Friday, July 8've been warned.

You're supposed to read it, not clobber people with it.
I normally try not to do this sort of thing, for it generates heat without light, but a series of pictures combined with yesterday's reading just sent me round the twist.  Feel free to move on.

As most of you are familiar, Archbishop Timothy Doyle is the head of the USCCB, making him (effectively) the prelate of the US RC church.  He is also the archbishop of New York (city) and used all of his clout to actively work against the recent same-sex marriage the point of brow-beating the RC governor, Andrew Cuomo.  As we know now, that didn't work and the cause of freedom of choice and primacy of conscience won out over threats and legalism. 

Then there is yesterday's reading which is when Christ sends forth the disciples.

"Cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, drive out demons. Without cost you have received; without cost you are to give. Do not take gold or silver or copper for your belts; no sack for the journey, or a second tunic, or sandals, or walking stick. The laborer deserves his keep." (Mt. 10:8-10)

and then there is the later exhortation of Christ, decrying the Pharisees:

“Everything they do is done for men to see: They make their phylacteries wide and the tassels on their garments long; they love the place of honor at banquets and the most important seats in the synagogues; they love to be greeted in the marketplaces and to have men call them ‘Rabbi.’" (Mt. 23:5-7)

Oh, there are a lot of pictures out there of various prelates in their finery, sitting in state upon a dais and generally acting as a ruler.  Find me pictures of these prelates curing the sick, driving out demons, raising the dead or cleansing lepers.  Heck, I'll settle for images of them feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, tending to the sick, visiting the imprisoned and inviting in the stranger. (Mt. 25:34-46)

If people, be them prelate or prince, legislature or laity, do not act in kindness and humility and love for our neighbours, then they are not acting as Christ taught us.  How many blankets could be bought with the gold laid in that crosier?  How many meals were missed to pay for the lace and embroidery?  When the 'teachers' don't practice the lessons, let alone teach them, what then for the 'taught'?


  1. Tim, this is excellent! And I wouldn't classify it as a rant. Since you're simply laying things out pretty objectively (by that I mean you describe behaviors, what some prelates do, what Jesus said) and you're not getting all emotional.

    But I can sense that you'd rather not have to be pointing out discrepancies. You'd prefer that everybody, including yourself, could just concentrate on the Kingdom. I'm sure that's what Jesus wanted to do. But at times even Jesus pointed out discrepancies. And tipped over tables to make a point!

    Peace be with you. This is a good lesson for us all!

  2. Why do Anglo-Catholics dress up in basically the same clothes but you consisder them good? Why bother with religion at all? It doesn't seem to be helping you?
    Do you think there was a socio-economic/class element to this vote on gay marriage?

  3. TheraP: Thank you for your kind words. You're right in that my inside voice talks about 'planks in eyes' whenever I pen something like this and my end-goal isn't to upbraid but to point out and let conscience and cognitive dissonance do the rest.

    Anon: I used the images of arch-bishop Dolan because these were the pictures that spurred this post. I see no difference between a Roman embroidered cope, an Anglican jewel-encrusted chalice and the Crystal Cathedral. They all diverting attention, time and money from the Good Work and the Good News.

    As far as religion in all, in brief because I I live in the world (though I try my best to not be of the world). Religion is about 'loving your neighbor' just as Spirituality is about 'loving God'. It can be felt in the embrace of a stranger during the Sign of Peace, the sheepish grin of someone "caught" doing the Good Work and the gentle social bonds which can exist in a church community.

    Regarding the NY vote, there is a certain socio-economic element there, but that is because of the general correlation between affluency and 'liberalism', specifically when it comes to social issues.

  4. Beyond this dude, I can't think of any.

    Great post, Tim.

  5. Well written Tim. I've been thinking lately that maybe I've gotten just a little frustrated in my writing tone, but then I reflect back on the tracts St Thomas More wrote in contesting Martin Luther and realize I have a long long way to go before I reach the level of vituperative writing More and Luther reached. In today's world even Rupert Murdoch wouldn't dare print their tracts.

    Sometimes God needs his people to call it like it is--at least to the best of our understanding. I actually think that not doing so is a violation of the spiritual mandate to bring the Kingdom of heaven to earth. And besides, I'd love to see a bishop do as Christ did on either the miracle front or the social justice front. Maybe that's why I love Archbishop Romero. He's one bishop that actually got the concept of spiritual conversion.

  6. I wouldn't call this a rant. Your point is quite valid.

    I wonder, though, if these things make us angry (or at least indignant) because of some residual expectation that "these are Catholic bishops, they should understand the gospel better than this." We should have learned by now to expect far less from them!