Thank You Bishop Martino for your Fidelity and Courage
Bishop Martino needs our prayers; that the Lord would restore his vigor and vitality. This heroic man stood up against the “gates of hell”, guarding the flock of God against the wolves.
It also broke my heart because, as readers of Catholic Online know, he is one of my favorite Bishops. He is a man of tremendous faith, genuine evangelistic zeal, and unflagging courage in the face of fierce opposition. As I watched him speak at that Press Conference I thought of the words from the Apostle Peter which were directed to Bishops and elders in the early Church: “So I exhort the presbyters among you, as a fellow presbyter and witness to the sufferings of Christ and one who has a share in the glory to be revealed. Tend the flock of God in your midst, (overseeing) not by constraint but willingly, as God would have it, not for shameful profit but eagerly. Do not lord it over those assigned to you, but be examples to the flock. And when the chief Shepherd is revealed, you will receive the unfading crown of glory. (1 Peter 5)”
I also thought of the painful defense St. Paul was forced to give of his own apostolic office in his second letter to the Corinthians (See, 2 Cor. Chapters 10 – 13). It has happened many times in our 2000 year history. Good Bishops like Bishop Joseph Martino sometimes suffer the effects that can accompany “bearing the burden” of their exercise of their apostolic office and have to take a different role in caring for the flock. He is now doing just that with the kind of fidelity, dignity and extraordinary courage he has always shown. However, he is obviously tired,in fact exhausted, from the burden of his office.
It is clear, as Cardinal Rigali indicated in his warm affirmation and commendation of his service; Bishop Martino arrived at this decision only after much sincere and significant prayer. After all, Bishop Martino is a man of prayer, a deeply Eucharistic soul. The good Cardinal mantioned in his remarks the Bishop's contributions in restoring eucharistic adoration in the Diocese. However, you could almost feel the fatigue as Bishop Martino expressed these words “For some time now, there has not been a clear consensus among the clergy and people of the Diocese of Scranton regarding my pastoral initiatives or my way of governance. This development has caused me great sorrow, resulting in bouts of insomnia and at times a crippling physical fatigue.”
The Bishop will continue to live in the Diocese of Scranton, at the Fatima Center, a retreat center dedicated to fostering genuine spiritual renewal and the “New Evangelization” which the Bishop is so deeply dedicated to advancing. Sadly, the Press had a “field day” speculating as to the reasons for the retirement. That speculation must now end. The Bishop asked for this early retirement and the Holy Father granted his request. It is unusual to be named a retired Bishop at such a very young age.
This heroic man stood up against the “gates of hell”, doing what all Bishops are supposed to do, guarding the flock of God against the wolves. In an age which Pope Benedict rightly referred to as suffering under the effects of a “dictatorship of relativism”, this fine man insisted that Catholic Universities and institutions stay faithful to the truth. For doing so, some even in the Catholic media sought to paint him as some kind of “zealot” using highly charged words such as ‘right” and “conservative” to paint a caricature of this man far different than what he really is.
It was false reporting, period. They should be ashamed. Bishop Joseph Martino is simply a faithful Catholic Bishop. He was appointed by the late Servant of God John Paul II and is deeply committed to the “New Evangelization” of the Church in this new missionary age, the Third Christian Millennium. He began his Press Conference - and then ended it - with these words “May Jesus Christ Always be praised!” Those words characterize his evangelical mission, his life committment and his true character.
The Bishop was correct to challenge the poor judgment of Misericordia University, a Catholic College in his Diocese which sponsored, through its scandalous “Diversity Institute”, an advocate/activist of the movement among some practicing homosexuals to obtain a legal equivalency between homosexual paramours and those who are married. An activist leader came to the Catholic College campus and spoke on the very matters which orginally raised the Bishops proper concerns.The school was given explicit directions to not host the ...
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