Cardinal William Levada, prefect emeritus of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, said he did not support the resolution because it would only further the divide between the USCCB and the Vatican. He seconded Cardinal Tobin’s suggestion that the bishops instead release a statement of support of the Vatican investigation.
Archbishop Timothy Broglio, archbishop for Military Services in the U.S., voiced concern that it would take the Holy See a long time to conduct the investigation, since McCarrick was a priest and bishop for many years.
Bishop Gerald Kicanas of Las Cruces said he didn’t think the statement added to anything that the bishops have already done.
“If anyone is listening they hopefully realize that there is a sense of outrage and betrayal at the situation of McCarrick (among the bishops),” he said. “I don’t think that the statement adds anything to that…at this point I don’t see any purpose to this proposal.”
The resolution was then put to a vote. After amendments, the final wording was: “Regarding the ongoing investigation of the Holy See into the case of Archbishop McCarrick, be it resolved that the bishops of the USCCB encourage the Holy See to release soon all documentation that can be released consistent with canon and civil law regarding the allegations of misconduct against Archbishop McCarrick.”
The resolution failed.
Unbelievable — but all too believable. Francis has dodged and stonewalled on the McCarrick case for months. Are the US bishops more afraid of him than they are of their people, whose trust has been so badly abused by the hierarchy these many years? Are they more afraid of him than they are of God?
As the US bishops gather in Baltimore this week, I have to admit that I’m so weary of people saying that “the bishops can’t police each other. They have no authority over each other.” Of course this is true, but it completely misses the point.
Why in God’s name (literally) do you need a formal canonical/juridical structure to act like a basically decent, functional human being?
Let’s be honest. If any other minimally sentient carbon-based life-form saw a colleague doing something illegal or unethical, they wouldn’t need a formal, legal structure to publicly call them out, appropriately shame them for their dereliction of duty, and challenge them to fix it or get out. Social pressure/fraternal correction is a perfectly legitimate cultural intervention that is readily available to the bishops BUT THEY DON’T USE IT!
How many bishops called out “Uncle Ted” despite his behavior being an “open secret” for over 20 years? And even after all that, how many bishops have publicly called out Malone for his gross dereliction of duty in Buffalo? Why not? Because episcopal culture has made an idol out of saving face and making nice.
That’s something I have never, ever understood about this scandal. Why is it so hard for these bishops to act like normal men? Not even saints, but normal men? To be fair, the same might be said of the laity. I genuinely don’t understand why the laity over the past decades hasn’t made life miserable for the bishops. It’s been a massive failure of moral courage.
Things may be changing, though. For one example, the conservative Catholic writer Regina Doman posted this to social media, and sent it to me with permission to share:
In the wake of the Baltimore bishops’ meeting, even those of us who had very low expectations were frustrated that nothing has been done. What do we do now as laity and clergy? Here’s an idea. As you may know, the bishops voted on whether or not to respectfully pressure Rome to release soon all the pertinent documentation “regarding the allegations of misconduct against Archbishop McCarrick.” The results of the vote were 83 YES, 137 NO, and 5 abstentions.
As you can see, an overwhelming majority of bishops voted against it. I suggest we channel our dismay and fury into contacting our bishops TODAY and asking them how they voted and why. Each bishop should have no ethical concern with revealing his own choice that I can see. This will send a clear message that we the laity are concerned and continue to be concerned with clerical misconduct and, contrary to what was said by some bishops on the council floor, we are not going to let church/parish life continue as usual.
At the Council, Archbishop Thomas Wenski asserted that because ordinary Catholics are continuing the frequent the sacraments and Catholic education, the abuse scandal must not be a big deal: “People are coming to Church, they’re praying, they’re sending their kids to Catechism, the life of the Church is moving on. If you’re not reading the blogs, if you’re not watching cable TV, this is not front and center for most of our people.” That is very far from the truth. Please share and encourage your fellow Catholics and family members in each diocese to contact their bishop and ask how they voted on the McCarrick allegations and why. We need to know how they stand. And our bishops need to be clear that just because we haven’t stopped coming to church doesn’t mean we don’t care about victims or about the ongoing question of why a predator like McCarrick was enabled for so long. If you agree, forward this email, post it on social media, and pass on.
Another Catholic reader in Michigan e-mailed a link to No More Victims, a lay-led Catholic group in the Diocese of Lansing. I see that Al Kresta and Prof. Janet Smith are involved. The group, a non-profit, describes itself like this:
No More Victims is a nonprofit coalition of lay Catholics who seek to bear the burdens of victims and put an end to sexual abuse and misconduct by Catholic clergy in the Diocese of Lansing. We represent victims, document their stories, make referrals for counseling, and advocate for justice through canonical and secular means. Our goal is that the Church be renewed in holiness so that it will be a place where victims find justice, compassion, and healing.
Since we formed in August of 2018, our actions have led to the removal of two predatory clergy, both of whom had decades of allegations against them.
What is clear is that Pope Francis has surrounded himself with men, including Cupich, who are either seriously compromised or who openly lust after ecclesial power. It’s not just that they show little regard for doctrine or truth, but how they act as entitled sycophants whose disregard for their fellow bishops is matched only by their disdain for the orthodox faithful. It’s also evident that Francis does not want any sort of investigation into McCarrick or related matters to be outside of his control. One need not be well-versed in canon law (I’m not) or sympathetic to the various claims made by Archbishop Viganó (I am) to connect the huge and proliferating dots.
Olson says he knows that some bishops are good men who want to do the right thing, but they’re hamstrung. But it’s worth asking, as Popcak does: Why do bishops need a policy to tell them how to speak and act like decent, morally responsible Christian men?
A well-known Catholic theologian e-mailed to say:
For me signs of a breakthrough would be if:
Some bishops or bishops publicly called out some predator bishops
Some bishops admitted to ignoring and mismanaging problems with the gay mafia in their own dioceses.
Some bishops admitted to how bad the seminaries have been. With some specificity.
But these [bishops] were chosen either because they are gay or they are weak and without a backbone. So my hopes are weak.
I bet if the Pope put Frank Keating on the case, he would have an answer about How McCarrick Happened within two months. But then, one would have to believe that Pope Francis wanted an answer, or, to be more precise, that he wanted others to know the answer. If Archbishop Viganò is to be believed, the highest levels of the Roman curia are corrupt, either financially or sexually, or both. And this did not start with Francis.
Where does that leave ordinary Catholics, especially Catholic mothers and fathers? You tell me.
We non-Catholics should have an interest in how this plays out. I have tried not to be the sort of Christian who takes pleasure in the travails of other churches. I learned a sharp lesson back in college, before I was serious about my faith, when I went out to Jimmy Swaggart’s megachurch to cover what was rumored to be a big announcement. I was there in the room for his big, teary sermon confessing his sexual sin. I felt the kind of mean satisfaction that you would imagine that a snarky 20-year-old college journalist would feel. And then I looked around at the people weeping. These were people who were mostly working class, by the look of their clothes. They had less than I had, and they had just had something important taken away from them. I felt very small.
More than that, though, the Catholic Church is a pillar of Western civilization, and arguably the most important pillar. The West was built on Greek philosophy, Roman law, and Hebrew religion. The Roman church has been a synthesis of these things, and for at least 1,000 years, was the most important institution in the West. The Reformation, the Scientific Revolution, the Enlightenment, and all that followed dramatically reduced the Roman Church’s power, but Rome nonetheless abides. It is sobering to think of how world history would have been different had Poland’s Karol Wojtyla not been elected pope in 1978.
The United States is and always has been predominantly Protestant, but Christianity of all sorts is quickly waning in this country. In North America and Europe, the decline of the Roman church is not concomitant with a strengthening of the Protestant churches (this is not the case in Latin America, by the way). Rome’s crisis is something that it going to affect all of us in a negative way, one way or the other. Back in 2002, Father Richard John Neuhaus, in chastising me personally for writing so critically of what was then our church, said that if people like me weren’t careful, we were going to end up inviting the state to involve itself in the church’s affairs. It’s not hard to guess what Father Neuhaus, had he lived, would have to say about the state and federal investigations into the Catholic Church’s sexual abuse practices. This is entirely the fault of the Catholic bishops, and their refusal to govern themselves and their dioceses, and the bishops of Rome for their similar neglect. But the legacy of the state going after the church is going to affect to some degree every religious organization.
Let me say this, though. Yesterday, a friend of mine helped a Catholic priest who is an exorcist attend to his wife, who suffers from possession. The exorcism process has taken most of the last year (I wrote about it earlier in this space). They have seen real progress. My friend says that the things that bring his wife the greatest relief are the prayers of priests. This friend is very well aware of the corruption in the Catholic Church, and has been for many years (we’ve been friends for a long time). But he says the things he has seen since unexpectedly entering this dark and dangerous wood with his wife has, liking nothing else, made real to him who the enemy is, the truth of what the Church says, and the spiritual power within it. Maybe that will give you suffering and discouraged Catholics comfort and courage. I hope so.
The structure of a boxing picture is as predictable as the seasons: Our hero loses something (a bout, a loved one, his confidence), gets a pep talk and a montage of unorthodox training, then regains his mojo and steps back into the ring as redemption awaits. Million Dollar Baby, one of the few boxing movies to break out of the box, is not coincidentally among the greatest movies this century.
Creed II sticks to the formula like dogma and doesn’t even seem all that interested in the details of how to win (or train for) a fight. There’s nothing like the tactical surprise of a southpaw fighting right-handed here, nor any workout scenes as exhilarating as the many great ones in the earlier movies. Nevertheless, a surprise-free movie can be a satisfying one, if the grace notes are played with care. They are in Creed II.
The sequel to 2015’s Creed, a spinoff from the six Rocky Balboa films, finds the late Apollo Creed’s son Adonis “Donny” Creed (a superb Michael B. Jordan) on the verge of capturing the heavyweight championship while he tries to work up the nerve to propose to his girlfriend Bianca (Tessa Thompson). Meanwhile, in Ukraine, Viktor Drago (Florian Munteanu) angrily trains for a chance to fight Creed for the title. In the 1985 Cold War proxy Rocky IV, Viktor’s father Ivan (Dolph Lundgren) killed Adonis’s father Apollo before being defeated by Rocky.
Yes, Sylvester Stallone is back and gives another warm, finely tuned performance. Stallone has played the character in at least one Rocky film each decade going back to the Ford administration, and this 42-year, eight-film run is without parallel in movie history. How he has made the Philly fighter endure is a subject for another day, but Stallone deserves more respect than he has gotten as both a writer and an actor. (He co-wrote this entry with Juel Taylor, from a story by himself, Sascha Penn, and Cheo Hodari Coker.)
The fight scenes are the least interesting ones in the movie, but thanks to sensitive, low-key direction by 30-year-old Steven Caple Jr. in only his second feature, everything else works nicely. Caple stages some sweet scenes between Adonis and Bianca, a singer who is deaf without her hearing aids, as the couple frets about how their baby daughter will turn out. (Rocky suggests naming her “Kate.” Donny replies, “You know she’s going to be black, right?”) Family bonds are more important than boxing achievements in the film, and properly so.
Caple doesn’t overdo the echoes with earlier Rocky films, but they’re there: Bianca spends one bout nervously watching in a woolen beret that recalls Adrian’s headgear in the original film. There’s also a toned-down reprise of bits of Bill Conti’s unforgettable musical score. (If anything, the movie could have used more of this to pump up the excitement during the so-so climax.) Aware that Rocky IV veered toward jingoism and kitsch, Caple arranges for the conflict with Drago’s side to be mean and gritty instead. “Break him,” Ivan advises his son during a fight. The Dragos don’t just want to win, they want to maim Adonis. “This is why they look down on us,” Ivan tells Viktor. Post–Cold War, the resentment of America’s preeminence continues in different form. But as Rocky points out, boxers who have nothing to lose are dangerous, and Creed has much more to lose than Viktor, who when he’s not in the ring is but a manual laborer in a chilly country.
Creed II doesn’t have the jubilance or the vitality that Creed had, but its unhurried style is consonant with the mood of Rocky Balboa, the 2006 film that at the time appeared to be the final chapter in the saga. At this point, there is no urgent need to continue with the series; Jordan doesn’t require the exposure, being one of the hottest young stars in Hollywood. A death scene for Rocky would seem to be the natural close, but Stallone is evidently reluctant to kill off his defining character, who appeared to be on his last legs in the two previous movies only to rebound this time. Maybe that’s just as well; Mickey, Adrian, and Apollo may be dead, but Rocky’s defining quality was always his endurance. All he wanted to do was go the distance. Forty-two years later, I’d say he has.
Country Music Hall of Fame member Roy Clark, a versatile entertainer who starred on the iconic television show "Hee Haw," died Thursday at his Tulsa, Oklahoma, home due to complications from pneumonia, according to his publicist. He was 85 years old. A fleet-fingered instrumentalist best known for his 24 years as co-host of the long-running country themed comedy show, the affable Clark was one of country music's most beloved ambassadors. "He's honest," said fellow Country Music Hall of Famer Harold Bradley when Clark was inducted in 2009. "Whether he's playing guitar or singing, he's honest. Whatever he does, he sparkles." He brought heart and humor to audiences around the world, guest-hosted "The Tonight Show" multiple times, worked with greats like Hank Williams and blues artist Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown, and inspired countless pickers, including a young Brad Paisley, with his instructional guitar books. “I play because of him,” Paisley said Thursday afternoon as he choked back tears. “I don’t think that, without Roy Clark and Buck Owens, my grandpa ever picks a guitar up. And if he never picks a guitar up, neither do I. I think it hits me so hard today because I’m realizing for the first time that I kind of owe him everything.” Roy Linwood Clark was born April 15, 1933, in Meherrin, Virginia. The oldest of five children, he grew up in a musical family. He learned how to play banjo and mandolin at an early age, but it was the guitar that spoke to him. "When I strummed the strings for the first time, something clicked inside me," he told The Tennessean in 1987. ► Reactions: Fans, fellow country musicians remember Roy Clark Within weeks of learning his first chords, the teenage Clark was playing behind his father at area square dances. Not long after that, he was performing on local radio and television. "The camera was very kind to me, and I consider myself to be a television baby," Clark said in 2009. "At first, it wasn't that I was so talented, but they had to fill time. ... So they'd say, 'Well, let's get the kid.' Later, I got to where when I looked at the camera, I didn't see a mechanical device. I saw a person." While still in his teens, he worked briefly on a show fronted by Hank Williams, became a national banjo champion, and was invited to perform on the Grand Ole Opry. Clark's deft musicianship caught the ear of Jimmy Dean, who performed on television and radio in the Washington, D.C., area. Dean hired the young musician, then fired him due to his repeated tardiness. "He said, 'Clark, you're gonna be a big star someday, but right now I can't afford to have someone like you around,' " Clark remembered in a 1988 Tennessean article. Dean's prediction came true, eventually, but during his early days in Nashville, the unknown Clark and banjo player David "Stringbean" Akeman worked any stage they could find. "We would play drive-in theaters, standing on top of the projection booth," Clark told The Tennessean in 2009. "If the people liked it, they'd honk their horns." Las Vegas to Leningrad In 1960, Clark joined rockabilly/country artist Wanda Jackson's band, playing guitar and opening her shows at the Golden Nugget in Las Vegas. Jackson was on Capitol Records, and after Ken Nelson, the label's A&R man, heard Clark at one of her concerts, he signed him. As a solo artist, Clark's breakout came in 1963 when his version of Bill Anderson's "Tips of My Fingers" hit No. 10 on the country charts, and he found crossover success with the 1969 smash "Yesterday, When I Was Young." (In 1995, he performed that song at Mickey Mantle's funeral.) In 1992, Steve Wariner also recorded "Tips of My Fingers," and his rendition went higher on the charts than Clark's had three decades earlier. Anderson still laughs when he remembers Clark's reaction: "Steve and I were backstage at the Opry, and Roy comes walking in. He doesn’t look up, and he doesn’t say ‘Hello.’ He gets right up even with us, and he just holds his hand out and says, ‘I’ve put (the song) back in the act.’ Steve and I just hit the floor.”
Buck Owens and Roy Clark on "Hee Haw" When "Hee Haw" premiered in 1969, Clark's role as Buck Owens' comedic foil endeared him to country fans and introduced him to new audiences. This, combined with hits like "Thank God and Greyhound" and "Come Live with Me," made him one of the genre's most popular stars. He won the Country Music Association's Comedian of the Year Award in 1970 and the Entertainer of the Year Award in 1973; later in the decade he won a slew of CMA Instrumentalist of the Year Awards, both as a solo musician and with Buck Trent. At the 25th annual Grammy Awards, his recording of "Alabama Jubilee" won the Best Country Instrumentalist Performance award. As an entertainer, Clark forged his own trail. He became one of the first country stars to tour the Soviet Union when he embarked on an 18-date excursion with the Oak Ridge Boys. Twelve years later, he returned to the USSR for a "friendship tour." He was also the first country star to open a theater in Branson, Missouri. The Roy Clark Celebrity Theater opened in 1983, and several other artists followed him to the tourist-friendly town. In 1987, Clark became a member of the Grand Ole Opry. He was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2009 alongside Barbara Mandrell and Charlie McCoy. "Roy Clark made best use of his incredible talent," Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum CEO Kyle Young said in a statement Thursday morning. "He was both a showman and a virtuoso, with a love of music that beamed across air waves and into millions of living rooms, where families gathered to watch and listen." When the Country Music Association celebrated the 50th annual CMA Awards in 2016, Clark, seated with a five-string banjo on his lap, and Paisleyhelped kick off the show. They played a snippet of Buck Owens' "Tiger by the Tail," but it was their re-enactment of Owens and Clark's famous "Hee Haw" lines that brought the loudest cheers: "I'm a pickin'....and I'm a-grinnin'" After the awards, Paisley wroteon Twitter, "I will never, ever get over this moment." Clark is preceded in death by grandson Elijah Clark. He is survived by Barbara, his wife of 61 years; his children, Roy Clark II and wife Karen, Dr. Michael Meyer and wife Robin, Terry Lee Meyer, Susan Mosier and Diane Stewart; his grandchildren, Brittany Meyer, Michael Meyer, Caleb Clark and Josiah Clark; and his sister, Susan Coryell. A memorial celebration will be held in the coming days in Tulsa. Details are forthcoming.
The French say many silly things, along with a few wise ones, although since the deaths of Voltaire, Descartes, and la Rochefoucauld, not lately. One of the silliest came out of the mouth of M. le President, Emmanuel Macron, at the centenary observance of the end of World War I on November 11. Calling nationalism a “betrayal of patriotism,” the fey popinjay went on to caution the world against “old demons coming back wreak chaos and death.”
The media, of course, loved it, promptly casting Macron’s words as a “rebuke” to (who else?) Donald J. Trump and his soul mate, Vladimir Putin, who were both in attendance. Far from fighting for the survival of the French nation in 1914, said Macron, the French soldiers were fighting for the “universal values” because—get this—“patriotism is exactly the opposite of nationalism.” This statement ignores all the contemporary evidence from a century ago outlining the patriotic motives that moved the French and British soldiers who went to war against the Kaiser; all you have to do is read the poetry of Wilfred Owen or Siegfried Sassoon, or read Robert Graves’ classic memoir, Goodbye to All That.
The French had only recently lost the Franco-Prussian War, which saw German troops dining in Paris even before there was a united Germany. The war brought about the end of the Second Empire in France, finished France’s post-Napoleonic hegemony in continental Europe, and, under Bismarck’s leadership, resulted in the unification of the various German cities, states, and principalities in 1871. Indeed, the Franco-Prussian War completely rearranged the map of Europe, as France’s defeat led to the end of Napoleon III, the foundation of the Third Republic, the creation of modern Germany, and the absorption of the Papal States into a newly unified Italy as well.
This, then, was the backdrop against which World War I was instigated and fought. Among other things, the French were fighting not for “universal values” but for national pride, which included the return of the twin provinces of Alsace and Lorraine, long a tug-of-war between France and Germany. A complicated series of alliances and ententes (Italy, of course, somehow managed to get on both sides and emerged from the war with the South Tyrol of Austria as its participation prize) ensured that what started when the Germans attacked France through neutral Belgium did not long stay in the Lowlands, and before it was all over, Romanov Russia vanished, the Ottoman Empire in the Middle East dissolved, the principal belligerents had all been bled white in the carnage, and the United States, reluctantly, emerged as the new leading power in the West.
The notion that “nationalism” is a form of racism (for that is where the Left is heading on this one) illustrates the linguistic mechanism by which cultural Marxists subtly change the color of our political discussions. Embarrassed by their inability to squirm away from the “Socialist” part of the name of Adolf Hitler’s political party, they’ve chosen instead to concentrate on the “National” bit and implicitly therefore—and now explicitly—to tie concepts of patriotism and nationalism to the Nazis. In much the same way, the now-offensive but once harmless word “stereotypes” was first modified with “negative” (to distinguish it from “positive” or neutral stereotypes) and thus took on a negative connotation, to the extent that “stereotypes” today are assumed to be wholly unflattering.
Which is why the president was right to push back against the pipsqueak when he retorted via a nuclear Tweet:
Emmanuel Macron suggests building its own army to protect Europe against the U.S., China and Russia. But it was Germany in World Wars One & Two - How did that work out for France? They were starting to learn German in Paris before the U.S. came along. Pay for NATO or not!
French ingratitude is legendary, and all part of the fun of traveling in Europe. More ominous was Macron’s call—soon echoed by his superior officer, German chancellor Angela Merkel—for a “European army” that somehow would defend both against the Russian bear and the American eagle while “complementing” NATO. While we’re on the subject, we’ve seen pan-European armies before, during the Thirty Years War, the Napoleonic Wars and even as recently as World War II, when Finnish, Hungarian, Romanian and Italian units fought alongside the German Wehrmacht. How well did that work out?
In Macron’s and Merkel’s view, Europe can no longer count on the United States for its protection. Why that should be is unclear: American war-fighting doctrine has not changed substantially in this century, and Europe’s security is still a major focus of American concern. To translate from the original German, what Merkel means is that she can no longer count on Donald Trump, and that America’s turn rightward in the last presidential election has put her nose out of joint, just as she’s on the way out the door herself.
Merkel is a short-timer, and the next German government won’t look a thing like the ones she’s headed for the past umpteen years. Rising German nationalism is not to be equated with National Socialism, nor is the reawakened nationalism of the former “captive nations” of Central and Eastern Europe, which were among the worst affected by World War I. Poland, Hungary, and the other states lying at the crossroads of Europe were conquered (and not always by Europeans), dismembered, stitched together, stuffed into unworkable portmanteau (hello and goodbye, Yugoslavia) and reconstituted: what kept them alive were their cultures, their languages, and their long histories as unique peoples. During the Communist period, we applauded their pluck and prayed for their futures; it was, after all, a Polish Pope who helped bring down the Evil Empire. Now the Left sees revanchism everywhere.
The “old demons” of Macron’s fears are not nationalistic. The history of Europe is, in fact, the history of groups of people coming together as nations (Germany, Italy), or splitting artificial political entities (the Soviet Union) back into their component parts. Rather, the demons are the Marxist and other Socialist millenarians who, since the middle of the 19th century, have promulgated their pernicious one-worldism, first as the dictatorship of the proletariat, then as ein Volk, ein Reich, ein Führer, the Soviet occupation and the fiction of the Warsaw Pact, and finally as the European Union—a kind of USSR-lite, but one centrally run from Brussels instead of Moscow, with an army of bureaucrats to keep its restive member states, farmers, workers, and peasantry in line.
Nationalism? Europe could do with more of it, not less. For the first step in getting along is to acknowledge differences, not paper over them or repress them—and then muddling through as best we all can toward common peaceful goals. Europe’s already had enough of chaos and death; time to put aside the “unifying” dogmas of the past two centuries and try something so old it’s new again: freedom and the right of self-determination.
The bishops of America’s 196 Catholic dioceses and archdioceses gathered in Baltimore on Monday morning, meeting for the first time since sexual abuse scandals rocked the church in the summer. They planned to vote on measures to tackle the crisis and prevent further crimes.
In the opening minutes of their meeting, the bishops heard a surprising report: Pope Francis had asked them not to vote on any of their proposals.
The pope does not want U.S. bishops to act to address bishops’ accountability on sexual abuse until he leads a worldwide meeting in February of church leaders, the president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, told the gathered bishops as the meeting opened Monday morning.
“At the insistence of the Holy See, we will not be voting on the two action items,” DiNardo said. He said he was “disappointed” by the pope’s directive.
Anne Barrett Doyle, co-director of BishopAccountability.org, called the last-minute order from the Vatican “truly incredible.”
“What we see here is the Vatican again trying to suppress even modest progress by the U.S. bishops,” said Doyle, whose group compiles data on clergy abuse in the church. “We’re seeing where the problem lies, which is with the Vatican. The outcome of this meeting, at best, was going to be tepid and ineffectual, but now it’s actually going to be completely without substance.”
Any illusions that Francis was part of the solution to this crisis should now be dispelled. He is the chief stonewaller. Archbishop Viganò told us so.
As I’ve been writing since visiting Rome earlier this autumn, the atmosphere in the Vatican is one of siege and denial. One has the impression that Francis is like Pius IX, desperately trying to defend the Papal States — except in Francis’s case, he’s trying to defend the Church’s ability to control events — and, let’s be honest, to cover up for priestly buggery and episcopal corruption. It’s as if Uncle Ted were sitting at his right side, Wormtonguing all the livelong day.
What must it feel like to be a faithful Catholic mother and father this morning, knowing that even 16 years after Boston, and mere months after learning that a senior American cardinal was in fact a serial molester, the Holy Father does not take the abuse crisis seriously? For heaven’s sake, the US Catholic Church is facing a federal RICO investigation! And still, the pontiff punts. If you read the nuncio’s quote, you’ll see that the Pope does not intend to give the laity any say in the reform that the Catholic bishops have manifestly been unable to carry out.
From Barbara Tuchman’s The March Of Folly, this passage on how six Renaissance popes provoked the Protestant Reformation:
The folly of the popes was not pursuit of counter-productive policy so much as rejection of any steady or coherent policy either political or religious that would have improved their situation or arrested the rising discontent. Disregard of the movements and sentiments developing around them was a primary folly. They were deaf to disaffection, blind to the alternative ideas it gave rise to, blandly impervious to challenge, unconcerned by the dismay at their misconduct and the rising wrath at their misgovernment, fixed in refusal to change, almost stupidly stubborn in maintaining a corrupt existing system. They could not change it because they were part of it, grew out of it, depended on it.
Can there be any doubt? PF is a liar, a hypocrite, a fraud, radically corrupt, and gravely, gravely wounding the Church of which he is head.
I am beside myself with anger right now. PF is more interested in showing his supposed ‘enemies’ who’s boss than he is in dealing with evil. He is more interested in preserving his image and his friends, than in seeking truth. He is all about himself at this point, completely blinded to the needs of others. He hides his corruption and bankruptcy and pride behind a patina of ‘synodality’ and ‘humility.’
My only hope is that Christ will use him to scourge the Church and bring about its renewal. We must suffer the death-pangs of an ecclesial era that we have allowed to fester for decades. Pope Francis is both a cause and a symptom. He is a disgrace to every victim of abuse and to every person committed to reforming the Church.
Obviously I am not going to reveal the name of this theologian — who, not coincidentally, is a father — but I tell you this: I bet he never, in his wildest dreams, imagined ever writing words like this about a pope. Yet here we are.
Speaking before the conference session had even been called to order, DiNardo told the bishops he was clearly “disappointed” with Rome’s decision. The cardinal said that, despite the unexpected intervention by Rome, he was hopeful that the Vatican meeting would prove fruitful and that its deliberations would help improve the American bishops’ eventual measures.
While DiNardo was still speaking, Cardinal Blase Cupich of Chicago intervened from the floor, expressing his support for the pope.
“It is clear the the Holy See is taking the abuse crisis seriously,” Cupich said.
At the same time, he suggested that the work which had gone into preparing the two proposals should not go to waste.
Cupich suggested that if the conference could not take a binding vote, they should instead continue with their discussions and conclude with resolution ballot on the two measures. This, he said, would help best equip Cardinal DiNardo to present the thought of the American bishops during the February meeting, where he will represent the U.S. bishops’ conference.
That’s actually not a bad idea. Make Francis own this terrible decision.
Why would the Vatican ask the US Bishops to delay their vote on sex abuse? 1) To wait for the worldwide meeting so the moves will be more universal 2) They want them to be stronger than what the expect the US bishops would vote on. 3
Well, maybe. But you know, there were actually people who convinced themselves that John Paul II had a secret plan to defeat the scandal, and if everybody just calmed down and trusted the Pope, everything would work out.
UPDATE.6: Church chronicler Rocco Palmo points out that Pope Francis didn’t want the bishops meeting this November anyway. It beggars belief to think that Francis had canonical problems with the US bishops’ proposals, but only sprung it on them the morning they were gathering to talk about the proposals. And, the Pope has known since this summer, when his very good friend Ted McCarrick was outed as a molester, that the American episcopate was in crisis. Recall that he kept USCCB chief Cardinal DiNardo cooling his heels for weeks, despite DiNardo’s urgent request for an audience.
I don’t know what Francis’s game is here, but he long ago surrendered the benefit of the doubt.