The most recent, of course, is Senator Edward Kennedy whose letter to Pope Benedict sounds more like a bragging list than a real letter. Kennedy's lavish and very public funeral has brought yet more scandal to the Church, with many Catholics asking why he was granted such honours, why the church hierarchy could justify giving him such a send-off when he defied Catholic teaching on major issues (abortion, embryonic stem-cell research, and same-sex marriage).
Before Kennedy, we had Nancy Pelosi who has supported abortion throughout her political career and fully expected to be received warmly by Pope Benedict when she had an audience with him in February /09.
Then there was Kathleen Sebelius , former governor of Kansas, and now Secretary of Health in Obama's administration. She is another pro-abort Catholic who helped keep George Tiller and his late-term abortion clinic in business for years, despite the fact that he had violated the law many times.
And, of course, Joe Biden - Obama's pick for Vice-President, another pro-abort Catholic who has worked out his own rationale for being pro-abort in public and Catholic in private.
Across the ocean, we have the team of Tony and Cherie Blair who seem to be campaigning to form a new European Union Catholic Church - perhaps they are hoping to be made the next Pope and Popess?
The list of Catholic public figures who proclaim to be Catholic, on the one hand, and who are defying the Church on crucial matters of faith, seems to grow longer by day. What is the average Catholic to think of all this? Turn to the words of Christ himself:
Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn." Matthew 13:30
And now we have divisions amongst those who should be united as Father Tom Rosica of Salt and Light Television in Canada has lashed out at those pro-lifers who criticized the Kennedy funeral, especially Raymond Arroyo of EWTN.
It seems that the thing that has upset Father Rosica the most is that lay persons have criticized the clergy. Perhaps he is correct in stating that some of those criticisms have been vitriolic, but if he is saying that the laity should not criticize the clergy, then he is truly wrong. When the clergy let the laity down by not adhering to the tenets of the Catholic faith and do not proclaim those publicly, the laity have not only a right, but a duty, to criticize them. And that is exactly what has happened in the past few months: the clergy have totally let down the laity of the Church and they should heed the words of the prophet Ezekiel, which ring true today, just as they did 3000 years ago:
Woe to the shepherds of Israel who only take care of themselves! Should not shepherds take care of the flock? You eat the curds, clothe yourselves with the wool and slaughter the choice animals, but you do not take care of the flock. You have not strengthened the weak or healed the sick or bound up the injured. You have not brought back the strays or searched for the lost. You have ruled them harshly and brutally. So they were scattered because there was no shepherd, and when they were scattered they became food for all the wild animals. My sheep wandered over all the mountains and on every high hill. They were scattered over the whole earth, and no one searched or looked for them.
Therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of the Lord: As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign Lord, because my flock lacks a shepherd and so has been plundered and has become food for all the wild animals, and because my shepherds did not search for my flock but cared for themselves rather than for my flock, therefore, O shepherds, heard the word of the Lord: This is what the Sovereign Lord says: I am against the shepherds and will hold them accountable for my flock. I will remove them from tending the flock so that the shepherds can no longer feed themselves. I will rescue my flock from their mouths, and it will no longer be food for them. - Ezekiel 34:1-10
I am wondering whom Father Rosica has in mind when he calls pro-life people bullies: is it Father Frank Pavone of Priests for Life, or Father Tom Euteneuer of Human Life International, or Judie Brown of American Life League, or Jill Stanek pro-life activist? I dont' think anyone who has watched Raymond Arroyo on EWTN would call him a bully. Or what about Jesus when he said "Woe to you Pharisees, because you love the most important seats in the synagogues and greetings in the marketplaces" or when he called them "a brood of vipers"? I guess at times Jesus was a bully, not often, but remember that the truth is supposed to cut like a knife. It seems that the church is in need of that cutting truth at the moment. That knife was precisely what was missing in the case of Ted Kennedy; instead of correcting this man with the truth, he was permitted to carry on with his anti-Catholic views while he lived and then he was honoured by that same Church when he died. If that is not hypocrisy, then show me what is.
As Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (now Pope Benedict XVI) said in his 1997 book Salt of the Earth: Christianity and the Catholic Church at the End of the Millennium as he was describing the state of the Church:
The words of the Bible and of the Church fathers rang in my ears, those sharp condemnations of shepherds who are like mute dogs; in order to avoid conflicts, that let the poison spread. Peace is not the first civic duty, and a bishop whose only concern is not to have any problems and to gloss over as many conflicts as possible is an image I find repulsive.
Read Raymond Arroyo's full blog post here
Read Father Tom Rosica's full blog post here