Whosoever knowing that the Catholic Church was made necessary by God through Jesus Christ would refuse…to remain in Her could not be saved. (Vatican II Lumen Gentium 14)
On the one hand: She is the Mother of the People of God. She is the eternal Israel. She gathers where Satan has scattered.
You need the gift of divine faith to see this. But not blind faith.
After all, where do cultures intersect, enrich each other, and bear fruit in genuinely peaceful human interaction? In the Church. Where do people come together, help each other, and form a real family that transcends blood and tribe? In the local parish church.
What institution has preserved the facts about Jesus Christ? What Christian community can, with perfect truthfulness, claim Him for Her founder?
And what religion has a single leader who can truly unite the world?
…On the anniversary of the appearance of the Lady in white to the children in Fatima–May 13, 2001–I gave my life to the holy Roman Catholic Church. With total faith and trust, I, along with my seminarian brothers, promised to serve Her all our lives long. I still love Her like I did then. No, I love Her a hundred times more.
After we made our promises, then-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, duly appointed Archbishop of Washington, ordained us transitional deacons. That was our “wedding day.” The beginning of long, happy, fruitful lives as clergymen, in the bosom of Mother Church, dedicated to helping our neighbors get to heaven.
On the other hand: McCarrick should have been in jail that day.
Last week, our dear bishop of Richmond gave us a pastoral letter. In it, he wrote the following:
“I support, and promise my full co-operation, with any independent, lay-managed, authoritative investigation into the scandal of Archbishop Theodore E. McCarrick.” (page 4)
Problem is: The day before Bishop Knestout gave us this letter, the president of the US Conference of Catholic bishops met with the pope. According to Cardinal DiNardo’s own statements prior to that meeting, he had traveled to Rome to ask the Holy Father to authorize an investigation into ‘the scandal of Theodore McCarrick.’
But Pope Francis authorized no such investigation. After the meeting in Rome, none of the participants so much as mentioned any investigation.
Ergo: We will never know how and why a dangerous criminal became a Cardinal. And flashed his red hither and yon for seventeen heady years. Making a mockery of pretty much all of us–all of us east-coast-USA Catholics aged 35-70. No one will ever be held accountable for this utterly crushing betrayal. The pope appears to have no intention whatsoever of holding anyone accountable for it.
And none of us can reasonably believe that the very bishops who flat-footedly stood by, as McCarrick took all the limelight for himself during the Scandal of 2002–thereby making a pathetic mockery of all of them— None of us can reasonably believe that any of them will stand up like men and vindicate their own honor. By personally punching McCarrick in the face.
In fact, none of us can reasonably believe that the course of justice will move forward in the McCarrick case at all.
Maybe sometime next year we will learn that the pope quietly laicized McCarrick. And that, supposedly, will satisfy justice. When the good faith of thousands of American Catholics has been cruelly mocked.
…By the way, I wish McCarrick nothing but grace from God. I bear the man no ill will. I hope he gets to heaven. I have no doubt that he has more right to go to heaven than I do.
But when you minister as a priest and then as a bishop, and when you represent the holy and Apostolic See as a Cardinal, your crimes touch the faith of all the souls around you.
How will any of us find peace? Unless those crimes get reckoned with, publicly, by a competent, impartial, honest judge. Which would certainly embarrass all of McC’s cynical accomplices. But isn’t such crushing embarrassment precisely what they deserve?
Anyway, you know we have reached an abysmal low point when the one person who makes sense is: Theodore McCarrick’s lawyer. Last week the New York Times quoted the lawyer saying, “the accusations are serious and McCarrick looks forward to invoking his right to due process at the right time.”
Amen to: The accusations are serious. And Amen to: Due process.
So the question:
What kind of institution is this? This institution necessary for the salvation of the human race. With which no one could safely choose to associate him- or herself–at least not anyone who prizes honesty and integrity, and who has ever heard of Theodore McCarrick.
…Just to repeat: The “Scandal” is not (and has never been) that so-and-so sexually abused so-and-so. Painful as it is to face, such things happen. And they will continue to happen, until the Last Day.
The scandal is: So-and-so abused so-and-so, and so-and-so, who was supposed to deal with it, to help everyone move on, by reckoning with the crimes publicly, did… [crickets].
In the case of Theodore McCarrick, The Scandal continues, unabated.