By Diogenes (articles ) | Jun 15, 2004

The bishops are said to be making a "retreat" this week -- a curious expression, since no one is pretending that there isn't serious business of a concrete nature that will fully occupy their days. Perhaps the term is used more by way of justifying the exclusion of the press than of commitment to silent meditation.

Keeping clear of media pressure would be a boon if it freed the bishops from the pretense of fraternal affability and allowed them the kind of candor necessary to face the fact they've hitherto avoided: that the problem people are in their own ranks. Until bishops decapitate bishops, their moral authority will continue to evaporate.

The Crisis is far beyond the point where nice guys can fix it. Nice guys don't bloody their knuckles, and there's no way the bad bishops are going to quit without a fight. Sooner or later each decent bishop will have to choose between his moral duty and his reputation as a reconcilier, consensus-builder, team player, promotably genial good guy. If their "retreat" gave the bishops the chance to see the alternatives starkly, it wouldn't be a entire waste of time.

In any event, the odds are poor. A beautiful woman will rarely disfigure herself, even if she knows her beauty has brought her more misery than happiness. In the same way, nice guys almost never can put aside their niceness, even when they realize calamity will result if they don't. The thrill they receive from the smiles that meet them when they enter a room is too precious to risk by alienating others through confrontation.

The gauge is pretty simple. If Charles Grahmann, and Robert Lynch, and John McCormack emerge from their retreat with their miters still fixed to their scalps, there will be six more months of winter.

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  • Posted by: - Jun. 18, 2004 9:41 PM ET USA

    The clear common sense emanating from the pen of Diogenes makes him a candidate for Bishop. Too bad he is so orthodox and blunt. His type need not apply and that's the pity!

  • Posted by: - Jun. 18, 2004 5:43 PM ET USA

    So sad.

  • Posted by: - Jun. 16, 2004 12:59 PM ET USA

    Roman Catholics have faith. A whole new generation of dedicated shepherds are coming. Many are here already. They will do the necessary and so renew the Roman Catholic Church in America (and indeed the world). The gates of hell shall n'er prevail. ROMAN

  • Posted by: - Jun. 16, 2004 12:17 PM ET USA

    Who is Diogenes? He/she is one of the best writers, Catholic or secular press, out there!

  • Posted by: - Jun. 16, 2004 11:35 AM ET USA

    Dulcius is correct. Catholics are morally obligated to contribute to the financial needs of their pastors. If their pastors do not do their duty they should be allowed to starve. Fortunately starvation is a slow and miserable death and few bishops will meet it ... their own selfish interest will force them to either take an early retirement or they will change their public operations or they will actually convert and become Catholic again.

  • Posted by: - Jun. 16, 2004 8:55 AM ET USA

    I think the situation a lot of the laity find themselves in with regards to their bishop is similar to someone you love who has an addiction. As long as we keep enabling this addiction to power/drugs/alcohol they're going to continue with their insidious behavior. I agree with Dulcius. The only way to get their attention is to remove that which controls them. For the Bishops it's power which comes from the money we give them every month. Stop giving them money today!

  • Posted by: - Jun. 15, 2004 10:42 PM ET USA

    I think in the short-term, the bishops need to go through a complete melt-down of credibility and be left with nothing but the hollow marks of office. Just like an addict won't truly start on the road to recovery without bottoming out, our bishops won't start acting like bishops as long as there is still some reward in being promotable, time-serving nice guys. Also, we must stop enabling them. No money, no respect, no treating them as more than the unindicted criminals they are.

  • Posted by: extremeCatholic - Jun. 15, 2004 10:26 PM ET USA

    How could the "good" bishops depose the "bad"? "Never wound a king" I think would apply to a bishop as well. I think it would take a substantial cabal of bishops to denounce by name Grahmann, Lynch, and McCormack.

  • Posted by: - Jun. 15, 2004 8:55 PM ET USA

    Diogenes: Absolutely magnificent analysis ! Nothing like the whole truth !

  • Posted by: - Jun. 15, 2004 8:26 PM ET USA

    Does anyone think they are contemplating a split from Rome? My bet is that it will happen when the next Pope (sorry folks, its coming soon) is elected. I think they are already talking about it. (Does anyone remember the sale of the college in That Hideous Strength?)

  • Posted by: Stonewall - Jun. 15, 2004 7:47 PM ET USA

    Bishop John McCormack will never leave voluntarily. If he weren't a bishop he would be nothing but a silly old man.

  • Posted by: - Jun. 15, 2004 6:51 PM ET USA

    I was much like the majority of the Catholic Street until 2 years ago...I thought that if you were made a Bishop you must be really Holy and above criticism...well..I found a Latin Mass Community, began living my faith and had my eyes opened wide ...now I am begining to understand the line..the road the hell is paved with the skulls of bishops....My family and I cannot wait for the Bishops to get their act together, we will just have to continue to look elsewhere for real Catholic leaders

  • Posted by: John J Plick - Jun. 15, 2004 5:20 PM ET USA

    I (and no doubt others) could wish that we were more spectators and less participants, but we are all living within this spiritual meat-grinder. Let us pray for protection.

  • Posted by: - Jun. 15, 2004 5:06 PM ET USA

    These bishops consider collegiality to be the greatest virtue. Nothing'll happen.