Donald Cardinal Wuerl, to Tom Fitzgerald of Fox 5, August 15:
“How we dealt with things in the late 80’s/early 90’s is different from the way we would today.”
Mr. Fitzgerald reacted with earnest disbelief. “What could possibly ‘evolve’ about child sexual abuse?!”
Three weeks later, Cardinal Wuerl realized he had no future as the Archbishop of Washington.
Pope Francis gave a press conference on the papal plane yesterday. The National Catholic Reporter (an avowedly liberal publication) notes:
“Journalists aboard the flight from Estonia had planned to ask Francis again about Viganò’s claims [that Pope Francis knew about McCarrick’s abuses since 2013], but were unable to after the pope suspended taking questions outside the scope of the trip.”
The pope did, however, say this:
“I take the Pennsylvania report, for example, and we see that the first 70 years there were so many priests that fell into this corruption, then in more recent times it has diminished, because the Church noticed that it needed to fight it in another way. In the old times these things were covered up, they even covered them up at home, when the uncle was molesting the niece, when the dad was molesting his sons, they covered it up because it was a very big disgrace… it was the way of thinking in previous times or of the past time. It is a principle that helps me to interpret history a lot.
“A historic event is interpreted with the hermeneutic of the time period in which it took place, not as a hermeneutic of today passed on. For example, the example of indigenous people, that there were so many injustices, so much brutality, but it cannot be interpreted with the hermeneutic of today [now] that we have another conscience. A last example, the death penalty. The Vatican, when it was a State, a pontifical State, had the death penalty. In the end the state decapitations were 1870 more or less, a guy, but then the moral conscience grew, it is true that always there were loopholes and there were hidden death sentences. You are old, you are an inconvenience, I do not give you the medicine, it went so… it is a condemnation to social death. And about today… I believe with this I have responded.”
We regret that…
a. The reader finds it hard to make any sense out of this.
b. Morals are historically relative? So slavery was okay before, but not now? Where did the early abolitionists get their ideas? Were they wrong, since, at that time, slavery was okay? Was abortion wrong before, then it became okay, and someday it will be not-okay again?
c. To quote Tom Fitzgerald: “What could possibly ‘evolve’ when it comes to child sexual abuse?!”
d. I think the Viewers at Home watching the Cardinal-Wuerl interview of August 15 wound up believing: this man is not honest. Yesterday Pope Francis punched a ticket on the same train.