Monday, November 19, 2018


I copy this from the Deacon's Bench post! Must read letter!

Must read: Bishop writes of ‘cowards,’ ‘episcopal arrogance,’ ‘insular’ hierarchy, need for lay involvement

by Helen Osman for Catholic Missourian

From the superlative Bishop Shawn McKnight of Jefferson City, writing to his flock after the meeting in Baltimore:
At the time of this writing, there has not been one bishop, archbishop or cardinal in either the Holy See or the United States who has come forward on his own to repent publicly of his sins of omission or commission with regard to Archbishop McCarrick’s series of promotions over decades.  Please, be men, not cowards, and come clean on your own! There doesn’t have to be a formal and long, drawn out investigation for a bishop to exercise a little compunction and concern for the well-being of the whole Church.  An independent and transparent investigation is all the more necessary when culpable hierarchs exhibit an incapacity to do the right thing on their own.
The laity are the only ones who can keep the hierarchy accountable and get us out of the mess we bishops got ourselves into.  My singular focus throughout the Baltimore meeting was to advocate and push for greater public involvement of the laity at all levels of the Church.  Why can’t we have well qualified, nationally known and trusted lay experts named to the special task force announced by the president of the USCCB?  We are too insular and closed in as a hierarchy, and so are some of our processes at the USCCB.  The Second Vatican Council gave us not only the freedom but the obligation to utilize and engage the gifts and talents of the laity in the life and mission of the Church.
Beyond the McCarrick scandal, we have more work cut out for us with regard to putting into place protocols and institutional structures to build credibility in the hierarchy’s handling of sexual abuse cases going forward.  History proves that we bishops are not capable of policing ourselves adequately on the issue of clergy sexual abuse. Why not include the laity to assist us with this problem?  The document the Missouri Province of Bishops presented to the Committee for the Protection of Children and Young People on Oct. 6 was intended to offer a set of principles for the USCCB to consider as it was developing proposals for the full body of bishops, including the involvement of the laity.  We Missouri bishops wanted something valuable to come from our November meeting.
And so, I was disappointed that even the mild proposals up for consideration at the Baltimore meeting had to be pulled from a vote.  It was a rather harsh reminder to me of what many lay people have been saying throughout our Diocese: We bishops are ineffectual in our attempts to address the problem of abuse of power by the hierarchy.  The Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People has had a marked impact on lowering the number of incidents of abuse by clergy since 2003.  But with the aggravation of the McCarrick scandal,  the laity and clergy are now rightfully asking that we get it all out, once and for all, and respond with an urgency that this crisis deserves. We literally have people dying because of the harm caused by predator clergy, and survivors of abuse are further victimized when we fail to take swift action.    Seeing certain retired bishops who were notoriously responsible for covering up clergy sexual abuse at this year’s General Assembly in Baltimore as welcome guests was a slap in the face to all who have been wounded by the clergy.  This example of episcopal arrogance and clericalism evidences the fact that we still don’t get the problem.
The whole Church is needed to solve our problem which the whole world knows about.  What more do we have to hide?  If we are going to move forward, we need to have authentic communion and a genuine synodal process.  And this requires transparency and better communication between the clergy and the laity, between the USCCB and its own members, and between the USCCB and the Holy See. We need to become the Church Christ founded us to be.


Victor said...

Coincidentally, I was thinking along the same lines before going to bed last night, how insular the clerical hierarchy has been since at least Vatican II, and how the current pontificate is very much like this. It is the same insularity that catapulted the liturgical reforms without any regards to the concerns or desires of the laity.
Certainly it creates great PR to give free meals to the poor, but the pagans, as St Paul warns us, can do that too, and even better. What about helping the destitute, and helping them to help themselves so they can gain a sense of dignity? What about the hierarchy being the model of holiness as is expected from the followers of Christ? How about not keeping silence on the members of the secret man-boy club that the Church hierarchy is evolving towards? How about treating its victims with love and concern, and not treating them like troublemakers and fakes as the Pontiff initially did with the Chilean victims until the media made that strategy impossible to continue? How about the hierarchy being more attentive to the Magisterium in the context of listening to the people? In short, has the Vatican ordered its millstones yet?

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Victor, I agree with you completely as it concerns the poor, secular, non religioius even non believing groups and organizations can do just as good a job at caring for the poor than the Catholic Church as currently comprised. The Salvation Army does an excellent job and is the fearful or reluctant to ask the poor to go to a church service. Catholics are reluctant to even pray with the poor. I have often wondered if chapels should be erected at Catholic facilities that assist the poor, especially street people and teach them to pray before the Blessed Sacrament and offer prayer services that are Catholic in ethos. But then those who run these "ministries" would say that is proslytizing them but is it?

At the same time, though, given the fact that the majority of Catholics today have no idea of what the pre-Vatican II Liturgies were like and have no desire for Latin for the most part, for a bishop or priest to impose either Latin or the EF Mass on Catholics not seeking these, would be the very same thing that bishops and priests did on a universal level and by edict to laity who had no desire for an all vernacular Mass let alone a dumbed down new order of the Mass.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

My sentence above about the Salvation Army should have read, is NOT fearful to bring prayer/spirituality to those they serve.

Henry said...

"for a bishop or priest to impose either Latin or the EF Mass on Catholics not seeking these, would be the very same thing that bishops and priests did on a universal level"

But it would the opposite (rather than the) same thing, in the sense that it would be a good thing (imposing a superior Mass) rather than a bad thing (an inferior Mass).

Shortly before being appointed a bishop, the very fine present bishop of Kansas City-St. Joseph (Missouri) was appointed pastor of the very liberal parish nearest me. When he "imposed" the Ordinary in Latin there was the predictable objection (to "going back") from the usual crowd. To which he responded with a still-remembered full page parish bulletin insert entitled "Latin and Lima Beans", the thrust of which was that they're both good for you, whether you like them or not.

The Egyptian said...

"Latin and Lima Beans", the thrust of which was that they're both good for you, whether you like them or not.

I agree but I STILL hate lima beans

TJM said...



My fear is that the "progressives" will make this good bishop's life a hell on earth because they are so "merciful and tolerant!"

Anonymous said...

This bishop is going to spend his whole life in Jefferson City for speaking against the status quo.

TJM said...

Father McDonald,

I am certain you must have seen this:

A Few Good Men. Cupich and "Father Martin" must have been squirming. Bishop Paprocki should be heading Chicago, not him. We need a clean sweep now if our dear Church is to survive in a meaningful way. PF needs to go. Period, end of discussion.

Anonymous said...

I did not even know that Jefferson City was a diocese. Does not seem big enough for that, given the large cities---Kansas City and St. Louis---the city is located between. Maybe Augusta (Georgia, not Maine) would be a good choice---could create a diocese out of both Atlanta and Savannah, maybe run from Athens to Lake Oconee to Swainsboro and Statesboro. I guess problem though is that the Savannah diocese is not exactly overpopulated (in terms of need to create another diocese), and taking the Augusta area out would have a big financial impact on the Savannah Diocese.

Marc said...

There’s a diocese in Springfield too. Four dioceses in Missouri. The KC-STJ diocese has a co-cathedral in St. Joe. Lots of Catholics in Missouri.