When bishops celebrate themselves, they fail their responsibility as successors of the Apostles and as spiritual fathers.
On Thursday, a Mass of thanksgiving is being said for Crookston, Minnesota's Bp. Michael Hoeppner. He's stepping down after Pope Francis accepted his resignation on Tuesday.
The problem, however, is that Hoeppner resigned in disgrace after lying to investigators about covering up for sex abuse in his diocese. But not only that, Thursday's Mass is offered in thanksgiving for his time as head of the diocese, and he's the one officiating the Mass.
The conceit required for Hoeppner to think this is an OK thing to do is colossal. His "missteps" were not minor; he is accused of covering up cases of clerical homosexual predation.
Hoeppner was investigated according to Pope Francis' demands, laid out in the letter Vos Estis Lux Mundi — giving Hoeppner the dubious honor of being the first to be investigated under the new Vatican protocols.
The investigation's purpose was to discover whether Hoeppner "engaged in 'acts or omissions intended to interfere with or avoid civil or canonical investigations of clerical sexual misconduct.'" The accusation was so credible that the Vatican stepped in and demanded his resignation.
Faithful and fed-up Catholics in the Crookston diocese "who are committed to praying, fasting, sacrificing and witnessing for truth, purification, conversion and justice" started speaking out against Hoeppner's corruption.
They started a website, called TruthDOC (diocese of Crookston), which provides links to articles, videos and legal documents related to Hoeppner's corruption.
It's likely their efforts played a big part in the Vatican's investigation and are a good example to other Catholics about how to expose clericalism in their own dioceses.
Learn more by watching The Download—Abusive Fathers.