The Devil always wants “Unity”. A Letter from Beyond to the US Bishops.
26 Maggio 2021
The Devil always wants Unity. A Letter from Beyond to the US Bishops.
Dear friends and enemies of Stilum Curiae, a few days ago we found in the mailbox an envelope, here and there with burn marks and giving off a faint sulfurous odor. It had no stamp or other markings except my name. Inside, a couple of sheets, in English and Italian, which we offer for your attention, in memory of Clive Staples Lewis’ Letters of Berlicche. An illustrious literary precedent that authorizes me to walk in his footsteps…enjoy your reading. And recognize the reality behind the screen of fiction.
The Devil Always Wants “Unity”
A Letter from Cardinals O’Boyle, Krol, and McIntyre
to Cardinals Cupich, Tobin, Gregory and the US Bishops
Dear Bishops of the United States,
We have begged Father Abraham to send Lazarus to warn you, our brothers, lest you too come to this place of torment, but his only response was that you should listen to Moses and the prophets.
We beg your pardon for interjecting our thoughts at this moment when so many of you seem to be unsure of what, if anything, to say publicly about the presence of baptized Catholic Joe Biden at the head of the most aggressively pro-abortion administration in American history. We now hear that the Holy See is telling you to remain “united” – a sure euphemism, of course, for offering unquestioning obedience to Bergoglio, the great listening “synodalist.”
In the interest of helping you to avoid a fate similar to the one we have received, we offer a few observations from our own tenure as bishops at another critical moment in American Catholic history. We hope our counsel may fall on some fruitful soil.
Like so many of you, we too thought that we needed to “lose a battle in order to win the war.” In 1967, following the advice of our lawyers, we allowed Father Charles Curran to remain in his post at Catholic University of America teaching in direct opposition to the Magisterium. Like Joe Biden, Curran’s prominence emboldened those within the Church who set themselves against her consistent and unequivocal moral teaching. When Humanae Vitae came out a year later, we found ourselves impotent to stop the tsunami of dissent. We would have done far greater good for the clergy and souls entrusted to our care if we had taken a clear and forthright stand from the outset, making clear that the rejection of the Church’s moral teaching is not a legitimate option for those who would be Catholic leaders. Yes, taking a stand would have initially caused the loss of money and public support. Perhaps we would have even had to close some nominally Catholic institutions. But a display of resolve in fighting that battle would have won us respect and support from many unexpected places and would have helped us retain the moral authority we instead progressively lost.
We too failed to listen to the “divisive” voices warning us that our course of action would ultimately backfire. Monsignor Eugene Kevane, whom we abandoned in his position as Dean of the CUA School of Education even as he fought to defend the Church’s teaching, warned us on January 18, 1968:
“For if the plan succeeds to capture this official National Catholic University of the American Hierarchy, there will be incalculable future results. The seeds of religious doubt, dissent, and outright crisis in Faith will be sown over the entire United States through the very schools and colleges operated by and in the name of the Church. […] I shall tremble for the future of the Church in this country.”
We too thought that we should maintain unity within our ranks, and so we remained silent about our personal misgivings and presented a united front to the press and those who asked difficult questions. We listened to the Holy See when Cardinal Garrone wrote to Cardinal Krol on November 27, 1969, and told him: “I fear that some sort of intervention by ecclesiastical authorities, short of a most prudent and careful kind, might serve to hurt the entire enterprise.” And so we remained “prudent” and “careful” – and look where we are now. God save the Catholic Church from the worldly prudence and carefulness of the Holy See!
We too abandoned any attempt to discipline theologians and others who dissented. The idea was that it was all supposed to lead somewhere good in the long run. But now we wish to prevent you ending up where we have in the long run.
There are many “Lazaruses” whom we have asked to be sent to warn you: the countless aborted children, the molested boys, the abused and exploited seminarians, the elderly who died without any Sacraments. They are all resting now in the bosom of Abraham. But there is a chasm between them and you as you go about in your purple garments and dine sumptuously each day.
May you listen to Moses and the prophets, dear brothers, rather than your false superiors.
- Patrick Cardinal O’Boyle, Archbishop of Washington 1948-1973
- John Cardinal Krol, Archbishop of Philadelphia 1961-1988
- James Cardinal McIntyre, Archbishop of Los Angeles 1948-1970
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