By Boniface (the son)
St. John Fisher was an English Martyr during the English Reformation in the 1500s. The main thing most people know about him was that he was beheaded, but I don’t think a lot of people know why. He was executed on June 22, 1535 for not signing the Oath of Supremacy, which declared the King, Henry VIII, the head of the Catholic Church in England. Moreover, he was the only bishop in England that did not the sign the Oath. Every other bishop “drank the kool-aid”.
Catholics reading this might start to think they know where I am going. In early 2020, the covid-19 pandemic struck, and everyone was worried about dying. While this is understandable, especially when we were that mis-informed in the beginning, the response from the Bishops was abysmal. In March/April Bishops around the world started to close down Churches, denying the Sacraments to the faithful. They “drank the kool-aid”. This was unprecedented and uncalled for. In any pandemic, where people are dying (a.k.a. meeting their Maker), it would seem the the Sacraments were not only good, but necessary for people dying in the hospitals. But the pressure of spreading the virus was too much risk to permit a bishop to save a soul. Just like the bishops in England, the bishops now put their physical safety in front of their spiritual safety, and the safety of their flock.
Now, we need “John Fishers” to stand up and start doing their jobs as Bishops. They are a necessary part of the structure of the Catholic Church. If you have no bishops, you can have no priests, which means no Sacraments.
This, while making us justifiably angry, should also, in a way, give us hope. It tells us that the Church, though founded by Jesus, is still run, at least on earth, by men with a sin problem. Bad bishops (and even bad popes) are nothing new, and yet we still have a Church. One thing though that we have learned over the years, as in England, was that the resistance came from the faithful, and not the Church Hierarchy.
Some Pope Statistics:
There have been 266 Popes
81 Popes are Canonized saints (28 of the first 31 were martyred)
9 Popes are Blesseds (third stage of canonization)
2 Popes are Venerables (second stage of canonization)
2 Popes are Servants of God (first stage of canonization)
35.34% of Popes are somewhere in the process of, or have been, Canonized.
Taking out those 28 martyrs (who cannot help being saints), 24.81% are left Canonized.
Considering that the Pope is called “His Holiness” this is pretty low.
Yet, the Church has lasted over 2000 years.