NCR’s MSW pontificates on the US bishops and the hopes and fears for 2019. He cited a correspondent and a bishop from history. Lay person first:
When the hierarchy turned their backs on the poor, the suffering, the marginalized, the refugees, the environment, when they turned their back on peace and capital punishment, and they chose to go for the culture wars (all connected to human sexuality) they made such a huge pastoral mistake. Also they investigated gays in our seminaries … they investigated nuns …
This is a harsh critique. But it’s not unfair. Mr Winters comes down hard on both conservative and liberal movers in the Church. Also harsh, but not unfair or inaccurate.
What the bishops have missed is what both of these sides have also missed: a post-conciliar renewal in evangelization, baptism, and mission. They’ve also pitched a needed sense of teamwork:
They didn’t stand up for the nuns, they didn’t stand up for gay people living good lives in the priesthood and religious life. There is some betrayal in there, some betrayal of the trust that the people of God place in them — or used to.
A friend mentioned about sixty percent of the bishops made it to their retreat this week. Pray for them and the ones who thought they had better things to do. From the namesake of their retreat site:
The trouble with [the Church] in the past has been that we were too often allied or drawn into an alliance with the wrong side. Selfish employers of labor have flattered the Church by calling it the great conservative force, and then called upon it to act as a police force while they paid but a pittance of wage to those who work for them. I hope that day has gone by. Our place is beside the workingman.
MSW closes up shop with this:
If the bishops had, like (Archbishop) Mundelein, stayed close to the working people of this country, they would not be in the mess they are in.
Staying close to the sheep. And their smell.