Thursday, December 15, 2011

Some Things Never Change: Looking at a Bishop's Record

Guest Commentary by Jerry Boyd

Some things never change. Some people don't either.
Earlier posts on this blog have documented the failure of the current Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese of Baker to follow the directives of the Holy Father in terms of facilitating the reasonable desires of the Faithful for Mass in the Extraordinary Form.  You might think that a so-called Church leader – a retired bishop - would be obedient to the will of our Pontiff.  So, when it is obvious to me that this bishop isn’t - given his direct refusal to honor reasonable requests made of him, and given his isolation of priests willing and capable of saying the Traditional Latin Mass - it causes me to wonder why.  Could it be that he, in concert with others, has his own agenda?  Could it be that said agenda is more important to him than doing the will of the Holy Father?  Could it be that his personal agenda takes precedence over the good of the people entrusted to his care?
In an effort to find answers to those questions I have looked at this Bishop’s “track record” in his past assignments. How a person performs over time is generally a good clue as to how they will perform now and in the future. Even more importantly, a look at one’s past often reveals his motivation for his current actions.
So in looking, I found this 2004 article from the Seattle Times, which really didn’t answer my questions. However, it raised many others even more serious than the ones I originally asked. The article is primarily about a lawsuit against the Diocese of Spokane for negligence in the case of a priest who was accused of and admitted to the sexual abuse of a number of minor boys. The article states:
Skylstad wrote to diocese members about what he had learned from the scandal. One lesson, he said, was this: "I also came to understand better that there really is no such thing as a supposed consensual sexual relationship between any adult and a minor."
How could anyone capable of holding a Church leadership position come to know that sex between an adult (priest) and a child is unlawful only after repeated instances of such conduct involving his priests bankrupted the diocese he led?  How could any leader, given specific and alarming information by a responsible adult about priestly misconduct, fail to take prompt action?  And how could any competent leader with a true concern for the souls entrusted to his care “forget” that he was ever given such information?
And this relates to his current actions how?  The Latin Mass, for all of its other attributes, is also symbolic of a long era in Church history marked by obedience to the Pope of Rome.  If the Mass in the Extraordinary Form is allowed to grow, that is a direct threat to those who view the pre-Vatican II era as one which limits their “initiative”, limits their “independence”, limits the attention focused on them, and  limits their “authority”.  And, previous posts have already documented Bishop Skylstad’s comment that “I am my own superior”.
The net result of all of this is that I am now even more convinced that the actions of the current Apostolic Administrator, if left unchecked, will have a lasting detrimental impact on this already struggling Diocese.  Pray with me for the appointment of a new Bishop, soon…one who will be obedient to the true teachings of the Catholic Church, a true shepherd for the people, and a true father to his priests.
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