Thursday, October 15, 2009

Letters to the Editor

Dear Editor,

Imagine, if you will, the following counterfactual: Nikita Kruschev secretly visits Hawaii to talk to a local hippy commune about modern farming techniques; President Johnson gets to hear about it, has an angry talk with Kruschev about it on the Red Phone, but news of the event leaks and then Johnson lets it be known around the world in no uncertain terms that Heads of State can't just waltz around doing whatever they want and saying whatever they want in any Country they please, but really ought to let the local officials know beforehand and get their permission, etc. And I'm sure that most of the free world would privately agree with LBJ while publically laughing about Niki's daring stunt; and thankfully the MAD policies would keep us all from burning up quickly or freezing and starving under a dusty-red sky and poison rain. Nonetheless, we understand and aprove the principle, in a sensible context.

So, nowadays Presidents of the United States like to pull their own stunt visits to places like Free Iraq and the Republic of Kabul; but many Catholic bishops, the Church's dukes and princes, take their duty and right to govern the Particular Churches rather more seriously. It's scandal sufficient when bishops fall into and preach heresy; but to then impose their unrepentant selves under a cloud of episcopal dignity on the flock of a brother bishop goes remarkably farther to both erode episcopal dignity in general and undermine any of that other bishop's efforts to correctly teach and govern those in his care.

It's the same principle, only the stakes are much more dire --- the immortal souls of all people, not just our comfort in this life.

a tired reader of Fr. Z


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