By Charlie Johnston
As most of you are aware, my Archdiocese is conducting an informal initial inquiry into the things I write and say. I have been restrained about speaking of it, so as not to affect the process while it is ongoing. Many other sites have quite freely speculated on it.
Contrary to what you might read on some of those sites, my relations with the Archdiocese have been courteous, respectful and cooperative. One Archdiocesan official had been concerned with what some sites claimed it was saying and assured me they had made no negative comments about me and would speak to me first before making any comments at all, other than that I was currently not an officially approved speaker. I chuckled and told him I had been involved in more than a few public political controversies before and well know that the media and websites speculate recklessly and even just make things up…nothing to worry about.
Certainly, there is one priest at the Archdiocese who has been actively hostile to me since I first met him several years ago. But everyone else, skeptic or not, has been just and kind in their dealings with me.
My restraint, up to now, has involved refraining from speaking much about the Archdiocese at all during this period, lest I be thought to be trying to curry favor or otherwise influence the process. But my Archbishop, Samuel Aquila, has scheduled something so marvelous and close to my heart, that I have to speak of it today, for it has made my heart leap with joy and admiration.
First, I will tell you a little on how I will react to whatever the Archbishop decides concerning me.
Sometime he will receive a recommendation from a three-man panel on the matter. Then he may consult whomsoever he wishes – and then he alone will publicly give me direction and say whatever he deems proper. On all matters of faith and morals, the public discussion of private revelation, even the public discussion of the faith itself, I will fully obey Archbishop Aquila. Before I began my pilgrimage five years ago, I knew that if I should ever publicly speak on these things, it must begin from the Archdiocese of Denver (from which I have no prior connection) and that it would be to the Archbishop of Denver that I owed my duty of obedience throughout the balance of the Storm.
Now you need to know it will not be some overly clever “wink and nod” obedience. It will be a true and faithful obedience. A few have asked me pointedly who I was going to obey, God or man. I have tried to conceal my anger when responding to such queries that I am a true believer, that Christ set up this Holy Church and gave it binding authority to which I am subject. If I disobeyed the lawful authority of my Archbishop, it would be to disobey God. Period.
Should there be a negative finding, I will go silent for a few weeks as I figure out how to fully comply with the direction.
I spent most of my life as either a secular political operative or a secular cultural commentator. It is, one might say, my default setting. I have a duty to both hearten the faithful and defend the faithful during these trying times. If necessary, I will live that duty from a purely secular and temporal standpoint after that period of silence. There would be no sly references to private revelation, nothing at all like that. I would simply go back to speaking in the manner I used most of my life. I will be absolutely obedient to my Archbishop’s lawful authority.
So what is it that has caused me to write today about this? On Saturday, March 5, at 10 a.m., Archbishop Aquila will lead a public Eucharistic Procession. While reciting the Rosary, the faithful will march around the Planned Parenthood facility in Stapleton, Colorado seven times. While some Bishops are trying to “dialogue” with those who attack both life and the faith, and while a few even forbid their Priests from praying outside abortion clinics, my Archbishop is leading the charge for the Culture of Life with a full-throated public witness of faith through the Eucharist and through Mary, our two strong pillars. And he is doing it with downright Biblical panache.
I took note that, last summer, when I heard some Church leaders speak about how to accommodate themselves to the Supreme Court’s imposition of “gay marriage” on the whole country, that Archbishop Aquila spoke in unambiguous defense of traditional marriage and religious freedom. I felt great admiration when my Archbishop moved the age of confirmation in this Archdiocese back, so that it not be seen as a graduation from the faith, but a graduation into a deepening of the developing faith. But this act, recalling Joshua before the walls of Jericho, the leading of this public Eucharistic Procession seven times around Planned Parenthood’s headquarters, has absolutely cemented my filial respect for my Archbishop. It has captured my whole heart. What would have been an act of duty, whatever I thought of whoever was Archbishop, will be an act of true filial devotion and respect to an Archbishop who has proven himself to be a true champion of the faith.
I will give you more information on the Eucharistic procession as it becomes available – and attach a flyer when I have one. If you live near Denver, I encourage you to come out for this great Eucharistic Procession. But for now, I say, God bless Archbishop Samuel Aquila!