Chewing things over with Rod

Rod replies to my comments on his piece:

I think, Mark, you’re parsing things too finely. In the context of this article, it seems to me that my meaning of “the Church” as a stand-in for the hierarchy of the Church is clear. Calling “the Times” arrogant is not meant to judge the character of everyone who is part of the Times (I have a friend who is a very fine reporter there), only its management — which is what the entire column was about, leadership.

I know we’re not going to agree on this, but it *is* arrogant to sit in faraway Rome, to have the power to do something about the terrible bishop situation here in Dallas (and there in [you name it], and to not lift a finger. You know, as if it were none of their business, and the problems will sort themselves out in time. Read Barbara Tuchman’s “The March of Folly” (from which I quoted in today’s column) to see where that kind of arrogant abstraction will get you.

We’ve been around on this before, of course. As you know, there are bishops I’d like to see go (your own, among them). But for various reasons, I’m open, as many of my readers are not, to thinking that what I’d prefer may not be the best idea. I continue to disbelieve the Holy Father is “doing nothing” and believe instead that the something he is doing (forcing the American Church to endure the cross its made for itself) is simply not to our taste (including mine, in many cases).

However, in addition to that, other questions arise. One thing that gives me pause is the repeated assurances I hear from folks like Patrick Sweeney that “to intervene” [by which he means "to can a bunch of bishops" which is the only sort of intervention many of my readers countenance] is “consistent with the history of the Church”. Perhaps there are some historians of the Church out there who can tell me how accurate this really is.

If, as we are led to believe “2/3s” of the American bishops have done things like appoint men like Fr. Child out of Wedlock to some parish (or, as we know, done much much worse things) then my immediate question is “where is history consistent with the Pope removing and replacing 2/3 of the episopacy of a nation?” The expectation that this will be done and that this is the historic norm for the papacy seems to me to be wildly improbable, but I have no idea of the historical reality, so I could be all wet. Any historians out there?


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