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Thursday, September 22, 2011

Bishop Cupich and 40 Days for Life...

Bishop Blase Cupich, Bishop of Spokane (formerly a priest of the Archdiocese of Omaha) has made a clarifying statement with regard to 40 Days for Life going on in Spokane.  He has called for prudence from his priests.

Text is here.

LifeSiteNews, who I normally think does wonderful work in the pro-life movement has caught wind of this and is lambasting His Excellency for asking his priests to refrain from this particular protest, vigil, whatever you choose to call it.  His reasoning is that it is becoming too political and that his priests should rather teach about it than be protesting.  That is His Excellency's prerogative.  I have no issue with it.  To that, the combox has been  very active in scrutiny of the good Bishop.

Let me be clear about one thing, this is not really a problem about the pro-life movement, but rather this is a problem of obedience and the fact that people don't want their priests to be obedient unless it suits them to be so.  I daresay that the people in these comboxes refuse to see that the Bishop is not asking for his priests to stop being pro life, but rather he wants his priests to support the faithful prayerfully and by using the moment to teach.

Some of my responses follow;

Praise God for Bishop Cupich.  He recognizes that the role of the priest is bigger than one issue.  His pastors and curates must work for the whole of their parishes, not just one issue.
While they should be standing up and talking about the horrors of abortion, they too should be talking about the horrors of liturgical abuse.  They should be talking about bringing people back to the Church.  They should be talking about the Sacraments.  They should be talking about saving souls.
What priests should not be doing is getting caught up in the political activities which surround the pro-life movement.  They have no place there.
Again, I applaud Bishop Cupich for holding his clergy accountable.  I applaud Bishop Cupich for affirming his pro-life position.  I applaud Bishop Cupich for doing what is necessary.  He is the Ordinary and his priests owe him Holy Obedience.  We should let his priests be obedient and not call for them to go against the just wishes of their Ordinary.

...But what I’m saying is not spin.  And it makes great sense to what is at hand.  I don’t know what you said prior, because I cannot see it.  You don’t need to be graphic with me on what goes on inside an abortion mill.  I’m well aware.  I’ve mentioned on the other thread that I have a pretty invested interest in the pro-life movement.  I daresay that I’ve done more than most and put my freedom and safety on the line, by being a sidewalk counselor.  I’ve given away hundreds of rosaries to those walking into abortion mills and I’ve spent thousands of hours on my knees in front of said mills.  Let’s do get something straight.  I have no problem doing what you ask.  I applaud anyone who does.  Bishop Cupich has asked that his priests not do that.  I respect that.  He is the Ordinary and his priests need to be obedient.  Yes, it is supportive, but it is also political.

The reason His Excellency has called for what he has called for is because 40 Days for Life is not a Catholic movement.  It is often politicized and I can tell you from being involved in it that it is political.  It is a protest, to cut to the chase.  It is a prayerful protest, but a protest nonetheless.
Because it not a Catholic movement, His Excellency is asking for his priests to focus on those things which are and in a Catholic way.  For a priest, that is to teach, not protest.  He may pray and Bishop Cupich will not ask a priest to oppose his well formed conscience on that matter, but he’s asking that his priests to be prudent.  There is nothing wrong with that.
Bishop Cupich is being demonized because he is being consistent that his priests should refrain from political activities.  You may disagree with him over the politics of 40 Days for Life.  Fine.  His judgment though, must be respected and adhered by his priests.  You might not like it, but that doesn’t mean that it is wrong.  Mainly, because it isn’t, regarding the non-Catholic origin and acceptance of 40 Days for Life.
Again, this goes to my point over two threads that a Catholic must be pro-life, but a Catholic doesn’t have to be a militant pro-lifer….and a priest shouldn’t be one.  He has a teacher’s role, not a soldier’s.
...the fact remains that the Ordinary is not supportive of 40 Days for Life, because it is not Catholic.  That is his prerogative.  He feels that it is too political and feels that his priests and the diocese may be harmed by participation.  Again, his prerogative.  He’s not (as I’ve said before) expecting his priests to stop being pro-life.  He’s not expecting them to stop teaching, actually he is calling for that.  He’s just asking them to refrain from participating in this particular event.  Again, his prerogative. No, he is not exclusively forbidding them from participation, but his tone to them is clear.  Please don’t.  It is much like a doctor asking a patient who has high blood pressure to refrain from putting salt on french fries.  He won’t forbid it, but he knows the consequences could be harmful.  His Excellency is asking them to make a prudential judgment, while realizing that they can move as their conscience dictates.  Holy Obedience to their Ordinary should play a part in this and that is the point I’ve been making all along…it would be prudent for a priest of the diocese of Spokane to listen to his Ordinary.
Preach about it.  Support it, but if the Ordinary asks the priests not to participate in it, without forbidding it, well….
As for Catholics participating in non-Catholic things…I am of the opinion that prudence should rule the day too.  If Catholics are trying to regain a Catholic identity, then perhaps it is best for Catholics to do those things which are Catholic, FIRST!  So, if there are Catholic pro-life rallies and stances, then he should do that before something secular or “inter-religious.”  I know most here will not agree with that, but c’est la vie.  Call me traddy, I don’t really care.
Bottom line, DoctorMD; His Excellency hasn’t forbidden it, but he shouldn’t have to.  His priests should follow his lead.  He is the shepherd, they lead his flock.  Common sense.
This has never been an issue about pro-life, but rather an issue of Holy Obedience…sadly too many here have advocated disobedience, so that it can suit their own personal stance on morality.  The Catholic Church is bigger than any one position and while it certainly encompasses the pro-life issue, that is not all the priest must be about.  There is so much more…of which I have already opined enough.

This isn't an issue about being pro-life.  This is an issue that the faithful are calling for their priests to be disobedient.  I am calling for priests to remember that they owe their allegiance to their Ordinary.  They know this and so should we.  The promise of obedience is made to the Ordaining bishop and his successors.  The laity should support that, not tear it down, so they can have a collar at their latest protest.

1 comment:

  1. the fact that people don't want their priests to be obedient unless it suits them to be so.

    Nailed it there