Thursday, February 25, 2010

A Courageous Bishop

Fr Euteneuer of Human Life International in one of his recent ‘Spirit & Life’ newsletters gives a very encouraging message as to what can be achieved when bishops speak out on moral matters in everyday life. Referring to the season of Lent, he says that one of the American bishops, Bishop Robert Vasa of Baker, Oregon ‘has given us the absolute best reason to rejoice in a penitential season.’

It seems that the reason for rejoicing is the fact that Bishop Vasa has removed the title ‘Catholic’ from a hospital in his diocese because the hospital refuses ‘actually to be Catholic.’ The hospital’s Board of Directors regarded the Catholic Church’s clear prohibition of the practice of surgical sterilisation as being ‘optional’. Fr Euteneuer writes:

‘So after a fair and timely investigation, the bishop could not convince the hospital administration to change practices and simply yanked the Catholic name and insignia from the building with the exception of the cross on top to remind them of their failure to live up to the challenge of the Cross. … One hates to think how many other nominally Catholic hospitals are getting away with the same thing due to lack of honest Church investigations into their practices.’

And it’s not only hospitals that are involved in such situations.
Fr Euteneuer praises the action taken by the Bishop as ‘an exercise of discipline and courage, which we love to see in our prelates. Bishops who are true shepherds, and not politicians, strengthen us and enliven our faith […]
‘There are just a handful of bishops in the technologically-sophisticated western world, however, who exhibit the resolute moral courage that is required to remove the title “Catholic” from an institution [or, indeed, a newspaper or a journal!] that is in rebellion against the authentic Faith […]’
There are few, he says, who have the courage ‘to discipline a public figure who betrays the Faith in favor of his own leftist values.’
‘Yet, there is a growing trend in the United States toward greater Episcopal strength and orthodoxy, and we have to applaud it when we see it because these bishops will be severely attacked and will need our support.
‘ […] Bishop Tobin of Providence, RI [Rhode Island], recently told Congressman Patrick Kennedy he couldn’t receive Communion and was assailed ferociously by the pseudo-Catholic Chris Matthews on MSNBC, yet, lo and behold, the dissenting congressman decided not to run for Congress in the next term. … When bishops do the right thing – there is no telling what can happen, even in godless politics.'