FROM THE PRESIDENT'S KITCHEN TABLE
I recently imagined that our bishops met in Baltimore to discuss how to restore the faith in this country. In my daydream I observed the meeting from a balcony where I sat with my guardian angel who said, “Pray and watch.” I took out my rosary and began the sorrowful mysteries. First, Archbishop Raymond Burke of St. Louis spoke advocating devotion to Our Lady of America and urging enthronement of her statue at the Shrine in Washington, D.C. He quoted Our Lady’s words to Sr. Mary Ephrem. Weeping over the world, the Virgin said, “Behold, O my children, the tears of your Mother!… Assuage the sorrow of my Heart over the ingratitude of sinful men by the love and chasteness of your lives….I come to you, O children of America, as a last resort…. Cleanse your souls in the Precious Blood of My Son. Live in His Heart, and take me in that I may teach you to live in great purity of heart which is so pleasing to God. Be my army of chaste soldiers, ready to fight to the death to preserve the purity of your souls. I am the Immaculate One, Patroness of your land. Be my faithful children as I have been your faithful Mother.”
My angel pointed out various bishops as they listened to Our Lady’s words. George Niederauer, who recently gave Communion to two drag queens attending Mass at Most Holy Redeemer in San Francisco looked stricken. His lips moved, perhaps in an act of contrition. Several other bishops were also clearly moved. Cardinal Theodore McCarrick who, although retired, came to lobby the bishops not to deny Holy Communion to pro-abortion politicians, particularly Rudy Giuliani, glanced uncomfortably around the room. He strode to the back of the hall where he engaged in intense conversation with Cardinal Mahony of Los Angeles and several other California bishops. I couldn’t tell what they were saying, but my angel urged me to pray more intensely.Bishop Michael Sheridan of Colorado Springs took the microphone, thanked Archbishop Burke, and spoke of the Blessed Mother’s many warnings. He too urged devotion to Our Lady and quoted her words. “The hour grows late. My Son’s patience will not last forever. Help me hold back His anger, which is about to descend on sinful and ungrateful men.
Suffering and anguish, such as never before experienced, is about to overtake mankind. It is the darkest hour. But if men will come to me, my Immaculate Heart will make it bright again with the mercy which my Son will rain down through my hands. Help me save those who will not save themselves.”
The bishop recalled the message of Our Lady of Fatima to the three little shepherd children, “Penance, penance, penance.” He exhorted the bishops to enforce Canon Law 915 that bars Communion to those who obstinately persist in manifest grave sin. “There must be no confusion in these matters,” he said. “Any Catholic politicians who advocate for abortion, for illicit stem cell research or for any form of euthanasia, ipso facto place themselves outside full communion with the Church and so jeopardize their salvation. Any Catholics who vote for [such] candidates…suffer the same fateful consequences.” He continued saying, “those Catholics whether candidates for office or those who would vote for them, may not receive Holy Communion until they have recanted their positions and been reconciled with God and the Church in the Sacrament of Penance.” As he finished, several bishops applauded and the room buzzed with conversation.
At this point Cardinal McCarrick broke away from the group in the back and approached the mike. My angel looked very grave and urged me to recite Ephesians six, putting on the armor of God. Cardinal McCarrick stood for a minute before speaking. He smiled, nodded, and waved to bishop supporters around the room. Then he turned to Archbishop Burke, a canon lawyer, and referred to the archbishop’s recent article, The Discipline Regarding the Denial of Holy Communion to those Obstinately Persevering in Manifest Grave Sin. In it, the archbishop discussed the need to deny Communion to pro-abortion politicians and others.
Cardinal McCarrick spoke. “I very much respect [AB Burke’s] position,” he said quietly, “It’s not mine.” Then he repeated remarks he made as head of the 2004 bishops’ task force calling for “persuasion over penalty” and urging the bishops not to deny Communion to anyone. “You cannot be authentically Catholic if you do not support life, yet it is not enough just to support life, you have to go beyond that," he stated. "To really be authentically Catholic, you need it and the family rights, the right to education, the right to take care of the poor, the right of migrants." He went on elaborating half a dozen other issues and finished with a nod and a smile.My angel offered me a small crucifix and said gravely, “Pray and do penance.” Then he directed my attention to another bishop approaching the microphone, Bishop Vasa of Baker, Oregon. “The Church teaches that the bread consecrated at Mass really and truly becomes the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of…Jesus Christ,” he began. “My attestation of faith confirms that I choose… to believe this. Once I make this commitment of faith…it is incumbent on me to live in a way consistent with that profession of belief. It is radically inconsistent to declare on the one hand that I believe the Eucharist is truly our Lord and at the same time to conclude that I owe no special deference or honor to that same Eucharistic Lord. The conclusion belies the declaration. If I truly believe then my actions must be consistent with what I profess to believe….It is categorically impossible for the same person to state that he or she believes simultaneously both what the Catholic Church teaches and that abortion is just a choice. What we believe must inform what we do.”
“Pray for good bishops,” said my angel.
Just then the Blessed Mother appeared at the front of the room as Our Lady of America. Her Immaculate Heart glowed against the pure white of her garments. Over her white veil she wore a golden crown and held a lily branch like a scepter. Many bishops immediately knelt, but some turned their backs. Then she spoke, “O My priests…, what would I not do for you if you would only let me? I come daily laden with graces which you daily refuse. What am I to say of you, my best beloved? How long will you resist My love? It is from you I expect everything, and you give Me but the husks of your affections. How long will I bear with you, O My chosen ones? How long will you spurn My approaches?...It was this ingratitude on the part of My priests…that caused me so much sorrow in my passion….Oh, how they resist My grace! How they fight against My love! So fearful are they that I will deprive them of their tawdry trinkets that they turn their backs lest they see the reproach in My eyes.”Some of the bishops began reciting the rosary; others hurriedly left the room. My daydream ended with Mary’s words to Sr. Mary Ephrem ringing in my ears, “Weep, then, dear child, weep with your Mother over the sins of men. Intercede with me before the throne of mercy, for sin is overwhelming the world and punishment is not far away.” [Note: All quotes of the Blessed Mother are from the approved apparitions of Our Lady of America. All bishops’ quotes are from their writings.]