Workload…. Crushing… Must… Distract…Readers!
Tons of stuff to do in the next few days and not much time to blog. So, my solution is: get you guys to argue among yourselves! And happily I have just the topic. A few days ago, I posted this in response to people who are muttering in vaguely threatening tones and asked them to articulate clearly what, precisely, they were going to do in response to lousy bishops in the Church. The normally spot-on Greg Krehbiel disagreed with me and claims that there are times when it’s okay to leave the Church:
I usually agree with Mark, but I don’t buy this (what appears to be) absolutist position on staying in the church. The unity of the church is important, but it isn’t the sine qua non of following Jesus. Sure, there are passages in Scripture about loving the church, but there are also passages about doing the right thing in opposition to the whole world, if necessary. No single moral command is absolute in this way. Sin confuses things, and we have to choose between divided and confusing loyalties. There are few bright-line tests in a world of shadows.
Imagine the contrary. Imagine that we had to stay in the church no matter how abusive and wicked the bishops and priests became. Imagine that we had to go to mass to hear heresy, or to participate in non-Christian worship. Imagine that we had to tithe to a church that used our money to fund its abusive policies. That’s precisely what abusive and wicked leaders would want us to believe, and natural law (if nothing else) proves beyond any reasonable doubt that we can’t behave that way. You can’t put the fox in charge of the hen house.
So, since the “you must stay no matter what” position is clearly wrong, I conclude that there comes a point when we have to leave. I don’t know what that point is, and I hope I never have to make that judgment. Things aren’t bad in Laurel, Maryland. I have a very good pastor and a couple very good priests. (It used to be a few, but then the bishop transferred one of them. Grrrrr.) Even the music is getting better.
But I know it’s not that way in many places. Useless, liberal bishops still dull the senses with the banal, then fill sleeping brains with modernist goo. And the other bishops (including the pope) sit by and do nothing. They should be publicly rebuking these wolves in frilly episcopal dresses, but they are asleep on their watch.
Oh, how Aslan will roar against these useless shepherds!
And yet, I hope that change is coming. It seems to me that the younger priests are more orthodox, and that the generation of those who tested the Lord in the wilderness are dying out.
I have hope for the church. God will not finally abandon her, and I see positive signs, so I agree with Mark’s conclusion. “The only way out is through.
I think Greg is dead wrong for a very simple reason: I can see zero basis in either Scripture or Tradition for the idea that it is ever right to break communion with the Church. Are there excuses? Sure. Are there things that mitigate culpability such as lack of knowledge or lack of freedom? Granted. But I cannot see *anywhere* in Scripture or Tradition that gives an inch of room to the idea that it’s okay to leave the Church. That does not, as my previous blog made clear, mean we are to just sit there and shut up while bad bishops (or bad laymen) corrupt the Church. But I simply do not see any option whatever for bugging out, hiving off and starting something else.