Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Mean-spirited, Bullying Bishops

A bishop’s general authority over his diocese is very evident in even a cursory reading of Lumen Gentium (Vatican II’s Dogmatic Constitution on the Church):

·         Bishops preside “in God’s stead over the flock of which they are the shepherds…” (LG, §21).

·         They are “teachers endowed with the authority of Christ, who preach the faith to the people assigned to them, the faith which is destined to inform their thinking and direct their conduct” (LG, §25).

·         They “have the obligation of fostering and safeguarding the unity of the faith and of upholding the discipline which is common to the whole Church…” (LG, §23).

The faithful are also reminded of their duty toward their bishops. Notice, though, the qualifier at the beginning of the paragraph (emphasis added):

Bishops who teach in communion with the Roman Pontiff are to be revered by all as witnesses of divine and Catholic truth; the faithful, for their part, are obliged to submit to their bishops’ decision, made in the name of Christ, in matters of faith and morals, and to adhere to it with a ready and respectful allegiance of mind. (LG, §25)

And what if they don’t teach in communion with the Roman Pontiff? What if the bishop is a mean-spirited bully with an ax to grind? What if the bishop takes advantage of his authority through actions that are detrimental to a targeted segment of the population?

I’m thinking of…hmm…just for instance…let's see…oh! how about the faithful who have expressed their legitimate desire to have access to the extraordinary form of the Mass. What do you do with a “shepherd” who takes steps to ensure that the EF Mass which has been available monthly to the faithful becomes suddenly unavailable? What if a mere lay person is aware of all the sneaky things said bishop can do (and does) to make it all look legit? You know, some of these bishops these days are pretty adept at not leaving a paper trail, of relying on the good-ol’-boy network, and of generally making mischief with impunity. It’s true. Sad, but true.

What do you do with this kind of perverse prelate?

Personally, I’m thinking along the lines of tar-and-feathers, and re-institution of the papal prison for wayward bishops.

Not that I know of a situation like this or anything…

But see that little "Reign of Terror" counter there in the side-bar? Please pray that that reign of terror ends soon!


  1. The Church today, unfortunately, is in a state of crisis and the people in Klamath Falls could say a few things about this topic as well. The SSPX is accused of operating illegally, but in times like this, what other option do we have?! These good priests take extraordinary measures to bring the "extraordinary" form of the Mass to the faithful--even in the Diocese of Baker. Your post makes me think of the importance (even locally) of any SSPX-Rome agreement to be formed along the lines of a personal prelature so things like this can't happen. Refreshing to see someone thinking for themselves rather than blindly suffering.

  2. Catholic Agronomist - are you from Klamath Falls, then? A priest I know would like to make contact with you if you know something of the history of the SSPX chapel there. Email me if you are willing for him to contact you - Thanks!

  3. WOW...I read this yesterday, woke up in the middle of the night thinking "make sure to get that info from the blog about Bishops being in line with the Pope"


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