You won't find this in mainstream media, other than to probably take one line out of context and blow it out of proportion. Catholic bloggers are sure to be buzzing about this one - mostly in a very positive light. H/T to Curt Jester. Bishop Brusketwitz gave a speech for the Catholic Citizens of Illinois on October 19, and what a speech it was! Just as a sidenote, Bishop Bruskewitz will be coming to the Metro Detroit area in April to speak at the annual Call to Holiness Conference for which he is an advisor. More on that, and the November 19 benefit dinner in a later post.
I can't help but think of the many times Jesus said the kinds of things to the people that today, would have him sent to "sensitivity training". Jesus did not give us the Church inorder to preserve our self-esteem. He gave it to us for the purpose of salvation, and this means the Church must be counter-cultural. Jesus led by example, and this is one apostolic successor who gets it!
This is very lengthy, so I'm bringing you some key excerpts to entice you to read the whole thing. This is chopped up, so you'll need to get context and background leading into these statements, and expansions in the full speech.
From a paragraph in which the Bishop speaks of various declining numbers:
"...As a matter of fact, it is an aphorism that probably can be statistically verified that the largest religious group in the United States is the Catholic Church, but the second largest is fallen-away Catholics, lapsed, non-practicing, those who have abandoned the Catholic faith. This leakage from the Catholic faith in the United States, which is undeniable, can be attributed to many factors, at least as far as can by observed...."
From the same paragraph:
"....There are many Catholic colleges and universities, some of which are trying to maintain a Catholic identity, but many of which are Catholic in name only. There is a breakdown of authority in the Church, constant and open dissent by people who call themselves theologians; great doctrinal and moral confusion, and Catholics who while professing to belong to the Church are, perhaps, within her pale but outside of her orthodoxy...."
A few lines down from that:
"...Catholics in many parts of the United States are confronted by banal, shallow, and irreverent liturgies that have no or only a most remote connection with the holy sacrifice of the Mass. In 1965, all the statistical studies showed that at least 85% or perhaps more of the Catholics in the United States attended mass each Sunday. The present statistical studies show that this has gone to 27% of the Catholics in the United States attending mass on Sundays...."
Now the bishop begins to explore causes for these problems, with a few excerpts:
"...There are, of course, many causes for these ecclesiastical crises in which we are involved. There are many causes outside of the Church. We live, for example, in a culture that is dominated by materialism and hedonism, invisibly and imperceptibly the values of those things creep in the lives and attitudes of all, including Catholics. Even the healthiest fish cannot swim along in polluted waters. In our country, especially, a serious misunderstanding of freedom has turned freedom into license, and we live in a pan-sexual and irresponsible age, in which pleasure, comfort, and material possessions appear to be the goals of human existence. Lacking solid catechetical teaching, it is very easy for people, especially young people to be lured into that kind of attitude and condition their entire life-style by such an attitude...."
"....The [Second Vatican] Council in itself we consider a great act of the Holy Spirit. However, what happened was (and I speak from first-hand experience because I was in Rome at the conclusion of the Council) that a great number of personages and causes gathered around the Council as a kind of para-Council, which gave, because of their domination of the media, an incredibly wrong impression which persist even to this day, about what the Council was and what it was intended to achieve...."
"...There was also a mistaken notion, even among some people who should have known better, that by removing or changing accidental matters, sometimes considered accretions in ecclesiastical life, it would not affect the substance of that life. I think there was misunderstanding of the Thomistic view of accidents and substances. Sometimes pulling out accidents which inhere in substances disturbs the substances themselves. Among the mistaken notions and distortions that derive from the Council was that of liturgical chaos...."
It's about time someone called these folks out on this! How shameful it is that when some networks need a priest or a nun to "speak for the Church" they go right for the most dissenting voices among the flock.
"...And so, the question arises, "Where is this church?" It is certainly not situated in Andrew Greeley or Richard McBrien, or Sister Chittester, or in the myriads of other personages and voices whose faces and words appear to dominate the media when it come to Catholic expression. No, Saint Ambrose, long ago, told us where we would find the Church, where she is always situated. He said in Latin, Ubi Petrus, ibi ecclesia, et ubi ecclesia vita eterna. Where Peter is, there is the church and where the Church is, there is everlasting life. It is especially through apostolic succession, and most particularly in the apostolic succession of the See of Rome, that we are able to reach back through history, and touch, not only the bodies and souls of the apostles, but the One Who sent the apostles forth, that is the Divine Founder of our Catholic religion of the Catholic Church, the Divine Source of all faith, as well as the Object of that faith, Jesus Christ. The great martyrs who preceded us in our Catholic faith were willing to see Jesus as the Person to die for, and we certainly, to be worthy of their memory, must see Him as the Divine Person to live for...."
I know too many people who claim to have been told things by priests - in passing, in homilies, and even in confession, which blatanly counter Church teachings. They are our friends, and in our families. We worry about their salvation when they reject certain teachings because priests or bishops made them feel that "it was ok". As much as we love these people, God loves them that much more and He knows how they have been misled. I have much hope that God will mitigate some of their guilt. I am so encouraged by the great number of young priests and seminarians out there, who clearly have their heads on straight. Speeches like this one by Bishop Bruskewitz will not be the rare exception in years to come. It will be the norm!
The cassocks are coming!!!
Pray for our seminarians, priests and bishops - that they are graced with the kind of courage to be counter-cultural, in imitation of Our Lord.
Go read Bruskewitz at CCI in full for background, expansion, and context on each of these excerpts.