Friday, July 23, 2021

The glory of Latin, in the Church's words

Following is a sample of texts in Church history pertaining to the Latin language, the nobility and encouragement of the language, as well as the glory of the Latin liturgy. Emphasis added.

If any one saith… that the mass ought to be celebrated in the vulgar tongue only…let him be anathema. (Council of Trent, Session 22, Canon 9, 1563)

Council of Trent by Pasquale Cati 1588
Council of Trent by Pasquale Cati, 1588

Let all everywhere adopt and observe what has been handed down by the Holy Roman Church, the Mother and Teacher of the other churches, and let Masses not be sung or read according to any other formula than that of this Missal published by Us. This ordinance applies henceforth, now, and forever, throughout all the provinces of the Christian world... (Pope Pius V, Quo Primum, 1570)

The previous text from Pope Pius V does later in the apostolic constitution allow for pre-existing liturgies in other forms. However, I have included it above because of the force by which the Latin liturgy is elevated.

The first thing concerns fostering with every care and promoting the study of the Latin language in the literary schools of clerics; and gaining a grasp of this language, by knowing and using it, is important not merely for humanity and literature but also for religion. For the Church, since it contains all nations in its embrace, since it is going to endure until the consummation of the ages, and since it utterly excludes the common people from its governance, requires by its own nature a universal language, unchangeable, not that of the common people. Since Latin is such a language, it was divinely foreseen that it should be something marvellously useful for the Church as teacher, and that it should also serve as a great bond of unity for Christ’s more learned faithful; that is to say, by giving them not only something with which, whether they are separated in different locations or gathered into one place, they might easily compare the respective thoughts and insights of their minds, but also – and this is even more important – something with which they might understand more profoundly the things of mother Church, and might be united more closely with the head of the Church. (Pope Pius XI: Apostolic Letter Officiorum Omnium, August 1, 1922)

The use of the Latin language, customary in a considerable portion of the Church, is a manifest and beautiful sign of unity, as well as an effective antidote for any corruption of doctrinal truth. (Pope Pius XII, Mediator Dei, 1947)

Nor must we overlook the characteristic nobility of Latin formal structure. Its “concise, varied and harmonious style, full of majesty and dignity” makes for singular clarity and impressiveness of expression. … Since “every Church must assemble round the Roman Church,” and since the Supreme Pontiffs have “true episcopal power, ordinary and immediate, over each and every Church and each and every Pastor, as well as over the faithful” of every rite and language, it seems particularly desirable that the instrument of mutual communication be uniform and universal, especially between the Apostolic See and the Churches which use the same Latin rite. … Finally, the Catholic Church has a dignity far surpassing that of every merely human society, for it was founded by Christ the Lord. It is altogether fitting, therefore, that the language it uses should be noble, majestic, and non-vernacular. In addition, the Latin language “can be called truly catholic.” It has been consecrated through constant use by the Apostolic See, the mother and teacher of all Churches, and must be esteemed “a treasure … of incomparable worth.” It is a general passport to the proper understanding of the Christian writers of antiquity and the documents of the Church’s teaching. It is also a most effective bond, binding the Church of today with that of the past and of the future in wonderful continuity. (Pope John XXIII, Veterum Sapientia, 1962)

Particular law remaining in force, the use of the Latin language is to be preserved in the Latin rites. (Sacrosanctum Concilium, Second Vatican Council, 36.1, 1963)

While there are many motives that might have led a great number of people to seek a refuge in the traditional liturgy, the chief one is that they find the dignity of the sacred preserved there. After the Council there were many priests who deliberately raised ‘desacralization’ to the level of a program ... they put aside the sacred vestments; they have despoiled the churches as much as they could of that splendor which brings to mind the sacred; and they have reduced the liturgy to the language and the gestures of ordinary life, by means of greetings, common signs of friendship, and such things ... That which previously was considered most holy — the form in which the liturgy was handed down — suddenly appears as the most forbidden of all things, the one thing that can safely be prohibited. It is intolerable to criticize decisions which have been taken since the Council; on the other hand, if men make question of ancient rules, or even of the great truths of the Faith — for instance, the corporal virginity of Mary, the bodily resurrection of Jesus, the immortality of the soul, etc. — nobody complains or only does so with the greatest moderation. (Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Address to the Bishops of Chile, 1988)

I am of the opinion, to be sure, that the old rite should be granted much more generously to all those who desire it. It’s impossible to see what could be dangerous or unacceptable about that. A community is calling its very being into question when it suddenly declares that what until now was its holiest and highest possession is strictly forbidden and when it makes the longing for it seem downright indecent. (Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, Salt of the Earth, 1996)

For fostering a true consciousness in liturgical matters, it is also important that the proscription against the form of liturgy in valid use up to 1970 should be lifted. Anyone who nowadays advocates the continuing existence of this liturgy or takes part in it is treated like a leper; all tolerance ends here. There has never been anything like this in history; in doing this we are despising and proscribing the Church’s whole past. How can one trust her present if things are that way? I must say, quite openly, that I don’t understand why so any of my episcopal brethren have to a great extent submitted to this rule of intolerance, which for no apparent reason is opposed to making the necessary inner reconciliations within the Church. (Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, God and the World, 2000)

On the other hand, a variety of vocabulary in the original text should give rise, insofar as possible, to a corresponding variety in the translations. The translation may be weakened and made trite, for example, by the use of a single vernacular term for rendering differing Latin terms such as satiari, sumere, vegetari, and pasci, on the one hand, or the nouns caritas and dilectio on the other, or the words anima, animus, cor, mens, and spiritus, to give some examples. Similarly, a deficiency in translating the varying forms of addressing God, such as Domine, Deus, Omnipotens aeterne Deus, Pater, and so forth, as well as the various words expressing supplication, may render the translation monotonous and obscure the rich and beautiful way in which the relationship between the faithful and God is expressed in the Latin text. (Fifth instruction for the right implementation of the constitution on the sacred liturgy of the second vatican council, Liturgiam Authenticam, 51, 2001)

The previous text was one that ultimately discussed how to incorporate the vernacular mass, and in doing so, found itself admitting to the advantages of Latin.

The Popes and the Roman Church have found Latin very suitable for many reasons. It fits a Church which is universal, a Church in which all peoples, languages and cultures should feel at home and no one is regarded as a stranger.  Moreover, the Latin language has a certain stability which daily spoken languages, where words change often in shades of meaning, cannot have.  … Latin has the characteristic of words and expressions retaining their meaning generation after generation. This is an advantage when it comes to the articulation of our Catholic faith and the preparation of Papal and other Church Documents. … Blessed Pope John XXIII in his Apostolic Constitution, Veterum Sapientia, issued on 22 February 1962, gives these two reasons and adds a third. The Latin language has a nobility and dignity which are not negligible (cf. Veterum Sapientia, nn. 5, 6, 7). We can add that Latin is concise, precise and poetically measured. (Cardinal Francis Arinze, “Language in Liturgy,” 2006)

The Latin language has always been held in very high esteem by the Catholic Church and by the Roman Pontiffs. They have assiduously encouraged the knowledge and dissemination of Latin, adopting it as the Church’s language, capable of passing on the Gospel message throughout the world. This is authoritatively stated by the Apostolic Constitution Veterum Sapientia of my Predecessor, Blessed John XXIII. (Pope Benedict XVI, Motu Proprio: Latina Lingua, 2012)

Furthermore, after the 1960s, some riches of the liturgy were abandoned, such as its hieratic invariance, but also its geographic and historical unity, which was assured by Latin as the language of the liturgy, by the rites that had been handed down, by the beauty of its art and of the solemnity that accompanied it. The disappearance of linguistic unity in the liturgy in favor of the vernacular languages is, to my mind, one possible factor of division. … The Second Vatican Council explicitly demands that the Latin language be preserved. Have we been faithful to it? The use of Latin in some parts of the Mass can help us to rediscover the profound essence of the liturgy. Being a fundamentally mystical and contemplative reality, the liturgy is beyond the reach of our human activity. Nevertheless, it presupposes on our part some openness to the mystery being celebrated. Thus the conciliar Constitution on the Liturgy recommends a full understanding of the rites, and it prescribes “that the faithful may also be able to say or to sing together in Latin those parts of the Ordinary of the Mass which pertain to them” (Sacrosanctum Concilium, 54). (Cardinal Robert Sarah, The Day is Now Far Spent, p. 137-138, 2019)

It must be remembered that, from a theological point of view, every valid celebration of a sacrament, by the very fact that it is a sacrament, is also, beyond any ecclesiastical legislation, an act of worship and, therefore, also a profession of faith. In that sense, it is not possible to exclude the Roman Missal, according to the UA [Usus Antiquior, i.e. Usage of Antiquity], as a valid expression of the lex orandi and, therefore, of the lex credendi of the Church. It is a question of an objective reality of divine grace which cannot be changed by a mere act of the will of even the highest ecclesiastical authority. (Cardinal Raymond Burke, Statement on the Motu Proprio Traditionis Custodes, July 22, 2021)

The Eucharist is to be celebrated in the Latin language or in another language provided the liturgical texts have been legitimately approved. (Code of Canon Law, #928)

Friday, July 9, 2021

Is it moral to finance a generation of corrupt bishops?

I consider it an error to trust and hope in any means or efforts in themselves alone; nor do I consider it a safe path to trust the whole matter to God our Lord without desiring to help myself by what he has given me; so that it seems to me in our Lord that I ought to make use of both parts, desiring in all things his greater praise and glory, and nothing else. (St. Ignatius of Loyola to Francis Borgia, 1555)
I first drafted this essay in 2019. Recent events by multiple bishops treating orthodox clergy as enemies and the faithful like nuisances has rekindled the content herein. The matters described below are merely a small sample of scandalous pastoral actions, primarily among bishops, just in recent months. Obviously not all bishops, but obviously too many bishops seem intent on steering the ark to perdition. This essay is both an examination of the merits of the argument against financing corrupt bishops and a thought experiment. It provides additional suggestions while welcoming other solutions toward orthodoxy.

The faithful deserve an authentic liturgy, justice among clergy, and truth from their shepherds in season and out of season. Faithful baptized Catholics should take note, they are royal princes and princesses in the eternal Kingdom. They merit the fullness of Christ the King.

With times as grave as they are in today's Church, what recourse do the faithful have for restoration to consistent orthodoxy? If the current trajectory persists, yet another generation of uncatechized souls will stumble unprepared to the evil snares that await. Far too many clergy have remained silent in the face of unbelief regarding the Eucharist, true marriage, life, injustices against faithful priests, or even or the very foundations of Christ's purpose as the singular door through which few will enter the eternal kingdom.

Generations of faithful have been in the habit of contributing money to the church on a regular basis. Historically, one can see the fruits of such practices, such as the existence of some of the most breathtaking churches, vibrant authentic ministries, and a zealous faithful ignited by the very truths of the faith.

Today, such fruits are sparse. And, tragically, too many clergy either refuse to teach critical doctrines in season or out, or they doubt those doctrines themselves. Would it not be welcome to hear, without hesitation and with perfect clarity, the truths of the faith? Would it not be welcome to hear this from the sacerdotal pulpit, from the mouths of the clergy—and not only the priests, but the bishops? Would it not be a tribute to truth and justice if heterodox clergy were sanctioned and orthodox clergy exalted, rather than the inverse we see today.

Years of attempts at so-called welcome "dialogue" with the hierarchy have failed. Without exaggeration, multiple bishops have turned deaf ears or outright ignored the faithful's inquiries on such matters. This is not the relationship of a shepherd and his flock. It is better described as the tyrant and the underfoot. 

What recourse remains?


Consider the truth of the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist. How tragic it is that the majority of "Catholics" do not believe this foundational truth. A 2019 poll stated that only one-third of Catholics believe in the real presence. Even among weekly mass attendees, the figure is two-thirds. How is this not at 100%? What shipwreck of catechesis was permitted to fester until the figures were this scandalous? And, still, little to nothing is said among most clergy to remedy the crisis. Is it fair to interpret their silence as an attitude of unalarm? If one's house was on spiritual fire, he would act with urgency, in a frenzy, to remedy the crisis of unbelief. The clergy's silence all but shouts their apathy toward Christ being regularly received by unbelievers. Their persistent silence suggests they believe it is okay. This is not okay.

When the Eucharist was denied to then-candidate Joe Biden, who openly and persistently supported abortion, other clergy scandalously swarmed to condemn the priest. Instead of deferring to that priest, or at least citing canon law to support his own statement, Cardinal Dolan went on Fox News to say he wouldn't have denied the Eucharist to the pro-abortion politician. Chicago Cardinal Blaise Cupich, who was named several times by Bishop Vigano as it pertained to sex abuse and the disgraced Cardinal McCarrick, contradicted his fellow Illinois bishop on the matter of distributing the Eucharist to pro-abortion politicians. Springfield Bishop Thomas Paprocki issued a statement forbidding such "Catholic" politicians from receiving the Eucharist and cited Canon Law 915-916. Cupich contradicted Paprocki, saying such sanctions "don’t change anybody’s minds and the politicians have to deal with the "judgement seat of God." Cupich's "mind change" appeal is not only an invented requirement, but isn't even necessarily true. His statement about forgoing judgment in deference to God is an affront to every excommunication or withheld Eucharist by any bishop or priest in Church history. And, he doesn't abide by this supposed rule himself, as Cupich suspended a priest in February 2018 for burning a "gay pride" flag that was at his church. Both Dolan's and Cupich's argument to distribute Communion to the persistently defiant abortion-supporter is devoid of any theological argument supported by Canon Law or magisterial texts on the subject. Their response is political and not theological. 

Read here for Canon lawyer Ed Peters' explanation of the canonical sanction and theological basis for withholding the Eucharist to persistently defiant pro-abortion politicians. A number of Church Fathers echo the sentiment, as well. For example:
With all our strength, therefore, let us beware lest we receive communion from or grant it to heretics; Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, says the Lord, neither cast ye your pearls before swine Matthew 7:6, lest we become partakers in their dishonour and condemnation. (St. John Damascene, Exposition of the Orthodox Faith, 4.13p, ca. 743 A.D.)
Bishop Paprocki commented on the dereliction of his peers thusly:
One of the misleading arguments voiced by some bishops and cardinals opposed to drafting this document [on the Eucharist] was that doing so would be divisive and would harm the unity of the bishops’ conference. Yes, we should strive for unity, but our unity should be based on the truths of our faith as found in Sacred Scripture and the constant Tradition of the Church. No one should want to be united on the path to perdition. (Bishop Thomas Paprocki, Catholic Times column, June 27, 2021)

Faithful parents are out there trying to teach their children about the sinfulness and perils of pre-marital sex and cohabitation. Why do their children have to hear these truths from their parents in isolation? Churches regularly, not exceptionally, marry openly cohabiting couples. Where is the clergy's clear rejection of that norm? Why are we at the point where youth can say nearly without exaggeration, "Everybody's doing it." Why do we not hear from every pulpit, not just a precious few, about the damage to couples in such situations or the perils to children growing up in unstable homes? Where are they to lead the battle to destroy this scandalous norm? How are parents supposed to convey that marriage and cohabitation are serious matters when so many clergy have shrugged at the matter? When teens see their parents making these claims about sex, they do not see the clergy backing them up with the same gravity, if at all. The parents have largely been abandoned by the clergy. Where Christ promised not to leave the faithful orphans, too many clergy today have been willing to sell those faithful for 30 pieces of secular praises.  

In keeping with the silent effort to damage families, many bishops have been seen in recent years openly championing organizations and events that explicitly mock and reject Church teaching. Lexington Bishop John Stowe "serves" as "ecclesial advisor" to the heretical group "Fortunate Familes," which celebrated the Obergefell Supreme Court decision on gay "marriage" in 2015, have rejected the idea that homosexual sex is sinful, and have called for the Church (impossibly) to contradict moral dogma on homosexual behavior. It is no wonder that there will be no consequences for a priest in Stowe's diocese, Fr. Jim Sichko, who tweeted on the Feast of the Holy Family that "there are all types of holy families out there, heterosexual and homosexual, married and unmarried..."  As well, Stowe, along with Cupich and McElroy (mentioned herein), are among direct collaborators with the group Association of U.S. Catholic Priests, which has called for women's "ordination" and has welcomed exhibitors promoting gay "marriage,", to name a few of its improprieties. Stowe, and Kentucky Archbishops Foys ad Kurtz were also among those who within hours of the release of a politically deceptive video issued unwarranted public condemnations of Covington teens in 2019.

In April 2019, Newark Archbishop Joseph Tobin, of "Nighty-night, baby" fame, decried the Catechism's language on homosexual behavior. A secular interviewer asked him how he can "welcome" people the Catechism calls "intrinsically disordered." Tobin ignorantly replied, "it’s very unfortunate language. Let’s hope that eventually that language is a little less hurtful." First, Tobin accepted the false premise that the Catechism calls persons of homosexual orientation "intrinsically disordered." It doesn't. The language of CCC#2357 states: "homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered." Second, when has Tobin ever lamented other references in the Catechism about other sins described similarly. Acts of lying and calumny are called "intrinsically disordered" CCC#1753). Any sexual act apart from its unitive and procreative nature is called "morally disordered" (CCC#2351). Acts of masturbation are called "gravely disordered" (CCC#2352). There are multiple other examples of sinful "disorders" in the Catechism. The very idea of disorder is a theological reference to the human person as he exists in the image of God. Proper order is a foundational concept for morality. Either Tobin does not know this or he is more concerned with whether the truth is "hurtful," as he said. In either case, Tobin delivered a lie gift-wrapped with a bow of false compassion.

As reported in March 2021, the archdiocese of Washington has a $2 million budget for the "continuing ministry" of recently resigned Cardinal Wuerl. As Phil Lawler for Catholic Culture pointed out, that's over $5,000 per day allotted for the undisclosed activity of a resigned clergyman. 

Other life and faith issues
Meanwhile, pro-life advocates David Daleiden and Sandra Merritt continue to face legal injustices after exposing Planned Parenthood for butchering and selling baby body parts. Did a swarm of bishops take to the pulpits and social media in support of this pro-life cause, just as they did to condemn a contextless video of Covington teens in January 2019? They did not.

In August 2019, the Jesuit superior general, Fr. Arturo Sosa, said the devil is not a "personal reality" in contradiction to the Catechism and Pope Paul VI, among other magisterial sources. With such ignorance at the head of the order, it is not surprising how many other American Jesuits are permitted to promote heresy and quasi-heresy.

Many dioceses have been sending funds to the "Catholic Campaign for Human Development" which regularly contradicts Church teaching in its promotion of abortion, contraception, and even the physically destructive notion of "transgenderism" in its campaigns.

In December 2019, it was revealed that Vatican funds were used to promote the R-rated film about Elton John. Also in December, we learned that the Vatican's "Peter Pence" fund, which draws collections from the world's dioceses, gives only 5% of collections to aid those amidst "war, oppression, natural disaster, and disease." In November, we learned more about a Vatican financial scandal involving former administrators who were "jailed for systematic fraud and embezzlement" and millions in other financial losses. Also in November, we learned that Pope Francis granted special appointments to Bishop Gustavo Oscar Zanchetta, despite the bishop being under investigation for sex abuse and possession of gay pornography. It is reported the bishop is now failing to respond to legal notices. In October 2019, Pope Francis would not address the nature of an apparently pagan "Pachamaa" statue present at the Amazonian Synod. He later apologized that the statue, which was present before bowing worshippers in days prior, was thrown into the Tiber River. Too often, when such confusion comes from Vatican officials and clergy, there is no clarification, such as in the case with the still-unanswered Dubia; or when Bishop Vigano made his famous testimony, of widespread improprieties in the Church, Pope Francis replied, "I will not say a single word" on the matter.

When orthodoxy was actually voiced by the US Catholic Bishops in January 2020, Cardinal Cupich reared his jaws again, this time to criticize his own brethren's attempt to teach moral law. The USCCB statement included concerns regarding the new president, especially: 
"[O]ur new President [Biden] has pledged to pursue certain policies that would advance moral evils and threaten human life and dignity, most seriously in the areas of abortion, contraception, marriage, and gender. Of deep concern is the liberty of the Church and the freedom of believers to live according to their consciences."  
Cupich lamented the process by which the statement was crafted. He then chose to criticize them publicly via the Twitter app, which is itself a non-protocol. He added: "[T]he U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops issued an ill-considered statement on the day of President Biden’s inauguration." Again, Cupich's series of tweets offered zero confrontation of any theology at issue.

The organization Coalition for Cancelled Priests was recently formed to aide faithful priests who have been removed from active ministry with no evidence of improprieties given, and in many cases, with no explanation whatsoever. The group even received a detailed endorsement from Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, who has made similar efforts for orthodoxy and justice in recent years.  

Perhaps the most vocal of these priests is Father James Altman of La Crosse, Wisconsin; who is known for promoting traditional postures such as communion rails and Latin liturgy, and calling out heterodoxy among bishops. On June 8, 2021, Bishop William Callahan issued a removal the removal of the priest from ministry. In a decree, the bishop only calls for Fr. Altman to "spiritually heal and recharge and to address the issues that caused the issuance of this decree." Presumably, the issues were condemning democrat party support for abortion genocide. Late last year, the Bishop said, "His generalization and condemnation of entire groups of people is completely inappropriate and not in keeping with our values or the life of virtue." Much like the bishops arguing for distribution of the Eucharist to abortion-supporting politicians, Bishop Callahan's statement is also devoid of theological analysis. Certainly lamenting about tone and generalization of groups would result in condemning the prophets and even Christ who called the Pharisees a "brood of vipers" (Matt. 12:34). As well, there are plenty of priests making condemning generalizations with scandalous tones in public who are not in a bit of trouble with bishops. To boot, it was reported that local media was present at mass the morning of the decree, indicating secular parties were privy to the removal even before the parishoners. 

In the diocese of Rockford, Illinois, Bishop David Malloy removed from his parish Father James Parker, issuing no reason for the removal other than "various concerns," and did not reassign him to another parish, leaving the pastor in a pastoral "prison" or "limbo." It is scandalous enough that the faithful are deprived of their beloved pastor, but the bishop has since ignored their inquiries for answers. Additionally, the diocese opened their June 15 statement addressing Fr. Parker's removal as part of changes in priest assignments "typically announced" at that time of year. Since Fr. Parker was not reassigned to another parish, the diocese assertion is by all measure a false one. This is not a "typical" priest reassignment. It is penal in nature. Further discussion and documents can be read at FB group We Stand with Father Parker.

The Coalition for Cancelled Priests has a number of media resources describing this phenomenon of faithful priests removed by their bishops from ministry with no evidence of improprieties. Interviews with one of the victims, Fr. John Lovell, go into more detail. Imagine the perspective of a young man discerning the priesthood, perceiving the potentiality of being unable to practice his vocation for no apparent reason other than his orthodoxy. The scandal is intensified when one is aware of how many heterodox or outright heretical priests are allowed to persist in ministry while the faithful ones are attacked. 

It goes without saying there are a number of faithful bishops and priests. For instance, the authors of the "Dubia" presented to Pope Francis, Cardinals Raymond Burke, Joachim Meisner, Walter Brandmüller still await his answer (Carlo Caffarra has since passed away). In 2018, Auxilary Bishop Athanasius Schneider, Archbishop Tomash Peta, and Archbishop Jan Pawel Lenga issued a document on the truth of sacramental marriage. In November 2019, Bishop Strickland and Archbishop Chaput rebuked their peers Cardinal Cupich and Bishop McElroy—the former defended the traditional language describing abortion as a "preeminent" moral issue.

And, there are others, but there are also countless other stories of heterodox clergy well. There are too few hierarchical voices enflamed with the truth of the faith, delivered with certitude, and grounded in Sacred Tradition.

Temptation of Christ on the Mount
; Duccio, di Buoninsegna; ca. 1308-1311

In early June 2019, I had a brief Twitter exchange on this subject with JD Flynn, editor-in-chief of the Catholic News Agency. I asked if he thought it was time to suspend diocesan giving in favor of other apostolates, such as "EWTN, Catholic News Agency, Ave Maria Radio, Catholic Answers, etc..." At the time, Flynn was opposed to the idea of withholding diocesan giving, stating in part: "I think it's our moral obligation to support the local Church, qua Church, even if the administrators of that money risk their souls by their choices." He also stated "our first obligation is to support the local Church. The Code of Canon Law says we have an obligation to do so."

At the time, I thought Flynn's perspective was reasonable and acknowledged misappropriations occurring within the Church. However, as I briefly stated in that exchange, I don't think continued giving in the current climate is actually helping the larger or local church. That is what has been going on for decades. The faithful participate, they give in the Sunday basket, and the routine goes on. And, heterodoxy persists from the mouths of too many clergy, without consequence. 

Furthermore, the number of corrupt bishops and their aggression against orthodoxy has seemed to intensify in recent months. The question presents itself: Is it moral to finance a generation of corrupt bishops?

In December 2019, it was reported the Church may pay out upwards of $4 billion in sexual abuse settlements. Are the faithful obligated to contribute to such liabilities?

Canon Law states:
The legitimately accepted wills of the faithful who give or leave their resources for pious causes ... are to be fulfilled most diligently even regarding the manner of administration and distribution of goods... (Can. 1300)
[T]he ordinary can and must exercise vigilance, even through visitation, so that pious wills are fulfilled... (Can. 1300.2)
The faithful have an expectation that their giving will go toward "pious causes." Not paying legal fees for the crimes of perverted infiltrators. Not paying the salaries of archbishops who are opposed to the catechism and ignorant of moral theology. Not paying to keep churches going with bland homilies that avoid teaching the truth about relevant subjects. Not going toward the de-beautification of church architecture. Not redistributed to organizations that openly oppose Church teaching. Not going to support the lives of priests and bishops who tickle the ears of the Church's secular enemies in the media. At what point does one's financing enterprises make him complicit in pastoral crimes?

In June 2019, pro-life champion and theologian Dr. Jennifer Robak Morse was interviewed on Kresta in the Afternoon. On the subject of corruption that can occur when clergy intermingles with civil authorities, Dr. Morse stated: "And I think it is going to come from the people at the bottom. Raising their voices, raising their hands, withholding their money. You know, doing whatever needs to be done."

The situation is dire. The response must be drastic. It is not reasonable to expect collection-basket giving as usual will produce more of the same?

As mentioned earlier, there are faithful clergy. And, there are vibrant parishes and religious communities. Should these remain recipients of general giving? Perhaps. Here are the possible pros and cons of giving to faithful parishes or religious communities. The pro is to hopefully to move all dioceses to make every parish exemplary of the true faith, like the ones the faithful support financially. The con would be that dioceses might re-route funds. The argument against giving even to vibrant parishes or religious communities would be to exhort even them to be able to go to their bishops and superiors and say, "The faithful are serious. We must take the faith seriously."

Could suspension of giving result in churches closing or faithful programs disappearing? Perhaps. However, it is also possible that such reductions, such suffocations, will be the means by which the Church is born anew. Bishops must know, unequivocally, that the faithful will not stand for the persistent heterodoxy that has permeated the walls of the Church and the lips of the clergy without consequence. 

Diocesan parishes or religious orders are not the only arms of the Church available for financial giving. A number of lay apostolates remain vibrant and faithful, such as the aforementioned EWTN, Catholic News Agency, Ave Maria Radio, or Catholic Answers. There are many life apostolates such as Pro-Life Action League, Live Action, the Ruth Institute, the National Catholic Bioethics Center, Prolife Across America, Waterleaf Women's Center, and more. Others include law firms that have defended pro-life and other Catholic causes, such as Becket Law or Thomas More Law Center. There are no doubt many other good life, apologetic, bioethical, and ministerial apostolates a Catholic can donate to with minimal fear that the funds will support something offensive to the faith.

In the delicate discernment process to suspend giving as described herein, what would be the signal to resume giving as normal to local parishes or religious communities? I would suggest until clear changes toward orthodoxy become normal. These are suggestions one could ask for even as a parishoner or to pursue as a member of a parish counsel. For example, the following, or things like them, would indicate the Church has begun a purification process we can expect to last:

Removal or sanction of heterodox and corrupt clergy/Restoration of faithful clergy
One of the most critical changes must be made among the clergy. As mentioned earlier, there are often no consequences for clergy who advance heretical ideas or enable corruption to flourish. Obviously, the criminal need to be removed and prosecuted. As well, so must there be consequences for clergy who foster heretical ideas, including giving a platform to those who do so. The names and improprieties described above are, scandalously, hardly the only examples. The Church must sanction or remove these culprits from positions of authority. In cases of formal heresy, excommunications should be issued, and appropriate priestly privileges revoked.

When clergy improprieties are permitted to persist without consequence, the faithful can only conclude those up the hierarchy find their improprieties acceptable. No sanctions nor removals have been dealt to the likes of Cardinal Cupich, Bishop Stowe, Archbishop J. Tobin, Fr. Sichko, Fr. Sosa (and multiple scandalous Jesuits beneath him), nor a host of other clergy promoting unsound doctrines or opposing their faithful peers. The truths of the Church are sacred. There will be no purification in the hierarchy until the corrupt are removed from corrupting.

In 1791, Pope Pius VI spoke of clergy causing public scandal, teaching error, and making pacts with secular authorities, not unlike the state of many in today's hierarchy:
Love, which is patient and kindly, as the Apostle Paul says, supports and endures all things as long as a hope remains that mildness will prevent the growth of incipient errors. But if errors increase daily and reach the point of creating schism, the laws of love itself, together with Our duty, demand that We reveal to the erring their horrible sin and the heavy canonical penalties which they have incurred. For this sternness will lead those who are wandering from the way of truth to recover their senses, reject their errors, and come back to the Church, which opens its arms like a kind mother and embraces them on their return. The rest of the faithful in this way will be quickly delivered from the deceits of false pastors who enter the fold by ways other than the door, and whose only aim is theft, slaughter, and destruction. ... We pointed out to [a Cardinal] the error of his opinion in taking the oath, and the canonical penalties which with sadness We would be obliged to apply, stripping him of the rank of Cardinal unless he removed the public scandal by a timely and appropriate retraction. (Pope Pius VI, Charitas (In the civil oath in France), 1791)
In the same vain, there can be no more removal of faithful priests with no theological reasons stated. Those faithful priests whom have fallen victim to these bishops' pastoral crimes must be restored to full ministry.

Eucharist taken seriously
As mentioned above, many of the faithful do not believe in the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist, and a number of clergy have collaborated with corrupt politicians in devaluing its significance.

Receiving the Eucharist like common food tends to betray the divine reality at work. Receiving the Eucharist is arguably the most important thing we will ever do in our lives. Bishop Schneider has explained the significance of posture in our understanding of the Eucharist, and the advantages of receiving on the tongue or kneeling. Some parishes either use the Communion rail or place or stand behind a small portable kneeler to foster kneeling postures and reception on the tongue simultaneously.

Bishops are obligated to uphold the Church's teaching on withholding the Eucharist from politicians who publicly support mortal sins, persistently and defiantly. The Church has had such sanctions and even excommunications throughout history because the faith is a serious matter.

I wrote last year on how minimizing recourse to lay extraordinary ministers of the Eucharist can help communicate the truth of the sacrament. 

These are just some of the types of ideas the Church could advance in order to restore the true mystery of the Eucharist in the hearts of the congregation.

Edifying architecture and music
I also wrote last year about the topic of the importance of epic church art and architecture that better communicates the majesty of Christ. 

Truth from homilies
Certainly there are priests who can deliver homilies that deliver the truth with clarity, no matter the issue. It is imperative that homilies are given in light of the salvation of the souls of the faithful. However, there are too many priests (or deacons) who never or rarely enforce the truth to their congregations on "controversial" issues. Too many homilies are bland paraphrasings of the Gospel, if it is addressed at all. Too many have the effect of coddling the congregation, such as those that never confront the reality of sin. This is both from personal experience and the testimony of many others. Yet, Jesus preached such razor sharp truths that once-followers departed from him on the spot (John 6:60-66). A priest should not fear to do the same.

As mentioned earlier, when too many priests consistently avoid mentioning, for example, the true nature of the Eucharist, we have what we have today—a scandalously large number of Catholics who believe neither in the Real Presence, nor its significance. The importance of the holy sacrament should be trumpeted from the pulpits. 

When the Church marries scores of cohabiting couples, they are in a sense betraying faithful young people in need of the Church's backing. Couples who avoid contraception should have their faith confirmed from the pulpit while those who contracept are clearly explained the perverse, damaging, and sinful quality of such acts. The dangers of pornography should be articulated clearly when such rampant use is so statistically evident. The true nature of marriage between one man and one woman should be explained anthropologically, that the two sexes are not interchangeable pieces that result in the same sacred institution. Sin should be taught from the pulpit in all its forms. Families are broken, tongues are spiteful, the world grows more perverse. Souls are at stake. The priest must equip the faithful with sound doctrine, that they might live in love, and understand the richness of the true faith. The lives of heroic saints should be announced as exemplars of living out the splendorous truths that flow from Scripture and Tradition. All these and more truths facing the faithful today should be trumpeted from the pulpit, to confirm and exhort the faithful, to educate them, to equip them to carry the message to others. This should not come from a few priests. It should come from all priests.

Pope Pius XII stated:
Let priests therefore, who are bound by their office to procure the eternal salvation of the faithful, after they have themselves by diligent study perused the sacred pages and made them their own by prayer and meditations, assiduously distribute the heavenly treasures of the divine word by sermons, homilies and exhortations; let them confirm the Christian doctrine by sentences from the Sacred Books and illustrate it by outstanding examples from sacred history and in particular from the Gospel of Christ Our Lord; and — avoiding with the greatest care those purely arbitrary and far-fetched adaptations, which are not a use, but rather an abuse of the divine word — let them set forth all this with such eloquence, lucidity and clearness that the faithful may not only be moved and inflamed to reform their lives, but may also conceive in their hearts the greatest veneration for the Sacred Scripture. (St. Pius XII, Divino Afflante Spiritu, #50, Sept. 30, 1943)
Other signs of serious Church
Celebrating the liturgy ad orientum unites the congregation with the Christians of old. Use of Latin does likewise. Pope Benedict XVI's Motu Proprio in 2007 fostered the use of the Latin liturgy. However, the Church's negligence in teaching Latin in recent decades makes the language shift more challenging to many Catholics. As a transition, bits of the mass could be said in Latin, such as is sometimes done when "Lamb of God..." is said as "Agnus Dei..." And over time, more Latin phrases could be incorporated easily and immediately.

Some, such as Cardinal Burke or Ss. Simon and Jude Cathedral rector Fr. John Lankeit, support a return to the exclusively male altar server to distance that role as simply a participational one or one of mere capability. The role these men have in mind would be one by which young boys experience liturgical life at the altar as part of a vocational discernment. This is an idea very worthy of consideration, especially in times of confusion about the sexes inside and outside the Church.

Any change made in parishes and religious communities should be done so in light of sacred tradition, befitting of the body of Christ. Too often, secular demands have transformed churches rather than the other way around. By holding to traditional sacred themes wherever possible, the Church announces itself as unique, a place that has something to offer that you cannot get in the world. This is a truth betrayed when worldly sights and sounds meet the visitor of a church, when unsound doctrines enter the holy halls and spill forth from the mouths of the clergy. What good is a Church that just regurgitates what one can already get from the world? 

It goes without saying, prayer and fasting are an integral part of the spiritual life. This situation is no different. In the opening Ignatian quote, the saint encourages us to also work with what God has given us.

If one agrees that the Church is in need of much reform and purification, then the questions of financial giving to parishes or religious communities include: Should withholding financing to corrupt bishops be plan B in light of their refusal to dialogue or confront theological arguments? Does financing corruption and injustices make one complicit in the crimes of corrupt bishops? 

A natural reaction for some might be concern that this would bring about an end to various church programs. However, this only means those programs would not be funded by parishes. They could still be funded if they were compartmentalized from parish coffers with separate fund raisers or oversight by lay apostolates.

Another objection is that the bishops in league with secular officials will receive their funding from those secular powers in exchange for secular favors. That corruption is a possibility, but those withholding money still won't be culpable of financing the corruption.

Another objection might be fear that parishes will close. This is another possibility if the faithful were to, in large numbers, withhold their money. The question then is whether or not the Church has to get small before it can grow anew. Will pruning, although painful, result in restored vibrancy and life?  This was the thought of then-Cardinal Ratzinger, now Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI over 50 years ago:
The church will become small and will have to start afresh more or less from the beginning. ... As the number of her adherents diminishes...she will lose many of her social privileges. ... But when the trial of this sifting is past, a great power will flow from a more spiritualized and simplified Church. Men in a totally planned world will find themselves unspeakably lonely. If they have completely lost sight of God, they will feel the whole horror of their poverty. Then they will discover the little flock of believers as something wholly new. They will discover it as a hope that is meant for them, an answer for which they have always been searching in secret. (Fr. Joseph Ratzinger, Faith and Future, 1969)
Do we have the courage to go through such a purgation? Does the current situation call for such a drastic reaction as the withholding of money from parishes or religious communities until serious signs of purgation appear? Is financing corruption immoral? These are the questions on the table. May the wisdom of the Holy Spirit and the counsel of Our Lady move the faithful wherever God will be glorified.