Thursday 15th November 2018

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Bishops Offer Lots Of “Measures” — Where’s The Truth?

November 10, 2018 Frontpage No Comments

By CHRISTOPHER MANION

When the USCCB meets next week in Baltimore, their website tells us they will “vote on a series of concrete measures to respond to the abuse crisis.” As usual, these “measures” comprise updated policies, protocols, programs, and procedures.
Call them “The Four P’s.” That’s what the bishops voted on in their historic 2002 meeting in Dallas after all, and we’ve seen how well that worked. Under the guiding hand of then-Cardinal McCarrick, they adopted a “charter” designed to protect children — and themselves.
In anticipation of their gathering next week, it is worth taking a look at some consequences of those “measures.” To bring that effort to bear on the local level, we will consider the policies of the diocese in which this writer resides, the Diocese of Arlington, in Virginia.
“A staff of seven people runs the Office for Child Protection and Victim Assistance,” the diocesan website tells us, “and they are assisted by 42 training facilitators and 96 parish/school/ministry liaisons. This office oversees extensive background checks for staff and volunteers, child protection training for all clergy/staff/volunteers, programs for school and religious education students, counseling for victims of sexual abuse, and implementing the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People.
“Separate from the Victim Assistance Program, more than 60,000 people have gone through training conducted by the Office of Child Protection, which has an annual budget of roughly $780,000.”
The Arlington Diocese clearly takes the USCCB’s mandate seriously. “60,000 people have gone through training conducted by the Office of Child Protection,” and that takes a lot of detail work. “An applicant to work or volunteer . . . must fill out several pages of paperwork — criminal background checks, employment history, and questions about interaction with children or other vulnerable people,” the diocesan newspaper reports.
“Employees and volunteers go through a multi-part application process that includes a search of the central sex offender registry, a national criminal background check, acknowledgment of the policy and the code of conduct, and a questionnaire. Attendance at a VIRTUS seminar is required for all employees and volunteers.”
And just who is responsible to see that all this is done? “Liaisons,” who “are chosen because they have high attention to detail and a willingness to do hard work….Liaisons assume this role only after thorough training. Initially, a daylong training class covers policy, best practices and how to implement a successful safe environment program….The liaison’s job is to ensure that all the paperwork is correct before it is sent to the chancery….Liaisons assume this role only after thorough training. Initially, a daylong training class covers policy, best practices and how to implement a successful safe environment program. . . . Liaisons receive instruction on utilizing the VIRTUS safe environment training website.”

OK, That’s Lots Of Work — What’s Missing?

Imagine, 60,000 people, each with hours of “training” and background checks and filling out forms and compliance updates and classes. The human cost of the hundreds of thousands of productive hours lost in all of this plodding exercise dwarfs the three-quarters of a million dollars budgeted for it.
But what lies buried beneath this perpetual blizzard of paperwork? Let’s start with the required “Virtus” training. The Virtus program was conceived by a group of homosexual-friendly “experts” during the McCarrick days. When I took the course several years ago (to volunteer with Hispanics in prison ministry), the course put all of the blame for abuse on the laity — no priests, no bishops — and homosexuality as a cause of the abuse-and-cover-up-crisis was never mentioned. In fact, homosexuality never came up at all.
Well, I tried to contact several of Virtus “experts” to ask about that, but none of them would take my call. So I decided to call Virtus’ national office in Oklahoma, where a very kind and caring woman assured me that homosexuals were not only welcome to take the program, they were encouraged learn how to become Virtus trainers as well!
How long, O Lord, how long have our bishops fled from the truth and covered their tracks with bureaucratic confetti to look like they’re doing something about abuse?
They insist that they are faithfully following the Charter, but they won’t acknowledge what that Charter failed to do: Demand resignations from the 150 or so bishops who had covered up for abusers; allow the National Lay Board to investigate bishops as well as priests; and acknowledge the cause-and-effect connection of clerical homosexuality to abuse crimes, letting the chips fall where they may.
How much time, money, pain, and loss of faith could have been prevented by some up-front honesty and action to match? And yet it is unlikely that the bishops meeting next week will address these fundamentals.
Resignations? No cover-up bishop will rise in Baltimore to announce his resignation, or demand that any other guilty bishop do so. As one wise Jesuit puts it, “Bishops don’t fraternally correct one another because they do not want to be fraternally corrected.”
Investigations? Pope Francis might want the USCCB to stonewall on McCarrick and the sodomite cabal, but why can’t they interview Archbishop Weakland, who stole hundreds of thousands to pay off his boy toy and wrote about it, complete with a book tour? Or the still-Cardinal Mahony, who spent a billion of the faithful’s dollars to stay out of jail, and has bragged about it ever since? Cardinal DiNardo knows where they live. Call them up!
But ah! Cardinal Paglia says we must look forward, not backward. Cardinal Cupich doesn’t want to stumble down a rabbit hole. And Bridgeport Bishop Caggiano, who inherited a diocese plagued by scandals, doesn’t want to go looking for “dinosaurs.”
And homosexuals? Fr. Enrique Rueda prophetically described the “Homosexual Network” 35 years ago. Today, Cardinal Brandmüller laments that “sexual abuse and homosexuality are almost epidemic among clergy and even in the hierarchy of the Church in America, Australia, and Europe.”

Needed: A Catholic “Dial 911”

How do you treat an “epidemic”? Arlington’s website tiptoes daintily: The diocese won’t admit homosexuals to the seminary. Good. But even if the Baltimore bishops publicly announced that policy (which they won’t), that won’t cure the disease. When it comes to the “Gay Mafia,” the enemy is already inside the gates. Pope Francis has already identified the “Gay Lobby” in the hierarchy, but insists that anyone criticizing it is a tool of Satan.
So much for treating the epidemic’s victims!
Back to Baltimore. What will our shepherds do? The blizzard of “The Four P’s” will continue. They will bury objective evils — covering up for abusers, promoting and perpetuating sodomy, and ignore fundamental goods like the Ten Commandments, The Dogmatic Constitution of the Church (Lumen Gentium), and Canon Law. And our bishops will vote to approve another “Pastoral on Racism” that resonates the message of the 1979 original: Only whites can be racists, and most of us are.
Televangelist Pastor James Robison, founder of Life Outreach International, recently put his finger on the reason why so many Americans, including millions of his Evangelical followers, were fed up with the American political establishment: “They’re tired of being lied to,” he said.
Let us pray that our shepherds will “reach out to the peripheries” and ask whether Pastor Robison’s observation applies to the Catholic hierarchy in the United States as well.
The Barque of Peter flounders in rough waters, and the Successor of Peter is creating a lot of the turbulence himself. Unfortunately, it’s unlikely that the USCCB will be able to rescue us: Right now their lifeboat is full of holes.

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Having watched the first session of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops General Meeting, and that fact that the Pope has ordered them not vote on any action items, I have to ask, what is the point of this meeting? What is the point of National Bishops' Conferences?

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