Saturday, April 24, 2010

Shitten Shepherds

For if a preest be foul, on whom we truste,
No wonder is a lewed man to ruste;
And shame it is, if a prest take keep,
A shiten shepherde and a clene sheep.
Wel oghte a preest ensample for to yive,
By his clennesse, how that his sheep sholde lyve.
— The Canterbury Tales, The General Prologue, ll. 503-8

Chaucer indeed put it best: there is something wrong in the Church when there are "shitten shepherds and clean sheep".  I was very pleased, therefore, to read over at The Anglo Catholic, that Pope Benedict is, it seems, now making clear his intention to clear out the corrupt episcopate, riddled with mediocrity and malfeasance, with incompetence and bad will.  All power to him!

Allowing matters to slide, Popes since Paul VI have lamely presided over the most atrocious collapse in standards.  A bishop ought be an example of holiness and orthodoxy (the two being inseparable), and, moreover, possessed of a sure grasp of good order.  Where are the bishop-saints of old?  Too many bishops are a joke.  And guess what happens when fools are promoted above their station?  Now all the chickens have come home to roost: in many places gross maladministration, complicity even in crimes, has reached such a pitch as to be intolerable.

How comes it, by the way, that such a deviant as Rembert Weakland, emeritus Archbishop of Milwaukee, has not long since been degraded from the episcopate, ever since it became known that he paid off his male lover (catamite? or sodomite?) with diocesan funds?  He covered up for other evil priests who committed sexual abuse too.  Unblushingly, now he openly declares his perversion.  Quite rightly Pope Benedict has spoken about the need to purge out all such filth in the Church.

As the then Cardinal Ratzinger said when leading the Stations of the Cross on Good Friday 2005, just before his election, when reflecting upon the third Fall, at the 9th Station:

...Should we not also think of how much Christ suffers in his own Church? How often is the holy sacrament of his Presence abused, how often must he enter empty and evil hearts! How often do we celebrate only ourselves, without even realizing that he is there! How often is his Word twisted and misused! What little faith is present behind so many theories, so many empty words! How much filth there is in the Church, and even among those who, in the priesthood, ought to belong entirely to him! How much pride, how much self-complacency! What little respect we pay to the Sacrament of Reconciliation, where he waits for us, ready to raise us up whenever we fall!...

What a herculean task is before our agèd Supreme Pontiff: to wash the Augean stables clean... as he prayed then, leading us in prayer, let us all pray now:

Lord, your Church often seems like a boat about to sink, a boat taking in water on every side. In your field we see more weeds than wheat. The soiled garments and face of your Church throw us into confusion. Yet it is we ourselves who have soiled them! It is we who betray you time and time again, after all our lofty words and grand gestures. Have mercy on your Church; within her too, Adam continues to fall. When we fall, we drag you down to earth, and Satan laughs, for he hopes that you will not be able to rise from that fall; he hopes that being dragged down in the fall of your Church, you will remain prostrate and overpowered. But you will rise again. You stood up, you arose and you can also raise us up. Save and sanctify your Church. Save and sanctify us all.

1 comment:

Louise said...

Except that the sheep aren't necessarily clean. Sex abuse happens among the laity too.