Not a representative of the people – Abp. Léonard can’t catch a break

Belgian Vice Prime Minister Laurette Onkelinx has levelled some ignorant criticism against Archbishop André-Joseph Léonard. The archbishop’s recent critique at the government claiming the right to decide by majority vote on issues like sexuality, marriage and the differences between man and woman (topics which have a clear and logical identity which can’t be changed by opinion, and which precede legislation) was seen by Onkelinx as an attack on democracy. Instead of limiting her words to a simple disagreement, she saw it fit to lower herself to personal attack.

“The faithful deserve a better representative. He is most certainly not the representative of Catholics in our country,” she said. Well, there’s the heart of the problem put into words. A bishop is not a representative of the faithful, like Ms. Onkelinx is as a politician. Bishops, and priests for that matter, are not taken from the people to represent them. They are given to the faithful to shepherd, educate and lead them. If Msgr. Léonard represents anything, it is the Church and her teachings, and he does so admirably, whatever popular opinion is.