Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Archbishop Rummel: April 16, 1962

This is Archbishop Joseph Rummel of New Orleans. Fifty-two years ago today, he excommunicated three laypersons in his diocese. Why? Because they had actively organized against his efforts to desegregate the Catholic schools in his jurisdiction. One was a parish judge. Another was a journalist.

When you hear about how bishops can't or shouldn't invoke canonical penalties against politicians or general laypeople for agitating against the Church or flaunting the authority of the ordinary, remember Archbishop Rummel. He was 85 years old when all this happened and, as you can imagine, not in the best of health. But he went ahead with the ultimate weapon in his arsenal.

So what do we have now? Lots of excuses, to be sure. Ask your friends if they think Archbishop Rummel's actions were justified. I'm sure you'll get unanimous kudos and praise for his courage. Yet a bishop who dared to exhibit such fortitude against proponents of homosexuality or women priests or indifferentism or sacrilegious liturgies or whatever would be crucified not just by the media but even by allegedly faithful Catholics simply because he chose to act like a bishop and refuse to allow the tides of sin to sweep away his flock without there being consequences.

We live in utterly diabolical times.

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