What follows is an excerpt from a talk given in November of 1991 in the Chicago area by Michael Davies, well known traditionalist apologist. The entire talk is available in booklet form from TAN Books & Publishers. It is an inspirational talk that every serious Catholic ought to study.
Sad to say, Michael Davies knew more than most Catholics how too many Bishops can—and often do—impede the faithful in their rightful worship of God and in their rightful practice of the holy Faith of Christ. This may sound like a rather strong criticism of Catholic Bishops, those ordained to be our shepherds, but I assure you that it can be well substantiated and continues to this day.
In his outstanding talk, The Reign of Christ the King, Mr. Davies made some observations about the leadership that laity must play in preserving the Faith, speaking from his long experience of fighting for traditional faith and practice in the Catholic Church. One paragraph in particular I have bolded for emphasis. It sounds almost too incredible to believe that, in seeking to exalt Christ to His rightful place in the Church and in this world, too often “the laity must take the lead and shame the hierarchy into following us.”
This statement is somewhat reminiscent of one by Venerable Archbishop Fulton Sheen: "Who is going to save our Church? Not our bishops, not our priests and religious. It is up to you, the people. You have the minds, the eyes, the ears to save the Church. Your mission is to see that your priests act like priests, your bishops like bishops and your religious act like religious.”
TO RESTORE THE REIGN OF CHRIST
We must make the social reign of Christ the King possible today. If we do not do all that is in our power to restore the Social Kingship of Our Lord, we are not worthy of our Baptism, we are not worthy of our Confirmation, we are not worthy of the glorious name of Catholic. There is only one solution to the problems of mankind, and that is to establish the peace of Christ in the Kingdom of Christ—Pax Christi in regno Christi. There is no other solution to what Professor von Hildebrand rightly termed the dehumanization of mankind.
Hilaire Belloc explained that the two alternatives for our civilization are Catholicism and chaos. Anything less than Catholicism—even if it calls itself "Christianity"—will not stand up in the long run against the encroaching barbarism. So it is we Catholics who actually hold the key both to the social reign of Christ and to the saving of our civilization. We must therefore all work toward the day when the governments of our nations (as well as all individual men) publicly recognize Christ, His Catholic Church and His holy law—and regulate themselves accordingly.
How is this to be achieved? If we wait for a lead from the hierarchy, it will not be given. The laity must take the lead and shame the hierarchy into following us.
Do not say that this cannot be done. It has been done with the fight for the Tridentine Mass, which is now being celebrated throughout the world to an extent that few of us would have deemed possible a few years ago. It has been done with the pro-life movement, above all with the Rescue Movement. We now have bishops participating in Rescues, God bless them for it. But they are following the lead of the laity.
During the Protestant Reformation, almost all the clergy in England accepted the new religion without protest until, in the West of England, they were forced to return to the traditional Faith and the traditional Mass by relatively uneducated peasants. The fact that one reluctant priest was cut to pieces with agricultural implements seems to have given his confreres considerable encouragement in returning to the Catholic Faith! Hamish Fraser insisted frequently and forcefully that society, the social kingdom of Our Lord, is our milieu as laymen, and that we must make our presence felt. Hamish Fraser was a convert from Communism, and the great legacy which he brought from his Communist background was his commitment to action.
We can fight for the Social Kingship of Our Lord without the need of approval or leadership from our bishops. We can and must mobilize all citizens of good will, whether they are Catholic or not. There were Protestants and even Jews who fought the "Gay Rights Bill” in Connecticut, and they were undermined by our bishops.
If anyone reading this honestly believes that society cannot be changed, I can only reply: "Tell that to the homosexuals, tell that to the abortionists." They have changed society, they have corrupted it, de humanized it, but they knew what they wanted and they were prepared to fight for it, and they are still prepared to fight for it. Shall the children of light show less zeal than the children of darkness?