Bishop Walsh recently released his first pastoral letter, Divine Providence…Every Moment in Time. This is the first pastoral letter released by Bishop Walsh since his consecration as Bishop of the Diocese of Gaylord. It is not his first official diocesan-wide action, however. One of his first actions to affect the Diocese was his banning of kneelers for Holy Communion. This produced significant confusion and disappointment among some faithful in the Diocese and continues to be a source of contention, especially with those who continue to kneel and are now relegated to using the ground on which to kneel.
The Bishop’s lengthy pastoral letter has many words, but some faithful have complained it is short on substance. The pastoral letter seems to promote a pro-child message, but some have questioned the commitment of the Diocese to children since the Diocese has contracted with the NWEA, a pro-transgender LGBQRSTUVWXYZ+ friendly organization that is involved with assessing the educational level and needs of students.
He seems to be concerned about all children except his spiritual children, including those of Gaylord Diocesan Watch, with whom he refuses to meet. We continue to invite Bishop Walsh to meet with members of Gaylord Diocesan Watch to inform him of our mission and our support for authentic Catholic life in the Diocese.
The letter contains lengthy quotes of Fr. Cizek rather than Church documents or Sacred Scripture. Generalized soothing statements are abundant:
“I know it sounds heady, but we must always live in the now. We must live in the present.” Another example: “No one knows what the future holds.”
He lists a set of priorities for the Diocese after stating the following: “To ensure our local Church continues to thrive…” Is our Diocese thriving with no ordinations to the priesthood coming this year? Is our Diocese thriving as we see Mass attendance and parish participation on the steep decline? When was the last time a parish in this Diocese had a wedding or a baptism? Can we stop with the false cheerleading and false portrayal of the current situation within the Church and our Diocese?
Some faithful have the opinion that since nothing seems to be outright heretical in this pastoral letter, we should be thankful. After all, the Bishop freely admitted that “I do not fancy myself to be an accomplished author.” However, the time for accepting mediocrity in the Church has long since passed. With the rapid decline in Church attendance, belief in Church teachings, and overall cultural collapse, strong leadership is necessary more than ever. Please pray for good, holy bishops and priests for our Diocese.