Sheep, Where Are Thy Shepherds?


Earlier today, Brian Williams wrote about the Indiana bishops failing to stand firmly for the faith when confronted with the militant homosexual agenda.

But there’s another bishop who is evidently not bothering to stand up at all.

You may be familiar with the story of Patricia Januzzi, a theology teacher at Immaculata High School in Somerville, New Jersey, who was recently placed on administrative leave (and placed under pressure to resign) after a Facebook posting critical of those advocating for same-sex “marriage” and defending traditional families.

Yes, Immaculata is a Catholic High School. “Catholic” in quotes.

In response to an outcry from actual Catholics in defense of Miss Januzzi, Bishop Paul Bootkoski of the Diocese of Metuchen wrote a little note justifying diocesan decision-making in this matter:

We are a compassionate Catholic community committed to treating our students, faculty and parishioners with respect. We have never wavered from our traditional Catholic teachings.

To that end we need to correct some misstatements with regard to the teacher in question.

The teacher’s comments were disturbing and do not reflect the Church’s teachings of acceptance. However, she has never been terminated, as some media outlets have reported. She has been put on administrative leave. There has been no interruption in her pay and benefits.

Pope Francis reminds us that we are to accept all of our brethren. We must ensure that our educators steer away from harsh and judgmental statements that can alienate and divide us.

Not much of an answer, is it?

Michael Chapman at evidently didn’t think so, either. So he sent some quotes from the Catechism of the Catholic Church to the Bishop and asked if he agrees with those teachings about homosexuality.

Now, the maxim of the law is that “silence gives consent”; but in this case, silence in the face of being asked simply to affirm what is already definitively taught implies…something else.

In a March 30 e-mail to Bishop Bootkoski and his office of communications, asked the following three questions:

1) Do you, Bishop Bootkoski, agree with the Catechism of the Catholic Church, paragraph 2357, which says, “Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity, tradition has always declared that ‘homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered.’ They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved”?

2) Do you agree with the Catechism of the Catholic Church, paragraph 2359, which says, “Homosexual persons are called to chastity”?

3)  Do you agree with the Catechism of the Catholic Church, paragraph 1605, which quotes Jesus Christ Himself on the issue of marriage, saying, “’Therefore a man leaves his father and his mother and cleaves to his wife, and they become one flesh.’ The Lord himself shows that this signifies an unbreakable union of their two lives by recalling what the plan of the Creator had been ‘in the beginning’: ‘So they are no longer two, but one flesh’”?

The Catechism of the Catholic Church is the depository of Catholic teaching on theological issues and basic moral questions; it is the book that explains Catholicism from A to Z.

Despite two e-mails, Bishop Bootkoski did not respond and a spokeswoman from his office, by telephone, referred to the March 20, 2015 statement: “Bishop’s statement on status of teacher at Immaculata High School, Somerville.”

It notes that, “Pope Francis reminds us that we are to accept all of our brethren. We must ensure that our educators steer away from harsh and judgmental statements that can alienate and divide us.”

In explaining the establishment and role of a bishop in the church, the Catechism states (1558), “’Episcopal consecration confers, together with the office of sanctifying, also the offices of teaching and ruling…. In fact … by the imposition of hands and through the words of the consecration, the grace of the Holy Spirit is given, and a sacred character is impressed in such wise that bishops, in an eminent and visible manner, take the place of Christ himself, teacher, shepherd, and priest, and act as his representative (in Eius persona agant).’ ‘By virtue, therefore, of the Holy Spirit who has been given to them, bishops have been constituted true and authentic teachers of the faith and have been made pontiffs and pastors.’”

Here at 1P5, we’re not typically in the business of calling out bishops for their lack of leadership. We prefer to praise the good ones instead. But I’ll share with you a sinking suspicion that I have:

The latest push for our mandatory acceptance of homosexual relationships is truly diabolical, and represents real danger to the faithful. It has moved beyond a request for tolerance into a demand for acceptance and even promotion. Mark my words: it is the mechanism by which our faith will be really and truly persecuted in this country, as it has been elsewhere around the world.

In other words: get ready for the practice of and adherence to your Catholic faith to become a hate crime.

This should come as no surprise to anyone who has been awake these past few years. I wrote about the inevitability back in 2013. But now the agenda is accelerating. It appears that, to some of our bishops at least, this means we should politely stand out of the way. Perhaps eve roll over and acquiesce? It wouldn’t surprise me at this point to see a Catholic bishop — even ever-compliant with the spirit of the age USCCB — to propose a new Civil Constitution of the Clergy to separate the sheep from the goats? (Being a goat has its privileges!)

With a few notable exceptions, the faithful are in trouble – and most of us appear to be on our own from here on out.

Oh sheep, where are thy shepherds?

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