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.

 

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.

 

 

Buckle Up, Fellow Catholics!

Thanks to those who told me they couldn’t wait to hear my thoughts on the youth synod.  There’s probably been enough said, and I’m quite sure I’ve mentioned how I sometimes get lost when there’s too much material (and it is never-ending) but I feel like I’ve let you down, so let me sum it up for you:

giphy
(via GIPHY)

You have to admit that Rome has become a bit of a dumpster fire as of late. Not sure we can expect much more than that in the near future. If Cardinal Sarah declines the commenting job, what can I hope to achieve?

This article, however, did catch my eye. As we go over it, I will definitely draw your attention to something that I’ve been predicting.

http://eponymousflower.blogspot.com/2018/10/can-coccopalmerio-remain-cardinal.html

Friday, October 12, 2018

Can Coccopalmerio Remain a Cardinal Another Day?

Sadly, in this pontificate, the answer is “Yes, he can.” In fact, he can remain so for many, many, pathetically sad more days.

(Rome) Cardinal Coccopalmerio is already the second close confidante of Pope Francis to make revelations about a degenerate double life. At noon today, the Vatican announced another sensational move in connection with the McCarrick case and the Pennsylvania report: Cardinal Donald Wuerl was retired as Archbishop of Washington.

I’m not sure I’d call it sensational. They were always prepared to throw Cardinal Wuerl under the bus if they had to. What should have been done weeks ago was finally done after many other efforts failed to distract us from Cardinal Wuerl. It was simply a “live to fight another day” move, a bone to the faithful who didn’t quietly go away.

What’s wrong with this pontificate?

Well, for starters, it seems like many in Rome think they are made of Teflon. Only now, their proverbial eggs are starting to stick to the pan and they can’t figure it out. For years they’ve gotten away with it. They’re completely in denial about how this is going to go from now on.

The events come thick and fast. At the end of July, Cardinal Theodore McCarrick was forced to renounce his cardinal status because he had led a degenerate double life abusing his position and engaging in inhumane sexual contact with subordinate priests and seminarians. It was the first denial of this kind in Church history.

Not fast enough. I mean, that was three months ago, and Cardinal McCarrick was just drop shipped to a cozy monastery. When’s the canonical trial going to commence???

Since then, his successor as Archbishop of Washington, Cardinal Donald Wuerl, has been in the crossfire. Wuerl was accused of knowing McCarrick’s misconduct and covering it. Pope Francis had to drop his friend McCarrick, but tried to hold on to Wuerl. However, a few weeks ago it was speculated that Francis might also drop Wuerl to rescue at least one other McCarrick protégé, Cardinal Kevin Farrell. Farrell had been called to Rome by Francis, allegedly on McCarrick’s recommendation, and made Prefect of the new Dicastery for Lay, Family, and Life, and made cardinal. Farrell lived with McCarrick in the same house for several years, but the Pope does not want to hear about his homosexual double life. Not everyone believes that.

Oh, yeah, Cardinal Wuerl was hardly the worst of the worst. He was just the one closest to retirement caught up in this debacle and the easiest one to whack. The were totally covering Cardinal Farrell’s behind. So, what we have to do now is to keep voicing our outrage about him. No way you live with a notorious dude like Cardinal McCarrick and don’t know. Again, as Bishop Lopes said, EVERYONE knew McCarrick was a dog.

Two days ago, the next scandal burst already. LifeSiteNews lit the bomb Coccopalmerio, another pope confidant. Cardinal Coccopalmerio was President of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts until last April. After the revelations, the US news portal Church Militant wrote:

“True. We have our own well-placed sources in Rome, which confirmed it to us weeks ago. Cardinal Coccopalmerio was present at the gay drug orgy by his secretary. Capozzi got busted. Coccopalmerio got off scot-free. Now he advises the Pope on sanctions against Viganò.”

Does anyone really have trouble believing this anymore? At best, Cardinal Coccopalmerio knew about Msgr. Capozzi and was still trying to get him made bishop.  At worst, he was partying right along with him. Personally, I find the latter more believable. The guy is just creepy.

On August 26, Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, the former nuncio in the United States, had sounded with a dossier with which he made serious accusations against Pope Francis and demanded his resignation. He accuses the ruling Pope of having known about the “perverse and diabolical” homosexual double life of Cardinal Theodore McCarrick since June 2013, but did nothing. Rather, Francis made the scandal cardinal into his personal confidant for the United States.

Cardinal Ouellet pretty much stated that the Holy Father knew but just didn’t care enough about an old dude who was about to retire. That might have been believable a while ago, but Pope Francis asked Archbishop Vigano about Cardinal McCarrick AND got Cardinal McCarrick involved with the China mess. If the Holy Father just couldn’t be bothered with an old guy about to retire, he sure gave him an important assignment.

In his dossier Viganò listed numerous names, which he assigned as working in the Vatican “gay lobby”. It was only with the help of this gay lobby that it had been possible to cover up McCarrick’s machinations and to keep his personnel file clean.

If only Archbishop Vigano were the first to do so. Look at those names. They have been implicated time and time again.

Coccopalmerio is examining how Archbishop Viganò could be punished.

And here is the part to pay particular attention to. It backs up some of my worst theories about what could happen. Let me say this, if Rome is smart, they will leave Archbishop Vigano alone and simply act as if he never existed. My feeling, however, is they are going to try to pin him with schism. Yes, it would be ludicrous, but after reading Cardinal Ouellet’s letter, that is a BIG concern of mine.

Read here for context, but here are the super troubling parts (emphasis mine):

Is not communion with the Successor of Peter an expression of our obedience to Christ who chose him and sustains him with his grace?

I think it is abhorrent, however, for you to use the clamorous sexual abuse scandal in the United States to inflict an unmerited and unheard of a blow to the moral authority of your superior, the Supreme Pontiff.

Dear brother, how much I wish that I could help you return to communion with him who is the visible guarantor of communion in the Catholic Church.

but you should not finish your priestly life involved in an open and scandalous rebellion that inflicts a very painful wound to the Bride of Christ,

and come back to better feelings towards the Holy Father

that profoundly harms the communion of the Church.

This letter was the shot across the bow. I also think Cardinal Ouellet was dispatched to test the waters on how far they could sanction Archbishop Vigano before they lose more favor. So, boys and girls, I think it’s time that you read all about what “schism” is. I don’t think it’s going to be too long before you hear it, even though it would be a really, really bad move and would be completely divisive to the Church at large. We’re not talking Lefebvre level event. We’re talking about giant meteor impact type event. Long version:  http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/13529a.htm Short version: http://www.vatican.va/archive/ENG1104/_P2H.HTM

Can. 751 Heresy is the obstinate denial or obstinate doubt after the reception of baptism of some truth which is to be believed by divine and Catholic faith; apostasy is the total repudiation of the Christian faith; schism is the refusal of submission to the Supreme Pontiff or of communion with the members of the Church subject to him.

There was no declaration of refusal of submission to the Holy Father by Archbishop Vigano. In fact, Vigano asked the Holy Father to do what only the Holy Father can do. I actually think Archbishop Vigano dropped his testimony and went into hiding to prevent an all-out rupture in the Church. From what I understand, there are some canonical reasons they need to find and essentially serve him. Until then, nobody has to make any judgment calls as to who is cast as Athanasius in this little play. It also gives the searchers for truth time to uncover things that move this all along to an ending. What that might be, I know not!

On 5 September, the Roman historian Roberto de Mattei warned that Pope Francis would not clean up after the revelations, but let heavy sanctions against Archbishop Viganò be tested. De Mattei asked, “Will Archbishop Viganò be punished for telling the truth?”

De Mattei wrote:

Pope Francis is examining this possibility. If true, as confirmed by several sources, he has consulted Cardinal Francesco Coccopalmerio and several other Church lawyers to study possible canonical sanctions to be imposed on the Archbishop beginning with the suspension of a divinis.

Geez! They might want to do some polling. Like I said, this isn’t one order they’re contending with. There is an overwhelming number of the faithful who are ticked off beyond belief, and there are more people paying attention now than ever before.  Sending Cardinal Ouellet out there to say, “I can only surmise that some of those prelates are not of your preference or the preference of your friends who support your interpretation of matters,” shows a complete lack of understanding of how offended the laity is over the abuse scandals. He might as well have said, “I’m going to get you, my pretty, and your little dog, too!” while ignoring the fact there’s a bazillion Tin Men, Cowardly Lions, and Scarecrows out there. And, while they like to repeatedly point to McCarrick as the lone bad guy, they might also want to look at the crazy amount of grand jury investigations. So, just what do you think is going to happen if they suspend Vigano a divinis? Honestly, it will be ugly.

If this news were correct, it would be extremely grave and a bit surreal, especially as the ‘expert’ called to punish Msgr. Viganò would have been Cardinal Coccopalmerio, who was accused by the former nuncio of being a part of the United States “gay lobby” that is at work in the Vatican.

It should not be forgotten that the Cardinal’s secretary, Msgr. Luigi Capozzi, is involved in a case of homosexuality, in which the position of his superior has yet to be clarified. The real problem is of course another. The Catholic Church as a visible society has a criminal law because it has the right to punish the faithful who have violated their laws.

This is one of the reasons I hope Archbishop Vigano remains in hiding until a bit of house cleaning can be done.

On October 10, the Canadian press agency LifeSiteNews revealed that in the “case of homosexuality” not only the secretary Capozzi, but Cardinal Coccopalmerio was personally involved.

It wouldn’t surprise me in the least. Can’t confirm or deny, but I hope some of the law enforcement called in grow a conscience and spill, if this indeed happened.

“Silence is not a solution”

Famous Spanish columnist Francisco Fernandez de la Cigoña today indignantly raised the question:

“Can Coccopalmerio stay cardinal for another day?”

The revelations are either “compellingly denied, or a drug addict and practicing homosexual can no longer be Cardinal.”

One would hope. One would hope.

The Catholic publicist went even harder into court:

“Silence, which suddenly now seems to be pleasing to this pope, whose pontificate has so far been conspicuous, does not solve anything and does not give Francis much time when others of his charges are involved in even greater scandals and disgraceful impudence.

Above all, it would be painful if the pope, whose sympathies were obviously in many respects with the wrong persons, would distrust even the decent ones now.

I think it even goes beyond that. Seriously, it would be nice if he put his own house in order before dealing with Archbishop Vigano. Who’s a greater threat to the Church right now? Is it those who may have engaged in drug fueled homosexual orgies, or Archbishop Vigano??? Can we deal with the worst of the worst first?

This afternoon, Cardinal Wuerl announced his retirement as Archbishop of Washington. He still remains cardinal and can thus participate in an upcoming conclave. However, the pontificate of Pope Francis loses important supports. McCarrick and Wuerl controlled another McCarrick pupil, Bishop Michael Brandsfield, a million-dollar foundation in the US that can be described as this Pope’s “private account”.

And a whole new scandal. Honestly, I’m losing track of them. I’m not even that upset that Wuerl is still a voting cardinal. If I were him, I’d figure out quickly that I was a serious scapegoat for even worse people and vote the polar opposite of the way they would like.

Of the three, only Wuerl is left. McCarrick lost his dominating position with his cardinal dignity, his protégé, who was president of the foundation, had to be retired by Francis in mid-September. He was accused of sexual abuse in the Pennsylvania Report.

Oh, replacements just as bad will probably be appointed unless we pray for some serious divine intervention.

At the moment, some things are falling apart, and that could even be the pontificate of Pope Francis.

I have no idea of what’s going on in his head, but I’m sure his “advisors” are wickedly bad at their jobs. Or maybe they are just wicked. Either way, I’m also reasonably sure they’re just watching out for themselves. Archbishop Vigano could have been his best “employee” had he just listened. He was probably once far more on the Holy Father’s side than any of the people surrounding him now.

Buckle up, my fellow Catholics! I’m afraid the ride is about to get bumpier. Remember, we can and must still pray like crazy for a little help down here.

Pontifical Secrets

I’ve been trying to read through all the bishops’ and cardinals’ statements that have come out since Archbishop Vigano’s testimony.  I have to admit, I don’t usually draw attention to my bishop because, well, I don’t want him to be a target for the dissenting machine.  I’ve always found him to be a masterful strategist balanced with a truly pastoral heart, even for those who annoy the heck out of me, as he should, right? He’s definitely got a knack for teaching and encouraging his flock to aim for Heaven.

Anyways, one thing that stood out in his statement but I didn’t quite understand before I had some discussions with smart people and did a little more research was this:

They need access to all the relevant documents, most of which are protected as “Papal Secrets.” They need to interview priests who worked in the Roman Curia and U.S. diocesan offices, who also would be released from the “Papal Secret” and allowed to testify.

We need to find out the truth. Only the truth will set us free. And only the pope can authorize the steps that need to be taken to find the truth.

At first, I thought “papal secret” was some sort of colorful phrase.  Did you know a “Pontifical Secret” is actually a thing?! With Canon Law and penalties attached to it?! https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pontifical_secret#cite_ref-3  I also found the history surrounding Humane Vitae helpful in understanding why they are not necessarily a bad thing.  https://www.nytimes.com/1974/03/15/archives/vatican-tightens-secrecy-rules-after-leaks-of-popes-papers.html Some days, I’m not sure why we wonder how Dan Brown made millions?  This sounds like the stuff novels are made of, and it kind of lends credence to the rumors that Vatican investigators have been dispatched to search for Archbishop Vigano to bring charges. You should read the link above for details, but here’s a quick summary of what’s covered under “Pontifical Secrets”  (Bold is me.)

“The instruction Secreta continere lists ten classes of matters covered by the pontifical secret:

  1. Preparation of papal documents, if pontifical secrecy is expressly demanded

  2. Information obtained officially by the Secretariat of State in connection with questions requiring pontifical secrecy

  3. Notifications sent to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith about teachings and publications and the Congregation’s examination of them.

  4. Extrajudicial denunciations of crimes against the faith and morals or against the sacrament of Penance, while safeguarding the right of the person denounced to be informed of the denunciation, if his defence against it makes this necessary. The name of the person making the denunciation may be made known to him only if it is judged necessary to have a face-to-face confrontation between denouncer and denounced.

  5. Reports by papal legates on matters covered by pontifical secrecy.

  6. Information obtained officially with regard to the naming of cardinals

  7. Information obtained officially with regard to the naming of bishops and papal legates and the relative inquiries.

  8. Information obtained officially with regard to the naming of the chief officers of the Roman Curia.

  9. All matters concerning cipher systems and enciphered messages. (No intrigue there.)

  10. Any matter that the Pope, a Cardinal in charge of a department of the Roman Curia, or a papal legate considers to be of such importance that it requires the protection of papal secrecy.[3]”

In short, they have a practical purpose to keep the Church from being scandalized or confused, but on this issue of abuse and cover-ups, that ship has sailed. This isn’t the 1300s anymore. The victims now have a serious voice called the internet. The scandal is now found in keeping silence, and Bishop Barber seems to realize that. That’s not to suggest that everyone on the planet gets to see everything, but probably something more like a Catholic grand jury is warranted.

Just before this cover-up wave hit, the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors asked for the “Pontifical Secrets” penalties to be loosed in regards to the abuse scandal, and in certain respects on contacting authorities, it was. That said, where it really counted, peoples’ lips are still sealed. The Vatican was fine in dioceses contacting the local authorities when abuse allegations are made outside the confessional, but when it comes to their own files, they seem, to understate it dramatically, a tad bit hesitant.  What happens when people contact Rome about, say, a certain cardinal, but Rome does zip OR looses sanctions already in place against said cardinal? It would seem, as far as present circumstances go, that Rome tries to point back to the local diocese, country, etc., and say, “Sorry, it was them!”

I would like to point out that it seems when there was a problem in Australia with a certain “conservative” cardinal, the American liberal publications were all pointing out that the Pontifical Secrets should be lifted per the suggestion of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors. Also, just two weeks before the McCarrick scandal hit, the National catholic Reporter posted this.Yet, now that their buddies have been implicated, they’ve fallen strangely silent. One of the last things they want now is for Pontifical Secrets to be revealed. It would likely implicate way too many of their hopes and dreams in this scandal. Double-standard?  Oh, yeah!

I highly doubt that Archbishop Vigano is going to escape sanctions over this without more bishops and cardinals calling for the remedy to canonical penalties against revealing Pontifical Secrets. Either way, though, I think he very consciously made the decision to give his testimony knowing full well that some want his head on a platter. He also did it knowing full well that the cat was out of the bag. It was a little too late to protect the Church from scandal. As Bishop Lopes and hundreds of others have said, EVERYONE knew but nobody did anything about it because the “powers that be” didn’t want anything done. There were even reprisals against anyone attempting to stop it.

Bishop Barber is the first leader I’ve seen, since all hell broke loose, calling for the “Pontifical Secrets” to be lifted on the cover-up scandal now rocking the Church, but every bishop and cardinal should follow his lead. Those who have the information need to see that this doesn’t mean they are facing the threat of excommunication should they reveal the truth. They take that threat very seriously, as good Catholics should, and nobody wants an all-out schism in the Church. By calling for an end to Pontifical Secrets in the cover-up scandal, Bishop Barber is strategically and lovingly trying to avoid this very real and possible outcome. Should they be lifted, I’m quite sure a whole lot more facts would come out keeping us from the same mistakes repeatedly, schism would be avoided, and truth will heal the Church’s ails. Let’s let the chips fall where they may.  If a bishop, cardinal, or even pope is afraid of the truth coming out at this point late into the scandal, they really need to ask themselves why? (Ahem, Cardinals Cupich and Tobin!)

As Bishop Barber so rightly stated:

We need to find out the truth. Only the truth will set us free. And only the pope can authorize the steps that need to be taken to find the truth.

#ReleasePontificalSecrets #OpenTheFiles

 

 

Martin’s Twitter Manifesto

Fr. Martin is now using Twitter to post his latest book.  Honestly, by using 15 tweets to get his latest message of dissent across, he’s kind of violating the spirit of Tweeting, don’t you think?  If you can’t get your point across in 280 characters, move onto another platform.

Fr. Martin has apparently decided the crisis is so huge that he can move into full Saul Alinsky mode. 

Any revolutionary change must be preceded by a passive, affirmative, non-challenging attitude toward change among the mass of our people. They must feel so frustrated, so defeated, so lost, so futureless in the prevailing system that they are willing to let go of the past and chance the future. ~Saul Alinsky

Of course Rahm Emmanuel made this tactic a little clearer when he said:

You never let a serious crisis go to waste. And what I mean by that it’s an opportunity to do things you think you could not do before. 

The radicals’ modus operandi has always been to exploit the victims of a crisis and, in fact, even cause a crisis to advance their agenda.  Good old Fr. Martin is just another in a long list of dissenters who embraces this idea, as shown in his string of tweets found here: https://twitter.com/JamesMartinSJ/status/1036280808724733952

For those who abhor Twitter and social media, here are all his tweets nicely copied and pasted for you with my comments in between. 

Dear friends: Like you, I am sick about what is happening in our church. Like you, I’ve prayed about how best to move ahead. Our church will survive. The “gates of hell” will not prevail against it, as Jesus Christ himself promised us.

We stood against you this long, Fr. Martin.  We’re quite sure of Christ’s promise.  I’m pretty sure your world is about to turn upside-down, though.

But Christ, through the Holy Spirit, urges us to act: to rebuild the church and help his holy and faithful people.  Without certain steps, people will flow out of the church, never to return, like water from the side of the Crucified One on Good Friday.

What the what?!  Fr. Martin is comparing water flowing from the side of Christ to people leaving the Church???  I know he’s fond of saying “I’m not a theologian!” but how awful is that comparison?  The water from the side of Christ was a fulfillment of prophecy and had so much good symbolism for our Church. Martin’s comparison turns that on its head.  Here’s something for you to read if you don’t believe me: https://catholicexchange.com/the-meaning-of-his-piercing

As happened when Christ spoke the Truth, some left and some will still leave.  This is never a reason to downplay or distort the truth. 

Some of you may not agree with each step,

I’d take that bet in a heartbeat! 

but I believe that each one is essential for us to rebuild the church. This list is by no means complete or exhaustive.  With a focus on the US church, and in order of immediacy, they are as follows:

I’m glad you admit it is incomplete, because it lacks any sort of spiritual dimension to fight the battle ahead.  While cardinals and bishops across the country – and indeed the world – are suggesting prayer, penance, sacrifice, spiritual reparation, prayer to St. Michael after all Masses, etc., what it the world are you suggesting?  Oh, yes, removing anything that causes us the slightest bit of inconvenience or hardship.

First, while journalists have discredited large sections of the Vigano “testimony,” and while many charges have been shown to be baseless, one answer that journalists will not be able to uncover is Pope Francis’s knowledge and actions regarding the McCarrick case.

If wishes were ponies, Fr. Martin!  You won’t even address the charges.  With a wave of your hand, you try using Jedi mind tricks.  “These are not the charges you are looking for!”  Let me clue you in.  You are not Sir Alec Guinness by any stretch of the imagination.  Your delivery causes a HUGE chunk of the Church to chuckle.  It’s such a desperate, desperate attempt.

The faithful are exceedingly confused about this one question; a short and simple answer from the Pope, or from the Vatican, on that specific issue will help us move us ahead.

Isn’t it curious that you think you get to dictate the questions we find credible and worthy of answering?  The Pope answering yes or no to a single question is never going to move us ahead.  By the way, the only response we’ve gotten in the entire disastrous crisis is, “No comment, you hateful people!”.  I’m hoping and praying that will change, but I seriously doubt it.

Second, dioceses and religious orders should open their abuse files to the public, rather than waiting until they are forced to. Otherwise, the church will face years of civic authorities uncovering our crimes and sins. Confession is not about just what you’re forced to reveal

So, let me get this right.  The dioceses and religious orders should open their files, but the Vatican should not have to, as you and your buddy, Austen, think? 

ceoquote

Your idea is just to have the Holy Father give us a yes or no and go with it?  When there are documents that could answer the charges? (Although I’m betting a whole lot of shredding has been going on in various places in the Church hierarchy, it’s only a guess.  That’s OK, Vigano probably still has a copy of all of it.)

Third, lay leaders should investigate the McCarrick case. More importantly, lay leaders should be placed in charge of all review boards in both dioceses and religious orders, if they are not already in charge. The system has shown that it cannot police itself.

Why?  It’s a simple question.  It would seem you’ve said on more than one occasion the unscrupulous live in my world, too. Weren’t the guys at the Vatican bank members of the laity? That didn’t work out too well, did it?  What is the benefit of simply having the laity investigate when we can be just as wicked?  I’d be a little worried if we were talking about putting Jesuits in charge, but I’m quite comfortable with Church investigating the Church.  Oh, and I’m definitely not comfortable with anyone who reads the National catholic Reporter going anywhere near the Church files. That’s for sure.  They’re gullible or agenda driven.  How about I just pick who gets to investigate?  I’m reasonably sure I could do a good job.

Fourth, bishops found guilty of abuse, or of covering up the crimes, must be removed from their posts as soon as possible. Perhaps just as important, when bishops resign, the Vatican must be clear about the actual reasons for their resignations.

Really?  YOU want to go there?  I’d have to think we’d be pulling out a lot more of your friends than mine, but hey, I’m willing to give it a try.  That said, why limit it to bishops?  How about priests? How about cardinals?

Fifth, demonization within the church must end. It is a stumbling block to healing and a desolation to all. Social media has played a malign role. The stereotyping of whole groups (gays, celibates, bishops, conservatives, liberals) must end. Personal vilification must stop.

You’re a uniter, not a divider, huh, Fr. Martin?  This is a classic liberal tactic.  Wreak havoc and then put yourself in there as the healer, Messiah, etc., etc., etc.  You are very, very guilty of demonization.  The “holier than though” ploy doesn’t work here, Father. You revel in ad hominems with zero back-up so save it. 

Sixth, public acts of penance from the hierarchy must take place. Letters and statements are, as we have seen, insufficient. The laity should decide what form these ritual acts should take. Symbols, as well as practical action, matter as well here.

What in THE heck are you talking about here?  Does this mean you think sack cloths and ashes will make everything OK.  I might remind you that private acts of The many bishops who have weighed in on Vigano’s claims have talked of penance and reparations on behalf of the abusers and those that covered it up, and they’re not even the guilty ones.   We want a spiritual and moral cleansing in our Church.  We’re fine with a thorough investigation here and at the Vatican.  The only people trying to thwart any of these is in your club.

Seventh, both married men and women must be included in all levels of decision-making in the church—including heading Vatican congregations, helping to select bishops, reforming the Curia, etc.

We’re now in our second decade of you trying to put the laity in charge of the Church, yet you never seem to explain why a Church that has survived 2,000 years without that has to do this.  Methinks you’re just hoping to get your cast of same-sex attracted, feminists, and dissenters into these positions.  I’m just guessing your whole attitude would change if, say, Janet Smith was put in charge. Janet! Janet!

Married men and women must also be included in all levels of leadership—including leadership in the church’s liturgical life, something of immense symbolic importance. Married priests and women deacons are a start.

Boom!  And the laundry list is complete. Please note the use of “are a start.”  Pray-tell, where would we go from there, Fr. Martin?  Could it be priestesses?  Could it be active homosexual priests?  Lesbian priestesses?  I can’t even imagine all the nightmares running around in your hopes and dreams.

Eighth, a thoroughgoing review of seminary and religious formation, especially regarding education in human sexuality, must happen—again.  There are still seminaries and religious orders where candidates are incapable of, or prevented from, discussing their own sexuality.

OK, again, I’m going to suggest Janet Smith also be put in charge of that.  Whaaaattt?!  Not what you had in mind? What could the problem be?   I’m going to quote myself for a change:

I don’t want to hear about “gay priests.”  I don’t want to hear about “straight priests.”  I don’t want to hear about any priests who spend time focusing on their “sexual identity.”  I want priests who focus on serving God and who focus on leading his people to Heaven.  Anyone doing less than that shouldn’t be a priest.  So, if your focus is on you and your sexual inclinations, please leave.

Your “identity” was already given to you by God.  It reflects your body.  Your inclinations, that’s a whole other ballgame.

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.

Uh, there’s no system of “privileges.”  If by privilege you mean giving up and dying to oneself in order to serve God’s people, I will never give up considering my priests privileged.  I respect them as priests of God, which is simply a better status.  Now if you mean privileged as in your cronies who attend gala after gala and are regaled upon, I’d agree. Let’s see?  Who does that again?  Does the Met Gala ring a bell to the priest all excited about being called “sexy?”

Our priests should live as humble servants of Christ, honored and loved by their flocks as a family honors and loves their father.  I realize being a humble servant isn’t in your wheelhouse, but it is to faithful priests.  This, as I’ve said before, isn’t wholesale clericalism.  It’s the clericalism of priests trying to normalize the same-sex attraction, like you, Father Martin.

Finally, despair about this situation must be resisted. Despair does not come from God. The Holy Spirit is with us, and will help us through even the most difficult of times. We must never forget Jesus’s words to his disciples: “Fear not!”

Oh, I don’t despair.  In fact, I have more hope than I had yesterday about the direction of the Church. When you’ve hit rock bottom, you can only go up.  A full and complete investigation of the Truth is what will bring beauty and glory back to the Church.  That’s what we want, and we want it now.  Any suggestion from you that we should investigate all claims of whatever will be smacked down and thrown back at you as the obfuscator you are.

On that note, I’d like to let my readers know that I got into Catholic activism in 2002 because of this ongoing abuse scandal. Before that, I spent my time happily focusing on my kids.  Sadly, the liberals in my diocese who worship Fr. James Martin, SJ, decided to co-opt the victims’ pain to promote a liberal agenda which had nothing to do with priests abusing children, and they continued to cover-up for their buddies who had done things like getting arrested in a public restroom for indecent activity and propositioning an undercover officer.  If you think their focus is the victims, think again.

I will tell you this, don’t think you’re helpless because you don’t have a doctorate in theology.  A bunch of nothing special laity affected great change in our diocese and Church, and you can too.  Despite the calls for more involvement from the laity, the Fr. Martins of the world are scared by the laity being on fire more than anything else. If you think you can’t do undercover work, write, be a thorn for the diocesan dissenter, affect change, etc., I’m here to tell you if I can do it, anyone can. No special talent needed, just a lot of prayers to the Holy Spirit and hope.  Those who have been through the worst of the worst brought all this crud to light and so can you.

Stephen Herried had a very poignant tweet.

 

Stephen Herreid

While I don’t have a problem with sophisticates and I learn tons from them, it’s going to take far more of us than that.  Activists are simply people who are active.   This needs to be all of us.

#Resign #NoMoreSilence #Investigate

Cupich, McElroy & the Civil War

Cardinal Cupich apparently missed the part in the meeting where they told him to keep quiet, look holy, and let Bishop McElroy foment so he could keep his hands as clean as possible. Seriously, I had a whole post dealing with McElroy’s sophomoric response and then Cupich went and ruined the “Protect the Golden Boy” plan and I had to make a re-write. 

I’m sure nobody in the camp over there got much sleep last night. Not gonna lie. While it’s super-sad, it was satisfying to watch the freak out. In my mind it’s akin to sprinkling a demon with holy water. A big ol’ truth bomb has the same effect on them. I went to bed last night with an amazing amount of hope for the Church and it just got all the better today.

If you’d like to see Cardinal Cupich take gold in the shark jumping contest, go here.

He literally said “…they also don’t like him because he’s a Latino.” Can I just say that coffee coming out your nose is painful??? The race card, really??? Bahahaha! Not that it has much to do with anything but does anyone want to clue Cupich into the fact that Pope Francis is Italian? How in the heck did he miss that? I’m probably more Latino than he is! https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pope_Francis How about someone ask Cupich the reason why we dislike him? I’m pretty sure Cupich isn’t Latino. Can’t wait to see what he says.

Of course, it was pathetic through and through, but the worst statement is that the Church is not “going to go down that rabbit hole” (aka – investigate) because of the environment!!!  Never mind people being molested and raped because the environment. Oh my ever-living goodness! #ResignNow

And then you have McElroy:

Statement by Bishop McElroy on “testimony” by former Papal Nuncio

In response to a letter published on Aug. 25 by Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, the former Papal representative to the United States, San Diego Bishop Robert McElroy has released the following statement:

‘This is a moment when the bishops of our nation, in union with the Holy Father, should be focused solely on comprehensively revealing the truth about the patterns of the sexual abuse of minors and vulnerable adults by clergy in our Church, so that deep reform can be enacted.’

Wait! I thought the environment was the priority?!

No, Bishop McElroy, this isn’t the moment. This should have been done long ago after the first go around. You had your chance. You were all given ample opportunity and you blew it. You got caught doing the polar opposite and now you’re ticked. Forget the countless victims, it’s all about you.

‘Unfortunately, in recent weeks ideological warriors within the Church on both sides of the spectrum have utilized the tragedy of victims of abuse to promote their goals. The dedication to comprehensive truth has been subordinated to selective targeting of enemies and tendentious distortions of the truth.’

I’m sorry, if “ideological warriors” are people like myself who are ticked that you protected your own rather than preventing further victims, I’ll take the title. You wouldn’t know “comprehensive truth” if it walked up and slapped you in the face. There’s no “selective targeting.” The target is people who reject the teachings of the Church and put their own proclivities above all else. 

‘Archbishop Vigano’s statement constitutes just such a distortion. It is not an attempt to comprehensively convey the truth. In its ideologically-driven selection of bishops who are attacked, in its clear efforts to settle old personal scores, in its omission of any reference to Archbishop Vigano’s own massive personal participation in the covering up of sexual abuse by bishops, and most profoundly in its hatred for Pope Francis and all that he has taught, Archbishop Viganò consistently subordinates the pursuit of comprehensive truth to partisanship, division and distortion.’

Wow! So many whoppers, so little words. First, Bishop McElroy, you say that Archbishop Vigano’s statement is a distortion. Please, please tell us where.  Generalities mean zip. Last time I checked, calumny and slander were no bueno. You want to lay down a little specific truth, feel free. You want to make innuendos, peddle them somewhere else. Saying someone “hates” the Pope tugs at the heartstrings but doesn’t make it true. It’s a sad, pathetic tactic. Who’s throwing the victims under the bus right now? I imagine more than a few are cheering for Archbishop Vigano because that one man is taking you all down and you know it. Bye-bye legacy and hello early retirement.

By the way, it’s really time to point out, once again, your accusation of “massive cover-up” of one bishop by Vigano was just shot down with documents to support. (Hint: This is why your club prefers to let you do the talking. They don’t want to look quite as foolish when their faulty accusations blow up in their faces. Too bad Cupich didn’t follow the plan.) The one thing you hung your hat on – that Archbishop Vigano told investigators to end their investigation – didn’t happen. Poor you. Feast  your eyes on this and this! I’d like to take the time to thank Archbishop Vigano for having the foresight to save everything in black and white. It validates me never clearing out my email box. While all of you are spitting into the wind, Archbishop Vigano is backing up his statements with solid evidence to prove his claims. I’m sure his latest doc drop occurred after you released this ridiculous statement, Bishop McElroy. Again, kudos to Archbishop Vigano for seeing what was coming his way and handling it like a pro. The less “he said/she said,” the better.

‘We as bishops cannot allow the pathway of partisanship to divide us or to divert us from the searing mission that Christ calls us to at this moment. We must make public our sinful past. We must engage and help heal the survivors of abuse. We must develop new, lay-governed instruments of oversight and investigation in every element of how we confront sexual abuse by clergy at all levels in the life of the Church. And we must reject all attempts to subordinate these goals to ideological or personal projects. For if we do not, we will have betrayed the victims of abuse once again.’

+Bp. McElroy

Translation: You can’t possibly impose the Church teaching of vetting homosexuals out of seminary.  Seriously, these guys are single issue people! This is all they care about (which is in itself creepy), and if you point out 80% of the previous cases were homosexual priests (and after reading the first 300 gut wrenching pages of the Pennsylvania grand-jury report, I’d conclude even more), and that following Church procedure would eliminate a huge percentage of future cases, suddenly you are an ideological warrior?!? Just who are the ideologues again? 

Please note that McElroy didn’t actually make a point by point rebuttal. In fact, he didn’t make a rebuttal at all. Why? Could it be they can’t???  He tried to throw out the cover-up line, but that got walloped by Vigano himself. 

Personally, I wouldn’t just uphold the Church’s rules on homosexuals in the priesthood, I’d nix anyone who questions any Church doctrine from entering the priesthood. If you can’t uphold those teachings, you probably aren’t going to be able to uphold your vows. See? No bias. No hatred of homosexuals. It’s a simple, “If you don’t buy what the Church says, you certainly can’t sign on to be a pastor of souls.”

One more thing, since I’m seeing the use of “Civil War” crop up in the talking points, let’s talk about it before I wrap up. This is simply a tactic to keep us from fighting for good. It’s slick, but don’t fall for it. “So and so waded into the Church’s Civil War” in a derogatory tone, as if we’re all supposed to sit on our hands as more and more victims appear on a daily basis? We’re supposed to stay out of it while our clergy pool is either guilty or looked upon as creepers even if they are good, holy priests just trying to live holy lives??  We’re supposed to give the benefit of doubt to some overwhelming evidence of lack of character, if not evil action itself??? I’m not going to find myself sitting on a fence with my hands on my face saying, “Oh my!” as I watch it all go down. The McElroy, Cupich, Farrell club isn’t sitting on the fence in this fight.  They’re totally down in the mud. Their “We’re the peace-makers!” mantra should be an obvious falsehood by now. 

Civil wars are usually fought to end some sort of evil. Take the American Civil War, for instance.  While it was about a bit more than just slavery, slavery was certainly the evil being fought. It’s the same in our Church. There’s a reason the chasm is growing wider and wider. It’s not on policy and style, it’s about spiritual and physical abuses. Of course, we have to pick a side. And, no, I’m not talking about leaving the Church. I’m talking about fighting for her, and that cannot be done from the outside. Don’t be a fool. This most certainly is a civil war for the spiritual and moral health of the Church. Don’t let the stupid catch phrases keep you quiet.

This is not the first time the Church has free-fallen into immorality. It’s a cyclical thing.  It’s one of the reasons I know it’s the right Church, because no matter how corrupt her members, here She stands.  Nothing without Divine assistance could survive with all the fools running around over the centuries.  Think this is bad? Check out the 1300s.  At least the current knuckleheads try to obfuscate. #ResignNow #IdeologicalWarrior #CatholicCyberMilitia

 

The Crux of Vigano

****See update at the end.****

So, when I wrote my last post, I already knew about the attacks on Archbishop Vigano.  I didn’t address them at that time, though, because I get really annoyed when I draw attention to National catholic Reporter and their ridiculous propagandizing under the guise of “reporting.”  Now, however, it’s crossed over to Crux, although it’s wrapped in John Allen’s usual school of nice.  He just tries too hard to see both sides as if there’s no agenda there, either.  He can’t call a spade a spade when this Pope has fulfilled all his hopes and dreams on the economy, war, poverty, and the death penalty.

Here’s the part where I’m going to launch into my Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano apologist persona and point out how weird it is that the Pope who touts honesty and transparency in giving interviews on planes told the reporters to basically go suck lemons.

Making sense of McCarrick cover-up charges against Pope Francis

John L. Allen Jr.Aug 27, 2018 EDITOR

Yes, let’s use a little common sense, not hopes and dreams.  Let’s just look at the reality of the situation.

DUBLIN – As Pope Francis wrapped up a 32-hour visit to Ireland on Sunday, the cold, windy and rainy weather undoubtedly put a damper on turnout. Officials had expected around a half-million people to flock to Dublin’s Phoenix Park for the concluding Mass, for instance, but in the end the Vatican said 300,000 people turned out.

Ireland has been hit hard by clergy abuse, but yeah, it’s the weather. Do I know why people didn’t show?  Of course not, but neither does John Allen, and that’s pretty much how this whole article goes.  Let’s show an event and provide some correlation and causation that may or may not exist. The problem here is that it becomes a character assassination piece on Archbishop Vigano – but done in a nice way.  Sigh.

Let me state this at the outset, and I just ran across a piece from Rod Dreher that pretty much says the same thing – Archbishop Vigano’s motives for doing what he did DON’T MATTER ONE BIT.  He made claims that the Pope can either confirm or deny, so how about we see that happen???  Honestly, I like Vigano and I always have.  He was crucial in some amazing episcopal appointments and did his best to try to save this nation. He’s a staunch supporter of traditional marriage and he’s against admitting homosexuals into seminary.  Is he bitter about being appointed to this miserable country (Catholic wise, that is)? Does he have an axe to grind or is he thinking of the countless victims of McCarrick and club? Don’t know, don’t care.  I only care about the facts laid out while using a little common sense on the allegations against him.

Yet as it turns out, the meteorological storms Francis faced paled in comparison to the metaphorical ones breaking on Sunday, in part related to his overall handling of the clerical sexual abuse crisis, but more specifically to an astonishing claim by a former papal ambassador in the U.S. that Francis had lifted restrictions imposed on Cardinal Theodore McCarrick under Pope emeritus Benedict XVI, despite being informed of misconduct concerns against McCarrick in June 2013.

Yes, the bad does pale in comparison to thousands of lives altered by this abuse scandal.  The claim by Vigano wasn’t astonishing.  That’s what’s so terribly sad about it.  The only thing that was astonishing is that someone broke through the cone of silence.

Aboard the papal plane on Sunday, Francis basically challenged reporters to judge those accusations for themselves – the clear suggestion being that if they did so, the charges would crumble under their own weight.

Oh, yeah, he sure challenged them.  He didn’t take the 5th at all.  Sigh.  What happened to his reasoning for never formulating answers ahead of time?  What happened to the transparency and authenticity which supposedly come from his interviews on a plane?

Assuming journalists take the pontiff up on his offer, so far we have only the word of that former ambassador, Italian Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, that he personally informed Francis on June 23, 2013, of the sanctions imposed on McCarrick by Benedict.

Over and over again on Sunday, I was pressed by colleagues and ordinary folk alike for an answer to one burning question: “How seriously should we take this?”

Here’s my bottom line response: Take it seriously, but with a large grain of salt.

But, pray-tell, why, John?  This was a very public accusation with dates and names included, and the only response has been “No comment.”  Who is more suspect at this point?  Sure, Archbishop Vigano could be flipping insane, but he’d have to be to put out something like this simply because of sour grapes.  This isn’t a simple “The Pope knew” statement.  This one puts it all on the line.  Also, who has a lengthier track record of abuses being brought to light and ignored.  ***cough***Honduras***cough***

One certainly can’t dismiss the charge out of hand, if for no other reason than never before has a former papal ambassador accused a sitting pope of complicity in what would amount, if true, to a criminal cover-up.

I’m not sure it could actually be considered criminal since it was the over-18 crowd and no charges have been brought yet.  If it was true, it really would be far more than a cover-up.  It would be allowing a dirty old man to wander free in the Church after sanctions had been placed on him by prior Pope.

To be clear, this isn’t some anonymous figure claiming to have sent the pope a letter. Viganò was the pope’s man in America for five years, and over that time he certainly had the means and opportunity to inform the pope of things if he wanted to.

Right.

Further, there’s a symbolic dimension to the situation. Francis has been charged with mishandling an abuse allegation, and if there isn’t a credible and transparent effort to get to the bottom of things, then the pontiff’s rhetoric in Ireland about being “firm and decisive in the pursuit of truth and justice” might ring hollow.

Right, again, especially after his fumbling of other large-scale abuse issues.

On the other hand, there are at least four reasons why a large grain of salt is warranted.

And here comes all of the stuff that doesn’t change the fact a list of charges have been laid out to confirm or deny.

To begin with, the 11-page statement Viganò released to reporters probably undercut his own credibility in key respects. The letter contains charges of some form of wrongdoing or questionable behavior against no fewer than 32 senior churchmen, and in most cases Viagnò himself acknowledges that his comments are based on no more than supposition and/or connecting the dots.

Uh, OK.  That’s a sweeping generalization.  If you had gone for “some of his comments”, you might have been close, John. Let’s go down the list, shall we?

Bertone is known for putting homosexuals in positions of authority.  Not supposition.

McCarrick admitted he had shared his bed with seminarians.  Not supposition.

Sodano was given all the McCarrick info.  Not supposition.

Sodano tried to cover up the Maciel case.  Not supposition.

Sodano responsible for putting McCarrick into power. Finally, a supposition and a good one at that.  Makes total sense, though.

Cardinal Re wanted nothing to do with McCarrick.  Not supposition.

Sambi gave Bertone the file.  Not supposition.

Montalvo sent a report to Bertone.  Not supposition.

Sodano sent out a press release saying Maciel case was closed.  Pope Benedict smacked that idea down.  Not supposition.

Bertone didn’t quibble over Vincenzo de Mauro (another one everyone knew was an active homosexual).  I guess you could say supposition, but do we hear any quibbling?

Cardinal Francesco Coccopalmerio and Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia subvert Catholic teaching on homosexuality.  I guess you’d throw that under supposition.  But, really?!

Cardinals Edwin Frederick O’Brien and Renato Raffaele Martino?  Don’t know them, so I’ll give John one point for supposition.

Cardinal Wuerl?  Not sure how anyone could think John is this ignorant at this point.  Supposition based on a mound of evidence that he knew a whole lot more than he’s saying.

When anyone hurls around accusations quite so lightly, it’s difficult to know how seriously any one ought to be taken.

Bishop Paul Bootkoski and Archbishop John Myers?  They made payouts, for heaven’s sake.

Farrell?  Supposition, but a very logical supposition.  That said, he’s kind of one of the lackeys, so who knows.

Cardinal O’Malley?  Dude!  This was his job.  He either was completely incompetent or he knew big time.

Second, Viganò has a history.

Now onto John’s suppositions.

He was a key player in the “Vatileaks” scandal under Pope emeritus Benedict XVI, which pivoted on confidential documents being stolen and leaked to the press by a papal butler. Among them were two letters by Viganò to Benedict and Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the Vatican’s then-Secretary of State, protesting his impending appointment as ambassador in the U.S. on the grounds that he wanted to remain in the Government of the Vatican City State and continue battling financial corruption.

I love how you’re a key player in “Vatileaks” when your stuff was found and leaked.

Then as now, the letters contained a mix of factual detail with innuendo and conspiracy theories, and it proved arduous – in some cases, basically impossible – to separate the wheat from the chaff.

As conspiratorial as the current testimony, John?  Says you.

Third, Viganò arguably undercut his credibility by not dealing with his own record on the abuse issue.

And here’s the only place they might have game, although I think witch hunt.

According to a 2014 memo, first made public in 2016, Viganò as nuncio quashed an investigation – going as far as demanding that evidence be destroyed – into then-Archbishop John Nienstedt of St. Paul and Minneapolis, who was being investigated for misconduct with seminarians as well as cover-up of sexual abuse. In 2015, Nienstedt stepped down as head of the archdiocese.

By not at least trying to explain his actions in the Nienstedt case, Viganò left open some serious question marks

So if you’ve got some serious question marks for him, what punctuation are you tallying for the Holy Father at this point?

Let’s go over a bit of a timeline here.  Nienstedt was accused of inappropriately touching a teen during a post-confirmation photo shoot in December of 2014.  It was investigated by police, and in March of 2014 they said, after an intensive investigation, that no charges were warranted. Archbishop Vigano then met with Nienstedt in April. All other allegations against Nienstedt were decades earlier and seemingly he said/he said statements.  Oddly enough, they all magically appeared after the battle over “gay referendums” started in Minnesota.  So, in quite good conscience, Vigano likely concluded that the police found nothing in the case of the confirmand and that this was likely an attack launched by proponents of “gay marriage.”  Right or wrong, Vigano looking the other way was hardly as habitual as, say, the Holy Father.

As far as Nienstedt goes, I think he did indeed blow it not removing some priests and he resigned.

Fourth, it may be difficult for many observers to escape the impression that all this was orchestrated with a political agenda in mind.

In the statement on McCarrick, Viganò clearly betrays a generally conservative political bias, among other things in his frequently derisive commentary on prelates and clerics he finds to be excessively “pro-gay” – such as an offhand claim that Italian Cardinal Francesco Coccopalmerio and Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia (both former or current Vatican officials) “belong to the homosexual current in favor of subverting Catholic doctrine on homosexuality.”

Wait, John!  I thought suppositions were verboten?!  And really, fighting for traditional marriage and following the rule of keeping homosexuals out of seminary are political things?  You can keep your head in the sand about Coccopalmerio and Paglia, but that’s really how we got into this mess, isn’t it, John?  Sorry, but when you’ve already spoken highly of homosexual relationships AND your buddy you’re recommending for bishop gets arrested for hosting a homosexual orgy…

There’s also the question of why Viganò’s statement appeared today, on the very day Francis was struggling to address the abuse scandals in Ireland.  Adding all that up, the release of the statement can’t help but strike some as an orchestrated maneuver.

Oh, what mystifying conspiracy does that allude to?  And really, why suggest it when you’re just going to turn around and say:

(As a footnote, if this was indeed orchestrated, it had to be a pretty off-key orchestra. Had Viganò restricted himself to releasing a crisp, one-page statement focusing solely on the charge against Francis, a former nuncio’s standing would have guaranteed a wide echo. As things stand, it’s understandably difficult for many people to know quite what to make of it.)

Is it some grand design or isn’t it?  Could Archbishop Vigano simply given up hope that anything was ever going to be done after the decade or so of reports?

“I believe the statement speaks for itself, and you have enough journalistic capacity to reach the conclusions,” Pope Francis told reporters on Sunday.

Time will tell what conclusions are indeed reached, but a sober point of departure right now probably would blend genuine curiosity with healthy skepticism.

My skepticism lies with the hierarchy of the Church. The Pope’s lack of a response is troubling, particularly when, as you, John, so eloquently put it, he is fond of “taking questions on every topic under the sun with no filters and no limits, speaking without notes and delivering straight answers.”. Where are those straight answers? Why don’t you spend a little less time trying to downplay Archbishop Vigano and more time trying to get those answers for all of the victims? Writing things off as “political” doesn’t do a darn thing for them.

While Allen wants to suggest the whole testimony of Archbishop Vigano is supposition, again, please read the whole sad thing for yourself.  https://assets.documentcloud.org/documents/4784141/TESTIMONYXCMVX-XENGLISH-CORRECTED-FINAL-VERSION.pdf

Not five seconds after publication this came in:
https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/4788059-Nienstedt-English-Final.html

LifeSite also has an article with the supporting documents. https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/vigano-issues-new-statement-documents-to-clear-his-name-of-false-charges

Whatcha think John Allen?

This firm belongs to the group “Lawyers for All Families,” who fought against Archbishop Nienstedt over the approval of same-sex marriage in the State of Minnesota.

Who was the braniac who chose the law firm that wants to take down the Church in the “gay marriage” issue to investigate and how did anyone in authority agree to that?  Where should the skepticism lie again?  Can’t imagine why anyone would think that Archbishop Nienstedt wasn’t going to get a fair shake there.

 

 

The Top-Tier Villains

This!  Please read every last page of it. 

 https://assets.documentcloud.org/documents/4784141/TESTIMONYXCMVX-XENGLISH-CORRECTED-FINAL-VERSION.pdf

If you want to know what needs to be done, it’s this.  Good men need to step up and shed some light on the truth. WHO IS NEXT?!  Collegiality for the sake of collegiality and at great cost to the victims has got to stop.  I think we can all understand if a predator has gotten away with something under your reign due to their sly ways and insufficient evidence but the silence has got to stop no matter the personal cost to you.

With the exception of Wuerl who I had truly hoped was turning around after a few good statements, we have ranted against every single one of the American losers here at great length.  Their deceit, malfeasance and general stupidity is not a secret in any way.  Let’s go down the list:

McCarrick

Tobin (NOT Thomas Tobin)

Wuerl

Cupich

McElroy

Mahony

Farrell

O’Malley

And last but not least…

Martin

I would also add a few more but they’re more like the wallflower wannabees in the popular kids’ club. These are the dirty deed doers and EVERYONE KNOWS IT!  Think about it, it’s so well-known that a housewife from Nowhereville has the same top-tier villain list.

Thank you Archbishop Vigano!  I know your enemies are already preparing to mount an offensive.  I’ve already seen the warning shots.  Thank you for not remaining silent even though you know hell is headed your way.  In your kindness, dear readers, please keep him in your prayers.

And, please, dear good bishops and cardinals, don’t let leave him hanging all by himself.  If you know something, say it.  This is a time for true transparency instead of all the talk.

Oh, and yeah, by and large, this is an active homosexual problem or so says the hundreds of pages in the grand jury report.  Some should stop being so gleeful when a woman or child is raped or molested just so you can parrot the party line “Stop scapegoating homosexuals!”  It’s quite a sick tactic.  Stop wagering on the hope that nobody will bother to read for themselves.  If you really had the victims in mind you would take the first easy step of vetting seminarians for homosexual tendencies and adhering to the directives already in place.  I can tell you that 80% of the victims if would have been thankful to have had that done before their horror stories happened.

#stopthesilence #catholiccybermilitia

 

 

A Few Good Men

Oh, boy, here we go again!  Here are a bunch more policies and procedures coming our way. Never mind that immoral people don’t usually follow procedure. (Didn’t the McCarrick debacle teach us anything?) We’re still going to burden the rest of the good folks who, apparently, are as weak as those who have been caught and have zero common sense when it comes to how to avoid any appearance of impropriety. So, Cardinal Wuerl’s suggestion the Vatican and the church in America handle it is ridiculous. Honestly, insanity would be if we expected a different result after decades of fumbling this crisis.

How about we try a few other things first? Here are some suggestions:
The Holy Father

At the top of the list goes a canonical trial for McCarrick in an ecclesiastical court with, say, Cardinal Burke running the trial. Did I miss someone talking about this viable option??? I saw that McCarrick was “ordered to a life of prayer and penance until a canonical trial”, but when was the last time that actually happened? Usually we wait around for police to come a-knocking. Why do we need to wait for civil authorities, though? This isn’t the American judicial system where things like this take years to get to trial and many times the abusers die before being brought to judgment. The Church can act far more swiftly. If we think abusing people is a crime, how about we act like it? I know people are calling for laicization, but that’s the easy way out for them, and McCarrick resigning is sweet, too, but how about the Holy Father puts the right tough talk into action. There’s nobody else who can pull that trigger and haul his behind into an ecclesiastical court, for

In ecclesiastical law, cases affecting civil rulers or cardinals, also criminal cases of bishops, are still reserved exclusively to the Roman pontiff. http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/04447a.htm

Of course, the Holy Father can appoint people to represent him, but wouldn’t it say something if he actually presided?  After decades of this crud, it might be nice if a Pope had to sit and hear the testimony of the victims.  It could, however, be a “You can’t handle the truth!” moment.  The same thing applies to all of the other scandals around the world – Chile, Honduras, etc.  Want to stop it, Holy Father?  Acting like it’s a crime would be a start. Bring them all before an ecclesiastical court!

Our Priests

Then, how about we go back to some fire and brimstone homilies? Stop being the “Church of Nice” and talk about things that make people feel uncomfortable. Let them know what sin is and what happens as a result of it. For those of you who don’t know, that would be spiritual death and hell. When we adopt the “consequences don’t exist, just be nice” attitude, of course nobody realizes there are going to be repercussions for their actions, and that causes a ripple effect throughout society.

Structure, structure, and more structure. Quite frankly, the holiest and most effective priests I know don’t get a day, week, or month off (mainly because their bishops hate them). They’re so busy that they don’t have time to engage in immorality. Their precious time off is spent in their own spiritual direction and formation such as the annual retreat. How does this compare to, say, the life of my husband? He has to get up every day and go to work. When he gets home, he is a husband to his wife and a father to his children. Does he get to sit and watch TV and relax a bit? He does on a good day, but outside of his regular work schedule he has cars to fix, yard work, home repair, etc., and he never gets to take the dad thing off. That is his all-encompassing vocation. Even when he takes a moment to catch a beer with a friend, it’s kind of a mutual help session, not an “I can ditch my vocation for a few hours and let my mind wander.” That, quite frankly, is how many men get in trouble. They’re not enjoying the company of people struggling in a similar life, they’re “cutting loose.” They’re trying to escape from their lives, even if temporarily. Sadly, that small little breach usually becomes wider and wider. I’ve seen many a debate about whether priests should have a day off or get to retire. I say no.  Sound harsh? Let me explain. This isn’t to say they shouldn’t get time to relax. My husband has much less work time on the weekend. He does get to escape “the career” without every escaping the vocation. He rather mixes business with pleasure. So, am I saying Fr. So and So shouldn’t get to go play golf on Tuesdays? Nope. In fact, I’m sure much spiritual direction has been given and received on the links. I am saying that he shouldn’t be “checking out” from his vocation. We, as lay people, should also help in this area. Having the parish priest over for dinner can be mutually spiritually beneficial event. I think I’ve made it clear to my priest friends that I will be extremely displeased (use your own translation for this one) if they scandalize my kids in any way.

The Seminaries and Seminarians

Next, we need a few good men! We need to tell those who are discerning priesthood that there is, from the get go, a spiritual battle for their souls. Mortal combat will ensue. Clearly, the liberals see the priesthood as more of a fraternity where they are accepted and coddled (and apparently corrupted) the rest of their lives. Seminary should look more like bootcamp and a little less like college. Uncomfortable, hard, very structured, and the threat of discipline always looming overhead. That’s where “zero tolerance” needs to start. We need to encourage masculinity. We are suffering from a toxic lack of masculinity (hat tip Culture Project for this perfectly worded phrase). We need to teach them how to be fathers who are responsible for the physical and spiritual welfare of their families. In fact, might I suggest heavy physical as well as spiritual training?  Seriously, if the military engages in that form of formation, shouldn’t we go even further with our priests? There’s a reason the military engages in physical and psychological training. They want a cohesive unit, a disciplined unit, and most importantly, an obedient unit. In fact, when they started lowering their standards, they lost in all of those areas. When the Church gave up the “court-martial” of abusing priests (see my last post here), what did they think was going to happen? The same disaster happened when we no longer acted like dissenting from Church teaching was a bad thing.

Now, it sounds like some seminarians knew and were quite willing participants. That would be an epic failure on the part of the Church to 1) educate people that they have an immortal soul and 2) to properly vet seminarian candidates. Of course, I’m sure in some seminaries, they’re being vetted to see if they might be willing to be the type who would engage in some sort of lewd conduct. (Sigh.  Sometimes it’s hard to come from the point of view that this is not all seminaries and that there are some really good ones out there.) 

As for the seminarians who weren’t willing and were caught off guard, you knew when it happened to you. Thank you to the ones who did try to sound the alarm. I’m sure you were promptly booted for being too rigid. To the rest, I’m failing to understand how one could just go with the “I just wanted to survive the awful McCarrick seminarian days and move on to the priesthood.” Maybe that’s too harsh. I’m not blaming the victim but from now on, you guys need to have a plan in place. Maybe you didn’t even realize what the heck was going on until you were at the “What the hell?” moment. However, you were/are going for the job of saving souls – even the souls of your fellow wayward seminarians – so I’m not sure how louder whistles, or, rather, air horns weren’t sounded.  I’m sure you’d at least heard the word “millstone” once or twice. That’s how bad these creepers are.

While I don’t know what it’s like to prepare for the priesthood, I can definitely say that you’re probably going to experience a same-sex attracted incident somewhere along the way.  It’s permeated our society and our Church. Keep your head out of the sand and take the burden you’ve been given by that person and deal with it. Yep. It really is happening and it’s going to affect us all if you don’t speak up.  What’s worse? It might affect our youth. And, yes, based on the torment whistle-blowing seminarians have received, you are likely going to be persecuted. I’d love to say you’re going to go to your superior and he’s going to take care of it. That might be the case depending on where you are, but there’s too good of a chance it’s not going to happen. Start thinking of your future flock now. Be prepared for the possibility and have a plan of action. If your seminary refused to deal, move on to the bishop, the neighboring bishop, or if all else fails, perhaps the media. Oh, they’ll do something. They can’t resist. But, again, think about your future flock. I mean, seriously, when someone in your flock comes to you and says they’ve been a victim of some sort of abuse or harassment, what are you going to tell them? “Keep you head down and try to avoid the situation?!”

So, my young seminarian friends, let me cover something that has been apparently lacking all along the way. If someone harasses or abuses you, sound the alarm first and worry about the vocation later. The immediate “vocation” is to stop evil from happening. Worry about the rest later after you’ve gone this first round with satan. People I care about are in seminary, so I do not take this lightly.

I’m also partial to the idea that at least one class should be taught by a married couple with kids. I like to think of it as a course in reality. That would, of course, include the topic of the traumatized couple needing to go to confession should ANYONE hurt their child in any manner. I don’t think most abusers understand the depths of a parent’s love and the depth of insanity that appears when our kids are hurt. That alone could be a “scared straight” course.

The Laity

Parents of minors, why would your children ever need to be alone with a priest outside of a confessional? Yes, I’m probably a paranoid freak about the safety and well-being of my children, but you might want to join me. We still try to keep a very careful balance of not making our children fear priests and letting them know anyone can act in and evil immoral manner. Yes, that’s hard to do. We teach our kids they shouldn’t be alone with, really, any adult who is not us in a private space, and of course, the usual physical boundaries that should be taught should they ever find themselves in that situation.  Quite frankly how is it that some make it all the way to seminary and don’t know how to blow the proverbial whistle when someone is acting inappropriate is way beyond me.

Lastly, again, remember that satan exists and this is all his handiwork. We need to find the balance between Pollyana and suspicious. People who have done or will do satan’s work will and have always existed in the Church. We can’t let this take our faith away from us, no matter how shocking it’s been. If we don’t walk through life trying to figure out where satan is daily trying to steal our souls, then no matter what goes on in the world around us, he will get us at least a good portion of the time. #banfoxesinhenshouses #CatholicCyberMilitia