Wednesday, August 14, 2002

The Bishops' Fast: they should not repent alone

At the USCCB meeting in June, our bishops declared for themselves a fast today, the vigil of the Assumption/Dormition, to do penance for their responsibility for the current Scandal over the Situation. They say that we may join with them if we desire. In some places, there will be holy hours, penance services, vigils, or other gatherings for special prayer. (Summa Contra Mundum posted yesterday a letter about such a vigil in the Cathedral in Chicago.)

Our bishops need us, just as we need them. We are only the Church if we are the Church together, we do not stand alone. We make our bishops stand alone too much, and that can weaken faith, weaken trust, and let fear enter in, let self-pity enter in. Then stupid and sinful and scandalous things are done. They lose the ability to discern between true scandal and ordinary public embarrassment, and do dumb overprotective things, forgetting that secrets kill but embarrassment sets free.

We have a duty to honor and attend to and obey and nurture and care for our bishops, just as they have a responsibility to teach and guide and shelter and protect and respect and love us. And we have, in large part, failed in our part of our relationship with our bishops. Some of us have even blogged that they "can't recall two words" their bishop taught, or that Osama bin Laden has more effect on their life than their bishop.

So our bishops should not be repenting alone today. We all need to repent with them, and change our lives in firm purpose of amendment.

Save us, spare us, have mercy on us, O Lord!

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