Cleansing Fire

Defending Truth and Tradition in the Roman Catholic Church


Don’t Ask the USCCB to Act !

September 6th, 2018, Promulgated by Diane Harris

Hopefully, the USCCB (United States Conference of Catholic Bishops) will not act at all on the shocking gay seminary abuse, the rampant homosexuality among Church leaders, or the smug ‘tolerance’ of a ‘gay activist culture’ in parishes.  Whaaaat did I just say? Really?

Yes, the USCCB should have no role, because national conferences are myths without any substantial power, organizations behind which the majority of its members hide, making them less a bishop than they should be. The point which I have made repeatedly (most recently regarding “Is the USCCB Supporting Abortion?”) is based on the well-articulated words of then Josef Cardinal Ratzinger in The Ratzinger Report, before he became Pope Benedict XVI. I am not referencing that book just because I admire Pope Benedict XVI, but principally my own knowledge and experience of organizational dynamics tells me that his conclusions are ‘spot-on.”

Chapter 4 of the Ratzinger Report, entitled “Among Priests and Bishops,” makes the point so much better than I can; the best I can do is suggest we read and re-read Cardinal Ratzinger’s indictment of such national conferences, as exemplified by the attempt of the German Bishops in the 1930’s to come up with a statement against National Socialism (Hitler’s Party). “The really powerful documents … were those which came from individual courageous bishops. The documents of the conference, … were often rather wan and too weak for what the tragedy called for.”

The bishops “hold the fullness of the sacrament of orders;” they are the authentic teachers. Cardinal Ratzinger stated: “No episcopal conference, as such, has a teaching mission; its documents have no weight of their own save that of the consent of the individual bishops…. It happens … that with some bishops there is a certain lack of a sense of individual responsibility, and the delegation of his inalienable powers as shepherd and teacher to the structures of the local conference leads to letting what should remain very personal lapse into anonymity.”

As further evidence, Cardinal Ratzinger cites the statistics from Vatican II in 1963, where a total of 2135 bishops on the average participated in the meetings in the Aula. Of these only a little more than 200, 10%, intervened actively by taking the floor in the debate. The other 90% never spoke and limited themselves to listening and to voting.”

And, so, it would appear that the national conference structure, using lobbying, relationships and balloting can never be a substitute for the true courage needed from a bishop. Moreover, it is only one short step to allege that the national conference structure has deteriorated the backbone of many bishops who began with a heart for the flock, and courage for the Lord, and bound themselves up in the conference structure.  Perhaps keeping the USCCB out of this matter, will lead to a necessary strengthening of the successors of the Apostles, as the Lord cleanses His Church. Come, Lord Jesus.

What I do see in the current crisis is the emergence of strong individual bishops who speak out bravely, even knowing the risk they take in falling out of favor at the Vatican, and among their brother bishops. One by one, INDIVIDUALLY, they are stepping out, and that is far more desirable that being a vote in a conference held a few months later. Furthermore, the flock is starting to understand whether they have a real bishop or not. That is not to say that every bishop who sent a letter to his flock is showing enough courage; it is not hard to tell the difference. But little steps, or big steps, they are at least moving in the right direction.

A final thought regarding courage in the hierarchy. Courage is weakened by fear of loss. That loss might be money, title, reputation or influence. But there are many worse things to lose, like for a bishop to fail his flock and lose his soul, and also to lead others to hell. The risk is so much greater than losing organizational clout; this situation may well be the chance for bishops to seize the moment to reclaim their powers which have been institutionally whittled away by playing nice and not running with scissors.

Much as I truly try to respect copyright laws, I know that many who read this don’t have the Ratzinger Report on their shelves, and aren’t going to order it today. So, I will append to this post from Chapter 4 as an aid to digestion. Due to file size, and to keep the posted material a very small percentage of the book itself, it may be necessary to rotate the material over a few days, in which case it will be recycled so anything missed will come up again. Click on “Read the rest of this entry” to finish reading Chapter 4 of “The Ratzinger Report.”



























































































































8 Responses to “Don’t Ask the USCCB to Act !”

  1. avatar Dominick Anthony Zarcone says:

    “Hopefully, the USCCB (United States Conference of Catholic Bishops) will not act at all on the shocking gay seminary abuse, the rampant homosexuality among Church leaders, or the smug ‘tolerance’ of a ‘gay activist culture’ in parishes. Whaaaat did I just say? Really?”

    As it is, D., Government Agencies will act instead.

    Spectrum News
    4:00 PM
    Casey Bortnick
    “The Catholic Diocese Of Rochester Received and Is Revealing A Subpoena From The State Attorney General’s Office As Part Of It’s Investigation Into Sexual Abuse Of Children. A Statement, The Diocese Says In Part Quote, ‘We have a longstanding policy of cooperation with law enforcement and certainly it will continue in this process. We encourage all victims to report to civil authorities.’ Douglas Mandelaro Roman Catholic Diocese Of Rochester”

    “This comes after a law enforcement source told the Associated Press that the AG’s Office subpoenaed all Roman Catholic Dioceses In New York State….”


  2. avatar raymondfrice says:

    Let us not forget that the diocese was involved in at least a few cases of crimes by priests against vulnerable adults residing in the diocese of Rochester.

  3. avatar Diane Harris says:

    Yes, Dominick, and that is as it should be. It is the charter of the civil government to investigate, indict, provide fair trial in accordance with constitutional rights, to sentence and to administer penalties. Obviously there is a heavy political component and a heavy anti-Catholic bias to some of what has been and will be done by government, especially in these times, but it is the right/function/obligation of civil authority to pursue such matters. Quite frankly, any AG who refuses to do so is going to find themselves in a lot of trouble. Through history, God has used civil government, even oppressive invaders, to bring His discipline upon His people. If the Church had cleaned up its own mess instead of hiding it, we wouldn’t be in this position today. Provided that true religious rights are not violated (such as the Seal of Confession)the Church should now demonstrate her ability to submit to what is just, and not to stonewall her victims with silence. IMO.

  4. avatar Dominick Anthony Zarcone says:

    …and so be it!

  5. avatar Ginger says: (best scene in Life is Beautiful)

    These are the mechanisms we find ourselves caught in…civil and Church. Personally, I assert myself to protect the children caught in the grind but most of all so that these little ones can step unfettered to Christ in Eucharist.

    In the meantime, we must carry on providing safety for the most vulnerable.

  6. avatar Diane Harris says:

    It’s a beautiful thing … one after another a bishop stands up for truth and for accountability. Look at the News Ticker just for tonight.

  7. avatar Dominick Anthony Zarcone says:

    It’s about time I take my copy of THE RATZINGER REPORT off the shelf and re-read.

    Thank You, D., for your insight and inspiration to reflect once again upon Beloved Joseph’s wisdom.

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