've seen some bishops who talk the talk but don't walk the walk. Seems like we're starting to see some who do walk the walk, like Bishops Olmsted and Morlino, and some who at least talk the talk a little more strongly than others, as Bishop Aquila does here.

I'm not saying I want the bishops to go out and do something imprudent. But they've dropped the ball in the political arena, and now we're dealing with the socialist attack of Obama on the Church, as well as being put on the defensive where marriage, homosexuality, abortion, and contraception are concerned. The time has come for the bishops to act like men of courage, faith, and conviction.

It brings joy to my heart to see some of them doing so. Let's hope we see stronger talking and more walking...soon.

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