A couple of days later I was at a luncheon where someone said they were from Thunderbay and I mentioned that my buddy Bishop Henry had been there. There were comments from a few ladies that he needed to get a slap and shut his mouth due to his outspoken challenges that he sends out to the faithful through letters and the media. It would appear by these comments that he does, in fact, speak out on the current issues facing society and how the Church addresses them. In the media recently there have been several ongoing attacks against our Pope trying to link him to the sex scandal in Germany based on erroneous information. It helps us to understand why priests and Bishops struggle with what to say and when, for they will be attacked.
While reflecting on the comments made by the above mentioned people I was struck by a movie I had recently watched called “Passchendaele”. The movie is set in WWI and there is a part where a small platoon of men move up to support the line as they are getting hit hard. On the arrival of this platoon the company thinks they are relieved and fall back. The platoon is stuck in the foxholes trying to hold the line and keep the enemy at bay while being bombarded with enemy fire. It reminded me of our priests, deacons and our Bishops trying to hold off the enemy and hunkering down in their foxholes trying to survive the battle while most of us sit at home complaining that they are not doing enough or they are not doing it right.
Just like in the movie I want to challenge all the men in our Diocese to join the battle against the enemy and support the front lines by encouraging our priests, deacons and Bishop. With the number of Catholic men in the Diocese we should be able to send in a field army and overwhelm the enemy. There are going to be casualities in the battle, as we might have to stand up for the faith at work or with a friend or worst of all in the community. This might mean the loss of a friendship, promotion, or being persecuted for taking this stand. The eternal rewards should encourage us to surge forward anyway. We should arm ourselves with the knowledge of what the church teachings are and read what the Bishop and Pope have said or written. Do not rely on the “facts” that come from the secular media who often taint the truth. If we hear people in the parish saying Fr. X did this or Fr. Y said that, we should challenge them on what are they doing to support the faith.
Let’s finish off the year of the priest with no priest, deacon or Bishop wondering if there is anyone supporting them in the battle.