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(Lead photo credit: Paul Badde and Bohumil Petrik / CNA)

By Jonathan B. Coe, Crisis Magazine, April 10, 2019

Jonathan B. CoeOne of the lessons of both the history of Israel and the Church is that it is unwise for the faithful to tie their sense of emotional and spiritual well-being to the words and actions of those who rule over them. This fact is highlighted with both clarity and brio by the 2018 book by Rod BennettBad Shepherds: The Dark Years in Which the Faithful Thrived While Bishops Did the Devil’s Work.

As Bennett points out, thirty-one out of the thirty-eight Hebrew kings were bad who ruled over a kingdom divided into northern and southern parts. The batting average is much higher with popes: out of the 266 who have reigned over two millennia, fewer than two dozen have been involved in serious malfeasance.

In perhaps the darkest hour in Church history, when the Arian heresy had taken over the Church, historians estimate that eight out of ten Catholic bishoprics succumbed to the apostasy. While most of the prelates who attended the First Council of Nicaea affirmed the word consubstantial, the hierarchy had embraced Arianism by the time of the Council of Milan because of persecution from Constantius.

Further evidence that it is not prudent to tie our wagon to the Prelate Star is revealed in the case of St. John Fisher. Fisher, who is often overshadowed by St. Thomas More, was the only bishop to refuse the Oath of Succession declaring Henry VIII head of the Church in England and lost his head for it……Read entire here: