This fictional correspondence from one bishop to another, bearing a date of 1977, continues:
We do not have to look very far for the result, my dear Harry. Concerning the defence of the Faith, over the past ten years have you promoted priests who refuse the term and doubtless the meaning of "Transubstantiation" and talk of "a Personal" instead of "The Real Presence?" I have. What have you done about clergy who openly preach contraception? A little more, I hope, than I-- which is practically nothing. Has your natural chivalry, if not your conviction, led you to defend the Mother of God against those who "put her in her place?" It has not me. Have you remonstrated with those who refuse to administer the Sacrament of Penance except by appointment but insist on Penitential Services? As a matter of fact I have, but I trust you have done it more firmly. Have you stamped on priests who refuse to give infant Baptism for a variety of specious reasons including the denial of Original Sin? I have done little more than wag a reproving finger accompanied by a rueful smile. Have you even defended the authority of the Papacy and your own against the democratic results of the People of God? Curiously enough, you probably less than I, which is not saying much. I call a halt to this catalogue not from lack of ammunition but of patience. The fact is, and we know it, that in our own dioceses it is not we who have defended the Faith; it has been left to pathetic little groups of layfolk, helped or hindered by a stray priest, to do so.
It is a very different matter when it comes to enforcing the New Outlook. Have you promoted a priest who has stuck to the Immemorial Mass? Of course not and, to my everlasting shame, neither have I. What has been your attitude to priests who mumble that Vatican II failed to face the facts and that post-Conciliar legislation has been disastrous; who refuse to be brainwashed by attending compulsory study-days; who jeer at Bishops' Collegiality, the National Conference of Priests and the new structures generally; who will not give Communion standing and in the hand; who administer Extreme Unction as of yore; who still say the Breviary, the Rosary and make their meditation; who...? Have you reserved key positions in your administration for such men of probity and principle? No more than I have, Harry. We have looked after the Church all right but not after the Faith.
---from Mitre and Crook, by Bryan Houghton
Bishop Oster Stops Sending Written Christmas Cards
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