1. Stephen White:
Whatever the fruits of today’s meeting between the USCCB delegation and Pope Francis, it’s essential to understand that the reforms the Church in the United States needs will come with and through the pope and his brother bishops – with and through Peter and his fellow apostles – or it will not come.
The press can shine a bright light into dark places, but they cannot replace the need for good and faithful clergy. All the district attorneys and all the grand juries in all the land can’t renew the Catholic Church. They can bankrupt dioceses and religious orders, they can jail abusive priests and criminally negligent bishops, but they can neither strip them of their office nor replace them with the God-fearing shepherds we need.
And here there is cause for watchfulness, but not for despair. There are 196 dioceses in this country (and one Personal Ordinariate) and more than 450 bishops. Among these ranks are some scoundrels, sure, but also some good and holy men. And there will be more. Many priests who will be bishops someday are being strengthened even now by this time of testing and purification.
Reaffirming that our faith is in Christ – not bishops, priests, or popes – is good and true; but that can’t diminish the fact that it was Christ Himself who chose to entrust the governance of the Church to mere men. “Wherever the bishop shall appear,” wrote St. Ignatius of Antioch, “there let the multitude of the people also be; even as wherever Jesus Christ is, there is the Catholic Church.”
We lay men and women should pray for our bishops, make sacrifices for them, and even be willing to suffer for them – not because they deserve it, but because they need our help as much as we need theirs. And those of us who aren’t bishops owe it to those who are to speak plainly, even when – perhaps especially when – the truths being told are hard ones.
4. Ed Mechmann:
There certainly has been much ugliness in the Church, and we need to be ruthless in eliminating it. But I refuse to dismiss the whole because of the rot in some of its members. Without the Church, I would know nothing of God, I would never have encountered Christ, and I would still remain in my sins without hope. I totally relate to what St. Peter said when Jesus asked if the apostles would leave him because of his hard teachings, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.”
St. Paul wrote that “Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.” (Eph. 5:25-27)
We wicked foolish humans have done our worst to deface and desecrate the Bride of Christ. We now have to do our best to cleanse her so that she can truly be without blemish and we can present her back to the Bridegroom as he desires. We certainly have a lot of work to do, but the Church I see is worth fighting for.
That’s because the Church I see isn’t the one tarnished by ugliness, but the one whose beauty remains eternal.
(Read the whole thing.)
5. Institute for Family Studies: The Power of Prayer for Families
6. Sohrab Ahmari on Commentary‘s website: The Passion of Botham Shem Jean
7. Ryan Anderson talks about transgender issues at the University of Richmond. The reviews? “Many students said they were surprised at the civility of the event.”
— Will Saletan (@saletan) September 13, 2018
10. Advice from (Antonin Scalia friend) Ruth Bader Ginsburg (who has also had it with the confirmation process): “Don’t give way to emotions that drain your energy and do you no good — like anger, like jealousy… Be patient. If things don’t work out the way you want, you try and try again to get it right.” Also important: Working in a collegial setting, a sense of humor.
PLUS: Part of a conversation with Dawn Eden about sex abuse and the Catholic Church. Talking with Mark DeYoung, a theology grad student, about an open letter from men to Pope Francis. (Here and here.)
Some upcoming events (both in D.C.):
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