The Episcopal Leviathan

Recently the ordinary in my diocese, Bishop Albert Thevenot, released a letter regarding funding for Development and Peace (D&P). In the letter Thevenot explained how D&P, the Canadian Catholic Bishop's charity responsible for social justice (is there a justice on earth which does not involve society?), was finally reprimanded during lent for funding anti-life agencies. The Canadian Bishops withheld their yearly lenten cash haul to D&P. The decision was several years too late, but welcome nonetheless. In the Catholic Church these days, Leviathan that it has become, you take what you can get. 

And so, Thevenot explained the position with Development and Peace. He stated D&P has given no assurance of refraining from funding agencies with policies contrary to Catholic moral teaching - "Dark clouds seem to hover over Development and Peace at this time." Well and good. Why should bishops provide money which supports evil agencies? It all seems so obvious and utterly not worth stating. Like calling rain wet, puppies cute, or bagpipes out of tune. Cue the next paragraph.
"After much discernment, however, I have decided to forward the 2018 Lenten Campaign collections to Development and Peace with a clear indication that the sum should only be used for projects approved by the CCCB."
Mic drop. Jaw drop on my part as well. “As a dog returns to his vomit, so a fool repeats his folly” (Proverbs 26:11). Let's get the facts straight: D&P is guilty of grave misdoings. D&P is continuing in these grave misdoings. They are unrepentant and therefore untrustworthy. "Dark clouds hover over" the organization. Therefore D&P is being sent more money (because they are untrustworthy?). Bishop Thevenot then dedicated two and a half additional paragraphs gushing over the work that D&P has accomplished.

This work, one must ascertain, includes a very 'poor' charity rating (a mediocre C+), an appalling 21% of funds spent on administration with many salaries exceeding $100,000, as well as the fact that the Canadian government already funds over $20 million yearly to D&P's plump budget. All of this incompetence, however, is but minor when considering D&P's funding of immoral organizations. The saints, including St. Thomas Aquinas, define justice as giving what each person deserves or is owed (II-II, Q. 58). Development and Peace, an organization which has funded immoral agencies, and remains unrepentant, certainly is not owed more money! To do so is an act of injustice. But one must not plead for justice in 2018. Not when mercy provides license to sin.

I wrote a letter to Bishop Albert and pleaded for even a slight amount of logic, that great connector to the Logos, to be considered. I asked for him to ponder the possibility that, maybe just maybe, not all laity are stupid sheep who are rather fond of being treated like a punching bag, one that spits out money every time it is hit. Alas, punching bags should remain silent and I have certainly said too much.

No, I will say more. Much more. 

Why not utilize the illogical argument in our favour? Dear Bishop (you can use this for your own bishop some time): I have noticed that my hard earned money which I tithe to my parish has a portion taxed and entrusted to the diocesan coffers. I have decided, after much discernment (which, of course, is always infallible), to continue giving money to my parish with a clear indication that the sum must not be used to fund untrustworthy organizations, namely your diocese. Indeed, dark clouds seem to hover over it. Signed, Punching Bag.

The Leviathan. Photo Credit:

What I have just explained is certainly not the most grievous and pressing issue amongst bishops and all Catholics at this time. We are in the times of, as Anthony Esolen calls, the irreal. Unreal is hardly believable. Irreal defies all conception of normalcy, order, and logic. Yet it is emblematic of what we are in the midst of. When 137 American bishops are incapable of agreeing to request that Pope Francis release files on sex abuser ex-Cardinal McCarrick, it is irreal. When these same bishops call on Cardinal Mahoney, Mr. $720 million-man in payouts for his episcopal misdeeds of covering up abusers, to address these same bishops on how to handle abuse, it is irreal. When in the same week the majority of U.S. bishops refuse to budge on addressing what is wrong while preparing to ask the American Catholic for money to fund themselves, it is irreal.

No, my little squabble with my bishop is insignificant, yet remains emblematic. Accordingly, responding to my bishop might be insignificant, but it also is emblematic.

It actually takes a lot of nerve and righteous anger to step up and write a bishop. I referenced the Leviathan earlier. The giant fish-like creature Leviathan appears in the bible several times. I actually refer to philosopher Thomas Hobbes' Leviathan. For Hobbes, life is "solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short." A mega structure of power, the Leviathan, is necessary to keep any semblance of order, otherwise those evil underlings will destroy and corrupt each other. We are all just back-stabbing murderers at heart. Thus, the subjects of the Leviathan are to quake in its presence, to fear and tremble while timidly obeying. One harkens Machiavelli's famous line, "It is better to be feared than loved." When bishops act with little or no regard for their subjects, the subject's money, the subject's received abuse, nor the logic in the subject's pleas, they wield a mighty sword indeed. A Leviathan rules. The Episcopal Leviathan demands obedience to the irreal because it believes the subjects are incapable of fighting back against the iron rule. I answer that this necessitates, all the more, faithful Catholics to speak out against such a rule.

When the faithful Catholic speaks out against irrealism from the episcopacy they must expect ridicule, difficulties, and a slow drawn out martyrdom for the faith. Nevertheless, bring justice. Bring truth. Bring charity. Bring what is real. Expect strife. Expect pain. Expect ridicule. And expect a gentle nudge of peace and warming love from the Holy Spirit. But for the love of souls: Speak out. These are not the times for apathy. A small voice is still a voice. Many small voices make a loud voice. Death comes for us all. We all answer to Jesus. The Church is not a Leviathan. Do not permit it to be run as one. Dear faithful Catholics: speak out. 

Editor's note: Bishop Albert Thevenot can be reached at


  1. you lost me at bagpipes. How dare you! lol.

    1. It was either that or: What does a bagpipe and a baseball have in common? People cheer when you hit them with a bat.


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