| Letter to Bishop | January 10, 2013 | CCMT |
I just finished reading the NCR Online article about Roy Bourgeois’ letter of dismissal from the CDF in Rome when this letter to a bishop arrived in my mail box from my friend John Chuchman. The couple who wrote the letter are being threatened with excommunication by their bishop for expressing support for woman priests. Here is their genuine and heartfelt response to that threat:
Dear Bishop XXXXXXXXX,
This is a significant week for me as I celebrate my 50th anniversary in the Cursillo Movement. I made it just a couple months after Pope John XXIII called for the Second Vatican Council.
Those were marvelous days in our church. The American bishops came back after each of the four sessions with their arms wide open. We laity were deemed important and we were blessed with the love of Jesus.
It was important for the laity, priests, nuns, and religious to become educated in the works of the church. The bishops gathered in Rome for the Council were well aware of the 40,000,000 deaths in Europe as a result of two Christian nations, Germany and Italy.
These two nations formed the axis that caused twenty million deaths in Western Europe and another twenty million in East Europe. The bishops had first hand knowledge of how little they had to offer to stop this carnage.
So they opted to have our non-hierarchy members of our Catholic Church become educated and to take many responsibilities for which they were well formed. They could spread the “good news” in their work places, in the political arena, in the industrial part of the economic process, in the development of science, etc. We were truly important to the church.
Then the laity was boosted by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit through our Cursillo Movement. Many observers of the Roman scene thought that the Cursillo Movement provided much of the impetus for Pope John XXIII to proceed with his dream of renewing our beloved church. The Spirit was alive and dwelling throughout our church.
Much has changed through these past fifty years. The laity can determine how the bishops have taken a loyalty oath to each other rather than to the entire church. Witness the sex scandal- no bishop has been “turned in” by other brother bishops. The laity knows that there were many bishops with knowledge of their brother bishops who were transferring pedophile priests from parish to parish.
Their silence condemned them as much as those performing these hideous actions. Then came the investigations of our US nuns, but no investigation of the horrendous activity of the bishops in their silence regarding the sex scandal that now is world wide in our church conducted by bishops and priests.
We now have a church governed by policies, regulations and rules rather than the love that Jesus showed us. That was the reason His Father sent him to humankind, to tell us what was necessary for our salvation. Love, love, love!!!
The laity doesn’t seem to be receiving much of Jesus’ love today. I used to teach classes using the piano as a prop. I told the class that many students wanting to learn how to play the piano studied many excellent books on the proper procedures in playing appropriately. They mastered the book knowledge, but never sat down at a piano to learn. They had book knowledge but not practical knowledge that was absolutely necessary to play the piano.
I see many of our bishops learning all about love out of books. They seem to mouth beautifully about the love of Jesus, but their actions towards us laity belie their notions of what love is all about.
Had any bishop with this sex scandal had a son of his own that had been raped, sodomized, I’m certain the bishop would have seen this atrocious action in an entirely different view. He would have wanted to defend his son to the maximum.
But what we laity have received is tepid apologies, nothing damning of those perpetrators that caused the horrific crimes since their brother bishops remained silent.
Then Gwen and I received the letter from Fr. XXXXXXXXXXX, through you, that we could face having the sacraments taken away because we support women who have been ordained to the priesthood of our church, Thus equating our actions as far more onerous than the silence of the US bishops regarding sex abuse. How sad to think you believe Gwen and I should be sanctioned but not say a word in defense of our US nuns or inform authorities of those bishops transferring priests to unsuspecting parishes.
It is hard for the laity to believe members of the USCCB did not know of the problem after Fr. Tom Doyle informed the Bishop’s Council of this problem in 1980. Only when the national press got hold of this terrible story did the bishops begin to take action against sex abuse, but never revealing the names of those perpetrators.
Gwen and I will continue to do our very best loving you and the other bishops even as the bishops want to control the laity rather that simply lead them through their love, not through more rules and regulations. Both of us are disciples of Jesus, Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr. These were leaders!! They were not fearful of consequences that their leadership would bring about.
Gwen and Tom XXXXXXX