BALTIMORE (ChurchMilitant.com) - The Silence Stops Now rally is underway, with faithful Catholics converging on Baltimore to pray for the Church, beset by what many see as its worst crisis since the Protestant revolt.
After a collective Rosary for the restoration and exaltation of the Holy Church, renowned Catholic apologist and evangelist Jesse Romero took the stage.
Romero spoke on the theme, "Wolves, Sheep and Sheepdogs" — the three types of men in the Church: the good, the bad and the indifferent.
He said Jesus Christ picked 12 men, the successors of whom include the U.S. bishops. By virtue of his office, a bishop is a "sheepdog."
Romero reminded his audience that Christ warned of prowling wolves and that bishops are the men assigned on a natural and supernatural level to guard the sheep from the wolves. He said that in modern times, many wolves have entered into the ranks and are devouring the sheep.
"You're successors of the Apostles," Romero said. "You're better than that! We need to raise the bar, because, among the bishops, there are some wolves."
"And we expect the sheepdogs among them to point out the wolves and tell them, 'You're fired!'" he added.
Romero reminded the bishops that as the "sheepdogs," they will have to answer to the Shepherd. He gave a personal account, telling of a friend — a priest — who, suffering with AIDS, railed against the Church, saying it had to change its teaching on sexuality.
After a ferocious spiritual battle, Romero recounted, his friend repented, telling him: "You were the only one who would tell me the truth. Not even my brother priests have confronted me about this, and they've known about it for 10 years."
Romero concluded: "Bishops, you are fathers. You're better than that. You have supernatural grace to be saints. You've been given a crozier and bishop's hat to defend us from the wolves. Use it!"
"Bishops, you're old men," he continued. "I tell you, every one of us is going to die ... [and] when you die, you will stand before the King of Kings and Lord of Lords!"
Romero warned what awaits Catholic prelates: "When you die, Jesus will ask you for your bishop's hat and crozier," he said. "If your crozier is worn out from battle when you die, Jesus will say, 'Well done, my good and faithful servant.'"
"But bishops," he warned, "if you give Jesus a crozier that was never used to teach, preach and sanctify, Jesus will look at you, and He will say, 'What did you do as a commanding officer in the Church Militant? ... Depart from me you evildoers, for I never knew you.'"
"Which Catholics will survive the Great Tribulation?" he asked in conclusion. "Those who have anchored their lives in Jesus Christ in the Blessed Sacrament and who are devoted to Our Lady and Her Rosary."