The 9 Stages of Irrelevance

If you haven’t figured it out, there are many in the Church hierarchy who are hoping you completely lost your memory of the last few decades, let alone 2018. It’s like they hope we’ll totally forget what’s been going on if they just keep telling us to just wait a little longer on that reform they promised us. Sometimes I think it’s because they don’t have children (well, none that we know about) and don’t understand that, when parents are trying to protect their children, our memories are pretty hard to erase.

I know many of you are going to tell me that the abuse has been going on for decades longer, and I don’t disagree, but really, 2002 was the biggest coordinated media-focused effort where we were told that the Church would move hell and high water to make sure the abuse stopped. Meh, not so much.

2018? That was the year the mainstream media, law enforcement, and legal organizations decided that they were no longer going to ignore what was going on. For some, it was just too good of a story. Heck, even Hollywood decided not to ignore it. For others, it was a payday for their law firm. I’m going to assume law enforcement just wanted to protect and serve. Those of us faithful Catholics who have been diligently saying “It’s still happening!” finally had allies, albeit strange allies. The enemy of my enemy and all.

Let’s start with early 2018. In February, news broke that the Vatican, from the Pope on down, had ignored the abuse of children at a deaf school. Then came the scandal in Chile where the Pope actually said that those accusing the bishop there were spreading calumny. Then in America the McCarrick abuse came to media light (although soooooo many knew long before it hit the mainstream media, including the Vatican). Then there was the scandal in the Honduran seminary which was attempting to be turned into a gay brothel. Geez. (The head of that archdiocese is Cardinal Maradiaga – papal buddy and appointee to the C9). Oh, and Cardinal Maradiaga was also investigated in 2017 and accused of financial mismanagement by the papal envoy. Let’s see, where is he now? Still working at the Vatican. He also accused the 50 Honduran seminarians as “gossipers.” And then came all the grand juries and investigations in other countries, such as Germany. And let’s not forget Archbishop Vigano.

The pattern that emerged last year was

1) accusation

2) denial

3) blame the accusers,

4) “Oh! Uh, yeah. It happened. We just didn’t know!” (even though everyone knew), 5) “Oh, we’ll fix what we said was already fixed!” 

6) “The laity must get involved!”

7) “We’re going to ignore the laity!”

8) “You can’t do anything, we’re working on it!”, “Still working!” and finally

9) “It’s the laity’s fault and definitely, definitely, definitely not a problem with homosexual priests!”

Seriously, it’s a looonnnggg pattern, but one played out just like that in the U.S. Let me refresh your memory:

1) Victims quite clearly made accusations about McCarrick and to the police departments around the country for quite a while.

2) The McCarrick situation was totally ignored, and he was even given nice little awards here and there. While some dioceses took accusations seriously, some quite evidently ignored them. Again, McCarrick was a perfect example.

3) I think Archbishop Vigano is a perfect example of what happens when you step out of line and shed some light on the reality of the situation.

4) Cardinal Tobin is the perfect person cast in the “We knew nothing!” role. The guy lived with one of the biggest perpetrators, but yeah, he didn’t see a thing, along with Cardinal Cupich, Bishop McElroy, Cardinal Mahony, Cardinal Dolan, Cardinal Wuerl, etc., etc., etc.

5) The Vatican said they’d fix the problem in February. The USCCB tried to actually give it a go in October but were cut off at the knees by Cardinals Wuerl and Cupich thanks to the Vatican. The Vatican said “No trying to do anything until we have our grand meeting in February,” which then only became a meeting on half of the abuse problem (minors) and totally ignored the other half. They also haven’t uttered a peep on the USCCB’s proposals which they said would be dealt with. What were those? How to police the authority (bishops) and…

6 & 7) setting up lay oversight. Remember? That idea has been floated since 2002 but has never happened with any degree of credibility. Lay women have quit the Vatican “Papal Commission on the Protection of Minors” organization because nobody was listening, AND have we heard about that in any concrete terms at the “Meeting on the Protection of Minors?” Again, let’s not forget the USCCB was going to vote on a lay oversight committee until that was forbidden by the Vatican.

8) This laughable “Meeting on the Protection of Minors” kicked the can down the road even before they started downplaying all expectations that they would be able to do anything (not that we expected anything). We’ve ignored a HUGE chunk of the problem for decades! Why start now?

9) We are told that by liberal mouthpiece Massimo Faggioli, as seen here, that it’s all our fault due to “clericalism”. You, ladies and gentlemen, all need to apologize for the abuse crisis. You treated your priests with a little too much trust and reverence. And believe me, Massimo is not the only one to try and float this idea, just the latest.
Ninth, clericalism must die. The system that privileges the word and status of bishops and priests over those of lay people (and parents); that insists on an exaggerated deference for clergy and bishops, and that has functioned as a closed world, must be dismantled.
So, what is clericalism? Clericalism is an exaggeration of the role of the clergy to the detriment of the laity. In a culture of clericalism, clerics are put on a pedestal and the laity are overly deferential and submissive to them. Pope Francis notes that clericalism is not only fostered by priests, but also reinforced by lay people.

Just what is clericalism in the mind of Bishop Zinkula?

Perhaps a few examples of clericalism would be of assistance:

Coddling seminarians and telling them how special they are.

Insisting that priests or deacons go to the front of the line at meals and wakes because they are more important and busier than everyone else.

People telling me, when I am pondering an issue, “Whatever you want, Bishop.”

It all comes down to your fault, people, no matter how you slice it. If you show respect for your local priest, seminarian, or bishop, you might as well have abused the victims yourself. If you call out the abusive clergy, you are “The Great Accuser.” Just face it, fellow faithful, this “Meeting on the Protection of Minors & Blatant Ignoring of the Rest of the Victims” is going to give the Church ZERO help in fixing the problem. It’s all on you, and it’s definitely not going to be done by the national bishops’ conferences or the Vatican at this point. They have produced NOTHING that hasn’t already been chatted about before at the endless conferences and summits. This was a dog and pony show, but they seemed to forget that they should bring dogs and ponies. But it’s not about homosexuality. Sure. Not. At. All. In. The. Least.

So how is this going to get fixed now? This is going to be done bishop by bishop, diocese by diocese, and some of the good guys are going to be completely skewered for it. Hopefully, the good leaders will start to realize that “sly as the serpent, gentle as the dove” is going to have to be the new method of operation, and I’m hoping they will start some sort of coalition to protect the faithful. The American bishops had to sit on their hands for four months waiting for some scraps of food to be tossed their way. Apparently the master forgot about them. What are they going to do now? Their March meeting is coming fast. Are they just going to ignore the fact they were told to wait for instructions that never came? Or are they going to demand that the supposed canonical questions are ironed out and they can implement their ideas?

Think about it. The Church hasn’t even come up with a plan to stop one of the most heinous things going on in the world today. It’s not simply that they’ve failed to implement a plan. It’s that they don’t have one. I’m quite sure that some bishops and cardinals don’t want anyone to police them. Clearly that was the reason Cardinals Cupich, Wuerl, and their ilk worked so hard to make sure that didn’t happen and will continue to do so.

BTW, I’d like to thank the reporters who have heard the laity loud and clear when we asked repeatedly when homosexuality’s role in the abuse crisis would be dealt with. I hope they keep hammering them on this. The hierarchy will continually try to reframe the answer to a question not asked. The question isn’t “Did homosexuality make them do it?” The question is “What are we going to do with the knowledge that the overwhelming number of these cases involved homosexual activities by priests?” The answer is obvious to anyone who actually wants to stop abuse.



25 thoughts on “The 9 Stages of Irrelevance

  1. The overall chastity issue has not been addressed. Homosexuality is only a part of that. The only thing that I know of that can deal with this is the fruit of the Spirit temperance or self-control (see Galatians 5:22-23). Getting back to this might be the biggest challenge. It would involve getting back to New Testament spirituality.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. There is a bit of dark humor going around that refers to clergy that have been caught in a compromising relationship to have been caught in an act of “clericalism”.


  3. The outcome was as predictable as 100 degree days in Texas in the summer. The recently concluded summit at the Vatican was a failure on several fronts.
    • Failed to address one of the main issues on abuse – homosexuality

    • Produced nothing new in the way of discipline and accountability of the bishops

    • Gave further impetus to the thought that the laity don’t really understand what is going on and are incapable of investigating and presenting solutions

    As noted, it was largely a dog and pony show – misdirection – Houdini at his best.

    Do the bishops, cardinals and the Pope not realize that the laity really want to get the abuse problem solved? It seems like they want to freshen up the old “Pray, Pay and Obey” axiom.

    Nothing to see here, just keep moving.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Ugh.
    It’s just so messed up. And now every time I hear the ideas about women and the laity being more involved the cynic in me stars to wonder if in the future when these things happen they will then say “well the women of the church and the laity as a whole didn’t do enough to stop this!” what a terrible example to set for young people – don’t take responsibility.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I’d like to say I was disappointed by what happened in Rome, but the truth is I fully expected it all along. I’m afraid we are rapidly reaching the point where short of God raising up a lay or clerical saint, who is likely to be fully skewered by the hierarchy before they triumph in miraculous fashion, that we are going to be left with nothing but a tiny remnant Church that will struggle to survive until this vast secular civilization that surrounds us crashes.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Disturbing to see so many enabler and coverup cino bishops like R. Marx shredder of abuse doc,. Farrell ,Mahoney Cupich and Daneels. ETC. .advanced By the clue less Vatican……. Soto and Mahoney are credibly accused of helping sodomite clergy flee to mexico while under investigation by CAL. AUTHORITIES.


  7. This is in the beginning of the document Borgoglio put out after the perv summit.
    Nota Bene: the non use of proportional stats for each population.
    PARENTS are PRIMARILY the sexual abusers of children.

    ?The first truth that emerges from the data at hand is that those who perpetrate abuse, that is acts of physical, sexual or emotional violence, are primarily parents, relatives, husbands of child brides, coaches and teachers. Furthermore, according to the UNICEF data of 2017 regarding 28 countries throughout the world, 9 out of every 10 girls who have had forced sexual relations reveal that they were victims of someone they knew or who was close to their family.”


    1. Tone deaf, indeed. But I don’t find it a particularly bad idea to remind people of the actual scale of the issue.
      It is not confined to clergy and certainly not statistically outside the norm of any institution.
      The problem is massive.
      You are now seeing the defensive natured of men who did something wrong and are now being attacked.
      They will victim-shame, lie, cheat and steal like any dirtbag would.
      The real solution (when it comes to catholic hierarchy) is the money. Take away their purse so they can preach as christ told them to – in poverty.


  8. Re. ¶4, wasn’t it Kevin Farrell and not Tobin who lived with McCarrick. Farrell went on video to say, implausibly, that he never saw anything improper?


    Hurricane force winds hit Malta
    “And who was the key organizer of the summit but Archbishop Charles Scicluna of MALTA, who said on February 22 that decades of widespread homosexuality in U.S. seminaries had “nothing to do with the sexual abuse of minors,” and who likewise said that he would never dare point to the category of homosexuality as having “the propensity to sin.” Unfortunately, the summit he organized was all about concealing the Vatican’s collusion with homosexuality under the guise of “protecting minors.”
    A wave of divine justice appears to have collided with the lighthouse in Malta to punctuate the fact that the episcopal beacon of Malta has gone out! We pray this will be a wake-up call for the archbishop and the entire hierarchy as to how Almighty God feels about the infamous summit that served, not to halt, but to further the advance clerical sexual abuse by deflecting the attention from homosexual activity of bishops and priests.
    This negligence was punctuated by Pope Francis’ own statement at the summit’s close, when he said, “Those who perpetrate abuse, that is acts of physical, sexual or emotional violence, are primarily parents, relatives, husbands of child brides, coaches and teachers.” Not a word about homosexual clergy.”


      1. And who said anything else? We’re talking about the vast majority of the cases. Like i’ve repeatedly said, for the sake of the victims you start with the most obvious problem and move on the the rest.


        1. As long as the Church is only going to deal with symptoms rather than substance, I would suggest removing the vow of celibacy. At least there is a chance that there will be a better balance of candidates. The New Testament Church did not require vows of celibacy, or any vows for that matter. Revisiting New Testament spirituality would probably help everyone to be more chaste.


          1. NOT the problem. Exclusion of faithful candidate for being TOO ?? Relugious as occured in Ct. Usa for Decades is the problem…….Influx of Homosexuals into. The seminaries , convemts ,col. And priesthood caused 80 to 90 percent of the problem period..


          2. Late to the party here but the above isn’t true, both from the standpoint that it would help and from the standpoint that there wasn’t “vows” in the early Church. That the episcopate has been celibate has always been the case, it is the presbyterate that has included sexually active married men. The Western Church stopped having married priests because they kept creating massive scandals for the Church and the Western Church divested aspects of the role of the bishop to priests after the fall of Rome necessitating the need for unmarried priests. Furthermore, the reforms that the clergy have gone through over the centuries have been through the usage of the monastic structure of religious life and behavior.

            When we look to the “New Testament Church”, say 33AD –> 107AD, that is a very different thing than what people commonly imagine. It is not this freewheeling “spirit lead” thing, but it is organized and ritualistic. How could it not be? Gentile or Jew, the people’s lives day in day out involved ritual. It is only modern man who does not ritualize his day. But if you look at scripture, you will notice that St. Paul spends a lot of time trying to clamp down on the “freewheeling” aspects of the Gentile converts and giving structure — a structure that is pulled from Judaism both because that was his training and what the early Church looked like.

            That is the thing, the early Church is structurally and ritualistic Jewish with increasing amounts of Gentile expressions. The model for the clergy of the early Church is not “well behaved married man” but rather the Jewish rabbi and the Jewish liturgical priesthood. Christian worship is a hybrid of the Synagogue Sabbath and the Passover Sacrifice as fulfilled by Christ.

            The question of sexually active married men is addressed through this prism, where the answer is no that is not what is wanted. Three Jewish concepts inform this: spiritually celibacy for the Kingdom is superior to marriage, engaging in liturgical ministry necessitates the suspension of sexual activity for those married, the Christ the eternal High Priest who never ceases in his liturgical role.

            Leaving aside the theological and spiritual, would having a sexually active married clergy help anything? No, because the current issue involves bishops and bishops cannot be sexually active married men. No, because sexually active married priests have caused historical problems in the Church. No, because sexually active married clergy in Protestant denominations don’t resolve the issue there. No, because I have not met nor read of one married Catholic man who says he would be a priest if it was not for the celibacy vow.

            But MOST IMPORTANTLY no because the issue isn’t about something that is lacking in Catholic priests, it is about the steadfast REFUSAL to follow Church teaching on the part of the episcopate. Sexual deviancy on the part of humans is not new. It is not new for the Church. It is not new for priests. It is not new for bishops. Much has been written on the subject, much exists in law. Having sexually active priests is in no way shape or form going to make the bishops start following Church teaching.


          3. There were no positions in the New Testament Church that required a vow of celibacy. The New Testament instructions for bishops, deacons, and elders or presbyters were that they be the husbands of one wife. See 1Timothy 3:2,12 and Titus 1:5-6.


          4. Staying single did not require a vow. The fruit of the Spirit temperance or self-control was the only thing that was needed (Galatians 5:22-23). This is something that the Church should pay closer attention to. Vows are not as effective as the Holy Spirit.


          5. It is if the pope says it is part and parcel to a vocation to he religious life. That’s something the Church should pay more attention to instead of railing against it.


          6. The pope is not above Divine Revelation. When we have the Holy Spirit, we are all guided by Him. Vatican II’s Lumen Gentium 12 says: “The entire body of the faithful, anointed as they are by the Holy One, (111) [cf. 1 Jn 2:20, 27] cannot err in matters of belief. They manifest this special property by means of the whole peoples’ supernatural discernment in matters of faith when “from the Bishops down to the last of the lay faithful” (8*) [Cf. 1 Cor. 10: 17] they show universal agreement in matters of faith and morals. That discernment in matters of faith is aroused and sustained by the Spirit of truth.”


  10. If “clericalism” is the problem, how about taking a step to ending it by rejecting the clericalism of those clerics telling us what to think about the nature of the problem including that we ignore homosexuality as relevant to the problem?


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