Who wants to separate us from our bishops?
Reading the Church Fathers for Lent has been eye opening in the light of present day attacks on the Church, such as the State of Connecticut attempt hitting the wires here and here.
The battle plan against the Church is evermore visible above the horizon, although it has been on the rise for a long time out of sight and mind of many. Divide and conquer! No big surprise. I think we feel all too safe having our Constitution to protect us.
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
— The First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America
Archbishop Chaput writes in response to the Connecticut attack:
“But prejudice against the Catholic Church has a long pedigree in the United States. And rarely has belligerence toward the Church been so perfectly and nakedly captured as in Connecticut’s pending Senate Bill 1098, which, in the words of Hartford’s Archbishop Henry Mansell, ‘directly attacks the Roman Catholic Church and our Faith.’”
“In effect, SB 1098 would give the state of Connecticut the power to forcibly reorganize the internal civil life of the Catholic community. This is bad public policy in every sense: imprudent; unjust; dismissive of First Amendment concerns, and contemptuous of the right of the Catholic Church to be who she is as a public entity,” the archbishop criticized.
I want to focus on the role of the bishop in the Church. He is not just one voice among many. For Christians, he is the voice speaking with clarity for Christ. In our loud and intrusive culture, we listen to the voice speaking loudest in our heads, and exhortations like “listen to your bishop” have long since faded in the background of our day to day struggle. Time to refocus! Time to be vigilant! Our fallen natures find it hard to submit to valid authority, but now is not the time for pettiness or self-serving arrogance. We need our bishops and our bishops need to speak and speak clearly.
The Fathers say:
St. Ignatius of Antioch to the Magnesians:
Let nothing exist among you that may divide you ; but be ye united with your bishop, and those that preside over you, as a type and evidence of your immortality.
As therefore the Lord did nothing without the Father, being united to Him, neither by Himself nor by the apostles, so neither do ye anything without the bishop and presbyters. Neither endeavor that anything appear reasonable and proper to yourselves apart; but being come together into the same place, let there be one prayer, one supplication, one mind, one hope, in love and in joy undefiled. There is one Jesus Christ, than whom nothing is more excellent. Do ye therefore all run together as into one temple of God, as to one altar, as to one Jesus Christ, who came forth from one Father, and is with and has gone to one.
Ignatius of Antioch to the Smyrnaeans:
It is reasonable for the future to be vigilant, and while we have yet time, to repent unto God. It is well to honor God and the bishop; he who honors the bishop, is honored of God; he who does anything without the knowledge of the bishop, serves the devil.
Note for our Christian brothers and sisters outside the Roman Church:
Responding to the Connecticut Bill, Peter Wolfgang of the Family Institute of Connecticut writes:
“We need as big a turnout as possible for the public hearing on Wednesday, especially from non-Catholics. As Ben Franklin told the Founders while they were signing the Declaration of Independence, “either we hang together or we will all hang separately.” Legislators need to understand that this bill is an attack on everyone’s religious liberty.”
If the legislature can replace a bishop with a board of laymen in the Catholic Church, they can just as easily replace the governing lay structure of Congregationalist or Baptist churches with someone set up as a bishop. In fact, it was resistance to such government interference in the internal life of the church that gave birth to several of our most historic denominations. Thanks to this awful bill, our generation must now rise up to defend those hard-fought victories for religious liberty that were won for us by our ancestors.
The Anchoress waiting on the Remnant writes:
The Remnant is much deeper than any movement, and it will surface on its own – full of surprising and surprised people – in due time, when it must, and that may be soon, but neither you nor I know the day or hour. The thing about remnants is that they identify themselves after a carpet has been laid or a robe has been cut, not before.
Remnants do not stop a construct from happening…they survive it.
Exhaustive list of Catholic bishops condemning voting for pro-aborts here.
From the Anchoress UPDATE: “Well, a reprieve of sorts. Seems
“The bill is dead for the rest of the legislative session. As soon as word spread about the bill, the Legislative Office Building was flooded with telephone calls and e-mails on Monday. The bill, virtually overnight, became the hottest issue at the state Capitol.”. (H/T Ace) That’s good. But it’s still on the way – next year, year after that, because as Ed Morrissey writes: They’re embarrassed, but they still haven’t learned why.”
“This battle is going to happen. Bank on it.”