First published in The Reign of Mary, Issue #136
We all recall the lesson in our catechism on the types of sin: there are sins of omission as well as sins of commission. A sin of omission is a failure to fulfill an obligation, such as attending Sunday Mass. Somehow, we often fail to examine ourselves on these kinds of sins in our examination of conscience, but omissions can be very serious.
While there are various sins of omission, one of the most grievous is that committed by persons in authority who fail to teach, correct, or guide those in their charge. Parents who do not correct their children and allow them to develop sinful habits will be held accountable before God for this neglect. Teachers who fail to teach the truth will answer to God as well. But unquestionably the most serious omission is that of shepherds who fail to adequately instruct and admonish the souls committed to their care.
God spoke about this grave sin in words that ought to strike fear in the hearts of all who wield authority: “If when I say to the wicked: Thou shalt surely die, thou declare it not to him, nor speak to him, that he may be converted from his wicked way, and live, the same wicked man shall die in his iniquity, but I will require his blood at thy hand” (Ezechiel, 3:18). Thus, we see the gravity of the obligation binding the consciences of those to whom has been entrusted the welfare of immortal souls.
St. Paul spoke about this responsibility of pastors in his epistle to St. Timothy: “Preach the word, be urgent in season, out of season; reprove, entreat, rebuke with all patience and teaching” (II Timothy 4:2). St. Timothy was a bishop, and while these words apply to all those who have the care of souls, they apply especially to bishops. This brings us to the question: How have the Conciliar bishops fulfilled this grave responsibility? Although we often deplore their faulty teaching in doctrinal matters, their grave omissions in teaching Christian morality are no less of a concern.
Although many examples could be cited of their abdication of this grave charge, I would like to concentrate on one: the obligation to instill modesty, particularly decency of dress. If we look to the great popes of the 20th century, we see an assiduous effort to admonish and instruct the faithful. Pope Pius XI inaugurated the “Crusade Against Immodest Fashions, Especially in Schools Directed by Religious” on August 23, 1928. The letter containing the order was sent to all ordinaries of Italy through the Sacred Congregation of Religious, and was made known to the world through the Acta Apostolicae Sedis in 1930 (Vol. 22, pp. 26-28).
Because of the lack of serious effort to fulfill the requirements of this letter, and because some claimed that it was only directed to the ordinaries of Italy, the pope on January 12, 1930, directed the Sacred Congregation of the Council to issue a strongly-worded letter on Christian modesty to the entire world, which required compliance with the letter of 1928. This 1930 decree gave detailed directives and imposed the obligation of combating immodest fashions on all persons in authority — bishops, parish priests, parents, superioresses, and teachers in schools. Among other things, the decree mandated that immodestly dressed women were to be “debarred from Holy Communion and from acting as sponsors at the sacraments of Baptism and Confirmation; further, if the offense be extreme, they may even be forbidden to enter the church.”
We have not the time to comment on the numerous occasions in which Pope Pius XI and Pope Pius XII spoke on this topic in addresses to various groups. Suffice it to say, that they returned to the topic repeatedly. And why so? Because there was a need to do so. (Good pastors, like St. John Marie Vianney, repeatedly speak on the same topics as long as the need persisted.) These pontiffs were merely following the mandate of St. Paul to Timothy. But what do we see in the modern Conciliar hierarchy? Have you ever heard of this topic being preached? Rather, we hear frequently of faithful Catholics who are scandalized by the atrocious attire permitted in the church and at communion. Anything goes.
In stark contrast, I recall the story that appeared in the newspapers some 15 or 20 years ago. A priest who had had enough of such indecency in his church issued modesty guidelines based on the traditional teaching of the Church. And what was the result? He was denounced to the bishop by women who had been offended and removed from the parish. What a frightening accounting shall be rendered by those pastors who promote indecency in churches by tacitly tolerating such abuses, failing to preach against them! One is reminded of the words of Jacinta of Fatima: “Fashions will much offend Our Lord. People who serve God should not follow the fashions.” On another occasion she stated, “The sins which cause most souls to go to hell are the sins of the flesh.” Jacinta was only expressing what Our Lady had taught her: “Certain fashions are introduced which gravely offend my divine Son.”
The grave omission of the Conciliar hierarchy to enforce even minimal modesty standards is one more proof that they are hirelings, not shepherds. They will be held to a most strict account by Christ at judgment, who, as Ezechiel says, will “require the blood of sinners at their hands.” May God have mercy upon this world, and may he protect us from such hirelings, who deliver the souls of their charges to the wolves.