Reflection on 1 Sameul 2, On Weak Bishops

“27 And there came a man of God to Heli, and said to him…29 Why have you kicked away my victims, and my gifts which I commanded to be offered in the temple: and thou hast rather honoured thy sons than me, to eat the firstfruits of every sacrifice of my people Israel?…34 And this shall be a sign to thee, that shall come upon thy two sons, Ophni and Phinees: In one day they shall both of them die. 35 And I will raise me up a faithful priest, who shall do according to my heart, and my soul, and I will build him a faithful house, and he shall walk all days before my anointed.” (1 Samuel 2:27, 29, 34-35)

As the High Priest of Israel and father of the priests Ophni and Phinees, Eli was responsible for the actions of his sons. Yet, Eli was weak and did not discipline his sons for the scandals they cause. For this reason, the Lord told Eli that he honored his sons rather than Him. In a similar way, many Bishops today do not discipline the priests under their care. These unfaithful Bishops turn a blind eye to priests that teach heresy against about the Catholic faith, mislead the faithful, abuse the sacraments and even sexually abuse those under their authority. Such Bishops are worse than Eli, for he was not given as great a responsibility as Catholic Bishops, who have been entrusted with the right administration of the New Testament sacraments and the destiny of the souls under their care. Surely such Bishops prove right the saying “the floor of hell is paved with the skulls of bishops”. In spite of such weak Shepherds, the Lord will continue to raise up faithful Catholic Bishops to lead His Church, just as he raised up Samuel in the days of Eli.

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