Lay Catholic Social Action: The Bishops Must Have Our Backs. by Dr. Jeff Mirus 

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By Dr. Jeff Mirus, Catholic Culture, June 26, 2020

Jeffrey Mirus holds a Ph.D. in intellectual history from Princeton University. A co-founder of Christendom College, he also pioneered Catholic Internet services. He is the founder of Trinity Communications and See full bio.

A family member texted me on Wednesday to suggest that Bishop Robert Barron’s response to an important question had been inadequate. As Catholics decried the toppling of the statues of St. Junipero Serra in several California locations, Bishop Barron noticed that many wanted to know what the bishops were going to do about it. He responded that this is the wrong question because (citing Vatican II) it is the province of the laity to engage directly with the larger secular world.

Therefore, Bishop Barron argued, lay people should be asking what they themselves are going to do about it. This is certainly true, but my texter interpreted it as a typical episcopal evasion of yet another culturally-sensitive question. It is fine to tell the laity they need to take greater responsibility for engagement with the world; that position is unarguable. The problem is the pervasive sense among the laity that the bishops will seldom support and encourage them when they do this—unless, of course, they take a position that the Conference of Catholic Bishops has already specifically endorsed.  …

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