We hesitate to even associate his name with this blog and certainly no one has had a chance to meet him but Bishop Shawn McKnight gave a talk in 2015 entitled “On the Identity of the Deacon” that diagnoses what went wrong over the last 20 years in the Diocese of Jefferson City. You can find the two part recording on Youtube. It’s interesting material but the part most pertinent to the laity, especially in the Jefferson City Diocese, begins around the 14:00 mark of the second video.
It’s worth listening all the way to the end. Understand that his talk was not directed at any Bishop in particular, it just happens to have relevance here. The Diocese of Jefferson City is a gem in many ways and it has a lot of talented and devoted priests and laity. Just continuing to attend Mass and donate after the 2002 scandal is a sign of true devotion to the Church. It’s been a really hard time for priests who are now guilty until proven innocent, and despised by a lot of the non-Christian population. In Jefferson City alone there are three parishes with perpetual Eucharistic adoration and there has been perpetual adoration for decades in at least one parish in the Diocese, namely the Cathedral itself. Keep in mind that the Archdiocese of Boston with it’s 4,147,275 people and 1,949,219 (47%) Catholic population just brought back perpetual adoration in 2012 for the first time in 40 years. We have people willing to donate millions of dollars at a time to support Catholic schools and local parish initiatives, and many volunteers at every parish. The laity have various charisms but this Diocese had the ability to stifle the best of them. The way that process worked was for the Bishop or more likely a Chancery official to give permission (often where permission wasn’t even needed) for some lay initiative but in a way that would make it impossible to accomplish or too distant for more than a few to profit from. In the end the arrogance that these petty intrigues bred led to the eruption of the Process we’ve been chronicling. A Process that was disliked by parents, professors, pastors, LGBT groups, principals, a lot of national Catholic media outlets, and probably the Vatican itself since Bishop Gaydos has to administer the Diocese until February 6th only as an administrator. His authority as Bishop has been removed. If you didn’t have the correct agenda here then your concerns didn’t matter to the Chancery. What that agenda actually was has yet to be revealed because they couldn’t openly contradict Church teaching but the Transgender Process is a good clue. With that we leave you with the balanced comments of Bishop Shawn McKnight:
14:00 “They saw his vision, liked his vision, chose to follow him . . . .rather than forcing people to do what they don’t want to do”
“Charism . . . endowed with the power to do something” (The Holy Spirit gives the lay people power to do things.)
“Not even a Bishop gets to determine who has what charism, that comes from God.”
(Stifling those charisms hurts the Church)
18:00 “What is under the aegis of the priest/pastor. . .the Bishop. . .is how to get them to work together, that’s what creates the power of the Church.”
(NOT stifling the Holy Spirit by suppressing these charisms because they don’t fit a certain agenda.)
24:50 “A Person raising a family is feeling more and more disenfranchised, separated from those who have power and authority.” (In this Diocese disenfranchisement grew and then finally fully ripened in the Transgender Process)
28:00 “Not only are Bishops to be informed what are the real needs of the people . . . are you even aware?. . .But also to show their concern.” (Worse than that is being fully aware and purposely denying them their rights and needs.)
“The Laity have the right and sometimes the duty to make known their opinion on matters which concern the good of the Church” (Something impossible to do here until the internet age)
“They have a right to be heard, not to make decisions. . .(this) should be done with respect for the truth.” (True dialogue)
“Some want to run all the way to the left and create a Democratic Church.” (We just want the Bishop to adhere to the Magisterium and not contradict the truth)
Hopefully we can leave these things in the past and move on. In conclusion we ask you to pray for our priests who are closer to the sadness of the Church than anyone. Remember that they have had to do a lot of this dirty work for two decades which is why they take their first parish assignment with an enthusiasm which quickly fades as they feel the pressure to conform to the system, all the while their own charisms are stifled. If they were to buck the system they would lose the equivalent of their job and their family. Or on the other hand some are left to their own personal temptations with no fatherly encouragement. In any family the sons will practice any vice the father practices, condones, or encourages. Who’s at fault in that situation? Meanwhile they represent a Church that uncomfortably contradicts the increasingly hostile culture of death. They either contradict the Church or the culture of death and neither is easy for a soul. They all deserve a good spiritual father and a lot of prayers.