Sunday, November 10, 2013

Fools In Cassocks

Prosperity destroys fools and endangers the wise. -- George Herbert

There is nothing so pernicious, so evilly enticing, as the love of the spotlight: to be attended to for one's success, or one's glamor, or one's opinions. It can ruin any human and any human institution. Even the very wisest, humblest, and Godliest of men are susceptible to its allure.

Once in a great while, the temptation comes upon us all. It comes in varying magnitudes, in surprising fora, and at unexpected times, but the underlying appeal remains constant: You're important, so indulge yourself: Go ahead and act that way.

Resisting is a matter of survival.

Have a look at the trigger for today's tirade:

In the archdiocese of Los Angeles the latest issue of The Tidings, southern California’s Catholic weekly publication, the front page features a story about Gov. Jerry Brown’s (D) signing into law a bill that granted illegal immigrants the right to hold drivers licenses.

As LifeSiteNews reported, Los Angeles Archbishop José Gomez personally appeared at the podium prior to Brown signing the legislation.

According to the article in The Tidings, Gomez thanked Gov. Brown and Assemblyman Luis Alejo for their “leadership and commitment to our poor and working poor, especially our immigrants.”

Gomez qualified his statement, however, noting, “As good as this legislation is, it’s still only a half-measure.”

“Our nation’s immigration system is totally broken,” the archbishop stated. “Sacramento can’t fix that problem. Only Washington can. We need immigration reform that keeps families together, that gives rights to workers, and that provides a generous path to citizenship.”...

Brown highlighted Gomez’ presence and support at the bill-signing, placing his name first in a list of attendees included in the official press release.

Once again, a prelate of my Church has succumbed to the lure of the spotlight and the praise of politicians. Worse yet, Archbishop Gomez has done so against the laws of this nation and whatever amount of good sense God gave him.

Such prelates are busily squandering the last droplets of the prosperity the Catholic Church in America earned five decades and more ago.

The election of John F. Kennedy to the presidency ushered in an unprecedented degree of interest in the Catholic Church among Americans of other denominations and creeds. Never mind that JFK himself was no shining example of Catholic manhood. Never mind that his entire extended family has been shown to be a textbook example of self-exaltation above the laws of God and Man. The mere fact that Kennedy was a nominal Catholic, and that he refused to back away from his religion for the sake of his presidential campaign, caused millions of eyes to fix upon the Church with respectful interest.

The change was more dramatic than one who did not live through it might believe. Priests and nuns were treated with increased respect when out and about. Churches became significant neighborhood landmarks. Catholic teachings and traditions were openly discussed, and not just so non-Catholics could laugh about them. Perhaps for the first time in North America, jokes told about "the tunnels between the rectories and convents" were greeted with disapproving frowns. In a characteristically American but dangerous way, the Church, which had always had to tread rather lightly in this predominantly Protestant land, had attained a form of prosperity: inclusion in popular respect.

Such prosperity, when attained, should be put to work in service to one's duties. That applies to all men and all institutions, but most particularly to ministers of God. Such men have sworn an oath that demotes personal considerations below those of their faith. That's the defining characteristic of a professional, and the reason why I bridle at the misuse of that word.

In a contest between duty and prestige, altogether too many persons will choose prestige. Some of them happen to be Catholic bishops.

Many things have come and gone since then. The Church in America has made many missteps. This recent tendency to conflate Catholic doctrine with particular political positions is probably the worst of them. It will complete the destruction of that inclusive respect, that acceptance as an authority of substance, that the Church earned decades ago. It's especially poignant for us Catholics, of course, but it will be of telling significance to any follower of Christ, regardless of denomination:

The Christian faith is an individual election.
Jesus never told anyone how to vote.
Nor did he exhort His followers to violence or lawlessness.
The spectacle of a Catholic archbishop, one of the Princes of the Church, explicitly endorsing public policies specifically for the benefit of overt lawbreakers, could be the arrow through the heart of the Church in America. Yet Archbishop Gomez is surely not an evil man. More likely he's just a well-intentioned fool: one who knows better but does worse. It is typical of fools that they ignore one of the simplest and sternest of all traditional wisdoms, one that transcends place, time, and creed:

The road to Hell is paved with good intentions.



idahobob said...

Your dear archbishop is obviously a dumbass.


Anonymous said...

There's been one homily regarding immigration in my parish in GA. More covert than overt. We do have large Spanish congregation. IMO the check church is securing its future. I wish it put this much energy in fighting the HHS mandate in regards to providing abortion for all. Respect for the rule of law should be their concern, because this will only lead to more chaos and collapse of the entitlement state. Once that occurs they'll abandoned ship like rats.

Anonymous said...

It is racism pure and simple. José Gomez is Mexican first and American second (if he even considers himself American). This isn't about our broken immigration system it is about getting free stuff for your tribe.

YIH said...

I'm not a Catholic, but as the Church has become more 'third world' (Africa and Latin American) this has become more of an issue, and that won't change.
As the Church has been evaporating in Europe and European-derived countries it's being replaced by the 'social justice' oriented Catholicism.
Note that in the areas where the Church is growing are everything from nominally marxist to hardcore marxist.
This is not incompatible with the 'social issues' (anti birth control/abortion/homosexuality) as you might think. From the 70's onward communist countries openly began to reject the 'sexual revolution' their western fellow travelers pushed for as 'bourgeois'. While birth control and abortion were openly available (and even made mandatory in China) homosexuality and promiscuous sex were still officially strongly discouraged/treated as crimes. This also had the 'go along to get along' effect on the Church in terms of the redistributionist aspect of marxism. Conversely, marxist countries became more and more tolerant of the Catholic Church (and maintaining only a official facade of atheism - again with the exception of China).
Look at Pope John Paul II's visit to Cuba many years ago, with the Soviet Union imploding Fidel Castro not only allowed the visit of the Pope he gave him full diplomatic treatment. Granted, it was an indirect way of begging with the cutoff of Soviet aid, but it also had the purpose of strengthening ties with the rest of Latin America.
Pope Francis was inevitable (despite his US critics) and he merely ratchets up the 'social justice' agenda began with John Paul II and toned down with Ratzinger (I choose to refer to him by his non-papal moniker, because he's now non-papal).
IMHO the reason Francis is toning down the sexual issues is because he wants more money to flow from ''the West'' to the 'third world' and he could care less about the behavior of the 'decadent' West but it makes for a good 'cash cow' for milking.
As for the scandal? He will do exactly what he already is doing - ignoring it and praying it ''just goes away'' - what ''the West'' considers ''horribly sinful'' (as well as criminal) is quite likely still standard procedure in 'third world' parishes (and was in the 'first world' until the late 70's).

Marmota Monax said...

If the majority of our non invited documentally challenged future citizens (formerly known as illegal aliens) were Chinese and Buddhist, Russian Orthodox or (heaven forbid) Latin Mass loving Traditionalist Catholics, then the Bishops wouldn't give a flying feck about immigration "reform".
The bishops are under the illusion that most folks in Latin America are still Catholic. I can tell you that most of the illegals I know are either Pentecostal or just as non observant catholic as any American.
Not that that matters. The Church has always acknowledged that sovereign nations have every right and obligation to make fair and just immigration laws and to enforce their own borders. The position of the USCCB does not jibe with the actual teachings of the church! Still , that shouldn't come as a shock.
Anyways, they should take a lesson from the Pope...I mean Bishop of Rome... and not obsess on this. They need to worry about lonely old folks and not judging SSA priests.