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As Catholics, we don't believe in reincarnation, but after reading a recent damning Pillar article on the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), in which serious money handling was discussed in great gory detail, I have come to think otherwise!
Talk about money changers and money handlers, big time in the Temple — all orchestrated by the chief priests of our time, the U.S. bishops! I have been left wondering if the now-infamous council of Jewish priests that existed in the time of Our Lord, known for of all things the condemnation of Our Lord to death, might not have come back!
Reincarnation is all rubbish of course, but the phenomenon of groups of men gathering together to strengthen themselves and their own ends, to their own benefit, is nothing new. History records many such groups of men over the centuries who banded together for one purpose or another and then over time devolved from noble goals to being a band of thugs. Take, for example, the Knights Templar, a noble group of gentlemen who gained, over the course of a couple of centuries, notoriety and fame for securing the passage of Christians to the Holy Land. In the end, this group of men had to be suppressed by the Church, as they had devolved considerably from their noble goals and were known in the end not for their charity and valor but for amassing a fortune that they controlled and used for their own purposes.
A strong parallel can be drawn between the Knights Templar and the USCCB in how both were originally established with high ideals and then devolved over time to just a group of wealthy thugs. A U.S. conference of bishops was first established in the late 1960s in response to the mandate issued by Pope Paul VI in Christus Dominus.
A national conference of bishops had, per the council document Christus Dominus, one sole mandate — "teaching the truths of the Faith" (Chapter III; Item I., #36). Here in the United States, decades after Vatican II, taking a casual glance at the national conference of bishops' current multimillion-dollar financial reports, you would think the sole purpose of the USCCB is to serve as well-paid middle managers of an assortment of governmental social services. But what really should Catholics expect here in the United States from their national bishops' conference?
Time has revealed that both these famous U.S. prelates had much more on their minds than simply promoting the Faith and its precepts. In 1969, Bernardin is given credit for establishing the Campaign for Human Development as an anti-poverty "charity program." As the decades have passed since its original inception under Bernardin, this "charity" has morphed into a multimillion-dollar monstrosity, sucking up resources for its assorted projects from both contributions from individual Catholics throughout the United States as well as from the U.S. government. And, not surprisingly, the USCCB takes a large cut for handling this anti-poverty program. I suppose you could say one benefit is that the staffers who manage this campaign are kept off the dole.
Ironically, people put faith in councils much more so than they should and do so blindly at times, not evaluating rationally the real purposes and limits of councils. The naked truth is that just because a group of men are on a council together or feel moved to vote on something or other, such groupthink or group consensus does not necessarily alter reality.
Let me explain: It's one thing altogether to vote on something like what's the favorite ice cream currently. It's altogether a different thing to vote on a topic like transubstantiation. For the latter, the vote one way or another by a group of men will not change a thing about Christ's gift to humanity in the Eucharist, how Our Lord shares His Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity with us in the consecrated Sacred Species.
Sadly, too many people in our devolving society have gotten muddled in their thinking and do not appreciate the real limits of the democratic process and what a vote on a topic or an item can or, conversely, cannot accomplish. Blessedly, the Church has retained in its governance the ancient rule of a sovereign monarch — established by Our Lord Himself when He entrusted the Church to Peter and his successors. Blessedly, the Church has never been ruled by a council or a body of leaders (although some churchmen these days talk as though this were a given).
The USCCB, in its current incarnation, has devolved to be akin to the Sanhedrin, mirroring almost perfectly this ancient Jewish council of priests in its focus on money handling. The members of the ancient Sanhedrin took for themselves a hefty cut of the profits in the process of holocausts being offered by the thousands year after year in the Temple. For the USCCB, a reincarnation of the Sanhedrin in so many ways, the U.S. bishops also take a hefty cut for themselves in their government-funded social service programs.
You can readily imagine the conversations going on behind closed doors by the bishops in charge at the USCCB: "So who cares anyway if this grant for Sub–Saharan Africa's poor from the U.S. government includes a hefty portion for the sterilization of the poor that are fed! It's no skin off our backs."
Michael Hichborn, president and founder of the Lepanto Institute, and a longtime critic of the USCCB and how it operates, recently stated:
At the time of Our Lord's Passion, it was the Jewish high court that played two sides in a conspiracy against Our Blessed Lord. The Sanhedrin first conspired with one of Our Lord's Apostles, using filthy lucre to secure the capture of the Messiah. Afterward, the High Priests manipulated the Roman government to secure their desired outcome, which was the death of Christ. And after Our Lord was crucified, died and was buried, the high priests of the Sanhedrin became close friends with Pontius Pilate.
Today, the USCCB is no different. It plays political games with the faithful and the U.S. government, securing massive grants by selling out Catholic morality. It provides millions of dollars to community-organizing groups that work to secure political victories for the Democrat Party, and it has provided millions of dollars to abortion-and-contraception-providing organizations and projects overseas, receiving billions of dollars in federal grants in return. But most sacrilegiously, the USCCB ensures the selling of Our Lord to His enemies by providing Him in the Blessed Sacrament to pro-abortion and pro-LGBT politicians, who then provide filthy lucre to the USCCB and its programs.
The eventual marriage between the Sanhedrin and the world is echoed in the marriage between the USCCB and the federal government, which will ultimately meet a similar fate. Bishops today would do well to remember that the Sanhedrin (and indeed the entire city of Jerusalem) was demolished by the very world it befriended and used to its own advantage. Ecclesiasticus stated in Holy Writ: "Who will pity an enchanter struck by a serpent, or any that come near wild beasts? So is it with him that keepeth company with a wicked man, and is involved in his sins. For an hour he will abide with thee: But if thou begin to decline, he will not endure it. An enemy speaketh sweetly with his lips, but in his heart he lieth in wait, to throw thee into a pit" (12:13–15).
As our Lord said repeatedly in the course of His active ministry, "Money is the root of all evil!" Money — and I mean loads of it — has corrupted the USCCB completely, so much so that many these days do not believe the organization is salvageable. Time, of course, will prove if this is so, but if you ask me, I vote the USCCB immediately discontinue the practice of being middle managers for grants from the federal government. By the by, not a bishop on this council has any experience anyway on how to best handle grant monies! I vote that the USCCB return to its original mandate — teaching the truths of faith and ordering ecclesiastical discipline. In fact, there is probably a lot of work that can be done on the part of ordering ecclesiastical discipline, namely rooting out the predatory homosexual bishops from their midst.