Saturday, November 14, 2015

Archbishop Prendergast Resign: Part 3 But He's A Good Bishop!

Consecration of Ottawa Bishop Christian Riesbeck
by Archbishop Terrence Prendergast
In the matter of the ongoing scandal involving “Catholic” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, I have insisted that Archbishop Prendergast step aside to make room for a worthy, obedient Bishop for Ottawa. At all costs the devil's stranglehold on Canada's "Catholic" Prime Ministers must be broken.

My detailed argument is made in digestible portions:

What follows is part 3 of my argument.

But He’s a Good Bishop

What of those concerned Catholics who insist that the Archbishop is one of the good guys and some who say he’s arguably the best Bishop in Canada? Fair enough, I intend to explore some elements of that claim and put it to the Catholic test. But first a few more observations are in order.

If I believed Archbishop Prendergast was worthy of the mantle of Christ I would not have called for his resignation. Instead I maintain that he has been judged unworthy, not by man but by the Bride of Christ. It was Our Lord Jesus Christ Himself who said of His Bride, “whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” I believe the facts will show that the Archbishop lacks the courage and/or will to cooperate with his Master in the fulfillment of this promise. His responsibility is to bind in accordance with Divine law and the law of the Church; Christ Himself will see to the binding in Heaven.

The evil that has been let loose on Canada by Justin Trudeau over the past ten years or so needed to be bound and contained. It did not happen. Now the mushroom cloud is in view. The Catholic Bishops failed in their duty to bind the demons empowering Trudeau. Perhaps the Archbishop believes the above promise from His Saviour to His Church; perhaps he doesn’t. I don’t know. But it is on record that Archbishop Prendergast wishes to consult with Archbishop Lepine of Montreal on the matter of discipline for Justin Trudeau. Perhaps after that consult he will want to meet up with Archbishop Durocher. Why not look instead to the directives of Christ and his Holy Catholic Church? You already have the answer, your Grace, if you truly wish to please Christ.  It's already been decided for you. Furthermore, you, as well as other Canadian Bishops, have already made reference on several occasions to Canon 915 and its application to pro-abortion Catholics such as Justin Trudeau. So why now the reluctance?

“The Canon Law of the Catholic Church is the system of laws and legal principles made and enforced by the hierarchical authorities of the Church to regulate its external organization and government and to order and direct the activities of Catholics toward the mission of the Church” (Manual of Canon Law, pg. 3.) Canon 915 protects against sacrilege and scandal and if this law of the Church does not apply to Mr. Trudeau it applies to no one.

Crucial to a proper understanding of canon 915 is, first, the fact that it binds the ministers who admit persons to sacraments, not the recipients who approach the sacraments. Second, it both authorizes and requires [emphasis mine] Communion to be withheld from the faithful who approach under certain conditions, specifically “those upon whom the penalty of excommunication or interdict has been imposed or declared, and others who obstinately persist in manifest grave sin.” To read canon 915 as if it were a mere suggestion or exhortation instead of a command is to disregard the plain text of the law.
Like canon 916, canon 915 works in part to prevent sacrilege, but it is oriented primarily to preventing scandal. In the Catholic moral tradition, scandal is not behavior that once known will embarrass or compromise the actor, but “an attitude or behavior which leads another to do evil,” as the ‘Catechism’ puts it.

In a religious society animated by ‘communio’ and possessed of few mechanisms for the external enforcement of discipline, the personal conduct of every individual affects the ability of every other individual to act for good or for evil. Bad examples in the Church have even more effect when ecclesiastical authority appears to be complicit with them by failing to impose
any consequences. 

I will dedicate one of my next postings to a much fuller consideration of the application of Canon 915 but it should be obvious to the reader that I strongly maintain that Divine law, as well as Church law from the earliest times, mandated that the Minister of Holy Communion MUST withhold the Sacrament from those who meet the conditions of the Canon. It is therefore not optional in any way and it certainly is not a matter of the prudential judgment of a Bishop. The Archbishop has gone on record saying many things about Canon 915 and denial of Holy Communion that simply mislead and obfuscate and provide him with wiggle room.

I am not advocating that any Bishop rush to judgment on the matter of appropriate discipline for wayward Catholic politicians. However as I have outlined in Part 1 this national tragedy has been unfolding for more than 10 years. The Archbishop’s reticence reminds me of the Bible story in Matthew 8 when one of Jesus’ followers asked for permission to go bury his father. Those verses illustrate the  cost of following Jesus,

20_"The foxes have holes and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head."21_Another of the disciples said to Him, "Lord, permit me first to go and bury my father." 22_But Jesus said to him, "Follow Me, and allow the dead to bury their own dead."

Apparently Archbishop Prendergast is not ready to lay down everything to obey his Master but wants others to first come on side, prop him up and provide some backup. He condemned himself in striking fashion recently when he said, “I don’t think you can make a judgment about someone’s faith position simply by what is said in the public.” For heaven’s sake, how long has Trudeau been in Canada and in Ottawa area? Again, as I explained in Part 1, he was elected an MP in 2008 and began to live in Ottawa In June 2013, two months after Trudeau became the leader of the Liberal Party. He has been causing increasing scandal throughout Canada since 2002 when he delivered a speech for the papal World Youth Day promo, saying "Church isn't about rules. It's about guidance." He urged the youth present to reject "old men with old ideas."

Wasn’t that long enough to discover his position on abortion, sodomy, same sex “marriage”, gender ideology, euthanasia? His statements were all a matter of public record. Wasn’t it long enough to know that he regularly claims to be a practicing Catholic who receives Holy Communion?  Wasn’t it long enough to arrange a sit down with him and discuss his conformity to Catholic teaching and the danger to his soul while he denies and misrepresents his faith? After all, the risk of serious scandal has been intensifying since 2002 because he was an increasingly powerful figure with high public profile. Let’s not imagine the son of Pierre Elliot Trudeau was escaping the notice of every Canadian Bishop for more than the last 12 or so years. What topics do the Bishops include in their Conferences and the Plenary Meetings if not serious matters like this? If Archbishop Prendergast wasn’t responsible for Justin Trudeau in the years preceding his ascension to Ottawa, some other Bishop—most likely Archbishop Lepine—was responsible and clearly that Bishop failed likewise.

By delaying action he has sent a message to Canadians that Trudeau is good to go; not such a bad Catholic really, certainly no great sinner. It might even be OK to vote for him. By not acting sooner it preempted any effort at fine tuning the CCCB election guide on the Ottawa archdiocesan website. As long as Justin Trudeau calls himself a practicing Catholic and as long as he participates in the Source And Summit of Christian Living, his communion with the Catholic Church—and with its leaders—will not be seriously challenged. Is not the Eucharist the preeminent sign of Catholic unity? This testifies to the spectacular and breathtaking scope of the scandal posed to the public. 

One is left to imagine that basically Archbishop Prendergast has been twiddling his fingers, saying his prayers and hoping it wouldn't come to this. I warned about the dangers of the Bishops not taking seriously the spiritual welfare of Trudeau, the renegade politician. This entire affair is all too much like déjà vu: remember Archbishop Gervais, Prendergast’s predecessor, and his support of former PM Paul Martin? Archbishop Prendergast take note: Canada deserves more than we got from Archbishop Gervais in regard to the treatment of renegade pseudo-catholic politicians who favour the destruction of preborn human life.

So let’s focus now on the subject of this posting: What of those concerned Catholics who insist that the Archbishop is one of the good guys? Some have criticized me for such a bold call to the Archbishop, accusing me of doing more harm than good.

“He’s one of our more orthodox bishops.”

This argument sounds impressive on the surface, implying I’m attacking the wrong side. However there is a problem today in Catholicism with labels. “More orthodox” can—and usually does—mean no more than the label “conservative.” But the fact is a Catholic is either “orthodox”, i.e. fully faithful, or not. One either lives up to the law of the Church and the demands of the faith or one falls short. If one persists in a condition of disobedience on any grave matter—especially a dogma—one is not orthodox; one may well be flirting with heresy. Our Lord Jesus gave us a powerful metaphor for this truth that is also a sober warning: a little leaven leavens the whole loaf. Yes, you may very well be “more orthodox” than the other guy but still short of “orthodox” and actually under the judgment of God.

To determine whether a Bishop might indeed be “orthodox” look to the example of a Bishop whose words and practice are consistently in harmony with Sacred Scripture and Tradition (age-old Church teaching). In our day and age, most Catholic Bishops in the West have succumbed to the poison of dissent and heresy in at least one truth of Tradition and that is the teaching on contraception. My recent posting “The Litmus Test of Today's Catholic Bishop?” expands on that theme and, being very relevant to the examination of Archbishop Prendergast’s record, is highly recommended. The takeaway quote is this:

If a Catholic Bishop wishes to save his flock from the snares of Satan and ensure they escape the culture of death, he must enshrine the truth and practice of Humanae Vitae in his diocese. Until he does every faithful Catholic has a duty to treat him not only suspiciously but as an unfaithful steward, perhaps a hireling, or worse still a wolf. To withhold judgment or criticism and especially to hold him up as an example—pro-life or otherwise—is to invite further scandal and to confirm that Bishop in his obstinacy and disobedience.

In addition, I pointed out in Part 1 a suspicious indicator of the Archbishop’s weakness in not following through on his stated convictions regarding Humanae Vitae. More detail can also be found in this posting from January 2014 where I expressed my dismay and disappointment in this way:

It’s very sad indeed that after all the early huff and puff of this episcopate our hearts are now down in our boots. What appeared to be a zealous and courageous Bishop-teacher, even a fearless enforcer of Catholic orthodoxy (God knows how badly we need one), turns out to be powerless to stop the most basic kind of dissent and heresy in his own parishes.

Another equally controversial challenge to Tradition in our day pertains to the application of Canon 915 which has been lightly touched upon earlier in this post. Almost daily we see the festering outrage of the Catholic faithful. A number of faithful, “orthodox” Bishops in the West have weighed in over the past 20 years or so in order to address the extreme scandal and destruction to the common good triggered by pro-abortion and other renegade “Catholic” politicians like Justin Trudeau. These Bishops provide us with not only a trustworthy example of Tradition in action but also scholarly works detailing the historical and theological foundations. I have featured many of these types of examples over the years on this blog but one in particular in 2014 was dedicated to the urgent need to help Justin Trudeau save his soul and it referenced this very valuable document by Bishop Rene Henry Gracida, DD., Bishop Emeritus of Corpus Christi, Texas.

No Catholic should therefore be automatically impressed with Bishops who are said to be “very orthodox” or “more orthodox” because it generally would be more accurate to call them “almost orthodox” i.e. “almost Catholic” which should make one want to run in the other direction.

“You're crazy. He's arguably the best bishop in Canada.” 

The crazy part I will let God sort out. True, he may very well be the “best” Bishop in Canada. Archbishop Prendergast is a highly educated and accomplished Jesuit. Latin Mass enthusiasts are grateful that he supports the FSSP parish located in Ottawa and at times publicly celebrates the Traditional Latin Tridentine Mass according to the Roman Missal of 1962. Former Anglicans tout him as one of their strongest supporters of the Ordinariate enterprise. Both of these groups emphasize very reverent and traditional liturgies as well as traditional Catholic teaching. In an effort to return to the true and historic purpose of Catholic funeral rites, the Archbishop cracked down on eulogies at Catholic funerals and he also circulated a letter recently asking that everyone kneel for the entire Eucharistic prayer. He strongly supports pro-life activities and the March for Life and is credited with bringing other Bishops alongside at that annual March. Regarding this year’s Truth and Reconciliation report the Archbishop took an uncommon position and defended the Church and residential schools which seems to me to be the response you ought to expect from a Bishop. He often makes public statements which emphasize adherence to Catholic teaching and the importance of tradition.

However, I was appalled by his silence in June past of this year as an openly homosexual Catholic priest in Ottawa harshly and rudely slandered Cardinal Burke, all without public rebuke by Archbishop Prendergast. I’m also amazed at the continual stream of reports of renegade “Catholic” actions by the Ottawa Catholic School Board to which I have previously referred. These are not congruent with a reputation calling for adherence to Catholic teaching. Something is definitely amiss in this picture.

The Archbishop certainly deserves credit for all good things he has done to promote and defend the Church and her teaching but this is precisely his job. It’s what all Catholic Bishops signed up for. Also, good actions do not cancel out bad actions and the bad always yield its own fruit—today, tomorrow or far into the future. Serious failures by Bishops scandalize great numbers of people and cause people to stumble and fall and to leave the faith. They can also pave the way for charges of hypocrisy, bring discredit to the name of Christ and bring ruin to our nation. The position of Successor of the Apostles is a weighty position indeed. Their serious failures, like serious sins in the life of the ordinary Catholic, likewise require confession and must be Humble, Complete and Accompanied by Firm Purpose of Amendment. As Catholics every one of us is always being called back to obedience to Christ and to His teachings—as revealed in Sacred Scripture and Tradition.

Others who insist that the Archbishop is one of the good guys are framing their criticisms like this:

No man is perfect. Everyone has their weaknesses so what's the big deal?

The big deal is that thanks to the Archbishop's ineptitude and hesitation (to put it mildly) there has arisen in the highest chambers of power in Canada a powerful voice of the enemy of the Church, an enemy of the family and a terror to the unborn child. Is that a big enough deal? And this renegade “Catholic” can now continue the destruction of the common good that has characterized his fellow pseudo-catholic Prime Ministers since the 1960’s.

The Archbishop is a victim himself.

“There's not much he can do at this advanced stage of societal sickness and Church corruption.  He had nothing to do with Winnipeg Statement. He wasn't a part of it. He's against it. It's too much to expect him to start turning back the clock. Nobody wants to go back in time anyway. He realizes things aren't going to change overnight. He's making incremental changes to bring everything up to snuff, developing good liturgy and trying to encourage some measure of discipline in the liturgy, emphasizing catechetics and knowing your faith. Eventually the old guard will be gone and he can move more aggressively at a later date. For now he's limited.”

Ah, yes, incremental changes, like our pro-life movement sometimes claims…and still 100,000+ perish yearly. Head in the sand anyone? The problem is Trudeau the younger is not the old guard. He's young and upcoming just like millions of more Catholics in Canada who fancy him.  They have souls that need saving. Some Bishop has to serve up the cold hard truth at some time in their lives; the earlier the better while time is on their side. After all, the Supreme Law of the Church is the salvation of souls...everyday.

Leave the Archbishop alone. He knows what he's doing and oftentimes Bishops have to work behind the scenes.

I’m not accusing the Archbishop of not knowing what he is doing and I’m certainly not questioning his right to make his own prudent decisions. I’m saying that he is going against the laws and Tradition of the Church in not dealing specifically with scandal, heresy and in general with the fullness of Church teaching.

You'll get little or no support from traditional minded Catholics in this campaign.

“There are lots of other Bishops in Canada who are far more liberal minded than Ottawa’s Archbishop and who are destroying the faith with their liturgical abuse, activist positions on woman's ordination, etc., etc. Why don't you pick on them and leave Prendergast alone?”

It seems to me that Catholics using the various arguments listed may well be admitting that they are not up to a battle. They have no heart to fight for their faith. That is in fact why their faith is being taken from them. They simply want an easy life and they'd prefer if their children would do their fighting for them—and maybe also pay for their thriving lifestyle as well. They’ll (unwittingly, let’s hope) pass everything off to the next generation. This is also called lukewarmness and God has something to say about that.

We are losing our faith. Secular society is pressing us more and more into a corner as the leaven of wickedness spreads throughout our nation. Do we want a healthy and strong Church to pass on to our children? In order to accomplish this we must be vigilant and oppose every cleric whose modus operandi is not in full agreement with the Magisterium of the Church. Honestly, that’s all we’ve got to guide us and our children through these troubled waters and attain unto our eternal salvation. Any compromise could well be fatal.

Since the Synod we've heard calls for war. "We must fight. No longer will we just go along."  "We must question everything, demand the true teachings of the Church, and press the hierarchy—many of whom are corrupt and incompetent." But at the first sign of a skirmish some tough-sounding Catholics are ready to accept any excuse to back away from a fight. Apparently there are a lot of paper tigers on the net. How do I know: very few links to this series of postings, hardly any retweets, etc. Where’d all our fighters go?

The last point I will offer to those arguing for hands-off-Archbishop-Prendergast is by way of the following analogy.

Imagine a man who does a good job every day at work. All those that work with him express respect for him and the job that he does. This man also does his share of volunteer work at the food bank and at the soup kitchen as well as serving on a few Church committees. But because he doesn’t believe in putting locks on his doors strangers come into his home and abuse his wife and children, sometimes even when he is there. Since he can’t bring himself to offer any resistance to these strangers he is of little help to his family, some of whom suffer daily from the abuse. Furthermore these tyrants spend time in the basement doing things that undermine the foundations of his house. He takes no action only to make occasional criticisms. Perhaps he thinks the house will survive for many years yet and no action is yet required. Perhaps he thinks his family will survive the ordeal even though there’s much pain. Besides, it’s hardly worth a fight, he thinks, and if there were a fight he may get hurt or other members of his family.

What are we to think of such a man? Will we focus only on the good that he does and ignore his failings? Will we give him a free pass? I say no. Some failings are so egregious as to be defining actions of a man's character and reputation. This man has the means and he has the law on his side. If he refuses to protect his innocent family would you not accuse him of being not only negligent but in some sense materially complicit? Authorities might in fact pronounce him an unfit father and take his children from him, along with his wife and place them in a safe house somewhere. Was he being a good father to his children? Would you rate him “one of the best” fathers because of all the other good things he does?

Some may say this is a misplaced comparison with the Archbishop’s behaviour but I say it is a near perfect fit. The Archbishop does in fact have a duty to protect his family, his children, his flock. He MUST shut out the abuser and the renegade so they can no longer rob, defile and abuse his family and undermine the foundations of the Catholic faith. No doubt he would face a firestorm of sorts from various parties, the greatest challenge being perhaps to summon the courage to break from his brother Bishops at the liberal and corrupt CCCB. I can only imagine the straitjacket they’ve put him in; and perhaps not only on this matter but also if he goes public with a major campaign in support of Humanae Vitae. After all, a big part of the reason Bishops find it hard to crack down on Trudeau must be the moral incoherence involved. Arguments in favour of conscience from the Winnipeg Statement go far to explain the failure to discipline regarding contraception and the attendant failure to address the sacrilege of Catholics who dissent from Humanae Vitae. And those realities resemble closely the challenge of imposing biting sanctions on our new Prime Minister.

But I would remind the Archbishop that when he stands before Christ on that day, the CCCB will not be alongside, nor his fellow Bishops, nor his most respected advisors. Archbishop Prendergast, will you do what Christ requires of you in this grave matter affecting many lives? If not, resign and make way for a worthy Bishop.

2 comments: said...

Bloody good article! Ricky for Pope!

Barona said...

It is one thing to support something, it is another to act upon one's convictions. Many bishops claim they are "pro-life"; but what are they doing? Nothing. This is the same gang that enabled Trudeau. Let readers not be misled. This does not mean I support the "con"servatives. far from it. Harper funded sodomy propaganda in the third world, he actively opposed life issues, built up the "fabulous" blue tent (full of sodomites).No, the Conservatives throw a bone to the pro-life crowd and grab a few votes. what is needed is to be Gospel of Life, not "pro-life". We have seen this movement fail miserably.