Read Part I here.
Once upon a time, Europeans took for granted that their monarchs were invested by God and the Catholic Church with the right to rule. But Protestantism and the French Revolution led to fundamental changes in the ways nations were governed — and, to a lesser degree, how the pope and his college of bishops would run the Church.
For example, in the aftermath of these revolutions, the pope and the Church's bishops began more and more to talk about how such and such a consistory was called and about how the group of assembled bishops voted on this course of action, and so forth.
This newfound collegiality was, in part, mere lip service — but not entirely so. In Europe, where many French bishops were executed during the course of France's long and bloody revolution, this collegiality was a sort of olive branch to the revolutionaries and their ideological successors (who demanded to participate in the government of their society).
In France, in the aftermath of the revolution, positive outcomes were negligible at best, and most French peasants found new kinds of lords occupying the chateaus in France's charming countryside. France's new aristocrats, however, took possession not by right of inheritance or bequest of king but by bloodshed and sheer force of power!
If you study closely the history of the French Revolution you readily understand that another big target of the revolution was the Catholic Church. During the revolution, thousands of the Church's bishops, priests and religious were murdered. The revolutionaries understood correctly that bishops were the sovereigns in their dioceses, that abbots and abbesses were sovereigns in their monasteries and that even the pastors were sovereigns of their local parishes.
Most of the churchmen and women religious who lost their lives in the revolution did so not only because of the Faith they professed or because of their opposition to the cause of liberty, equality and fraternity, but because of revolutionaries' hatred of their respective sovereignty (e.g., the sovereignty of a pastor over a parish and parishioners). The revolutionaries could not stand to have individual pastors who had kingship over parishioners, as this would thwart the cause of their revolution. And hundreds of good, God-fearing pastors, who made certain the foundlings in their parishes had a home and that the parishes' poor had food and so forth, ended up murdered — simply because the revolutionaries rejected the idea of God-given sovereignty in all forms and at various levels of the Church.
In the aftermath of the French Revolution, France, and gradually the rest of the civilized world, would reject monarchy as a form of government. But, paradoxically, the Church, even though it was one of the main targets of the French Revolution, would retain monarchy as a form of government. And to this day, within the Church, the pope is a sovereign, as are the Church's bishops, abbots, abbesses and pastors. And the Church's canon law bulwarks this reality. For the most part, this form of Church government has proven effective and good for the last two millennia. But, as history has shown, there have been times in the Church's history wherein bad sovereigns have assumed the throne of Peter (and some have been providentially removed). And there have been some bad archbishops, who have been given the throne of a major archdiocese, much to the displeasure of the ordinary Catholics under their jurisdiction.
As modern-day Catholics know, it's a herculean task to remove a canonically appointed pastor from a parish in the aftermath of his proving to be a despotic tyrant. But by using established Church law and by gaining the ear of a good bishop, lay parishioners have sometimes proven instrumental in removing a bad pastor. The rub in the Church today is that it's next to impossible to remove a bad bishop — as so many Church leaders are compromised.
Although not articulated by Abp. Fulton Sheen in so clear a fashion, his call to the faithful to reform the Church from the bottom up is based on his reflection that the Church will not reform itself from the top down, owing to rampant corruption. The men who run the Church now, even if they harbor some reformist desires, cannot succeed in bringing them to fruition! Many good bishops find their hands are tied in so many ways.
Many bad prelates today have received their episcopal promotion because they are active in the lavender "boys' club." Others got their elevation to bishop as a perk for favors received. And this needs to be exposed! These men were made a sovereign of such and such diocese, territory or monastery, not because they were holy and good men but precisely because they were not. They self-promoted and bullied themselves into positions of power within the Church to rule, and rule they do!
Look at what Abp. Allen Vigneron is doing to the once-great archdiocese of Detroit. He's selling off the assets and patrimony of the archdiocese full scale with nary a thought to the salvation of the people in the region. By Vigneron's forcible clustering of parishes into regional "families" and breaking multiple Church canons by extracting dozens of pastors from their parishes, Vigneron is breaking many of the ancient rules of the Church. But no matter: Vigneron is the God-appointed sovereign of the region. It's ironic the archbishop does not reflect upon the reality that if he sells off Church property in Detroit, in a short time there will no longer be an archdiocese, let alone a diocese, of which to be a bishop! It begs the question of why Vigneron does not just resign outright and give his episcopal job to another man who might inspire the faithful to actually go back to church!
But sadly, in these days, Detroit is no better than many dioceses throughout the world in which you see a full-scale apostasy playing out and the sovereign bishops that rule these dioceses simply banking the patrimony of the Church to their own immediate benefit. Take Cdl. Blase Cupich in Chicago, for example. Since his short tenure in the archdiocese, Cupich has closed dozens of parishes in the name of renewal. His program, "Renew My Church," is known by the faithful as "Close My Parish!"
Blessedly, throughout the world, the faithful are waking up to what is really happening within the Catholic Church. And many laymen are giving their various despotic sovereign bishops a run for their money — literally — by demanding accountability with how their "Sunday contributions" are being used, and so forth. The time of blind, sheepish obedience on the part of the faithful towards their bishop is over!
The monarchial rule of the Church, as was established by Our Lord, is the best form of government for the Church, as time has proved. Laymen need to know thoroughly that in this fallen world, tyrannical pastors, bishops and popes have existed and will exist in the future. But blessedly, no tyrannical pastor at any level — priest, bishop or pope — is immortal, and sooner or later, age and death will catch up with each and every one of these men. The struggle is how to limit their damage, during their given tenure.
For starters, in damage prevention, it's important to know and proclaim, if need be, that no mere man can change the revealed dogmas of the Church. A group of bad men can call an assembly of their same ilk and pretend to have serious discussions about this or that immutable Catholic doctrine, but by their conversations and their hand votes, they still cannot change one iota of the Church's sacred Deposit of Faith, which is divinely revealed.
As if after trite speculation, a group of bishops can vote to admit women to the priesthood! Such an act will not change the reality of the Church's ancient and unchanging teaching about the all-male priesthood being established by Our Lord Himself. A group of bishops can dialogue and raise their hands on whether or not sodomy should be normalized, and gay "marriage" ratified. But the Sacred Scriptures themselves can not be altered, nor can the Church's perennial doctrine prohibiting homosexual acts be altered. Men can not rewrite the Sacred Scriptures to the fickle likes and dislikes of a generation of mortals.
One of the current ruses used by modernist Church leaders in their misuse of authority in closing churches or promoting heresy is that it's somehow a product of lay participation in Church governance. In other words, they're placing their own failings as shepherds on the backs of the laity. They further push the false notion that in some sort of parliamentary way, the divinely revealed teachings of Christ can be updated or tweaked in order to meet the fickle demands of our times. As if to say, "Just recently the bishops of our noble nation got together and we discussed this very topic and these are the conclusions we settled upon after a vote." As if they were deciding on what flavors of ice cream were the most liked! As if the obfuscation and obliteration of the Church's dogmas could be accomplished in parliamentary fashion!
For the record, laymen are not responsible for the selection of any bishop. Likewise, the laity, in reality, has little meaningful input in what actually gets voted on when bishops gather and hold one of their so-called synods. What charlatans these bishops are when they say their synodal deceptions were based on input from their local Catholics. It's just a ruse, one used by those in power to make palatable that which most men could not stomach.
As if to think gay marriage will become a dogma if only the laity does not push back against the lavender mafia in the episcopacy. These limpwristed prelates can vote on accepting gay "marriage" until the cows come home, but their vote cannot change God's condemnation of homosexuality as recorded throughout the sacred texts of Scripture.
Germany, once a bastion of the Faith in the middle-ages, is now being touted as the new Mecca, with its so-called Synodal Way. Somehow, by the fabrication of a word and by use of run-on sentences, the faithful are supposed to jump for joy for this "synodal process!" As if Christ has already returned! But, of course, He has not! The Devil, once again, is situated in the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil and has bewitched the modern-day Adam at the foot of the tree with entwined hands. The serpent's lies are all too readily believed: "Love is love, is it not?"
Sheen was right: The laity will save the Church — from its tyrannical bad prelates and from the heresy they proffer. They will do this by embracing holiness and by offering a true steadfast witness to the Faith. No average-Joe Catholic is going to stomach gay "marriage" as permissible, nor let the sons he fathered be abused by predatory homosexuals. No average–Mary-Joe Catholic is going to accept women priests attempting to offer the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, nor let womanhood and childbearing be thought of as something trivial and interchangeable with all things related to men and maleness.
As Abp. Carlo Maria Viganò brought to the world's attention three years ago, the lavender mafia has taken over the Church's hierarchy, but they cannot take over the Church. The laity will see to this and have already begun their task of cleansing the Church. They're accomplishing this with the Blessed Mother's assistance and by the millions of Rosaries they've offered.
Please keep interceding on our behalf, Abp. Sheen. We know you are a saint, despite what the purple boys strutting around in cassocks say!