+Cupich & His Unreasoned Allegiance to All Things +Cupich

Hi all-

Still working out the new site glitches (growing pains!) but his new year is bringing me a new home at Foedus. Please follow this link to my recent blog post  https://omm.foeduscatholic.com/cupich-his-unreasoned-allegiance-to-all-things-cupich/   and subscribe to receive my blog from my new home.

In Christ,

OMM

Why Abortion Is Preeminent

Since high school theology teacher Rich Raho decided to call out Bishop Strickland, I decided to give him a little attention. (Before I start – parents, if you have kids in his school, find another school, your money is wasted.) I don’t mean to besmirch Raho’s educational accomplishments, but a BA in Psych and a Master of Divinity don’t make him equal in knowledge of the Faith to the likes of Bishop Strickland. So, when I see Raho trying to take Bishop Strickland to task, I have no choice but to point out that he is not in the same league.

Raho has fallen prey to pride in the same way as the America Magazine or National catholic Reporter folks. They’re trying desperately to quiet those who champion an end to abortion, and in doing so try to paint those who do as somehow opposed to Pope Francis.

Let’s first take a look at Raho’s latest folly:

raho1

My response?

raho2

Let me help Rich out and explain the whole “preeminent” language voted on by the USCCB, because he really doesn’t seem to have a clue. Sadly, Cardinal Cupich and Bishop McElroy have aided and abetted his confusion, too.

“Preeminent” has nothing to do with valuing one life more than another. This is what the dissenting liberals (who really couldn’t care less about stopping abortion) try to tell you. “Preeminent” has every thing to do with who is in the most danger of death at the time. Barring a miraculous event, ever single baby who goes through whatever abortion procedure is chosen will die if that procedure takes place and they cannot fight for their lives. This is not the same for any other tragedy, although I suspect out and out euthanasia is on the horizon. Does this mean that any life is worth less than any other? Nope. It means that the danger of death is assured for this evil like no other. Homelessness, hunger, poverty, etc., etc., etc., are all tragedies, but death is not assured. Should we fight to help all? Absolutely! But, seriously, it is ridiculous to downplay the fact that thousands of children are being killed every day in this country simply because there are other tragedies going on.

Rich would have some serious issues proving the “preeminent” wording of the USCCB is in any way deficient or falling short of anything. Always wonder if he actually knows what the definition is.

pre·em·i·nent

/prēˈemənənt/

adjective

  1. surpassing all others; very distinguished in some way:

Being proximate to death makes abortion THE preeminent issue of our world. Rich hasn’t answered my little question to him on Twitter, though. Why? He knows he can’t, because I’m pretty darn sure he might have a heart and would save the child in danger of death first. That admission blows his lame argument out of the water. I’m pretty sure Pope Francis would do the same in that instance. That’s the reality of abortion.

Can You Say Cardinal James Martin, SJ?

Yeah, neither can I.

I’ve been happily doing the mom thing, preparing for Thanksgiving, and rather ignoring the blogging stuff when I saw this appear on my Twitter page.  https://www.change.org/p/archbishop-christophe-pierre-stop-appointment-of-fr-james-martin-sj-as-archbishop-of-philadelphia

First, a disclaimer, I have zero confirmation on whether this is or is not credible, but I AM NOT WAITING TO FIND OUT! I feel like it’s not, because the most credible rumors up until now were that Bishop McElroy or Cardinal Cupich (which also seems like more of a lateral move so not likely either) were being groomed for this spot. If this latest rumor is indeed being floated, it seems more like a “Trump move.”  You know, float something so over the top that it gives them negotiating room, and then we all feel a sense of relief when it’s not Martin. “Whew!  Thank goodness it’s only Bishop McElroy and not Fr. Martin!” In reality, another petition should be started to request an Archbishop Chaput-like replacement. After all, we never thought anyone would replace Cardinal George with the then Bishop Cupich and, those of us familiar with him, never thought anyone would be crazy enough to put Bishop McElroy anywhere. So, again, we should take all threats seriously.

Next, why do I say “Cardinal James Martin, SJ?” I say that because, up until Archbishop Chaput, the last people put in that spot have eventually been elevated to cardinal.  Sadly, Archbishop Chaput wasn’t elevated before the current regime, so he is the exception, but, likely, whoever lands there will get that hat. Let that sink in a bit. Did you all sign the petition before reading end of this question?

Let’s look at the wording of the petition:

There is a credible report that Fr. James Martin, S.J., is being considered for appointment as Archbishop of Philadelphia.  He would replace retiring Archbishop Charles Chaput, who recently found it necessary to warn that Fr. Martin should not be relied upon to accurately present Catholic doctrine on sexuality. Archbishop Chaput issued a statement detailing five points on which Fr. Martin clashes with Church teaching. For example, he says that Fr. Martin “inspires hope that the Church’s teachings on human sexuality can be changed.”  http://catholicphilly.com/2019/09/archbishop-chaput-column/father-james-martin-and-catholic-belief/.

After Archbishop Chaput’s warning, other bishops also weighed in: “https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/after-chaput-warning-bishops-weigh-in-on-fr-james-martin-28020. Fr. Martin responded that he never contradicts Church teaching.  That might be literally true, but Archbishop Chaput points out that that is not enough: “[T]he point is not to ‘not challenge’ what the Church believes about human sexuality, but to preach and teach it with confidence, joy, and zeal. Biblical truth liberates; it is never a cause for embarrassment.” https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/after-chaput-warning-bishops-weigh-in-on-fr-james-martin-28020.

It’s not even close to literally true. He’s contradicted Church teaching in writing, in word, often in deed with his promotion of organizations in open opposition to Church teaching, such as New Ways Ministry and Out @ St. Paul. (Two of his favs.) Here’s just a small sampling of Catholic publications who have called out Fr. James Martin, SJ, for heresy, dissent and error, as well as for his smarmy smoke and mirrors routine, using his own words.

https://www.churchmilitant.com/main/generic/fr.-james-martin-sj

https://onemadmomblog.wordpress.com  (Just use search box.)

https://www.firstthings.com/web-exclusives/2017/10/fr-martin-does-not-actually-say

https://christianrenaissancemovement.com/2017/09/09/the-very-bad-christology-of-fr-james-martin-s-j/

https://www.churchmilitant.com/news/article/priests-scold-celebrity-jesuit-fr.-james-martin-for-ignorance-arrogance

https://www.catholicworldreport.com/2017/10/02/fr-james-martin-and-accusations-of-heresy/

https://dwightlongenecker.com/correcting-fr-james-martin/

https://www.crisismagazine.com/2017/perfidious-james-martin-sj

https://churchpop.com/2017/08/21/no-jesus-did-not-learn-to-overcome-prejudice-from-the-canaanite-woman/

As I said, this is just a few of the Catholic publications who have called out his heresy, dissent, and error. On the other hand, I can come up with three American “Catholic” publications that have NOT called him out for anything: America Magazine, National catholic Reporter, and…and… Nevermind. Guess I can only come up with two. Fr. James Martin, SJ is THE most called out priest in this country. If you’re going to object to the sources against him, make sure you are able to debate the citations given, otherwise it’s just an ad hominem attack and you look stupid.

We need bishops who are clear and strong teachers of the whole of the Catholic Faith. There is a trend to appoint to major sees in the U.S. men who are supporters of the homosexual agenda, such as Cardinal Cupich in Chicago and Cardinal Tobin in Newark.  Can anyone doubt that an Archbishop Martin in Philadelphia would follow their lead and very soon be given the red hat that was denied to Archbishop Chaput?

Truth is loving. Cardinals Cupich, Tobin, Bishop McElroy, etc. are ambiguous at best and deceitful at worst. They’re denying the faithful the beauty of the Church’s teaching on sexuality.

Sign this petition and tell the papal nuncio, Archbishop Pierre, who is reported to be collecting references on Fr. Martin, that his appointment would be intolerable. Tell him we want worthy shepherds who will be leaders in teaching and practicing the fullness of Catholicism, not more men who will obfuscate and obscure and avoid the inconvenient truths.

Please do. Wild rumor or not, we shouldn’t wait until the ink is dry to respond to this insane idea. And, petition writers, you might also want to get one going expressing your dismay that Cardinal Cupich or Bishop McElroy would be in the running.

Finally, not only should you sign the petition, you should contact the nuncio directly and let him know that if he’s going to suggest any of these gentlemen, he’s going to have a HUGE headache dealing with the aftermath of that appointment. This appointment likely could be THE final straw.

Archbishop Christophe Pierre
Apostolic Nunciature in the United States of America
3339 Massachusetts Avenue, NW
Washington, DC  20008-3610

Phone: 202-333-7121

Fax: 202-337-4036

nuntiususa@nuntiususa.org

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.

https://onemadmomblog.wordpress.com/2018/09/04/martins-twitter-manifesto/
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.

 

https://onemadmomblog.wordpress.com/2018/09/27/its-your-fault-laity/
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.

 

Program for Disaster!

Can we just look at the program for this increasingly obvious waste of time in Rome this week? http://www.pbc2019.org/meeting/program

The Protection of Minors in the Church

THURSDAY 21 FEBRUARY: RESPONSIBILITY

9.30        1st PRESENTATION by Sig. Card. Luis Antonio Tagle:

Smell of the sheep. Knowing their pain and healing their wounds is at the heart of the shepherd’s task

Thirty minutes of a talk we’ve heard before ad nauseum.  Stop trying to smell like sheep and maybe listen to them for a change. And I don’t mean your handpicked ones.

10.15   2nd PRESENTATION S.E. Mons. Charles Jude Scicluna:

Church as field hospital. Taking responsibility

Thirty minutes of another talk we’ve heard before.  I am intrigued by “taking responsibility” and cannot wait to hear who they are referring to here.  I’m afraid of what I might hear, though, because I think I’ve heard multiple times this week the laity is supposed to apologize for clericalism. 

11.20   Working Groups

Seventy minutes of working groups.

12.30   Conclusion

Followed by a three and a half hour break!  It’s probably needed to help them get over the confusion of why they’re there in the first place.

16.00   3rd PRESENTATION Sig. Card. Rubén Salazar Gómez:

The Church in a moment of crisis – Facing conflicts and tensions and acting decisively

Umm, I’m sure this isn’t THE biggest crisis the Church has faced, but “a moment of crisis?”  We’ve been talking about this for seventeen years by my count.  When is somebody going to to the “acting decisively” thing already?!?  I mean, we can’t even agree on what’s caused this, but that’s DEFINITELY not on the agenda for this meeting.

 16.45  Coffee break

Twenty minutes to get them through a bunch more themes they’ve heard before.

17.05   Working Groups

Fifty-five whole minutes this time!

FRIDAY 22 FEBRUARY: ACCOUNTABILITY

Try to control your laughter.

9.15      1st PRESENTATION Sig. Card. Oswald Gracias:

Collegiality: sent together

Thirty minutes because nobody’s ever heard a thing about collegiality.  Oh, wait…

10.00   2nd PRESENTATION Sig. Card. Blase Joseph Cupich:

Synodality: jointly responsible

Thirty minutes on synodality, which now apparently means everyone is responsible for the mess some have created.

10.45   Coffee break

Twenty minutes to once again try to endure until the end of the charade.

11.05   Working Groups

This one looks like a whopping eighty-five minutes to regurgitate the endlessly repeated themes.

 16.00  3rd PRESENTATION Dott.ssa Linda Ghisoni:

Communio: to work together

Thirty minutes to wonder what in the hell the last seventeen years was about.

17.05  Working Groups

Another fifty-five minutes to figure out how to explain this to their flock followed by presentation of it.

SATURDAY 23 FEBRUARY: TRANSPARENCY

It’s going to take me awhile to stop laughing at this title. Seriously, the Vatican has failed so miserably in this area and they’re now going to lead the charge? Okay. One word: Vigano.

9.15      1st PRESENTATION Sup. Gen. Sr. Veronica Openibo, SHCJ:

Openess: sent out into the world

Thirty minutes on heaven-knows-what, but I can tell there might be problems when you don’t even know how to spell it.  And, yes, I’m going there because how much money are we spending on the messaging? Homeschool moms say spelling counts!

10.00   2nd PRESENTATION Sig. Card. Reinhard Marx:

Transparency in a community of believers

Seriously?????? Somebody should have pointed him in the direction of cleaning up the mess in Germany before he attempted to tell the rest of the Church how to do it.

11.05     Working Groups

Eighty-five minutes to talk about how they got stuck with Cardinal Marx.

16.00  3rd PRESENTATION Dott.ssa Valentina Alazraki:

Communication: to all people

I hope it goes something like “Actions speak louder than words,” but I’m reasonably sure this isn’t going to be the message.  Talk is cheap and “communication” is even cheaper. It’ll probably have something to do with lists of accused which, apparently, they think is going to make us all feel better about the situation.

17.30   Penitential liturgy (Sala Regia)

Can you say photo-op?

So let’s review.  The heads of the bishops’ conferences got on a plane to Rome to hear four and a half hours of presentations followed by not even six hours of “working groups.” People! Some of those bishops took longer to travel there than that!  For heaven’s sake.  Synod on this, that, or the other thing goes on for weeks and THE biggest crisis in modern Church history gets about eleven hours of work time??? Un-be-lieve-able! And there’s nothing new we haven’t heard to death.  If the laity isn’t upset about this crud, there’s NO moving them.

So, sheep, field hospital, crisis, collegiality, synodality, openness (they can’t even spell that one in the program!), transparency, and communication. Holy Father, I think we heard you the first bazillion times you’ve used these themes.  Did we really need to waste everyone’s time flying them to Rome for more of the same led by the same old do-nothing people who believe in the status quo?

I am, however, totally happy that the USCCB proposal, which was quashed in October, was on the program. Just kidding. That’s been suspended without a word indefinitely.

I realize that this whole meeting is supposed to be some giant bone but it’s not going to do and we won’t let this die. We want the faithful protected.  We don’t want just a defrocked cardinal and a pat on the head. Fix the morality problem in the Church, bolster it with authentic Church teaching, and you just might get somewhere.  We know that’s the problem. It’s always been the problem when the Church has gone through crisis. Listen to the doctors of the Church and maybe just try what they said for a change.  What a novel thought!  Drop the politically correct hooey and get back to TRUTH! #CupichResignNow

On the Eve of Denial-palooza…

I’m going to kick off this little blog post with an apology to my friends around the world. On the eve of the “Meeting on the Protection of Minors” AKA “Denial-palooza,” I’d like to ask that you don’t hold us responsible for Cardinal Cupich. If you want to find blame, go with the Jesuits. They’re the ones that lobbied hard for him. The fact is, most of us don’t like him. In fact, we like very few of our American cardinals. We’ve been shafted as almost the entire slate of American cardinals has changed in the last 10 years. We’ve at least got Cardinal Burke somewhere in the world doing what he can, and I’ll be nice and say MAYBE the completely defeated Cardinal DiNardo. That’s about it, so I’m sorry you’re saddled with the guy who said climate change and migration were so much more important than protecting people from immoral abusing priests.

If you are one of the people around the world (or at the Vatican) who think we love and adore Cardinal Cupich, the dissenting Catholic media has succeeded in their propaganda. Let’s look at the reality of the lack of adoration for Cardinal Cupich. He sent out this tweet this morning. https://twitter.com/CardinalBCupich/status/1097935698290724864

cupichtweet
At this writing, we’re out about five hours now from this tweet dropping. There are forty-some-odd replies (they’re rolling in by the second), and all but one (somebody tagging their friend) were critical of him so far. (Please don’t email me with the great “A-ha!” after you post a glowing tribute to him.) I’m sure his Jesuit buddies will eventually ride in to rescue him, but just look at the first five hours. There were definitely no “Thank you for all your great work!” posts. “Resign!”, “Fraud!”, and “Repent!” were the consistent message.

Let me be clear, we American faithful don’t like Cardinal Cupich. We don’t trust him. We don’t want him to represent us. We don’t think he cares about the abused. Bottom line, he was the absolute wrong choice to lead any conference on immorality and abuse of priests. Why?For so many reasons but remember, just a few short months ago, Cardinal Cupich actually said that the Holy Father had more to worry about than the abuse crisis. Then he ordered his priests to read a letter saying that the news report was edited to make him look bad (apparently, he doesn’t realize raw footage is a thing) and then gathered all his priests and gagged them. We’re all guessing great penalties came attached to breaking that silence. He’s just a narcissistic, hideous man who will stop at nothing to protect his image. I’m not really sure why he still thinks he has one, outside of the usual morally liberal strongholds, but he does.

So, we American Catholics are suffering right along with you. Hopefully, somebody can find a clever way to break the Vatican cone of silence and then, maybe, we’ll get somebody decent running the next “Meeting on Whatever.”

#ResignNow

Cupich Wants a Retro New Ecclesial Season – Been There, Done That!

I set this letter from Cardinal Blase Cupich aside a few days ago. Kinda wish I had set it aside indefinitely. Just a waste of ink with the endless spin to tell us how much “they” care. 

The bishops’ retreat and a new ecclesial season

January 9, 2019

I am writing this as the retreat held for the Catholic bishops of the United States at our seminary in Mundelein concludes. The weeklong retreat was the idea of Pope Francis.

He recognized that the crisis of clerical sexual abuse had created a great deal of anger and confusion in our church and among the bishops. It is in such moments, he observed in his letter to us before the retreat, that “we need to be attentive and discerning, to free our hearts of compromises and false certainties, in order to hear what the Lord asks of us in the mission he has given us.”

I never had a problem with the retreat. That said, I think being locked in a room with a bunch of super angry parents would have made more of an impact, but that’s just me. I do have to focus on the message from the Holy Father I highlighted. Are they just now doing this??? I would think that this would have popped into their heads long before one is made a bishop.

Again, while I never had a problem with a retreat per se, the timing on this one smacks more of a pause on dealing with this issue hoping people will forget about it than a thoughtful way forward. Seriously, the “Let’s just wait to deal with this until we can have a retreat to contemplate something we somehow woefully missed before” really doesn’t cut it with the vast majority of people, or at the very least people with children.

The Holy Father sent us his personal preacher, Capuchin Father Raniero Cantalamessa. The 84-year-old priest told us that he had received lots of letters telling him what he should say to the bishops. While respecting the wisdom of the voice of the people, he agreed with the pope that in moments like this we need to discern what God is saying to us.

“What God is saying to us???” Seriously? I would think “Stop being perverts, protecting perverts, recruiting perverts, etc.” would be a no brainer. But, I suppose, since it’s been missed so far, the good friar might be right about going back to kindergarten on this.

Cantalamessa’s talks were both inspiring and encyclopedic. His grasp of Scripture and the rich tradition of the church allowed the bishops to hear truths we have long held but in a fresh way. I am pleased we have the texts to review in the days and months ahead, but I also carry with me a number of images he offered, which I want to reflect on.

How about reflecting on the image of a person abused by a priest, bishop, or cardinal? Seems like that might be the central image to focus on. Yes, the spiritual lives of a good chunk of these bishops and cardinals seem wanting, but this is ridiculous. If we have to go back to what should have been taught day one in seminary, then you’d think Cardinal Cupich might get a clue that the formation has been lacking for a long, long time in most areas of the country. Somehow I don’t think this is going to be his take away.

One was the difference between moving over water in a rowboat and a sailboat. The rowboat requires our effort, as we pull against the inertia of the water, relying on our own power and devices to steer the direction ahead. But believers are called to trust in the Holy Spirit to move us forward, much like the wind is needed for moving the sailboat forward.

With that image our retreat director asked us to reflect on our approach to challenges, not only this one, but in all cases. Do we see ourselves in a rowboat that makes everything depend on us, or are we attentive to the prompting of the Spirit to chart a pathway ahead? I can honestly say I am not satisfied by how I answer that question some days.

I will keep in mind what Cantalamessa said: “The wind is caught by the sail of prayer.”

Uh, I’d have to say many of you are not piloting a sailboat or even a rowboat. You’re more like the drug runner on a luxury yacht with someone else doing the “hard work” of ruining souls while you socialize with the elite and try to keep your hands clean. So, honestly, we’re not satisfied, either. We’d like you to be on the Barque of Peter. That, however, seems a little too much to ask.

 

He then shared another image to further develop this point. A professor lecturing on time management conducted a small experiment for his students. Taking a large glass jar, he placed tennis-ball-sized rocks in it until there was no room in the jar. “Is it full?” he asked. “Yes,” the students replied.

But, then he began pouring in small pebbles, rattling the jar until they settled in vacant spaces between the rocks. “Now is it full?” he asked again. “No,” they replied. Agreeing with them he then poured sand into the jar, filling up the spaces between the stones and the pebbles. Yet again, the professor asked, “Is the jar full?” Without hesitation, the students replied in unison, “NO!” “Correct,” replied the professor.

So he poured water into the jar until it was absolutely full. Then the professor explained. “What we learn from this experiment is that if we don’t put the larger stones in the jar first, we will never be able to fit all of them later.”

Cantalamessa’s point was simple. Our prayer life, our turning to God to discern where he is leading us, has to be the priority. For if we do not prioritize the discernment of God’s will, other concerns and voices will absorb our attention and render our decision-making impoverished and partial, especially in a moment of crisis.

I’m thinking the stories of the saints, Church teachings, etc. might have been a little more pertinent than time management stories from Facebook, but that might just be me. The problem is, some of you can’t seem to figure out what the big stones are even if they hit you in the head. If you’re going with Facebook memes, you might want to go with a simple flow chart of decision making. Some of you can’t get past the first branch correctly and probably should rethink your career (and I’m very intentionally using career because it seems more like that than a vocation for many of you)!

flow chart

 

His reflections also underscore our commitment to the protection of children and the healing of victims, which grounds all our responses to the crisis. We must make sure nothing ever crowds out that priority.

You and many other bishops and cardinals already blew that one! Let’s just remember you were the one that said there was more important things to worry about like “climate change.” The fact that you had to have that “underscored” just shows how completely out of touch you are with, well, Catholicism.

It is clear, however, that the Holy Father’s intentions in calling us to make this retreat expand well beyond this particular moment or challenge facing us bishops. Pope Francis wants us to see that we are in “a new ecclesial season,” as he calls it, that will require a new approach to our ministry.

I’m sorry, but the public relations tactic of a “new” anything is ridiculous. This is an abuse crisis of epic proportions. This isn’t time for a new buzzword or ad campaign for the Church. It’s time for repentance and reform. This is “old”, not new. The problem is, you guys spend so much time on spin and rebranding that you can’t just do what needs to be done. Sure, not all of you are doing that, but many are and the many are hampering the rest of us.

We cannot be “mere administrators,” but must take up the task of teaching those we serve “how to discern God’s presence in the history of his people.” As he remarked in his letter to us: “Amid the upset and confusion experienced by our communities, our primary duty is to foster a shared spirit of discernment, rather than to seek the relative calm resulting from compromise or from a democratic vote where some emerge as ‘winners’ and others not.”

Oh. My. Gosh! We’ve already discerned the immorality which led to abuse which led to the cover-ups is evil. Duh. Enough said. You’re the one who’s been trying to avoid it from day one. The US Bishops wanted to address the reality, but you and your cronies, Cardinal Cupich, managed to get it put on hold. I don’t care if it takes a democratic vote to clean up this mess. The only ones who do care are you and your buds who were going to be the losers because you are the ambassadors of evil and immorality. There most certainly should be a winner and loser. The winner should be GOOD and the loser should be EVIL. You want so badly to move your agendas forward that you are all willing to throw victims under the bus. We’ve had enough!

The task before us is to work together to find a way to embrace “the present situation, one that, most important, can protect those in our care from losing hope and feeling spiritually abandoned.”

If that was truly your goal you would have jumped on this long ago. All the psycho-spin you’ve spilled here does NOTHING to help those you’ve betrayed. We embraced the present situation about 17 years ago. Where have you been?

“This will enable us to be fully immersed in reality, seeking to appreciate and hear it from within, without being held hostage to it.”

If you haven’t been “fully immersed in reality” by now, you’ve missed whatever boat you’re supposedly on all together! The TRUTH which you seem to want to keep everyone from is freedom, not a hostage situation. You, Cardinal Cupich, are the one seeking to take hostages. You’ve been trying forever to make people a slave to their sins and you’ve been perfectly happy to keep the victims of abuse slaves to their captors. I’m pretty sure you’re hoping for full blown Stockholm Syndrome at this point. Sorry, we’re not falling for it. We will do everything possible to escape your trap.

We are not leaving this retreat with all the answers to the important questions facing the church in these days, but we are leaving with a renewed sense that it is time to turn in our rowboats for sailboats, and take our cue from the guidance of Christ’s spirit rather than our own efforts.

Well, let’s avoid YOUR efforts for sure.

We also come away reminded that we will need to keep our priorities straight. One other blessing from our days together is that it drew us closer to each other and to the Holy Father. One bishop told me, “Pope Francis was right to call us to take a retreat and it shows that he cares deeply about our ministry and the church in this country.”

Do you know how I know this was a complete waste of time? It’s because you have not mentioned sin once. You didn’t leave this retreat with anything. I’m sure those bishops and cardinals who truly long to guide Christ’s people are still longing for this, but you are just looking to get off the hook. You are simply looking for some good PR and are hoping words like “discerning” and “mission” are going to assuage the faithful. Wrong. These are the same things we heard almost two decades ago. You’re really, really counting on us being that stupid?

I have no doubt that just as the early church relied on Peter’s unique ministry to meet the challenges of the day, so we will draw strength and insight from our unity with his successor.

Ah, and there it is. If we are angry with you, somehow we are removing unity with Peter’s successor? Yeah, sorry. You can keep pushing this line but it’s not going to keep us from holding you accountable.

It doesn’t get said enough, but a huge thank you to the bishops and cardinals who are really trying to bring healing to the victims and to the Church. We’re praying you succeed. Please stay the course. #USCCB #DontMakeSameMistake

 

No Sanity for YOU!

If you’re not keeping up with the news, here it is in a nutshell.  USCCB has their usual meeting and on the agenda is a code of conduct for bishops and a lay oversight committee.  As weak as most of us were saying this would be, the Vatican called in the Nuncio to the U.S. and basically said, no votes on anything. 

To say there’s a lot of ticked of Catholics today is an understatement.  The good old Vatican blindsided the USCCB.  It’s not like the Vatican didn’t know that we had our annual meeting starting when our bishops and cardinals were FINALLY given a meeting with Pope Francis.  It’s also no surprise that the Holy Father didn’t want discussion on the topic.  I believe he called everyone just to get together and pray.  So why the eleventh hour intervention?  More than that, why would he ever tell our bishops not to handle the crisis at hand and wait until February?  This. Is. Insane.

I am so sick of hearing the word “synodality” because, as I’ve said before, it’s a complete and utter farce.  I’m also sick of hearing how the laity needs to be more involved in, well, everything.  The actions today contradict both of the buzz phrases and that’s all they are.  They make for good PR but it should be clear to the stupidest person that this only applies to liberals, quite specifically, the Germans and their buddies.  If it has to do with them and their wretched ideas, it’s all about “synodality” and the laity.  If it comes to anyone trying to stem evil from overtaking the land, sorry, no sanity for you! Synodality and the laity can go to hell.

Ed Peters nailed it with this one little tweet.

Ed Peters

I cannot help get conspiratorial today.  What in the heck is going on? Are the liberals trying to put some grand plan together to gerrymander the February synod? What could the U.S. bishops come up with for THEIR territory that could possibly upset the Vatican apple cart?  Clearly some big panic was going on in Rome.

Also, I’m SUPER suspect of Cardinal Cupich’s statement.  Clearly this was not a shock to him.  He was completely prepared.  And, of course, whenever Cardinal Cupich sounds kind of sane, you know it ain’t off the cuff. He almost always spontaneously implodes off the cuff. So it certainly seems someone has a plan somewhere.  Besides that, Cardinal DiNardo confirmed that it came from the Congregation for Bishops and guess who’s in that.  Oh, yeah, Cardinal Cupich so please don’t tell me he or Cardinal O’Malley hadn’t a clue.  

Let’s look at the lengthy talk by our Nuncio.  It’s sad.  It’s pathetic and it flies in the face of EVERYTHING the Vatican has said as of late in regards to “synodality” and the laity.  That completely exposes all of the lip service we’ve been given the last 6 months AND forget collegiality.  We’ve got a dang  monarchy going on when something like this happens.

This is a long one.  Get some coffee.

ADDRESS OF HIS EXCELLENCY ARCHBISHOP CHRISTOPHE PIERRE

APOSTOLIC NUNCIO TO THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

UNITED STATES CONFERENCE OF CATHOLIC BISHOPS

NOVEMBER 12, 2018

BALTIMORE,MARYLAND

Dear Brothers in Christ,

I am happy to be with you once more here in Baltimore. I wish to thank Cardinal DiNardo, the President of the Episcopal Conference, as well as Monsignor Bransfield and the Staff of the USCCB, for the opportunity to address you. I assure you of the Holy Father’s closeness, prayers, and gratitude for your ministry. One year ago, we were celebrating the one hundredth anniversary of this Episcopal Conference. Despite some bright moments – the Fifth National Encuentro and the recent Synod on Youth – we must recognize that the year has been marked by challenges.

Nope.  The Youth Synod was just another awful “challenge” that we’ll probably have to deal with for years to come just like this abuse scandal.

Actually, the events of this past year, which we have lived and continue to experience, have been both challenging and sobering. With humility and apostolic courage, we must accept our responsibility as spiritual fathers, facing reality with the grace that comes from the Lord. The Church is always in need of renewal for the sake of her saving mission of mediating the presence of Christ in the world and this is impossible unless we rebuild trust among the People of God, a task, which, looking to the future, demands time, effort, sacrifice and, most of all, true repentance and reform on our part.

They can’t accept their responsibility and deal with the “challenges” (If I was a victim, I’d be a little more than miffed that the destruction of their souls, purity and faith is being reduced to a “challenge.”) because the Vatican won’t let them. Hello?!?!  The USCCB just got one big time-out. How is this supposed to help us regain the trust of our current Vatican regime.  Quite frankly, I never thought I’d say this but I’m beginning to have far more confidence in the USCCB than the gang in Rome.

REFORM AND RESPONSIBILITY: BEGINNING AGAIN FROM JESUS CHRIST

There are many calls for reform in the Church, particularly amid the present crisis. You yourselves have expressed a greater desire for accountability and transparency. Still, I am struck by the words of the French author Georges Bemanos:

“Whoever pretends to reform the Church with … the same means used to reform temporal society- not only will he fail in his undertaking, but he will infallibly end by finding himself outside the Church. I say that he finds himself outside the Church before anyone has gone to the trouble of excluding him or her. I say that it is he himself who excludes himself from her by a tragic fatalism … The only way of reforming the Church is to suffer for her. The only way of reforming the visible Church is to suffer for the invisible Church. The only way of reforming the vices of the Church is to lavish on her the example of one’s own most heroic virtues.”

Well, it seems that everyone has read the October Magnificat. Seriously, even Cardinal Mahony was quoting it.  I’m actually surprised the Nuncio didn’t quote the whole thing.  The problem here is, where does that leave the St. Catherines of the world?  It seems everyone want to pick the saint who makes it the most comfortable for them.  Saying the desire for accountability and transparency is somehow how not be the tactic because St. Francis, is just another way to say “Shut up and sit in the corner and pray.”  Oy. Cherry picking the saints is not going to help us in this day no more than cherry picking bible verses.  Firm resolve to sin no more and avoid the near occasion of sin is what’s going to get the job done.

If the Church is to reform herself and her structures, then the reform must spring from her mission of making known Christ, the Son of the Living God. Pope Francis says that “What makes obsolete structures pass away, what leads to a change of heart in Christians, is precisely missionary spirit.” (POPE FRANCIS, APOSTOLIC EXHORTATION EVANGELII GAUD/UM, 24 NOVEMBER 2013, 25)

Is this something new?  Nope.  So, apparently, maybe learning how to be chaste and moral priests and bishops has to come first before we can be missionaries??? I mean, it seems we’ve missed some basics long before we talk about the “missionary spirit.”  Do you really want priests and bishops running around the world molesting people?  Is morality an “obsolete structure?!”

There may be a temptation on the part of some to relinquish responsibility for reform to others than ourselves, as if we were no longer capable of reforming or trusting ourselves, as if the deposit of trust should be transferred to other institutions entirely. To regain trust it is not enough to simply preach words about responsibility, without living the difficulties of that responsibility, even in the face of criticism. When it comes to the responsibilities, with which we are charged – with children and the vulnerable at the forefront- we must show that we can solve problems rather than simply delegating them to others.

Holy Moses!  Isn’t this what a good chunk of the faithful been saying whenever the liberals say “More women! More laity!” Why is this suddenly uncomfortable for you? Oh, I know.  The laity has grown weary and are going to investigate the hell out of you all because we don’t want to see anymore victims of rape and molestation? That’s the sum total of it. We wanted you to do something.  We asked you to do something.  In fact, we BEGGED you to do something and you just passed the buck down the road and spewed out platitudes about women and the laity and now that the laity has said “OK, I guess we’ll have to do it!” It’s “Whoa!   Hold up a minute!  We don’t need “outside institutions!”  What the what?!?!?! Make up your ridiculous minds.

At the same time, there can be no question that the insights of experts, the contributions of time and professional skill of all the faithful, laity together with the clergy and so many consecrated women and men, are critical to carrying out our mission as Shepherds. Assistance is both welcomed and necessary, and surely collaboration with the laity is essential. However, the responsibility, as bishops of this Catholic Church, is ours – to live with, to suffer with, and to exercise properly. The People of God have rightly challenged us to be trustworthy.

Translation?  “We’ll let you be involved, laity, when it pleases us to do so.”  You want to be seen as trustworthy?  Stop the “we need the laity/we don’t need the laity” bipolar swings!  Just deal with the fact that you’ve made your bed and now you have to lie in it.  Start utilizing the good old transparency you’ve been flapping your gums about FOR DECADES now!  We don’t want a witch hunt.  Heck, I’ve seen priests put on “credibly accused” lists that are being released that were investigated by their order, the diocese they were in, the police and were totally and completely exonerated.  In fact, even the supposed victim’s families completely and totally recanted the stories.  So yeah, you releasing a bunch of lists doesn’t do a darn thing if you can’t even get them right.

Pope Francis never ceases to tell us that if we are to begin again, then we should begin again from Jesus Christ, who enlightens our lives and helps us to prove that we can be trustworthy! When Christ called Peter to be the Rock he told him that he would build his Church upon Peter’s confession of faith, promising that the gates of hell would not prevail! We are that Church, and in our own Profession of Faith we say that we believe in one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church – a Church undivided, holy because of its divine element, catholic as universal and apostolic because of its foundations in the teaching of the Apostles. As the successors of the Apostles, we cannot be other than with the successor of Peter. We, in communion with our Holy Father, are heirs to the promise of Christ. As heirs and successors, each of us, individually and collegially is called to a special responsibility to strengthen the faith of our sisters and brothers, especially in confronting the challenges before us.

And again, that’s what the proposition you guys shut down!

My brothers, in the past decades you have put in place structures for the protection of children and young people. But we all know that Ecclesia semper reformanda est! There is always more to do and we bishops must not be afraid to get our hands dirty in doing that work in the vineyard of the Lord. Moreover, allow me to remind you, in these challenging days, that the measures you have taken in the last years have been effective in training bishops, priests, deacons, religious and laity to be vigilant in the protection of youth. Those measures have been important, have set an example, and have led to a steep decline in the incidence of reported abuse today. There are some dioceses here in the United States that have been so thorough in their work that their training programs have become models for civil institutions. Those of you who have done good work are to be congratulated for your commitment as leaders, and for setting a good example for us all. At the same time, we must reaffirm vigorously that one case of abuse is one too many. Therefore, it is necessary, for the entire People of God, to remain vigilant.

Just more lip service.  Quite frankly, I’m not even sure if the incidences have gone down or some have just gotten better at covering it up. Remember, the latest flap is very much about how some managed to cover it up so well and how those guys are now in positions of power.

Despite the success of these efforts, there is not a corresponding increase in public approval of bishops, and given some recent revelations, perhaps none should be expected. Trust needs to be earned, not presumed. When protection of the young and vulnerable becomes not just a duty but a calling, when it is viewed as integral to the gospel not only to care for Catholics but for all in harm’s way, we bishops can rightly take our place as leaders looked up to rather than down upon with scorn. Of course, there is work to do, but do not be afraid to speak with pride of the work that has been done.

They were trying to earn it as best they can in this debacle but you told them to hold off. I cannot say that enough. We don’t care about the work already done when people like Cardinals McCarrick, Cupich, Tobin and Farrell all were promoted, not to mention the idiots at the Vatican.  That wiped out our view of anything good and the fact that you won’t allow our territory’s bishops to vote on something as simple as a code of conduct further looks horrific.

Indeed, as painful and humiliating as it may be at times, we can thank the media for bringing attention to this issue. There have been times when the media drew attention to precisely what we did not attend to ourselves. As said from the time of diplomacy in the Greek City-States, “Don’t shoot the messenger.” (And, as a Nuncio, I can assure you it is a phrase very dear to me!) It is also the case that an impression is sometimes left in the media that the Church has done little. That is simply not true, and we should not be afraid to refute this. We cry for the injustices perpetrated upon victims of abuse. We vow to fight a clerical culture that tolerates the abuse of authority. When abuse occurs, it is our sin and we must take it as such. These are not the sins of the media or the products of vast conspiracies. These are things we must recognize and fix. Our Holy Father has said it must end, and it must – not simply because he has said it, but because each of us in our hearts know that this is the only right thing to do.

Oh my gosh.  The Church has done a lot.  They’ve done everything to covering up the abuse, promoting the perpetrators and, most recently, they most certainly shot the messenger. You might not really want to go there, Nuncio. The right thing to do is what the PAPAL COMMISSION for the Protection of Minors said to do and release everyone from Pontifical Secrets in regards to abuse but it’s way more convenient to keep shooting the messenger.

Thus, we must see our failures clearly and not be discouraged if we feel the Church is somehow treated unfairly, turning upon ourselves as though the world is against us. This would-be self-referential behavior paralyzes rather than energizes. Christ and his mission demand we go into the world, not withdraw from it. At this critical moment in the history of the Church in the United States, I am confident that each one of us will be able to respond by going to and being with the people, showing them that we can be trustworthy. The path is clear and begins with Christ, the Way, the Truth, and the Life.

For heaven’s sake.  You might want to relay this message to the Holy Father because the “Great Accuser” schtick is getting really, really, really old.

From the Divine Master, we learn the proper use of authority through service. Seeing the imminence of the Passion and desiring to leave for the Apostles an example to imitate, He humbled Himself and washed their feet, commanding them to do the same: For I have given you an example, that as I have done, so you also should do. (JOHN 13:15).

So tiring.  Look, I’m a Pastor Aeternus groupie. This has ZERO to do with it. This isn’t about proper use of authority.  It’s about the improper use of authority.  You guys are the one who’ve been screaming clericalism, remember?

Rebuilding trust requires using our authority to serve humbly and to lead by example. Saint Charles Borromeo, a model for bishops, reflecting on the washing of the disciples’ feet, writes that:

“If we desire to consider entirely the things that are mystically contained in Christ’s example, we find the whole duty of an apostle expressed by him. He rose up from the Jewish supper. In like manner his ministers too must leave behind the lifestyle of the old man … and put on the new, rising from just knowing to putting it into practice, from the meal to labor, from letter to the spirit. They must lay down their garments, that is cast away all impediments to the virtues, that they may be able to labor strenuously and gird themselves with white linen, that is, integrity of life. Then they draw the water of saving doctrine and wash the character and conduct of their subjects with doctrine, the Sacraments, and example. This, our leader and standard-bearer Christ did, so that we might do the same. The disciple is not above the Master (Mt 10:24), nor is it fitting for servants of the humble Lord to be proud.’ (CHARLES BORROMEO, HOMILIA II, IN VOL. 1, JOSEPH ANTHONY SAX, ED. SANCTI CAROLI BORROMEI HOM!l/AE, MLIAN: JOSEPH MARELLUM, 1747-1748)”

 

Um, I think you’ve described the big, gigantic thing we’ve all been saying.  I agree this is very needed.  That said, it’s the opposite of what is happening and now what is being ordered not to happen.

Pope Francis asks us to be a synodal and humble Church, a Church that listens. We need to listen once more to the voice of Christ: For I have given you an example, that as I have done, so you also should do. The exercise of authority is a real service and governance should not be a privilege or a position, but a responsibility to be neither ignored nor totally delegated.

 I have never heard so many deaf people talk about listening. Nobody is listening to the view from the pew. If they were, Rome definitely would not have told our bishops to postpone doing something about the immorality in our country.

AUTHENTIC REFORM: LISTENING TO THE VICAR OF CHRIST

As the pilgrim Church journeys on in history, she recalls the words of the Savior: He who hears you, hears me. The Church listens to the voice of Christ. She also listens when the Vicar of Christ on earth, the successor of Saint Peter, speaks. Lumen Gentium’s third chapter takes up the role of bishops and collegiality, declaring “Just as in the Gospel, the Lord so disposing, St. Peter and the other apostles constitute one apostolic college, so in a similar way, the Roman Pontiff, the successor of Peter, and the bishops, the successors of the apostles, are joined together.” (cf. LG 22) “The individual bishops represent each his own church, but all of them together with the Pope represent the entire Church in the bond of peace, unity’ and love.” (SECOND VATICAN COUNCIL, DOGMATIC CONSTITUTION ON THE CHURCH LUMEN GENT/UM, 21 NOVEMBER 1964, 23)

And why is it that the Nuncio feels he needs to remind the USCCB of this?  Does anyone at all find this kind of a threat?  I know I do.

If we are together, in real hierarchical communion – hierarchical communion that permeates our hearts and are not merely words – we become the visible sign of peace, unity, and love, a sign of true synodality. In a recent audience, the Holy Father outlined three essential traits of bishops, which I believe can help us rediscover our own sense of identity and mission in the present situation: to be a man of prayer; a man of proclamation; and a man of communion.

Please, stop with the synodality. Thus far it’s been a lie. Honestly, it’s scary talk to be spending so much time on “real hierarchical communion” as if people who think that the Church is not handling the abuse crisis well  are somehow not in “real hierarchical communion.”  Like I’ve said before, I think we’re heading toward schism declarations.  I’m sure talk like this doesn’t make most of us comfortable.  For us, it’s like having to decide which parent to live with in a divorce.  It’s a horrible place to put us and, surprisingly, it ain’t the USCCB who is trying to bring us to the brink.

THE BISHOP AS A MAN OF PRAYER

In that audience, the Holy Father noted that the bishop, like Saint Peter and the Apostles, is “called by Jesus to be with Him. (cf. Mk 3: 14) There he finds his strength and his confidence. Before the Tabernacle he learns to entrust himself and so trust in the Lord.,  (POPE FRANCIS, AUDIENCE WITH PARTICIPANTS IN A SEMINAR ORGANIZED BY THE CONGREGATION FOR THE EVANGELIZATION OF PEOPLES, 8 SEPTEMBER 2018). It is important for us to regain our confidence that by the power of God and our cooperation with Him, we can face and meet any challenges.

“For the bishop,” the Holy Father continues, “prayer is not devotion but a necessity; it is not one task among many, but an indispensable ministry of intercession: each day he must lead people and lay their situations before God.” I am encouraged that you will have the opportunity to be together and to pray together on your retreat in early January, when you will have more time to contemplate the person of Jesus, to listen to His voice, to discern the path forward, and to intercede for your people.

Huh?  These guys are bishops. Do they really not believe this?  I don’t know about the Nuncio, but I watched a lot of good bishops call us all not only to prayer but to fasting and penance and it’s not like they just told us to do it.  They were right there with us.

THE BISHOP AS A MAN OF PROCLAMATION

In addition to being a man of prayer, Pope Francis recalls that the bishop should be a man of proclamation. The Apostles were sent to proclaim the Gospel to all the nations. How often the Holy Father exhorts us to be a “Church that goes forth”! This applies to us too!

In spending himself tirelessly for his people and for the Gospel, not living exclusively in an office, but among the people, the bishop proclaims the Word with a specific style. Hopefully, he follows the humble example of Jesus. The Pope reminds us that we are called to be “living memories of the Lord’ and warns against “being more concerned with form than substance, of becoming more actors than witnesses” and “of watering down the Word of salvation by proposing a Gospel without Jesus Crucified and Risen.”

How about giving talks as lame as this to the congregation?  Seriously.  This is a check off the box talk. It’s not even remotely acknowledging the elephant in the room.

THE BISHOP AS A MAN OF COMMUNION

The Holy Father also reminds us that the bishop is to be a man of communion, marked with “the charism of togetherness” – maintaining unity and solidifying communion. All of you are certainly aware of the polarization of American society today; it is a polarization that has sometimes affected and infected the Church and our parishes. The Holy Father states, echoing Saint Augustine, that “The Church needs union, not soloists apart from the choir or exponents of personal battles. The Pastor gathers: a bishop for his faithful, he is a Christian with his faithful.”

Let’s just pause here to note one phrase.  “The charism of togetherness.” Reallllyyyy???  When was this the pre-eminant charism of the Church?  That is a HUGE misunderstanding of the “one” in one, holy, catholic and apostolic.  Would we say the Church was suffering from a lack of the “charism of togetherness” when Paul withstood Peter or St. Catherine told Pope Gregory how it was?  Complete and utter agreement on everything in the Church is not needed for “one” to exist.

There’s a reason we’ve come to such a polarized place in America.  It happened because of weak, pandering leaders who chose platitudes over substance.  I agree that the situation in our Church is similar in polarization and for the very same reason. While we’ve always had periods throughout Church history, I’ve never seen it like this in my lifetime. Our Church leaders have made the same, sad mistakes as, say, Barrack Obama.  All style, no substance.

To accomplish this unity the bishop must love “weaving communion by being involved in the first person and by acting in a humble manner.” Part of being engaged and acting humbly involves listening. Last June, I said that spiritual fatherhood and effective evangelization require listening. The International’ Theological Commission recently noted the necessity of listening in discernment to build consensus among laity, consecrated men and women, clergy and bishops. And listening is curative; by listening, we begin the process of accompaniment. Spending time with the people and listening to their needs, we learn how to be better pastors. We are here to teach, but we can also be taught by our brothers and sisters.

Oh my gosh.  I feel like banging my head on a wall. Honestly, how many times can we pitch “listening” as the answer to everything without actually listening to a darn thing.

The recent Synod on Youth is an example of listening and of taking young people and their concerns seriously. The Fifth National Encuentro was exemplary in the art of listening in parishes, dioceses, regionally and nationally. Those who often find themselves at the margins were afforded the opportunity to express themselves to their pastors. For those present, who could not be moved by the event when bishops were seated around the table, exchanging ideas with young people?

Yes, it was a really nice photo-op and then a document was written with two-thirds of it addressing nothing the youth cared about at all. You know? Synodality.

Offering an attentive ear to priests is critical as well. We must remember that truly our priests need support and understanding. They must be listened to. As the Holy Father says:

“[The bishop] does not tire of listening … He becomes wholly one with his people and above all with his presbyterate, always willing to receive and encourage his priests. By example, more than by words, he promotes a sincere priestly fraternity, showing priests that they are Shepherds for the flock … ” (POPE FRANCIS, AUDIENCE WITH PARTICIPANTS IN A SEMINAR ORGANIZED BY THE CONGREGATION FOR THE EVANGELIZA TION OF PEOPLES, 8 SEPTEMBER 2018)’

Is this why it took so long for our bishops and cardinals to get a meeting with the Holy Father?  Because he felt that they needed an attentive ear?

Priests today are hurting. Many, having lived through 2002, are experiencing a trauma for the second time in their priesthood over the abuse crisis. Some are demoralized, while others are feeling angry or betrayed. Many are simply worn down with the burdens of ministry, the clergy shortage, and the suspicion under which they live. They are looking to you to be a father and brother who will listen -to their sorrows and joys – and who will empathize and encourage them to persevere. Listening to them and sustaining them is essential to responding to their concerns, so that they may be your joyful co-workers in the Vineyard of the Lord.

Again, our bishops were trying to throw out the idea that the whole issue of conduct starts with them and they were just squashed at the last-minute. They were at least trying to go for transparency with the lay review board.  Again, no joy there either.  I can’t imagine why anyone would be demoralized, angry or betrayed. (Sarcasm alert.) Our priests are the boots on the ground.  They hear it from the laity when they are happy or mad.  How do you think the thumping the Vatican gave the USCCB today makes them feel. So, please, stop.

The problems faced by the Church today are compounded by a clericalism, which can affect both clergy and laity, and which “corrodes communion.” In this regard, it is important to recall that it is the People of God for whom we (and our priests) have been ordained.

Well, on this one point we can agree.  Again, I can’t imagine how today’s thumping is going to do anything to change the problems we face today. It’s only going to reinforce the laity’s growing reality that you are going to do whatever you choose and when you choose.  Where’s the “listening” there???

Our Holy Father has spoken of the ills of clericalism from the first days of his pontificate. It is an illness, and it must be treated as such. An effective response to clericalism can emerge by offering special attention to clergy and to seminarians by “updating our processes of selection, accompaniment and evaluation” of candidates for the priesthood. (CF. POPE FRANCIS, “ADDRESS TO PARTICIPANTS IN THE COURSE FOR NEW BISHOPS OFFERED BY THE CONGREGATION FOR BISHOPS, 13 SEPTEMBER 2018). I am confident that the new Ratio Fundamentalis and your forthcoming Sixth Edition of the Program for Priestly Formation will confront the challenge, offering an integral formation for seminarians, helping them grow continually in discipleship and configuration to Christ.

With patience and concern, continue to spend time with your clergy and seminarians, listening, so that through prayer you may discern a truly effective pastoral response, conscious of the Holy Father’s reminder that you are “fathers, not masters, caring fathers … ” (POPE FRANCIS, AUDIENCE WITH PARTICIPANTS IN A SEMINAR ORGANIZED BY THE CONGREGATION FOR THE EVANGELlZATION OF PEOPLES, 8 SEPTEMBER 2018)

 

I don’t really know what it’s like in other countries.  In mine, we have a lot of newer bishops who have been left with quite a mess from leaders like Cardinal McCarrick, Cardinal Mahony, Cardinal Bernadin, etc., etc., etc.  And now you’ve given us a few more who worshipped them like Bishop McElroy, Cardinal Farrell, Cardinal Tobin, Cardinal Cupich.  Maybe, if you want real change, don’t give us more of the same.  Give us people who actually agree with what you stated above rather than cardinals like Cupich who demand that people apologize for him when he steps in it time and again. Don’t give us bishops and cardinals who bounce the faithful Catholic men as “too rigid.” And hey, maybe drop the whole use of “rigid” all together!

CONCLUSION

My brothers, we cannot run from the challenges that presently confront us. We must face them realistically and courageously, listening with open hearts to the voice of Christ and his Vicar on earth.

It would appear that the only ones running from the challenges are confronting us are people in the Vatican.  Our guys were ready to at least make an attempt to confront the problems or at least try to appear like they were doing so.  I know it was an honest effort on the behalf of some.

I want to assure you, not only of my prayers and solidarity at this difficult time, but also of those of the Holy Father. Just as the Lord gazed upon Peter, knowing his weaknesses but also seeing his potential, I remain confident that the Lord gazes upon us now and will offer us his strength to meet the challenges, which seem daunting.

We cannot be daunted or held back by the challenging task; rather, we must be concerned with the people and mission entrusted to our care along the path to holiness.

Then get out of the way!!!

The experience of the divine, even in small victories and experiences of grace and healing, gives us hope. Even if things seem dark, do not be discouraged but have hope. He is with us. He accompanies the Church. Dedicated to Christ and belonging to Him, as men of the Church, each one of us must be living witnesses to hope. I conclude with the words of Cardinal Henri De Lubac:

‘A man of the Church will always remain open to hope; for him the horizon is never closed. Like St. Paul, he will want to be full of rejoicing in his sufferings and will go so far as to believe himself called … to ‘fill up those things that are wanting in the sufferings of Christ … for his body which is the Church.’, knowing that in Christ he has ‘the hope of glory’.” (HENRI DE LUBAC, THE SPLENDOR OF THE CHURCH, TRANSL. MICHAEL MASON, DEUS BOOKS: GLEN ROCK, 1956, 155.)

Thank you for your attention!

I’m going to leave my bishops with a quote that rings more necessary in these crucial times:

We’ve had enough of exhortations to be silent! Cry out with a hundred thousand tongues. I see that the world is rotten because of silence.

~St. Catherine of Siena

I want to make one thing clear.  The Holy Father is totally within his rights to tell our bishops not to vote and to wait until February.  This is my point. It appears very hypocritical in the light of the constant call for synodality and collegiality and it doesn’t make it right to do so.

 

 

Control-F Does Not an Argument Make!

This is fun! Cardinal Cupich apparently doesn’t like anonymous commentators. So, of course, I would suggest more of them pop up in the future! If he doesn’t like them, that’s a good indication that it’s the way to go. He’s got no game, so he’s calling people out for their anonymity rather than what they say. He’s trying to make it look like he’s got substance but if you look at the references he gives, not so much. I think people are beginning to see that he’s all hat and no cattle.

https://www.firstthings.com/web-exclusives/2018/09/the-synod-on-youth-an-exchange

On September 21, Archbishop of Philadelphia Charles J. Chaput presented a critique of the Instrumentum Laboris for the 2018 Synod on Young People, sent to him by a respected North American theologian. Below we publish a response to this critique from Cardinal Blase J. Cupich, archbishop of Chicago, followed by a note from Chaput.

Dear Editors:

The increasing use of anonymous criticism in American society does not necessarily contribute to healthy public discourse, but in fact can erode it. For this reason, the anonymous critique of the Instrumentum Laboris (IL) for the 2018 Synod, published by First Things on September 21, 2018, raises essential questions about the nature of theological dialogue in our Church and the problematic nature of some forms of anonymity. It also raises fundamental questions about why First Things would publish such an anonymous critique.

What’s the problem with anonymous critiques, Cardinal Cupich? My feeling is you’re just bummed that you can’t label this person a foaming at the mouth, alt-right Catholic because you don’t have a clue who it is. Poor you.

The mature vision of Donum Veritatis (On the Ecclesial Vocation of the Theologian), speaks of dialogue that is public and forthright in the search for truth, generous in spirit, fair in critique and balanced in tone. The anonymous critique published by First Things rejects these elements, substituting selectivity, condescension, and the deployment of partial truths to obfuscate the fullness of truth. Worse, this piece distorts the truth at many points and shows condescension toward the issues raised by the bishops’ conferences of the world on which the IL is based.”

The ”mature vision” went out the window when you and your ilk decided to regularly go ad hominem instead of addressing the arguments made, or you try repeatedly to employ the “If I say it enough, it’ll be true!” tactic. I mean, just look at this paragraph! The critique rejects a balanced tone, deploys partial truth and shows condescension?!? How about you put that “mature vision” where your mouth is and dissect the anonymous critique point by point? Whining about how it’s anonymous doesn’t really make an argument against what it says, does it? Oh you will? Let’s see how that goes!

For example:

The critique represents a woeful lack of understanding of magisterial teaching in asserting: “The entire document is premised on the belief that the principal role of the magisterial Church is “listening.” Yet there are seven references to magisterial teaching in the document (see numbers 53, 87, 115, 193). The interest in listening is precisely so that the teaching may be effectively received (see discussion in 53).

I thought that, just maybe, you’d actually do a point by point, but nope. We’re going to selectively quote out of context. So, in charity, I will give the actual context from the anonymous theologian AND the actual context from the IL. Remember, the theologian sent this to Archbishop Chaput, it wasn’t really meant for prime-time play so he snipped some.

https://www.firstthings.com/web-exclusives/2018/09/thoughts-on-the-instrumentum-laboris

II.  An inadequate grasp of the Church’s spiritual authority

The IL upends the respective roles of the ecclesia docens and the ecclesia discens. The entire document is premised on the belief that the principal role of the magisterial Church is “listening.” Most problematic is §140: “The Church will have to opt for dialogue as her style and method, fostering an awareness of the existence of bonds and connections in a complex reality. . . . No vocation, especially within the Church, can be placed outside this outgoing dynamism of dialogue . . . . [emphasis added].” In other words, the Church does not possess the truth but must take its place alongside other voices. Those who have held the role of teacher and preacher in the Church must replace their authority with dialogue. (In this regard, see also §67-70).

And the context of the quote from IL that the theologian used:

http://www.synod2018.va/content/synod2018/en/fede-discernimento-vocazione/instrumentum-laboris-for-the-synod-2018–young-people–the-faith.html

Within this dynamic, the Church will have to opt for dialogue as her style and method, fostering an awareness of the existence of bonds and connections in a complex reality – which it would be reductive to see as being made of fragments – as well as the tension towards unity that, without being absorbed into uniformity, allows for the convergence of all its parts, preserving their individual distinctiveness and the richness they have together as a whole (cf. EG 236). No vocation, especially within the Church, can be placed outside this outgoing dynamism of dialogue, and any true effort towards accompaniment of vocational discernment will have to be measured against this horizon, devoting special attention to the poorest and most vulnerable brothers and sisters. 

Archbishop Cupich is asserting something the theologian didn’t state. The theologian did say, “The entire document is premised on the belief that the principal role of the magisterial Church is ‘listening.” However, he did NOT say there were no other references to magisterial teaching. That said, just for fun I went and looked at the references Cardinal Cupich made for magisterial teaching. While he provided a nice list, none of it proves that the critique “represents a woeful lack of understanding of magisterial teaching.” It does, however, show that Cardinal Cupich apparently has a reading comprehension problem. Here they are for you (my comments and definitions for abbreviations are in bold):

“53. In the ecclesial domain, the importance of the body, affectivity and sexuality is recognized, but not always convincingly presented as a key element in educational and faith journeys, by rediscovering and appreciating the meaning of sexual difference and the vocational dynamics that are peculiar to males and females. Sociological studies show that many young Catholics do not follow Church teachings on sexual morals. No BC (Bishops’ Conferences) gives solutions or prescriptions, but many believe that «the sexual question must be discussed in a more open and unbiased way». The PM (Pre-Synodal Meeting) highlights how Church teachings on controversial issues, such as «contraception, abortion, homosexuality, cohabitation, marriage» (PM 5) are hotly debated by young people, both in the Church and in society. There are young Catholics who believe that Church teachings are a source of joy and would like the Church «to not only hold fast to them amid unpopularity but to also proclaim them with greater depth of teaching» (PM 5). (Not sure where the magisterial teaching is here.)

87.  The Second Vatican Council clearly recovered mankind’s vocational horizon when it used such terms to express both how all human beings are destined for communion with Christ (cf. LG 3.13; GS 19.32), and the universal call to holiness (cf. LG 39-42) (Lumen Gentium), locating individual vocations within this interpretative horizon: vocations to the ordained ministry and consecrated life, as well as lay vocations (cf. LG 31), especially in their spousal form (cf. LG 35; GS 48.49.52). Subsequent magisterial teaching developed along the same lines, recognizing the analogical character of the term “vocation” and the many dimensions that characterize the reality it designates with respect to each personal mission, and to the communion of all people.” (Document fails to identify the “subsequent magisterial teaching” to which they are referring.)

115.        For those who accept and draw inspiration from it, Christian wisdom offers valuable instruments such as the Word, the teachings of the Church and spiritual accompaniment; these are all aids to interact with the living norm that is Jesus, to get to know him intimately to the point of “having his heart”. Therefore, a true journey of discernment requires a listening and praying attitude, meekness towards our teacher and the willingness to make tough decisions. This is also what the young people of the Pre-synodal Meeting have discussed: «Spending time in silence, introspection and prayer, as well as reading the Scriptures and deepening self-knowledge are opportunities very few young people exercise. There is a need for a better introduction to these areas. Engaging with faith-based groups, movements, and like-minded communities can also assist young people in their discernment» (PM 9). A fundamental step in this direction is practicing what the tradition calls “examination of conscience”, which actually aims to make people aware of the signs of God’s presence and enables them to recognize his voice in the practicalities of our daily lives. For this reason, Pope Francis recommends this practice to all Christians, and even more so, to young people who are trying to find their way: «I ask all Christians not to omit, in dialogue with the Lord who loves us, a sincere daily “examination of conscience”» (GE 169) (Gaudium et Spes). Within this dialogue with Christ, the Way, the Truth and the Life, what one DV (Vatican Dicastery) wishes for young people can indeed take place: «A formation of their affectivity, that might help them to connect more to good and truth rather than their comforts and interests». (OK, I can get on board with GE being a magisterial document.  But, again, simply mentioning a magisterial teaching doesn’t mean that the critique about the document being “premised on the belief that the principal role of the magisterial Church is “listening.”) 

193.        In some contexts, catechesis takes place in schools and therefore the teaching of religion is very important for young people’s vocational growth. All this is an invitation to the Synod to think about the relationship between schools and Christian communities as educational alliances.

Those who do not agree with them, still wish to be part of the Church anyhow, and ask for greater clarity on this issue. Hence, the PM asks church leaders to «speak in practical terms about controversial subjects such as homosexuality and gender issues, which young people are already freely discussing without taboo» (PM 11). (Not even sure where he was going with this reference.)

Back to Cupich’s lame rebuttal:

Additionally, the critique falsifies the truth when the author focuses singularly on paragraph 144, relying on the fallacy that the absence of a matter in one paragraph means it is absent throughout the entire document. The anonymous author writes: “Nowhere, however, does it note there must also enlarge this view with the great certainty that there is a God, that he loves them, and that he wills their eternal good.” Yet the document recommends that we turn to the varied activities of God 78 times.

Cupich continues…

Then there is the section about naturalism and the absence of soul; just more examples of false reporting. The document refers to the body or embodiment on 20 occasions and 71 times on the spiritual.

I’m not sure why Cardinal Cupich is saying the author focuses “singularly on paragraph 144.” Even in the section where the author critiques paragraph 144, he cites several other paragraphs. It’s like he’s just going to say “Poof!  I make it true!” and hope nobody looks. In addition, I can’t stop laughing.  Cardinal Cupich seems to have hit control-F and wrote down the count for times “God” used instead of comprehending the entire quote.  Honestly, are his followers this dumb, or does he just think they are? I mean, I’ve seen atheists write entire articles with the name “God” throughout, but that doesn’t mean they accept the thought that God loves them and wills their eternal good. 

Instead of quoting in context, point by point, and disproving the points with actual points from the Instrumentum laboris, Cardinal Cupich does word counts for his smoking gun.  Sigh. Use your head, people. The author of the critique actually went painstakingly through the Instrumentum laboris and Cupich hit control-F and entered in “God”, “body”, and “embodiment” but I’m relatively sure that American Magazine and the National catholic Reporter will find Cardinal Cupich’s “arguments” to be THE most compelling arguments every made in the history of man! Sigh.

Seriously, here is the evil, anonymous author’s critique, in context:

  1. Naturalism

The IL displays a pervasive focus on socio-cultural elements, to the exclusion of deeper religious and moral issues. Though the document expresses the desire to “re-read” “concrete realities” “in the light of the faith and the experience of the Church (§4),” the IL regrettably fails to do so. Specific examples:

  • 52. After a discussion of the contemporary instrumentalized conception of the body and its effects of “early sexual activity, multiple sexual partners, digital pornography, exhibiting bodies online and sexual tourism,” the document laments only its “disfiguring the beauty and depth of affective and sex life.” No mention is made about the disfigurement of the soul, its consequent spiritual blindness, and impact on the reception of the gospel by the one so wounded.
  • 144. There is much discussion about what young people want; little about how these wants must be transformed by grace in a life that conforms to God’s will for their lives. After pages of analysis of their material conditions, the IL offers no guidance on how these material concerns might be elevated and oriented toward their supernatural end. Though the IL does offer some criticism of exclusively materialistic/utilitarian goals (§147), the majority of the document painstakingly catalogues the varied socio-economic and cultural realities of young adults while offering no meaningful reflection on spiritual, existential, or moral concerns. The reader may easily conclude that the latter are of no importance to the Church. The IL rightfully notes that the Church must encourage youth “to abandon the constant search for small certainties (§145).” Nowhere, however, does it note that she must also enlarge this view with the great certainty that there is a God, that he loves them, and that he wills their eternal good.

This naturalism is also evidenced in the document’s preoccupation with the following considerations: globalization (§10); advocating for the Church’s role in creating “responsible citizens” rather than saints (§147) and preparing youth for their role in society (§135); secular goals for education (§149); promoting sustainability and other secular goals (§152-154); promoting “social and political engagement” as a “true vocation” (§156); encouragement of “networking” as a role of the Church.

The hope of the gospel is noticeably missing. In §166, in the context of a discussion of sickness and suffering, a disabled man is quoted: “you are never prepared enough to live with a disability: it prompts you to ask questions about your own life, and wonder about your finiteness.” These are existential questions for which the Church possesses the answers. The IL never responds to this quotation with a discussion of the Cross, redemptive suffering, providence, sin, or the Divine Love. The IL is similarly weak on the question of death in §171: suicide is described as merely “unfortunate,” and no attempt is made to correlate it to the failures of a materialistic ethos. This is also seen in the tepid treatment of addiction (§49-50).

Just to show he can cite the Magisterium Cardinal Cupich goes on…

I will close with a quotation from the Declaration on Religious Freedom Dignitatis Humanae, 3 from the Second Vatican Council, which St. Pope John Paul II cited in paragraph 32 of Ut Unum Sint: “As the Council’s Declaration on Religious Freedom affirms: ‘Truth … is to be sought after in a manner proper to the dignity of the human person and his social nature. The inquiry is to be free, carried on with the aid of teaching or instruction, communication and dialogue, in the course of which men explain to one another the truth they have discovered, or think they have discovered, in order thus to assist one another in the quest for truth. Moreover, as the truth is discovered, it is by a personal assent that individuals are to adhere to it.” 

Exactly. Teaching, instruction, communication and dialogue doesn’t equal control-F. The author of the critique went through Instrumentum Laboris and gave it a quite thorough read.

What is needed is a concern for the church that is animated by a love for truth. What is needed is the spirit of synodality that Pope Francis has made the very heart of the Church’s upcoming moment of dialogue and teaching in search of ways to bring the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the next generations.

Cardinal Blase J. Cupich

Archbishop of Chicago”

What’s needed, in charity, is to cancel this debacle before the youth of the world are led astray! Sorry youth. I’m not against a gathering for you but this one is already off the rails.

I’ll let Archbishop Chaput complete the smackdown:

I’m grateful to Cardinal Cupich for his useful comments, and as I indicated in my own original comments, “others may disagree” with the critique of the Instrumentum I quoted. I do not. In fact the critique I selected is among the most charitable I’ve received from scholars; others have been longer, more thorough, and less gentle in assessing the 33,000-word text. But this is not unusual. A synod’s Instrumentum is always—or at least should always be—a work in progress, open to discussion and adjustment by the Synod Fathers. I’m sure we can count on that process in the upcoming synod conversation. As to the anonymous nature of the critique: I certainly agree with the cardinal that unnamed sources can be regrettable. So is the toxic environment in many of our academic communities that makes them necessary.

Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap.

Archbishop of Philadelphia

BAM!  Apparently Cardinal Cupich doesn’t remember that people have been fired by the likes of his cronies for offering honest critique. These guys might find themselves permanent residents of St. Luke’s Institute. “Toxic environment” is dead on. If you want to engage in honest discourse, how about you stop throwing out-and-out hissy fits every time someone disagrees with you? Egomania is a sure way to stop people from engaging in fruitful discussion, Your Eminence! #ResignNow

Come Into My Parlor Said the Spider to the Fly

I’ve been sitting here watching how this shakes out and have asked around to find out if, indeed, Fr. Kalchik was told to go to St. Luke’s Institute.  It appears he was, but the diocese ain’t saying (kind of shady), so it’s only a guess.  I am sooo glad somebody finally addressed this:  http://wdtprs.com/blog/2018/09/read-and-weep-soviet-style-psych-tactics-used-against-priests-by-bishops/  However, I’d also like to tackle it specifically in light of Fr. Kalchik’s circumstances. For all that has transpired in this case, this is the most heinous thing.  His is a unique case, although I suspect there are more priests out there who have suffered as much as he.

First of all, I don’t think many people know about St. Luke’s Institute.  That place should have been burned down years ago.  Nobody should be sent there, much less someone who has suffered as much as Fr. Kalchik.  It’s founder, Fr. Michael Peterson, was an openly same-sex attracted psychiatrist who, as an openly same-sex attracted guy, still entered the priesthood.  While the institute was opened to help clergy and religious suffering from alcohol and drug dependency, two short years later it became the place to send abusing priests.  And this is where the “it’s all pedophilia” mantra started to come into play.  Fr. Michael Peterson was not going to be the guy to admit it went far beyond pedophilia.  Pedophilia has been a minute part of the crisis. To his credit, he warned that the recidivism rate was going to be high, yet he still couldn’t admit a vast amount of same-sex attracted men were putting themselves in a constant near occasion of sin.

A few presidents later came Fr. Canice Connor, who infamously said, “It is so rare as to be unreported that a priest has ever used violence in abusing a child. We are not involved with the dynamics of rape, but with the far subtler dynamics of persuasion by a friend.  We must be aware that the child still sometimes retains a loving memory of the offender.”  Oy. Epic, epic fail.

Then we have Monsignor Edward J. Arsenault who stole money for himself and his male lover.  But yeah, let’s keep sending people to St. Luke’s.

Phil Lawler details some of this and more, years before all of this recent crud came to light: https://www.catholicculture.org/commentary/the-city-gates.cfm?id=1445
Finally, there’s all that was covered in Fr. Z’s blog linked above.  St. Luke’s Institute has an abysmal track record for acknowledging the root of the problem, returning offenders to active ministry, and they can’t even keep their own faculty in line, not to mention their persecution of orthodox priests for not getting in line with the homosexual lifestyle and liberal agenda. In short, for many bishops, it’s a re-education camp, pure and simple.

So, let’s think about this.  Why would anyone send a victim of homosexual rape and molestation to place that, apparently, is quite full of rapists and molesters?  What a completely sadistic idea! Talk about abusive.  We’re not just talking about someone Cardinal Cupich and club would deem “rigid.”  We’re talking about a person who is twice a victim of sexual attacks by homosexuals.  But, hey, let’s send Fr. Kalchik to live with people who are just like his attackers. So loving.  That is simply an extremely devious and sick idea. Cardinal Cupich I trying to play the loving father role.  He’s banking on the fact that most don’t know what St. Luke’s is. I’m going to do my part to see that isn’t the case.  I’m really done letting people get away with this. St. Luke’s needs a psychologist just for their HR department!

Yes, I realize that there are priests and religious at St. Luke’s who are being treated for things other than breaking their vows of celibacy, chastity, and attacking people.  That said, there are many other treatment options.  St. Luke’s is unnecessary.  For any good it may have done, it’s also done a boatload of irreparable harm to many a good priest because it has a big ol’ conflict of interest all the way around.  Cardinals and bishops with their own complexes should no longer be able to get rid of their problem priest by sending them off for psychiatric imprisonment (care would not be the word) at a facility the Church funds.

#ResignNow