Successful Bishops “Successful” priests and politically powerful bishops are rarely canonized. If the Church holds popular clerics up as models and heroes of our faith, it is despite their success in this world. Good fund raisers generally make poor saints. Our Church's Summer of Shame began with one of America’s most successful and politically powerful cardinals, Theodore McCarrick. Let us hope that the Church’s own “Me-Too Movement” will continue to unmask and purify the private horrors of many popular and powerful American clergy.
Why do Cardinals wear red? It would be helpful to remind ex-Cardinal McCarrick, and many of the standing cardinals who were his close collaborators, that they wear red for martyrdom. In the early Church, when a man took holy orders, he was signing up for persecution and possible martyrdom. The first 25 popes were mostly martyrs. When popes become media stars, loved by all, and appreciated especially by the secular world, we have a problem. When priests manage to avoid all conflict with a secular society, when they get along just fine with those who have declared the Christian faith toxic to society, we have lost our way. When everyone loves your parish priest, and your bishop has no enemies, know that the Gospel is not being preached well. To be a Christian in a post-Christian world is to have enemies. We Christians do not seek confrontation, but the same Jesus who said “blessed are the peacemakers” also said that he came to bring “not peace but the sword,” and “a man’s enemies will be those of his own household.” He said that we would be hated by all on account of His Name. So I say again, if your bishop has no enemies, he is not doing his job. If your pastor is not receiving insults and slander, he is withholding parts of the Gospel. If you yourself are comfortable with everyone at work and you have no conflict within your own family, you may not be witnessing the full Gospel of Jesus Christ. And that is the real scandal.