The Gates of Hell are Rattling…

The Gates of Hell are Rattling… April 19, 2011

My column at First Things this week looks at the aphorism that “those who can’t do teach,” and wonders what lessons have been learned from those bishops of ours who did not know how to do their jobs:

If “those who can’t do teach,” then a few of our teacher-bishops imparted some profoundly important lessons to us over the past six weeks. The shocking story of Belgium’s Bishop Roger Vangheluwe, and his stomach-turning delusions about what constitutes love and “moments” between an adult and a child comes to mind.

Unable to “do the math” and sum up why his actions were so despicable and so viscerally off-putting, the bishop has nevertheless instructed the rest of the world in grotesquery, and with such precision that we may expect any future attempts by some to normalize “intergenerational love” or to mainstream organizations like NAMBLA will meet with renewed resistance. That sounds like small compensation for the torments endured by his two nephews, but given our times and trends, we may never fully realize how preventative in nature was the lesson learned.

Likewise, our bishops, whose offices of distribution were meant to assist in the bestowing of sacramental graces upon the world, have this Lent – thanks to a few of their brothers—found themselves in receipt of renewed scorn from the punditry and (perhaps more ominously) a pained and exhausted sigh from the people in the pews. The failure of the Diocese of Philadelphia to take timely and appropriate action against some of her priests, the large abuse settlement incurred by the Jesuits and other still-draining pustules of our vastly infected Body have weakened the church’s ability to speak to the world with convincing moral authority.

If any obvious good is to come out of so much evil – and that is certainly a thing we pray for – those churchmen who did not know how to do their jobs and who failed all of us so spectacularly in love and in the Gospel will have rendered clear instruction on what not to do to our current and future bishops.

The Gates of Hell that have withstood 2000 years of supernatural battle have been deeply rattled. Let’s hope our bishops are learning to become good blacksmiths. Read it all here.

Also — speaking of what we’ve learned — take a look at Tim Muldoon’s latest column on The Honesty of the Empty Tomb:

Mark dwells on Jesus’ passion; he wants the reader to feel it and not just acknowledge it. He wants to convey a central theme: Jesus’ suffering is real. Yes, even God suffered. You need not fear your suffering, because God himself faced it and was ready to die. And the reason he did that is to show us that there is hope beyond suffering.

Thank God for that. And since we’re speaking of Jesus’ passion, Pat McNamara writes this weak of a remarkable Passionist priest known as the Missionary of the Passion

Through it all, The Scandal of Evil is No Match For the Cross. It has defeated evil before.

And of course, what strength we find In the Holy Eucharist!

After all of that, a slightly more refreshing read: Max Lindenman on how being Catholic helps him to stretch out his legs.

Collecting Data: Shea is having a Wellborn moment!

Kathryn Jean Lopez: Defining Divinity Down

Msgr. Charles Pope: The time is near – have you gone to confession?

Happy Anniversary, Papa!, our faithful shepherd who is led

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