What could have happened. And should have happened.
Actual facts: Roman characters. Could have/should have: italics.
Late June. The archdioceses of Washington and New York notify the public about an accusation against Theodore McCarrick. The Church publishes a phone#/e-mail/snail-mail address for anyone with knowledge of the case. Also publishes: A clear, thorough explanation of how McCarrick’s church trial will proceed, including the date on which it will begin.
Also in late June: The Holy See releases a comprehensive report about the secret cash settlements between McCarrick and the seminarians he abused. The report includes all relevant documents, with only the names of innocent victims redacted. All bishops and other administrators involved acknowledge their grave mistakes. And resign.
The bishops of Metuchen, Newark, and Washington, D.C. acknowledge the shock and pain of their people. They begin visiting their parishes to help their people cope.
Late July. James Grein comes forward, speaking out about McCarrick through the New York Times. The bishops of Arlington, Virginia (where James is known to reside), Washington, D.C., and New York all reach out personally to James.
Mid-August. The Pennsylvania grand jury releases its report on sexual abuse of minors by priests. The bishops of Pennsylvania, along with all the bishops in the US, acknowledge that they have gravely failed their people. They could have audited their own files, made sure that all sex-abuse victims had been heard, and justice done for them. But instead, the bishops idly sat by, distracted from their duty by their own tender and over-sized egos.
Late August. The USCCB meets in an emergency session and unanimously adopts a resolution. Yes, we have failed you, dear People of God. We will all return to parish ministry and try to learn how to administer the Church’s resources better than we have done. We have developed a five-year process for replacing ourselves with priests currently serving in parishes.
Also in mid-August. The Cardinal Archbishop of Washington, D.C., admits that he made serious mistakes while serving in Pennsylvania in the 80’s and 90’s. He does not get defensive. Instead of focusing on himself, he focuses on his people, who still need a lot of help in coping with the revelations about Theodore McCarrick’s dishonesty.
Late August. Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano sees no need to publish a dossier, The public already has all the documents pertaining to the McCarrick cash settlements from 2004 and 2006. The public already knows who covered for McCarrick; they have all resigned.
November. The US bishops hold their annual meeting. The president begins the meeting by announcing the verdict of the McCarrick trial.
…This is no idle fantasy, dear reader. It could and should have happened this way. Indeed, it would have required a great deal less effort than all the fruitless attempts that Pope Francis and our American bishops have made, trying vainly to justify themselves with pointless abstractions, rather than confront facts.
But, as it is, we find ourselves in a haze.
As I understand the beginning of the EWTN interview which you can watch above, Mr. James Grein is in contact with Church officials. James declines to elaborate about sex-abuse details in this interview, referring to “investigations” now underway. (In July, James willingly gave details.)
Meanwhile, McCarrick continues to maintain his innocence. One of his brother bishops said as much, in Baltimore last week.
A trial, therefore, must proceed. In order to reach justice through a contentious process.
It’s never too late! Those governing the Church could right now offer to us a careful, detailed explanation of how the process will unfold.
The fundamental point in dispute: Has James falsely and wrongly accused Theodore McCarrick of grave crimes?
Could be. No one ever reached the truth without hearing both sides.
We considered this question here before. James, sympathetic as he may be in the speech and interview above, has not added to his credibility with the statements he has made this past week. I’m not saying he compromised his credibility, either. He simply added nothing specific to our knowledge of the case.
Perhaps he could have explained better why he refrained from giving details this time around. But it’s not Mr. James Grein’s job to explain such things.
My point here is this: Either the course of justice is moving forward in a way that we can respect, or it isn’t.
If James has testified under oath, and that’s why he won’t get into details on Youtube, then maybe the wheels are really turning.
But, if that is the case, why hasn’t any Church official explained to the public the current state of the process? Why leave us with the strong impression that all any bishop or pope does in the Catholic Church is kick the can down the road, hoping the stupid sheep will forget about all this?
On the other hand, if James has not, in fact, given official testimony, then why not speak more freely in the interview above? EWTN reporter Wyatt Goolsby gave James a wide-open opportunity clearly to spell out McCarrick’s crimes. And if the official Church continues to do nothing, and you say this is “your moment” to speak, why not speak clearly and in detail? Criminals get convicted based on clear details of evidence.
But, again: If James is not to be believed–if he won’t give details because he doesn’t really know what he is talking about–then why won’t someone who knows the facts come to McCarrick’s defense? After all these months, no one has said anything to defend McCarrick from the grave charges James leveled against him in July.
…My old friend Msgr. Charles Pope recently published an essay arguing that Pope Francis now “owns” the crisis.
Would that Pope Francis did own it. The problem we have is that no one appears willing to own the McCarrick case.
And the cowardly refusal to own sex-abuse cases is The Scandal. The Scandal that has brought the pope and bishops of our Church to the state of utter infamy that they now occupy.