Cardinal Wuerl needs to resign. Sign the petition here.
July 27, 2018 (The Wanderer) – For years, the late Paul Likoudis, editor of the orthodox Catholic newspaper, The Wanderer, chronicled the role of homosexuality in the crimes committed by clerics. Long before the Boston Globe published its “exposé” in early 2002, Paul reported on one instance after another of abuse and cover-up in chanceries nationwide. For his yeoman efforts, he was ridiculed, hectored, threatened, bullied, and, above all, studiously ignored whenever possible by one guilty bishop after another.
When the Globe’s series appeared in January 2002, the bishops could no longer persist in their obstinate denial. But they immediately insisted that they had the problem under control. “It’s over,” Auxiliary Bishop (now Vatican Cardinal) Kevin Farrell told the Knights of Malta in February 2002. Payouts had been made, and appropriate action taken. That April, USCCB officials told the Vatican not to worry. Our bishops could handle the situation themselves, they insisted.
Days later, Pope John Paul summoned every American cardinal to the Vatican. He could have demanded serious changes, but he didn’t. Nor did he condemn the profound malfeasance of America’s hierarchy. Instead, he accepted the plaintive excuses that they had been repeating for years. They had been misled by “clinical experts” who thought that homosexual child rape was an illness, not a crime. It wasn’t their fault.
The sainted pope did not demand the resignation of every American bishop, as Pope Francis did with the bishops of Chile earlier this year. Nor did he send follow-up independent investigators to look into dioceses where abuse was rampant. The Holy Father took the American Cardinals at their word. They had to do better, the Holy Father told the American prelates. And they went home.
Cardinal Roger Mahony attended that meeting with Pope Saint John Paul. He returned to Los Angeles to spend a billion dollars of the faithful’s money to cover up for abuse and evading prosecution (he even insisted that priests’ personnel files were protected by the secrecy of the Confessional!).
Not one of the American prelates offered his resignation. Nor did any demand the resignation of any of their colleagues in the bishops’ conference. In a curious aside, when asked about prospective reforms, the beleaguered USCCB President Bishop Wilton Gregory did tell the media in Rome that “it is an ongoing struggle to make sure the Catholic priesthood is not dominated by homosexual men.” But no one followed up on the question.
When the bishops met in Dallas that June, a special edition of The Dallas Morning News met them at the airport with a lengthy account indicating that well over half of them had enabled or covered up for abusers. Thus, when they issued their “Protection” charter, they exempted themselves on national TV and went home to circle the wagons. Not one quit (Cardinal Law fled to Rome, where he remained a Cardinal).
When Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz of Lincoln made a formal motion to investigate the causes of the scandals, his motion did not get a second from among the hundreds of bishops attending. Bp. Gregory’s comment was forgotten.
Another prelate attending the meetings in Rome and Dallas 2002 was Washington Cardinal Theodore McCarrick. In his previous posts in Newark and Metuchen, he had already privately settled two lawsuits involving his sexual assaults on adult males. Rod Dreher reports that a group of Catholics had gone to Rome to warn the pope about McCarrick – to no avail: Pope John Paul appointed him Archbishop of Washington in 2000, and named him a cardinal the following year.
Today, McCarrick, long retired from a busy, high-level career in domestic and foreign affairs from his perch in Washington, has been proven to be a repeat offender and sexual abuser of an adolescent altar boy. New York’s Cardinal Dolan was “saddened and shocked” at the news, but few others were. Paul Likoudis certainly wouldn’t be.
Likoudis was a pioneer in digging into the unsavory rot that Bishop Gregory pointed to in Rome. However, while Gregory never mentioned it again. Paul was a junkyard dog, and his analytical eye went much deeper than the merely criminal. In the pastoral letter “Always Our Children” (1997), which took a soft approach to homosexuality, he detected the fine Italian hand of Abp. Rembert Weakland of Milwaukee (Weakland was later revealed as an embezzler, having used hundreds of thousands of dollars in Church funds to pay off his boyfriend. He was never prosecuted). In case after case, Paul saw the emergence of a very secret, very effective homosexual network among prelates and clergy.
McCarrick the abuser. Why was no one surprised? Consider: When Los Angeles Abp. José Gómez barred Cdl. Mahony from all “administrative or public duties” because of his role in the scandals, Cardinal Mahony flouted the order. When a reporter inquired about his brazen disobedience, the Cardinal shouted, “Go home!” Not one bishop anywhere publicly criticized Mahony’s defiance. Mahony had already successfully gotten Governor Frank Keating, a former FBI agent, fired from leading the bishops’ own lay oversight board in 2002 (Keating was hot on his trail). No bishop publicly complained.
Many able Catholic critics, clerical and lay, have written about the deeply-engrained homosexual rot in the American hierarchy. Father Paul Mankowski, S.J., former USCCB spokesman Russell Shaw, celebrated author Phil Lawler, and investigator Richard Sipe have chronicled the causes and the effects, all to no avail.
With Cardinal McCarrick’s abuses revealed, however, we might have turned a corner.
Archbishop Mark Coleridge of Brisbane called the McCarrick revelations a “major shift.” “People are prepared to speak up in a way that they would never have done before,” he said. Speak up, yes. But is this enough?
Somewhere, Sherlock Holmes told his friend, “Watson, when I say you are instructive, I mean I learn from your mistakes.” And our beloved bishops have made plenty of mistakes.
Bishop Joseph Conlon of Joliet learned from the bishops’ mistakes, big time. When he served as the USCCB’s point man for “child protection,” he told diocesan leaders from around the country that “our [the bishops’] credibility is shredded.” Confronting the abuse issue up to the laity, he said.
It’s up to the laity? Yes. And a wise Jesuit explains why: “Bishops do not fraternally correct one another,” he says, “because they do not want to be fraternally corrected.”
So what is to be done?
After their 2002 Dallas meeting, the bishops – innocent and guilty alike – went home and circled the wagons.
Now is the time. The laity has to set those wagons on fire. The bishops have followed Ben Franklin’s adage – either we hang together, or we hang separately.”
Enough! Every bishop who covered up for McCarrick and other abusers so they could all stay in power has to quit – right now. Their credibility is shredded – why do they stay?
“It’s up to the laity.” Well, we’ve got our marching orders.
Bishops Blind-Sided By Supremes
During its final session of this summer, the U.S. Supreme Court delivered a double-barreled blow to the political activists at the USCCB. In Trump v. Hawaii, the Court confirmed the validity of President Trump’s Executive Order limiting travel to the U.S. from certain countries. This policy threatens much of the federal funding that bishops and their NGO’s have received in generous amounts during the Obama years. Our shepherds are going to feel the pinch, and soon.
In the Janus case, the court affirmed the rights of public sector employees, millions of them Catholic, to refuse paying dues to unions who support abortion rights, LGBT radicalism, and other objective evils. Unfortunately, the bishops had opposed those Catholics, actually using funds from the people in the pews to pay for lawyers who supporting the unions’ case. In a supreme irony, the Court specifically articulated how vastly unions had changed in the past forty years, leaving us to wonder why the bishops’ left-wing bureaucracy is still embedded in the radicalism of the 60s and 70s.
And now, President Trump has nominated Judge Brett Kavanaugh to replace Supreme Court Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy.
Normally Catholics would welcome this opportunity to replace Kennedy. After all, it was Kennedy who joined two colleagues famously to assert that “”At the heart of liberty is the right to define one's own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life” [Planned Parenthood v. Casey, 1992] and upheld a “woman’s right to choose” abortion. But no, in spite of Trump’s defense of unborn life, our bishops are ungrateful. Yes, the president has defended their religious liberty; defunded international abortionists; sent the HHS contraceptive mandate down the memory hole; and supported pro-life candidates across the country. But so what, they ask, with barely a nod of gratitude.
Why? Because Trump has reversed the Obama agenda that the bishops supported – on immigration, refugees, deportations, border security, welfare for illegals, sanctuary cities, healthcare, global warming, and the environment. He has cut off millions in the taxpayer support they counted on to fund their NGO’s. And they undoubtedly fear that his new Supreme Court nominee, Catholic or not, will support Trump’s views, and not theirs.
Unfortunately, Trump’s appointee to the court is likely to further embitter our politicized bishops, most of whom who are still silent on Humanae Vitae and the dozens of Catholic pro-abortion politicians runningfor the U.S. House and Senate this fall. One cannot dismiss the notion – bizarre on its face, to be sure – that our bishops might well abandon pro-lifers and support pro-abortion candidates in 2018 and 2020, so long as they support amnesty for illegal aliens.
Our beloved shepherds have lost their spines and desperately fear losing their federal money. But to paraphrase Lyndon Johnson, they’re the only bishops we’ve got. Pray for them.
This article was originally published in The Wanderer newspaper and is re-published with permission.