Imagine Yourself a Bishop

There are many different kinds of bishops. The basically good bishops lead morally upright lives, are faithful to the magisterium, and are dedicated to service.

There are numerous varieties of bad bishops: those sexually active with females or males; those who cover up for priests who engage in immoral behavior; those living luxurious lives and robbing the poor; those who teach against the Gospel because it is too demanding; those who care more about power than justice; those who sideline priests who report corrupt bishops or priests; and those who are too weak to do anything about the corruption of their fellow bishops and their priests. Worst of all, and more common than we think, are those who don’t believe in God or the Gospel—those who have infiltrated the Church to work against the Gospel while enjoying the “perks” (some of which are deplorably immoral) the episcopacy provides. It is truly painful to produce this list.

You probably notice I didn’t say there are holy bishops. They might exist, of course, but I am not seeing the kind of behavior from very many of our bishops currently that would point to holiness. Few (maybe just one?) of them are visibly doing anything that manifests that they put the care of souls ahead of all else, even things that don’t require heroic virtue.

One common situation that inhibits holiness and even goodness in bishops, is that most if not all of them have inherited dioceses with a long history and culture of permissiveness for priestly misconduct, especially of the homosexual sort, and cover-up of the same. In some dioceses, if a bishop removed every priest leading a double life, preaching heresy, embezzling, and playing free and easy with the liturgy, it might result in a large number of priest-less parishes. Moreover, some of these priests were likely his past classmates, or are close friends. He doesn’t know what to do, so he doesn’t do anything—unless forced by the misconduct becoming public. When misconduct becomes public, he announces that he acted immediately upon the information he received (although he may have known of it for years).

Continue reading at Crisis Magazine