Tuesday, May 07, 2013
Bishop Robert McManus arrested
Pope John Paul II, in his book Rise, Let Us Be On Our Way, emphasizes that, "Just as a father shapes the faith of his children primarily by his example of prayer and religious fervor, so also a bishop inspires his faithful by his behavior. That is why the author of the First Letter of Peter begs that bishops be 'a living example to the flock' (1 Peter 5:3)...A bishop is called to personal holiness in a particular way so that the holiness of the Church community entrusted to his care may increase and deepen...A bishop must guide and lead. The faithful will listen to him and love him [to the degree that he imitates Christ, the Good Shepherd]..." (pp. 46, 48).
A bishop inspires his faithful by his behavior. He does not inspire them by allowing dissent in his diocese or by getting arrested for DUI and hit and run - see here.
When I learned of Bishop Robert McManus' arrest this past weekend, I was not entirely surprised. For Bishop McManus has been very callous in his treatment of Catholics who are faithful to the Magisterial teaching of the Church. He has ignored our heartfelt and charitably expressed letters. He has refused to dialogue with me regarding my vocation. He rescinded Robert Spencer's invitation to speak at the Catholic Men's Conference without contacting Mr. Spencer to allow him the dignity of making his case as to why he should be permitted to give his presentation. So why bother to stop after hitting another automobile while driving under the influence?
Are you beginning to discern a pattern here? The same bishop who has called upon others to increase their "spiritual stamina and fortitude" would do well to follow his own advice. In a statement issued to the press, Bishop McManus indicated that he would accept the consequences of his actions. This morning, standing before a judge, he pleaded "not guilty." So much for spiritual stamina.
How do we put Bishop McManus' attitude in perspective? Father Bede Jarrett, O.P., a master of the spiritual life - and an authentic model of holiness - explains that, "I can never value others, nor act charitably toward them, until I am fully conscious of the worth of my own soul. Without that appreciation, I can never be of real service to any of them. Once I have perceived my own dignity, I can perceive the dignity of others, and realizing the importance of saving my own soul, I shall be led also to help others to save theirs. The proverb is indeed justified: 'Charity begins at home.'" (Classic Catholic Meditations, p. 100).
I pray for Bishop McManus every day while meditating on the mysteries of the Holy Rosary. I pray that he will begin to perceive his own dignity so that he will begin to perceive the dignity of others. Until then, he will never be able to authentically shepherd. You cannot manage a diocese with a hit and run attitude.