Friday, January 06, 2006


Suffering the Bishops

As pointed out in the January edition of First Things, "we will during the scriptual readings at every Mass have occasion to remember Flannery O'Connor's sage observation that we frequently must suffer more from the Church than for the Church." If only this suffering could be isolated and associated with the new and poor translation of Biblical texts found in the New American Bible. Many educated and observant Catholics suffer almost every time that the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops opens its collective mouth. To paraphrase President Reagan, "there they go again."

Bishop Gerald Barnes of San Bernardino (acting for the USCCB), has issued a statement in support of the upcoming week of Journey to Justice (Jan. 8 - 14) citing a joint Mexican-U.S. Bishops pastoral letter of a few years ago that begins:

"From its founding to the present, the United States remains a nation of immigrants grounded in the firm belief that newcomers offer energy, hope and cultural diversity."

Sorry, Bishop Barnes, but you could not be more wrong.

The United States was founded by Protestants with a specific Judeo-Christian concept that included the evolutionary and revolutionary English based concepts of democartic government. Immigrants who agreed to shed their old ways and adopt the "American" way were generally welcome over time. Those who clung to the old ways were shunned.

Even the early bishops of the Roman Church in America understood what it was to be American by supporting the Revolution and the Constitution. Just over one hundered years after the founding of the nation, the Knights of Columbus understood that immigrants needed to help one another, but also needed to become "Americanized" in order to be accepted in this country. The blatant anti-Catholicism of people like Senator Blaine and the No-nothings was only overcome by Catholics who "out-Americaned" the Americans. The Knights' Fourth Degree was instituted in 1900 to instill and reinforce patriotism in the hearts and minds of its American members. Many other examples (most not related to the Knights) from the two World Wars including calls for enlistment, public and financial support for the soldiers and the cause, and prayers for the troops and for America's victories from the pulpit show that American Catholics, both lay and clergy, understood what it was to be an American and a Roman Catholic.

Alas, Bishop Barnes and the USCCB seem to either not know American history or are intentionally rewriting it. Those of us who know better are left to suffer from their polices and statements now and, unfortunately, in the future unless they choose to be more honest with themselves and us.

For you, finding comments in which to critique, is like picking ripe fruit. It just seems to fall right into your hands. Is it becoming to easy?
Frankly, too many of these bishops rely on their staffs to create statements that they the parrot. Unfortunately, they begin to sound idiotic, much like certain Senators in the Alito hearings.
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