Yes, you are welcome for the wonderful image that “graces” the top of this post.  It is a bit, shall we say, earthy? Yet I can think of no better image for the state of what until recently we would have called Western Civilization than the toilet in mid-flush.  We are swirling, and only an unexpected and unlikely clog will stop the process.

And yet, the swirl itself provides fodder for instruction and amusement.  We need to keep up the hope that the drain isn’t inevitable, and we need to keep up our spirits as we enjoy the ride.

Besides, Carrie Fisher already claimed the much better title of “Postcards from the Edge.”

So today, I bring you the first volume of what I guess will be a semi-regular feature putting together and providing commentary for some vignettes from the end of civilization.  Let’s get right to it:

Bravo to the Bishops, whether one thinks of them as individuals, a strong group, or the USCCB, for drawing the line at the abortifacient/contraception/sterilization mandate.  I really mean this, they deserve credit, and the call to arms is a good thing.

However, much needs to be said about the woeful state in which the inaction– and dare I say it, malefaction– of many of these same bishops have put the Church in general, and this resistance effort in particular.  They put us in this spot (though to be fair there were many willing accomplices among the Catholic clergy and laity).  They supported every feel-good expansion of secular government in the name of “war on poverty”, “preferential option for the poor” or whatever euphemism suited a basic attitude of collectivism for some perceived higher good.  

They allowed Catholic agencies to receive governmental grants and other money that necessarily entailed a muting of the Catholic evangelical mission.  Now the government it large, powerful and tired of pretending to care what the bishops think.

They looked the other way (at best) or encouraged (at worst) Catholics to disregard the moral law and the teachings of the Church.  

They presided over the demolition of the Mass, which is the best guardian of orthodoxy.  And nearly five years after Summorum Pontificum, the Pope’s specific legislation is ignored by so many of them.

They made ambiguous the Catholic teaching on the sanctity of the marriage act, practically absolving in advance the widespread use of contraception by Catholics at a rate similar to their non-Catholic neighbors.  Catholic schools became vaguely spiritual and expensive cousins to public schools, and where there were once many children, there now are few.

Other than a more or less consistent opposition to abortion, the bishops allowed the Church’s voice to be silenced.

Even speaking very specifically, they did nothing to oppose the election of the most anti-life President yet elected.  They supported, openly while morally possible and by silence afterwards, the passing of Obamacare.  

No Catholic politician supporting abortion or the “healthcare” plan suffered any penalty for their public scandal.  And the one bishop most outspoken on these issues, one who actually did something to discipline heretics and schismatics in his Diocese, was removed from the scene (thankfully by being promoted to a position from whence he may return to haunt his detractors, God willing) in advance of the Presidential election.

And now– when even the most liberal of bishops would have a hard time justifying paying for contraception, abortifacients and sterilizations– now, when they finally rouse themselves, they look behind them as if to see the ranks of faithful Catholics who would follow them into this battle.

And instead of hundreds of millions, they see a mere remnant.

Ironically, of course, these Catholics most willing to follow them even now are the same faithful Catholics whose very orthodoxy was derided by their chanceries, their committees, and their bureaucracies.  The ones who begged them for reverent liturgy, solid catechesis, proper respect for Our Lord’s Real Presence, leadership from the pulpit, and all the rest.

Rich irony indeed.  Well, God is not without a sense of humor, but it is also true that God will not be mocked.  

Faithful Catholics cannot spurn the call of their bishops at this hour.  We ourselves are far from blameless.  How many of our own sins of omission and commission have brought us to this day? 

So, lead on, dear Bishops.  We are here.  At least we can make a stand worth remembering.  And with God’s help, which He through great love and mercy still wants us  and allows us to ask, we may just win.