Dealing with Recalcitrants
When I was a child, I was taught to respect authority by my father. It's not like it came easy. I tried to find the easy way out of many things, tried to not take responsibility for my own actions, and generally tried to push the fences further out, testing the limits. I was also taught to respect the authority of the Church as represented by the priests and bishops locally, and the Pope universally.
Though I was taught respect for Church authority, that did not prevent me from wandering away from the faith, and testing the boundaries. About 12 years later, God pulled me back in, and here I have remained, seeking to be faithful to the Catholic Church and what it teaches, not because I am brain washed, but because my soul has been washed in the Blood of the Lamb.
I let my earthly father down many times, and I continue to let my heavenly Father down often by my sinfulness.
I raised my own children through the 90's, and sadly was not as strong a disciplinarian as my earthly father was. Lack of discipline in dealing with those to whom authority has been vested in us brings problems with it, as lack of self discipline does also.
One of the most important teaching documents for our time was humanae vitae, the papal encyclical of Pope Paul VI. Humanae vitae was a profound statement of the dignity of and exclusivity of the sexual relationship of a man and wife. But, our Canadian bishops, and those of other countries whitewashed it, and downplayed it to the masses. Where the Pope had provided clear direction to the faithful, which needed to be followed up with teaching discipline to the faithful at the local level, our local Ordinaries failed us miserably. That does not take us off the hook, by any means, but it certainly challenged us to go it alone without their help. Most of us failed.
Our failures have brought about abortion in numbers almost too high to count, contraception almost across the board so that nobody has to take responsibility for their sexual actions, and gender confusion off the map.
Where does this lead? What we have been seeing in our society is a level of recalcitrance by our secular leaders that has been unparalleled in polite society. We have too many instances in our societies of North America, for example, where people claiming to be Catholic spout their beliefs which in no way reflect the truth and beauty of Catholic Christian spirituality.
Here in Ontario, we have Laurel Broten, the Minister of Education, spouting about what the Catholic Church can and cannot teach about abortion, claiming some misogyny card that is a fancy word used by ignorant people because it sounds smart. Father Tim Moyle wrote of this today on Where the Rubber Hits the Road.
Cardinal Collins, who has responsibility for the Toronto Archdiocese where Ms. Broten lives has spoken with clarity about this issue in response to the intemperate remarks of Ms. Broten.
So, there is no doubt. The Cardinal has clarified what was already clear about Catholic teaching on abortion, and the right of Catholic schools to teach it. Ms. Broten, as a self proclaimed Catholic is in a state of grave sin by speaking out against Church teaching. Her sin is grave not because of her own actions alone, but because of the influence that her actions have on others, leading them into occasion for sin.
It is time for the Cardinal to take Ms. Broten to the woodshed, and have a Come to Jesus meeting with her.
At the same time, Archbishop Prendergast of Ottawa might do well to take Premier McGuinty to his local woodshed for a similar talk.
We need our Bishops and Cardinals to stand up and deal with disobedience. The Catholic Church is not a smorgasbord, where you pick and choose what you want from the menu, and then bring in your own putrid flesh to eat, if you do not care for the fare.
We, the faithful need you Cardinal Collins, and Archbishop Prendergast to speak not only about what the Truth is, but to speak it to those who are in active disobedience to that Truth you have proclaimed.
It is time.