In an essay entitled "The Pope's Muffled Voice," Frank Bruni argues that many Catholic don't think the Pope is terribly important. "[Many Catholics] regard him and other Vatican officials as totems, a royal family of dubious relevance, partly because these officials have often shown greater concern for the church's reputation than for the needs, and wounds, of the people in the pews."
Bruni buttresses his case with poll data (the last refuge of a liberal journalist) showing that a majority of Catholics support ordination of women priests, same-sex marriage, and birth control. And he points approvingly to Governor Andrew Cuomo, apparently a Catholic, who "is plotting to shore up abortion rights in New York."
Here's what I have to say about Bruni's latest missive. First, we Catholics know our leaders aren't perfect. We are deeply ashamed of the sex abuse scandal and the efforts by many Church leaders to cover it up.
Second, it is true that many Catholics don't comply with Church doctrine on many issues--particularly birth control. Nevertheless, Bruni is wrong to conclude that most Catholics believe that the Pope and Catholic doctrine are unimportant.
|Frank Buni of the New York Time|
But the Catholic Church is strong in America. The churches I attend are often standing-room only at the Masses, where the priests can sometimes hardly be heard because of the sound of crying Catholic babies.
And we will get stronger. Personally, I believe the Catholic Church will see increased persecution in the coming months and years. But Catholics have been persecuted before, and God always sent us saints who had the courage to endure persecution and even martyrdom in defense of the ancient Catholic faith.
And besides, if we were to leave the Catholic Church, where would we go? If Catholics were to turn their backs on the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist, if we were to renounce the prayers of Mary, if we were to scorn the intercession of the saints, what would we then be? Episcopalians?
Sorry to disappoint you, Frank, but most Catholics are going to stay put. We may be disappointed in some of our leaders, and we may not be strong enough to follow every precept of Catholic doctrine. But we will pray for our priests and bishops and we will pray to be better Catholics.
And 1000 years from now--when history has forgotten Frank Bruni, the New York Times, and all the postmodern blather that now comes from the liberal media--Catholics will still be attending Mass, will still be making the sign of the cross, will still be genuflecting in Catholic churches before they kneel in their pews to say their prayers.
Frank Bruni, The Pope's Muffled Voice. New York Times, February 18, 2013.