Did the Bishops Just Stick their Collective Thumb in the Pope’s Eye?

Did the Bishops Just Stick their Collective Thumb in the Pope’s Eye? November 16, 2022

Pope Francis at Prayer. Source Flickr Creative Commons by Ross Dunn https://www.flickr.com/photos/rdb466/

Are the United States Catholic bishops declaring war on Pope Francis? 

I don’t know anything about the internal politics of the American bishops. I can clearly see that external politics, including right wing billionaire money, is playing a decisive role in the decision making of some of our bishops. But that insight does not come from my knowledge of internal Church politics. It comes from my knowledge of American electoral politics. 

These right wing bishops aren’t the first political whores I’ve seen. Not by a long shot. When you’ve seen enough of them, they become so easy to recognize they might as well show up wearing a t-shirt that says $10 on the back. 

Of course, in the bishops’ case, the number is much higher than ten dollars. It includes everything from tax advantages, to government contracts, to all sorts of personal perks and stroking for said whore bishop himself. But the principle, and the outcome, is the same. They’re bought. They will use their facilities at the bidding and on the behalf of the fascist billionaires who bought them, instead of following the Gospel of Christ. 

Having said all that, I am still confused about the meaning of this week’s winner in the bishop big guy election. Based on the headlines, the pointy-hat crowd chose an anti-Pope Francis right winger to be their new leader. 

I read the headline, and then I read it again. I’ve been thinking of it off and on since. Is that true? Is that really true?

I mean, what church do they think they are part of, if these bishops oppose the pope? You know that thingy, that Apostolic Succession thingy that gives them all their gravitas? That comes through Peter, and the pope the headlines say the American bishops have decided to oppose is Peter. 

So … if the bishops are tossing over the pope because his teaching conflicts with the “teaching” of their fascist right wing political alliances … why should pew sitters listen to anything the bishops say? I mean, you take Peter out of the equation, and the bishops are just a bunch of guys dressed up for a really neat costume party.

I’m dancing around the quiet part here, and I think I’ll continue to do that, at least for this blog post. 

The reason I’m holding back is simple. I don’t know for sure if the headlines I’ve read are a true representation of this most recent bishop hoe-down. I know a few of these bishops, and I’m having a difficult time believing that they’ve taken such a deep dive into evil as that. Maybe they really didn’t decide to stick their collective thumb in the pope’s eye. Maybe they are still in line with Peter. 

This is serious and I’m going to wait and see. 

All I know is that if you go looking for me, I’ll be easy to find. I’ll be standing with the pope. 

From National Catholic Reporter:

Bishops elect anti-Francis archbishop as new president

The U.S. bishops have sent a clear message of rejection to Pope Francis by selecting Archbishop Timothy Broglio, who heads the Archdiocese for the Military Services, as president of the bishops’ conference.

The bishops’ choice of new leadership revealed the deeper ecclesiological orientation of the body. They had to decide if they wanted to be a part of the ongoing reception of the Second Vatican Council in the context of the magisterium of Pope Francis, or not, a choice made all the more obvious by the success of the synodal process so far. As papal nuncio Archbishop Christophe Pierre reminded them in his opening address, the bishops govern the church “cum Petro and sub Petro,” with Peter and under Peter. They forgot that law, or ignored it, 30 minutes later.

In my many years of coming to these meetings of the U.S. bishops’ conference, I have learned that relationships are usually, but not always, more important than ideology in the selection of conference officers and committee chairs. This year, however, the bishops faced clear ideological choices.

In the person of Broglio, the bishops had a candidate who rejects Pope Francis’ call for a more outward focused, accompanying church, a throwback to the pre-conciliar vision of his mentor and patron, the late Cardinal Angelo Sodano.


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