A blessed memorial of Saints Timothy and Titus, co-workers of Saint Paul, both of them ordained by him into the early episcopacy of the Church, when every bishop was a ‘missionary’, sent forth into unknown, hostile, pagan territory, meaning an almost certain martyrdom. Paul’s two letters to Timothy and one to Titus are bracing for the soul, and an excellent focus for the mind. Their lives, and the words of the Apostle, provide the blueprint for what a bishop should be.
More of our current leadership – not just in the Church – should get out into the ‘real world’ more often, to see what is actually happening on the ground, for the strange decisions they make imply a disconnection therefrom. In some, this may be deliberate, in others, unwitting, but all of us have to get out of our comfortable cocoons, which over time have an enervating effect on the soul. Go forth, and preach the Gospel to all creatures! And, with Saint Paul, woe to me if I do not…
As Paul urges the recently ordained bishop Timothy in his second letter:
I remind you to rekindle the gift of God that is within you through the laying on my hands; for God did not give us a spirit of timidity but a spirit of power and love and self-control
Such words take on particular significance in light of comments by Joseph Biden on the very anniversary of Roe v. Wade, to ensure abortion-on-demand throughout the United States, and many other aspects of the ‘culture of death’ to which his administration is going full-speed ahead. We may also recall the legalization of abortion in the state of New York a few of years ago, through all nine months of pregnancy – just like our dear old Canada – signed into effect by the professedly Catholic governor, Andrew Cuomo, who had the World Trade Centre lit up pink in celebration. Blood-red might have been more appropriate. There were calls for Cardinal Dolan to excommunicate him, even by his fellow bishops, which His Eminence has so far dismissed, citing that such penalties are not to be used as a ‘weapon’. I can’t think of any bishop who has not followed His Eminence’s irenic path. (See Sean Fitzpatrick’s sobering reflection)
Hmm. In one limited and unwitting sense, Dolan and others are right, for canonical sanctions such as refusal of Communion, interdict and excommunication, are only ‘weapons’ in the same way a scalpel is: They wound, but with the purpose of healing. Too many of our political leaders, with their unreserved support for the whole culture of death, have put their souls – and the souls of many others – in grave jeopardy of eternal damnation, and bringing Biden, Trudeau, Pelosi, Cuomo and the rest of them to that realization is a ‘saving truth’, without which the Church is remiss in her duty.
To stand against the powers-that-be, and to lose the acclaim and praise of the world – with all of its attendant comforts and accolades – is difficult. But the days may be coming, and now seem upon us, when, to paraphrase Christ to Peter, ‘all of that is taken away from us’. As Cardinal Ratzinger predicted decades ago, we return to something more like the early Church, smaller, scattered, but more focused, intentional, powerful.
Only then, perhaps, will we see more fully what Christ’s Mystical Body really is, and the lord of this world in all his manifest evil.
Saints Timothy and Titus, pray for our bishops, that they and we may be and do all that God wills and inspires, with the grace He offers. +