About 20 Catholics gathered outside the Hyatt Regency to greet the cardinals, arch-bishops and bishops as they boarded their buses to head to the Shrine for Mass.  We held up signs urging the bishops to: 1) protect the Eucharist from sacrilege in their dioceses and 2) to admonish those wayward Catholic politicians within their dioceses to be mindful of their immortal souls.  This year, we were able to thank a few bishops for being true shepherds: Bishop Sheridan, Archbishop Chaput, Archbishop Burke, Bishop Bruskewitz and some others.


After the last bus rolled away, some of us headed to the Shrine to attend that Mass.  We had heard that gay activists would be at that Mass to present themselves for Communion while wearing rainbow sashes proclaiming their aberrant beliefs (probably practices, too).  Read about their antics here.  Sure enough, when we got there, we saw about 10 of them in the Shrine, wearing their sashes.  I understand that before we got there, Bishop Gregory publicly informed them that the Eucharist would not be given to them.  We were prepared to block them, should the danger of sacrilege had arisen.  Happily, our intervention was not necessary, as those distributing the Eucharist did not offer the sash-wearers Our Lord.  After Mass, we went outside the doors to distribute literature that explained the Magisterium’s instruction that public dissidents not be offered Communion.  We received mixed responses.  Most regrettable were those in Roman collars who refused to hear the truth from us.  However, we were pleased that those distributing Communion did protect Our Lord’s Body and Blood and exercised the Spiritual Work of Mercy known as “Admonishing the Sinner”.


A few words must be said about some proceeds of the conference itself, as they do not bode well for the Church.  Firstly, Bishop William Skylstad of Spokane, WA was elected president of the USCCB.  We must ask, “what on earth were these bishops thinking when they elected him president?”  Bishop Skylstad has himself been an integral part of the clergy sex abuse scandal.  Read here to learn of one sordid example of how he botched up badly in this area.  Is it any wonder that just two weeks prior to his election, he announced that his diocese would enter into Chapter 11 bankruptcy?  The moral bankruptcy of his diocese literally caused the financial bankruptcy.  Are the US bishops looking for such a debacle to happen on a national scale?  Why, oh why, did they choose this man?


If that isn’t enough to make the faithful Catholic realize Bishop Skylstad’s complete unsuitabilty for this office, consider this statement of his regarding the protection of the Eucharist, (taken from the June 10 edition of the Inland Register and also found here) "I strongly oppose using Eucharist as a weapon," he wrote. "As a bishop, I believe we are called to persuade, not to bludgeon. ... We have neither need nor call to take God's gifts ... and turn them into weapons of divisiveness and anger."  Now who does he think is turning the Eucharist into a weapon of anger?  Is it not rather the flagrantly disobedient Catholic politician who does precisely that, when he/she approaches the Eucharist with no regard for the Second Person of the Trinity, and His moral demands upon our lives?  Dear Bishop Skylstad, as a bishop, you have a solemn duty to admonish strongly the errant Catholic, lest his/her soul be lost to hell and you be held to account!


Apparently, the majority of bishops adhered to that wishy-washy  position of leaving to the discretion of individual bishops whether or not Catholic pro-abortion lawmakers should be denied Communion.  Cardinal McCarrick concurred with that misguided opinion with this lack-luster statement, "The vast majority of bishops are in the center and the center is holding,"   Cardinal McCarrick, what is so wonderful about being “in the center”?  Is it not more preferable to be in alignment with Our Lord and the Magisterium of His Church?  Yes, we know, we know – if you are truly faithful to the teaching of Rome regarding this matter, you will not be “politically correct”, with all the privileges of that dubious status.  But “if the world hates you, know that it hated (Our Lord) first” (from John 15:18).


In another vote at the bishops’ meeting, we saw yet one more harbinger of the lack of compliance with Rome.  Bishop Donald Trautman of Erie PA was re-elected to the chairmanship of the Liturgy Committee.  He held this post from 1992-1995.  During that time, he promoted “inclusive language” and other banal aberrations in open opposition to Rome.  Read this article to get a glimpse of his opinions of the efforts of Rome and good Catholics to restore reverence to the Mass and other devotions.  This link is from a liberal, secular perspective; for that reason, it is quite illuminating – and alarming.  In light of this man’s tarnished history regarding liturgical matters, we look askance upon the wisdom of our shepherds in returning Bishop Trautman to a post where he can resume his efforts to wreck havoc upon reverence.  Could this vote possibly reflect the views of the majority of the bishops regarding the role and dignity of the liturgy?


Now let’s look at what didn’t happen!  Recall that when the Holy Father proclaimed this a Year of the Eucharist, he said that the Vatican would make no special initiatives pursuant to the Year of the Eucharist.  Rather, he was leaving that up to the local bishops.  So what was done about that?  Did anyone hear of anything?  The Catholic World News heard of nothing.  Neither did we.  The Eucharist is the source and summit of our lives as Catholics.  This is a year of the Eucharist.  We just had a semi-annual meeting of the United States bishops.  Did our shepherds really, truly do nothing to promote reverence for and understanding of the Eucharist?  Sadly, it would appear to be the case.  In fact, the “majority of the center” will not decisively say that the Eucharist must (note the word, “must”, not “should”) be protected against sacrilege.


The proceeds from this latest bishops’ meeting bode ill for the Church in the United States.  That is why we must pray, frequent the Sacraments and make our voices heard.  Perhaps the only voice that they’ll hear comes from our wallets and checkbooks.  Let them know  that we’ll make that voice heard!