Saturday, January 26, 2019

Profiles in Cowardice

It is traditional to refer to a bishop as "your excellency." We don't stand much for tradition these days, because, frankly, most bishops aren't excellent in any way. And that goes double for Roger Foys, the bishop of Diocese of Covington. Let's recall the original bleating from this moral colossus:

Now, we get this:
“We apologize to anyone who has been offended in any way by either of our statements which were made with good will based on the information we had,” said Bishop Foys in the letter, which was addressed to the parents of Covington Catholic students.
 We're sorry if you were offended? Our statements were made with good will? And based on the information we had? Did it occur to you that you might get more information from the people who were actually there? Did you even talk to anyone from Covington Catholic before you issued your statement?

The next paragraph is closer to the truth, but still well afoul of the 8th Commandment.
“We should not have allowed ourselves to be bullied and pressured into making a statement prematurely, and we take full responsibility for it.”
Pardon my French, but how in the hell does a bishop get bullied? You have the staff and the hat, sir. You preside over the high school these students attend. You also have a responsibility to defend not only the faith, but also to provide aid and comfort to the faithful. There's more:
“I especially apologize to Nicholas Sandmann and his family as well as to all CovCath families who have felt abandoned during this ordeal. Nicholas unfortunately has become the face of these allegations based on video clips,” said Foys. “This is not fair. This is not just.”
Felt abandoned? No, Bishop Foys. Sandmann and everyone else there were abandoned, in straight-up Pontius Pilate style. And your malignant statement was up on the diocesan website for two full days before you shut the website down for "maintenance." You're right about one thing -- it wasn't fair. It wasn't just. And you were responsible for it, along with your superior, Joseph Kurtz, who had this to say:
Since I joined with Bishop Foys in condemning the alleged actions by Covington Catholic students, I apologize for what was a premature statement on my part based upon incomplete information. I very much regret the pain and disruption in the lives of the Covington Catholic community and in the broader Church and society.
We look to our bishops and archbishops to provide moral and spiritual guidance. We expect that guidance to be based on reflection and prayer. Instead, we got a couple of hot takes.

Back to Foys:
Foys’ most recent statement said that it was his “hope and expectation” that this investigation would “exonerate” the students, and that they will be able to move past this ordeal. He also expressed support for Robert Rowe, the principal of Covington Catholic High School. Rowe is a “fine leader,” said Foys, and “those calling for his resignation simply do not know him.”
The buck doesn't stop with the principal, Bishop Foys. It stops with you. There's more:
“I pray that with the grace of God and the goodwill of all involved peace will once again reign in the hearts and minds of our faithful,” said Foys.
For peace to reign, there needs to be justice. And justice requires those in position of authority to do more than offer a liturgical version of "whoops, my bad."

Meanwhile, as you consider the matter of goodwill, consider what happened in Washington, D.C., as the Covington Catholic students were returning to a firestorm and a bishop with a gas can:
The Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception has confirmed that protesters led by the Native American activist Nathan Phillips attempted to disrupt the celebration of Mass on the evening of Jan. 19.

On Jan. 23, a spokesperson for the Washington, DC basilica released a statement to CNA confirming the previously reported events of Saturday night.

The statement said that while Mass was being celebrated, “a group of approximately 50 individuals attempted to gain entrance to the basilica while chanting and hitting drums.”
I don't know the condition of Nathan Phillips's soul, but based on the available evidence it's difficult to find much goodwill in his actions, either at the Lincoln Memorial or at the Basilica the next day. I would encourage Bishop Foys to continue to pray for Mr. Phillips, but I'd also suggest that Bishop Foys ought to have a resignation letter in the mail to the Pope.


W.B. Picklesworth said...

It's more than disappointing for Church leadership to have neither the wisdom to know what is going on in society nor the courage to stand up for those in their charge.

Bike Bubba said...

If he can't bring himself to give a real apology, despite being a custodian over the greatest inspiration for real repentance known to man, I wouldn't hold my breath on seeing a letter sent to the Vatican. Just sayin'.

Mr. D said...

If he can't bring himself to give a real apology, despite being a custodian over the greatest inspiration for real repentance known to man, I wouldn't hold my breath on seeing a letter sent to the Vatican. Just sayin'.

I know. But it had to be said.

R.A. Crankbait said...

“We make men without chests and expect from them virtue and enterprise. We laugh at honor and are shocked to find traitors in our midst.” ― C.S. Lewis, The Abolition of Man

And in our positions of leadership.