Controversy appears to have adopted a different framework, and we now have a new adaptation of what it means to be outside the mainstream.
I am referring to San Francisco’s archbishop, Salvatore Cordileone, and the Diocese of Cleveland’s bishop, Richard Lennon. Both of these prelates have not really taken steps that should be headliners, yet for some devilish reason they are. What in the world have these men done? Well, they have restated the teachings of the Catholic Church that date back to the time of Jesus Christ Himself and have stated that they expect those employed by the Church to follow them. Recently, Cordileone revamped the high school faculty handbook and has called on faculty “to avoid publicly challenging the Church’s position on issues like same-sex ‘marriage’ and abortion.”
No sooner was the ink dry than the protests began. Still, two months later, they have not leveled off. So what’s the beef? Teachers—and others who support them—do not want to uphold Catholic teaching that touches on subjects with which they disagree. As one lesbian Catholic told the San Francisco Chronicle, “I can be a Catholic and a follower of Jesus without accepting what the hierarchy says, but accepting what I think Jesus would have said.”
Oops! Not so! Catholic teaching is not based on what someone else’s opinion might be, but on the solid body of teachings and doctrine found in scripture and in Catholic tradition.
But that doesn’t seem to matter in today’s world. And that is why I think Bishop Lennon may suffer the same sort of public denunciation for his expectations of teachers. One local newspaper listed the bishop’s “banned behaviors,” which include “publicly supporting abortion, euthanasia, assisted suicide, embryonic stem cell research, in vitro fertilization, artificial insemination, surrogate parenthood, direct sterilization, or so-called homosexual or same-sex marriage or unions.” Among the others are having an abortion, helping someone else have an abortion, promoting sex outside of marriage, and drug abuse. The outcry to his proposals has been more than a little absurd, given that Lennon is doing nothing other than respecting the Church and expecting teachers to do likewise.
Witnessing such fearless defense of truth in our upside-down world makes me wonder what it is going to take for the entire body of Catholic bishops to begin issuing demands of their priests that the fullness of truth be taught from the pulpits. After all, there is a crisis involving lack of respect for Christ and for the human person. This ridicule of truth is raging in our world and it shows no signs of lessening.
Each and every bishop must understand that these gruesome manifestations of America’s sexually saturated society foster and encourage a mentality that makes it fashionable to attack Catholic prelates who are living, teaching, and preaching Catholic doctrine.
This brings us to the $64,000 question: Where is the public statement from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops expressing solidarity with and support for Bishop Lennon and Archbishop Cordileone? Is courage lacking, or is human respect more appealing at the USCCB? We do not know, but we see publicly that in the bishops’ collective silence resides the reasons why so many Catholics-in-name-only attack priests, bishops, and the Lord Himself with impunity.
We at American Life League salute the bravery of Archbishop Cordileone and Bishop Lennon and the others who have defended truth and not backed down. Praise God for them! Such men of God are living examples of the original “man for all seasons,” St. Thomas More, who said, “You must not abandon ship in a storm because you cannot control the winds.”
Show your support for these bishops by taking action. Sign the petition in support of Archbishop Cordileone and send letters of gratitude to Bishop Richard Lennon. We must let them know that we value them and all that they teach, even in the face of adversity.