"Pride Month" starts with a bang turned to whimper...
…and I don’t mean all the “LGBTQ” activists and Pride(ful) parades and parties, nor the endless American corporations falling all over themselves to show how “woke” they are. (Oh, how very brave of them to receive all the applause and accolades of the cool kids!)
No, I mean the courage (bang!) of Bishop Thomas Tobin of Providence, Rhode Island (not to be confused with “LGBTQ” promotor Cardinal Tobin of “nighty-night, baby” fame), who had the cahunas to tweet the following:
Hurrah! Many of us were heartened and grateful to see an American prelate take such a firm (yet still gentle) public stand, since this type of move among the hierarchy is as rare as hen’s teeth. Taylor Marshall spoke for countless Catholics with his response of support, and he pointed out the vicious and truly demonic frenzy of replies to the bishop’s simple (and simply Catholic) tweet:
But, alas! It was too good to last. Someone (or many someones?) got to the good bishop, and, duly chastised, Tobin beat a hasty retreat by releasing the following statement of regret (whimper), wishing the “Pride” folks all the best:
As Patrick Coffin said, there are hard lessons to be learned from this short and sad string of events:
Which brings us to the fact that this is all spiritual warfare at base. In fact, Coffin’s spot-on summation reminds me of St. Ignatius’ 12th Rule for the discernment of spirits (emphasis mine):
Rule 12: The enemy conducts himself as a woman. He is a weakling before a show of strength, and a tyrant if he has his will. It is characteristic of a woman in a quarrel with a man to lose courage and take flight if the man shows that he is determined and fearless. However, if the man loses courage and begins to flee, the anger, vindictiveness, and rage of the woman surge up and know no bounds. In the same way, the enemy becomes weak, loses courage, and turns to flight with his seductions as soon as one leading a spiritual life faces his temptations boldly, and does exactly the opposite of what he suggests. However, if one begins to be afraid and to lose courage in temptations, no wild animal on earth can be more fierce than the enemy of our human nature. He will carry out his perverse intentions with consummate malice.
Sadly, and for whatever reason, we saw a courageous bishop become very afraid. Think of what the opposite outcome might have been, had he remained strong in his truth and clarity on this preeminent cultural issue. Perhaps (a girl can dream!) more than one other brother bishop would have joined him in his stance. (And what a deflation for the one lone bishop, Bishop Strickland of Tyler, Texas, who did boldly back Tobin’s initial statement.) Perhaps even a dozen or more American bishops (and perhaps hundreds of priests, and thousands of laymen) would have found their backbones and ceased to let fear of social shame drive their actions. But now we will never know, because the backlash against one teeny-tiny tweet of truth felled our hero.
None of this bodes well for the United States bishops I’m afraid, and it hits hard upon the weary and ever-disappointed flock.
And yet, as we meditate on the words of Christ from today’s gospel, we cannot help but regain our confidence and joy:
”In the world you will have trouble, but take courage, I have conquered the world." (Jn 16)
It really is the age of the laity, isn’t it? Let’s step up, leading not with “Pride,” but with the humility needed to maintain true courage and to become saints for a culture in desperate need of them.