US bishops should drop everything and focus on preventing schism

I have a modest proposal for the U.S. bishops’ conference. They should scrap their entire agenda for the upcoming November plenary and address a single question: To what degree are the seeds of a de facto schism being sown within the U.S. church?

Last week, a friend called my attention to a website called “Faithful Shepherds” that was launched a year ago by LifeSiteNews.

They state that their purpose is to provide a “one-stop database” about where Catholic bishops stand on certain issues and to “encourage bishops to be faithful to Christ.”

The website considers a range of issue, including homosexuality and liturgy: “Does your bishop encourage Communion on the tongue while kneeling?” is one of the questions posed.

I was glad to see that they properly labeled one category “abortion politics,” although they failed to see that certainty about politics is different from certainty about morality.

The weirdest item on the list is Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò’s testimony about which they ask “Has the bishop supported an investigation into Viganò’s claims?

Does the bishop say his allegations are driven by ideology or are an attack on Pope Franics [sic]? Has the bishop said Viganò is a man of integrity?”

It is odd, is it not, that fidelity to Viganò has become such a calling card among these schismatics.

His screeds are so obviously a combination of score settling, innuendo and simple smearing — if you knew nothing about Viganò and nothing about the people he names and only read the texts as they are, you would be suspicious of the author.

When you find out where your bishop stands on these issues, you can click on a button to send him a postcard, thanking him for supporting the positions LifeSiteNews endorses or asking him to abandon his wayward ways.

First, you are invited to make a donation of $5 or more, and then alerted that your credit card will be charged $2 for the postcard.

You can also “do-it-yourself,” as they provide an email address and phone number for each prelate as well.

“For too long, lay Catholics have been without an authoritative accountability tool for U.S. bishops, especially those who deviate from the Church’s magisterium,” they write.

Seeing as Francis is now the embodiment of the church’s magisterium, the fact that they applaud bishops who have criticized Amoris Laetitia and denounce those who have supported it is a bit rich.

Last week, Cardinal Blase Cupich was their featured prelate.

I won’t bore you with the bizarre way they frame different items on their list of complaints.

Many are tendentious in the extreme.

Others are true, but in this funhouse of extremism, what is sane is presented as heretical and what is a commonplace is considered an outrage.

I do not believe that any bishop, not even the bishop of Rome, is beyond criticism.

But what makes this Faithful Shepherds website so nefarious, and indeed what makes LifeSiteNews and other conservative outlets so nefarious these days, is that fidelity is defined as being in opposition to the pope.

They do not cite a single instance in which agreement with the pope is a mark of fidelity.

Silly me. All these years, I thought being in communion with the successor of Peter was a significant mark of Roman Catholicism. Continue reading

  • Image: LifeSite
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