Forgive us for the intervals between posts. We have just received some long-awaited material we are trying to digest that has potentially explosive implications. In case you have not seen these two outstanding posts from elsewhere that reflect the spirit of what we are trying to do here on Bryan Hehir Exposed, we hope you enjoy them. Think of this as the “Tale of Two Capucian Archbishops.”
From Archbishop Charles Chaput, Archbishop of Denver’s recent talk he gave for the Canon Law Association of Slovakia, as reported by Deacon Keith Fournier at Catholic Online:
“We live in a time when the Church is called to be a believing community of resistance. We need to call things by their true names. We need to fight the evils we see. And most importantly, we must not delude ourselves into thinking that by going along with the voices of secularism and de-Christianization we can somehow mitigate or change things.”
Wow! We have tried to call things by their true names about Fr. Bryan Hehir and hope we have succeeded. Catholic News Agency reported these excerpts from Archbishop Chaput’s talk:
Recalling the historical experience of the Slovakian Church under Communism, Archbishop Chaput told the assembly of Central European bishops and canon lawyers that Christians are being called today to defend the Church’s own rights, and the rights of all people, against the “civil religion” of relativism. [BHE comment: Anyone wonder how Archbishop Chaput would dialogue with Fr. Bryan Hehir on relativism?]
Like Communism, he explained, today’s secularist ideology envisions “a society apart from God” where “men and women might live wholly sufficient unto themselves,” sharing no higher guiding principle than “satisfying their needs and desires.”
This seemingly benign vision, he warned, leaves no place for the Church’s work of evangelism, teaching, and activism.
Jumping back to Deacon Fournier, he continued in his post to share his personal experience and exposure to the Archdiocese of Denver and Archbishop Chaput’s leadership of that diocese:
His leadership of the Archdiocese of Denver, Colorado is evidence of his leadership gifts. I had the privilege of participating in their “Living the Catholic Faith” Conference in 2010. I found a Diocese which is a shining example of the “New Evangelization”. The seminaries are full, the parishes are growing (in fidelity and number) and the ecclesial movements are flocking to find a missionary outpost. The Catholic Church is being demonstrated to be what she is, the continued presence of the Risen Christ in our midst. I left that Conference filled with hope for the Catholic Church in the United States. I am not naive, I am well aware of the challenges we face both within and without. What I experienced in Denver reminded me that Jesus Christ truly lives and His Church is His Plan!
Now let’s briefly compare that Capucian to Cardinal Sean O’Malley in Boston. Cardinal O’Malley just celebrated 40 years in the priesthood, an admirable accomplishment for which we join in celebrating him. Here is what Paul Melanson at La Salette Journey had to say regarding the Cardinal’s comments on hitting that milestone in the priesthood:
In his Post-synodal Apostolic Exhortation Pastores gregis, No. 28, Pope John Paul II, recalling the Rite of Ordination of a Bishop and most especially the imposition of the Book of the Gospels on the head of the Bishop-elect during the Prayer of Consecration, has this to say, “This gesture indicates, on the one hand, that the Word embraces and watches over the Bishop’s ministry and, on the other, that the Bishop’s life is to be completely submitted to the Word of God in his daily commitment of preaching the Gospel in all patience and sound doctrine (cf. 2 Timothy 4).”
Being “completely submitted” to the Word of God, whether Sacred Scripture or Tradition, the Bishop must be firmly committed to sound preaching and to the right of the faithful to Catholic doctrine in its purity and integrity.
When a Bishop fails to uphold this right of the faithful to sound doctrine, he is responsible for what amounts to an act of violence against the faithful. Which is what we are witnessing in the Boston Archdiocese.
At his Blog, His Eminence Sean Cardinal O’Malley writes, “I am so grateful for priestly vocation. It is not something we deserve or merit, it is something that God in His goodness calls us to do. It calls us to be part of something bigger than ourselves. It is not our priesthood, it is the ministry of Jesus Christ. In the Church, the priesthood is so important because we are a Eucharistic people. It is through the priesthood that Christ has chosen to give us the sacraments.”
A word of congratulation is in order. As well as a word of thanks to His Eminence for responding to God’s call to serve the Church. Indeed, His Eminence is correct in saying that the priesthood calls men to be part of “something bigger” than themselves. That something is the Word of God, which the priest is called to proclaim with fidelity to those who are entrusted with its true interpretation (Dei Verbum, No. 10). In other words, the Church’s Magisterium. “The task of priests,” as Vatican II teaches in Presbyterorum Ordinis, No. 4, “is not to teach their own wisdom but God’s Word.”
This task belongs to the priest no less than his task of offering the Eucharistic Sacrifice. It is significant, for me, that Cardinal O’Malley neglects this point in his summary of why the priesthood is important. Because both tasks are inseparably linked. Origen wrote, “You know, you who are accustomed to assist at the divine mysteries, with what religious care, when you receive the Lord’s body, you watch to see that not the smallest particle may fall…You would feel guilty, and rightly so, if that were to happen by your neglect. Then,…how should it be a less grave fault to neglect the word of God than to neglect his body?” (In Exod., hom. 13.3).
The task of safeguarding the Word of God is very important. And when dissent arises in the Church, “the Church’s Pastors have the duty to act in conformity with their apostolic mission” and to insist “that the right of the faithful to receive Catholic doctrine in its purity and integrity must always be respected.” (Pope John Paul II, Veritatis Splendor, No. 113).
Paul closed his blog by asking the question, “Knowing this, one must ask: Your Eminence, why have you not addressed dissent within the Archdiocese of Boston?” Given what we have exposed here on this blog since March, we are wondering the answer to that same question. How do you really feel about the need for Catholics to be a “community of resistance” and to fight the evils that we see? Or should we simply delude ourselves into thinking that if we keep going along with the voices of secularism and de-Christianization, we can somehow mitigate or change things?