Where does your bishop stand?: Catholics launch new website to track bishops’ fidelity
August 31, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) — LifeSiteNews launched a new website today dedicated to providing U.S. Catholics with evidence of whether their bishop is faithful or unfaithful to perennial Church teaching.
Faithful Shepherds helps hold American bishops accountable by providing years, sometimes decades, of past tweets, public speeches, sermons, actions, pastoral letters, and diocesan guidelines.
Faithful Shepherds currently gives evidence of where U.S. bishops stand on ten issues: Archbishop Vigano's testimony, Amoris Laetitia, pro-life leadership, homosexuality, abortion politics, contraception, “LGBT” ideology, liturgy, marriage and family life, and education. More will be added as new evidence is gathered.
For each of the nine issues, bishops are given one of four rankings:
- Faithful to Church teaching
- Not faithful to Church teaching
- Unclear whether they are faithful to Church teaching
- Not enough evidence has been collected for this bishop on this issue
LifeSiteNews co-founder John-Henry Westen commented that Faithful Shepherds is “extremely important for the life of the Church in the 21st century.”
“While the average Catholic may know who their bishop is, chances are they don't know his positions on the most important issues in the Church,” said Westen.
“Has he taken a strong stance on Amoris Laetitia or the sex abuse crisis? Does he honor Our Lord by refusing Communion to pro-abortion politicians,” he added.
Westen said that while news organizations report on what bishops say and do, there wasn’t until now a “one-stop database that provides American Catholics with easily-accessible, documented proof of what their bishops truly believe.”
“Actions speak louder than words, and that’s where Faithful Shepherds comes in,” he said.
One unique feature of Faithful Shepherds is the ability for visitors to send a postcard directly to the bishop of their choosing for a small $2 fee.
If the bishop has a track record of upholding Church teaching, the postcard thanks him for his efforts and encourages him to remain strong in the fight to defend the faith.
If the bishop dissents from long-held Church teaching, the postcard encourages him to stop endangering souls and to be faithful to the magisterium.
If the bishop has made ambiguous or equivocal statements about a particular issue, the postcard calls on him to clearly and courageously make known the teachings of the Church.
Although more than 775 pieces of evidence on many of the more than 250 bishops in the United States have already been uploaded to the site, Faithful Shepherds will be continually adding more information to its database.
Faithful Shepherds encourages lay Catholics to take an active role in defending Church teaching and submit proof of what their bishops are doing and saying in their dioceses.
Visitors to Faithful Shepherds can easily locate their bishop’s page — which features the bishop’s contact information, education history, and other personalized data — by typing his first or last name or his diocese in the site’s main search bar. Visitors can also search for a bishop according to a particular issue and filter results alphabetically or according to the bishop’s faithfulness to Church teaching.
Stephen Kokx, project manager for Faithful Shepherds, has been working on the site for the last ten months.
“Faithful Shepherds informs Catholics about which bishops are liberal and follow the trends of the modern world, and which are faithful to Christ. It may well save souls,” he said.
“The laity are going to play a role in all this, which is crucial at this point in Church history. Not only are they going to be the ones holding their bishop’s feet to the fire, they are going to help build up the Faithful Shepherds database,” he added.
Kokx said that the laity are “on the ground” and know what’s going on in their diocese.
“Many things take place behind the scenes at the local level that aren’t reported on by the media but are known by parishioners,” he said.
Bruce Sabalaskey, one of the site’s programmers, said he wished Faithful Shepherds had been around when he was growing up decades ago.
“I think to myself just how different the Church would be today if something like this was up and running before, during, and after Vatican II. My hope is that Faithful Shepherds will help save the Church from falling even further into the crisis it’s already in.”
To support Faithful Shepherds, click here.
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