Monday, April 6, 2015

GUEST POST: 'Pizza, Cupcakes and Flowers: Where is the Catholic Church?"

I don’t particularly care for Bill O’Rielly, especially on matters involving the Catholic Church. Too often, in discussions of issues involving the Catholic Church, he acts as a disinterested moderator and fails to defend the Church. It may be just my way of looking at things but if you really believe in the Truth of the Catholic Church then why not proclaim it?

But every once in a while he gets things about the Catholic Church right. Everyone now knows about the religious freedom law that the legislatures of Indiana and Arkansas passed and sent to their governors to sign. And the governors did sign them. And then they caved. 

And we all know about a courageous young 21 year old owner of a pizza parlor in Indiana who witnessed to her faith and whose reputation and family business may be never be the same for her witness. Across the country many Protestant organizations have spoken out loudly in defense of this young woman. But there is one organization that has been missing from this national battle and O’Rielly nailed it this past week.

Where, he asked several times this week on his show, are the Bishops of the Catholic Church in America? And indeed, where are they?

Catholics are still waiting to find out where they are. I haven’t seen anything saying they all died recently or retired, so I assume they are still around in their chancelleries. But it begs the question: What in God’s name are they doing in these buildings? Do they not know the fury that is waging outside their offices?

A homosexual tsunami is washing across the country and in its path are the livelihoods of decent Christian folks who are targeted for destruction because they will not participate in homosexual weddings. And our Bishops are where? Well, they are nowhere. Silent. 

Here in the Northwest we have two nationally known cases where small business owners are facing bankruptcy and government fines for actually living out the teachings of their Christian faith. A florist and a baker. Just average people trying to make a living while testifying to their belief in their Christian faith.

Has anyone heard any statement from the Archdioceses of Oregon or Washington expressing any sympathy for these poor martyrs. Any statement condemning the government forces that are persecuting these poor folks? Yes, I said martyrs. Martyrdom is not always bloody. 

But I think I understand why the American Catholic Church is silent. Remember during the Obamacare debate the American bishops opposed abortion mandates and contraceptive coverage for religious institutions? And while things have not been settled totally it appears that they may succeed in preserving the religious freedoms of Catholic institutions.

But I have always felt something has been missing in this fight. What has been missing is a vocal concern for the plight of the average Catholic who doesn’t work for a Catholic institution. Who fights for us? Who fights for florists, bakers or pizza parlor owners? Apparently no one. The battle waged by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops was not for Catholics, it was for Catholic institutions. The laity were left to their own devices. 

Has anybody in the Archdiocese of Oregon heard any public sympathy from the Chancellery for the owners of Sweet Cakes Bakery who are undergoing a literal persecution by the State of Oregon? Nothing. Silence. I’ve searched the archives of the Catholic Sentinel, the official newspaper of the Archdiocese of Oregon and found nothing.

Now lets think about another scenario (and trust me it is coming). The State of Oregon (or fill in your state of choice) has determined that, unless Catholic priests perform homosexual marriages, marriages performed by Catholic priests will not be civilly recognized by the State of Oregon.

My friends, you would hear a collective roar from the Chancellery that would be heard across the United States. And justly so. But a baker or a florist? One can just hear the excuses for not publicly defending such persons. “We’ve got to pick our battles carefully” “Its not the right time”. “This isn’t one we can win”.

There is something very odd going on here. Are we lay people not part of the flock also? Are our persecutions not important? Is it only when the privileged few who work in Catholic institutions have their freedoms threatened that the hierarchy begin to stir? Are only the health insurance plans of Catholic institutions important? What about the rest of us Catholics? Are our medical plans or livelihoods not important? 

And one more point: When that inevitable Oregon law is passed by the Oregon Legislature mandating priests officiate at homosexual marriages, who is going to stand up for the rights of Catholic priests? Those Protestant bakers and florists and shop owners who heard the Catholic Bishops collectively say, by their silence, “We do not know that baker or florist”?
But perhaps they will be more Christian than those who denied them. Isn’t it very interesting that this Indiana case became so public during Holy Week.

I had a dream the other night. My mind has been on this subject a lot this week. It was at the entry to Heaven. St. Peter and angels were calling out the names of those awaiting entry through the pearly gates. And the names of many of our Protestant brethren were being called and being welcomed to Paradise by Peter.

They were bakers and florists and pizza parlor owners and came from many places and organizations such as Focus on the Family or the Family Research Council. But there was one group whose line seldom seemed to move and continued to grow longer. It was the line for American Catholic Bishops.

Finally one of the Bishops called out, “Peter, Peter, why are those Protestants gaining entry to Heaven but not us. We were Bishops and Cardinals.”. Peter looked to them with deep sadness in his eyes and replied “My brothers, Our Lord says He does not know you but he knew them”. 

My friends, we must pray for our Bishops who are charged with protecting the flock. It deeply troubles me to write these words. I don’t know what these men fear from the homosexual movement. But this attack on God’s plan for men and women is gathering a momentum that can only be stopped by the Catholic Church under the leadership of its bishops. And they won’t come out of their Chancelleries and speak to us. What do they fear except the loss of the respect of men?

They won’t lose their residences if they speak out in support of Christians who will not worship Baal. They won’t starve if they speak out against the loss of our freedom to live our faith. Yes, they will be ridiculed by those who have the media and the godless politicians in their hands.

There is no doubt that Christianity is being pushed back. But it is not for a lack of numbers of lay Catholics. There are enough of us Catholics who will fight (though not as many as in the past). It is due to a lack of Bishops who will call us to battle.

If it is not important for a Bishop to speak about something then who is at fault if nothing is done? Soldiers do not lose battles or wars. Soldiers fight when called. Wars are lost when there are no generals willing to lead and fight. 

The War on Marriage is being lost because the largest religious organization in the United States will not engage the enemies of the divine institution of marriage. 

In the early fifthteenth century, France was being defeated by English armies because the royalty of France feared to fight the English. Out of a small French town came a young girl named Joan who told the King that France could defeat the English. 

After being rebuffed by the aristocracy of France, she finally raised an army herself and defeated the English. Her reward was to be burned at the stake by the embarrassed elites of France. We now know her as Joan of Arc. No one knows or cares about the names of the French nobility that scorned Joan. She is a saint.

Perhaps someday, many will know the name of a young woman in a small town in Indiana who turned the tide of morality in America. One wonders if anyone will remember the names of the Catholic hierarchy who ignored her. 

Jim Welch,


Lee Gilbert said...

Hi Carolyn,

This is a great piece, but why is it unsigned? It seems absurd given that the article is all about people standing up for what they believe in.

Lee Gilbert

VOCAL said...

I just assumed that this was how it was to be posted since there wasn't a signature from him.

It could just be my oversight.

Thanks for asking.

VOCAL said...

Hello Lee,

Yes, it was my oversight that Jim's name wasn't added.

He's not very shy about his opinions that have done so much good for Oregon Catholics.

He's a great guy to know.

Anthony said...

This article was written by a devout and concerned, practicing Roman
Catholic> Where are our bishops and priests on these vital issues of FAITH

Anonymous said...

"Indiana bishops speak out on state’s religious freedom law
Bishops call for efforts 'to ensure that no one in Indiana will face discrimination whether it is for their sexual orientation or for living their religious beliefs.'”

Anonymous said...

"Indiana bishops speak out on state’s religious freedom law
Bishops call for efforts 'to ensure that no one in Indiana will face discrimination whether it is for their sexual orientation or for living their religious beliefs.'”

Louann said...

Brilliant post by Mr. Welch. Do you have any indication our archbishop receives emails sent to him or letters? Just wondering.
thanks so much for all you do.

Mary said...

Thanks for making it easy.

I really liked the links below.