PopeWatch: No Heaven for Cowards



Father Z has this bravo inducing story about Archbishop John Myers, who, when he was Bishop of Peoria, my diocese, was astonishingly successful in attracting vocations:


Liberal-megaphone RNS’ and David Gibson have a damage control piece out right now.  They may sense that things are not going well at the Synod for the Kasperite agenda.

ROME — Even as Pope Francis and Catholic leaders from around the world debate ways to make the Catholic Church more inclusive, Newark Archbishop John Myers[whom liberals despise] has given his priests strict guidelines on refusing Communion to Catholics who, for example, support gay marriage or join an organization that rejects Church teaching. [Some would say that guidelines are good. But note the language “strict”, “refusing” v. “supporting”, “join”.]

In the two-page memo, Myers also orders parishes and Catholic institutions not to host people or organizations that disagree with the Church. [Archbp. Myers wants people to be… Catholic?]

He says Catholics, “especially ministers and others who represent the Church, should not participate in or be present at religious events or events intended to endorse or support those who reject or ignore Church teaching and Canon Law.” [Do I hear an “Amen!”?]

The new rules could raise eyebrows, [code language] given that Francis is currently leading a high-level Vatican summit, called a synod, where he and some 270 bishops are debating whether to let divorced and remarried Catholics receive Communion, and how to be more welcoming to cohabiting and gay couples whose lives don’t conform to Catholic teaching.

The guidelines could also up the ante for the coming election season, [here the liberal writer accuses Myers of being “political”] when Catholic candidates who support abortion rights or gay rights are sometimes challenged by conservatives over whether they should receive Communion.

Myers issued these guidelines even though he is scheduled to retire next July when he turns 75, turning over the reins to Archbishop Bernard Hebda. [Code: he should not have done anything because he’s old.]


“With so much being generated in the media with regard to issues like same-sex unions and such, this memo about ensuring that Catholic teaching is adhered to in all situations — especially with regard to the use of diocesan properties and facilities — seemed appropriate,” James Goodness, a spokesman for Myers, said.


In the memo, Myers writes: “The Church will continue to cherish and welcome her members and invite them to participate in her life to the degree that their personal situation permits them honestly to do so.

“Catholics,” he continues, “must be in a marriage recognized as valid by the Church to receive Holy Communion or the other sacraments. Non-Catholics and any Catholic who publicly rejects Church teaching or discipline, either by public statements or by joining or supporting organizations which do so, are not to receive the Sacraments.”

Shock!  Catholic Archbishop upholds the Catholic Church’s Teachings!



Go here to read the rest.  According to a probably apocryphal story, President Lincoln, when General Grant was accused of being a drunkard, said that he wanted to learn what he was drinking and send his other generals a barrel full of the same each.   The powers that be at the Vatican, I trust, understand that a gauntlet has been tossed down before them.  May prelates at the Synod emulate both the Archbishop’s orthodoxy and his daring.  Before the battle of Lepanto, the priests of the fleet preached sermons on the theme:  No Heaven for cowards.  True then, true now.

More to explorer


  1. My hope is that Bishop Hebda, our former bishop in the Gaylord diocese, will take good care of the Myers memo by not hiding it, but rather upholding it to faithful in NJ.
    Hebda is a good Bishop. He responded to my plea for his presence at our Stand Up for Religions Freedom Rally in June of 2012.
    He obliged and spoke fearlessly against Obama’s HHS mandate.
    His smile is genuine just like his heart.
    NJ is blessed to have him.

  2. Myers, despite his orthodoxy, has a credibility problem. The archdiocese agreed to monitor a priest (Michael Fugee)accused of groping a boy in lieu of another trial (guilty verdict was overturned). It was discovered that he had been present at a parish youth retreat in another NJ diocese, hearing confessions (albeit in plain view of others). When this became public the bishop of the other diocese reassigned that pastor, and the youth ministers (friends of Fugee) resigned that week. Archbishop Meyers said nothing for several days, and then lashed out saying no child is safer than in the Newark archdiocese. Went totally defensive, even offensive. I am an orthodox Catholic, and I was dismayed at this performance.

    We do ourselves no favors when we avoid mentioning serious problems involving our leadership.

  3. Robster. ( guilty verdict was overturned.)

    Forgive me, I’m very slow on the up-take.
    If the alleged had been cleared of this allegation and reassigned that’s one thing.
    Are you saying that the guilty verdict was overturned on technicalities?

    I’m trying to understand the reactions of the archbishop based upon the reasoning of the court. If the priest was innocent I would be somewhat offensive too, wishing to support the priest. As I said earlier Robster, I’m not very quick. Can you please spell this one out for me.
    Thanks in advance.

  4. Everybody,

    Look up the definition of the word “detraction.”
    Bishop Myers’ attempts to try to ,minimize the harm to the family at the hands of the post-modern synod against the family should not be affected by the factoid that Robster doesn’t think BISHOP Myers was tough enough on (arguably) exonerated, predatory priests.

  5. From Merriam-Webster: Definition of DETRACTION
    1: a lessening of reputation or esteem especially by envious, malicious, or petty criticism : belittling, disparagement

    My point in bringing this issue up was not meaness, but a less one-sided impression of a leader. I don’t dispute the recent statement, though I doubt it will be followed or enforced.

    But this champion of orthodoxy has by seeming to mishandle a sensitive issue and then go ballistic when criticized about it, gives a bad impression about church leadership.
    In defending the church, we should not avoid dealing with just criticism.

    Here is a link to some background information about the case: https://www.catholicculture.org/commentary/the-city-gates.cfm?id=760

  6. I am a native of the Peoria Diocese (name drop: the home of Archbisop Fulton Sheen, also), and knew Archbishop Myers as: vocations director, vicar general, monsignor, co-adjutor, and bishop. I questioned, and disagree with, some of his decisions. And guess what, I could not be prouder of his recent memo. Like some have done with Kim Davis, the KY clerk who refuses to issue marriage licenses to homosexuals, they detract from his stand because he has made mistakes. God bless him, he, like us all, needs to make the present decision correctly, and not be constrained by imperfection.

  7. Canon Lawyer Ed Peters has a very good takedown of Professor Charles Reid’s over-reaction to Archbishop Myers’s letter.

    Note well the comments on Reid’s article, and how many reference Pope Francis and how Archbishop Myers is acting contrary to the spirit of the Pope. Once again, Pope Francis is being used as a cudgel by dissenters to browbeat anybody who defends orthodoxy. Papal apologists will argue that this is due in large part to the media misrepresenting the Pope, and there is some truth to that. But only a slight bit of truth.

  8. The title of the post and admonition of the priests at Lepanto give pause to lots and lots of parents and brothers and sisters who are daily in difficult positions of trying to deal with their loved one in the “lifestyle “

  9. “My point in bringing this issue up was not meaness, but a less one-sided impression of a leader.”

    Unfortunately, Robster, I’m afraid you’ve flunked. If your sole cause for complaint comes from a tangled case, wherein I cannot discern anything that the bishop definitely did wrong, I’d say your comment has not provided any evidence that has any useful bearing.
    Looks more like an excuse to bad-mouth a bishop.

  10. Bishop Hebda comes from Pittsburgh, as do Bishop Zubik of Pittsburgh, Bishop Tobin of Providence, Bishop Bradley of Kalamazoo, Michigan and Cardinals DiNardo of Houston and the inimitable Cardinal Wuerl of Washington. Informed Catholics know about Cardinal Wuerl.

    Bishop Tobin has been outspoken as a defender of things Catholic. Cardinal DiNardo is no heterodox prelate. Let’s hop Bishop Hebda follows the examples of Bishop Tobin and Cardinal DiNardo.

  11. I do not gratuituously ‘bad-mouth a bishop.’ As an orthodox Catholic however, I am puzzled when clergy who support positions contrary to church teaching are removed from campus ministry and reassigned to a couple of parishes. Without any sort of admonition or correction. Presumably he will share his views with the ‘faithful’ there, spreading the infection. It is the contradiction between the this action and strong orthodox statement given above that disturbs me, especially from a supposedly orthodox bishop.

    In the other case, the archdiocese had promised to monitor a suspect priest and apparently didn’t. How can the faithful trust leadership like this?.

  12. Thanks Donald for posting this most uplifting memo about Archbishop John Myers doing something remarkable in our day, i.e., standing up for the Catholic faith in no uncertain terms. Let us pray that other Bishops catch this virus of orthodoxy by promoting the Catholic faith and discipline in their dioceses.

  13. You know things are bad when one of the few bishops who uphold Church teaching on marriage is fleecing the faithful to bankroll his plush retirement digs. At least you can say the faithful are getting something in return for their “investment”. As deplorable as that may be I would rather see money spent to help a bishop live high on the hog than being wasted on things that have nothing to do with the mission of the Church like anti-death penalty activism or undermining just immigration laws etc.

  14. I know this comment is late to the thread and off-topic, but the mention of Archbishop Myers made me think of it. I lived in the Peoria Diocese until 2005 and remember Abp. Myers tenure as Bishop of Peoria (1990-2001) very well. Like any bishop he had his supporters and his detractors and some of his decisions were controversial, particularly when they involved closing schools or parishes.

    Today I live in the Diocese of Springfield, Ill. A few days ago I was reading an article in our diocesan newspaper that noted the sharply declining Catholic population in many dioceses and the reasons for it. Here is the part that made me do a double take:

    “In 2003 we (Diocese of Springfield) had 152,985 Catholics. In 2014 we had 145,189. This shows a decline of 7,796. In the Diocese of Peoria in 2003 they had 193,970 Catholics and in 2014 their decline (sic) fell to 111,723, a decline of 82,247.”

    So, if these figures are accurate, the Peoria Diocese lost more than 40% of its ENTIRE Catholic population in the roughly dozen years after Abp. Myers left for Newark. My questions are:

    1. Are these figures really accurate? Had the Catholic population in Peoria been inflated in previous years and/or undercounted in more recent years?

    2. If these figures are accurate, what the heck happened? Why would the Diocese of Peoria lose approximately 11 Catholics for every ONE that departed the Diocese of Springfield — be it by apostasy, relocation or death — during the same period? Any factor that I can think of — the clergy sex abuse scandals, a poor economy, loss of faith among the younger generation, the WWII and Baby Boomer generations dying off, etc. — would have impacted both dioceses about equally.

    The only substantial difference between both dioceses that comes to my mind is that Peoria had one bishop (Bp. Daniel Jenky) during this period while Springfield had two (Abp. George Lucas through 2009; Bp. Thomas John Paprocki since 2010). No, I’m NOT saying Bp. Jenky is to blame for this, but can Don or anyone else explain how this could have happened?

  15. “In 2003 we (Diocese of Springfield) had 152,985 Catholics. In 2014 we had 145,189. This shows a decline of 7,796. In the Diocese of Peoria in 2003 they had 193,970 Catholics and in 2014 their decline (sic) fell to 111,723, a decline of 82,247.”

    I would doubt the statistics Elaine. Keeping track of the Catholic population in a diocese would be difficult and the results would be heavily dependent on the methodologies employed and the skill of the people compiling the surveys.

  16. some of his decisions were controversial, particularly when they involved closing schools or parishes.

    As apostolates, schools are commonly failures (see the Catholic high school in Charlotte, NC for a flagrant example). As for parish closings, I’m recalling the exasperated remark of an old priest regarding the resentment members of a village parish had about being compelled to share a priest with a neighboring parish: “when was the last time a vocation came out of this parish?”

  17. “Keeping track of the Catholic population in a diocese would be difficult”

    Kind of like keeping track of how many people actually attend the State Fair 🙂 The Official Catholic Directory, aka the Kenedy (one ‘n’) Directory, published continuously since 1817, is or at least used to be the gold standard for this purpose.


  18. off thread: The only thing that can save our parishes and our Catholic school system is consecrated women, nuns and sisters who teach orthodoxy, who live in community and require only what is necessary to survive. My tuition for Catholic grammar school was $2.00. Tuition for Catholic grammar school is now $10,000 or more per year due to secular teachers and wages and healthcare. When religious persons were once respected, priests and nuns were given professional courtesy, free healthcare, free transportation, and anything else they needed. It was the laity’s privilege and opportunity to add to their good deeds and call to charity to enable the consecrated men and women. With the denial of God, the human soul and freedom, atheism imposed by the state and the Main Stream Mob, the American gulag has enlarged and resulted in ignorance and indifference to truth.

  19. Truth belongs to God and to Caesar. Dialog in truth might bring forth peace and understanding. Without guile (and an ax to grind and an agenda of sorts, see Obergefell), truth might yet be possible.
    The Triune God has a Son to Love and to love Him. Their Love for One another is the Holy Spirit. Allah has no son to love him, nor to love and Allah is bereft of love and the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is a PERSON, as are The Father and the Son.

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