In a recent interview on Zoom TV (produced by Salt and Light Television) Winnipeg Archbishop Msgr James Weisberger lamented the advent of "website Catholicism."
Ever since the advent of the internet, orthodox Catholics have been turning to the internet for community and leadership. I can only speak for myself, but I sense that my feelings are widely shared when I say that we have felt very betrayed by the lack of leadership from the bishops in general, with notable exceptions.
One of the symptoms of this abdication of leadership is the Winnipeg Statement, which essentially allowed for Catholic couples to decide whether or not contraception was acceptable for them.
We all know that that's not Church teaching. The Church is fairly clear about this matter: all sexual acts must be open to life.
Anyone who knows anything about Catholicism knows this. But there has been quite a lot of prevaricating in the Church. The Winnipeg Statement has been a kind of portal for the contraceptive mentality in Canada, the guiding light of dissenting Catholics.
If contraception can be "up to the couples", then any doctrine is open to question, in reality.
But now that the D & P scandal has come to light, the bishops are starting to throw their weight around. It's okay to "trust one's conscience" when it comes to contraception, but when it comes to questioning the bishops about their pet organization and the money being funnelled to abortion-promoting groups, well that's not okay.
We're not even questioning Church doctrine, here. We're questioning certain behaviours, certain blindspots in the bishop's judgement.
Although I have a good Archbishop in Ottawa (right now) I'd largely given up on the clergy. As have many pro-lifers. Because the clergy do not seem to care about orthodoxy.
What do I mean by orthodoxy? I'm talking about Catholicism *as the Church teaches it*. I'm talking about ALL Catholic doctrines, not just the ones that are more pleasant to contemplate. I'm talking about being more committed to speaking the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, than to witholding offense.
On websites, you get the real Church. We're not getting the real Church in the parishes, which could explain, to some extent, why they are empty. The baptized do not understand Catholicism because the priests and the bishops won't preach it in its entirety. I don't want Pop psychology niceties. I want doctrine. I want spiritual edification that is an outgrowth of the past, from the Church Fathers right up to the greats of recent times like Therese of Lisieux and Padre Pio.
The clergy seem to be afflicted by modernism. Read Pius X's Pascendi. If that doesn't describe today's clergy, I don't know what does. And if they are not modernist in their affirmations, they are modernist by omission, refusing to come out and state Catholic doctrine in its entirety, with no ifs,ands or buts.
Although there are exceptions, in general, the clergy seem disconnected to the heart of Catholicism. They touch upon the surface; the inoffensive parts, the politically correct parts, the liberal parts, but not the offensive parts, the politically incorrect parts, the traditional parts.
They love to talk about social justice, but not about fetal rights. They love to talk about love and mercy, but nothing about judgement or repentance; they love to talk about the Resurrection but not the Passion; they love to talk about being liberated from one's pain, but not about redemptive suffering.
I could go on and on.
And since the Fathers do not give the bread that the faithful children need, the children will turn elsewhere for it. Have you noticed how Evangelicals are really good at snagging uneducated and uncommitted Catholics?
I really resent that Archbishop Weisberger implied that orthodox Catholics who are concerned about D & P are dissenters, when the real dissenters are being graduated from the seminaries, ordained and they're teaching every dissenting doctrine. And when we object, we're treated like pariahs, like what we say has nothing to do with real Catholicism, when it's all very plainly stated in the Catechism.
While we, who want to be faithful, are mediatically spanked by this Archbishop, nobody thinks: if the clergy had just been faithful in the first place, there wouldn't be this problem.
This reminds me of the neglectful parent, expecting his kids to honour him (because that's what the fourth commandment says) when he's never been a real parent in the first place.
It's a bit much to exact respect and submission when you didn't act like a real parent to begin with.
So yes, until the bishops clean up their act, get in line with thinking of the Church, reject modernism, learn to discipline their dissenting colleagues, the faithful will continue to look elsewhere for guidance and bread. Like abused children, we shouldn't be expected to look up to parents who do not provide what they're supposed to.
I'm all for submission and obedience, but God would never punish starving children for telling off their neglectful parents.