Abusive ecclesial authority puts US bishops on the spot

Some of our bishops are acting like bullies, abusing the authority of their offices in the name of enforcing orthodoxy.

Dealing with U.S. women religious, these bishops’ actions appear governed more by a desire to enforce obedience than to develop fidelity in our sisters.

Catholics see through this guise. They are upset, fed up with the likes of this behavior. They are speaking out. Soon they will be on the streets making their voices heard. You can count on it.

What the bully bishops claim to be matters of orthodoxy are really matters of pastoral style. They are the results of an unwillingness among our bishops to enter into sincere and mutually repectful dialogue with the women. None of the issues at hand has anything to do with the Creed. They stem from the actions of a small group of misdirected and fearful men determined to take catholic out of Catholic while judging, silencing and demeaning those who stand in their way.

Most of our bishops are not part of this clique. Most find themselves in near-impossible situations, part of a culture that demands they accede, at least publicly, to these abusive actions, knowing full well they are draining life and spirit out of the very women — these exemplary, faithful women — who sustain their diocesan and parish communities.

Against the best interests of their local churches, our bishops keep their silence, cognizant that if they speak up in support of the sisters, they will be removed from their positions, as have other bishops who have spoken out against the bullying.

This is an especially difficult time for Catholics who recognize the need and place for legitimate church authority in a world in need of Gospel guidance. Catholics and others cannot help but see the episcopal attacks on our sisters in the context of decades of sexual abuse cover-up. Why, they ask, point the finger at the women when the times demand deep critical self-introspection? Continue reading



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