Just a few years older, on Burnt Island, on the Canadian/American border, in the magnificent Lake of the Woods. I’m not holding the fish this time, but rather a snake. I guess some things never change! Hah! And yes, Saint Patrick, there are snakes on some islands to this day!
A few years later yet again. I enjoyed fishing. Maybe that helped me to reflect on things…
I hope the statue of limitations for limits of fish exceeded is over. We must have had some 60 pounds of fish in just one morning. Yikes!
Mom’s are great. But a father in the family is simply irreplaceable. Super heroic moms are left on their own and try to do the best they can, which in some cases is wonderful indeed. Of course, two moms or dads is too many. I thank the Lord that I’ve had a great father and mother (both passed away in the early 1990s). There are very, very many who have not had that experience. Great good can be drawn out by our Lord from that cross that the fatherless bear. And that good will make them wonderfully balanced children of the Lord… that is… IF the Lord is invited into the situation, hopefully sooner than later.
While avoiding some crosses in life in this way, that doesn’t at all mean that I haven’t had other crosses to bear. Nobody but nobody escapes having a cross in this life. Thank God for that! Crosses are the way we come to know both the justice and the mercy of our dear Lord.
By far the most horrific cross, though most useful for my spiritual life, was to be a witness time and again to the terribly destructive presence of Judas priests and Judas bishops in the Church, those who have rejected being Fathers of their Parish Families of Faith, those who have rejected being Fathers of their Dioceses and Archdioceses. There were many decades when FATHERLY GOVERNANCE was totally abandoned by the vast majority of bishops, who opted, incredibly, in the darkest of times, to embrace the most surreal optimism that everything is O.K., that there is no need for discipline, no need for correction, no need for truth, no need for morals, ’cause we’re all just so nice together already… Sigh. This is when the worst sins of hatred, abuse, disunity occured. The worst. Abandon fatherliness and you abandon the Church and throw society into chaotic hell.
To the point… um… points!
(1) The fatherly governance exercised by a bishop does not mean what it meant early on in the abuse crisis, when firstly some bishops shuffled some offenders about, and secondly, with their backs agains the wall, blamed youngsters for not protecting themselves. The idea here was that all priests are always good (perhaps thinking of them what they unfortunately thought of themselves), unless they’re entrapped, but that doesn’t mean they’re bad. Sigh. It was all smoke and mirrors for the sake of making a good show for the media.
(2) The fatherly governance exercised by a bishop does not mean what it now is thought to mean today by almost all bishops, almost without exception, that is, holding all priests to be as guilty as hell, but not doing anything about it until they are accused, in which case the priests are immediately discarded with no due process because they are all already guilty, always have been. Quick! Without even contacting the priest, make a settlement! Don’t even ask about any allegations! Who gives a damn for the youngster or the priest? Just make the settlement! Save money! And the priest, very possibly innocent, is out of the priesthood and even thrown into prison because the bishop has nothing fatherly about him, no governance, no oversight, no care for his children… just cowardly running away behind more smoke and mirrors for the sake of making a good show for the media. Sigh. NOTHING HAS CHANGED. If injustice can be wrought against some for the sake of saving money, for the sake of making a good show for the media, for the sake (now with blood on one’s hands) of congratulating oneself for having the power to destroy both youngsters and priests in one fell swoop, then, in those circumstances, there will be injustice wrought against others, youngsters again, in times to come. Like clockwork. If there is no fatherly governance, but rather cowardly sycophantic, greedy, slimy non-fatherliness, trouble is already here: HERE.
(3) Father governance is about justice for all. Do it, or risk being damned to hell for eternity. I have a suggestion for all bishops and chancery toadies who have never known true fatherly governance: Do the Tough Mudder event — or even some fishing if you can’t do that — and then add one last bit to the end of your great time, and you’ll learn how to be fishers of men in the way Jesus intended:
But Father George! But Father George! Do you mean we have to be crucified?
Look, just be just to all, and you’ll know what it means to be crucified, because you won’t be able to congratulate yourselves any longer; you won’t be able to impress the press any longer; you won’t be able to save money any longer. Just let yourselves be killed off for the sake of justice, and live for Christ Jesus, and be Fathers to your families of faith, and get people to heaven!
- One of the best analyses I’ve read in a long time about the lack of a father in families comes from Father Gordon MacRae (About) over on These Stone Walls, in a post he put up as a follow up to Fathers Day. I quadruple dare you to read it