I have often heard the quote of St. Athanasius who said, "The floor of hell is paved with the skulls of bishops." What is not normally emphasized is that they have plenty of company with the skulls of the laity who failed to pray for them in the first place.
So someone who failed to pray for a corrupt priest, Bishop, Cardinal or Pope is doomed to the same fate as the sinner himself? Please find me where that is stated in the 10 commandments or by any pope
If that was the case, with countless liberal and corrupt Bishops and Priests not to mention pedophiles-we would need to pray every minute
Would a simple “God bless the Catholic church” satisfy your judgement of hell for those who pray?
Take a deep breath.
If saints have prayed for Judas, we can and should pray for our bishops and priests.
“If that was the case, with countless liberal and corrupt Bishops and Priests not to mention pedophiles-we would need to pray every minute”
After all we are told to pray without ceasing.
The judgement of God is much, much harsher on priests than on lay-people. As a priest myself I am consoled that it must be even worse for bishops. “To those who are given much …”. Saint Theresa of Avila said somewhere, “The road hell is paved with the skulls of priests”. One of us must have annoyed her terribly.
The thing is, even the ordinarily good amongst us can do so much damage.
Fast, pray, do penance, give alms to the poor, keep vigil for priests, their souls are your hands.
I’ll point out where in the Bible we were warned regarding this matter:
“Whatever you do to/for the least of my brothers, you did it to/for Me.” Mt 25:40
which means something like this might follow a few lines down:
“Out of My sight, you condemned… for I was a struggling, tempted layman/priest/bishop/pope and you did not pray for Me…”
So let us pray for each other, and especially for our priests! We need it! They need it!
A practical footnote: let us think of this particularly when we hear the “memento” in the Canon, which goes something like “Remember, Lord, Your people, especially those for whom we now pray…”
This is actually one reason why I will never aspire to the diaconate. I don’t think I have the patience and tact to pastor a wayward couple in marriage prep, a lapsed family preparing for a baptism, or preach to a congregation that has 90% of the married couples contracepting.
Many feel that the diaconate is something given to a parishioner who has served the parish well. That’s baloney! It’s a calling perceived from God and confirmed by the church (bishop).
You have shamed me.
(perfect picture too!)
Honor thy Father and thy Mother.
You are correct, Rich, one is called to the deaconate just the same as the priesthood, religious or married.
However, I’m gonna tweak you where you are. Rich, you possess a firm understanding of the position of the Church on these matters (and I’m betting a lot more!), plus, you are well-spoken. When you encounter a bride-to-be who seems more interested in how she will photograph in the church over the actual sacrament itself, for instance, with loving correction apply your gifts! She might get any level of cranky with you, but you have defended the sacrament — and whether she appreciates it or not, HER!
(MEN: somewhere in the crabbiest of women’s hearts she longs for your defense of her.)
If others contracepted in marriage, like myself, tell of how it brought disunity between each other and how you are more united without it.
Rich, you may not be called to be a deacon, but you are commanded to speak the truth, and you do a fine job of it!
And yes… let’s pray for our bishops, and all our fathers.
This is a good thing for us clergy to be reminded of! It reminds me of medieval illustrations of hell wherein one can tell the clergy by their tonsures as they are roasting.
Thank you and I agree with all of the above, I just read the original post and thought that I am now being blamed for the sins of the clergy. I was always taught in my BALTIMORE Cathechism and teachings from the nuns that it is the job of the CLEGY to save my soul-especially the Pope-not the other way around! Not that we dont pray every day for our priests. I have to be honest I have little sympathy for the Bishops on up as they seem to be crass and opinionated and though my neighborhood collected over 300 signatures for an Indult TLM he still refuses to allow it, so be it
Concerning the photograph accompanying this entry, it could not be a photograph of any dead American bishops, because the skulls are way too large. 😉
God bless you as it is YOU who my family do pray for as you are on the front lines so to speak
You men like Father Corapi who I think is great are the ones who need our prayers, and he says that in his talks, he never mentions the Bishops on up by the way
I do recall one of Fr Corapi’s talks on EWTN were he said he would not want to be a bishop.
This was said in a respectful manner.
We need to remember Who the bishops represent.
That said, remember that they are human too. Praise them when they do a good job, ask questions when we don’t understand and call them when they need it.
Surely, if you don’t like what your bishop’s doing, folks, you should pray for him _more_. If he’s really that bad, you should be praying for him as you’re supposed to pray for an enemy or a sinner in danger of Hell. If he’s really so stupid, you should be praying for him as an afflicted person.
And certainly, you can always pray for anyone to change their mind.
But if you’re really so prideful as not to pray for your own bishop, you better be praying really hard for your own soul.
Jeff, great post, and a good reminder.
Fr. Brian Stanley, you remind me of a joke that some seminarians I know like to tell.
What do you call a guy who gets B’s in seminary?
What do you call a guy who gets C’s in seminary?
What I notice among the seminarians is that some of them interestingly don’t have a head for theology. They’re good, they pray, they are VERY dedicated and also convinced that they are called. But God calls people for His own purposes, not for reasons we might think.
Sometimes he might elevate a bishop for the express purpose of saving the souls of people who might forget to pray, except they know they’d better pray for him! Who knows? Give Him glory.
I believe the saying is, “The WAY to hell is paved with the skulls of bishops.” Meaning, the bad ones take the faithful there along with them, showing them the way, by their neglect of properly catechizing them and bad example. The faithful who follow them and end up there, how can they pray for them when they never learned that was what they should do?
So sad to think about. God have mercy on us all.
I’m not so sure these aren’t Episcopal skulls. Note the absence of spinal columns! 😉
You folks arent talking about my bishop, We love Archbishop Chaput here in Denver and will continue to pray for those that fall along the way.
I’m given to understand that while the original quote was by St. Athanasius, an extended quote, which is perhaps even more apt, was made by St. John Chrysostom:
The road to Hell is paved with the skulls of erring priests, and it is lit by the skulls of erring bishops.
Of course, implicit in all of this is the question: Who is walking down that road? Doubtless the feet of erring layfolk. Let’s try not to be among them, okay?