Since faith is one, it must be professed in all its purity and integrity". Pope Francis/Pope Benedict

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Are Bishops being held hostage by technocrats?

This will be a preliminary post on a serious subject of the bishop, his relationship to the teaching Magisterium, his relationship to the layman, and the bishop's relationship to the various bureaucratic appendages that have been created within the post-Conciliar period. It stems from a series of discussions with Freyr and is a collaborative effort. 

This first post will also include an overview of my personal experiences (Barona) over the past few years. Indeed, it is always best to start with what one has actually experienced. When this blog started, the horrifying Raymond Lahey paedo-porn affair was just working its way through the Courts. I took a bit of time to read up on this man and noticed that photos, sermons and interventions before our late Holy Father, John Paul II were still maintained on the CCCB website. 

Putting to one side the deeply concerning fact that an admitted pervert and betrayer of the holy priesthood would still have his addresses on the CCCB website, was the disturbing reality that this was potential cannon fodder for anti-Catholic trolls to access this information and beat the Church in Canada over the head. 

In Witness' more recent involvement in posting on the on-going homosexual crisis in the clergy in Scotland - again, we see the oblivious and myopic attitude by the Motherwell diocese with regards to  maintaining a photograph of Cardinal O'Brien, as well as the Scottish Catholic Social Office maintaining a link to a so-called Cardinal O'Brien Lapel Cross Pin

I begin to wonder - do the bishops even know what is on the various websites? Do they care? If they do, are they able to intervene and stop it? In an upcoming post the issue of heterodox and orthodox theology sitting side by side will be discussed (specifically on the Mass and the Holy Eucharist). Now, if the bishops are orthodox, why allow heresy? Then again, we don't even know who controls the websites - I don't think even the bishops know. And the issue becomes even muddier with organizations that have no canonical standing such as episcopal conferences. Where does the buck stop? Perhaps with an ad hoc sub committee? 

In the case Lahey, I wrote to a number of Bishops (commencing January 5th, 2012) (the Archdiocese of Toronto distinguishing itself in being very unhelpful), until I finally received an email on February 5th, stating that action was being taken. Within two days, the highly offensive material - that is, the photos of him, his speeches before Pope John Paul II - were gone. Offensive to not only the Church, but to the boys and their families who had to be subjected to horrendous abuse to satisfy the demonic lust of Lahey. 

Illustrative of episcopal confusion, disorganization - nay myopia - is the following extract from an email I received from a high ranking CCCB cleric pertaining to the Lahey case:

I am somewhat disappointed to learn that no one ever answered his letter, it was indeed my understanding that we would do so. ...Does anyone know how we dropped the ball? Not for blame, just to avoid this happening again.  I left this with those with whom I met and forgot about it.  Maybe I need to keep these things on my radar?... 

With respect, someone was to blame. This should not have happened. The "not to blame..." is the nexus point of bureaucratic ineptitude. The purpose of a bureaucracy is to diffuse responsibility just as the purpose of a corporation is to limit liability. In both cases self preservation and continued growth take precedence over all else. And this self-preservation is nicely presented by the high ranking cleric -- just blame no one, even when serious mistakes happen.

The Church, on the other hand is organized along completely different principles. We have a Vicar of Christ, not a committee. The purpose of a hierarchical structure is to focus responsibility. Responsibility is handed down along feudal lines of fealty and vassalage. A bishop's synod is more in line with these organizational principles than a standing bishop's conference. It is time for the abolition of the CCCB and for bishops to take responsibility, and to free themselves from the manipulation and facelessness of the bureaucratic organizational mentality. 

When the Church boasts about its size, creating organisations and offices and becoming a bit bureaucratic, the Church loses its key substance  and runs the risk of turning into an NGO. And the Church is not an NGO. It's a love story ... But there are those from the IOR ... excuse me, eh! .. some things are necessary, offices are required ... ok! but they are necessary up to a certain point: as an aid to this love story. But when organization takes first place, love falls down and the Church, poor thing, becomes an NGO. And this is not the way forward.

At a time when Pope Francis is openly challenging the bureaucratic structures of the curia we need to ask why bishops continue to hold onto such things in their own dioceses? On a personal note I wonder... I write to my bishop, but he never replies. A number of my friends have had the same experience. Serious people, with serious concerns, respectfully expressed. 

Is he in touch with the lay faithful? Or, is he boxed in by technocrats, with responsibility unattainable? 


Freyr said...

Very nicely done... thank you.
I generally have no problem with bishops meeting and making decisions that concern the entire region. That is the essence of a Synod of Bishops. It is the continuing presence of committees, subcommittees and an organization of 31 employees that pose problems. The public face of the Church in Canada is controlled by anonymous bureaucratic functionaries??

Barona said...

Pope Francis is a pastor. Bishops should be following his lead. We need pastors, not administrators....