If there was ever a time for militancy in the Church, this is that time. But please note, militancy comes in a variety of forms. There is, of course, the militancy of faith — prayer, fasting, sacrifices etc. But there is also the militancy of action, of works. Faith, after all, without works, is dead.
There is an attitude among many faithful Catholics that bishops and priests simply can never be questioned and certainly not challenged. Many of the more progressive or careerist bishops and priests play this up to their advantage. Which is kind of funny because while insisting on a degree of obedience from the laity — a degree of obedience the laity do not owe to bad prudential decisions — they themselves will be disobedient in matters of which they actually are supposed to be obedient.
For example, let’s begin with proper instruction in the Faith — an area massively ignored for the past 50 years and still ignored or substituted for with protestantized, watered-down instruction. If you got to hear the radio interview with a local Scranton, Pennsylvania, radio show last week where I was a guest and talking about Fr. James Martin’s scheduled address there, the host, a pleasant enough fellow, Frank Andrews, at one point said to me he was “uncomfortable” with challenging bishops. He had viewed an earlier Vortex where I said Bp. Joseph Bambera was flat out wrong for supporting homosexualist James Martin and had, as a consequence, made the label of homosexualist apply to himself as well. He is advancing, defending and promoting the homoheresy, as Polish priest Fr. Darius Oko calls it. So a cleric, any cleric, who supports the homoheresy is by definition a homosexualist. But notice the immediate reaction. The host was “uncomfortable” with criticizing a bishop or priest for that fact.
That whole approach is how the homosexual, priest-sex abuse crisis rose to the disastrous level it did with thousands of wounded souls — some of whom committed suicide — and $4 billion in damages and counting — right, Cdl. Timothy Dolan, who just shelled out another $40 million dollars. Remember that New York Catholics when Dolan comes around with his tin cup.
We laity do not owe obedience to a bishop or cleric’s bad prudential decision that has the effect of destroying the Faith through scandal. Bishop’s all over the country told naive laity back in the day not to mention anything about Fr. Chester the Molester. Then, they transferred him to parish after parish. They played the laity, capitalizing on their image of one commanding obedience in all things, which they do not.
Yet still, good Catholics have this wrong. They are still “uncomfortable” with saying things about a bishop or priest’s decisions that are harmful to the Church. From allowing bad dissident priests to run parishes, to horrible heterodox faculty at seminaries, to backing homoheresy-promoting priests, to keeping their mouths shut very tightly about contraception etc, the list of abuses is mind-boggling. And of course, they paint the whole social justice garbage agenda — immigration, climate change, gun control, the death penalty – as though it’s dogma, and they can never be challenged.
The task of helping advance the Faith and saving the Church has fallen directly to the laity as Venerable Abp. Fulton Sheen said 40 years ago. And since we are not just spiritual beings but also composed of matter, existing in the material world, our purely spiritual works must be joined to temporal works as well.
Consider for a moment what Our Blessed Lord desires from us. Think about the wedding at Cana when Our Blessed Mother launched Our Lord to His Sacred Passion by asking Him to reveal His Divinity by performing the miracle of producing wine where there formerly was none. Did Our Lord just wave His hands and voila, there was wine? No. He desired that human agency participates in His action. He bade the waiters to “fill the jars with water.” Why? He could have just had the thought, and they would have been filled with water. In fact, He would have just skipped the whole water part and gone straight to the wine. Why the water? Because he wanted humanity to have a participation in His miraculous working, and it was quite the participation.
Back in the day, the amount of effort to fill those large jars with water would have been enormous — going back and forth to the well, drawing the water out, transporting it back to the location of the jars, filling them up. Only after humanity had supplied the material labor so to speak, did Our Blessed Lord step in and finish the job.
We cannot simply retreat into piety in these difficult and challenging days in the Church. We must fill the jars with water — do the backbreaking work that we are capable of doing — have some “skin in the game” so to speak and not just sit back and wait for a miracle and claim that we trust when the reality is that we are actually lazy or selfish. Say a few prayers, and I’ve done my part. Not good enough, if you or your state in life render you capable of doing more.
Make sure you are not tricking yourself by focusing so much on prayer that you never actually roll up your sleeves and do the work that faith demands.