The examples are virtually everywhere — Los Angeles Archbishop Jose Gomez approves of disgraced Cardinal Roger Mahony's presence at the approaching Los Angeles Religious Education Congress in March.
Atlanta's Archbishop Wilton Gregory approved of dissident homosexualist Jesuit priest James Martin's recent presentation in his archdiocese. New York's Cardinal Timothy Dolan tolerates a deeply dissident "LGBT ministry" at the Paulist mother church in his archdiocese. San Francisco Archbishop Cordileone tolerates one of the most notoriously "gay-friendly" parishes in the United States.
Bishop John Stowe of Lexington, Kentucky keynotes at dissident group conferences like New Ways Ministry, and he just recently threw the Covington Catholic High School kids under the bus for wearing "Make America Great Again" caps at the March for Life. And Chicago's Cardinal Blase Cupich headlines the June 2019 conference of the dissenting Association of U.S. Catholic Priests.
These are just a few concrete examples of a fundamental problem that exists at the highest levels of the hierarchy in the Catholic Church in the United States. When our bishops not only stop preaching the truth on the tough moral issues but also stop opposing heresy and immorality in practice, the Church truly suffers.
Well-organized dissenting groups surround the Church on all sides, frankly. They have achieved their momentum via the woefully careless deferential attitude shown to them by Catholic bishops across the nation. But this tolerance of heresy and immorality also springs from within.
It has been institutionalized by the very shepherds whose true vocation is to protect the flock from the wolves. Thankfully, not all of our bishops have failed us, but too many of them have. Too many of these men wield their croziers not as paternal protectors that should rightly be feared by the predators encircling the Church. Instead, they strike an effeminate and cowardly pose, literally welcoming the wolves into what should be a safe haven and home for the faithful Catholics under their care.
This rot of episcopal malfeasance is in our dioceses. Our bishops have both fomented and tolerated open dissent and immorality at the highest organizational levels in their dioceses. In many places, the diocesan curia is stacked with heterodox Catholics whose positions of power allow them to shape dioceses in a direction that erodes the true Catholic faith.
Often under the guise of intentionally ambiguous "social justice" endeavors or other politicized points of focus, dissent and error are proclaimed — and applauded — at major diocesan events, conferences and workshops. Mid-level administrators in diocesan offices serving at the pleasure of their bishops are content to infect the landscape around them.
When faithful and concerned Catholics complain, their cries of the heart fall on deaf episcopal ears. Meanwhile, at this level, the corruption of doctrine also supplies the dissident groups with much-needed exposure and income. The Catholic conference industry sustains momentum and lines the pockets of faux-Catholic groups that should have been crushed out of existence decades ago but were not.
This rot of episcopal malfeasance is in our parishes. Bishops across the country turn a blind eye to parishes led by pastors who openly dissent and who lead parishes whose "charism" is open dissent. Some bishops allow openly "gay" priests to continue pastoring parishes in their dioceses. Bishops knowingly appoint pastors whom they know will "fit" the dissenting reputation of particular parishes. One dissenting priest after another arrives to enable — not clean up — the heretical cesspools that draw souls further and further from Jesus Christ and toward perdition.
These bishops and pastors aren't content with generalized or ambiguous dissent, either. Depending on their particular hobby horses, "ministries" spring up that allows dissent to explode beyond the boundaries of the parishes themselves. In New York, the Paulist Fathers' mother church, for example, boasts a thriving "LGBT ministry" whose endeavors include a professional video brimming over with heretical claims about the Church's teaching on homosexuality.
Called "Owning Our Faith," this project culminated in the parish pastor's presentation of this video personally to Pope Francis himself. Just last year, this same group was extolled as a premier example of "LGBT parish ministry" by homosexualist Fr. James Martin during his inexplicable appearance at the World Meeting of Families in Dublin.
This stuff is real. It comes in every size and shape, and it's likely either in your own parish or in a parish near you. Parishes and dioceses tolerate "gay-friendly" ministries sometimes led by "married" same-sex "couples," sometimes noted for their social events at "gay" nightclubs and bars, sometimes noted for "drag queen shows" staged on parish property, sometimes noted for speakers seeking to justify their dissent via theological and anthropological contortions that would make an escape artist like Houdini drop his jaw in admiration.
Meanwhile, the faithful flock suffers under the guise of their shepherd's "tolerance" and "welcome."
This rot of episcopal malfeasance is also in our schools. Bishops frequently turn a totally blind eye to the damage being done in the Catholic education system, too. And it is here that the youngest of the fold are indoctrinated to accept dissent and deliberately shielded from the fullness of truth. Catholic education offices across the nation are rife with agenda-driven educators who long ago abandoned Catholic teaching in the name of "conscience." Administrators hire compromised "Catholics" in same-sex marriages and only grudgingly fire them if and when public necessity demands it.
Catholic colleges host "drag" shows and even Catholic high schools (not kidding) pride themselves on exposing their students to false histories supporting false ideologies, such as the spurious "Laramie Project," a propagandist play that purports to sensitize our kids to the "homophobia" at the heart of the gay-martyr-icon Matthew Shepard, whose false secular hagiography is the kind of toothpaste that never goes back in the tube.
Catholic school "gay-straight alliances" are forming and are supplying the false narrative that "gay" identity is somehow not only OK but something to be celebrated. And policies for dealing with "transgender" students are now coming into existence — an accommodation to the swirling chaos of gender ideology that is the most recent hill on which we faithful Catholics must do battle with the secularists.
And what is the one root that enables this dire litany of harm, suffering and heresy? The deferential bishop, who gives the faithful smiles and pleasantries at cocktail parties, who lets his subordinates spin their administrative wheels on an endless supply of cleverly named diocesan programs and initiatives that leave one with the appearance of effort but instead merely leaves the spiritually deadly status quo untouched.
When bishops neither practice, nor preach, it is the faithful Catholic who suffers. And right now, our Church is in a world of hurt because of spineless, chestless men in mitres whose personal fragrance and "odor of sanctity," frankly, is far from "the smell of the sheep" and more akin to the fetid smell of what a wolf might drop in the forest.
This cannot stand. The bride of Christ deserves better. We need holy leaders who will relentlessly preach truth and then unswervingly practice what they preach. Let us pray for more men like these, and let us work hard to eradicate the foul stench of failure currently permeating the episcopacy.