Tuesday, August 16, 2011
WHERE ARE WE HEADED AS A SOCIETY?
My wife and I had an opportunity to have breakfast last Saturday morning with the recently elevated Bishop Hying. After having many good laughs and recollecting the many misadventures of seminary life, the conversation turned towards more serious topics, and we ended up on the topic of homosexual marriage, now legal in New York. Bishop Hying knows Archbishop Dolan well, as Archbishop Dolan was in Milwaukee for several years prior to his move to the Archdiocese of New York. We discussed the effect this law will have on the state, this country, and ultimately the church.
I totally agree with Bishop Hying’s assessment, that once the break in the sanctity of marriage is made, it will ultimately end up fragmenting society and the family. We then discussed how it will affect Catholic social services, which now must make a decision about adoption policies, and whether most of these agencies will choose to shut down rather than cater to the homosexual contingency. It seems the Bishops at the level of the USCCB are attempting to go after the ‘conscience clause’ as the point of attack, after having conceded the main fight of going after the original bill, or threatening excommunication of political leaders, such as governor Cuomo, who are claiming to be Catholic, but support such legislation.
We discussed how these issues ultimately are going to draw this society into a major conflict, in that people will need to have to choose sides, and it is more likely that Christians will find themselves on the wrong side of the law, and may be jailed for simply believing in what the Church teaches. The bishop then went on to mention how this is reminiscent of the early church and how it seems we are ready to revisit these times. Definitely a conversation that was too sobering for an early Saturday morning.
We then discussed the role of the church and what ultimately would need to happen. It seems there is much timidity in the American Church, and there seems to be a lack of conviction in enforcing the teachings, especially to the wayward politicians who seem to stick their noses and fingers at the Church, and then believe they can continue on in good graces as if nothing happened. There is a need for the hierarchy of this church to stand up to these people, and do what is right for the Church, as well as society and especially in the sight of God.
I left that breakfast with very mixed feelings. I had feelings of hope, as this dear and holy friend of mine seems to have a good grasp of the issues, and is persuasive enough to gather others around him that will have the courage to make the necessary changes and stand up for the church. I also left with some feelings of helplessness, realizing Bishop Hying has a much tougher job than I can even begin to imagine. In many ways, I fear Bishop Hying may not have the support of those who need to create the tension necessary to make the changes and to make it very clear to these politicians and other Catholics, that they cannot participate fully in the church while holding these anti Catholic positions.
These are no easy tasks, but the end result is much scarier than taking a stand for what is right and being ostracized for it. I will continue to pray for my friend, that he has the strength and courage of conviction to do the right thing, and begin leading the Church (to the extent possible) back to its roots. Otherwise, I fear his words will be true: persecution will be around the corner. We will not be able to speak against homosexuality and life issues, and we all will be seen as extremists that need to be dealt with in the harshest of ways.