L’eglise, c’est moi!

I can’t get over this comment from a bishop in Rod Dreher’s fine piece this AM:

“To suggest that they [bishops] protect their resources before they protect their people is not just insulting, but unjust and wrong,” the bishop wrote. “If you really believe that, why would you remain Catholic?”

This is simply stunning to me, coming from a bishop. It’s hard to know which flabbergasts me more: the incredible self-centeredness or the sheer theological ignorance. Why be a Catholic if bishops are bad? Has the man never heard of Augustine’s answer to Donatism? Does he seriously think that people come into the Church because they sat bolt upright in bed saying, “Dear Heaven, those bishops are so cool! I adore them and must be like them!” Does he seriously suppose that as the faithful kneel at the consecration, the uppermost thought in their mind is “O Lord, I thank you for the smooth bureaucratic machinery of the Church and the forgettable white papers on farm subsidies it emits.” Does the bishop really and truly suppose that what fired the legions of converts (of whom Dreher is one, as am I) was the thought, “Just look at those magnificent bishops! That’s why *I’m* a Catholic! Why, if they should prove to be bad men, I just could not believe anything about the gospel of Jesus Christ anymore. They are the measure of all things for me!”

I am a Catholic because I believe the Catholic faith to be true. I am a Catholic because I believe that Jesus Christ is true, though every man, be he even a bishop, a liar. Memo to the bishop in Dreher’s article: Bp. Wilton Gregory nailed it: “Pride.” Get over yourself. Your office is a gift from God. So is mine. But the important thing is the Giver. We are Catholic because Jesus is Lord, not because you are trusty (or, for that matter, because we are).