By Eric Giunta

First published April 21, 2010 on

Today is a glorious day, one for which Catholics should rightly be proud. The Bishop of Rome has responded to years of documented moral and financial mismanagement of the Miami Archdiocese by Archbishop John Favalora. On April 20, the Holy See compelled Favalora to tender his resignation “in accordance with canon 401 para. 2 of the Code of Canon Law,” in the words of the official Vatican press release.

The canon in question reads as follows:

A diocesan bishop who has become less able to fulfill his office because of ill health or some other grave cause is earnestly requested to present his resignation from office.

Archbishop Favalora is a mere eight months away from his 75th birthday, upon which Catholic canon law would have required him to submit his resignation, that he might step down from office with the customary grace and dignity. Rome, it seems, didn’t care to afford him that courtesy. And for good reason: Favalora did not resign “because of ill health”; he himself has admitted so. So, what “grave cause” could have possibly required an Archbishop to tender his resignation well before the customary date?

There is certainly far more to this decision than the archbishop himself has let on:

”I think it’s time to move on . . . At age 74, I should know when I can do more and when I can’t do more,” Favalora said, later adding that he’s ready for a quieter life and no longer wants ”to be a public figure.”

Whatever else might be said of Favalora’s putative justifications, none of them comprise what a reasonable observer would call “grave cause.” Rome is not spilling the beans on the reasons for Favalora’s removal, and neither will the Miami Archdiocese.

But I think I have a good idea why. For the benefit of my newer readers, I will recapitulate what I wrote in these pages several months ago:

In 2004, a group of concerned lay Catholics of the Miami Archdiocese constituted themselves a lay “watchdog” organization, under the name Christifidelis. They were moved to do so by what they have alleged is a gay superculture running the archdiocese.

Attorney Sharon Bourassa, a member of Christifidelis, was counsel for The Rev. Andrew Dowgiert in a lawsuit filed against the Archdiocese in May of 2005. Fr. Dowgiert, on loan from a Polish archdiocese and soon to be incardinated in Miami, alleged that he was “fired” from active ministry in the Miami Archdiocese after whistle-blowing on homosexual activity by several pastors of the Archdiocese (particularly that of Fr. Anibal Morales of All Saints Parish [in Sunrise]).

In 2005 and 2006, columnist Matt Abbott published several articles tracing developments in what became known as the “Miami Vice” scandal. Bourassa claimed that several “straight” priests were feeding her information on a culture of sodomy and theological heterodoxy on the part of priests of the Miami Archdiocese. Among the allegations: the vast majority of the Archdiocese’s priests are sexually active gays; Archbishop Favalora and Catholic Charities of Miami owned several thousand shares in stock for a liquid aphrodisiac popularly sold in gay clubs and strip joints; many priests were misappropriating parish funds to live exorbitant lifestyles, and Archbishop Favalora and vicar-general Msgr. William J. Hennessey are in some way implicated in this superculture.

The lawsuit was eventually dismissed, on the grounds that it involved “separation of church and state” issues. The court refused to determine whether a religious employer wrongfully terminated the ministerial employment of an ordained cleric. In dismissing the case, the court made no determination on the veracity of the above allegations.

This writer [i.e., Eric Giunta] can personally testify to the truth of at least one of the above allegations, namely, that the vast majority of the Archdiocese’s pastors are homosexuals. Yours truly applied to the seminary formation program of the Miami Archdiocese in the Spring of 2005. I was immediately blacklisted as an ultraconservative “traditionalist” for my regular assistance at the Latin Mass Community at Miami’s St Robert Bellarmine parish.

During my course of interviews with priests from the Archdiocese’s vocations admissions board, one priest volunteered to me (with absolutely no prompting on my part) the fact that “if the new Holy Father [i.e., Pope Benedict XVI] were to get rid of every gay priest, this Archdiocese could run maybe . . . ten parishes.” The Archdiocese, at the time, operated at least 121 parishes and/or missions.

At the end of the day, I was refused admission to the Miami seminary, and advised to seek out a more “conservative” diocese or religious order. I applied, and was accepted, to the formation program of another Diocese, a “conservative” (read: orthodox) one in the Midwest. This Midwestern Diocese used to send its Hispanic men to the seminaries in Florida, but stopped doing so owing to the rampant homosexuality tolerated and inculcated, particularly at St John Vianney in Miami.

[In the summer of 2006,] I and several other Catholics sent to Rome an exhaustive report (hundreds of pages of text, documentation, and eye witness accounts) detailing and documenting all these allegations and more. Rome responded to the report.

At the time I penned these words, I did not feel free to divulge just how Rome responded to the report, which we titled “Miami Vice.” I now feel at complete liberty to do so.

The aforementioned attorney, Ms. Sharon Bourassa, was contacted by a Vatican monsignor, who met with her in person and assured her that the Holy See would be investigating each and every one of the allegations presented in the report. Ms. Bourassa shared with this monsignor the names and contact information of several confidential eye witnesses, including several priests. Months later, this monsignor contacted her again, informing her that our allegations had all been vindicated, and that Rome was going to act on the report. This was in the late Fall of 2006.

Four years later, Rome has finally acted, and in doing so has vindicated RenewAmerica columnist Matt Abbott, myself, Ms. Bourassa, and all the lay faithful of the Archdiocese who have suffered tremendous persecution and ostracization for defending the integrity of the Catholic Church’s doctrine, liturgy, and moral witness.

And we owe a debt of gratitude to our supreme pastor, Pope Benedict XVI.

Already the tide was turning in our Archdiocese after the Pope conducted the visitation of America’s seminaries beginning in late 2005, effectively beginning to clean up the mess his disastrous predecessor left behind. Four years later I am proud to report that the climate has, even now, changed markedly from when I applied just five years ago. I have met several fine, orthodox young men from Miami’s St John Vianney College Seminary, in fact at a Gregorian Chant Conference held in Ave Maria, FL. Participation at such a conference just five years ago would have blacklisted any seminarian from the Archdiocese, causing him to be labeled a reactionary rad-trad. Not any longer. The young men, readers of this column, were anxious to share with me the change of climate on campus, and asked me to share this felicitous news with my readers. And so I am.

Now, the real reform can begin. Replacing Archbishop “Ayatollah Favalora” (aka “The Don”) will be Bishop Thomas Wenski of Orlando. Bishop Wenski is one of only two Florida bishops (the other being Frank Joseph Dewane of Venice) who have distinguished themselves as staunch, vigorous defenders of Catholic orthodoxy and liturgical reform, and Wenski’s promotion to the Sunshine State’s primatial see bodes well for both the state and the country. His accomplishments in Orlando have been many, among them:

a) Liturgical reform: Before Wenski’s episcopate, the Orlando Diocese did not have a single parish that celebrated the Catholic liturgy in a reverent, traditional manner. Now, at least five parishes offer the Tridentine Latin Mass regularly, and the Priestly Fraternity of St Peter has just been invited to establish a full-time apostolate in the Diocese. The quality and beauty of Catholic worship is improving exponentially, and this is a healthy sign for any local church.

b) Wenski was the first Florida bishop to ever teach his flock how to vote in accord with Catholic principles. In every election since 2004 he has made clear that abortion and traditional marriage (and similar issues) trump prudential considerations on things like health care, the environment, and the economy. Newly-appointed Dewane followed his lead in the ’08 elections.

c) Wenski is a staunch defender of the rights of God, and of His Church. He engages the culture by frequently contributing his editorialship to the local print media, is a tireless protector of the poor and the marginalized, and brings the Scriptures alive in his preaching and teaching. Most famously, he celebrated a Solemn Mass of Reparation to atone for the scandal of Notre Dame University’s award of an honorary doctorate to Barack Obama, the most radically pro-abortion, pro-homosexualist president in United States history.

In his governance of the Catholic Church in Miami-Dade, Broward, and Monroe Counties, which he will assume on June 1, Bishop Wenski will be assisted by Felipe de Jesús Estévez and John Gerard Noonan, the Miami Archdiocese’s auxiliary bishops. All three are holy, capable, and learned men who will be vigorous promoters of reform, discipline, and purification in a local church that needs it so badly.

The stage has been set for a real renaissance of Catholic Christianity in South Florida. The region is a haven of culture-of-death leftism, and these three bishops have their work cut out for them. Our thoughts and prayers at RenewAmerica are with them.