Whether its uncovering liturgical abuse, false ordinations, public dissenters, renegade clergy or Socialist/Communist movements within Church and parish, the phenomenon of the Catholic Detective is with us to stay–like it or not.
As I see it, the underlying inspiration for the modern day Catholic detective is always fidelity to, and defense of, the body of Christ–the Church. In this age of extreme dissent they are often characterized as simply “Conservative” or “Reactionary”, but I think this would be a false assessment. They’re neither Conservative nor liberal, only “Catholic” in their sense of faith, morals, and required obedience to the teaching magisterium.
My experience has shown them to be deeply prayerful, long-suffering, yet joyful in the works they do on behalf of truth–Jesus Christ. Any perceptible angst found within them (or publicly) is born from frustration at the hindrance the Church experiences in authentically carrying out her mission in the world, the salvation of souls. And contrary to innuendo, if any fear is found within them it does not stem from the fear of change within the Church, but rather, the fret of the real possibility of waking up to their morning news some day and reading: “Headless Body Found”. (Meaning: a false Christ and false Church).
Jesus said, “the powers of hell would not prevail” over His Church, but He didn’t say how they would be thwarted. St. Paul too, in his beautiful description of the sacred body and its members never mentions that the viruses and bacteria that inevitably would invade this one, holy, catholic and apostolic body would encounter this unseen immune system-the Catholic detective. They create (files) and engineer antibodies (reports) to fight every disease found within the body. I believe that these same “parish police”, as they are oftentimes derisively referred as, will in the end be shown to be instrumental in helping the Holy Spirit, (the soul of the Church), fight back and defeat those very same powers of disease present within the life of the Church. Perhaps, this is why most are so ardently pro-life–they are deeply aware of the Lord and Giver of Life both within and outside the confines of the Church.
Lest anyone think the job is glamorous, it’s not. Most detectives I know of receive little recognition, the hours are long sleepless and unpaid, they’re sole common denominator appears to be loyalty to Christ and his teachings alone. Oftentimes repaid only with irritation and rebuke by their own priest and bishop alike, they are scorned by the underground they uncover, looked upon as backward and behind the times, as well as cognizant of the personal cost–time sacrificed away from spouses, family and friends. In other words: they are the Rodney Dangerfield’s of the Christian world.
In my own neck-of-the-woods recently, Catholic detectives defended unsuspecting Christians from receiving invalid sacraments (Confession and Communion) from non-ordained self-styled womenpriest’s Ruth Boeski and Toni Tortorilla. As this e-mail to the Sophia Christi Community laments:
From: Ruth Broeski
To: Toni Tortorilla
Sent: Tuesday, March 24, 2009 11:48 PM
Subject: Cancellation of Friday Masses
Dear Sophia Christi Community,
I love my association — our association — with St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church on N. Hereford, a few blocks west of University Park United Methodist Church where we have been meeting. A result of that association was the concelebrated Ash Wednesday Service with Fr. Albert, which was a holy experience for all who were there.
Another extension of that relationship was that I have been offering Mass at St. Andrew’s on Fridays during Lent, which seems on occasion to have been just what a couple people needed, and a wonderful experience for me in that quiet liturgical space. It also has been an opportunity for Toni to hear confessions.
But, you know, God has a way of reminding us that we are not in control in this life. After receiving two phone calls from ‘concerned’ lay Catholics, the Episcopal diocese was alerted, and the assisting bishop of the Episcopal diocese has said I am not to celebrate Eucharist at St. Andrew’s at this time. So the Friday Masses have been cancelled for now. If I come up with another place or time or situation that will work, I will let you all know.
Editors Note: To report abuse in your parish or diocese e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Until then, here’s to you CD’s, our private eyes, keep watching…