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"Springtime of Vatican II" Update

U.S. Bishops "Brainstorm" with Liberal Laity on "Future" of Church

by Christopher A. Ferrara

The "springtime" of the post-conciliar "renewal" descends deeper into winter  —  and utter absurdity  —  with each passing day. On July 11, 2003 the Boston Globe reported that the leaders of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops "met secretly with a group of prominent business executives, academics, and journalists to discuss the future of the church (sic) in light of the clergy sexual abuse crisis."

The list of lay attendees at this oh-so-secret conference  —  the attendees were actually sworn to secrecy  —  reveals an utterly appalling collection of liberals and neo-Catholics (i.e., "moderate" liberals). The list includes Monica Hellwig, president of the liberal Association of "Catholic" Colleges and Universities, Peter Steinfels of the New York Times, his wife, Margaret O’Brien Steinfels, editor of the liberal-leaning Commonweal, and, believe it or not, Cokie Roberts, the "senior news analyst" for the positively leftist National Public Radio. The published list does not appear to contain a single staunchly tradition-minded Catholic layman.

The title of this conference was "The Church in America: The Way Forward in the 21st Century." The conference, organized by one Jeffrey T. Boisi, former vice chairman of J.P. Morgan Chase and co-CEO of J.P. Morgan, had all the earmarks of a management brainstorming session for a failing secular corporation, rather than a supernatural institution founded by God Incarnate and perpetuated through the apostolic succession. Indeed, yet another anonymous source described the current state of the Church in North America as "a management failure" and complained that "people’s grandchildren are no longer interested in the church"  —  as if the Church were some sort of secular club with a declining membership problem, rather than the very ark of salvation for those who are no longer "interested" in Her.

What could the bishops possibly learn from this useless assemblage of lay people, whose liberal views would have incurred the condemnation of the great pre-conciliar popes? According to the Boston Globe, Ms. (and I do mean Ms.) Hellwig declared that "these were very important people getting together and thinking about how we can shape the church for the future." And what did these "very important people" have to say to the bishops about "shaping" the Church for the future? Despite the vow of secrecy imposed upon the meeting, one of the participants, on condition of anonymity, revealed that "this is a group trying to influence the decisions of the church in terms of the role that’s going to be played by the laity, what are some of the obstacles to a broader representation in the clergy in terms of married men and women… This is a group that has the interests of the church deeply at heart, and feels it just isn’t moving, that the pace is much too slow."

And how did the bishops take this advice? Another anonymous source revealed that the president of the Bishops Conference, Wilton D. Gregory, agreed that "the church should look for more constructive ways of operating in the future." So, after nearly 40 years of post-conciliar "renewal," it has come to this: the North American hierarchy abases itself by consulting with a group of liberal laity about the "future" of the Catholic Church in America, as if the Church were a business corporation in need of a new marketing strategy. And it appears that all of the new strategies proposed were along the lines of how to make the Church in America even more disastrously liberal than it has already become.

It seems not to have occurred to a single soul who participated in this absurd and insulting exercise that the reason "people’s grandchildren are no longer interested in the church" is that the Church in this country, and in many other places, is undergoing an apostasy, precisely as predicted by the Virgin of Fatima when She revealed that "In Portugal the dogma of the Faith will always be preserved etc." The words comprised by Sister Lucy’s circumspect "etc."  —  words the Vatican has yet to reveal  —  no doubt contain a full description of the abysmal state of ecclesial affairs so scandalously on display in America. This state of affairs has resulted from one thing and one thing only: the invasion of the Catholic Church by liberalism, leading to the abandonment of Her once untouchable traditions. As even Paul VI, the great paladin of the post-conciliar "renewal" was forced to admit as early as 1973: "The opening to the world has become a veritable invasion of the Church by worldly thinking."

If the American bishops are looking for a new strategy for the Church in the 21st Century, they need go no further than the Old Testament: "Stand ye on the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, which is the good way, and walk ye in it, and you will find refreshment for your souls." (Jeremiah 6:16) It is the bishops’ own failure to follow this divine prescription that has led to the current crisis in the Church. That is what the Third Secret of Fatima is all about.