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As The Dust Settles, What’s Next?

September 11, 2018 Frontpage No Comments


In the days since the publication by Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò of his extensive, detailed “statement,” a few things have become clear.
Let’s start at the top: Pope Francis isn’t going anywhere. Good priests and laymen have called on him to resign, but the word is not in his vocabulary. The Pope has gone silent, the Vatican is in lockdown — a virtual sanctuary city. The Pope’s henchmen — under the circumstances, a charitable term — have gone on the offensive, borrowing the Knute Rockne rule for Notre Dame football: “The best defense is a good offense.”
There is method to their massacre. On the plane back to Rome from Ireland, Pope Francis told inquiring journalists to investigate on their own Viganò’s accusations. However, while the Pope’s defenders have access to all the documents cited by Viganò, his defenders do not — and neither do the journalists. His cadre is savaging Viganò daily, and one would think their offensive would eventually make this issue go away.
The Pope’s closest adviser, Oscar Cardinal Maradiaga of Honduras, even announced that it is a “sin against the Holy Spirit” for people to demand Pope Francis to resign, but few were convinced. In fact, opposition to the Vatican stonewall is growing, especially in the United States, where American bishops, if they speak at all, are falling into two camps.
One group demands a full accounting of the facts, going far beyond the McCarrick case to Viganò’s multiple allegations regarding the Holy Father and others in his circle (including American Cardinals Wuerl, Tobin, and Cupich).
Another group of bishops is offering no support at all to any notion of a thorough investigation of anything. Led by Chicago Cardinal Blase Cupich, they want to “move on” to more important issues. After six weeks of silence on the bishops’ left-wing political agenda, the USCCB timidly tried to tiptoe away from the scandals to issue a Labor Day demand for “just wages” — to no avail. They won’t go away.
The demand for an honest and thorough investigation was strengthened by USCCB President Daniel Cardinal DiNardo’s immediate response to the Viganò controversy. On August 29, he noted that on August 1 he “promised that USCCB would exercise the full extent of its authority, and would advocate before those with greater authority, to pursue the many questions surrounding Archbishop McCarrick.” On August 16, he “called for an Apostolic Visitation, working in concert with a national lay commission granted independent authority, to seek the truth.”
While these statements undoubtedly strengthened the resolve of those bishops demanding transparency, Cardinal DiNardo has a hard row to hoe this fall.

A November To Remember

In two months bishops will gather at the USCCB’s annual meeting in Baltimore. It will not be peaceful. Thousands of Catholics have already supported the call by several organizations to demonstrate outside the meeting. There’s simply no way that the bishops can avoid responding to both Viganò’s revelations and the report from the Pennsylvania Attorney General. Bishops had scheduled to consider an “update” of their 1979 pastoral on racism (which teaches that “most” whites are racists, but nobody else is). Alas, that consideration will have to be put off for now. The meeting is truly up for grabs.
We recall that, a year ago, the bishops voted on a successor to Timothy Cardinal Dolan as head of the Bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities. The two nominees were Cardinal Cupich of Chicago and Archbishop Naumann of Kansas City. Cardinal Cupich had a history of blazing the trail for “gay-friendly” forces in the Church, while downplaying, even discouraging, pro-lifers. Archbishop Naumann, on the other hand, was an outspoken advocate of Humanae Vitae. The bishops knew clearly what the issues were.
Archbishop Naumann received 96 votes, while Cardinal Cupich received 82.
If that division holds this November, 46 percent of the bishops meeting will be in the Cupich camp. Regarding the scandals, those bishops will insist on strengthening “protocols, processes. programs, and polices” on sex abuse for the future. The 54 percent who voted for Archbishop Naumann will demand transparency, facts, and truth.
There is very little common ground there. We have to remember that attorneys general in several states have already opened investigations similar to that in Pennsylvania. In 2002, well over half the bishops voting on the “protocols, processes. programs, and polices” outlined in their “Child Protection” charter had covered up for abusers themselves. None quit, they all retired. The faithful paid some $5 billion for lawyers and countless settlements, most of which drew a curtain over the causes and criminal protectors of the abusers. Cardinal Mahony, Archbishop Weakland, and others who blatantly defied the law are all comfortably retired.
No doubt every bishop meeting in Baltimore looks forward to the same happy landing. But they know the rules have changed — only they don’t know the new rules yet.

A Note On John McCain

After the Washington Establishment’s eight-day secular canonization show for the late John McCain, one might think that, well, “enough said.” Clearly, McCain wanted to be highly regarded, a desire acknowledged and played to the hilt by the usual suspects. After all, he had a lot to be proud of. And for the Establishment, this was payback time.
However, there were a few things he wasn’t proud of at all, and while the anti-Trump parade masquerading as a funeral ignored it, McCain did not. I was there. I know it.
As a freshman senator, McCain had been involved in a scandal known as the “Keating Five.” Along with four Democrats, he was accused of intervening with regulators investigating the operations of a real estate firm and a savings-and-loan owned by Charles Keating. He and the others were given rides on Keating’s plane to his home in the Bahamas, as well as substantial financial contributions to their campaigns.
The climax came when November 20 1991, when Alan Cranston, the only member of the Keating Five to be reprimanded by the Senate Ethics Committee, implied on the Senate floor that he had been singled out for doing what every senator did with regard to wealthy donors. Sen. Warren Rudman of New Hampshire, a member of the committee (along with Sen. Jesse Helms, its longest-serving member) rose on the floor and denounced Cranston for implying that “everybody does it.”
“Everybody doesn’t do it,” Rudman roared.
That statement became a mantra in the Senate, and it hounded McCain for the rest of his life. The other four members involved quickly left the Senate, but McCain won reelection in 1992 and served until his death.
But Keating hovered heavily over the war hero, and he sought for the rest of his life to put it behind him. As we have seen in recent weeks, the elite media were willing to bury it, so long as he continued to go by their “maverick” playbook.
“I faced in Vietnam, at times, very real threats to life and limb. But while my sense of honor was tested in prison, it was not questioned. During the Keating inquiry, it was, and I regretted that very much,” McCain later told the Associated Press.
Could McCain have survived the media onslaught, had he stuck to his original conservative principles — with the media constantly hounding his “sense of honor,” beating him over the head with Keating?
Let me put it this way. No member of the Senate has had sufficient spine to do so since Jesse Helms left fifteen years ago. In fact, Donald Trump is the first national public figure since Helms capable not only of surviving a bitterly hostile media, but to prosper from it.
John McCain knew he couldn’t have handled it — and he undoubtedly “regretted that very much” too.
May he rest in peace.

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