Saturday, September 18, 2010

The Importance of the Bishop.

Or, you can't have a synod without a bishop.
St. Ignatius of Antioch became one of the first to write on the importance of the bishop in the life of the Church.  In his letter to the Church of Smyrna he stated, "Wherever the bishop appears, there let the people be, even as wherever Christ Jesus appears, there is the Catholic Church."  I took this quote from the EWTN library rather than look through my books for relevant quotes on the necessity of the bishop who, no matter his age, "embodies the authority of God the Father."
Many of us have at times expressed disappointment in some of the bishops of the Catholic Church for one reason or another, especially after the terrible scandals which have chastened the Church in recent decades.  Many times we might have signalled out a particular bishop when in fact our criticism ought to have been directed towards the bureaucracy created around that bishop(s).  This accounts for some of the watchdog monitoring of USCCB press releases and policies - that is not a bad thing BTW.  Even though we hear of 'bad' bishops from time to time, we cannot forget the primacy of the bishop(s); that where the bishop is, there is the Church.  As St. Ignatius wrote, "The bishop is to preside in the place of God, while the priests are to function as the council of the apostles, and the deacons, who are most dear to me, are entrusted with the ministry of Jesus Christ." 
As Canon Law makes clear, "By divine institution, Bishops succeed the Apostles through the Holy Spirit who is given to them.  They are constituted Pastors in the Church, to be teachers of doctrine, the priests of sacred worship and the ministers of governance." [Can. 375].
So anyway...
This weekend a group of Catholics are gathering in the Twin Cities to hold a 'synod' for Church reform.  The group calls itself Catholic Coalition for Church Reform, and they are meeting as the Synod of the Baptized: "Claiming Our Place at the Table"!  The group appears to have 500 registered attendees.  CCCR is in no way sanctioned by the Catholic Church or any diocese or archdiocese in the world.  In other words, they are acting with out the approval or recognition of the local ordinary, Archbishop Nienstedt, and therefore they are not representative of the Catholic Church - despite their claim, "we are church".
How queer. 

Art: CCCR Synod logo


  1. Instead of synod, it should be "sin-odd". Get it?

  2. Larry - GROAN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Terry - Excellent point about the Bishop's role. A synod must, depending on the circumstances, be called by the Diocesan ordinary, Pope or National Conference. Under Canon Law this is NOT a synod in any way shape or form.

    They key to their mindset is found on their about us page: "We are the Church. In our understanding of Church." "Our understanding"!!! Not God's but theirs. Of course given that the coalition is made up of the usual gang of dissident suspects that is no surprize.

    I found 2 things on their home page that just turned my stomach. 1 is their calling the Holy Spirit Father & Mother in a bastardized version of the Pentecost sequence. The other is their misuse of a quote by Bishop Oscar Romero.

  3. Wow, another protestant sect - big surprise. Too bad they can't just admit to themselves that that is what they are.

  4. Ray from MN attended this morning and I hope he gives us a report on his blog.

  5. Hey! Where's the beer girl?!?

  6. This just makes me sick;
    a Church without apostolic authority?
    And all these weirdos running the show?
    LarryD has it right: Sin-odd.
    I'd rather stay home, pray a rosary, make a spiritual Communion than go to some crazy "love=in" with this bunch...and I pray it don't come down to this (even if I'm a priest...
    who knows what kind of everything might happen in the future?)...if things get absolutely crazy, folks, will you prepare a place for a clandestine priest (as in the English recusant days?)...I'll come and celebrate Mass in secret...?

  7. Yes indeedy, I did attend the earlier party of the CCCR "synod" this Saturday morning.

    Unfortunately you're going to wait for my report until Tuesday or so.

    After three days working, errr volunteering at St. Helena's Autumn Daze fall festival (no outdoor Mass), with Cathy dropping off not one of those steins of frosty barley beverage off in my isolation booth where I was selling carnival ride tickets, and she assisted me, tonight I have to attend a sneak preview here of a movie on St. Josemaria Escriva in the 1930's Spanish Civil War, and tomorrow I have to prepare for and attend a dinner meeting with Archbishop Nienstedt and Tuesday morning I'll catch up on my sleep.

    I don't what happened, but I've greatly over committed myself. So don't look for any news on Stella Borealis until Tuesday, either.

  8. Take a rest, Ray.
    And have a frosty one, or two.
    You deserve it:-)!

  9. nazareth priest--

    we have some wonderful isloated little mission churches in the middle of nowhere Utah where you can celebrate Mass to your heart's content...

    Just two must like cold winters and cattle..and sheep.. and horses....and snow-covered mountains..

    St Anthony of the Desert Mission in Torrey springs to mind...populatrion 171..Google it :)



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