when a bishop must obey

By Diogenes (articles ) | Sep 13, 2005

Did you ever daydream about telling American bishops what to do, and having them obey you?

Dream on. There's only one person on earth who can tell the US bishops what to do.

No, I don't mean the Pope. They ignore him all the time. (Has Ex Corde Ecclesiae been implemented in your diocese? Are "extraordinary" Eucharistic ministers used only on extraordinary occasions? Did the diocese do anything to celebrate this Year of the Eucharist?)

I'm talking about Teresa M. Kettelkamp, the executive director of the Office of Child and Youth Protection at the US bishops' conference. She developed her habits of command with the Illinois State Police, and she isn't going to take any guff from a mere successor to the apostles.

On September 9, Kettelkamp sent a no-nonsense memo to all the US bishops, informing that every Catholic child in every diocese must be submitted to the "safe environment" sex-ed programs approved by her office. If not, the offending dioceses will be stamped with the dreaded "non-compliant" label, and her office will prescribe a "required action."

Now suppose a bishop thinks that "safe environment" programs such as "Talking about Touching" are inappropriate, offensive, destructive-- in fact, that the programs themselves are a form of child abuse? That doesn't matter. Shut up, Your Grace; do as you're told. Who do you think is in charge here, anyway?

Oh, another thing. These sex-education programs are not sex-education programs. How can that be so? Because Teresa Kettelkamp says so. Listen to the logic:

Since its mandate was the result of the clergy sexual abuse crisis, some have incorrectly concluded that this training is sex education training; it is not.

That's clear now, I trust? Any other questions? No? Good.

Hey, you! Sit up straight!

Sound Off! CatholicCulture.org supporters weigh in.

All comments are moderated. To lighten our editing burden, only current donors are allowed to Sound Off. If you are a donor, log in to see the comment form; otherwise please support our work, and Sound Off!

Show 12 Comments? (Hidden)Hide Comments
  • Posted by: Vincit omnia amor - Sep. 16, 2005 5:04 PM ET USA

    GREAT comment SPNBS ! as we say in these parts, "ain't that the truth!"

  • Posted by: Clorox - Sep. 15, 2005 8:44 PM ET USA

    What about obedience to conscience? I know the dissenters have given that one a bad name. But we dare not replace obedience to the USCCB -- or even to a bishop who is slavishly obedient to the USCCB -- with obedience to the Church's Magisterium. If my conscience is accordingly formed, I must be obedient to it: "Bishop, my conscience prevents me from allowing you to use the people of my parish as human shields for the dereliction of duty of bishops. I don't care what the USCCB says."

  • Posted by: - Sep. 15, 2005 7:11 PM ET USA

    Obedience serves Faith, Hope and Charity. The days are sadly past when obedience can ever be automatic. The barbarian heretics have long since breached the Church's walls. They are now among us. In many places they occupy positions of authority. To the extent that they do so, they should be obeyed when what they command is legitimate. When they command what is clearly harmful to the salvation of souls, they should be told where to go and how fast to get there. Charity must not be wimpy.

  • Posted by: Fr. William - Sep. 14, 2005 11:31 PM ET USA

    TAT will never happen in my parishes. I will give the parents whatever material I am ordered under obedience to give them and let the parents decide what they will teach their children regarding this scandal. Does this make me a non-compliant priest? Holy boldness, my brother priests and bishops. Holy boldness. Obedience to the Church & the Holy Father & Magisterium. Obedience, humility.

  • Posted by: - Sep. 14, 2005 3:01 PM ET USA

    My children will be subjected to this nonsense over my dead body, and no other way. Was there ever a time when the bishops simply presented Church teaching, instead of garbage like "Talking About Touching?" And if so, can we go back to that time?

  • Posted by: Joseph Paul - Sep. 14, 2005 7:28 AM ET USA

    By the way, the term is "extraordinary minister of Holy Communion" and never "Eucharistic minister" even if preceded by the term "extraordinary". See Redemtionis Sacramentum, Article 156.

  • Posted by: R. Spanier (Catholic Canadian) - Sep. 13, 2005 10:19 PM ET USA

    This responsibility for this situation doesn’t rest with the USCCB’s staff member. Pope John Paul II explained that, subject to canonical legislation, a Bishop has an inalienable responsibility to the universal Church and to his particular Church which can’t be hindered or substituted by an Episcopal Conference. In addition, an Episcopal Conference can’t act as a filter or obstacle between individual Bishops and the Apostolic See. (ref. Apostolos Suos 24; see also CCL 381.1)

  • Posted by: John J Plick - Sep. 13, 2005 7:37 PM ET USA

    They did it to themselves (and to us, unfortunately). They won't respect Peter so now God has given them a different "ruler."

  • Posted by: - Sep. 13, 2005 2:43 PM ET USA

    Talk about Church contamination! God have mercy on her soul.

  • Posted by: Sir William - Sep. 13, 2005 12:14 PM ET USA

    Sorry, Ma'am, they are God's children given into MY CARE, not YOURS or the bishops and I will NOT comply. No bishop's office-sactioned porn for my brood, nor any millstone for me, thank you very much. Send out the Church Police to enforce it if you will. Sad that there are too many parents who are so uninvolved with their children and so saturated with the culture that they won't care that this vile slop is forcefed to their children.

  • Posted by: - Sep. 13, 2005 11:50 AM ET USA

    If she really plans on enforcing this and "apprehending" bishops who don't comply I can see this being quite interesting. Each bishop may either stand his ground and tell her he refuses to comply or he sumits to her and he's left fighting with the parents who refuse to submit their children to TAT. For those of us who have already told the bishop we're opting out of TAT and like programs we'll be subjected to sacramental blackmail with little to no recourse canonically or otherwise.

  • Posted by: - Sep. 13, 2005 10:47 AM ET USA

    With the to date unarmed flotilla of expeditionary forces consisting of extraordinary eucharistic ministers, adidas wearing nuns, etc it does not surprise me that a sidearm toting female would brook this type of response. It is easier to play lion tamer when the lions are toothless and they've had years of experience being prepped for their roles. Perhaps to redeem themselves they can visit the wizard and get that courage we've been hoping for all these years.