Archbishop William E. Lori’s boat

José Benlliure - The Boat of CharonAs I write, week one of the Fortnight for Freedom is coming to a close here in the United States.


Did anyone even notice that the USCCB had decided to stage their yearly patriotic dog and pony show yet again?

They can’t help themselves, I suppose. They’re just so… traditional.

This is, after all, the fourth annual such nonevent designed by a committee of bishopcrats struggling to convince themselves, against all evidence to the contrary, that the stripped down, emasculated version of the Catholic Church that they represent is still a relevant part of the American landscape.

It’s positively humiliating.

Don’t get me wrong, the Fortnight for Freedom does serve an important purpose; namely, to demonstrate just how little authentic Catholic conviction remains in the post-conciliar church-of-man, and to do so with such stunning clarity that even a neo-conservative nincompoop can scarcely miss the point.

Enter Archbishop William E. Lori, Chairman of the USCCB Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty, who held a webinar on May 28th to announce this year’s version of the fourteen day fiasco.

As reported by Catholic News Service:

This year’s fortnight observance theme is the “Freedom to Bear Witness,” stemming from the Gospel message that Jesus came to the world to bear witness to the truth, explained Hillary Byrnes, assistant general counsel for the USCCB, who joined the archbishop during the webinar.

For those who may be unaware, the Gospel passage to which Ms. Byrnes refers reads:

Jesus answered, “My kingship is not of this world; if my kingship were of this world, my servants would fight, that I might not be handed over to the Jews; but my kingship is not from the world.” Pilate said to him, “So you are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. For this I was born, and for this I have come into the world, to bear witness to the truth. Every one who is of the truth hears my voice.” (John 18:36-37)

Well, if not the Faith, at least irony is alive and well in the American Church.

All indications are that neither Archbishop Lori, nor his legal counsel, bothered to ponder the actual “message” being conveyed in the Gospel that supposedly inspired this year’s theme.

Please allow me to break it down…

You see, Jesus, when confronted by the legitimate civil authority, did the exact opposite of what the Archbishop Lori’s of the world do; He stood firm in the truth, even in the face of death, and confirmed for Pilate, and for us, three critically important things about Himself:

First and foremost, that He is King indeed.

Secondly, that He and His kingship are not of this world, but rather, having “come into it” as King, His sovereign authority is in no way subject to the approval of mere men.

Lastly, and perhaps most relevantly in the present case, His is the voice of truth, and it is intended for everyone who lives in this world into which He came, in spite of the fact that some will refuse to hear it.

With all of this in mind, one may very well ask Archbishop Lori, and the rest of the world’s episcopate for that matter, up to and including the humblest one of all, the Ordinary of Rome:

But how are men to call upon Him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in Him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without a preacher? (Romans 10:14)

God knows, literally, that the post-conciliar crop of bishops have not the wherewithal to declare unto the civil authorities of this world, especially when they dare to overstep their bounds, that Jesus Christ is the Truth, and the King of kings before Whom “every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth.” (cf Phil. 2:10)

Instead, they insist upon a bastardized version of religious liberty that renders no account whatsoever for the Sovereign Rights of Christ the King and the truth that He entrusted to His Church.

In his webinar presser, Archbishop Lori explained:

Pope Francis pointed out that we are truly living in an age of martyrs. I think we have to pay a lot of attention to the sacrifices which people are making for their faith around the world. Many Christians are being persecuted, beheaded. And Muslims are being persecuted for not being Muslim enough.

These are men and women of deep faith and deep courage, and as we witness their sacrifice, first of all I think we have to hold up and to highlight what’s happening to them. I’m not sure our leadership is paying enough attention to their sacrifice.

It is a fearful thing to imagine a Successor to the Apostles one day having to answer the Just Judge for praising those who reject Him and His Holy Catholic Church as “men and women of deep faith and deep courage.”

Barring a Saulesque conversion, we pretty much know how that conversation will go:

But he that shall deny me before men, I will also deny him before my Father who is in heaven. (Mt. 10:33)

As of June 21st and the Opening Mass for the Fortnight for Freedom, that conversion experience had apparently not yet taken place.

In his sermon for the occasion, Archbishop Lori returned to the same treasonous theme, saying:

In the order of magnitude, challenges to religious liberty in the United States do not compare with the outright persecution experienced by many of our sisters & brothers in places like Syria, Libya, Iran, & Iraq. Yet, whether we like it or not, we are in fact in the same boat with those courageous believers. These brave men and women have been dispossessed, exiled, and killed because of their beliefs – whether they are Christians or Muslims deemed not Muslim enough. They are the ones who teach us about God’s precious gift of religious freedom … What solidarity we should have with these believers.

I don’t know what kind of “boat” Archbishop Lori is on with those “brave” Muslim “believers” to whom he looks for insight into God’s precious gifts, but I do know this; it sure as Hell isn’t the Barque of St. Peter.

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