Friday, May 1, 2015

Ecclesiastical Thugs

"Filio mio, stai attento di questi vescovi, sono pazzi!" (My son, be careful of these bishops, they are crazy). Several years have passed since the day I was ordained to the sacred priesthood, 18 years to be exact. I have witnessed the ups and downs within our Church. Beautiful functioning parishes with devout and dedicated lay people to monarchical bishops and unlearned clergy who for selfish reasons only chose to rape the flocks entrusted to them and robbed them of their many years of hard labor, financial dedication, etc. I have witnessed tall mitres and short mitres take possession of parishes, throw priests to the street, sell the beautiful edifices we once possessed and ultimately pocket the money for their own self-aggrandizement.

Over many years I have witnessed bishops and priests alike lose focus of the ministry entrusted to them and instead use the ministry to increase their own self-worth and self-security, hiding all the time behind the disguise of their real self. Grant it, there is not a man that lives that does not sin. That being said, not one of us should pretend to be something greater than we are. Everyone of us is weak, a sinner, in need of God's grace. When we lose focus of this reality then all hell breaks loose.

We have witnessed the living room bishops and even archbishops pontificating from their sofas, dressing up, creating grandiose websites but lacking any real ministry apart from the social media sphere. What is a website without real ministry?! We have witnessed men allowing themselves to be consecrated bishops for absolutely no reason, bishops of a 'diocese' but without a faith community, without being engaged in real ministry whether it be parochial or chaplaincy. 

Some are living the bi-vocational reality because they do not possess the real credentials to minister as professional clergymen. This has occurred time and time again in different periods of the Church. On one occasion I recall living with an Eastern Catholic priest that never spent a day in the seminary, had zero formation and was ordained by an archbishop in communion with the Bishop of Rome, during the reign of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI; the said priest was an absolute disaster. The archbishop ordained the unprepared man to the priesthood because they were both of the same ethnicity. What?! Yes, it is true, and both the priest and the archbishop nearly ruined a parish community. Fortunately the priest is no longer functioning in the U.S. and hopefully nowhere else, and the archbishop has been removed from his diocese in the U.S. and sent to try to administer a much smaller diocese in the Middle East. 

All this being said we still see men trying to get themselves made bishops so they can be invincible to others and do their own will at their own whim. Recently I learned of a priest , dismissed from two previous jurisdictions, being consecrated to the Episcopacy. This is a joke and reflects poorly on the churchmen (I use that term loosely) who allow for this nonsense to occur. Archbishops, bishops etc., consecrating and ordaining just for the sake of consecrating and ordaining. Such men do not represent our historical Church. We should stay clear of such characters and work diligently to correct the wayward in our midst who use the Holy Sacraments for selfish gain. Father Antonio Grossi, one of our Church's historical clerics in the United States, use to say to me all the time: "Filio mio, stai attento di questi vescovi, sono pazzi!" (My son, be careful of these bishops, they are crazy). We must diligently work to overcome this stigma brought on by the less than reputable.

Christ founded the Church. He founded the Church upon the holy Apostles. The holy Apostles passed the Faith along to all of us. We have an obligation to safeguard that Deposit of Faith as Christians of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. We represent the One Church Christ divinely instituted and we must be real guardians of that which has been entrusted to us. Whether we originate in the East or the West, the sun finds itself in both, rising and setting, setting and rising again. 

Let us get over ourselves and take serious the charge given to us by Christ our God: "Go, baptize all nations, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit." 

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