Wednesday 16th January 2019

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A Leaven In The World . . . Calls For Episcopal Resignation Increase

August 27, 2018 Frontpage No Comments


One doesn’t wish to join in with the calls for blood in the current crisis over sexual abuse embroiling the Church, but rather to simply report the news in regard to increasing numbers of laity who have decided that bishops found to have covered up sexual abuse, or moved priests around after knowledge of abuse, must go.
Justice must be served and, in this case as ever, no one need step down without first being satisfied that due process has been observed. The Pennsylvania Grand Jury Report was largely a catalogue of priests accused of crimes. Accusations do not always lead to convictions. Priests are public persons and sometimes falsely accused for reasons having nothing to do with sexual abuse or any such similar behavior. Bishops are vulnerable for the same reasons. We have a duty to preserve the reputations of others against rumors, some of which may be false.
There are at least a couple of well-documented cases of sexually active priests in Pittsburgh during the now-Cardinal Wuerl’s tenure there that leave him in a weak position in the face of his accusers. These priests were not removed after complaints were brought forward about their violations of priestly celibacy and moral probity, to say the least. The families and Catholics of Pittsburgh have a case to make therefore about the potential possible lack of safety of families now under the cardinal’s care in the Washington, D.C., Archdiocese as a result.
Though I may not have doubts myself as to Cardinal Wuerl’s thoroughness at the present time in his supervision of priests and the monitoring of their fitness for duty, this is not relevant to the concerns of the laity who may take a different approach in light of decisions made in the past. Their voices must be heard. They are the ones who occupy the parishes and fill the collection baskets throughout the Archdiocese of Washington. They are the sheep of the flock of the Lord to whom He sends we who are His shepherds.
This crisis has left virtually no one untouched and the Church divided. Victims and the priest and archbishop predators who assaulted them and derailed their lives, in some cases their faith, are at the epicenter. Bishops deaf to calls for help or who with knowledge moved predators around are also in the crossfire.
Laity who demand resignations as the only meaningful solution grow in numbers. A petition, as of this writing, has 5,000 signatures calling on Cardinal Wuerl to step down. The Church in this country as a result is in turmoil with no end in sight. A protest planned by Church Militant and Michael Voris has now signed up thousands who plan to make the trek to Baltimore this coming November and to protest at the annual bishops’ meeting to be held there. A letter-writing campaign has also been launched in connection with this effort.
The Pope and other leaders point to “clericalism” as the culprit for the sex abuse while omitting to mention the undeniable role of homosexuality.
Joseph Cardinal Tobin says he knows nothing of a “gay priest subculture” in Newark, N.J., the center of a new ground zero for the scandal. He told his priests not to speak to the media about the matter. Anonymous priests in Newark were at the source of a story that the archdiocese served as a nexus of homosexual grooming and recruitment through its vocation program. This after the same accusation was brought about the priest who once headed the program for seminarians in Lincoln, Neb. Now reports are surfacing about an alleged “gay seminarian pipeline” from Colombia. Numerous homosexual men were allegedly recruited in South America and brought to various seminaries in the U.S. under at least two bishops in the Northeast.
Many priests are caught in the crossfire as they seek to remain faithful to their bishops, while others call for resignations as the only way out of the impasse. The vast majority take refuge in silence. The priests’ council in Washington, D.C., met this week with Cardinal Wuerl. One priest asked the cardinal if he would consider stepping down. The suggestion was ignored.
Nothing about this wound in the Church is pleasant for any of us. The way forward must become the priority for all of us. It is a time to remember that our personal positions in the Church are less important than our personal salvation and the good of the Church as a whole.
Fr. Dwight Longenecker commented on Twitter about the tone of commentary thus far from the Pope and bishops accused of complicity:
“Of course we must do everything we can for the victims of clerical abuse, but the exclusive focus on the victims is a slick PR stunt to shift attention away from the abusers and their enablers.”
Thomas Peters @AmericanPapist also wrote on Twitter:
“It’s simply incredible to see @JamesMartinSJ simultaneously arguing we need more homosexual gay priests in the priesthood, should applaud LGBT . . . but the fact that the vast majority of sexually active clerics are homosexual is completely irrelevant to the state of affairs we see.”
Fr. Phillip W. DeVous (@PDevous) commented on Martin fellow traveler Massimo Faggioli:
“Sadly, this ridiculous man — a ‘theologian’ — has been regularly using his Twitter platform to make jokes about the scandals that have so grievously injured children & harmed the faith of many. His sole concern is to protect his liberal theological agenda. #gelaterianonsense.”
@RigidPelagian wrote:
“Don’t forget that @Pontifex reinstated a priest Fr. Mauro Insole [Editor’s Note: The correct surname is Inzoli] who had been defrocked by Benedict XVI for sexual abuse of minors. So, no, the Pope isn’t on the side of victims, no matter how many PR offensives he goes on.”
The Pope and bishops seem to fall into two camps: Those who mention homosexuality and those who steer far clear of its connection with sexual abuse and cover-ups, using pedophilia as a smokescreen. Bishop Robert Morlino’s well-received letter (see p. 4A of this week’s issue) was compared to Blase Cardinal Cupich’s evasive missive. @TheFourMarks on Twitter used a word comparison to illustrate the two approaches:
“Letter word counts
“Bp Morlino VS Cd Cupich
“Sin — Morlino 44 / Cupich 0
“Jesus — Morlino 1 / Cupich 0
“Heaven — Morlino 1 / Cupich 0
“Homosexuals — Morlino 6 / Cupich 0
“Clericalist mindset — Morlino 0 / Cupich 1
“Policies — Morlino 1 / Cupich 6.”
One of the bishops continues the abuse cover-up by denying its homosexual roots and the other exposes the cancer.
Father @ALucieSmith wrote:
“U.S. Bishops seem to divide 3 ways: those saying nothing; those saying the same old things that we have heard before and which have not satisfied us in the past; and a few who are clearly breaking ranks and telling it like it is. This tiny third group is showing the way forward.”
A vandal spray-painted over Cardinal Wuerl’s name at a Pittsburgh high school where a petition has already been signed by thousands calling for his name to be permanently removed. This is truly a sad epilogue to an episcopal legacy.
How many of our bishops will speak the truth, and say in public what they agree is true in private: that this crisis largely is the result of homosexual predation? Many seem fearful of taking on the wealthy and overrepresented “gay lobby” which has taken root also in the Church. Only the bishops who covered up crimes of other bishops and priests can solve this crisis and it seems at this point that they can do that only by resigning if the facts bear up under the weight of examination. The Pope, distracted at the time of this writing by the World Meeting of Families in Dublin where he is appearing, is the only one who can bring this sad chapter closer to its end. This must be down before any needed healing can begin.
Lay involvement in the resolution seems necessary also. As Archbishop Alexander Sample of Portland, Ore., wrote: “A body investigating itself does not inspire confidence in the objectivity of the outcome…those who knew of reprehensible behavior and yet said little, did nothing, or aided and abetted a perpetrator’s activities. All those responsible must be held accountable.”
No one should be trusted as a pastor who victimized a second time those were sexually abused by denying them the love of true pastoral care and justice.
God love you, thank you for reading, and praised be Jesus Christ, now and forever. @MCITLFrAphorism

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Right now the most likely path toward reform in the Church-- intervention of government authority-- could lead to disaster. If only a “morally intrepid few” bishops, here and in Rome, could call for and make public acts of repentance, we might yet avoid that danger.

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